Not Martha

book: Complete Embellishing

I had the chance to check out Complete Embellishing Techniques and Projects by Kayte Terry. I have a little inside scoop that Kayte used to work as a visual manager for Anthropologie and you can see this reflected in the book. Her projects will make things that look more expensive than they were. Kayte also has an excellent blog and Etsy shop at thisisloveforever.com.

The book is spiral bound so it’s easy to keep it open in front of yourself as you work. The book starts with basic instructions for sewing (hand and machine), sculpting fabric, embroidery, crochet, felting and needle felting, beads, baubles and sequins, applique, fabric printing, and etching glass. The templates you’ll need are printed in the back of the book in black and white so you can scale them up or down on a copy machine.

The projects are grouped into garments, accessories and home furnishings. Each project has a list of materials and step by step instructions including any tips that might be helpful. The photography and instructions are clear and easy to follow. I’m finding myself inspired to pull out some clothes I haven’t work in a while and see that I can do.

Plenty of the projects don’t require a sewing machine, making them good for apartment dwellers that don’t have enough space. The projects for garments seem perfect for doing with thrifted or second hand clothing and I can easily see myself at Thriftko hunting for a cardigan or skirt that would be perfect for embellishing.

· comments [13] · 08-14-2008 · categories:books · craft ·

painting this fence sure is fun

Hello, I need your help. I’m in the middle of being interviewed for a craft site and part of the interview is to make up five questions of my own to answer. I’ve been dragging my feet on that bit because ever time I try to think of something I go all Monty Python, “What is your favorite color?” “Blue. No, yel– Auuugh!”

So, with the permission of the interviewer, I’m going to ask you for questions. Anything you’d like to know about this site or my business? Questions don’t necessarily need to be craft related, or related to anything in particular, but considering the craft slant on the interview it might be an advantage. I’ll choose the five questions that catch my fancy (aka. seem like ones I won’t have to think to hard to answer) and let you know when the interview is up.

Please ask questions in the comments. My undying zombie gratitude!

· comments [48] · 08-13-2008 · categories:craft · mumbling ·

StitchMinder – free iPhone knitting app

Gosh I live the interwebs. Yesterday I was looking through free applications for the iPhone and came across something called StitchMinder, it had a pictures of a ball of yarn in the little button and I did a little dance for the intersection of knitting and technology. It’s a well thought out application but could use a few changes.

StitchMinder gives you four areas to work with, you tap them and the number increases by one. You can edit the label on each area to suit what you currently need to keep track of. Doing a hat with four sets of decreases? Label all the sections Decrease Row and tap after each decrease. You’ll be able to see how many you’ve done. Set all the sections to count in descending order, and set the start number to the number you need to do, then tap away as you knit and you’ll be counting down instead of up, which can be handy to see how much you have left (or simply for motivation). For each counting area you can choose a label – Rows Completed, Pattern Row, Pattern Repeats, Increase Row, Increase Repeat, Decrease Row, Decrease Repeat – so you can keep track of different areas of the pattern on the same screen. You don’t lose your numbers if you close the application, turn off the phone or set it to sleep mode.

StitchMinder is not perfect though. There are Edit and Reset buttons right there next to the area you tap, it’s far too easy to tap those by mistake and lose track completely. If you you enter the Edit screen your numbers will be lost when you return to the main screen, so Edit is really only meant for initial set up. The Reset button just sets the number to zero. There is no way to undo if you accidentally tap an area twice or tap the wrong area or accidentally reset.

This is what I’d like to see: One tiny Edit button to the right of each tap area which would take you to an Edit screen. You wouldn’t lose your information when you return to the main screen. On the Edit screen could be a +1 and -1 button so you can adjust your current number if you need, I’d keep the initial set up options that you see now and place the Reset button at the bottom of this screen. I’d like the main screen to have a nice big Lock toggle button so that cats/children/other people bumping the screen couldn’t cause you to lose your place. This could simply throw up a Pause screen like on a game.

As it is I don’t see myself using StitchMinder much, it’s too easy to lose track. Still, there is hope at the where knitting and iPhones collide.

update: The creator of StitchMinder wrote in to let us know that there will be a few updates to the app, including a confirmation message for the Reset button so you cannot lose your information so easily. Thanks!

· comments [25] · 08-12-2008 · categories:iphone · knitting · technology ·

Legal Land – Lego video

I keep seeing people link to this Lego video but I hadn’t had time to stop and watch it yet. Turns out, not only is it so very fun but it was made by the husband of a reader. The video is part of a competition and if he, that is Michael Leonard, gets enough votes he could win $10K to attend law school. I say? The world needs more lawyers who know how to make Lego stop motion techno videos that can make you laugh.

