This blog is not dead...

It's only been sleeping.  It's not like I didn't have anything to talk about, but I was sort of really tired of all I had to talk about.  You know?  But that's OK, it's time to wake up now.

We have been doing a major overhaul on our yard.  The problem with our yard is that our house is a hundred years old and the backyard has been ladscaped to death.  Literally.  There are spots where nothing would grow anymore.  I figured at some point treated wood had wreaked havoc with the soil.  And the last time previous owners had landscaped they had rendered everthing in shades of grey and brown and sort of woodland-like but reallly just kind of dead looking.  It was like a zombie forest back there, minus the moaning.  We also had either a ton of shade or the withering glare of too much sun.  So let me introduce you to our new artificial lawn!  (the crowd roars)

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I'm horrible about before and after pictures but I'm GREAT at right in the middle pictures!  This is our new wonderful lawn, and behind it is a patch of nothing-will-grow dirt, and our ugly cement pad.  Why am I so excited about plastic grass?  Because IT IS AWESOME!  So much nicer than the roll out hurt-your-butt-when-you-sat-on-it turf carpet that I remember fed-up grown ups used in the 80s.  And you know, this is California and we're in a drought again.  And ALSO, most importantly, this...

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That patch was previously covered with flagstone.  No child could lie there and play with Legos.  Seeing Chance on the lawn was worth the purchase right there!  We also had the cement pad stained and it looks a million times better.  To the point of, people keep asking us when we put in the concrete!  (Le sigh, it's been there. It was just blaaaaaand.)

See the offending flagstone, accesory to ants. My dad is happy to take that off my hands, btw.

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We've also been working on a million small projects while the garderners are transforming the space into a wonderland.  Keen wants an outdoor kitchen so he painted an old picnic table and added sheet metal on top to created a prep table. 

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I've been painting a metal table set and a bunch of other outdoor items.  And because it's me it's totally bright colored.

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We're not done with everything yet, but we're getting there.  To be continued!

            - the weirdgirl

It's for the earth

Here's a fun project for a summer's day... our household ended up with a lot of old crocs. See, Chance likes to wear more than one color at a time, like one red croc and one green croc, so we'll usually let him buy two pairs so he can mix and match. Then one year there was a sale or something so we bought three pairs.  AND then one of us, me or Keen, got confused and came home with another pair in the same size and color because it was also on sale and we couldn't remember what shoes our kid had. (Shut up. We are old.) Lucikly for us Chance has feet that are both on the small side and grow slowly so he's worn those crocs for a couple of years!  

Now I had four pairs of outgrown crocs to deal with and that's just way more than I felt comfortable tossing in the trash or recycle bin. So I decided to turn them into planters!

It was super simple: I packed a bit of dirt into the toe, making sure there weren't empty gaps, then planted the flowers. After I got the plant in I put them in a bucket of water to soak.  They already have their own drainage holes after all.

I decided to use mine as upright hanging planters so I wrapped wire around the heal band to hang them. Alternately, you can also wrap the wire around the plastic "buttons" that hold the band on if those are missing (like in the dark blue ones I bought from the thrift store).

Crocs as planter

I also hit the thrift store for a couple more funky colored items to work with and one more larger pair of crocs.


Here's how they look hanging on the fence.

Crocs as hanging planters

It was fun, looks cute, and won't fill up any landfills!  I bet you could also shove a small glass into a croc and use it as a vase or centerpiece.                      - wg

Instead of a little brother, how about a snail?

School's out for summer! (I keep singing that and Chance has no frame of reference. Guess I need to play more Alice Cooper.) Chance's last day was last Thursday and May was absolutely packed with school events, last minute field trips, and productions. I also helped the librarian with the school's textbook inventory (4500 books! yikes!) so that took another chunk of time.  And a LOT of walking.  I think I was more ready for summer vacation than he was.

Naw, that's a lie. He was TOTALLY ready for summer. Sleep in! Sleep in!

Anywho, he's been on another kick of asking for babies, pets, and betas.  His best friend got a beta fish so he's dying to have his own, never mind that he already has two goldfish and an algae eater that, oh yeah, he never takes care of.  So the only word in my vocabulary right now is "no". It's very caveman-like, what with the grunting and the growls. 

