Monday, February 27, 2006

From scraps

In the final moments before a nasty migraine took merciless control of my Sunday, I managed to get one matching wristlet through the sewing machine to complete the Nappy Bag ensemble for my friends upcoming baby shower.

Funk-ay, no?

This little guy (including the wristy part) was made from the scraps of this big guy here:

I must say, I'm awful proud. Thanks to Africankelli this bag has all the comforts of home. It's nice and durable due to the Decor fabric used in place of regular old floppy cotton and the fusible lining sewn between the layers is holding the shape all together nice. Makes ALL the diff.

Ooh, almost forgot, a few notes on the Wristy, should you want to make one of these bad boys; I got the pattern from Thimble (thanks to Caro for introducing me to it with my fab zippered pouch) and totally love the tutorial.

A few little notes:
  1. Using coordinating thread to fabric for the spool and bobbin made the pouch look more pro (IMHO) instead of doing what hubby suggested, which was "Just use black thread all over". Oh silly man.
  2. When you pull the pouch right side out, pull the lining out and top stitch the hole with matching thread
  3. To make the Wristy part, cut a 2" strip of fabric from the outside material, fold in half lengthwise (right side in), press and sew along the raw open edge. Then, using a turning tool (or safety pin or miracle from above) turn right side out and press. When sewing the outside material, fold Wristy in half and pin underneath outside material just above the zipper, leaving the two raw edges sticking out and the loop part tucked safely inside the pouch where it can't be accidently sewn down. Sew only to the outside material -- not to the lining. When you turn right side out, you'll have a handy Wristy to your zippered pouch.
  4. Before turning out the pouch, cut the corners off the lining and outside material and press out all the seams to make the sharpest corners on the final product. See, I learned a thing or two from Amy Butler, even though her pattern was friggen maddening.
Ok, I think that's it. It's hard to improve on such a great little scrap project. Don't you love when you can use up all those leftover bits? Does the cheap psycho/efficient economist in me good. I am beginning to see a lot of zippered pouches made from all the bastard fabric I have laying around taking up space on the craft shelf. Muhuhuhahahahaha!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Finny Jetson

Let me tell you a little story about Finny and how she came to hate the household tool knows as the mop.

Once upon a time Mother Finny had a chore list. She would post this list on the refrigerator for all her spawn to see. Alongside these chores were dollar amounts that would be doled out, once the chore was done. There were all manner of chores on this list.

Empty dishwasher, $.50 (I didn't say we were rich, just organized)
Weed roses, $1.00
Vacuum house, $2.00
Clean hall bathroom, $2.00
Take trash cans to the street, $1.00

And at the bottom of said list was the one chore no one would do:

Mop kitchen, $5.00

Yep, that's right, five whole bucks. Because Mother Finny hated mopping just as much as the spawn did and she was willing to pay big bucks to have someone else do it. Money was no object to Mother Finny and to this day she continues to avoid mopping by paying much more than $5 to a very nice housekeeper who will do the whole list of chores and leave her floors sparkling.
Well, not everyone can justify a housekeeper. Especially when their house (while lovely) is smaller than their first apartment.

This brings us to present day, where, having lived in a household where it was acceptable to exchange large quantities of cash for clean floors, the grown up Finny has purchased a fine mopping robot so she never has to wrestle another bucket of dirty water around the linoleum.

Let us all welcome Scooba. The newest member of the FinnyKnits household.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The hodgepodge of my mind

This past week has been a whirling dirvish of random activities, travel and inappropriate levels of spending.

So quickly whirling, in fact, that I haven't had a moment to blog about any of it for you, my loyal blog reader(s).

I tried to blog about all of it in a bulleted list (because bulleting a list is one of the finest joys in life) but, alas, it created a mess of mind numbing mini-stories that I thought might be more easy/interesting to wrap one's mind around if I made a collage of some type. And so, I bring you an e-collage of the weeks activities.

