Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Weekend's exploits

Hey Donk,

I was having a hard time deciding what all to talk about today, given that we just had the lovely three days off to Labor and you know how much you can do in three free days, but I've decided posting about the Craft: along challenges for this month is most impressive (and wait until you see the other stuff, if I do say so myself, etc) because WOW it's only 9/8 and I've already done two of the three projects.

I know, I'm pretty impressed with myself. Also, I'm very modest!

Anyway, amidst all the running (update this week), gardening (update this week), drinking (oh yes, there's an update for this, too - this week) - there was Craft:ing.

The weather during my Saturday run informed me that, Alert! Fall thinks it's coming! and so I must immediately begin transforming my work self from Summer to Fall.

Thankfully, this just takes updating my Supah Profesh Laptop Tote Bag from black summer birdies and orange waves to orange fall birdies and blue leaves. And when I say "tote bag" I mean one of those canvas tote bags with which one would normally shop for groceries not one of those leather type tote bags with which one would normally shop for fanciness.

I have a work bag of some fanciness, courtesy of Bubba, but that comes out on special occasions only, like when I have to meet with people from the outside world, and not everyday when I meet with only people from my team who know that my fanciness is limited to mostly ridiculous numbers of shoes, most of which are flipflops.

So, my feet get fanciness, but my laptop? It gets could-also-be-used-for-the-farm share canvas tote bags.

To me, this makes sense. And to me, this is also easy to update for seasons, if you're prone to that kind of behavior. Which I am.

In riffling through the trunk of my car (aka The Big Tote Bag) I came away with a suitable bag for transforming. It's a thank you gift from a wildlife org to which I've donated in the past and, while I like the soaring eagle print on the front, it was the only bag in my rather vast collection that had all the trappings of a decent laptop bag: sturdy handles, ample storage size, thick enough fabric to be durable without being so thick to render my sewing machine useless against its intense weave.

I have been hoarding this fabric for 6 months and now it's with me every day. I love that.

You might be wondering why I didn't just update my old birdies and waves tote bag for fall, but that would have meant sewing fabric over what was already a cute print that I'll enjoy using to pick up the farm share. So, just so you know. Not that you asked, but whateverthereyougo.

Plus, the white handles are dirty and it needs a rather aggressive spin through the washer, and so will now languish in The Big Tote Bag in the trunk awaiting its bath.

Hey, the straps are almost clean!

Meanwhile, I got to use some beloved stashed fabric that brought to my attention my obsession with the color orange.

Self-awareness in the morning. It can be a jarring occasion.
And, on a totally separate note that has nothing to do with crafting, bags or the color orange, I decided to rock my First Fall Outfit complete with my favorite green shoes, which were a gift from a dear friend who finally gave into my whining and just gave me her shoes.

Love you, KB!

After all the sewing was done (which took all of five minutes thanks to the excellent and easy instructions on Betz' site), the baking commenced.

And since I am in possession of many pounds of blackberries rather than strawberries and rhubarb (oh the days), and lemons rather than oranges and don't own individual ramekins but instead have a nice 8x8 glass baking dish - this also commenced the Bastardization of Baking.

Crispy topping was not so crispy but still vury good.
Blackberry Buckle
Adapted from Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Buckle, Katie Goodman
My changes in bold.


½ c butter
½ c granulated sugar
1 egg
1¼ flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c milk
1 Tbs vanilla

3 1/2 c blackberries
¼ c granulated sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest

¼ c butter
¼ flour
½ c brown sugar

To make
Preheat oven to 375° F.

For the batter: Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and egg, beating well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk. Mix well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour into an ungreased glass 8x8 baking pan.

Please to enjoy this alternative view of zesting.

For the fruit: Combine the blackberries, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until well mixed.

The juiciness is obscene.

For the topping: Combine the flour and sugar. Cut the butter into the mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the fruit mixture.

This seemed wrong, but in an, "if it is I don't want to be right", kind of way.

See, this looks OK.

Place atop a baking sheet to catch any drips, overflows, or splatters. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Yes. That is a pool of butter. Don't be afraid.

And if you'd like to follow my version of this recipe all word-for-word and what not, but don't want to print out all my ramblings, a nice printable version lives here. Go on, I won't be offended.

Now, as far as the doggie poo bags go - that's still on the list, but after wrestling with an obstinate bobbin throughout two very simple projects (the other one is a birthday secret!), I was in no mood to continue the torture to make holders for poo bags. That will come at a later date, when the bobbin has had time to think about what it did and make amends.

For now, it has been sent to its room without dessert, and so we shared it (and some of Bubba's amazing BBQ) with our neighbors last night for an end of summer din-din of sorts.

Buckle not pictured. It was warming in the oven. Sorry to mislead you.

Hope you had a great long weekend,



  1. Well thank god you aren't toting the eagle bag- because really? Only old ladies with VHS tapes from the library use those. I'm proud of you that you actually admitted to owning one. I won't shame you. :)

  2. Okay, that new totebag is rad. But the shoes?! I AM IN LOVE.

  3. Finny, you're making me drool. That buckle would be fabulous for breakfast -- I am in need. LOVE those shoes!!!

  4. Great job on these two finished challenge projects. And I love the shoes!

  5. Daaaang! Way to kick it off, Ms. Finny! It all looks way too good: the buckle, the bag, the shoes, your purse, your outdoor table. . .. I really like your stuff. ;)

  6. I adore those shoes and I'm not even a shoe person. Much less someone who ever wears heals.

    But, damn those are cute.

    Also, nice job on the tote. Love that fabric!

  7. No wonder you wanted those shoes so badly!

    Your tote turned out very nice, and the blackberry buckle looks awesome. I have 2 canvas totes, but I bought them both and they are both lovely as is, so I have nothing to convert. I have been sewing many totes lately though. Does that count, or does it have to be a conversion?

  8. I must jump on the shoe-loving bandwagon with a comment of my own: dynamite! They remided me of a pretty fantastic pair that are in my closet and need to step out ( haha, pun intended ;) )
    I am also eager to make the canvas bag cover-up. I'l let you know if it turns out.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.