Archive for October, 2007

Sewing Project #2 – Pillow Covers

striped pillow

I just finished my second sewing project – two striped pillow covers following the easy instructions out of Sew Subversive: Down & Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista. Basically you make a big sewn envelope into which you stuff a pillow form. A perfect beginner’s project because you don’t have to worry about zippers. I can’t believe how good they look, especially on our horrible Pottery Barn sofa which my husband and I hate. The pillows add a much needed modern touch.

About our dreadful sofa – we have been wanting to replace it for SO long. Not only is it mushy and uncomfortable, it also has several chewed out sections from when we first got Barkley. He was dealing with some separation anxiety when we would leave him home alone. For a long time we considered this one from Crate and Barrel, but decided it was too expensive and we weren’t sold on the color. Now we’re thinking about this one from Ikea, but we’re not sure about its colors either (sigh) and we’re being very careful with money right now. But if we can decide before December they’re having a sofa event where you get an Ikea Gift Card worth 20% of an upholstery purchase. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

A Pumpkin Graveyard

pumpkin patch

From far away it doesn’t look so bad

David and I took the dog to The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island to look for the perfect pumpkin. What we found was more like a pumpkin graveyard. I don’t know if it was because we showed up so late in the season or because they were truly having a bad pumpkin year, but what was left was an entire field full of mostly rotted pumpkins. So disappointing! The last time we were there was amazing – the excitement of criss-crossing the patch, a sharp eye out weighing all the possibilities, enjoying the crisp autumn weather and the free hay rides…

In the end, we did find two small, nicely shaped pumpkins – an orange one for David and a white one for me. We also bought lots of fresh farm produce: fall apples, turnips, cabbage, onions, shallots, hazelnuts, and brussel sprouts still on the stalk. It was also fun to see the farm animals. The goat in particular couldn’t take his eyes off of David sucking on a honey stick. My favorites were the black and pink baby pigs, the clucking chickens and the beautifully large and feminine eyes of the llama. Why wasn’t I blessed with eyelashes like that? Throw in one pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and a caramel apple and it was a worthy trip after all.

frog

David spotted a bright green frog in the field

oregon hazelnuts

Oregon is the nation’s largest producer of hazelnuts

fresh fall apples

A huge bin of fresh and crisp fall apples

pumpkins

Our final pumpkin choices – one white and one orange

Tips for picking the perfect pumpkin:

1. If you’re going to carve it, choose one to match your design – a tall oval for a vertical design or a wide rounded one for a horizontal design.

2. Make sure it can stand up by itself. A tipsy one can be a pain to brace and carve properly.

3. A decent size stalk is helpful for lifting the top off when carving and lighting.

4. Double check for any soft spots, and be sure any blemishes are around back where they won’t be seen.

Happy Halloween!

Easy Halloween Fun on a Mac

inverted mac screenshot

Want to have a little fun by dressing up your mac in orange and black for Halloween (and giving your co-workers and boss a good scare in the process)? Here’s how:

1. Click on System Preferences in your dashboard (the silver rectangle icon with the apple logo on the right and a light switch on the left).

2. Click on Universal Access, shown near the bottom right corner, in the “System” catagory.

3. Now click the radio button for White on Black under the “Display” catagory.

This will automatically “invert” the colors on your screen. For example, anything that was once white, will now be black. If you want to change your desktop color to invert to orange, like the picture above, you have to start with a blue background (because blue inverts to orange).

To do this go to “System Preferences” and choose “Desktop & Screen Saver” near the top under the Personal catagory. Then choose any blue background under “Apple Images.” Repeat the steps above to “invert” and then show off your spooky computer.

To change back, simply click again on the “Black on White” radio button under Universal Access.

A Modern Gingerbread House

modern gingerbread house

This is the coolest gingerbread house, ever! Hard to believe that no one has thought of it before (at least that I’ve ever seen). I came across it here while perusing Redenvelope.com“Every bit as edible as the original, this isn’t your grandma’s gingerbread house. We gave the classic holiday treat a mid-century makeover, complete with garage and rock garden. A unique gift and sure-fire conversation piece, it comes assembled and ready to enjoy.”

