Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mysterious Thursdays

I am thrilled about my mystery box from Mariquita Farm, which delivers the boxes on alternate Thursday nights to the restaurants they are delivering to. You sign up ahead of time, meet the smiling and efficient Julia outside, pay $25 cash and receive your bounty. That's it.
The above photo shows what was in it--can you identify everything? (I needed the farm's cheat sheet.) The cherry tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, carrots, beets, onions, two bunches of basil, and pickling cucumbers are the easy ones. Those knobby white roots on the left are parsley roots, the green-striped melon is a charentais, and the herb with light flowers is a bunch of savory. This is worth way more than what I paid, and not knowing what I was going to end up with only increased my delight and pleasure.
Everything is beautiful and fresh and so far is delicious (onions in the enchiladas I made tonight, carrots and cherry tomatoes in the salad). I have plans for pickling the cucumbers with a spicy Moroccan cider vinegar pickle recipe, lots of salads, pesto, and a vegetable soup. Yay for summer!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Sewing Camp

This summer I have enrolled again in summer sewing camp, for which I am the sole instructor and participant, which is fine with me. It's really about letting myself play with fabric and projects I've dreamed up without feeling like I should be doing something else. I do have to credit Amy Karol, the author of Bend The Rules Sewing, as instructor in absentia, since some of the projects I've wanted to make are in her book.
Such as this tote bag. Actually I've been using it as a purse, and I made two identical ones because I found this great organic cotton fabric piece at SCRAP that was big enough for two purses. Then, since the fabric is reversible, I did not make it with lining as Amy designed it but instead had to finish the inner seams with bias trim, which I made myself from beige gingham. And I made the straps two-tone so I could use a cool IKEA fabric sample. All the fabric was either from SCRAP, thrift stores, or a free sample.
But for some reason this darn project was really tough. I can't tell you how many seams I ripped out and had to do over. It's kind of embarrassing because the design is very simple--I'm not sure why I kept screwing it up. Maybe because the fabric is thick, and the seams with bias tape were quite bulky so I often went off course and found myself sewing crooked. Amy writes that sometimes sewing projects get "jinxed" and you just have to give up. It was nice to know that even a sewing goddess like her has failures. I did not give up and they turned out nice, but now I am wary of simple tote bags.
This tea cozy, on the other hand, I whipped up in an evening. I feel joy every morning when I put it on our teapot, since we have switched to drinking tea in the mornings. Before, we were wrapping dishtowels around our teapot to keep the tea warm and it did not look very elegant.
The fabric is screen-printed linen sample from SCRAP that I got a long time ago and was saving for something wonderful. The lining and piping are also from SCRAP, and the batting is from an old quilt of my son's. I found some excellent instructions online from a site called "The Rusty Bobbin." Amy also has a design for a tea cozy but Rusty Bobbin's incorporated batting and that's the kind I wanted. This kind of tea cozy makes me think of my mom since she went through a phase of making tea cozies for friends except hers had hand-batiked custom fabric on the outside. I remember the smell of the wax she used when she did the batik. I guess it's obvious where I get my crafting urges.

Right now I am engaged in hanging some textiles that necessitated purchase of a staple gun. This is a kind of scary thing. When this comes to fruition I will post about it.