But he's also been into bug collecting.  Roly polies, ants, snails. I view that as science in action as long as they don't get loose in the house. I've been trying to work on self-sufficiency skills with Chance, such as, instead of asking mom a million questions about bugs that she doesn't know, utilizing his new reading and writing skills on the Internet to do research. 

So what came up was the question... can regular garden snails be kept as pets?  You know what, they can! And I'm totally cool with that as his new pet!  We did some research and built a terrarium.  

A seven dollar storage box from Target and a lot of drilled holes later.

Terrarium 017

Add dirt, and compost or moss for moisture retention.

Terrarium 017

Terrarium 017

We learned that snails are social so it's best to keep two of them and to always give them a place to hide if they feel like it, like in an overturned pot.

Terrarium 017

We found out what they ate and the best way to give them water.

Terrarium 017

Get this... garden snails can live up to 15 years!  I know!  Let's see if these ones last the summer.

Terrarium 017

Summer science project complete! The best thing about this pet is we can run out to the garden for a new one if they kick it.  What?                       

      - the weirdgirl

Total vindication!  So I called up my mom to ask her a question about knitting that damn hat and guess what?! The PATTERN is wrong!  That's why it kept coming out weird; the number of stitches listed was completely wrong.  (Except for that time where I twisted it into mobius beanie. That was totally my bad.)  Whew!  I feel better.  Also? I realized that the yarn I was using was really difficult to work with; it kept snarling and catching and wouldn't hold the tension nicely and generally making everything worse. It was the cheap stuff I had bought to "practice with"... little did I know it would drive me insane. (I wish I hadn't bought three balls of it.)  So I ditched that yarn and decided to just try with the nice fancy yarn that I had meant to make into a hat anyway (you know, after I "practiced") with the adjusted pattern and voila!   

I am not hopeless.


So you know how I wanted to relearn how to knit?  I couldn't figure out why Keen was being so supportive of this new crafty time-suck I was picking up.  Not that he isn't supportive, but let's face it, I've had a lot of crafty time-sucks over the years and they all come with a lot of stuff.  And sure some of them are pretty useful, like jam (who doesn't like jam?), but I totally admit that I have a whole "craft" closet, besides all the stuff that's in my office. (You know, whenever you have enough shit to have its own closet, well, it's kind of a thing, you know what I'm saying?)  But he was kind of extra cheerful about the whole knitting thing and it turns out he really wanted me to make him some hats!  So after I got back the basics for knitting I decided to try this really easy pattern to make a beanie. 

Oh my god, am I fucking up this beanie!  I had to start over four times for dumb mistakes.  Which I suppose is better than making a whole wonky hat but still. By the fourth time I decided to adjust the pattern to something "easier" even though I really don't know what I'm doing. But I have learned a little something each time I jacked it up so I thought, "Well, even if it's not perfect this should get me in the right direction." And you know what?  That fourth time seemed like the charm! I thought it was really going along well, I increased stitches at the right place and everything, and my fingers might have been cramping a bit after all those attempts but I was starting to really fly along.

And then I really LOOKED at my beanie and realized... it's kind of... twisted around.  I think I'm making a mobius hat. Or a mobibeanie.

Fuck my fingers hurt.

Pointing and cackling

Every year I decide to do a bunch of Halloween activities. Actually, some of them I don't choose - there is always the school party and parade, and a yearly Trick or Treat function at my husband's office. But other activities I fully admit I get my own butt into.  Decorating the entire front of the house in whatever vintagey theme we've come up with, carving a gazillion pumpkins, offering to host trick or treaters, and this year we're having some of Chance's classmates over for a pre-Halloween party.  I jump into this season full of enthusiasm, with my eyes wide open.

Every year, apparently, as informed by my friends, at the end of it I say, "Next year I'm not having a party!"  Then my friends point and laugh. 

But I do remember why we do it. It's because of the kids and memories full of shrieks. (Of laughter, not terror. Geez, I'm not mean.  Just a little Halloween crazy.)

Best buddies. Both in law enforcement. Sort of.

Halloween 2011 004

Chance decided that since he was a cop he'd better direct traffic for the parade. And pick his underwear out of his butt. I'm not sure those kids are buying his authority.