Watch the video Legal Land, then go here and vote for Michael Leonard. Good luck Michael!

· comments [8] · 08-12-2008 · categories:mumbling ·

my very own iPhone

Oh baby, I’ve joined the future, or at least the present. Last weekend Scott and I got up early to arrive at an Apple store before it opened in order to get iPhones. Was getting there early entirely neccessary? Not really. At 45 minutes until it opened were we the first ones there? Nope. Did being there early cut down on our wait time? Yes, there was a slightly miserable looking line that had formed by the time we were leaving the store.

This is how we justified the cost of this little luxury: instead of paying a whole lot for cell phone service we barely use, we’re paying a whole lot more for mobile devices we’ll be using all the time. During the last few months, which I like to think of as our Justification Period, I’ve been noting all the moments where having an iPhone could solve problems. Small problems, problems like: Are the I-5 Express Lanes open right now? Who was the actress in that movie? How much yarn do I need to buy to make that sweater again? Are we going to talk those eight blocks just to discover Stellar Pizza is closed today? Is this cheaper on Amazon? What was that third thing I needed for the recipe? Why don’t we have any music to listen to right now?

This is the advice we were given by friends upon announcing we were getting iPhones:

– After 9 p.m. you can check if your Apple store will have your phone in stock the next day.

– Go to the store earlier in the day to get a voucher. You can either stand in line right away, or come back later in the
hopes the line will be shorter. The voucher will assure that they won’t sell the last 8 GB iPhone to somebody else. We didn’t encounter any mention of vouchers, but when the store opened the group of early customers wasn’t quite a mob yet. We heard from other people that in the middle of the day they waited between 45 minutes and an hour.

This is the advice I have after:

– Bring a current cell phone bill with you so you you have immediate access to your account number, at least around here were they can port your current number over to your iPhone right away. I blame our lack of a current cell phone bill on the early hour. They said it might take six hours for our phone numbers to transfer but ours were both working in an hour or so. Apple said that the process would automatically cancel our old service, but we’re bracing ourselves for a little confusion in that department.

The iPhone is smaller and more slippery than I thought it would be. We bought crystal film for the 3G to protect the screen, but the store didn’t have the PixelSkin in black that I was hoping for so I went home without a skin. At home I found I was terrified of dropping the phone while trying to type into it so we were off to find a skin I liked. I settled on the Incase protective cover because a friend has one and I like how simple it is. I got it in black and find it downright sexy.

The afternoon was spent setting things up, porting contacts over from old SIM cards, installing apps and discovering that it’s all as easy as everybody said it would be. I’m so very happy.

Here are the applications I’ve installed so far, all of these are free:

WordPress

Twitterific – makes Twitter on a small screen nicely viewable

Pandora – since I don’t know much about music, or even have a music library of my own, this is perfect. You type in the name of somebody you like, say, Matt Nathanson, and it plays music that other Matt Nathanson fans like. It’s so convenient.

Urbanspoon – You shake your phone and it gives you a random restaurant in your area. You can also see the regular listings, but they’re not as fun.

I’m considering using Things – clutter free productivity.

This is also very useful information to have: How to charge your iPhone in the car, update one and update two by Carl Jonard, via A Whole Lotta Nothing.

So, any recommendations for applications I might love? Games? Particularly cool things of any sort?

· comments [47] · 08-11-2008 · categories:iphone · shopping · technology ·

stuff going on in Seattle

Heidi Kennedy of My Paper Crane will have a show opening tonight at Schmancy. She’s come all the way from Pennsylvania, I hope I can make it. Schmancy is at 1932 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, event starts at 6 p.m.

Crystalyn Kae will be selling her bags at a rooftop garden trunk show on Saturday. She’ll have bags you cannot see anywhere else, all on a pretty roof in Wallingford. I think a some ice cream from Molly Moon’s is the only proper thing to do afterwards. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 4032 Stone Way North, Seattle, WA 98103

Urban Craft Uprising is now accepting applications for the December show, the deadline is September 8th and you can find applications right here.

art, craft & design is the new (to me) blog of Andrea who owns Bluebottle Art Gallery here in Seattle. It’s full of stuff I’m crushing on already.

· comments [3] · 08-8-2008 · categories:craft · events · seattle ·

Breville electric kettle

It’s been a week full of new kitchen gadgets. In addition to the scale and scoop, an Amazon gift certificate prompted me to finally (finally) buy the Breville electric kettle I’ve been wanting. It’s so shiny and pretty and such an aestheic improvement over the white plastic one we’ve been using (which has started to rust and really needs replaced). And I’m sure since the interior of the Breville one is mostly metal it’s better for us. It also makes a gentle *ding* sound when the water is boiled, which is good because I’d stopped listening for the old kettle to turn itself off in my early morning sleepy state.

