Monday, March 30, 2009

Micro Monday

On my work table.

Thrift store lace. All cleaned up and looking like new.



My first handmade quilt binding. 


A stack of fabric fortune cookies waiting for their snaps.


Throwing my head back in to work will be a good distraction. Sewing can be good therapy :

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'll be back

The death of a dear old friend had me shaken badly but I hope to be back on track Monday.

Never take your friends and loved ones for granted and always tell them how much they mean to you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Micro Monday



A grey and rainy morning. I found a bit of cheer in my studio with these envelopes that i make for my mouse pads.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Coming Soon


I’ve been having so much fun playing with new ideas!

Samples and beta models of new items! Possible products are recipe card box, shopping list/note pad, coupon/receipt wallet, napkin rings and tin can vases/pencil cups.

And now available,


Dishtowels in their new “bread pans”! Each pan is cardstock printed with a vintage cookbook page and then tied up with baker’s twine. More of these coming soon too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dough Pucks, or, English Muffins


Total failure.

They were supposed to be sourdough English Muffins. While they are in a cute muffin shape, they were dense, doughy and tasteless.

Since there were multiple steps to the recipe I could have gone wrong on several fronts but I suspect my starter was bad. I had a starter going for a few weeks but it was a new recipe, and was in and out of the fridge. I was never quite sure about it.

Then the starter goes into a batter, which sits over night. Could have gone wrong there too. Then the batter went into a dough (which didn’t rise at all). Then cooked on the stovetop. My stove is quite hot and though I thought I compensated, they were still doughy in the centers.

So I did some research and found several excellent sourdough resources and will start again. This time I’m going to try a wild starter (no yeast added, just natural airborne yeasts) and see what happens!

Meanwhile, these ones were great fun to throw!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Micro Monday

A few snap shots of one of my favorite cookbooks. It probably sat untouched for years on a shelf or in a box. In the short time I have had it and begun flipping through it, it’s pages it have begun to crumble and tear.


It’s a treasure trove of ephemera – magazine clippings, can label recipes, hastily written notes on scraps of paper – it’s very hard not to flip through and admire it.


So I found a “new” binder. It’s fairly common, the blue and white My Betty Crocker Notebook (no pictures yet, sorry). I’ve made pockets for it and I’ll begin my own little trove of clippings and internet recipes.


Maybe someday it will be found, having sat on my self or in a box for years, and will become a treasure too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Adventures in Gelatin – Pineapple Cheese Dessert


More Jell-O! This time I wanted to make one we’d actually eat, so I didn’t go over the top. Here is the inspiration photo from the 1950’s classic, Joys of Jello.


Look closely, it’s the tiny wedge of yellow in the middle. I made this one partly because I wanted to try the no-bake graham cracker crust. Yum! And so easy too! A simple mixture of graham crackers, sugar and butter. Press into pie plate and chill until firm. Here’s the rest.

*Pineapple Cheese Dessert*

Crumb Crust

1 can (8 3/4oz) crushed pineapple

1 package (3 oz) Jell-O, orange-pineapple or lemon (you won’t find the orange pineapple)

1 1/4 c boiling water

1 package (3 oz) softened cream cheese

1/4  tsp grated orange or lemon rind

3 T sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup sour cream

Buy or prepare 9” crumb crust. Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add syrup; cool slightly. Meanwhile. blend cream cheese, rind, sugar and vanilla.


Combine 1/2 cup gelatin and the pineapple and set aside. Gradually blend remaining gelatin into cheese mixture until smooth. Fold in sour cream. Pour into Crumb Crust. Chill until set but not firm (1-2 hours).


Carefully spoon on pineapple. Chill until firm. -

It was yummy! One of my favorites so far. Although I’ve realized that making desserts to eat really inhibits my garnishing and photo taking. No one wants to wait while I mess with the food!


I want to make something awe-inspiring so the next one will be grotesque I promise! 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photoshop + Vintage cookbooks = too much fun!

