Monday, August 31, 2009

New Blooms

I am ready to finish up things that I started in the Fabulous Pants workshop as well as begin some new things this week. I am taking a cue from my rescue violet and trying to bloom anew this week. The store is starting to dwindle on pants selection, and it has been an eternity since I listed a belt up there. I have many projects started, but it is time for me to finish them and let them bloom in the store. I have several hairflower pairs that I have finished and photographed, so look for them this week in the store. I also have some more supplies that I am going to upload to the store soon.

The house is in need of some attention as well. After a truly delightful weekend of relaxation, the house is showing my lack of work. There are dishes from last night's dinner that need to be washed, tables to be dusted, bathrooms to be scrubbed, and floors to be swept. The food fest was interesting. I got a wicked sunburn on my usual crispy shoulder regions, which means I am relegated to the baggiest of t-shirts. Hopefully it passes soon. Showers are still painful, and as usual many applications of sunscreen did not work. Thankfully the fog is back, and the momentary Midwestern summer conditions we had for the past few days seem to be in the past. It was fun to wear short skirts and tank tops for a few days, but I am happy to be back under the enveloping fog.

I may also be taking a trip up to the local library today or tomorrow. I hope to check out some more books with jelly and jam recipes. I am looking for something new and interesting that I have not made before. It appears that there may be several options at the library or other branches. Hopefully they will do book transfers for me, so I do not have to try to navigate to other places. I will do a review of any of the books I find.

I guess it is time for the house to bloom into new cleanliness now. Off for some deep cleaning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tomato Time

The tomatoes on the patio are really starting to come along, and while I am still skeptical that they will ever get red, they are growing in size. This week canning with Annie, we decided to embark on tomato hijinks. We bought a flat of Roma tomatoes at one of the farm stands and began our canning. First we sorted them out by size and washed them all.

We then set out peeling and coring all the tomatoes. I had forgotten my Blue Book at home and had to resort to the USDA guidelines on line. We packed our quarts, but did not pack them full enough. We were not making sure to drain off the excess liquid while packing in the fruits. This resulted in floating tomatoes in our jars. We also left too much headroom as well as being too excited and forgetting to wipe off the rims of the jars. This resulted in substandard canning, and we had to open all the jars and redo all the work we did.

Luckily we had only done a third of the packing. A call to my Mom was made, and the canning guru led us through what we did wrong and how to improve on our poor results. We fixed up the quarts and went from four quarts to three. When we moved onto the pints, we packed them full and made sure to drain off the liquid as we packed so that they were very full. We also got juice on the counter quite a bit in the attempt to fully pack the jars. Sometimes we went overboard.

In the end we had two quarts of tomatoes and 7 pints of tomatoes packed and a few quarts of the cooking juice with lots of tomato goodness. I took five of the pints and left the juice and the rest of the pints and quarts for Annie.

After a dinner break, we moved onto the golden cherry tomato and ginger jam. (Recipe can be found in The Joy of Cooking post New Joy of Cooking era) It was something we were really excited about and required a two day cooking process. Annie plumped and steeped our tomatoes the night before. We then went through the cooking and jamming process for this. It turned out really gingery, but I can see it mellowing out a bit after cooling and being in the jars for a little while.

The only bad thing about this recipe was that it only made three half pint jars. If we do this one again, I think we would double it at least for the effort you had to make for this jam.

This weekend I am going to attend the Eat Real Fest in Oakland. I find it interesting that canning has become something that the "in" crowd is getting into. I guess my Mother and Grandmother are more foodie than I ever thought. The film festival continues around here as well. Hopefully we can clear off more DVR space as well as let me get some hand sewing done on those belts I am still working on. Signing off for the week. I look forward to reviewing the festival for you on Monday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Canning Party

This week is the official Canning Across America canning party week. While my family has been canning for as long as I can remember, it seems like it is becoming something interesting to others again, and I could not be happier. This week is filled with canning events and parties as well as classes. We are even having a session in Jack London Square in Oakland this weekend. Today,though I am having a private canning party with Annie again. We are tackling tomatoes as well as a yellow cherry tomato and ginger jelly. I am moving into new territory with the jelly part, seeing as the only jelly we ever made in my family was grape and the occasional wild black berry jelly. Here is my strawberry from this weekend. I love the deep color this batch seemed to take on. I also made it with out pectin, and I am enjoying the sloshiness I see in the jar versus the commercial pectin ones.