Halloween 2011 004

Our crazy decorated house and front window.
Halloween 2011 004

Halloween 2011 004

So check it out... Keen's dad brought us a box of caramel apples from the produce market.  Now we made homemade caramels apples this year and they taste about a million times better than these pre-packaged deals, so Keen decided he would just give away the packaged caramel apples to trick or treaters.  Remember when you were a kid and there were always the rumors about that one house* that gave away full sized candy bars?  You'd hike through hell and high water for that extra generous portion.  Well we're already known for the decorations, now we're going to become that house.

Oy, I think our candy bill just went up.          - wg

*Locally, that's what people said about MC Hammer's house. But as far as anyone could confirm he gave away fun size, just like everyone else.

Who says a good man is hard to find?

(I tried to post this yesterday from my phone. Total app fail!)

Me and the kiddo have been knocked down with colds this week so I am, of course, behind. *sigh* I really just should acknowledge that I am behind in LIFE.  (Isn't there a special prize for that?)

So you know how I decorate our sunroom for Halloween every year? Well, I'm documentating again.  First stage...

Need a man?  Shop Amazon!


He's very low maintenance.


And such a good listener!


He even likes all the same things I do. Here he is, watching Project Runway with me!


His wardrobe, however, is a work in progress.                             - wg

Lowe's Winner!

I know I should come up with a better post title than that but... oh deal with it. 

Thank you to everyone who left a comment about your DIY projects!  Or those who just want jam. And thank you for the nice comments of my video performance.  Stop, you're making me blush.  And you know you're already getting jam so really, stop.  But seriously, I'm inspired.  Now that the kid is back in school I'm trying to get to all the home improvement projects that were scheduled for this summer and that I never... got... to.  ahem

Anywho!  After careful scrunity, deliberation, and writing all your names on slips of paper, sticking them in a coffee mug, and swirling them around the winning entry is...


Congratulations!  I'll be emailing you shortly.  If in any event zMary is unable to fulfill her duties as DIY queen, a new slip will be drawn from the magical mug of fate.  It's good for hot chocolate, too.

Mmmm, magical fate chocolate.              - wg

Lowe's Giveaway for you DIYers!

As I said previously, I got to participate in the Lowe's DIY challenge at BlogHer this year and because of that I have a $25 gift card to give away!  And anyone who's read me for awhile may have noticed... I never do giveaways.  (It's because of my jaded marketing background.)  You gotta be pretty special to get this kind of treatment and, frankly, the team at the Lowe's booth were so cool and nice I had to give them (and you guys) some love back.  I'm also all for supporting more creativity in this world, you know?  So without further ado...  

If you would like a chance to win a $25 Lowe's gift card, leave a comment on this post by Wednesday and I will do a random drawing!

You can visit Lowe's Creative Ideas on Facebook or their homepage.  They're actually doing a nice little video demo on canning right now.  Speaking of which, this summer's random jam pic is...

Bing cherries!

Blogher 032

I'm so predictable. At least I haven't put up a picture of my tomatoes yet. And yes, pitting cherries is just as messy as it looks there; especially when the pitter keeps breaking.  Those aren't all bing cherry jam, btw, the jars in the back are strawberry-blueberry.  I mention that solely for the people who are expecting jam as Christmas gifts.  I mean, I wouldn't want anyone accusing me of jam deception, because I will never hear the end of it!

So are you jamming, crafting, or otherwise DIYing? Tell me about it and you may win... blah blah blah... gift card!

(See how I mentioned the giveaway three times? Like an ad that mentions a phone number three times?  Classic marketing. Thank you. Thank you very much.)

I've also included the video of our little contest, even though I am totally not comfortable in front of a camera and my hair was doing something crazy that day.  I mean, really hair?                - wg

Craft fallibility, big time

Oh my god, people, I have issues!  I seriously cannot work a sewing machine.  It is really sad.  I couldn't figure out why half my crafts would turn out fine and the others would be hot messes.  Well, it turns out that I can HAND sew just fine. I can embroider. I can hem. I can build other shit with my hands.  But work a sewing machine?  Here's the kicker... every time I'm hand sewing something I think to myself, "You really should be doing this on the sewing machine. It'll be so much faster."  BUT IT'S NOT!  Because I spend so much time screwing up and ripping out stitches and screwing up and pawing through the manual and screwing up and ripping out little tiny stitches that it takes HOURS!!

