Saturday, May 31, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,
and pretty maids all in a row.

Okay maybe I don't have any silver bells or cockle shells, but I will do my best on the pretty maids all in a row.

This week I finally got the rest of my garden planted. Once things get going we are going to have more fruits and veggies then we are going to know what to do with, I can't wait.

In the large garden area we have planted: 2 verities of heirloom tomatoes, 2 verities of cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, 2 plants of an unknown tomato (my dad gave them to me), english cucumbers, jalapenos, red and purple bell peppers, habanero peppers, anaheim chilies, peperoncini, green beans, cantaloupe, artichoke, zucchini, acorn squash and butternut squash.

In front of that garden area we have 2 rows of strawberry's (3 different verities). And to the left of the strawberry's we have plants a dozen blueberry bushes, and a marion berry bush. We might not have fruit on most of the bushed until next summer but when we do we are going to have more then we know what to do with!

Last we have planted a great little herb garden. It contains thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, fennel, dill, chives, dwarf curry, basil, italian parsley and lemon verbena. The dill is going crazy and I have used a lot of it. It is so nice to just run into the backyard and pick some fresh herbs to go into dinner.

Stay posted for more updates on the garden, recipes and photos of all the great things I plan to create.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Holy Sheet.

Here it is #1 in what will be a long list of tips and trick I hope to impart on all of my loyal readers.

It is sheets! I know that sounds way to simple to be some great tips, but trust me it is a good one. I have to credit this tip to my mother who was always using sheets to make curtains, or table cloths, or something.

I use them for everything. I love them because even a twin flat sheet is much wider then most plain cotton fabric you can buy off the bolt, and for much less money. I have found great twin sheets, for as little as $4-15 at places like Ikea and Target. You can find them in an array of colors, and even patterns. And if you need a bit more width just upgrade to a full or queen, if you look around you can even find the bigger ones for a good deal.

I have even used a sheet to test out a dress pattern before I make it out of the "real" fabric, so I know how it is going to look and if it will need alterations before I cut it out of the good stuff, pick a good color and you may even end up with 2 cute dresses.
The many uses of sheets:

  1. quilt backing
  2. curtain lining
  3. test dress (or shirt, pants etc.)
  4. bag lining
  5. table cloth
  6. scrap fabric
  7. apron back (see my multi-pocket apron pattern)
The list could really go on an on. If you are going to be a crafty person I suggest having at least a couple of these buggers on hand, because you never know when you might need to use one. So next time you are at target or Ikea, just pick up a sheet or two, you will be happy you did.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Venetian Spritz

Last Summer when Matt and I were in Italy (Venice to be exact), we happened upon a drink that we both fell in love with. This drink was
a Spritz. During our two weeks in Europe had the privilege to spend my 27th birthday in Venice. It was by far my best birthday EVER. We had so much fun. The evening of my Birthday we (our tour group) took part in a Cicchetti Crawl (the Venetian version of a pub crawl).
During this crawl you go around from bar to bar, and get food and drinks. Each bar serves little appetizer type items for around 1-2 euro. They also serve glasses of wine or spritz' for about the same.
A Spritz consists of White Wine or Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), soda water, and either Aperol or Campari. The good ones were garnished with a green olive, but some were garnished with a lemon (I like it with both). Neither Matt or I were very fond of the Spritz made with Campari, but we both fell in love with the one made with Aperol.
As soon as we got back from our trip we tried to find find Aperol at a liquor store near us, but had no luck. A few months ago we were told by a friend that we should check a liquor store in the Pearl. Tonight we finally checked them out and lo and behold, they carried Aperol! This is great until you think about the fact that for 7 months we were only 10 blocks away from said store, and never went in. Anyway we were finally able to make Spritz' at home and they were just as good as we remembered.
I would really recommend trying this drink out. It is well worth the trip
to NW Portland for a bottle of Aperol, or even better, a trip to Venice
for the real thing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My new favorite place to go!

So I just discovered the best website ever. It is and it is awesome. I have bought and used Burda sewing patterns and liked them, but did not know they had a website. It is full of so much great information, tips, how tos, free patterns, a blog and forums.