Oh Boy. Look out. I’m new to Photoshop (Elements, not the full version) but today I finally learned to isolate objects in a photo, something I’ve been struggling with for a while (for such a large and complex program it’s incredible how little information is provided to learn the damn thing!).


One small step for Photoshop…


One giant step for all the unfortunate projects that will now get prime examples of bad food photography slapped all over them.


I’m starting off simple of course. I need to practice my “magnetic lasso” skills!


I’m working on a grocery list pad as we speak, the note-pad glue just begging to be used.

Of course I won’t neglect all the pretty food, not everyone is fond of terrible food photos like I am! But if you are one of those people, here is a Flickr photo set on awful food. More than one of them is mine :O

Now stand back while I sharpen my digital Exacto!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grandma’s Mad


I love this picture of my grandmother for so many reasons.

One is because I don’t remember her very well. She died when I was fairly young and we didn’t have many opportunities to visit. I have barely a handful of memories.

I also love to see the kitchen she was so fond of but never let anyone into. She felt the kitchen was no place for children (or grandchildren). This explains why my own mother never learned to cook. Grandma wouldn’t let her watch or help.

And of course because this silver-haired lady is laughing over Mad magazine. Not because it was funny, but because she didn’t get it. She laughed because she didn’t get the humor at all. Grandma was a German Lutheran minister’s wife (I’m sure the magazine was contraband) and there wasn’t much laughter or humor in that house. She didn’t get it even after the kids tried to explain the jokes to her.

In February 1964 Grandma laughed. I love this picture.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Micro Monday

I love taking close-ups. It forces you to find a new way of looking at things. When you get so close, you lose sight of the whole object and a shift happens. Look at a pretty object. Now get in close, really close. The beautiful object disappears and a new beauty appears. Textures, cracks, shadows, contrasts, dust suddenly stand out.

I love using this as a creative exercise using any object, the more ordinary, the better. I miss being an art student so these are my own refresher lessons. By merely changing an angle or focusing on the shadow a lovely image can appear. I doubt I will ever take product photos this close up but it certainly gives me ideas for creative shots and helps me improve my photography skills.

In any event, let Micro Monday begin!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy things

I was tagged a while back by A Keepers Jackpot. This was an easy one for me but I was waiting for inspiration to strike. I was struck this morning! There are many, many things that make me happy but these ones came to mind first.

5 things that make me happy:

 my first sourdough

Slow-Cooking- By this I mean things that take all day or longer to make. Stew, chili, Bolognese sauce, chicken stock, sourdough starter & bread, corned beef, yogurt, reduction sauces, roast chicken etc. Even if little work is involved except stirring occasionally I really enjoy it. Especially the good smells that fill the whole house!

jars of agates          Beach Combing- My mother and I are Agate obsessed. When we visit the Oregon coast we brave all weather to go Agate hunting. Even on our local beaches where the agates aren’t as pretty or as plentiful, we just love looking at stones, beach glass, seaweed and shells. Being outdoors on our beautiful beaches (we are on islands after all) and soaking up the salty air does wonders for the soul!

embroidery detail

Details- it bit ambiguous I know but I am detail oriented. I love the details of things. The crumbly edges to vintage magazines, a button on a coat, a brushstroke on a painting, rainspouts on buildings. In fact I think I’m going to start a Macro Monday feature. It’s also and unfortunate reflection of my organizational  style. I often can’t see the forest through the trees.

West Coast Trail 2003

Early Morning Departures- This goes back to travelling with my dad as a kid. Before my sister was old enough to come along and before I things soured between my father and I. He loved to climb and backpack or just go on road trips. He would wake me up just before dawn and  we’d set out before anyone was awake. I still love to this day, travelling in those wee hours before anyone else is awake. The chilly morning air, birds beginning to chirp, quiet towns where there is no one at the stop light but you. I used to like to wonder about where the other cars where going at that hour when we saw one. Were they going on an adventure too? Did they just get up or had they been driving all night? I still love to watch the world come awake and wonder where the day will take us.

Dahlias- My favorite flower. Big pompons of color. They are not a very serious flower and it’s hard not to smile at a vase full of them. Sadly, all my dahlia pictures died along with my laptop.

