Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday Find: Nut Grinder

My grandmother had a nut grinder like this one - that's probably the only way I knew what it was. You just put whole nuts in the top and hand grind them. It's perfect for one of my favorite recipes, Martha's Macaroons.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

All kinds of swords, embroidered

Here's the last in the embroidered children's drawing pillow series I did for parents at my school
for our fundraising auction. Here are the other two I made:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Find: Kissing Salt and Pepper Shakers

Aren't they great? On the bottom they're dated 1956. She has been broken and glued back together, but still looks great on my kitchen table. Here's my question: which one is for salt and which one is for pepper? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Revived and ready for school

I covered a back-to-school youth revival at a black church for the newspaper. It's so fun to be a journalist and to be invited places where I wouldn't normally go and have these experiences I wouldn't normally have. I love the way these folks made church such an enjoyable time with music and energy. Be sure to check out this photo Saul Young took of the choir.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bon Appétit with Julia Child

I'm on a cooking kick and I just discovered that PBS has 25 full episodes of cooking with Julia Child online to watch for free.

Maybe you've heard about the movie coming out soon that profiles Child alongside a blogger cooking her way through a cookbook Child wrote. I may go see it, but I don't think it'll be as good as watching Child herself in her kitchen.

As a side note, I'm thinking of trying this tomato pie recipe, even though it's more Paula Deen than Julia Child.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Salad Shopping

I'm making a salad for the potluck party I'm attending tonight with this awesome produce I got at the farmer's market, but I wanted to quickly share the tote bag I made from months of coffee packages and half a role of duct tape.

It's really strong. It looks ... very recycled, but I think it'll be handy for something.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorites from the AQS Quilt Expo

Beauty from Within by Renae Haddadin of Sandy, UT

I love the design of this quilt. It reminds me of stamped leather from a fancy cowboy boot. The light coloring in the lightest section was done with shadow embroidery, a technique similar to trapunto, where a stuffing, usually colored yarn, is showing through the top fabric from within the quilt. It was the winner of the Best Longarm Workmanship award.

Silverlight by Betty Busby of Albuquerque, NM

Quilter's Choice first place winner

Dae Geun (Great Piety) by Shin-hee Chin of McPherson, KS
This is a portrait done entirely in yo-yos. So impressive.

These bras were made for breast cancer awareness. The sock monkey bra is my favorite.

You can look at photos of all the award-winning quilts from this show at the American Quilter's Society website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quilt Time in Tennessee

Tennessee Pink Marble by Julia Needham

Today is the first day of the American Quilter's Association's Quilt Expo in Knoxville. I wrote about Master Quilter and Knoxville native Julia Needham's exhibit of 18 quilts for the newspaper. Read it here.

Find the list I compiled of all the quilting events going on in town right now here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I missed Manuel.

Here I am in front of Manuel's Exclusive Clothiers, the showroom for designer Manuel's amazing rodeo tailor work. I only got to peak through the window at the suits inside because the sign on the door says he's only open by appointment on Saturdays. I'll have to wait until my next trip to Nashville to go inside.

I am working on a project with some local Western wear collectors that I'll post a link to once it's ready. In the meantime, you can check out Manuel's website and last week's post for more links. There aren't many photos of his work, but there is a small sampling of photos with some of the stars he has created suits for (including one of Manuel taking Johnny Cash's measurements).

A friend of mine in Nashville told me that he heard that clients don't tell Manuel what they want in a suit. Manuel gets to know the person then makes a suit that he thinks suits them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yard Sale Finds

Here's a piece I wrote for the newspaper about a mint green teapot I found at a yard sale. Share your best yard sale story in the comments below.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fancy Suits

I've been looking at more of the designer embellished suits I mentioned yesterday. These came from Nudies Online Fashion Museum.

Here's a great visual history of a few designers within style.

Next weekend when I'm in Nashville I'm planning to visit Manuel's Exclusive Clothiers, the storefront of designer Manuel (see photos of his work here.). I'm also hoping to get by the Tennessee State Museum to see Marty Stuart's collection. He owns over 400 of these suits.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wilco (the photography)

The newest from Wilco, entitled, Wilco (the album) is perfect for summer listening, and I love the photography by Autumn de Wilde in the liner notes. Inside there are six photos with either men or mannequins dressed in these embroidered/appliqued suits that I have been really into lately. Think vintage flashy Nashville.