You know, I took sewing class in high school and I don't remember a goddamn thing about tension and needle sizes. Literally, it was like a news flash. But give me a pedal-push Singer and I'm fine. And a fucking prairie dress.

This is the other project I worked on this week.  I took two pre-pregnancy, too short t-shirts and combined them into one, having been totally inspired by this guy's awesome shirts.  Except he isn't doing women's wear yet.  *sigh*  And my shirt doesn't even come close to his awesomeness (I'm aware of my limitations) but I like the colors.  I'm totally ordering his patches, though, to fix my favorite jeans.  Shut up. I know I have to use the machine for that.

Tea dyed shirt 004

The first t-shirt was white that I dyed with tea to get this color.  It has a cool mottled effect that this picture isn't picking up.  Then I fought the machine to sew the bottom onto the top and sewed on the patch (which was inspired by another shirt I saw).  I also used a combo of sharpie and fabric pen to color the neckline, add some faded circle graphics, and write along the back. I used the sharpie so that when I washed it some of the ink would migrate and add to the mottled effect.  I think I'm going to distress this a bit more by writing other lines on it and adding more stitching. As soon as I figure out how to put the darning plate on the sewing machine.    

Damnit, at least I'm trying.

Hygiene schmygiene

I present to you... SOCKTOPUSSY!!

Socktopus 002

... stuffed with panties!

Because really, two things that end up in landfills are socks and undies.  And you know, some of those things were good to me, they were comfy and we had a deep and committed relationship, and I don't think I should throw it all away because a little hole appears in the heel or maybe fabric runs up my butt.  So I took some of my favorite pairs of socks (and panties) and turned them into a cuddly toy.  

Somehow, making an octopus seemed less intimidating than a monkey.

Before you get all EEWWW! and GERMS! just know that everything is washed and washable.  Geez.  In the old days people would have saved up all their fabric scraps to stuff into pillows and mattresses, and then you would have been sleeping on someone's panties!  Think about that. 

Besides this socktopus is for our home, made out of our home's goods.

However, I bet if someone started selling socktopussies stuffed with panties there'd be a niche market for that somewhere.             - wg

Robot Building part 2

I am not done with the robot yet...

... but I'm almost done.  A few more details (kindly disregard any pieces of tape you see) and I gotta bolt everything together.  I think I also need to take a sharpie and make those into angry eyes.  What do you think?

Holy cheesy B-flicks Batman!

Robot 2 001

My mission is to destroy...

Robot 2 001

Oh hey dude, what's up?

Robot 2 001

High five!

Robot 2 001

Um... are you looking at my lights?!

Robot 2 001

Not cool, dude.

Special thanks to those who suggested toy grabbers for hands. I found some at Target for $2.50 a pop! Score!                     - wg

You know when you work out and then your muscles are sore? Like that, but in the stomach

We weren't on the mend.  I knew typing that would jinx us.  There was one last bout of puking on Chance's part, then I got sick over the weekend.  Now Keen is feeling bad, too.  This is like sneaker flu.  You think it's over and then it comes creeping back after you've eaten something tasty yet awful.  I'm not even sure what day it is.  Lucky for all of us it's a furlough week from school.

Anyways, all I got is pictures. The day Chance was sick (and before I felt really bad) I worked on a project similar to the theme of the robot.  I wanted to try converting a water gun into something more steampunk. This is my first attempt at this sort of project so I had a few flubs along the way but it's all part of the learning process. I'd like to do more of these but now I know to consult friends who have more painting expertise than I.  I have a steampunk gun that I bought from an Etsy artist that is really well done and it has some lovely techniques that I don't know how to capture. Yet.

This is what I started with:

Steampunk gun 001

I painted the base in a brass color, which was my first flub. I should have done the base in iron oxide brown, then brass to get the antique look I was going for.

Steampunk gun 001

I painted all the bright orange sections in copper. I left the silver sections alone.

Steampunk gun 001

Then I added some leather and metal filigree.

Steampunk gun 001

Finally, I added a little silver to the plastic bottle and painted on copper bands to make it look more like antiqued glass.