I also listed some more destash yesterday. They are jumprings, and while it is hard to make certain supplies look artful, I think I did an okay job.

Well I gotta run to catch my train. More canning pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

826 Tent Rebuild

Last summer, I helped trouble shoot some problems with the reading tent at 826's in school room at James Lick Elementary. It was a fun project and involved hula hoops, rope, and grommets. Off of that exciting experience, I was deemed a tent expert, and while I would say that I am far from an expert on building reading tents, I am more than willing to help in any crafty project. I was asked to help another lovely volunteer in taking down the original reading tent, a corner stone of the 826 Valencia Pirate Store and Writing Lab. It was a nerve racking project as I know how pivotal this piece is to the whole feeling of the room and store. It is one of the signature things in the space. The original tent was seven years old, and after that many years of kid usage, it was time for a revamp and lift. I took several pictures of the original tent for comparison and notes in the rebuilding process to get the same look with the new and recycled fabrics.

The tent is laced onto a cording and then artfully draped to several points on the ceiling. The makers then clipped the tent sides together to make it billowy and look like once sewn piece of fabric. The center pole is an old tree trunk.

From there, we moved out the furniture, donned our dust masks, and began taking down the structure. After all the years of hanging there, you can imagine how much dust was trapped in the folds of the fabric. A reading tent is not something you can easily dust or clean. As we dropped each fabric panel, a huge snow storm of dust would come down on top of us. After a while, it began to look like a stereotypical girl pillow fight, only replace the feathers with huge tufts of dust bunnies. There were all sorts of surprises for us as well. Old erasers and sometimes small game pieces would come down with the fabric. Finally it was all collapsed.

After it was all taken down from the center pole, we took the fabric off of the wire and decided what we could keep and what we had to throw. The keep pile got taken outside and was shaken vigorously to get as much dust out we could. The other keeps that could be washed came home with me and went into the washer. After this dusty job, we ended for the night because the dust needed to settle out of the air before we could clean it up.

Wednesday's process started with my running around to get fabric for the replacement panels. After all the fabric was purchased, and 45 minutes on the Muni system for a 10 block trip, I made it to the writing center. I found that the wonderful intern staff had already cleaned up our mess that we fled the night before. It made starting in on the next phase all the more enjoyable. We started by cutting the lengths of fabric and then sewing in the channels for hanging. From there we fused velcro on the edges of the fabric pieces so there would be less gaping issues that the old tent had. This was a brilliant plan for the most part. The gossamer panels did not take to the adhesive very well, so there is some hot glue gunning or something similar to happen after the tent settles and the fabric stretches. We hung fabric and draped into the late night hours, finally wrapping up the job with Dan's help around 11:45 pm. Here are the two quick pictures I took right before we left.

I like the addition of blue to the tent and the replacement of the antiqued looking gold with the bright gold gossamer. We also shifted some of the panels around to bring more light into the tent area by placing gossamer strips where light sources outside of the tent are. While not exactly the same, I think it stayed true to the original and looks great. There are still some gaps that have to be fixed, and that will happen in two weeks. After that, I think I can declare this a finished project and wonderful success. I would not have been able to do it though, without my partner in crime, Lily. She had such a good eye for the colors and panels, where they should be placed, and how it all should be draped. I had so much fun with the project. Thanks so much Lily!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Busy Harvest

I have been so busy this late summer that I wonder when it is all going to slow down. I suppose it will not really happen until winter, and that brings its own time full of things to do. Last week was very busy with the rebuilding of the tent at 826 Valencia. I spent quite a while on Tuesday and Wednesday over there working on the massive project. More on that tomorrow with a detailed posting with pictures.