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Adventures in Gelatin – Sunset Salad


I’ve been long over due for another Jell-O creation so I made one yesterday. We planned on actually eating this one so I didn’t want to go too over the top like some in my original plan. So Sunset Salad it is!

The Original:


Sunset Salad from Joys of Jello:

1 package (3oz) Lemon or Orange-Pineapple Jell-O (I used Orange)

1/2 tsp salt (easy on this)

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 can (8 3/4 oz) crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 cup coarsely grated carrots

1/3 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)

Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin and salt in boiling water. Add undrained pineapple and lemon juice. Chill until very thick. Then fold in carrot and pecans. Pour into individual molds or a 1 quart mold. Chill until firm.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I used individual molds, very cute! I only had enough time to snap a few pics before the crowd demanded their dessert so I didn’t get a chance for a better presentation or garnish.


(doesn’t it look like a sea-creature?)

It wasn’t too bad! The initial flavor was bland to us but after a few bites you could taste the flavors and the textures were nice. I really like the bit of crunch that the nuts provided and you barely noticed the carrot. A dollop of CoolWhip would have gone well with it (not homemade…the airy sweet stuff!).


I had planned on making a lime flavored Jell-O for green week but it just didn’t pan out. We wanted a bit of sunshine! 

For my next adventure I’m getting into television!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mean, clean, sewing machine

I haven’t sewn anything new since December. I was on voluntary hold until I completed my taxes and now I’m free!

Back in November I was quite frustrated with my skillet mitt production. They are one of my best sellers but a real bear to make. I was always breaking needles and having thread issues. During my self-imposed banishment from the sewing room I decided to have my machine tuned and cleaned.

It was so bad he actually sent pictures. Got lint?




Wow. He said it was one of those machines who’s compartments virtually pop off because they are so packed with fuzz. I’m a baad girl.

To fix the needle problem I researched a bit and decided to try some heavy duty needles. It’s difficult to penetrate the very dense binding but they don’t even bend!

A few hours later…


Hooray! Back in the skillet mitt business! All of these little lovelies should be in the shop within a few hours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Green – day 3


I had way too much fun with my macro today. My new camera has a super macro and I adore it. Adore it I tell you! Just point and shoot. No blurriness, no holding my breath. I just want to run around the house taking close ups of everything. Maybe I need to start doing Macro Monday. Nothing but pictures taken 3 inches or closer.


I have a bunch of vintage aprons hanging in my sewing room (Me thinks I may need to add a few of them to this post?). The really cute gingham ones with all the cross stitching and pulled work on them. I wanted to do something similar on napkins or hand towels so I did a little swatch to see how quickly I could whip it off.

Quick, but quick enough? Anything with embroidery is always pushing the limits of labor efficiency but I do love it so! Something to work on in front of the tv, or long road trips…we’ll see where it ends up. Hopefully on something wonderful in the Etsy shop!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Green- day 2


Day 2 of sharing green with others over at Shining Egg.

This is from my walk yesterday through our favorite park. It’s on the tip of the island so you see water on most of the 2 miles of winding road.

It’s closed to motor traffic until 10am so it’s a very popular walking/jogging spot. The views are spectacular. I wish I had time-lapse on my camera so I could video the whole drive.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Blog Features and the Color Green

It doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow but I felt the need to begin today on the 1st. The Shining Egg does color week, where all the participants post photos each day featuring the selected color. Last week was yellow, when I first learned if it, this week is green.


It’s sort of a cheat because it’s an older pic I took but who cares!

I’d like to do more regular blog features like this and I know there are many; Shadow Shot day, Self-Portrait day, Wordless Wednesday, Show and Tell Fridays etc.

Which ones do you participate in? Which are your favorites to read? Do you (as a blogger or a reader) prefer the picture based ones or some text to chew on? Group based shared activities or solo projects?

Tell me about any fun features you’ve seen, hosted, read or heard about. Give me links! Short once weeklies or year long, I want to hear about them!