The kitschy llama in a party hat above is the cover art. Oh and the actual cd has a picture of that lovely orange cake. I'd skip iTunes for this one and buy the actual album.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Watermelon Party

Kids love parties. And parties can be easy, as long as adults remember that it doesn't take superhero plates and a room full of kids to make a party.

Here's an idea for a quick and easy Watermelon Party. All you need are Watermelon Party Hats and watermelon. The three and five year old boys I baby sit for loved it.

To make the hats you'll need:
White card stock
elastic cord for chin strap
a mixing bowl to trace
a marker
red, green, and black crayons
a stapler and hole punch

The hat is made from a half circle. To get the shape I traced around my 11 inch mixing bowl, then used a magazine as a straight edge to half the circle.

Then cut out the half circles. Have the children color them to look like watermelon slices. Fold the colored half circle into a cone. Staple twice. Then a punch holes on the left and right side of the hat. Tie one end of the elastic cord through the hole, put the hat on the child and measure the length of cord to fit his head. Tie the other side and party.

I cut half the melon into slices and let the boys practice their melon-balling skills on the other half. It's a sticky, sweet time, best finished off with a run through the water hose.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Maker's Notebook

I won the new Maker's Notebook, a journal made by the creators of Make & Craft Magazine. It's a really nice book: well-bound, with good paper, plus lots of extras and I love the color.

I got an email from Make magazine a couple of weeks ago asking me to take a survey. I took the opportunity to let them know that I really missed Craft's print edition and that I think that Make is a good magazine, sometimes just for a bit different demographic than me. I must have been one of the first 100 to answer because they sent me a notebook.

I'm grateful. It's nice and includes all kinds of information like the dates of the next solar eclipses, pictures of screwheads you should know, Morse Code, sewing machine needle sizes, and all kinds of other things. The pages are thick, acid free graph paper with places for headings and each one is numbered. My favorite feature is the ruler on the inside front cover.My journals are usually companions to me for six months or so, going everywhere and holding me together with lists and dates and keeping all my of ideas until I can get to them. I think the Maker's Notebook will make a nice one.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Find: dress for summer Saturdays

I stopped in Goodwill today and found this dress. I'm going to wash it tonight and take it with me on my little excursion to Gatlinburg this weekend.

All Knoxville locations have everything 50% off the last Friday and Saturday of each month so this dress only cost me three bucks. Yeah. I also found a couple of tshirts for $1 a piece to cut up and sew.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

All Kinds of Swords: Art to be Embroidered

My next embroidery project is four-year-old Nico's marker drawing. It is, in Nico's own words, "all kinds of swords." I'm going to make this drawing into a throw pillow for his mom. This is the last of three custom pillows with a child's drawing I made as auction items for my school's fundraiser. If you'd like to look at the other two, they're here and here. If you are interested in having a pillow made from your favorite drawing by a child, please leave me a comment or visit my etsy shop.

Monday, June 15, 2009

back from Bonnaroo

I've been on vacation since Thursday at Bonnaroo, a four-day music and art festival in Manchester, TN. I saw a LOT of live music, thoroughly relaxed, and got in some great people watching. The girl above is hula hooping to Merle Haggard playing Okie From Muskogee.

With 80,000 people at the festival, there was so much going on. I'm hoping that being over-stimulated for four days straight will do good things for my creativity for a while. I've got some fun stories lined up to write for the newspaper and I'm really wanting to get into some clothing reconstruction.

Thanks to everyone who entered my contest. I loved hearing about your childhood crafts. Congratulations to velmalikevelvet for winning the drawing for the throw pillow I made.

Monday, June 8, 2009

GIVEAWAY: Dutch girl throw pillow

Today is my 100th post and I'm celebrating by holding a contest to win this throw pillow that I made. It's hand embroidered with a little Dutch girl.

To enter to win the pillow, please leave a comment below explaining something you made as a child by Tuesday, June 16th. I'll put everyone's name in a hat and draw a winner at random.

Here's something I made when I was in fourth grade:
Paper Rings and Bracelets
I colored scraps of paper, laminated them with clear tape, and made them into rings and necklaces. Then I sold them on the playground for quarters. I had all sorts of styles: hearts, peace signs, butterflies, yin yang symbols. I even did custom orders. I was coming home with my pockets full of coins for days, until a couple of copy cats put me out of business.

