Sunday, May 24, 2009

strawberry fields forever

For whatever reason I can't think of strawberries without thinking of that song. Have you been to a farmers market yet and tasted the delisousness of strawberries in season? Oh! And did you know, strawberry jam is SO easy to make. As with most of my hobbies, I was inspired by Tracy to try making jam, but did not have a steamer pot thing to help seal the lids. My mom said (and it DID work) that after you put the jam in the jars, screw on the lids, you can turn them upside down and they will seal themselves. Test the lids by pushing down on them and if they don't pop back up - they're sealed. If they do pop back up, put them in the freezer. You now have freezer jam. The recipe for jam will be on the pectin box that you buy. Beware: Strawberry jam has MORE sugar in it than it does strawberries. But. I'm ok with that.

I made jam for the moms for Mother's Day. I got the cute tutorial for the cover from here. It's all hand sewing, and takes a bit of time to do. I LOVE how cute they look, but am torn on whether the time is worth it for something that just gets thrown out. Know what I mean?

Strawberry jam is a nice idea for teachers gifts though (is it too late for that?), and you could just put cute fabric under the lid. And inexpensive. I figured about $1.50/8 oz. jar.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

finally 5

My daughter has been waiting to turn 5 since the day she turned 4. Yesterday it finally came! I believe that on your birthday you should get to wear a new outfit. It's just part of the birthday deal. Here is Anna's outfit. The skirt is part of the "collection".The Edith Twirl Skirt was very easy to make. It's basically a bunch of rectangles that are gathered with a waistband. The pattern only goes up to size 6, but if you have a daughter who would wear such a poofy skirt that's bigger, it could EASILY be adapted. In fact, you'd just have to add to the length because the width on all of the pieces (except for lining at 30") is 44".
I saw this idea out there somewhere and was excited to copy the idea. I'm not sure she "gets" what the marks are, but she said she liked it anyway...

Friday, May 15, 2009

not at all crafty

90% of the time I stay at home with my kidlets, but the other 10% of the time I am a mobile Notary. I travel to people's homes and am the notary while they sign their loan documents (typically home loans).

I must say that it's a pretty cool job. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and have gotten to meet a lot of nice people and see some really cool parts of the area that I would never otherwise go to - neighborhoods, not tourist destinations. Places you'd never go unless invited to a dinner party or something.

As a mom, the days can get mundane. It's just part of the job description.

Taxi driver.

Emptier of dish washers.


You get the idea.

I am grateful for these mini adventures that I get to experience and for the little break (that earns pretty good money). Sometimes I just go to regular neighborhoods, but enjoy the hour or so of quiet driving. Other times are just really fun. One night I went into Oakland and met a woman at a restaurant. She was there with her 5 sisters so I sat and ate dinner with them before she signed her docs. I get to meet all different kinds of people, but generally all very nice. There's only been one time that I had to go up deep into the hills of Palo Alto to a guys house (that was super cool and modern), where I was a little nervous. The guy was sort of a weirdo, but luckily my husband happened to be with me. That's only been one of hundreds though.

The other night I had a 6:00 appointment in San Francisco. I met up with my husband on his way home, he took the kids, and off I went. I went to the neatest neighborhood. I apologize for the crummy pics. I just took them with my iPhone.

This neighborhood is full of houses from the 1920's. It's interesting how city planning has changed since then. All of these houses are built on a hill that looks as if a vat of cement was just dumped over the top of the hill and then they put houses there (many of them just inches apart). Most of the time you are sort of driving a little tilted and the roads are so narrow! Which doesn't help. Most, if not all, of the houses only have 1 car garages and driveways. After all, when they were built most people only had one car, if a car at all. For this reason the cars are parked bumper to bumper along the curb. Two cars can't drive down the street at the same time. One has to pull over to the side so the other can pass.

Most of the houses were a version of this one.