Steampunk gun 001

I wanted to mount a scope on top, too, but I was having hardware issues and then stomach flu hit.  This is all just for fun.  Steampunk pieces can get a bit pricey and I wanted to come up with something at a little lower price point that is still fun to look at and handle.  What do you think?

              - wg

In which building begins and other miscellaneous things

We are all mending. Chance's inflated eyeball is back to normal and (I think) I'm over the worst. It's supposed to be 103 degrees here today so I figure if any of us are going to feel crappy again it'll be then.  I'm betting a lot of people are going to be camped out at Baskin Robbins.

Robot building! Part 1.

Dell, thank you for donating a box for the body of my robot, and now that I've built a robot please bite its shiny metal ass in rememberance of the crapilicious computer you sent me and argued about every single time it needed service. Also, don't think I didn't notice that when my extended warranty ran out you "forgot" to call me for a renewal just because I was the 1 person in 1000 to make you fulfill that warranty completely. But your box? I will admit, the box is pretty decent.

Robot 003

Plumbing ducting makes it look authentic!  Danger, Will Robinson!

(Yes, that is a trampolene I'm using as a workbench.)

Robot 003

On another note, I stumbled upon this site, Apples and VCRs, "an aggregate of the curious", and I'm getting a real kick out of it.  Especiallly this ad which was featured on the site:

heathen commercial from spencer hansen on Vimeo.

Ha! Leather hugs!

            - the weirdgirl

This is normal, right?

So I'm buidling this robot. Not a functional robot, unfortunately, because I just don't have the electronics chops for that.  Or the time to learn.  I have a little tiny bit of inclination to learn because that would be COOL!  Stay-at-home-robot-builder!  (I could make it into a career. Like cryptozoologist.)  But again, time & commitment outweigh inclination. Which is probably some fundamental statement about my placement in society. Or something. (deep waters! deep waters!)

Anyway, I'm building this robot. I'm already planning my Halloween decorations and I've decided to add killer robot into the mix.  See, last year I went with a mad scientist theme, a little Victorian, in the sunroom and it was a lot of fun. I dig the mad scientist/steampunk look.  Did I tell you last year we won an award?  Well, we did!  From our local councilmember for a "spookily decorated house" or "halloween spirit" or something.  And sure, he probably just printed that up on his home printer but it said the name of our city at the top and it had golden glittery bits on it and it was still an award!  I haven't gotten many of those.  (Can you tell?)  So what I want to do this year is have the robot look like he was attacking the scientist before they both went kaput.  (See, because the scientist is actually a skeleton in an lab coat.  If you work with skeletons you just have to assume the scene entails what they were doing before they died. Industry fact.)

So I have a dilemma. I've spray painted cardboard boxes in silver and copper.  I've gone to the .99 cent store to buy metal grates and things to make it look mechanical (and less like cardboard boxes). I picked up that cool accordian aluminum tubing that all great robot limbs are made out of.  I think I even have the head down (bucket, halogen bulbs for eyes, a grill for an "angry" mouth).  

What I don't have are hands.  What good is a killer robot without implements of death for hands?  All the great killer robots have giant pinchy clamps or sharp talon-like fingers.  I picked up some barbeque tongs that could be like giant tweezers, but I'm not sure it's threatening enough.  Don't make me grill a hotdog!  I'm a robot on the edge!  I'd love to find a small fan propeller for the other hand (remember The Black Hole? that robot scared the crap out of me!) but I can't think where one would buy a fan propeller that is both small enough and wicked looking.  

And of course, you don't want it too scary. I'm not doing buckets of blood here.  Just a scene that invokes the spooky without giving any of the children traumatic nightmares.

So does anyone have suggestions for hands?  Any other robot-builders out there?  Come on, it can't just be me, right?   

And yes, I'll post pictures.

               - the weirdgirl

The Art of Making Jam

First off, all those recipes/instructions for jam try to scare you.  They're all, follow these instructions PRECISELY!  Use EXACT measurements!  Do NOT deviate whatsoever from this recipe!  Or else your jam will FAIL, and YOU will fail, and the heavens will frown down upon you, and pigs and birds will get it on, and great monuments will crumble to dust just as your jam will not set and you will be stuck with runny jam to feed the mocking bird-pigs for all time.

And it's SO not true. I mean, birds like pigs, but only as friends.

