Archive for September, 2008

Cheery Oilcloth

Oilcloth Tablecloth

I whipped up this tablecloth for a folding table at my church. I’m in charge of organizing the coffee and treats each week, which I frankly haven’t been doing that stellar of a job. The church was using a 50-cup, tinny, percolator that made really weak, tinny coffee that was served out of styrofoam cups. Appetizing, right? I purchased a commercial Bunn brewer and upgraded to a local coffee, Cafe Umbria. I used to work at Torrefazione, which was started by the Bizzari brothers. Torrefazione has since been purchased and nearly eliminated by Starbucks. But the brothers each started new shops, Cafe Senso Unico and Cafe Umbria here in Seattle and they both have great coffee. We now also have eco cups, which biodegrade. Back to the tablecloth… I found the oilcoth at Stitches for a decent price and trimmed it with some leftover fabric I made into binding. I didn’t measure the table before I decided to make this, so I was a little worried my sizing would be off but it turned out just fine. And it looks so much nicer than a chipped, metal folding table. I was considering making a canvas tablecloth, because I found canvas fabric I just loved, but was soon very glad I didn’t go in that direction. After the first use of the tablecloth, about two cups of coffee were spilled on it and brownies and bread were mashed into it, and it all wiped off with a sponge.

This week went so much faster than last week, perhaps because I had a day off on Monday. It’s supposed to be nice this weekend, so we have plans to head to a local farm for some fresh produce,, and I’m going to re-pot my planters with fall cabbage and mums; the summer herbs are all looking very sad. And, hopefully, get some rest!

3 comments September 27th, 2008

Summer Dress

Summer Dress

Summer Dress

Over a glass of wine, a girlfriend and I were talking about Project Runway and our desire to make more clothes. We got it in our heads that we should challenge ourselves, and one of our other dear friends that sews, to make a seasonal dress without a pattern. I’ve never made a dress before, but I have free-formed a few items of clothing. This gorgeous Anna Sui linen has been hanging around in my stash for over a year. It was staring me down and condemning me for having so much unused fabric–another reason we were inspired to create this “challenge.” The plan is to reveal our creations next month at a shared dinner party with our husbands.

The dress I’m making is loosely based on an Anthropologie shirt and a vintage dress I have in my closet. The top has a swoop neck with a high waste and some serious pleats in the skirt. I’m going to embellish the top with some large rhinestones and I’m considering trimming the sleeves with the pleated ribbon I made. It might be too much pleating, though. We’ll see. I’m starting to question the pleats altogether, since the fabric has such a strong pattern on it and in bright colors to boot. I’ve got both of the top pieces made and the front skirt. All that’s left is the back skirt, zipper, and lining. I spent about four hours on it thus far, and probably have about that much left with all of the finishing touches.

It’s a shame the summer’s already gone and I won’t be able to wear it (aside from our party) until next year, but at least the linen’s not shaming me at every turn!

4 comments September 23rd, 2008

The Dahlia Farm


When my grandma was in town, I took a day off to spend time with her and my mom. I figured we’d do something fun so when my mom suggested the SeaTac Dahlia Garden I was a little perplexed. Not because a dahlia garden sounds like an un-fun adventure, but because the town of SeaTac is mostly known for the humongous international airport that resides there, about a 20 minute drive South of Seattle. The town is not cute and some would even call it run down. It’s full of strip malls, loud planes, and old, pre-war houses.


Off of a very busy road, we spotted a blue house with a few rows of dahlias lined up in corn rows, with a smattering of water-rotted tables filled with buckets of cut dahlias and a sign that read, “Pick your own: $4 dozen or $0.35 per stem. The house was gated and looked like no one was home, leaving us very unsure of the plan. Planters of dahlias shone their pretty heads behind the house, so we approached the gate and found a very small sign that invited any guest to enter in.


Behind the gate and the house were rows and rows–probably an acre or two–of dahlias in all colors and varieties. After some wandering past a bed with about 20 varieties all with blood-red stems and foliage, we spotted an older man, in his 80s for certain, with a baseball cap and Osh Kosh jean corduroys crouched in the dirt, busy away. He explained the order of the garden: the patch goes from small to large varieties (with heads the size of a newborn) the farther south you walk. They’re organized by color, then shape from there and each is neatly tagged with their name, “Tropical Sunrise, Peppermint Patty, Gertie’s Red” in a calligraphic script. Another man, of same age and stature, appeared out of the field and we learned that the two gentlemen run the place. They dig up the bulbs each October, harvest them, sell them in the spring, and replant–each year. I’ve planted a few bulbs before, but I can’t imagine digging, dividing, and replanting the sheer quantity of dahlias they do. And at 80! Can you imagine?


We chatted for a little while, finished perusing the dahlias, placed a few orders for the spring, and gathered a lovely bouquet from the cut flowers in the front. It’s definitely worth a visit, if you’re nearby.

8 comments September 15th, 2008

Pickled Green Beans

Pickled Green Beans

Pickled Green Beans

A friend and I spent an August Saturday canning green beans. We had 20 pounds (!) that we cleaned and trimmed, which was really about half the work involved in the process. We had three pots of boiling water on the stove and one filled with vinegar brine at all times. We used a dilled green bean recipe that was half from Martha Stewart and half from a random Southern recipe I found online. We both wound up with about 15 pints. And they turned out delicious! I love canning. It’s so rewarding and the cans make great gifts. We have plans to make a batch of pickles, but we can’t get to it for a couple of weeks. I think kirby cucs will still be in season, but I’m not sure.

The sun has been out for a few days now and I’m eating it up. I spent all Sunday on the beach reading. It was the perfect temperature with the perfect breeze and no clouds in sight. I have a bit of a red patch on the back of my legs and I feel all warm and energized. :)

4 comments September 9th, 2008

Pasta Dinner

Penne Pasta

We’ve been eating this a lot lately. A friend made this for us and it was so good I had to try it myself. Plus, it’s really easy to make.

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 # cherry tomatoes (it’s not the same without them!)
2 cloves garlic

Place these in a pan and bake them at 450 for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Prepare penne pasta as the package directs.

In the meantime, chop about 20 full-size basil leaves and 12 oz of fresh mozzarella.

Toss all ingredients together with about 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Penne Pasta

We had a lovely, low-key weekend. I spent some time crafting (one project was not so successful, which hasn’t happened in a while. I forgot how discouraging that can be) and cooking and cleaning and lazying around. The weather was cold, so we stayed indoors. I’m so bummed out September’s here. I get like this each year, and it’s enhanced since we had such a cold and wet summer. I really enjoy the fall, but I get so tired of being cold all the time. Give me warmth! and sun! We have some really exciting plans for the fall, though, so I’m sure I’ll suffer through it. We’re going to Connecticut and NYC to visit my most loveliest friends of all. Plus, Christmas is right around the corner now. It’s strange how Christmas used to be exciting for the gifts and now it’s exciting for the break from work (and of course the meaning behind it). So, yes, the weekend was good and long and restful. And I have some lame attempts at a woven basket to show you. I finished piecing the face of the quilt I started in January. I made an oil cloth table cloth. And strawberry shortcake. Oh my!

3 comments September 3rd, 2008



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