Thursday was spent teaching a friend all about canning. I am by no means an expert canner, and call on my mother and sister as well as another good friend for guidance often. They are all able to send me in the right directions. I BARTed out to where she could more easily get to me, and we headed out into the country for some farm stand goodness. I was happy to be out of the city for a day and enjoy seeing nothing around me but wind farms, brown grass, and fruit trees. There was even some corn fields to make me feel like I was back in Illinois. We found good peaches at one stand, and at another there was some of the famous Brentwood sweet corn that Annie assured me would be just as good as my missed peaches and cream variety from Illinois. She was right, it is just as good. At the stand where I got the corn, he also had these wonderful green variety of figs that are pretty common around this part of California. They have a sweet but smoky flavor, and I though they would be great for some jam. The farm owner, after realizing that I was making jam with them, brought us out a flat of figs that were too over ripe for selling at the stand but would be perfect for our cooking. Best of all, when I went to pay for the corn and figs, he gave us the 5 pounds of figs for free! I gave him a few dollars for them as I just could not take them with out giving something to him for the favor. I look forward to getting more corn from him soon!

Annie, being the food person that she is, wanted to learn to make jam not using the commercial pectin that we bought. I had not done that before and was willing to learn with a partner in cooking crime! We washed the figs off and blanched them for 10 minutes in boiling water to remove the natural wax and soften up the skins, which were already pretty soft.

From there, we opened up a bottle of wine and began destemming and rough chopping them up.

Then it was into the pot, adding a thermometer this time, and lots and lots of stirring. We learned the spoon test and also the cold saucer test for the jam. I found the spoon test to be very hard to learn, but the cold saucer really worked well. Before you start your jam, you place a couple of saucer in the freezer. Once your jam gets around 220 degrees Fahrenheit, you take a spoon of jelly and place it on one of the frozen plates and place that back in the freezer for three minutes. After that time, you run your finger through the middle of the jam puddle to look for correct jam texture for you. It was also nice because you got a preview of the finished product. Once the jam is at a proper jell for you, I like mine so that the two sides of the puddle do not come back together, you stop the cooking and start the canning. We ended up with five very full pints out of the free fruit.

We then moved on to cocktails and peach jam! We took less pictures of that one, but here I am stirring the pot of jam:

It was so fun! I also received some wonderful flowers this week from Dan. While I am not as great at arranging flowers as my mom, here was my attempt:

My flower arranging teacher in college said that when someone gets flowers for another person, they get them for anyone they pass by because seeing another person bringing flowers to someone brightens up the viewers day as well. I hope this brightens your day!

My posting is late today due in part to my need to use the light when I have it for pictures. I took several pictures for new hairflowers that I hope to list this week in the Etsy store. I am also going to list up more destash clasps and things that are great for jewelry makers out there. Today I am hopefully going to finish processing the rest of the bushel of apples in the new toy - a food dehydrator! It is fun and I love it. I am also going to get the house straightened around and cleaned a bit more. There is also fabric for Christmas presents to be tossed in the wash. Yes you read that right.... Christmas presents are going to be started waaaaaayyyy ahead this year so there will be less hair pulling and gnashing of teeth come December 20th. I want to make mailing deadlines before prices are through the nose again. Tomorrow I will have the tent wrap up finished with the pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To DO:

Things I need to do:
~ Mail out Orders
~ Can apple butter
~ Assemble items for the tent rebuild
~ Tear down the tent

All must get accomplished today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gravenstein Apple Fair

We ended up embarking on the trip to the apple fair in Sebastopol, California this weekend. It was in interesting drive up to the fair, and it took way longer than any time estimates said it would due to the heavy traffic, two hours one way! We were rewarded, though, with a fair right out of the midwest. It took the edge off missing our steam show and threshing bee that I have gone to most years since I was a child. This fair had some of the same things, the early gas engine displays and church groups selling delectable foods, animal shearing, but it also had the added benefit of selling, by the bushel, my new apple obsession: the gravestein apple.

