Archive for the ‘Crafty Review’ Category

* whatever, “Whatever, Martha!”

Posted on April 16th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Martha.

Tivo thought I might like Hallmark’s “Whatever, Martha!” which has apparently been around for a while but is new to me.  The concept appears to be MST3K on old Martha Stewart episodes (ha, I just found out that this is actually true).  The twist being that it’s her daughter, Alexis, and some friend of hers doing the snarking.  Unfortunately, they are just not particularly funny or interesting.  The show also featured a guest who had been on Martha and watched the episode with them.  That part was particular cringey.  Oh well, maybe people who actually like Martha are not the target audience.


* doily applique

Posted on April 9th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review.

Today’s Goodwill finds: some metal rings I intend to use for crochet frames and a 1970s craft book: Creative Crafts and Stitchery.  I pretty much knew I was going to get it as soon as I saw the cover:


My favorite project in it, and I mean that without any irony, is this doily flower applique.  I especially like the leaves.


I almost got a second book that had a pretty great blackwork owl pattern, but I ended up putting it back.

(Ha, just was searching for a good photo of the front cover since my copy is torn, and found out that doe-c-doe and playcait have both posted about this book and also liked the doily applique.  Hive mind.)


* loom flowers

Posted on March 4th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Experiments.

Home sick for two days and working my way through the backlog on the Tivo since I dispatched all my Law and Order reruns yesterday.  I found a cache of Knit and Crochet Today episodes from January that I had never gotten around to watching.  One was on using flower looms (to make a truly hideous scarf).  It reminded me that I got a set of looms at a garage sale last year and never gave it a try (typical).

Cathy of California also has a good tutorial.

The first one, using hemp string and a small loom, came out way too country-cute for my taste.  This is not helped by the button, but I needed to cover up my uneven stitches holding everything together.


The second one, of kitchen twine and thread on a large loom with a small inner ring of pegs, is a little more interesting.  But still very very home ec.


Oh well.  They are quick to do at least.


* hilarious dinosaur sampler

Posted on February 12th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Cross Stitch/Embroidery.

I’ve been looking through my old cross stitch books for a new project (TBA).  My sister found me a bunch of old ones one year, and I love how dated they are. This pattern may be my favorite so far, from the book Expressions of Love put out by Woman’s Day magazine in 1989.


I kind of want to make it, even though there are no mothers I know who would appreciate it.  It is so mysterious in its symbolism.  Does the use of dinosaurs mean that a mother’s love lasts even after the whole species has gone extinct?  That is a long time.  And why is there an hourglass at the bottom?  Is the mother dinosaur comforting the baby dinosaur because their time is running out?  I just don’t know!


* toffee magazine

Posted on February 1st, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review.

I don’t know how it took me this long to come across toffee magazine.  It is very pretty.

I’m still working my way through all the articles (and even the ads!)  It’s not just a rehash of all the sites I already know about, which is nice.

To be honest, the craft elements in this one weren’t super awesome, but they did include some pretty designs, which are even licensed for personal blog use.  I’m thinking I might use this one in a redesign.


There are some cute lists and gift tags to print out too.

The rest is a mix of artist profiles, articles, recipes, reviews, and little samplers of advice or recommendations.  I am totally making the Cinnamon Madeleine Sandwiches with Blueberry Troll Cream some time.

So far worth the subscription.


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* Dollar bin embroidery book

Posted on January 18th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review.

For some reason the local grocery store had a table of used books for a dollar each for charity. I can’t resist old craft books and had to get this one: Mary Martin’s Needlepoint.  It’s a weird hybrid memoir of needlepoint projects, with a few how-to diagrams thrown in at the end.  It’s inscribed on the front cover to Marge Phillips, Christmas 1973.

This is my favorite piece.  It’s a mix of lace applique, wool crewel, and needlepoint.  The quote is by poet May Sarton from Plant Dreaming Deep, according to the book.


It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, posted by Eireann a few years ago, “You are entitled to the work, but not to the reward.”  Ha, in looking up that old post just now, I noticed that I commented saying I should embroider that on a sampler.  Maybe I should.


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* Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Posted on January 8th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Crafty Review, Home and Garden.

I got the Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens out from the library last month and have been working my way through it cover to cover.  I’m glad I didn’t start with it as my first book about chickens; it would’ve been overwhelming.  Now that I have at least a little bit of an idea of what I’m doing, and have read enough from other sources to keep up, it’s a great resource.  It’s well written, informative, and hilariously illustrated.


I want this printed on a t-shirt.  There’s also this one of a poor chicken in a sling.


In other chicken news: don’t cheap out and buy the plastic waterer.  It will crack when it ices up, and then it will leak, and then you will have to go back to the Co-op this weekend to get the metal one you should’ve bought instead.  (See also: cheap plastic feeder pinata problem.)


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* decoupaged sewing tin

Posted on December 25th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

We gave my niece a copy of the book Beasties for Christmas.  It was kindly sent to me as a review copy by the publisher.  Last time my nieces and nephews visited, we sewed some stuffed animals together.  This book seems kind of perfect for them.  The designs are childish enough that I probably wouldn’t make them myself, but they are exactly the type of thing the kiddos will love.  Pretty simple too.

I put together a pack of felt to go with the book, then realized I should probably send some sewing supplies too.  One thing led to another, and I ended up decoupaging an Altoids tin for a tiny sewing kit.