And because I can't resist a summary in the form of a run-on sentence: (from top right to bottom left)
-trip to AZ to see college friends, Nappy bag for pregnant college friend (featured in bottom row), inside of bag, the bag again, shoes I bought, AfricanKelli and me in AZ, fish button on baby bib, baby bib I knitted, second wave of Vtines flowers from hubby, first wave of Vtines flowers from hubby, SCOOBA (more on this later), lettuce from the garden, Walk the Line, Walk the Line (it's there twice cuz I saw it twice), pregnant college friend, amaryllis blooming in my living room, hubby scrutinizing most recent carrot harvest from the garden.

Ok, phew! Now that the past week's activities have been summarized (however inefficiently) we can move on to more pressing things like;

  • Super engineering Pumpkinzilla in Poison Ivy's newest habitat
  • Surrendering housekeeping to a robot
  • Closing the book on the @#*&%# kitchen project
  • Opening the book on the rest of the @#&^% house projects
  • Hybridizing (this is a word, so put your eyebrows down)
  • Xeriscaping (ok, this is totally a word. Look it up.)
Plus, I'm sure a million more random topics from my favorite categories; gardening, crafts, books, travel, everyday life, cooking, talking shit about people/things, lamely attempting to accomplish any of my resolutions, my ongoing relationship with Gime/Gym, how I want to be a farmer, etc.

Have a favorite or preference? Comment away, please.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Goldilocks and the Six Carrots

Ok, so remember the bizarre dialogue I incorporated into my last post about the perfectly formed carrot pulled fresh from my backyard earth? Turns out that was something of an anomaly and I'm even more annoyed now that "Me" won out over "FinnyKnits" and chomped down the Miracle Carrot before it could be photographed and eventually bronzed for its utter perfection.

I went out to the garden this morning with the simple task of harvesting another perfect specimen, this time with camera in hand and mouth full of vanilla scone, to feature here as a testament to my impressive gardening prowess. However, it is likely that it was precisely this type of boastful attitude that caused me to have the experience that I did. A way for Mother Nature (and maybe the Burpee people) to say, "Hey lady, this isn't amateur hour around here.", if you will. Because when I pulled my first seemingly ideal candidate from the earth, it was obviously imperfect.

"A runt!" I dismissed with disgust.

Then another oddly shaped carrot was pulled.

"Heh?" I grunted, confused.

Then another, mostly undeveloped and misshapen specimen unearthed.

"What the F?!" I declared.

As it turns out, that pesky activity the gardening people like to call, "Thinning", is actually important. And, if ignored, can result in some inconsistent (I'm using this term extremely loosely) results.

Let's take a lesson from Finny on what happens when we don't thin our seeds properly.

(From left to right)
Specimen #1: Too young. Pulled too soon.
specimen #2: Too skinny. Allowed to grow too close to its neighbor.
specimen #3: Too lewdly formed. Allowed to grow to close to its neighbor, although appears to have won out at some point because it did start to develop after passing up its friends on its trip to the earths core.
specimen #4: Too nasty. Planted to close (read: ON) the sprinkler and was thus deprived of all nutrients.
specimen #5: Too rotund. Planted above something solid and forced to grow round instead of long.
Specimen #6: Just right.
Specimen #7: A lemon.

And so, when I return to the garden this winter (ew), I will remember this historic moment in time when I, as my dad would like to say, "learned something", and will spread the seeds evenly and take the time to properly thin them when they start to sprout instead of doing what I did this time. Which was to say, nothing.

Apparently applying the Darwin theory to gardening isn't always effective. So, from here on out (or at least with carrots as they've blatantly proved me wrong), I will apply the Goldilocks method. Which is that I shall thin them before they sleep shoulder to shoulder in my (vegetable) bed and emerge deformed.

And they lived happily ever after. The End.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Spring Fever anyone?

So, anyone else ready to abandon their cars on the side of the road when they see the first blossoming cherry tree of spring? Yeah, I nearly tore the bumper off a nice Volvo when I veered into a nearby parking lot to admire/bow before/photograph/covet/lust after a glorious cherry tree bursting with the first fluffy pink blossoms of the season.

