Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lettuce on the Ledge: Harvesting Seeds Part II

Remember when I saved those lettuce seeds?

Now we're going to see if anything grows....

Basically, you just have to shake the dried lettuce stalk.  Not hard at all!

The packet goes into the fridge along with the other seeds.
Half of the bowl was sown with store bought seeds and half with harvested seeds on September 20.  (Hint: the fuzzy side is the harvested one.)  We will see which side grows better….  [See my previous post--these got a bit out of order!]

Granted, lettuce seeds are 30 cents a pack, which isn't much of a savings.  But if we continually harvest seeds from the best plants year after year, we will gradually end up with plants uniquely suited to our soil and gardening style.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

Sunday is a day of rest....

.... so rest.

If you don't have time, that's all the more reason you need to anyway!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekly Round Up

We dropped off one of Dad’s bookshelves at Out of the Box.  They will be selling it for him on commission—here’s hoping!

The lettuce on the window ledge is sprouting!  However, in the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that the 30-cent seeds from Wal-Mart are doing better than the ones I harvested.  I am undaunted!  Just somewhat chastened.

I want an étagère.  I didn’t even know they existed until I read Jonathan Adler’s
100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life, but I think one shaped like a Christmas tree would be the perfect way to display my Christmas ornaments for sale at the next craft fair.  I’d just add some little hooks for them to dangle from.  (Other than that, I didn’t really like the book.)
Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Operation Organize!

I did this on Tuesday because I couldn't stand it any more!

Yes, I cleaned my studio.  Again.

I can tell I'm making progress on getting organized, though, as it took me less than a day. That was mostly because I had places for most things.

(I also firmly resolve not to accumulate any more craft raw materials until I actually have room for them...)

Hopefully these pics will inspire you for your own organizing projects:



I feel so much better now!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Welcome to the Wild West

Throwing axes while barefoot = fun!

Saturday I went to my first Rendezvous.  No, not a clandestine meeting at a nightclub along the Seine to exchange microfilm, but rather a gathering of the Pleasant Hill Primitive Riflemen.

It's like a Ren Faire, only it's set in the 1840s in fur trapper country in the American West. 

And it's much more.... thorough.  For one thing, people camp for days, sometimes weeks, mostly using authentic gear....

We discovered that her dress matched my skirt so we had to take a picture.

Uncle Steve with a bone-handle knife that he put together.

Me in the chair I eventually bought

The guy who made the chair I eventually bought.

 Behind us is the tent Uncle Steve lived in for four days. 
 Making dinner over the fire that he kept going the whole time he was there.

 Of course, you have to have music....
Steve and some of his warm and welcoming friends.

I found the history quite fascinating.  Basically we are talking living in wilderness all winter long, trapping in freezing water, no towns, men only except for native women, temporary shelters since you moved every few weeks, very little communication with the outside world, and total reliance on yourself and the men in your group if you were sick or injured.  The rendezvous were in the summer, and that is where the trappers sold their furs, bought supplies, and often gambled or drank away what they had earned.  They would last around two weeks, and must have been the highlights of the trappers' year. 

I really enjoyed myself, despite the heat.  It was a glimpse into a bit of American history that I knew nothing about.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Unicorns and Tapestries

I just finished The Unicorn Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The book itself includes quite a bit about medieval hunting and the subject of the tapestries is a unicorn being hunted, so I wouldn't recommend it as a gift for someone who is fond of unicorns!  However, it hints at the adventures of collecting and seeking to understand art.  The tapestries have a great many mysterious aspects to them, and they themselves had vanished for centuries and then had to be tracked down.  I want to note in this book here as I think I might come back to it some day for a bit of inspiration for some fiction.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Weekly Round Up

This week I....

... spent time with my brother who was visiting from California with his super cute, sweet, funny, and highly likable girlfriend Maria

... visited Jen S. and the darling little Dominic.  He's just two weeks old in this pic....

... had Carla over to play

The smocking is her work, not mine. I can't do anything requiring that much patience!  Carla treated me to lunch at a charming little locally owned café where the prices were quite reasonable despite the fact that the name included a foreign language.  I spotted a shop nearby that I think I might pitch for an article.
... worked on a mosaic project:

... was soundly trounced in Scrabble by Marcia
... finished a freelance article on the EcoStore, which was more fun than work and which I hopes brings more people in their door.
... am looking forward to hanging out with Uncle Steve this afternoon in the Wild West.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Did You Know? A Wisp of Chanel No. 5

Soon after Chanel No. 5 was introduced, Coco Chanel partnered with two business men, the Wertheimer brothers, in order to produce quantities sufficient to meet the extraordinary demand.  She later became convinced that they had taken advantage of her in the deal and fought to get complete control of the company.  (This biographer, anyway, thinks that she was mistaken.  Certainly she made enormous sums money from the sale of the perfume while still in the partnership.)  Eventually the two Jewish brothers fled to Nazi-occupied France for the United States.

