Friday, December 23, 2011

Not quite domesticated...

My friend taught me this really easy toffee recipe last year, and I decided to try it again this year.

 Only I couldn't remember her advice as to how long to let it boil-- either until the color changes, or it just begins to smoke, or perhaps it was for a certain number of minutes. I had to look online and decided upon 7 minutes, while stirring constantly. Nowhere did anyone mention to avoid stirring with a plastic spoon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taking the slow boat

I was born into a family of Type A personalities. Our mottos are “be 15 minutes early, or you’re 15 minutes late” and “no pain, no gain”.  Naps are for babies, and old people. Sick days are for wimps. We measure life by accomplishments and achievements, not by any touchy feely gauges, such as feelings, or relationships.

This works for a lot of people, but not for someone with one (or more) of the insidious autoimmune diseases such as SLE, CFS, Fibromyalgia, and RA. Switching to the slow lane isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.  The hardest part is adjusting expectations— forget perfection, sometimes “good enough” really is good enough. Slow and steady may finish last, but they finish. 

Having said that, the projects are progressing… slowly, and that’s okay. 
playful doggy + water bottle + unattended laptop = crash course in pc repair.  

I've always loved taking things apart. Luckily, this time I was able to put it back together.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I've been working on a new project and have been taking apart old suit coats to reuse the wool. I love de-constructing old tailored garments and admiring the old time craftsmanship in the hand stitched collars, the layers of horsehair interfacing, and rows and rows of pad stitching along the lapels.

But tonight I'm working on this: it's a lovely vintage Harris Tweed and the ugly matted goo you see is glue. Glue on the hem, the lining, and the interfacing. Lots to cut off. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ta Da!

Inspired by a vintage war salvage logo from This took a good part of the day to piece together but it is good enough to keep me happy for a while. Also put together versions for 'vintage" goods and "handmade". Oh, and ordered real live business cards. I think the next round will have to have some color...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Project #1 is an attempt to create a chew resistant soft dog toy. Using scraps of recycled wool, I laminated two colors with free hand machine quilting. These I cut into the toy shape, using a large "pocket yeti" pattern from an old project. I layered this to a piece of the denim (dyed red) and added a felt face appliqué. Then added another layer of denim over the top, leaving a space in the stitching to turn it right side out. Trim, turn, stuff and close.

He looks a bit like a hollow, or soul eater (from the Japanese Manga, Bleach). Not a great photo, I admit. Quite blurry-- I think he's trying to run away.

footnote: poor little guy lasted all of 5 minutes.

The new season brings new routines and projects, thus the absence. In short, I'm still trying to get used to school hours-- and not too successfully. With several new ideas in the pipeline my old Singer Touch and Sew decided she was not up to the task, and quit-- no notice. Well, not exactly without notice-- she'd been to the shop twice for repairs recently and yesterday was the first use since the last visit. She worked great for all of 10 minutes, and then quit feeding the bobbin thread. So this morning I ran to the thrift store hoping to find something cheap and working. Actually, I always hope to find an amazing industrial machine with a $5 price tag, but so far, no luck. Instead, I found a very nice Touch and Sew and was tempted until I checked the gears and found they were still the original nylon. As that is the origin of most of this machines problems (being that plastic gears tend to break and wear after a few years), I kept looking. The only other machine was this pretty little green gal-- the Singer 185J-- which, according to the internet, is a simple straight stitcher, not very pricey for resale, but a real workhorse. A quick check confirmed the electrical seemed to work ok, but the belt was missing. For $19.99 which included the table, I took the chance and brought her home.

I was a bit nervous she would require some obsolete bobbin and needle size, but she likes the Singer 66, which is sold everywhere, and of which I have a few dozen. Needle size looks standard too. Best of all, I forgot I had an old non working machine in the attic which had the correct size belt. Sometimes I amaze myself. So far, everything works great, except the bobbin winder. The handwheel won't disengage and the bobbin winder doesn't turn. More research is required to figure this out, but in the meantime I can wind bobbins on the "new" Singer. New, as in bought in 1999 but not used until last year. It took me that long to figure out how to thread the bobbin, and it sews like a drunken tailor so it's only used as a last resort back-up to the back up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

this is the bear
that lives on the corner

and freaks out my dog 
(see her hackles up? and she has dragged me into the street to avoid the bear)

bad, creepy, bear. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

in my minds eye

Sometimes I find great pieces that I just know will work in tons of outfits, but look sort of sad and lonely on their own. These pieces tend to be harder to market for me as I don't really do "outfit" posts, or show things styled on models. But I got sort of inspired this weekend when photographing this classic vintage shirt dress and now that I see how many things of mine it works with, I want to keep it. Believe me, if I can get my butt into it before it sells, this one is mine.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today was going to be a big day. It starting with learning I had a listing included in my first ever Etsy treasury and was going to be followed by a day of new items added to the shop. But a nasty headache has gripped my skull and won't let go. Let's try this again tomorrow, shall we?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

sneak peek

This is as far as I got before the camera demanded to be recharged:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A milestone

Today is our rescue puppy's first birthday. I've never celebrated a dog birthday before, because I've never known when our previous dogs were born, but today we will start a new tradition. I've put together a brief history of her year with us, which looks quite like an homage to the "cone". Here's hoping next year will be a bit calmer--- and with fewer visits to the vet. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In case of Zombie Apocalypse

This has been prominently displayed in our living room all summer, so I've decided to share. The life I save may be my own.

Or maybe, the life you save may be mine. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Lazy summer days spent with my friends reading, and rereading, comic books. 

All scans are from

Friday, August 12, 2011

Look what I found!

It was just hanging there in my small town thrift store, snuggled among the Vera Bradley and wally world bags. It was 1/2 price and shoppers were just walking by, ignoring the signature Sprouse graffiti.The only thing that could make this bag better would be if it were real. Yes, it's a fake, so I won't be selling it; but it will make a tres chic cosmetic bag, no? 


The painters are close to being finished. The house looks so much fresher, and my neighbors are pleased also. Having a tanned, fit, shirtless guy hanging out on a ladder outside my bedroom window is just a bonus.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Not Martha

My very first attempt at making summer rolls. I can't fold food. Not burritos, wraps, wontons, and evidentially, not summer rolls. These are surprisingly yummy (despite their green frog-like appearance) and are also simple. They are pretty much the same as a California roll: egg, avocado, cucumber, carrot, and of course, krab. I used black rice and used the sticky sauce, then wrapped it all in lettuce and spring roll wrappers. Served with soy/honey dipping sauce.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011