Do changing seasons mean changing décor chez toi? It does at the Houseproud homestead, as you might imagine, even though the East Bay’s transition from summer into fall is very gradual. Mostly one notices the change in the light – the low angle of light and the shortening days. It’s such a beautiful time of year here: unlike summer, our fickle fog burns off every morning, and it’s pleasantly warm in the sun and cool in the shade. The blue of the sky just looks like fall – I don’t know why or how, but it does – and the air smells crisp and clean. I suppose that’s true everywhere, but most of our markers for autumn are so subtle that these small things stand out. Yes, our introduced trees have leaves that turn bright colors in memory of their homelands, but many of our native trees drop their exhausted, dun-colored leaves in late August, when the dampness of the rainy season is a distant memory and a forlorn future hope. Ah, but come October in Northern California, every living creature knows that the rains will come soon, and that rebirth and renewal are close. Continue reading
I’ll have you know that some of my most effective puzzling through a project has been accomplished whilst running at the gym. There’s nothing like a grueling pace to help one focus on the proposed steps of a project – and if nothing else, thinking through a project is a welcome distraction. But as helpful as this process can be, usually the actual making of a new thing can be tricky: materials or ingredients can behave unexpectedly. Therefore and thusly, when working on something new, test runs (heh) are a good thing. As a case in point, I’m making a zippered tote bag from mid-weight denim for the first time, and I’m slightly unnerved by the heft of the material. So I decided to start by making a matching heart charm and a key fob, to learn how the material handles before I take on the bag itself. Continue reading
Greetings from the Houseproud homestead’s kitchen, my pets! I was a busy little munakins this last week, most of it spent out in the world, but a few good stretches of time spent in our kitchen. And given how busy I’ve been and how busy I’m sure you’ve been, what better way to amuse you this week than by giving you some easy recipes to hack? What I’ll be showing you today follows my rule of “spend a little time now and you’ll be happier later”. I’m a great fan of applying this principle to cooking, as it keeps me well-fed and happy no matter what my schedule is like. Continue reading
My pets, I am so very distracted today that I’ll keep this post on the short-and-sweet side. Really, I’m just popping in to show you a little project that I worked on last week: heart charms. The idea for these little charms has been percolating in my noggin for the longest time, along with a number of other projects, all carefully plotted out in project journals and on assorted scraps of paper, and very few of which ever get made. Do you keep project journals, too? If you’re a crafter or maker, you really ought to keep one. They’re wonderful tools for tracking the ideas that pop into your brain and then usually pop right back out again. Unlike a traditional journal, project journals eschew any personal details of the writer’s life, which makes them much more appropriate to show to people who aren’t your besty from high school or your therapist. I discovered project journals some years back, and the discovery rocked my crafting world. Here’s a shout-out to Mel, who introduced me to the concept, bless her socks.
So anyway, there I was last week doing the things that I ought, while also treating myself to some minor gardening and a visit to our local farmer’s market. (More on those pleasant distractions in upcoming posts.) And between working on some rather important tasks – I am looking for full-time work, after all – I decided to take a wack at making a little heart-shaped charm for my keys. Honestly, the only reason I hadn’t made a charm like this before is that I am RATHER intimidated by machine sewing projects, especially anything with curves. Sewing curves is a tricky thing for amateurs, but I have committed to becoming the boss of my sewing and therefore persevered. I certainly learned a number of valuable lessons making the first heart charm, which led to a more polished second attempt. Equally importantly, I made both of the charms in a matter of hours.
Here is a photo montage of the steps that went into making the first charm. Click on the individual pictures to see captions with brief notes. Detailed instructions shan’t be forthcoming – you don’t need ’em, duckies. Just have a go and see what happens!
As I mentioned, I was so pleased with the way the first charm came out that I made a second one in half the time. This time I used bias tape from Britex Fabric, also reinforced with cotton twill tape. Next time I’ll use an aromatic that has better staying power: the scent of camomile flowers fades away rather quickly.
And on that note, I bid you a pleasant week, my pets. I simply must scurry: I have a SVdP donation run to make, some interview questions to formulate, and an Excel spreadsheet to whip into shape. Tune in next week to take a trip to the farmer’s market, and to learn how I preserve garlic and make pickled onions. It’ll be such fun! – Fondly, yr little munakins
My pets, is it summer where you are yet? It is in our neck of the woods, and about a month ago our local Farmers’ Market started its slow climb into full veggie glut. As the stone fruit rolls in and the offerings of summer squash explodes, I’ve been watching carefully for my true summer bellwethers: hot peppers and dry-farmed tomatoes. Even in my busiest years, I’ve always managed to put up at least a few jars apiece of those two treasures. And in all the years that I’ve preserved food, there’s always been a gap between finishing the last jar of anything and the beginning of that thing’s growing season. I am very zen about finishing the last jars of most Houseproud home preserves, but I kinda loose my mind when I finish the last of the hot sauce. This is completely understandable, cuz that stuff is amazing. Continue reading
It ought to be accepted universally that thinking about what to make takes up two-thirds of the time actually worked on any project. It certainly is that way for me. After impulsively promising to show you how I make charm pillows last week, I realized that I hadn’t the foggiest notion of what to use as my exemplar this week. So I went about my business that week thinking about this, that and the other, as one does. Continue reading
Really, my pets – it’s been far too long. And it’s not that I haven’t missed visiting with you here, really it’s not. Rather, I fell in love with a job about four years ago and have ignored you shamelessly since. Please accept my mea culpas, won’t you? Do let’s pretend that we’ve had all the time in the world to catch up; have done so already; and are therefor-and-thusly ready to talk about a charming little project I wanted to share with you … Continue reading