Remember to leave a comment below about something you made as a child and you'll be entered to win the Dutch girl throw pillow above.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Embroidered Kid Art Pillow

I made this pillow for the mother of a child at my school from a drawing he did for her. It was what I offered at the annual fundraising auction.
Here's the back. It tells the story of the drawing.

(Lucas and his mother are French so he calls her Maman.)

This is how Lucas drew his mother's toe after the bee stung it.

I have enjoyed making these pillows from children's drawings so much I just made a listing in my etsy shop to make custom pillows from other children's drawings.
I hope I get some orders because school just let out for the summer, and I have plenty of time for making.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Small Space Gardening

photo by Kathy Kimpel licenced under Creative Commons

I was looking into what I could grow in my tiny, shaded yard and wrote this article for the newspaper about what some of my neighbors are doing with their small spaces. I also wrote this sidebar tutorial on how to grow tomatoes upside in a five gallon bucket like the plant above.

In case the sidebar is confusing, here's a tutorial with step by step photos and another with illustrations.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Images of a Missed Quilt Show

This quilt entitled Face the Music was made by Candace Tucker, Patty Ashworth, Tone Haugen-Cogburn and Bridget Wilson Matlock. It took 1st place in the group category at last weekend's Smoky Mountain Quilters' quilt show.

It’s only now, a week afterwards, that I am able to tell the story of how I let down hundreds of quilters while trapped on an island in East Tennessee. The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild was having its annual quilt show and I had volunteered to be in charge of returning quilts, judging sheets and any ribbons to the respective quilters after the show was over on Sunday afternoon.

That Saturday morning I organized all the judging sheets into neat, labeled envelopes for the show. Then I went out to Maryville for a day of music and a night camping at Fleta Fest, a tiny festival on a little island in a fork in the river. We arrived with a cooler of picnic food and drink to this beautiful grassy place on the river with great live music.

Then that night it started to rain. It rained hard, all night long. When I woke up on Sunday the river had risen so much that I couldn’t drive my car off the island. The little stream that ran across the drive was now raging. I worried the river wouldn’t go down in time to get home, shower, and make it to the show in time to look at the quilts before I was in charge of taking them down.

A Wild Goose Chase by Carol Snapp, quilted by Denise Waymire

Hours went by and I began to worry I wouldn’t make it at all. I had all those judging sheets and a bunch of show catalogs that they needed at the show. When my cell phone would work,I was talking with the ladies at the show giving them updates on the level of the river.

In the end, I didn't make it. The guild had to scramble and return all those quilts without the judging sheets. I never got to see the quilts.
The river finally started going down at seven that evening, but by eight it was rising again due to rain in the mountains. My amazing friend, Felicia (who I now owe BIG time) drove 45 minutes to pick me up. I had to leave my car out there until the next evening.
Close up of Entry Riddle by Betsy Robinson

The photos of the quilts are from the Smoky Mountain Quilters' quilt show website. See the rest of the quilts from the show here. View some beautiful pictures from Fleta Fest, the festival I was at instead, at photographer Todd Reinerio’s website.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Craft supply shopping tip

photo by Birds Nest and Paper
The next time you are having trouble finding something you need for a project, try searching Etsy Supplies category. I did when I needed some blue pom pom trim for a pillow and quickly found a good deal on this beautiful strand in the shop, Bird Nests and Paper. I feel good about supporting someone's small business. Plus it came right to my mailbox packaged nicely with a cute bird trading card and a little purple button.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Piñata party

This image is from the children's book Angelo the Naughty One illustrated by Leo Paliti, 1942.

Cinco de Mayo came and went without me even having a margarita, but the holiday inspired me to make a piñata with the kids.

To make an easy piñata like this one:

1. Cover a balloon in newspaper strips dipped in a flour/water/school glue mixture, leaving a hole in the top (near the balloon tie) big enough to put prizes in later. Make sure to cover it completely. The more layers, the more whacks it will take.

2. Let it dry. This takes days.

3. Pop the balloon and remove the balloon remnants.

4. Put prizes inside.

5. Clear tape a layer of dry paper to cover the hole. Then cover the hole with duct tape.

6. Duct tape a long cord to the piñata. The cord needs to be strong and well attached.

7. Spray paint the whole thing, then let children paint designs on it.

8. Enjoy.