It’s a little spendy at $78 (for an extra $10 you can add personalization, like in the photo above) and it makes me a little sad that you can’t assemble it yourself. Isn’t that the fun part? Seeing this makes me think about trying to re-create one of my favorite modern houses, maybe Michelle Kaufmann’s Sunset Breezehouse or maybe an iconic Portland-area Rummer home, complete with melted hard candy glass windows (see recipe here). Wouldn’t that be so awesome?!

Black + Knitted

black knitted scarf

This is an in-progress photo of a scarf I finished a few weeks ago. Very simple knit-only stitch, though my sister in-law patiently taught me to both knit and purl. My second complete scarf ever. I honestly can’t remember when I started it, sometime last winter I think. I was charmed by the yarn’s knobby texture. It’s laid forgotten in a drawer for months. I do that sometimes. Just leave craft projects half finished until it feels like time to to pick it back up again (or not).

It is just about cold enough to start wearing it. Almost.

Crazy for Craft Books

I have recently gone crazy for craft books from our local library. So many good ideas, and inspiring photos, and (thankfully!) step-by-step instructions! Sadly, my library doesn’t have many of the titles I would love to check out (Sew Easy Bags, Amy Butler’s In Stitches, Sublime Stitching, Make Your Own Contemporary Quilts, The Apron Book, Sock and Glove, etc), so I may spend some time filling out request forms, or possibly buying them myself.

I know, I know, please spare me the lecture on how other people can’t borrow these books if I have so many at home. I get it enough from my husband. Recently, right before our weekly visit, he even asked if I was ready to return the library. What can I say? Aren’t libraries for lending (thank goodness!)? And where else can I indulge both my love of books and love of crafts without spending a penny (except in fines…oops)!

Here are the one’s I’ve borrowed most recently (not mentioning the ones queued up on my inter-library request list!):

sew subversive
Sew Subversive
This one has been most informative, especially the intro chapters
You + Your Machine and Gearing Up for Your First Sewing Project.

complete idiot's guide to sewing
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sewing

stitch 'n bitch
Stitch ‘N Bitch – The Knitter’s Handbook
This book was recommended by Rachel, a very nice “crafty” person
I met at Border’s when I bought Lotta Jansdotter Simple Sewing.

sew easy
Sew Easy

99 ways t-shirt book
99 ways to cut, sew, trim, & tie your T-shirt

I wanna make my own clothes
I wanna make by own clothes

sew teen
Sew Teen
I am far from being a teen, but I loved the cute tops and easy
instructions in this book. I want to make the “baby doll tunic”
the girl on the left is wearing! Cute!

All images from amazon.com.

Famously Creative with HP

harajuku paper doll card

A Harajuku Girl Paper Doll Card from Gwen’s HP site

Check out these two fun and elegant interactive mini-sites (can they be called that?) from HP, one inspired by Paula Scher, principal at Pentagram and the other inspired by recording artist Gwen Stefani. Each presentation includes a short video and customized tools that are great for blowing a little time while “playing” creatively.

My favorite was making a Harajuku Girl paper doll on Gwen’s site. I also found it interesting to watch Paula’s video on brand identity, but think it’s a little weird that she’s providing a template for businesses to auto-generate their own identity system. That just doesn’t seem right, especially after saying a good identity “expresses the specific spirit and tonality and ethics of an organization or individual.” Providing these templates seems to defeat this purpose by only providing a “friendly” or “modern” choice. To be fair, there is eventually a link to the AIGA.

Here’s the overview from HP:

gwen stefani

Gwen Stefani For You
Step inside Gwen Stefani’s world and customize her designs and illustrations to make Gwen Stefani’s style your own. Submit photos to the Sweet Escape tour book, create your Harajuku Girl paper doll entourage, print invitations, greeting cards and check out Gwen Stefani’s baby collection. All brought to you by HP.

paula sher

Paula Scher For Your Business
HP and Pentagram designer Paula Scher present advice on brand identity design, video tutorials for small businesses and brand identity templates for small businesses. View Paula Scher’s best-known work, browse through her exclusive design templates and listen to insights on how small businesses build great brand identity.


Paperseed's Photos

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Girls at Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

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