Bottom line, once you get the hang of making jam you can tweak the shit out of it, just like anything else. And tis the season, since I've already made a few batches of our favorites, Keen and I were going over what new things we could try.

"How about nectarine/blueberry?" says Keen.

"Hmmm, I'd think the blueberry would overpower the nectarine. What about nectarine raspberry?"

"Oooooh!" (Yes, he said oooooh!)

So off I went, trip-trop trip-trop to the farmer's market.  The raspberries are nearing the end of the season, and it was near the end of the farmer's market so I swooped down on the last of the baskets. Then I started nibbling my way through the nectarines. (Farmer's markets - they're like the healthy version of Costco Sundays.)   Lo and behold! I bit into the most scrumptious nectarine ever!  Except apparently it wasn't entirely a nectarine, it was crossed with a plum, like a pluot... so that makes it a... plutarine?  Anyway, it tasted like nectarine only with a slightly softer texture and a bit more tang. Hot damn, I was cooking that up into something gooey!

After some debate at home I decided I would try jelly instead of jam. Doesn't that sound good?  Nectarine raspberry jelly?  I'd have to strain the raspberries regardless so why not the whole batch?  Cool beans.  Then I looked up a few recipes just to get the general feel, except there were only raspberry jelly OR nectarine jelly recipes. Still cool. I'll just combine them.  I needed about 3 - 4 cups of juice to make jelly. I had three pints of raspberries and 11 good sized nectarines (about 3 lbs.)... no problem.

I started with all the raspberries, crushing them a layer at a time and placing them in a sieve to drip. Then I took half the nectarines, chopped them, crushed them a layer at a time (which was fully a bitch), and placed them in a pot with a 1/4 cup water.  I checked on the raspberries.  They had dribbled... a little tiny bit. 

This was the first moment of deliberation.  Or improvisation.  Whatever.

"These are not dripping. The last recipe I had said to cook them, but this recipe says to juice them raw," said I.

"I'd cook 'em. It'll release the juices," said Keen.

So I dump the raspberries in with the nectarines and simmered those suckers for 10 minutes. Then back in the sieve.  Drip drip drip.  Shit this process is slow, why don't I stir it a little?  Drip drip. I was still not getting much so I press on the pulp gently. Then a little less gently.  Drip drip.  OK, now I had about 1 3/4 cups juice.  The juice wasn't exactly clear anymore but I had pressed as much liquid out of the pulp as I could.  I needed to use the rest of the nectarines.  

I tossed the first bacth of drained fruit pulp and I cut up the nectarines.  Since Keen had wandered back into the kitchen, I asked his help crushing the suckers. He worked on the first layer, muttered "Uh... no," and grabbed the hand blender. 

"Won't that make the pieces drop through the sieve?" I asked.

"THAT sieve? No way." And Keen proceeded to chop the fruit into little tiny pieces. This was the second moment of improvisation.

I dumped them back in the pot with another 1/4 cup water. Simmer another ten minutes, then back in the sieve again.  And you know what?  Nectarines drip SLOW!

Did I mention that we had a wedding that day?  Well, we did and my dreams of finishing the jelly before the wedding were being threatened by stubborn plutarines. Third moment.  I wrap the sieve and bowl in plastic wrap and leave it to drip while we're gone. 

Five hours later, I come back to... 2/ 1/2 cups of juice.  Jesus fricking christ!

"Hey honey, I think this is gonna have to be jam."  Fourth moment.


Luckily, since the nectarines were blended to hell and I was only adding in a portion of pulp I figured it would be a jelly-like jam.  That's close, right?  I dump the pulp and all the juice back into the pot, add my pectin, add some lemon juice, bring to a boil, add my sugar and a dab of butter, bring to a boil again (EXACTLY one minute!), and voila!  Jam to can. 

And you know what?  It was fucking delicious!  This lovely raspberry/nectarine crossed with a plum, processed over 8 hours, jelly turned jam that I'll probably never be able to recreate was WONDERFUL!  

Just in case any of you fine folks want to try it (and can find plutarines at your farmer's markets) here are the deets:

Accidental Jam (or Nectarine Raspberry Jam)

4 1/2 cups juice/pulp (about 2 cups was pulp)

1/2 cup water (to simmer the fruit)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 box Sure Jell pectin (regular)

5 1/2 cups sugar

a tablespoon butter

Follow instructions as listed above. Or maybe not.

