Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm just that dorky. [TUTORIAL]

Sometimes it's not enough that I am dorking it up in the kitchen making pie crust from scratch and pie filling from handpicked local berries. Or that I'm wearing a handmade apron while I do it.

No, sometimes I have to push the boundaries of my dorkiness by then wrapping the pie up just so to deliver to my neighbors as a thank you for the chainsaw loaner.

Thankfully using a chainsaw isn't dorky, otherwise I'd totally combust with dorkiness.

Ok, I'm not going to say dorky anymore.

Last weekend our nice neighbors loaned us their chainsaw to help us wreak havoc on our street tree that is trying to fake its own death. And thank god they did because WHOA it is not fun to trim giant branches with a hand saw. As much as our other neighbor likes to demonstrate his own enthusiasm for said pastime (he's crazy).

And so, I thought them worthy of blackberry pie honor. I think you'd agree - it's awful nice to loan out power tools. Even nicer when you come back later from your errands to check on the progress being made with your tools and then deliver beers to all the neighbors operating your tools.

They love their irony, don't you know.

But after baking the pie and covering it in tinfoil for delivery I felt, somehow, unsatisfied.

Like I was letting down the glory of the pie by hiding it under ugly tinfoil that was going to be thrown in the recycler all torn up and stupid looking.

Then my annoying voice said something I'm learning to hate, Certainly you can do better than this. Yes, I mean you there.

Ugh. It never rests, this voice.

But it was right. I'll admit. I *could* do better than tinfoil in which to deliver the Hallowed Blackberry Pie From Scratch, Etc. to the nice neighbors that give us chainsaws and beer (someone - quick - name your band Chainsaws and Beer!)

But how?

Well, I guess I thought about how it would look nice to set out a pie on the dinner table on a nice placemat looking all come hither-y and stuff because that is how I came up with this:

The Not Tinfoil Pie Delivery Tote

Now, this first iteration, having been done on the spur of the moment without any time for tweaking and perfection-making, hasn't yet reached the fullest of its potential - but I will amend my tutorial to add in these perfection-making tips so that you can have a Not Tinfoil Pie Delivery Tote that meets all of your wildest dreams and more.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the handles are longer in the tutorial here than I made them for this example and that's the only improvement I'd make for now. You feel free to change it up to suit your own peculiarities.

Materials needed:
A fabric placemat of your choosing
A spool of 5/8" ribbon cut into the following lengths:
Handles: 18" (2) Side ties: 6" (8) Button ties: 7 1/2" (2)
2 smallish buttons
Cotton thread
Fray check
A 9" pie (flavor of your choosing - I am very flexible, see?)

First, set your pie on the placemat and admire it for a moment. It helps if the placemat is ironed so that it doesn't look like a pile of shit like mine did when I first attempted this step. Stupid old placemat I never used after I washed it! Because, hello, placemats should not require ironing.


Just to make sure that the placemat is of adequate size, with the pie centered on the mat, fold the edges around the pie to make sure it covers at least 2/3 of the pie. An open center is OK. Also make a note of which side you want the pie to sit on. This will be called the Pie Side.

Pie Side

The other side, which you'll see when your tote is in tote mode will be called the Tote Side.

Tote Side

Got all that? It's not too hard.


Then, sew a buttonhole on one end of each Button Tie (7 1/2" or long enough to button one edge of the mat to the other when wrapped around the pie with the sewn-down edge folded under.)

Then, following the measurements on the image below, fold each ribbon under on one end and pin , raw edge up, along the edge of the mat as shown.

Once pinned, sew all edges down below the raw edge and then apply Fray Check to all raw edges of the ribbon. This will create little face up loops at the end of each ribbon when Tote Side is up and the raw edges won't fray and ruin your life. Honest, this works out.

Next, get your pie back centered on the mat, Pie Side up, and wrap the mat around the pie. With your Button Ties, stretch them out across the gap and, with a tailors chalk or blue erasable pen, mark the spot for the buttons by putting your chalk through the buttonhole on your ribbon and marking the opposite side of the Tote Side.

Sew your buttons on in the spot marked by your pen/chalk.

Finally, trim all the loose thread from your Tote, place Pie Side up. Put your pie in the middle of the mat, wrap the tote around the pie, tie the side ties into bows or whathaveyou, button the buttons across the top and tote it over to your neighbor's house so that they can unfold it on their dining room table and enjoy it sans ugly tinfoil.

Also, the tote is machine washable, in the event that your blackberry pie (or whatever flavor you choose) leaks delicious goo onto the mat.

Now you see, my dorkiness (sorry) has reach all-knew heights. I will quickly have to do something to redeem myself as Cool in your eyes.

Do people still think smoking makes you look cool? I should start smoking. Or maybe I'll get a barbed wire tattoo on my arm. Or pierce something.

Unless drinking gin while baking and delivering pies is considered cool. In which case I'M WAY COOL.


  1. Very cool indeed. Happy "Significant" Birthay.

  2. Well. If we needed to talk ourselves down from this "evil twin" thing that's getting all freaky, I think this post will provide the antidote. I would NEVER do this. Would never make the pie, would never give it to someone else if I DID, and would never, ever bother wrapping it up all pretty-like if I did THAT. But I would like to receive one all wrapped up like this!

    So. Not so similar after all, perhaps? (And I will neither confirm nor deny standing in my creepy cellar for many minutes trying to find the prettiest jar of jam to bring to someone as a hostess gift, because that is TOTALLY DIFFERENT.)

    Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! If we had planned ahead, you could have spent it here canning tomatoes. I know, you're bummed you missed that opportunity. Maybe next year.

  3. And to think, I am actually about to delve into a peach pie making-craze (count-down in 20 min) which my best-est neighbors will be sampling tonight, after a sewing-craze (what to do this afternoon? oh, I know, I'll reupholster something!).
    I was feeling so vivacious and domestic and 20-something (especially with the cat meowing for dinner) and decided to visit your blog because you always make me feel better about my "old lady" pursuits and low and behold, we're on the same page.

    Thanks for always justifying my actions Finny.

  4. So cool. Do you deliver pies to the east coast? :-)

  5. It's great!!
    And happy birthday!!

  6. I have to make these for my grannie. She is always making and delivering pies. Great idea!
    And did this post take longer to put together than sewing the pie caddy? Geez woman. You are thorough!

  7. Very, very cool! I'll bet the neighbors were thrilled. Of your three new coolness options smoking is definitely out -- when's the last time you saw a guy smoking and running 10 miles? And IS it your birthday? In which case, Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

  8. I would never have thought of using a rectangular placemat for a circular pie. I would have gone for something square. Isn't there something about square things in round holes or vise versa? Happy Birthday and a great idea!

  9. Read through the grapevine that you have a milestone birthday coming up - Happy Birthday !

  10. You can borrow our lawmower any time!! LOL Cool tutorial. I'm going to have to try this!

  11. Happy Birthday!
    Cool Tote!
    I don't you need to do much of anything to be cool, besides keeping up the writing on this blog, I love it, which makes you cool!

  12. Gin + Any act of domesticity = SupaCool


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