I was done by 6:30 and had to go to Alameda at 8:00 for another one. Luckily Alameda is just on the way home. I had a lot of time though, so I walked around a bit. And read. And went and visited my cousin who lives there.
This house was amazing. It looked like it came straight out of a Stephen King movie. In person it's really ornately painted. It must be haunted! I felt sort of silly taking pictures of people's houses. After I took this one and was walking away the window at the very top of the house opened and a guy stuck his head out and asked if I got him in my picture. I'm glad he said something (he is in the picture), otherwise I would've been freaked out by the image of a person in that top window!! Scary!

I'll take this one.

This one's in the remodeling stages.

This is a "twin home" that was ginormous. There was no way I was getting it all in my shot. I'll take that twin home though!

So - that was my adventure! Maybe I'll post other ones if I come across something else fun. Today I'm going to San Rafael. We'll see...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sew not!

  It seems like no matter what I do I can't turn on my sewing machine. It might be because my sewing room is a disaster zone.  Not like a little mess, an official disaster zone. If only I had yellow caution tape I would be hanging it up all over the room. It really doesn't help that my husband has an immaculate bike room right next to my disaster. In fact, it makes me feel even worse. Tonight is the night I will be cleaning it up because I have projects to do. After seeing all of Liz's beautiful creations my fabric is just itching to be turned in to something three dimensional. 
  So, you ask "What Have you been doing with all of my creative free time,  if you haven't been sewing?". Well seasonal stuff has occupied a bit of time. I have a huge vegetable garden this year. Also I have been cooking like crazy, we have had a couple of BBQs at our house and for some reason the kitchen has been calling me lately.  I did complete a project last night with a youth church group I am in charge of and it was so fun.   

  We made linoleum stamps. I found linoleum blocks and carving tools at the art store. I had so much fun watching there creative  juices flow. One girl actually carved a bar from one of her choir teacher favorite songs to stamp on a thank you note for him. I really enjoyed doing this and my kids thought it was cool so I am going to have to add it to the list of summer project. I just hope they don't stab themselves with the carving tool. Well I guess it is a boring summer if you you don't have to go to the ER, right! ; )

Thursday, May 7, 2009

mothers day

Ok, so I'm not quite as charitable as Tracy. I made my own Mothers Day present. Finally, the purse. For me, this is a "mom bag". I like it. I think it's cute. It's messanger style so my hands are free to hold littler hands that want to run out into the street without my shoulder bag slipping off my arm. I have nicer, smaller bags for date night.

The Margaret Sling Bag

I like the length of the bag and it was easy to sew. I made the following changes:
-Used magnetic snaps on the inside.
-Used Pellon 40 and basted it instead of all of the interfacing she suggested.
-Added 1 large pocket to the other side of the lining.
-Added the flower applique

I wish I would have made the two small pockets deeper - my iPhone won't fit all of the way inside. The strap might have to be longer if you have a longer torso too.
I like the size a lot. I went and picked up my mail the other day and was able to fit it all inside.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are you my mother?

      Last year, two days before mothers day I was leaving a yoga class to find a beautiful potted plant on my car with a note from a friend who was also in the class. At first I was a little shocked, I wasn't her mother.  Then I read the note and it said something to the extent that she thought I was a great mother and how lucky my family was to have me. Even thinking about this simple event in my life I get a bit emotional. She truly changed the way I look at mothers day.  It is a day for mothers and to honor women.  So I have been thinking about how I can give back this mothers day and I think my form of appreciation is going to come in the form of a cupcake. 

  I found some boxes just the size for one cupcake and some beautiful ribbon. I am planning on taking two dozen to the salon so Shep and the other stylist can pass them out to there clients.  There is nothing that makes you feel special like getting your hair done and having a cupcake, right ; ) I think I will make one more dozen to pass out to friends. I will keep you posted on how it goes and my final decision of flavor.  Right now I am thinking of chocolate with a fresh strawberry buttercream, but I might change my mind......