Accidental jam 001

The bird-pigs aren't getting a smidgen of this stuff.

Enjoy and good luck!                - wg


So I made the first of my sewing projects!  Wanna see?

This is very basic t-shirt surgery but I cut down one of Keen's ringer tees into this:


It was my practice piece. See if a project takes more than a couple of hours I'm probably not going to do it, because I've realized I can only break my life down into two hour segments, tops.  Just reality.  Anyway, the tee was a little stained (with one particular mark right on the nipple!) so I wrote the first stanza to one of my favorite poems, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, across the front and one additional line across the lower back.  I like the back lower than the front effect, it makes it all swoopy.  It came out pretty cute, huh?


This was another experiment... that came out very, very wrong. Theoretically it looks like it would be cute right?


Until you see where I sewed the top half on inside out!  And the back waist gathering is pretty much a hideous mess.  As soon as you put it on it screams bad home ec.  That's what I get for trying to remember skills I learned as a high school freshman.  What is this thing you call patterns?


I'm tempted to try and redo it... but I'm not holding out any great hope.

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.

Sew anyway

Now that Keen has lost so much weight he has this pile of clothes that are waaaay too big.  Literally, it's a pile because I was all, "Hey, can I have some of your t-shirts that don't fit anymore?!" And he was, "Uh, why?" And I was like, "Because I can cut up your shirts into tank tops and things!" And then we stopped talking like teenagers and he pulled out way more clothes than I expected into this huge pile of recyclable materials that I could dumpster dive into to my heart's content.

(OK, I didn't really stop talking like a teenager.)

So I've been really into the whole idea of recycling/reusing clothes. I've seen some amazing, creative work by other fabric artists (they're called that, right?) and I think it's a perfect solution when you get bored by your wardrobe (like I do) and it's environmentally healthy (bonus!) and you also increase the chance that you'll make a cool, unique article of clothing, which I love.  You know me, in general I really like clothes and designers. 

Except... I'm a little scared of sewing.

It's not that I'm terribly, horribly bad at sewing, but I'm not very good either and it makes me nervous.  Or at least, working up to the actual sewing makes me nervous, and threading the needles make me nervous, and cutting the material makes me nervous, but once I actually start working on a project I'm OK.  Sort of.  Kind of like doing math.  However, I'm also frequently gripped with an intense desire to MAKE something, with my hands, which usually involves materials other than, well, material.  Like metal, so it's OK.  I get my making fix elsewhere.  Also at the moment I am trying NOT to shop, because I want to save money for BlogHer (hello! New York!)

But at the same time I'm going to BlogHer.  Hello? Want new outfits!  (What? At least, I admit it.)

So here I am... trying not to shop, a little bored with my wardrobe, an itching desire to MAKE SOMETHING (and oh my god, this feeling is totally why Frankenstein was created) that just keeps building, and a big pile of usable material right in front of me. See?

  Keen's clothes 003

Sooooo... I'm going to try some projects, attempt some cute tops, maybe even wear them to BlogHer. Even though I'm scared (a little) that I will crash and burn.  That could be a totally new button for them... "I'm going to BlogHer in DIY clothes," or "I went to BlogHer as a craft project gone wrong."  Whichever.  I'm sure it'll be fine.  Even though I love clothes and designers, I have no pretension of actually being a designer. I was thinking more that I could cut down some of Keen's old tees into this shape...

  Keen's clothes 001

...which is a $15 dollar drapey tank from Forever 21 that I love! Seriously, it's all soft and flowy and versatile, and as you can see the material conversion should be pretty close. So I figure if I can get a couple more of these out of his t-shirts I'll be pretty happy.  Maybe I'll also try a tank I saw at Anthropologie that was the same shape but done in panels of different materials.  And then I'll get cocky from my success and I'll try something else that may or may not work (but I'll probably think it works because of my inflated sewing ego) and I'll keep tripping merrily down a path of textile danger and YOU will get to watch the whole accident-mesmerizing journey.

I'm sure it'll be fine.  

But if I come up with something really hideous for NY, you'll tell me right?

              - the weirdgirl