Archive for September 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons

I’ve noticed the suspicious water glistening along the edge of kitchen wall since the day before (though I did wonder if it might just be kitties splashing their drinking water) but when I heard what sounded like water dripping onto quite large pool of water (sound design skills come in handy around the house more often than one might imagine! I used my audio detective skills to monitor our kids safety all the time, for one.) I said to Todd “You might have to move all your meetings for the day…”. Anyhow, the maintenance guy came in promptly, and upon discovering that the large portion of the wall will have to be demolished, we decided to pack up and head out for the day. Serendipitously, it was a beautiful day so beach day it was!

I think that sandy hands and feet are so happy!


Japanese Vintage Sewing Kit

When my sister was visiting from Japan for a few days, she brought us a whole bunch of fabulous souvenirs but the most amazing item is this little vintage sewing kit. It was my mom’s which my grandmom had kept, apparently. It’s from the 50’s. It wasn’t anything special then, a normal one everyone had for home economics class at school. Well, it’s plenty special now! I haven’t seen much of vintage sewing notions from Japan, so I was super excited!

Making Earrings with WigJig

I made a pair of earrings! Which is something I haven’t done in a long time primarily because I don’t wear these things anymore due to little kids with grabby hands. Regardless, I really enjoy making earrings — I think I shall get back into it.

For the above pair, I couldn’t find suitable ear-wires in my stash (they all looked too  manufactured next to the steel dangly “hoops” which I made from steel wire) and in moment of enlightenment (:D) I excavated WigJig from back of my tool drawer. Seriously, it hasn’t seen day light in like 5+ years. I think that it fell out of common use in jewelry making because it tends to produce really tacky wire jewelry for most part, but I suddenly remembered that it’s still useful for making consistent jewelry components!

 

Recycle Candle Making

Candle making is something I’ve dabbled in long time ago but ultimately decided it wasn’t cost effective to make in small quantity. Fast forward about a month ago, we kept running out of candles (we light them a lot since kids love lanterns and candles as much as Todd and I) because Ikea keeps being sold out of tea-lights (and they have the best quality for the price tea-lights!). And anyhow, we don’t even like Ikea anymore so this errand hasn’t even been fun for us. Also, while tea-lights are cheapest to light, I kept feeling that those little tins having to be thrown out is wasteful, and I’m conscious of the metal wicks in these thing being a potential health hazard.

When I was contemplating this issue, I remembered seeing unwanted candles and candle making supplies being sold for very very cheap at various recycle shops around town…which would basically cut the cost issue in candle making. So when we had the chance, we headed over to SCRAP and got 2 big bags full of of unused beeswax bars and broken but unused white tapers for $0.25 per pound! Votive molds are really cheap at $0.59 per mold so I decided to start there since it would be most useful around the house. Only investment was in the wick, I got one without the metal core (made from cotton and paper!) which cost me $6 for a very large spool (enough for me to make hundreds of little candles!).

I already had pots I’ve gotten just for making soaps and such so off I went on candle making adventure.This batch is made from all the miscellaneous stuff that would have otherwise ended up in trash. Ashland picked out all the ones to put in this pot, I think he made a pretty assortment!

The content of the pot turned into the purple candle. The yellow one is previous batch. They are scented with essential oil and fragrance oil, topped with some herbs and shimmery mica powder…because well, they might as well be fun to make and fun light!

I experimented making dribbly looking ones. These ones smell like white tea.

…And I rolled some into taper candles.

The only innovation here is that I used wick that is much bigger than one usually used for votives because I knew that the wax I would be recycling would most likely be slower burning than wax typically blended for votive candles. The wick for tapers are recycled from broken taper candles.

 

Autumn is Here!

It seems autumn has snuck up on us! Though I listened to the breeze about a week ago and thought how it “sounded” autumnal…like the leaves were drier or something.

It hadn’t occurred to me that summer has ended. But it’s suddenly cooler. And leaves are turning color already!

I’m sure there’s scientific explanation for this but the sun lights up the forest differently too.

We happened by a pretty waterfall along the Columbia River Gorge, this isn’t the big famous one, but I kinda like it better.

The summer here has been very mild and comfortable for which I’m grateful for. But I’m happy for autumn, I have missed the grey sky and drizzles.

Vintage Threads and Tiny Crochet Hooks

I totally adore vintage threads of all sorts. This one in amazing color is crochet/tatting thread.

Because I have been crochetting tiny things using regular sewing thread lately, I was hoping to find crochet hooks that are smaller than the ones I can find at regular craft super stores — I have seen very delicate vintage crochet lace so I figured crochet hooks must have come in smaller sizes long time ago. …And I was totally right! I found a whole bunch of really small crochet hooks at Knittn’ Kitten. I’ve added the pin in the photo for scale.

The threads designed for these hooks are very delicate, completely beautiful and come in variety of colors. Look at the price on these things — 15¢  and 30¢ !

And this red one looks like it’s newer than then rest but the color red is rich and I love that it’s slightly variegated.

 

Key to Faeryland

I made a faux moss terrarium to suspend a tiny key. It’s so small while being quite detailed that it looks like a ginormous garden gate key for faeries! I do wonder what it really opened — cabinets or writing desk?

It has dried moss (no need for water or light!) and little gemstone pebbles below that to make it look like a functioning terrarium.

The wee little key is only about one inch long!

Todd found it for me, along with all these ones. Lucky lucky me!

Bread for Lucian

I made meat filled bread for meat loving Lucian. It’s like a focaccia but with lattice top kinda like a pie. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s what I felt like making!

I’m thinking that I’d like go further down this bread making adventure, but haven’t decided which way. I would love to make some sweet pastry treats, but haven’t had the guts to sacrifice 8 eggs and 2 sticks of butter for the sake of experiment…

Fancy Pretty Sea Salt for Cooking

Ever since the day my sister and I bought pretty jar full of lovely french sea salt in discounted gourmet food section at TJ Maxx to use as a bath soak (price was comparable to bath salts, and cooking salt doesn’t have crap like artificial color and scent in them) and decided to have a taste before pouring it in to the tub — I’ve been a fancy salt enthusiast. And that was in NH, so…10 years ago? I’m not particularly a good cook but I absolutely believe that good salt makes a huge difference. We don’t even ever buy iodized salt because it makes everything taste bad. For things where “ocean” flavor of the salt doesn’t count for much — like salting pasta water — I use kosher salt. …So when our friends shared with us sampling of very very fancy sea salt, it totally made my day!

This one is raspberry rosemary dessert salt. I think I’d love to bake some on shortbread cookies! How beautiful is this pink color?? [The cute vintage spoon thrifted for $0.10!]

And this one is some sort of peppery herb salt.

And this one is pink salt with seaweed in it.

And this one is “finishing” salt. The crystals are pyramid shaped flakes!

And this one is white truffle salt! Yum yum!!!

So pretty, it makes me happy just looking at them!