Sunday, January 31, 2010

Something Green

I don't have much time for the yard, but snuck in some time on Saturday. And discovered this cute little green sprout poking out of the mulch in my new planter box. Someone suggested it is celery. I'm pretty sure I didn't plant celery, but I did put in one rhubarb. So maybe it is rhubarb.
I bought a rhbarb rhizome (I think that's what it was) on a whim - don't you love how that happens? You go into Home Supply Depot and leave with all these fabulous things you don't know how to use/grow/eat. Well if it is rhubarb and it survives all the way up to ripeness (oops, something else to figure out), then we'll tackle what to do with it.

Patchwork Progress

patchwork skirt front view, view of me wearing ankle length skirt with three pocketsI started a patchwork skirt back before Thanksgiving with the intention of finishing before Christmas. The actual patchworking went smoothly. I had a nice rythmn going: match pieces, stitch, serge, top stitch, assembly line style. It takes a long time, but I loved it. Every free moment I was at the dining table (aka my sewing station).

A few patchy things I learned in the process:
  • keep seam allowence in mind when cutting the fabric, you probably don't want lots of really skinny patches
  • work assembly line style - for speed
  • don't plan out patchwork too much, the fabric has a mind of its own
  • you will use lots of thread, if your top thread color is important, be prepared with at least 3 spools
  • side view of my patchwork skirtas a firt time patchwork fabric, corduroy is very forgiving
  • corduroy is very thick, make sure your sewing machine can handle the layers you'll have to sew
  • patchworked panels are thick and heavy
  • don't give yourself too much waistline allowence, all that fabric will have to bunch around your waist
  • if you insert pockets in your panels, take the height of the waistband into consideration
  • if you insert pockets or other important features in your panels, remember to inset them enough, that it doesn't get chopped off in seam allowance
  • if you want vertical strips to connect panels, either: have horizontal patches in the strips, or make sure the panels are very a-line (very triangular), see second picture to understand why.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wool underwear

Back when I was in a frenzy buying wool sweaters to make longies for the wee one I picked up a sweater at a thrift store. Not just a wool sweater, a wonderful, soft, thin wool sweater. It was missing its tags but I'm optimistically positive it is Smartwool. I originally thought it would make a nice pair of summer longies, but hesitated and then discovered the little one is a naturalist in the summer. Well, she's probably a naturalist the rest of the year, too, but we keep her covered up.
Back to this wool I need to use... underwear, grownup underwear. It gets cold in our house in the winter. Wool is supposed to make great underwear, requiring less washings than regular cotton (umm, we'll see about that part, I'm a bit skeptical of the idea of rotating unwashed underwear). So off google to find directions for turning a wool sweater into underwear.
Perhaps my problem was using the term underwear instead of panties. Anyone else have an issue with 'panties'? I never liked that word. Anyhow, I found this post: Any Size Long Johns from Wool Sweaters Now that's an idea. A few odd seams in a pair of long johns won't matter if no one's going to see them anyway. And it combines another project I've been contemplating - something warm for under skirts in winter. Flannel bloomers had been the direction I was going, but wool long johns sounds even cozier... Now to find out if my sweater can cover more than just my butt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

There's Something About Rosemary

Rosemary Steeping in Vinegar
I love how easy it is to grow rosemary here, in the central valley. We have four bushes, the three in full sun are about 5 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide now. I love that it is evergreen and makes the yard look like perhaps I know what I'm doing.
We use rosemary to season meat and potatos. And I can usually get freecycle takers when I offer up clippings from the branches that grow in the wrong direction (over my patio).
I love the idea of being self-sufficient and growing herbs to use. So, I was thrilled to find another use for this wonderful herb... hair rinse. I've been trying to go 'poo free for a few years now. I made the leap for a few months, then felt guilty about the unfinished bottles of 'poo & conditioner, so switched back. Well, the Aubrey Organics products are all used up, and I ordered shampoo bars (from Chagrin Valley) - love them. And now I get to make my own hair rinse to help rinse out the hard water. I use Chagrin Valley's Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe #2...
I have my shampoo bar and two sports water bottles in the shower:
  • rosemary vinegar with filtered water
  • filtered water to rinse out the rinse
When the house is cold I keep the bottles at my feet during the shower, to warm up the water a little before pouring it on my head. Some people use vinegar rinse rarely, like once a week or less, I use it after every hair wash.