Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Ragbag

I asked our library to buy a copy of Handmade Home and was quite excited to get it the other week.  The first thing to really catch my eye as I had a quick flip through was the rag bag.  I grew up with a rag bag in our home but have never had one as an adult.  At our old home I had cupboards in the laundry room and I stored all our rags in there.  Seeing the one in Handmade Home inspired me to get going on my own.  I looked through my supply of thrifted bits and pieces and came up with a fabric I liked.

I decided to use the full piece of fabric and make it bigger than the one in the book.  I also decided to use elastic in the casing instead of doing a buttonhole and tie.

I added some bias tape handles and then, since I had decided not to do the fabric ball decorative bits, I thought it still needed a little something.

I embroidered a label for the front on a plain piece of linen and...

it's done.

A super quick very satisfying project.  Now I think I need for the kitchen, one for the laundry room, one downstairs...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Felted Pothandle

Here are some tips to help get you started on your own felted pothandle if you like.  I don't have a pattern but this is basically what I do.

Cast on 50 stitches of wool yarn leaving a longish tail.  (I usually use a double strand but not always.  This is  a good use for any bits leftover from the felted slipper clogs I make.  I've done anywhere from 48ish -66ish stitches but find 50 a good number to start with for a regular size handle.)

Knit for 20 rows.

Cast off and leave a longish tail.

 Fold in half.

Use long tails to stitch up sides.

Make several and then felt them all at once in the same way you would do any felting.  Here is a photo of one I already have felted but haven't yet added any needle felting to. Alternately you can use several different colours of yarn or variagated wool to make patterned ones and not add any needle felting.  These could also be easily made from a felted sweater sleeve.

Let me know if that makes sense of if it needs more details.

Boy, you guys keep me on my toes. ;-)  OK, I forgot needle size and yarn details.  I mostly use this kind of Paton's yarn because I have it leftover from the felted slippers I make and I use a double strand of it.  I have also used a chunky wool from the thrift stores and I only use one strand when it is that thick.  The needles I use are 5.5mm but really, since you are felting these are just so adaptable to any size yarn or just might need to felt a little more or less depending on needle size. ;-)  Hope that helps.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Felted Pothandles

I've posted before about these felted pothandles (here and here) and now that I've had my own for a year I can't imagine how I used cast iron pans without them.  We use ours constantly and the people I've gifted them to have told me the same thing.  So...this year most people are getting one as a gift from me. ;-)  I made two more to give away this past weekend and I have several more on the go.  I knit them up (easy to knit on the go) and felt them and then needle felt a design on them.

I really enjoy making them too because there is no pattern to follow, they're just right for my slap-dash personality. ;-)  I think my favourite is still the flame one I did for my Dad shown in that first link.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Children as "Teachers"

I always thought it was sort of strange that adults are usually the "teachers" and it is often believed they have the most to teach to children.  I've undoubtedly had my best, most important lessons from my children.  Theirs is such simple, true wisdom that I think it is often overlooked and that is a great loss, in my opinion. 

Today I am trying to get a lot of things done at once as well as finish canning all those tomatoes and so this morning I made a list to divvy up the work amongst the three of us in the hopes that we will have time for a tea break in the sunshine before  our company arrives.  I just checked "The List" to see how we were doing and noticed an addition from one of the boys.  It's a good thing I have them to remind me to live in the present and remember what's important.

After all, what would life be if we never took the time to play or to dance?

Hoping you take time to play and dance this weekend too. ;-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Serious Lack of Self Control

Obviously I am seriously lacking in self control when it comes to free tomatoes.

No   Control   At   All.  And the really scary part is that I know myself well enough to know that I will take even more boxes along the next time I'm asked to come pick. ;-)

I also know myself well enough to know that even though I really, really want to know how to take better sunset pictures with our camera (love the views of the sun setting and the lake we get up here)...

that I still won't take the time to read the manual to find out the proper settings to use...ever!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

End of Summer

Last weekend we squeezed in a camping trip. It was wonderful to get away and we especially love going at this time of year, the campgrounds are quiet and the leaves just starting to turn.  This peak was clear on our first day there and then had snow on it on the last day.

We kept seeing geese flying in formation, off to warmer climes, I suppose.

I love being on the beach early in the morning and watching the mist burn off as the sun comes up.

E has been interested in learning all he can about mushrooms and has been noticing them everywhere on our hikes.  We're taking photos of them to help us identify them.

We saw several waterfalls and fish spawning in two different waterways.

We enjoyed being surrounded by mountain peaks and seeing glaciers.

We took a short ferry ride to our ultimate in relaxation - Hotsprings!!

We had our first, last and only campfire of the season.  This has been such a hot dry year in B.C, we'vebeen surrounded by forest fires and there has been a campfire ban for most of the season.

We found a new hiking spot...

with lots of choices. ;-)

More waterfalls.

And we couldn't resist stopping for a photo op at the Garbage Gobbler (we never can resist when we find these).  These are something that many long-time B.C residents will remember from their road trips in the 70s.  Miss them.

I feel very blessed to live in such a beautiful province.

What a Summer this has been for us.  Busy, peaceful, intense, joyful, crazy, simple.  We do love our summers.  Beachtime, gardens, camping, biking, sunshine, family, hiking, fresh food, ocean, preserving, kayaking, fishing and more beachtime.  And we celebrate Autumnul equinox and this year, in particular, I look forward to "gathering our energies and turning our attention inward" for a spell.  Time for reflection, time for balance.  Our quieter time of Autumn and Winter tend to balance out our tendencies to squeeze every bit of busy enjoyment out of Spring and Summer.  So, tonight we celebrate - life, abundance, seasons and balance.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Drying Tomatoes

On Wednesday I decided to dry some of my cherry tomatoes when my full of great ideas and make work projects inspiring and motivational friend told me how yummy they were.  I started them off in my solar dryer and then finished then in the oven once the sun went down and they were, as she had promised, delicious.

See how good they look?
So...being the sort of person I am I went to pick a whole box full of cherry tomatoes on Thursday and planned to dry them as well, paying little attention to the fact that we also had plans to go camping on Friday morning.  Solar drying was out since I didn't get home with the tomatoes until late afternoon so I needed to find a way to fit as many as possible into the oven at once.

I love the mix of types of tomatoes and colours all together.

I also ended up with one batch of...ahem, let's say very carmelized tomatoes. ;-)  These I will take to that inspiring friend so we can both have a good laugh at our overdo it tendencies.    I'm sure I was trying to pack, stew tomatoes, make dog food, do laundry and tidy up while these ones spent just a little too long in the oven.  (I know my friend will appreciate how crazy it is that we both do these sorts of things (regularly) but will also acknowledge the fact that neither one of us would choose to live life any way other than full on.)

But most of them turned out just fine - incredibly intensely flavoured little bits of summertime, which will be delightful on our weekly pizza nights come Winter.

And since I was already in town picking cherry tomatoes you know I had to pick a bunch of beefsteak tomatoes which were overripe and going to waste.  They were crying out to be stewed and tucked away for wintertime soups.

And, we still managed to get away for a gorgeous, almost Autumn weekend of camping.  I think camping might be done for the year so it felt especially good to make the time to get away.