I stalk this tree every year. Well, not this exact tree, but you know. I try to spy with my little eye through all the dreary dead looking branches of every bit of landscaping on every freeway, highway divide, office park, front yard, back yard, wild meadow, apartment complex until I'm nearly ready to get out my markers and draw one in myself. Because the moment I see the first bloom, I know spring is not that far off and then I can start my evil plotting of the vegetable garden, amongst a million other spring related activities that make me insane with retarded excitement.

Here's The First Tree of the Season:

Now, forget about spring, because the best part of spring is knowing that summer is right around the corner, and that's the real deal. Don't let it ever be said that I do not LOVE summer. I do. Granted, I hated it when I lived in Phoenix, because it was always over 105 degrees, even at night, and my tires melted to the pavement. But here, in sunny CA, I LOVE SUMMER.

I had my first hint of summer this weekend when I found 10 minutes to myself and sat on my back patio in my adirondack chair and felt the sun on my face for the first time in months. There was the hum of lawnmowers, tiny tweets of a baby bird in my avocado tree, the smell of cut grass, the sting of sunshine on my cheeks and arms. It was like that Campbell's soup commercial where the snowman comes inside and starts to eat a bowl of soup and then the snow melts away and he's a boy underneath. So, I'm not a boy and there was no soup, but it was the same thing. I felt my icy shell melting off and my sunshiney self ready to jump up and hug everything in sight. I think I was actually quoted as saying to hubby, "I want to hug our yard right now!" Which is ridiculous, but it was either that or cry. The emergence of spring/summer makes me that happy.

So, after much blessed weed pulling, mowing, pruning, etc I took some photos to give a high five to the few things growing in my yard/garden right now:

Not a great showing from the broccoli, but that's probably my fault. I'll definitely try this again next winter (ew-winter). The carrots look awesome and unfortuanetly I ate the big ass carrot that I pulled from the garden before I could get to the camera to get a photo. This was me in the yard,

Me: "Hello delicious carrot. Look how big and beautiful you are just right out of the garden. I shall rinse you off with the hose and chomp you down!"

FinnyKnits: "But wait, shouldn't I photograph this perfectly shaped beauty? Won't there be many disappointed peeps in blogland when they hear that I devoured the carrot before he could be featured on Finnyknits!?"

Me: "Shuddup bitch and munch the carrot -- Finnyknits readers know what carrots look like."

FinnyKnits: "But lookit how beootiful this one is! It is perfect! I must show it to...hey wait! Stop munching! You cow!"

Me: "HA! I win. Dee-lish."

The onions look fair to ok, I'm not holding out a lot of hope. The lettuce is actually growing now, but thanks to an unwelcomed invasion of nasty bugs, I've had to add a sticky trap (big sticky piece of paper that sticks in the ground near the lettuce to catch the flying lettuce crunchers) to get rid of them and await the next set of leaves to sprout without big gnarly holes in them. Then I will make a multi-colored salad with the aforementioned carrots. See lettuce and it's holes:

So after all the drama with the winter garden (ew-winter) I'm SO ready to rip the sucker out and start on the big veggies. It will likely get as out of hand as last summer when I had pumpkins and melons running across the yard to one neighbor while our tomato plants leaned over into our other neighbors yard searching for more acreage. I have no restraint and seem to wildy underestimate the staggering growing power of the mighty vegetable plant.

Soon my pretties...soon.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Resolution Update

Ok folks, this might not happen on a monthly basis, but since I am thinking about my "progress" toward my resolutions and it just happens to be the end of the first month of the resolving year, I figured I would blog on it and see how big of a dent I've made in them so far. Let's just say, I don't have high hopes. Join me will you?

