* machine-quilted felt coasters

Posted on October 28th, 2013 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

Mark said the other day that we need more coasters.  What a good crafting activity to get back into the swing of things.

I used my favorite vintage linen paired with my favorite Japanese thick felt.

I sewed the layers together just with a straight stitch, following the pattern on the fabric.

Which makes them reversible.

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* pleasing crochet tricks

Posted on October 20th, 2013 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Links, Crochet.

Oh hi.  I’m going to start craftlogging again.  Started to miss the place.

I’m working on a crochet project, and came across these two very pleasing crochet tricks to eliminate the ugly joins in crochet motifs.

1.  Get rid of the chains that make the first double crochet of a round!

2. Join the rounds perfectly instead of with a slip stitch!  (I use a crochet hook to pull through the relevant loops instead of bothering with a tapestry needle.)

* Food in Jars at the Book Larder

Posted on June 10th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Wants.

Fun event of the morning: at a canning demo by the Food in Jars author. The Book Larder is a really cute little shop.

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* fall/winter garden planning

Posted on June 4th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

I think I have everything planted now for my summer garden, though I’ll probably do a little reseeding here and there depending on how well things germinate and how successfully I can fend off the slugs from the seedlings.

Now to start planning for the fall and winter! If you are also planning your winter garden and would like to swap seeds, hit me up :)

I was happy to see that Binda Colebrook’s Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest is in a new printing. I’ve gotten this out of the library repeatedly, so it’s nice to fanally have my own copy. She used to garden literally across the street from my house. Can’t get more local advice than that!

My main problem is thinking about which crops will be done when, and what needs to go in next. It’s a big puzzle.

In place already: the kale, brussels sprouts, and chard are already coming up (in fact, the kale is getting ready for a first light harvest), and should all make it through the winter if last year is any indication.

Next up: I’m planning to try to keep the broccoli and cauliflower starts going in pots until the garlic bed clears out. The other early finishers are my fennel and radishes, which I will probably replant with root crops. The onions are getting eaten up pretty quick too, but I’m leaving that space for the strawberries to run. My spring peas are just now producing, so when they’re done I can plant a second planting in the same bed. By August, some of my salad beds will probably be done, making way for onions and scallions. Garlic is no problem since all the tomatoes and squash will be ready to go by October. Salad greens I can probably just intersperse around and about.

What else: somewhere in there, though, I want to fit more root crops, greens, and probably more onions. This is the first year I’ve grown them, and they’re really nice. I might just wait and get starts later on, though, instead of going from seed. Last year, I didn’t get great germination of the seed anyway.

Anybody have any other good planning tips?

* tomatoes in

Posted on May 28th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

I got my tomatoes planted this weekend.  This year I’m not taking any chances and bought strong starts at the Seattle Tilth plant sale and from the farmers market.  I repotted them into nice big pots and made sure to harden them off all last week before planting them out.  They got planted in deep holes to bury part of the stem.  I’ve been haphazard about staking in the past, so this year I also got tomato cages.  So far so good.

I’m trying all new varieties this year: stupice (red early slicing), sungold (yellow cherry), purple calabash (big purple slicing), Amish paste (red paste), and Jaune Flamme (smallish orange slicing).

We’ll see how they measure up to last year’s cast:

yellow pear: little pear-shaped yellow cherry tomatoes.  Pretty tasty, but thick skin and kind of mealy (though Mark disagreed on that count).  Poor yield, but that was my own ineptitude at growing tomatoes from seed.

sugar lump: red cherry tomato.  These were juicy and sweet and very prolific.  Minor splitting problems.

siletz: early slicing tomato.  These are not very sweet, but not in a bad way. I got a pretty good yield from them and they were the first of them all to mature.  They also all split in the slightest rain.

striped Roman: red oblong paste tomato with greenish stripes.  These were pretty and tasted ok, but their little pointy tails had a tendency to go soft and rot.  Reasonable yield, even though I planted them late and in terrible soil.

momotaro: big pink slicing tomato.  I had high hopes for this one, supposedly the favorite heirloom tomato in Japan.  I thought they were watery and bland, though.

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* potato sacks

Posted on April 8th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

Lots going on in the garden.  I planted my potatoes a couple of weeks ago.  This year, in addition to a retry of the trash can, I’m also trying burlap sacks, as seen at the garden show.  I found the coffee sacks at Second Use for a dollar each.

I planted three varieties of fingerlings: ozette, rose finn apple, and la ratte.  They’re in a mix of compost and chopped straw.  The trick is going to be to keep them from drying out like I suspect happened last time.

The other container gardening experiment we’re trying is hops on the deck (which we’re now calling the “hopyard”) for Mark’s homebrewing operation.  We’ve got nugget, centennial, and cascade going.

This weekend, Mark also built me a fifth raised bed.  It’s just a little 3×3 feet one (same as my herb bed) to fit between a street sign and a tree in the parking strip.  Like all the others, it’s made of untreated cedar fence slats and wooden stakes, and the grand total cost was $4.  We’re going to get a bulk order of a veggie blend to topdress the yard and beds, so I plan to fill it with that.

My planting plans have kind of gotten out of control this year.  I’ve got a set of index cards with drawings of each bed and estimated dates to sub in new crops for harvested ones.  I’ve been doing some trades with other gardeners on Folia, which has only added to all the stuff I want to grow (if you are interested in swapping seeds, here’s my stash).