There was a train that pulled kids in homemade barrel cars:

And a maze made out of hay bails, which we could not go into because of my allergies to hay:

I even got to see a mohair sheep get shorn:

The biggest hit, besides Grandma's apple fritter stand, was the all you can drink yard of lemonade.

Dan and I loved this. After you bought your glass, you could drink as much lemonade as you wanted. The stand had two spigots coming out of it so it was serve yourself. The vendors would even fill up your glasses with more ice if you asked. It was a nice thing to be able to stay hydrated all day.

Once we came home, I started into applesauce making. We sorted the apples out into sauce and butter apples versus pie and eating apples. There were few apples with problems, and even those problems were small and only skin deep.

Dan would peel the apples while I cored and cut them up. We don't have a food mill, so we had to do this all the hard way, plus Dan likes chunky applesauce so a food mill is kind of out anyway. We put the apples in a pot with a little water and surprisingly little sugar due to how sweet they are naturally and let them all cook down.

I put the first two quarts full of this plain sauce into jars, and then I added some really nice cinnamon from Penzey's Spices into the pot to make two pints of cinnamon apple sauce. This way we can have plain or cinnamon when we want. We tend to eat more plain than cinnamon sauces, so it worked out nicely.

I hope that they work out. My mom said she always had a hard time keeping her applesauce jars sealed. I hope that these seals stick and that it does not go bad. We will have to see what time will bring. I will be monitoring them for the next week or so to see what develops, or hopefully does not develop!

Today I need to run to the fabric shops to gather some supplies for tomorrow's tent rebuild at 826 Valencia. I am also hoping to get some apple butter cooking away. First, though I need to call my sister, the apple butter queen, to get some recipe and technique advice. Hopefully I can get a hold of her soon! I also would like to get some more hand sewing done on those belts, so I can quit dragging my feet and get them listed. There is also some belt accessory experimentation that I need to do either today or tomorrow as well. So much to do in the late summer harvest season. Hopefully I can keep up the momentum and get a lot done this week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fun

Last night I got the cooking bug which meant I spent two hours cooking and amazing dinner. I made 40 garlic clove chicken for the first time. I used a Cook's Illustrated recipe that was to die for. I am still trying to find all sorts of new ways to use the massive amounts of garlic we bought at the Gilroy Garlic Festival a few weeks ago. I think we will be set with garlic for the year still! I made a brown rice with fresh herbs from the balcony garden and broccoli to round out the meal. We finished off with a fresh peach cobbler.

It was one of the best ones I have ever turned out. I guess practice makes perfect on this one. I used the left over peaches that would not peel from the canning day. When they wouldn't peel I, in frustration, just cut them into slices thinking I would find something to do with them. This was it, and it really hit the spot.

The summer film festival continued in the living room last night. We are trying to watch all sorts of movies this summer that we have missed out on when we were too busy with college or work or that we just have always wanted to see but never got the chance. It has been a fun way to spend evenings and a good way for Dan to unwind.

I am posting late because I wanted to capitalize on the early morning sunshine coming through the windows to take product pictures. Usually the mornings are foggy, so when I get a sunny one, I want to take full advantage. Here are two unedited pictures of some hair flowers that I will be listing next week:

The medium purple ones are similar to the current purple pair in the shop, only they are a tone darker. The red ones are a wonderfully stunning tone of scarlet. They look amazing, and I almost want to keep them for myself. I also have a great pair of magnolias but the sunlight had shifted too much for me to be able to photograph them today. Hopefully I will get a chance early next week.

