Monday, April 27, 2015

To Market, To Market

Our wonderful farmer's market begins this Saturday!! I love the fresh start of the season, Spring is in the air, seeing old friends and making new ones. I always like to bring something different in the way of displays each year, but never like to buy new when I can reuse. So, out comes all the old PVC pieces from past displays, a big piece of peg board (in need of paint but that comes later), and then the Lego-loving child in me comes out and I build new structures.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Well, this was just going to be a work in progress post, but I finished up all 14 new Market Bags and had to share!

Yin and Yang versions
Outer shells
Ready for their closeup

Yes, bicycle bags are back!!!
Stunning fabric made by a local artist
Spring greens

London, baby!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Upcycling and a haiku

Vintage linen love
Repurpose with a purpose
What's old becomes new.

Happy haiku to go with these new projects!

Vintage embroidered pillowcase + sheets

Key fobs with vintage fabrics and hankies
Mirrors with vintage hankies and linens
Grocery bag Sack Stashers form vintage curtains, aprons and tablecloths
Memo boards from up cycled frames and vintage fabrics

Friday, April 10, 2015

15 Minute Meal- Sirloin and Asparagus

Rediscover Your Broiler

Finished in 15 minutes
As a (retired) chef, I love to cook. I love complex meals with many sauces and sides. I love cooking for hours, even days in advance, to make an epic plate of food. But, running a business, caring for the darling peanut and sweet hubs, that doesn't happen too often. So my go-to meals are usually simple ingredients, cooked easily in an hour to so. But that is sometimes too long! So, time to break out what in our house is the most underused feature in the kitchen- the broiler. 

Broilers, or in the restaurant kitchen, a salamander, bring the heat from the top down. A broiler is often used as a last minute finish to a dish- adding color, crisping skin, melting cheese. But you can also cook a great meal in one pan, in 15 minutes no less. 

Ingredients: A couple sirloins or strip steaks, a bunch of asparagus, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Turn the broiler on, line a sheet pan with foil, toss asparagus with olive oil and s&p
S&P steaks, and place above veggies on a metal cooling rack
Broiled for 6 minutes. Flip steaks for another 5 minutes. Done!
Perfectly cooked for us, add a minute or two if you like it more done. 
You can mix it up with spice rubs, different oils or clarified butter, other cuts of meat. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Hoopfulla Vintage Wishes

Hoopfulla (n): a vintage embroidery hoop full of something special

In this new design for spring, vintage sheets and pillowcases create a sweet message, perfect for decorating a child's room, an office, or even the hallway.



Make a wish...

Monday, April 06, 2015

A Fresh Perspective

I have a love of vintage. Like, "It is a good thing I am married and have to share living space with someone else or my house would be featured on Hoarders" love of vintage. 

Especially 60's and 70's vintage- give me an avocado green anything and I am in heaven (like my favorite set of hard sided luggage found thrifting years ago). Throw in some Fisher Price buildings, vintage sheets and linens, a few embroidery get the idea- my studio is full up! So what better way to corral the clutter than by signing up for a new experience- a craft show only using recycled/upcycled, vintage, and repurposed anything. 

The great thing about taking a risk such as this is rediscovering the unbridled joy in my studio. Freed from my current line-up of patterns and products, I am challenged to find a way to put these collections to use so their history can continue in a new way in a new home.

First up, repurposing some vintage tennis rackets and calendar tea towels. 
I found a trove of vintage rackets and frames

Each tea towel will turn into several different projects

Later on- embroidery hoops, old picture frames, and a vintage cutter quilt. I can't wait to share what the results!

Old wood hoops can become so many things

Quilted cuff bracelets from a 1930's quilt

And for your calendars, if you are in the Iowa City area- Sunday, April 19th: Craft Your Environment at the East Side Recycling Center and ReStore. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Simple Sides- A Case for Brussels Sprouts

These cute little baby cabbages get such a bad rap. Probably from childhood traumas of over-boiled, slimy, and bland nuggets on a plate you ended up eating cold because you couldn't leave the table until the plate was clear. And the dog wouldn't even help eat them.

But they deserve a second chance, I promise. Sliced and layered with cream, garlic, and Parmesan makes a rich gratin.A sauté can be lovely as well, but my favorite method for fast, delicious, and easiest cleanup? Roasting. There is magic that happens to many vegetables at 400°.

Preheat oven to 400° and line a sheet pan with foil. Peel outer leaves, trim the bottom stem, and slice each in half. No worries about any loose leaves, keep them in as they roast wonderfully. Toss with kosher salt, pepper, and olive oil or any fat you prefer. Single layer on the pan, and in to the oven for 25-35 minutes, tossing once or twice along the way. That is all there is to it, basic and delicious and cleanup is simply tossing the foil!

Want to elevate the flavors? As shown below, slice 3-4 strips of bacon into small pieces and sprinkle before roasting. Or toss spouts with Parmesan cheese right before serving. Add a few garlic cloves while roasting. With any of the options, drizzling balsamic vinegar for a finishing touch adds a wonderful punch. 

Outer leaves removed, stems trimmed, cut in half
Tossed with olive oil, kosher salt, coarse black pepper

Add bacon (optional but sooooo yummy)

Roasted and delicious

Do you have a favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts? I would love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

5 Minute Fix- Pillowcase Hem with French Seams

We have all sizes and shapes of bed pillows in our house. Fluffy down pillows, ancient polyester ones crushed into oblivion, memory foam in odd shapes. And none of these fit those king size pillowcases that come in sheet sets, so I have to constantly fold 15 inches of excess fabric under my head each night. Silly me, when the fix is fast and simple!

A common approach to hemming a case is to treat it like a pant leg or skirt- work on the open end. But with pillowcases, they can have large folded hems, pretty trims, or even button closures that you want to leave intact. So, hem from the bottom instead! Two simple straight lines of stitching make a clean edge that won't fray with a French seam. A French seam encases the cut edge of the fabric, so there isn't a need for extra finishing stitches, and no raw edge prevents unraveling over time and washing. They sound scary, but are really quite easy, I promise.

1. Find a pillow case that is the perfect size, and the one you want to shorten. Be sure to press them well first so you have the true length. Line up the open ends together, right sides of the case out.

2.  Next, find the sewing line. Draw a straight line a little more than a quarter inch longer than the correct case. Use anything to draw the line, you won't see it at the end.

3. Simply sew on the line! No need for any back stitching on either end here.

4. Next we will trim the excess fabric. Cut close to the stitching, about 1/8th of an inch. Leaving a scant seam allowance is important because what is left over here becomes the encased part of the French seam, so you want less than the width of your presserfoot remaining. This seam allowance will be completely closed in during the next step.

5. Turn the case inside out, making sure to smooth your seam out, and poke the corners well. Press very flat. You may have the original side seams tucking over- you can leave this as is, or make a quick snip to make it flat before the last step.

6. The magic of the French seam happens here! Simply line up the edge of the case with the right side of your presserfoot. If you look closely, or feel your seam, you can see that the trimmed seam allowance will fall between the needle and the right edge, and this is what you want. Sew the straight line, backstitching at the beginning and the end. Turn rightside out, press and enjoy your lovely perfect sized case!