Let's see...
  1. Swear Less.
    Yeah, this isn't going well. It doesn't help that Our Hero, the contractor, was still missing for the first half of this month and I spent most of my weekends in the same work clothes covered in Orange Peel texture.
  2. Lose Weight.
    Ok, so technically I weigh the same as when I originally had the bad idea to lock myself into this resolution. However, I am halfway through the first week of my trial membership at The Gym to Remain Nameless and I'm feeling hopeful. Refer to previous post for details.
  3. Run more often.
    So, slight change of plans. I'm going to re-interpret this as I "run more often" on the treadmill before and after my workouts rather than every morning through the neighborhood at the crack of dawn. Semantics...
  4. Start back up with weight training before I get scary grandma arms.
    Uh-huh, this is what I was talking about in #3 when I said "workouts". I did chest and tri's the other day and it was suh-weet. Don't get close though, I'm still very sore.
  5. Be a better niece and cousin.
    I'm more likely to be a better cousin than niece, I think. With the kitchen done (Ack! I'll stop saying that soon, I promise.) I still plan to invite my cousin over for monthly dinners. However, I've not made it to my aunt and uncle's place yet. And for that, I should be ashamed.
  6. Save more $$.
    Well, last time I bought shoes I only got one pair...and a bag. Progress? Yes. Yes I said!

  7. Grow some plants from seed.
    Well, it's still winter despite all my fist shaking at the dripping sky. However, my broccoli, carrot and lettuce plants are growing nicely and those were grown from seed. Good start.

  8. Read something from hubby's book pile.
    No progress here. I've started and abandoned two non-fiction books since I did my resolutions. A fact of which I am not proud. So shoot me, I got three magazines last week and chose to read about making handmade Valentines instead.

  9. Fix the bathroom ceiling.
    Natch. Maybe once the other fucked up room is finished.
  10. Start the bedroom makeover.
    I think I saw an armoire that I like. But it's at a store I hate, so I'm dealing with that. I also drew some sketches on my notepad while I was on a conference call. That counts. Progress!
  11. Stain the living room table a good color.
    I got samples! Progress! Maybe once the food room is done.
  12. Remember as many birthdays as possible.
    I got one email from you folks out there. It's a start. That means I must be awesome at this remembering birthdays thing, right? Yeah, I'm sure that's it. For the record, I did remember to send a few birthday cards this month and I did just successfully celebrate hubby's birthday last week. I RULE AT THIS!
  13. Knit myself that sweater.
    Yeah, no movement on this yet. I still remember the color though. It's orange. See, I know what I'm doing here.
  14. Deal with the work thing.
    Uh, I wish this was getting worked out. Not after the recent minor hand-slapping. I'm starring in a Paula Abdul video. You know the one where she is following the cartoon cat up the stairs. Sing it with me: "I take one step forward you take two steps back..." or something like that.
  15. Start research for the book.
    Check! I'm sort of, inadvertently, casually doing some light research. Ok, so make that a check minus.
  16. Try out some new recipes from all my cookbooks.
    Dudes! I have tried TWO new recipies! Lemon-Artichoke Chicken (sans whipping cream and parmesan cheese. Remember resolution #2.) and Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce from the South Beach Diet cookbook. You laugh, but there's good stuff in there. Evidence? Hubby ate nearly the entire filet. Oh yeah. And he's a red meat guy. Some more favorites to come: Lemon Wafters (hubby favorite) and meatballs.
  17. Backtack 3
    Dude, just bring it already.
  18. Be neighborly and throw a summer bbq
    I reserve the right to ignore this resolution in full until the summer gets here.
  19. Go Hybrid and carpool.
    Like I said on #17, just bring it already. For godssake I'm friggen 126th on the list and I ordered this car last October. They told me another two months, so I prolly won't have it till March. I'm just guzzling gas until then. Glorious.
  20. Tame the List Monster.
    Ack!! It's got me!! It's on a monthly rampage!! Someone, help me! The call's coming from inside the house!!
Well, I've obviously lost it. I do, however find some solace in doing a monthly check in on these things. Who knows, I might actually get some of these things done. Oh, and did I tell you that I've also signed myself up to make roman shades for our whole house? Oh yeah, I did. I'm retardo. I saw a pattern, I said to myself, "Hell, Self, you can make these! Why are you paying so much for these?" And then before I knew it I had spilled the new idea to hubby and now I can't turn back. So, with any luck I'll be cooking, sewing and getting all domestic and shit in no time. Plus we have a new book for book club that I've already ordered because, you guessed it, I'm a BIG FAT DORK.

Cheers all -- Finny