Today is the final approach on the skirt repairs so that I will have it in time for class tonight. I would love to also get my new black choli done, but I am sure that is pressing my luck seeing as I did not get all my letter writing done yesterday and there is laundry and house sprucing up to do today. I will, however, keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Jam and Letter Writing

I am up early today and feeling like I have already accomplished a ton even though that really is not the case. I used to be an early riser, a very early riser. When I was a teacher, I was up at 5 am each day to get to my job that was quite the hike from the house, but once we moved to California, I took on Dan's working hours. That means staying up late, 2 am ish, and then sleeping in till 8 or 9 if I am lucky. This has resulted in me feeling like I never get anything accomplished. Today, however, I got up with the rest of the civilized world at 7 am sharp. I had to meet the plumber who was replacing a broken fixture in our apartment, so being up and ready for the day was a must. There is just something though about being up and doing my computer work earlier that makes me feel like I have more of my day ahead of me. I just can't explain it.

Yesterday I dropped off the curtains at 826 Valencia, and while I took the camera to take a picture of the finished products, the hanging hardware was not in place yet. When I go back next week for tent reconstruction I will make sure to take plenty of pictures for the blog. I also got the apricot jam done. This is my best of the jams so far. I used a little less sugar than the recipe called for since the fruit is so ripe, and the texture of the jam is much better. It is not quite as stiff as the other things I have made.

I also used the half pint jars that I saved for this and apple butter. I have to say that while the pints will be good for applesauce, they seem just too big for jam. Perhaps when I have a bigger family they will see better, but the little jars are still my favorite.

The patio garden has been getting some visitors as of late:

We always get song birds and sparrows sitting on the railing, but lately two pairs of doves have come to visit. Sometimes they sit on the rail and do their preening; other times they come down on the deck and walk amongst the plants. It is always fun to watch the birds out the window when I need a sewing break.

Today in the shop, I am going to finish off correcting mistakes to the bottom ruffle of my personal skirt. Once that is finished, I am picking up one of the two belts that I started. I am leaning toward the upcycled one since that is closer to being finished. As soon as I need a break from that, I am going to write up some personal thank you notes that are long over due as well as a letter to my Grandmother that is also very tardy. I hope to make it to the Gravestien Apple Festival this weekend. It sounds like a mini Sycamore Steam Show Threshing Bee from Illinois, which I missed very much this year, but with an emphasis on apples instead of just steam. If that happens, I am going to see if I can buy a scant bushel of these apples for some apple butter and sauce. I have to say that the crisps made out of these was phenomenal. I meant to take a picture of them, but, well, they were immediately eaten. They are a really sweet but strong apple flavored fruit! Usually you get apple or sweet, but this is truly the best of both worlds. The canning will continue until I run out of jars and produce, or Dan calls a halt! :)

I am feeling inspired to sew, and since I have more of my day than usual ahead of me from my early morning, I hope it is truly productive.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canning Setback

I have always been very sensitive to mold, and while it is usually a good thing, there are times when it is not so great. Mainly this has to do with my foodie side of things. I cannot eat things like blue cheeses, and while I would love to go into Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building I cannot even get close to their stand. The mold rind and strong blue cheeses knock me out just passing by. When we were shopping for a house back in Illinois, our Realtor even joked that I should rent myself out to home buyers as I could detect both mold and mildew upon walking into a space. I instantly get stuffy and cough like a tuberculosis patient. So, you would think that I would listen to this reaction instantly, but when it started on Sunday at the Farmer's market, I ignored it. I just figured that I was still not over the Chaos Wars cold I caught. Well when I started to get things ready for making the strawberry jam yesterday, I learned why I was having such a stuffy nose and cough. The first layer of strawberries was really soft, and the bottom layers were completely molded through. I guess it will have to wait until I hit another stand on Sunday to buy another half flat. It was a sad state of things.

Today I have the curtains to sew for the 826 Tutoring Room I went to several stores looking for the correct shad of red in a fuzzy fabric, but the usual Pirate Store crimson was no where to be found. Right when I was about to give up, I found some neat looking crimson fabric by the door of a shop. I bought all that they had, and while it is enough to cover the space, I am not sure it will be full enough for a long term solution. We will have to see what Maria and the crew thinks about them when I bring them in this afternoon. After I do that, I am going to get the canning back in action and get the apricot jam processed. I also want to pick up my socks that I am learning to knit when I head into the city on BART. If there is enough time after all this, a crisp is in order with those great apples for tonight's dessert, and I would also like to pick up one of the belts I am working on again. I guess I should get to it and get some of this done. I feel inspiration coming on!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Canning Week!