In a story worthy of James Bond, an American employee from one of the businesses that two brothers started in United States came to France on a secret mission to retrieve the chemical formula needed to produce Chanel No. 5 and to rescue Jacque, Pierre Wertheimer's son, who had escaped from a German prisoner of war camp and was in hiding in Bordeaux.  The resourceful young American was successful and returned to New York.  He ended up becoming an American spy.  After the war ended, he worked at the American company Chanel, Inc. for 25 years.  (Pages 153-155)

From Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War by Hal Vaughan.  As the title implies, the book is primarily determined to prove Coco Chanel's collaboration with the Nazis in occupied France during World War II.  However, it does provide a brief biographical background of the rest of her life, a life which I found quite fascinating.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Paper-Making Trivia

An interesting tidbit from a book describing how paper is made from wood pulp: "as pulp passes through the rollers of the papermaking machine -- some of the largest of these measure over two football fields in length -- the fibers align in the direction they travel, thereby creating a grain.... (By contrast, a handmade paper is "rough-shake," which means of the fibers are distributed randomly across the screen and therefore have no grain.  If you want to tear a handmade paper, you have to fold it, and possibly score it if it is thick.)"

~ From Paperie: The Art of Writing and Wrapping with Paper, a fun coffee-table book from folks at Kate's Paperie with Bo Niles.  Page 56

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I...

... congratulated my husband on winning a weekend stay in a hotel/casino in Deadwood, SD!  He entered an on-line sweepstakes and won.  Neither of us have been there, and it is near the Black Hills Nat'l Forest, so I'm guessing we'll combine the hotel and some camping, and make a really long weekend of it some time this summer.
.... started drying oregano.  This isn't how you are supposed to do it.  But I was in a hurry....

.... made this:

Craft fair season is coming up.  I'm going to be in two of them, and I've reserved space for two 8-foot tables.  Some time soon I need to take stock of what I have to sell and how much I need to make.

... sold 22 pounds of random metal bits for $5.31.  Not exactly the deal of the century, although it is nice to think that it won't go in a landfill.
... worked on my current mystery project

.... am trying to figure how how I'm going to deal with having so many little big and little projects.  It's making me feel overwhelmed and stressed, which is silly because most of them don't have to get done...... Christmas ornaments, Alex' book, Rachel's novel, faux stained glass, gratitude jars, tiles into coasters to hopefully sell at Out of the Box, voice demo script, orange/pink skirt mash-up, paper bracelets, magazine bowls, marketing tiered trays, marketing Dad's bookcases, freelance article on the Eco Store and I really should clean the studio.  Yep.  I need to make a list and tackle one thing at a time.  The voice over demo reel recording is set for Sept 23, so I might want to bump that up to the top of the list.  {My husband thinks this can be solved by hitting the backspace and deleting this entire paragraph!}

Off to take photos for the article....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Upcycling Playing Cards

I made this from this tutorial.  (I used three lucky 7s.)  The cards said "Interim Health Care" on the back and were from the thrift store free-days give away, so I'm calling this upcycling.

Now what if I used Christmas cards instead of playing cards….

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Saving Lettuce Seeds Attempt #1

There are a lot of ways listed on-line as to how to save lettuce seeds.  I listened to Fr. J at work, my second gardening mentor, because he is into simple.

1. Let the lettuce go to seed.  In our case, it was about 4-foot tall and the flowers at the top were doing their very best dandelion imitation.

2. Cut about 6-12 inches off the top.  Basically, you want them long enough to easily do step 3.

3. Hang them upside down in a paper bag in the garage until the dry seeds end up collected at the bottom of the bag.

Turn in next spring and I’ll let you know how it worked…..

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Skirt Mash Up Gone Wrong

Does this skirt make my butt look fat?

Actually, it is unsatisfactory in multiple ways……

Back to the drawing board… I can totally fix this….

Monday, September 8, 2014

Freezing Basil

Yes, you can make pesto.

This is simpler.

1. Pick the basil.

2. Wash the basil.

3. Dry the basil.  (It doesn’t have to be perfectly dry.)  We gave it a spin or two in the salad spinner and called it good.

4. Stuff it in a freezer bag.  We used snack-sized bags, as they hold about as much as The Magician will need for one batch of pasta or rice or whatever dish he wants to add basil to.

5. Put it in the freezer.  We’ve used it up to as much as 6 months later. It will be limp, but the flavor will be fine.  Considering that we have a year's supply of basil, we'll let you know how it tastes in after many more months than 6.....

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

This week I….

… went with Mom to a talk on quilting from a hip young man named Luke.  He breaks all kinds of rules, quilt-wise, including mixing a wide variety of fabric types in one quilt.  (Shocking!  It is, actually.) He has supported himself by quilting for the last six years.  He’s innovative and well-spoken.  We enjoyed ourselves very much. Here is his website.
… hung out with Gen and Madeline, always a pleasure.  Seriously boosting the cute factor on the blog is also a bonus!

 ... picked up some tile at the EcoStore because I need another project...
…. watched my husband discover that patience is a virtue when it comes to waiting for watermelons…

...and most exciting of all…met little Dominic, the first child of our dear friends Jen and Mike.  

 Lots of blessings to be grateful for!