The winter garden was a qualified success.  I only just finished harvesting all my overwintered kale.  Seriously, we have had kale every day for like two weeks to finish it all before the flowers opened.  Just ate the last turnip and its greens.  The purple sprouting broccoli is making tons of side shoots after I cut off all the central heads (and ate them raw with veggie dip, yum yum).  I will never plant spring broccoli again given last year’s aphid disaster.  The chard is still going strong too, with a tiny bit of winter damage.  Once we recover from kale fatigue, it’ll be next on the menu.  Herbs also weathered the winter just fine:  still have parsley, thyme, and some sparse chives, and the bed of catnip is even perhaps doing a little too well.

On the negative side, I planted the brussels sprouts too late, so they never made sprouts and recently bolted.  Luckily, before pulling the plants and feeding them to the chickens, I checked if the leaves and raab are tasty.  Indeed they are!  For the carrots and beets, I think I should have planted earlier and thinned better, since I didn’t get good roots from some of the plants.  They’re still growing and haven’t gone to seed yet, though, so I’m harvesting a few here and there.

Another welcome spring thing is that the chickens have gotten back in the swing of things.  We’re back to getting eggs from both of them regularly.  Interestingly, Sue, the buff orpington, was the lower volume layer last year as compared to Lester, the hybrid.  This year, though, Sue started laying earlier and has been more reliable than Lester.  I think it’s a difference between the multi-use heritage breeds that would have been expected to produce for a few years, versus the hybrids that have been selected for amazing production in their first year or two before being culled.  Lester has also started laying weird ginormous eggs.

The chickens have also been helping me condition the squash bed.  This is a kind of blighted, clay-y bed that formerly housed some very unhappy bushes.  Last year, we pulled them all out and I did manage to grow winter and summer squash there.  The summer squash take was predictably awesome, but I only had a few winter squashes make it.  After the squashes came out in the fall, I planted a cover crop to enrich the soil.  I’ve been placing the chicken tractor over it and letting the girls stuff themselves on greens while scratching everything up.  Momo was a little too interested.

The chicken tractor has now been redeployed as a pea trellis, and I don’t want the cover crop to get any ideas about going to seed, so I turned it all under today.  We’ll add some of the vegetable bed mix as well, and hopefully this will improve my yield this year.


Sprouting: peas, broccoli raab, radishes, chard, beets, mesclun mix, arugula, scallions, fennel, horseradish

Sowing: carrots, more beets, kale, leeks, chives, dill, cilantro, parsley

Sowing indoors: basil, Thai basil, shiso

* meal planner download

Posted on March 18th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden, Paper Crafts.

I’ve been using meal planner sheets for a couple of years now, with varied success.  The goal is to have an intentional dinner instead of just assembling something easy when I get home.  Cute planners are good commitment devices, so I whipped one up in Powerpoint.

You can download the PDF in an assortment of colors.

Other cute ones I rotate through (and took design inspiration from):

* colorform jar labels

Posted on March 13th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Experiments, Home and Garden.

My pretty Weck jars have one issue I haven’t been able to figure out: how to label them.  With the normal jars, the metal lids are single use, so sticking labels on them or writing on them is fine.  I don’t want to deal with picking labels off the glass lids, though.  The Weck boards on Pinterest are a good source of ideas.  It looks like most people live with stickers or tie tags around the neck.  Some sort of easily removable sticker would work best for me.  Apparently, they make water soluble labels for canning, but they seem to all have terrible reviews.

I ended up trying two adhesive solutions: cling vinyl and a 3M reusable sticky mounting thing.  For the 3M stickies, I cut out a little rectangle of ink jet-printable, waterproof, map paper for the label side.  It stuck well initially, but came lose in the fridge.  The ones I got are pretty thick, and rectangular, so they only work well on the straight-sided jars anyway.  So that experiment was a bust.

I’m more excited about the home made colorforms.  I found 4 gauge vinyl at Joann’s and attempted to die-cut it into circles.  Like most everything else about my L Letterpress, the die-cutting is also terrible, so I ended up just cutting them out.  The good news is that even the cheap-y decorative edge scissors worked great on the vinyl, so I was able to make some cute scalloped ones.  You can draw on the vinyl with Sharpies.  The darker colors work best (red, for example, is almost invisible against orange marmalade, which is why these were not photographed on the jars), and I am going to look for white vinyl for future use.  They stick to the jar lids pretty securely, though I’m monitoring their staying power.  They turned out just how I imagined, more or less, so I’m reasonably happy with the results.

By the way, the “several citrus marmalade” was an invention using the leftovers from the cara cara meyer lemon marm plus grapefruit and kumquat.  I used the full sugar pectin this time, and it didn’t really set for some reason.  I was going to try to reprocess it, but it turns out to be a great glaze for marmalade muffins.

* seed swap envelopes

Posted on March 11th, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

I just did my first couple of seed swaps on Folia and made these little envelopes.

If anybody out there wants to trade seeds, here’s my stash.

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* Emerald City Gardens

Posted on February 21st, 2012 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review.

We stopped by Emerald City Gardens this weekend on the way to Ballard.  Such a cute shop, and they are always so helpful and knowledgeable.  They have an excellent assortment of seeds, including Irish Eyes, Baker Creek, Renee’s Garden, and they were putting out more while we were there.  Good potato selection too.  My favorite thing is the bin of last year’s seeds.  50 cents each!  Can’t beat that.  I got a fistful of packets, plus I found out that I’ve been overwatering my lithops :P

And there’s a shop cat!

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craftlog is under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license. That means that you are all welcome to take and repost my photos, replicate my projects, remix my ideas, whatever you want as long as you give attribution (a link is fine) and it's noncommercial. Thanks!