This week is officially the hottest week this summer, so it is only fitting that it is also canning week. I remember some of the hot days of summer as a kid watching my mother over the stove working on her jelly and canned fruit. I decided this year to start my own jelly and canning, only I was hoping for some bay area cool comfort while I did this rather hot task. Needless to say, I got greeted this weekend with the summer we have been missing all year. The temperatures are no where near the 90+ degrees my mother had to contend with, but the mid to high eighties seems warm to me now that I, and I hate to admit it, have become very much accustomed to the nice temperate nature of Oakland. The above is my first attempt at peach jelly. It went well, and I ended up with three full pints of jelly. The store was out of half pints, so I had to move up in jar size for this batch of jelly. I also put up some peaches in syrup, but those are not quite as pretty, so no pictures of those. I did not pack the jars enough, so they look rather odd with pieces of peaches floating at the top and a lot of syrup at the bottom. Next year, this will be better. I also learned that trying to get the skins off white peaches seems to be harder than yellow peaches, so I will also only work with yellow freestones next year.

These are the next to go into jars. Strawberry jam is on tonight's canning list after I get a set of curtains sewn up for the 826 Valencia tutoring room. I need to get them done before their awards ceremony tomorrow night. I hope to get the fabric picked up this afternoon and get to sewing them up soon after.

On Tuesday morning, I plan to make some apricot jam next. This should round out all the jam I am making for some time, unless I can get my hands on some concord grapes for grape jelly for Dan. I would also love to make some grape juice as well, but I would have to find a good source of grapes. There is the possibility that I would be able to get some from my friend Annie if that is what the grapes in her yard turn out to be.

Speaking of which, I am so happy to have her back in my circle of friends. She was one of my good friends in Illinois and has recently moved into the area. We spent Friday running around the city looking at shops and eating good food. It was fabulous!

I also got my hands on some gravenstein apples at the market this weekend. They are supposed to be some of the best baking apples in the world and are rather hard to find. The trees require very specific soil conditions and growing specifications, so they are not easily grown. They also have a very short season and are grown only in Sebastpool and Sonoma counties in California it seems. I will let you all know if they are worth the trip here to get them. I am going to make a crisp with them, and if they are great, I may make up some sauce with another batch and can that. They do smell fantastic on their own just sitting in the bowl, almost like lilies.

Well I should get off for some fabric shopping and curtain sewing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Blooms

It has been somewhat gloomy lately here in Oakland; there is even the chance for some unseasonable rain tonight and tomorrow morning. The lemon plant, however, does not seem to mind. It is going through more blooming, and I hope that the apiary that was here earlier is still around so that more lemons can be in the works for Dan and I. I hope that we get enough so that I can try my hand at some preserved lemons. The aphid infestation seems to be slowed down, but I have broken my spray bottle, so the fight will have to be on hold for a little while. The dill is not looking so good after all of this. Hopefully it pulls through. The beans, however, are starting to finally produce something. We had our first harvest of five beans this past weekend. I wished in a way that I would have waited because there are a few more now on the plant. We could have almost had enough for a meal for two if I would have waited.

The destashing is continuing here in the studio. Today I am listing up some medium triangular bails for purchase. There are two lots of 130 pieces each.

They are made of base metal and are great for use with pendants and other drop style gems with straight holes. They measure 5/16" or 8.3 mm

You could use them for Scrabble tile pendants if you wanted to drill holes in them. I originally used them to hang Swarovski crystals in some of my jewelry experiments. Hopefully they find a good home.