And I love the plug on this thing, I keep unplugging it just because it’s so easy to do:

· comments [11] · 08-8-2008 · categories:food · shopping ·

links: misc

The Stranger’s entire interview with David Sedaris

Cardboard Cat Chaise at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Malwebolence, the NYTimes on trolls, including Jason Fortuny, that guy that lives here in Seattle and either exposed perverts or betrayed a lot of trust, depending on your point of view.

at Ask Metafilter:

What is your most ingenious hiding place for valuables?

Were there unwilling/accidental celebrities before the Internet?

I’m looking for books and graphic novels that are meant to be read multiple times.

What are some innovations that come across as obvious solutions for problems?

· comments [5] · 08-7-2008 · categories:misc ·

public service announcement

Did you know that Starbucks sickeningly lightly sweetens their iced coffee and iced tea? And that if you don’t want it sweet you have to specifically order it as unsweetened? I didn’t know this until we were blocks away from the drive through window. We went through the line at the next Starbucks with a drive through, not too far away, and they replaced it no questions asked, which makes me think it wasn’t the first time they got this request. Still, though, yuck.

· comments [59] · 08-7-2008 · categories:drink · links ·

links: Seattle

Every Visit to the Seattle Central Library Reminds Me of the Cheese Shop Sketch a sentiment by The Stranger that I share

Seattlest declares Spencer Elden, whom you might know as the baby on the album cover of Nevermind, has eclipsed the woman on the cover of Whipped Cream and Other Delights as the northwest’s most famous album cover model. I’ve always wanted to make a Halloween costume from the Whipped Cream cover, of course I would need to guys to carry a green canvas behind me at all times.

H&M is open in Southcenter! I cannot help it, I’m crushing on this store.

A street very near me is going to be closed to vehicle traffic in an effort to promote, something. Community? Bicycle riding? Walking? Anyhow, it’ll be pretty cool to stand in the middle of the street and not fear for one’s life. Not to mention get to walk to the pub in the straightest line and not be blasted by traffic noise.

Is there anything family friendly to do just slightly outside of the greater Seattle area? at Ask Metafilter. I had no idea there is a full time medieval village in Carnation.

· comments [8] · 08-6-2008 · categories:seattle ·

being meticulous over a cookie recipe, I mean, The cookie recipe

Last weekend I acquired a kitchen scale and a #12 scoop and yesterday I made a batch of the NYTimes chocolate chip cookies.

I chose the OXO Good Grips digital kitchen scale over a Salter simply because it has the pull out display that will allow for something a little larger to be weighed without it getting in the way. This will come in handy for buying USPS package postage online. The display also has a back light so if it’s in the shadow of a box I can still read it. I used a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond but be aware that the smaller stores only carry a few kitchen scales, I had to drive to a larger store to find the OXO scale. If I didn’t have any need to weigh packages, though, I’d definitely have gotten one of the adorable Escali Primo kitchen scales, a friend has one and it’s small enough to tuck away but well trusted among the masses (at least, the reviews at Amazon are happy). They come in a large range of colors, which I talked about previously here.

I chose the #12 scoop simply because the shop I managed to get to didn’t have the #10. It is plenty big enough, a leveled scoop of cookie dough averaged at 3.25 ounces. I got twenty levelled scoops out of the dough with nothing left over.

At Orangette’s suggestion I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chips. They are nice and big and taste wonderful. I did make an effort to track down the suggested Valrhona feves. I found that DeLaurenti (in Seattle) carries tubs of the feves and they had white chocolate, milk chocolate and a conspicuous empty spot on the shelves where the dark chocolate ones would have logically been placed. I’m not too surprised to find they are sold out. (By the way, if you’ve never been to DeLaurenti before know that the baking supplies are upstairs with the wine, the first time I went there I spent a long time looking for where they kept the vanillas.) Chef Shop was reporting that they were out of them so I didn’t make the extra trip.

The recipe calls for you to chill the dough for 36 hours, this gives the dough a chance to absorb the liquid and reported creates more flavorful cookies, adding caramel notes. The chilled dough is difficult to scoop and I’ve read that some people have scooped the dough before chilling it. I wonder if that will affect the final taste or texture of the cookies, so I made one batch to pre-scoop and one to chill and scoop before baking. I’m also planning on freezing both pre and post-chill scoops to see how they compare after a while in the freezer. At least that was my plan, until I discovered that I completely forgot to add the vanilla to both batches. Oops. So, while I’ll have an overabundance of yummy cookies they won’t necessarily be good for judging by taste. Which means I’ll just have to make more.