The fabric is a cute scrap from a church sale grab bag.  Inside: tiny scissors, pins and needle, embroidery thread, and a few buttons.



* chicken resources

Posted on November 20th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Chickens, Crafty Links, Crafty Review, Home and Garden.

So far so good with the chickens.  Mark built them a perch, and we got a little fence so they can have the run of the whole back yard.  Hester and Sue are still skittish about getting picked up.  After they roost, they seem to calm down a lot though, so I’ve been picking them up when I shut them up for the night.  I feel a little bit bad that I don’t wake up early enough for them.  They’re always waiting for me in the morning and scramble over each other for the food like they’re starving.  It’s funny watching them eat, especially various kitchen scraps.  They kind of test it and think about it and decide whether it’s better or worse than what they were eating 10 seconds before.  Sue at least seems to like to eat slugs, too, yay!  I’d heard that the Seattle slugs were not tasty to chickens.

To prepare for getting my chickens, I did the usual internetting, but I also took a class and read some books.



I took City Chickens 101 from Seattle Tilth.  It was shorter than I had hoped it would be, but the instructor (whose name I unfortunately don’t remember) stayed afterward as long as we still had questions.  He was a really great teacher.  He tried to present information that was evidence- and science-based.  For example, he cited a lot of work done at agricultural schools, and he had a surprisingly good knowledge of chicken genetics.  Favorite bit of advice: chicken behavior can only be understood by knowing about chicken evolution.  He also recommended getting cheap hens by grifting children whose parents aren’t around at the 4H fair. Haha.

I also got some advice from the farmer I bought the chickens from.  He was really nice and spent a lot of time helping me, both on the phone and at his farm.  I knew he would be good to buy from when he gave me the third degree over the phone about why I wanted them and what I was planning on feeding them.  He also refused to sell me just 1 or 2 since he thought they would be unhappy (I believe he actually said a single chicken would “die of sadness”).  He also gave me a 3 page advice sheet with his tips.


I checked out pretty much every chicken book they had at the library.  None of them really stand out, but I learned different things from the different books.

I got Keeping Pet Chickens for Christmas last year and it’s a nice short, basic introduction.  It was really good for just getting an idea for what I was in for.


I also got Keeping Chickens with Ashley English.  It’s pretty and easy to read, but with enough detail to be useful.


Oh dear, I see she has a Keeping Bees book coming out March 2011.  I hope I don’t get any ideas….


* more gardening books

Posted on June 6th, 2010 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Home and Garden.

More books that I’ve collected since this earlier post.

Raised-Bed Vegetable Gardening Made Simple by Raymond Nones. It’s got these great little hand drawn illustrations and lots of very practical information about things like succession planting and plot planning that are somewhat mysterious to me. It’s a little bit too far down the organic/natural gardening spectrum for my tastes.  “Weeds have a right to grow too” is not the kind of advice I need at this point :P  Believe me, they’re doing just fine.


All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.  Found on sale!  My friend Carole rec’ed this one.  The writing is a little overly self referential in that large swaths of the book are dedicated to history of the method or how this version is “all new.”  I’m not going to read the old version just so I understand how it’s been improved.  That said, it is pretty stand alone once it gets done patting itself on the back.  Turns out I am a natural square foot gardener since that’s pretty close to how I organized my beds anyway.

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon.  I got this for the Pacific Northwest-specific advice.  So far so good.

Gardening week in review:

  • Mark built me a gardening bench in the garage.  It’s just a utility shelf unit with one of the shelves left off, but it’s great.  He even mounted lights so I can see what I’m doing.  I have all my tools hung from hooks and a little clothes line to clip my gardening gloves up to dry. We have potting mix in a big bucket and plastic bins to store seeds and labeling supplies.
  • We also built a third (and last) raised bed!  It’s full size like the first one.
  • Transplanted all my starts into my new bed and apparently killed most of the cardboard tube ones.  I should have just planted the entire tube, but instead I tried to peel off the outer layer like the book suggested and that disturbed all the delicate little roots.  They were all leggy and pathetic anyway since I think they weren’t getting enough light.  Next year I’ll set up a grow lamp system in the garage in my new gardening bench.  Luckily one of the local grad students and a friend in Portland both had some extra tomato starts they were nice enough to share, good big plants that look like they have survived my mishandling.
  • Planted back up seeds for all the starts in the new bed.  They might not grow in time for harvest, but it’ll be a learning opportunity.  Or something.
  • Ate lots from my mesclun mix.  The arugula is starting to get a little too spicy, so I might pull that to give the others more room.  My mustard spinach is really tasty.  I’m always disappointed by how much it cooks down though.  I need to plant a lot more of it so I can get whole servings.
  • The peas are flowering!


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books I’m in


  • Tingly Cheesy Brussels Sprouts & Sausage Bake - Momofuku Peachy Keen

  • This week, I’m in Jaipur, India, starting my second teaching stint with Ritchie Ace Camps. Last year’s Jaipur experience was amazing (lots of pics here), and I can’t wait to meet everyone who is coming on the 2015 version (although I’m going to miss last year’s group like mad!). I hadn’t used block printing techniques a lot …

  • This Mediterranean White Bean Salad is a fast, easy, and fresh side dish that pairs nicely with any grilled or roasted meat.

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