It is such a great resource. I have already gotten so many great ideas and tips, and have not even been able to look through everything the have to offer. I would recommend this site to anyone who sews, would like to learn to sew, or improve their sewing skills.

Check it out!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Multi-Pocket Apron Pattern

Here it is, my first pattern for everyone to enjoy. I got the idea for this apron from my friend JoAnn. She bought an apron sort of like this one on Etsy. After using it for a while it started to come apart, and she gave it to me to fix. I really liked the design, and started to think...I could make this, and mine would be better, thus the multi-pocket apron was born.

As this is my first attempt at writing my own pattern I need all my loyal readers to give me input. Anyone who can take a second to read over the pattern and see if it makes sense, would be great. All comments or suggestions will be gladly accepted. And if anyone is feeling ambitious and wants to make one and give me the ultimate feedback, that would be even better.

Also blogger does not allow you to upload PDFs so I used a different site to embed my PDF, let me know if there is any problems viewing or printing the pattern. ENJOY!

Read this doc on Scribd: apron Pattern

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Jam Plan.

Just after moving into our new house we discovered a very large rhubarb plant in out backyard. This made me happy because one of my all time favorite pies is strawberry rhubarb. Since I really don't like to bake, I figured the next best thing would be homemade strawberry rhubarb jam. I found this great recipe that uses the microwave. All you have to do cut up your fruit, coat it with sugar, microwave it for 10-12 minutes (more in my microwave because it is an old piece of crap), and put into jars. This process is genius! Not only does it save a mess of time but it, uses like a quarter of the sugar as other jams.

Since I liked how much the strawberry rhubarb turned out I decided to try out some other concoctions, using the microwave technique. I made some strawberry, rhubarb, orange, pineapple jam. And some pear, plum, rhubarb jam. All three are very tasty. I Love to make jam

I can't wait to come up with new recipes this summer. I want to try out some savory jams, like a pepper jam, and we are going to grow all kinds of peppers in the garden, so I will have plenty of great fruit to work with. So stay posted for more jam.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Paisley... My favorite color

Ever since I laid my eyes on my first paisley I was hooked. I suppose that the paisley is one of the reasons I have a love affair with patterns, and fabric. When I was in high school I used to say that my favorite color was paisley.

I have always loved the patterns and the shapes in a paisley, but until I started thinking about writing this blog post I never really new much about paisley itself, and in fact the history of paisley is almost as interesting as the design itself. Instead of boring you all with my version of the history, I recommend that you read it, I know I found it interesting.

As a person that loves both paisley and designing patterns I find it odd that I only recently started designing my own paisleys.

First I made a sketch (left) to scan and bring into Illustrator to trace. Then I traced it. After I had a nice vector image to work with I was able to use the basic shapes I had created to make my many unique paisleys. So far I have 5 of them (below). Since they are all drawn on the computer they can easily be changed, added to, and colored! I can't wait to do more, so stay posted...

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am craf-T

Welcome to my new blog. Since I am a crafty person, and often have a lot of time on my hands I figured that it might be fun to share my crafty skills with the world.

craf-T will be full of projects, ideas, tips, awesome sites and crafty people. I will keep everyone posted on my crafty endeavors, and introduce you to other hand-crafters that I love.

For my first official post I plan to introduce everyone to one of my favorite websites Purl Soho. As anyone who knows me knows... I love fabric. I have a bit of an obsession. I buy fabric I don't need, and constantly have to come up with ways new ways to use it up (hence the blog full of crafty tips and projects). Before I could be content with a trip to fabric depot, Mill End or bolt but now I have one more way to feed my obsession. Purl Soho is full of a ton prints that I have never seen at any of my local shops.

I have discovered some of my favorite pattern designers on this site. Among my favorites are; Etsuko Furuya, Tina Givens, Joel Dewberry, Heather Ross, and Anna Griffin. Not to mention all of the Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman, and Freespirit Fabrics.

Aside from all the great fabric Purl Soho is full of wonderful yarns, books, patterns and accessories. Among all the pages of things you need to buy, there is also a great blog The Purl Bee, full of projects and tips, good for using up all that great merchandise you can't help but buying. I would also suggest putting you e-mail on their mailing list. I love getting my Purl Soho newsletter in my in-box.