If you have a vacuum sealer in your kitchen this might be of interest to you — Ideas In Food vacuum sealed cookie dough to create 36 hour cookies in 3 hours. Fabulous.

update: I couldn’t wait so I baked a few, here is a just-over-12 hour cookie. Isn’t it beautiful?

· comments [47] · 08-6-2008 · categories:links · recipes ·

links: shopping and beauty

history of the hobble skirt, via kottke

mustache necklace! at Swiss Miss

When I’m old I’m totally getting a big old tricycle like this, at the dirt on fert

Both Mighty Goods and SundryBuzz like shiny sheer lipsticks. These look promising, lipsticks with saturated colors make me look like a clown, or a crazylady.

Love Bottles, safe-for-you glass

CB2 is opening a store in San Francisco, yay, another reason to take a trip there soon

This collection of souvenir photographs is brilliant.

What item do you use all the time and wonder how you ever lived with without it? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [9] · 08-5-2008 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

Victoria Gin

If you happen to find yourself in Victoria, BC and like gin it’s worth seeking out Victoria Gin made by Winchester Cellars. It’s an organic gin made with local ingredients in a beautiful copper still, and it’s very, very good. I had it in a martini at the Empress Hotel on a Saturday night, and was sad the next day was Sunday because it meant I wouldn’t be able to buy a bottle of the gin to bring home with me. The martini itself was made with a spritz of orange blossom water, and I don’t recall if there was vermouth. One tip, order it with a twist, olives overwhelmed this particular martini.

The gin was released just this past May, and for the moment is only available at the Empress Hotel, The Straith Spirit Merchants in Victoria and the tasting room at Winchester Cellars.

You can read more at the Victoria Times Colonist and Vagablond.

· comments [2] · 08-5-2008 · categories:drink ·

links: food

Ooh, pretty, Zebra cake at Baking Bites.

Does frozen yogurt actually contain live active cultures? Miss Ginsu finds out.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ribbon Dessert, as done by Bakerella.

Blueberry Pancakes 101, at Smitten Kitchen

I would like some recipes or meal ideas that, when cooked, will last for a long time. at Ask Metafilter

On wild black raspberries, at twelve22

Freezing bacon into individual portions, I need to do this, I always end up tossing the whole package of bacon in the freezer and regretting it later when I’m carefully separating layers. At Eating Well Anywhere.

Cool Hunting’s video showing us the inside of June Taylor Jams, a very thoughtful company.

individual pie slice pans at King Arthur Flour

mini caramel apple recipe, via Craftzine

· comments [5] · 08-4-2008 · categories:food ·

flip & tumble reusable shopping bags

This will be my last post about reusable shopping bags for a while, promise.

I got a Flip & Tumble reusable shopping bag recently and I’ve been trying it out in a lot of situations. It’s a great bag, it’s even fun, but I don’t like it as much as Envirosax or RuMe bags for a few reasons.

First the good stuff. Flip & Tumble bags are strong, come in cool color combinations, have a felt pad at the shoulder to keep the bag from sliding off while you’re carrying it. The best part, though, is the way it’s been designed to stuff into it’s own little stretchy pouch which is attached. You just stuff it in and pull the lip of the pouch over and you’re done. You can see some pictures and a video of the process here to get a better idea. You don’t have to worry about folding the bag up the correct way (think, folding up a map) in order to stow it. When it’s in it’s pouch it’s about the size of a tennis ball and very light weight, it’s fun to toss around and easy to keep in your bag.

There are a few reasons I don’t find the bag ideal for myself. The Flip & Tumble bag only has one handle and when I was carrying a few heavy items home from a store I found the strap dug into my should uncomfortably. So much so that I stopped and transferred everything into a RuMe bag. I suppose the weight distribution over two handles was enough to make it more comfortable because I didn’t have same problem. The handle of the Flip & Tumble bag is so long that if I hold it like a tote it drags on the ground. Now, I’m about 5’2″ so this may not be the case for everybody, though it almost looks too long for the model in these pictures as well. How much time I actually spend carrying reusable bags like totes (instead of over a shoulder) is debatable, so it might not be as large a disadvantage as I’m making it seem. However, the long handle also means that when I’m carrying it over a shoulder the weight in the bag hits me a bit lower on the hip, just at a spot where the bag will constantly swing and bang against my leg as I walk. Again, I’m short so this won’t be a problem for everyone. With these things in mind, Envirosax and RuMe bags work out a lot better for me.

For some Flip & Tumble love from a person taller than myself see this happy review over at Domicile.

The other reusable shopping bags I hear about a lot are Baggu Bags. They are strong, fold up into their own little pouch and come in some great colors. I’ve not had the opportunity to try one of those, but I know they have a lot of fans.

· comments [19] · 08-4-2008 · categories:shopping ·