Today I am going to finally finish some personal projects. I worked on some of those yesterday around some more housecleaning as well as some hand sewing on one of the belts. I mended a torn skirt and also worked on my 20 yard skirt that I began for Chaos Wars but did not get finished. Yesterday I rolled the bottom hem, and 20 yards really is a long hem to roll! Today I need to adjust the elastic in the skirt and then make some corrections to the bottom ruffle. I also have to mend my green skirt that I treated myself to at Fat Chance. It got ripped at Chaos Wars, and luckily it happened right in a seam. That is what I get for wearing my nice things out of the studio! I then have a lunch meeting with a friend and a sewing meeting at 826 Valencia to talk about tent reconstruction and curtains that we need in the lab to cover the white boards. Both projects sound like a lot of fun. I cannot wait.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Clean House, Hot Tea, Sewing to Commence

The house cleaning was rather successful yesterday. There are just a few more things I need to clean up, mainly the shower and some bathroom sinks as well as give the sewing room a good vacuuming. Overall I am really pleased with how clean I have gotten the apartment, and while there was some dawdling, it mostly happened at the times I hoped. I also worked on aphid destruction and decimation yesterday. The first application over the weekend did a rather good job of cutting down on the population, and so I did another liberal application yesterday. I am going to give the garden today off and hit it with more soapy cayenne pepper spray tomorrow. The tomato plant has gotten so large and top heavy for the pot that it fell over yesterday. I guess some things are really liking the patio. It has even gotten a few small green tomatoes started. I will have to wait and see if any of them actually get red at all considering the cooler temperatures we have had this summer.

Today I want to get a personal skirt hemmed as well as a veil hemmed. There are also a few belt projects I would like to pick up and start to finish. One of those is the peacock and elephant belt that has been a few years in progress. The other is a belt that uses recycled fabric from one of my first costumes. I loved the fabric so much, that I kept this choli around for a long time in order to find it a good home. Since it has not really found one, I decided to upcycle to fabric from it into two beautiful belts. They are coming along nicely, and I hope to have them and a pair of black pants close to finished by the end of the week. I will take quick pictures whenever I get any of them finished. Well I think that I am off to work on some supply hunting and ordering for the shop as well as all those sewing projects.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to Normal

This is the first week where I feel like live is getting back to normal. I have relatively little going on in terms of meetings and shows, so I can finally do things like clean the house and tend to the balcony garden. I did do some tending of the garden this weekend and found that the aphid infestation is back again. Right now it seems to be limited to my herb box and the radishes that were next to the herbs. I started off clearing out all the dead items that they had created, mainly dead parsley, mint, and thyme. I then cut things back a bit since some of the herbs, like the sage had gotten out of control. I then went ahead and "scorched earth" sprayed the boxes with my soap and cayenne pepper spray. This worked well last time, but the infestation was not as bad that time. I guess it has been building since I left for Idaho and then went undetected when I got back due to being so busy getting ready for Danse du Ventre.

On the subject of Danse du Ventre, it went really well. I sold quite a few things, and I had a really good time doing my first in person vending. I took some pictures of a few things I worked on for the show, but of course forgot my camera so there are no pictures of the booth. I did get a picture today of some of the necklaces and the boxes I had to put them in:

I also snapped a picture of some of the hair flowers that were left:

I ended up selling the purple hairfalls and the last pair of Fading Cobalt pants. It was sad to see the blue pants go, but I am happy they are in a new home with someone who will wear them instead of being packaged up here. That was one of my favorite fabrics. I also happened to take a picture of the black hairfalls that I custom made for a person in Greece:

It was interesting to work in a pallet of all black tones. It was challenging, but I was really pleased with the results. Today I am going to work on cleaning the house and getting things back into order. There is also another treatment needed on the garden to make sure the aphids are on their way out. If I get all this done, there are some personal items I would love to work on as well as some Fabulous Pants products that were not ready for the show that need completing. Look for some new products listed here and on the Etsy shop in the coming days. That, though, is all dependent on the weather here and if I can get some sunny days to take photographs. Without the sun, I really cannot take good pictures of the pants.

In the coming days, I think that I am going to start to work on opening up the Etsy shop to international shipping. Since the order to Greece, I found out how painless it can really be to ship internationally. I just need to spend some time working out all the costs of shipping to the furthest places. Those are the goals, so I guess I should get down to scrubbing.