Monday, November 12, 2012

All about the Steam

Steampunk. 'Nuff said.

It's brilliant. Creative. Endlessly fascinating.

I've been reading steam novels for the last couple of years. Some of my favorites include Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, Philip Reeves' Mortal Engines series, Scott Westerfeld's steam series beginning with Leviathan, a highly disturbing and endless novel called the Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and its sequel, Dark Volume. The list goes on and on.

I've tried so many times to switch over to a mainly steampunk wardrobe, but I always end up in black. Once you go goth, you never go back. Maybe it's just easier to do laundry when it's all black or jeans.

In the meantime, I had been saving up bits and bobs to make a steampunk sweaterdoll. I love this pattern. The doll can look like practically anything!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweaterdolls and me

Mr. True Love hates birthday celebrations. He hates shopping. He hates owning stuff.

I am the same.

But I'll be going away for the first time in 18 months and since we LOVE to be together, I decided to make him a mini-me in absentia. We even hate to be apart for the day when he goes to work. He usually heads straight to the coffee when he gets home but every day we have a major hug fest before the coffee. I am honored.

I made him a little Allison sweaterdoll. Sweaterdolls are upcycled from.....sweaters. But sometimes I use other types of clothing to make them.

Yes, I wear jeans ALL the time. And usually a little black pullover. I have a tattoo and a nose ring and I even added a little jewel on my left hand for my wedding ring. I wear glasses but have brown eyes and figured the buttons would have to accomplish both.

Now don't spoil the surprise and sent him pix.'s a secret!

It's supposed to look like the jackalope I have tattoed on my arm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good Ol' Southern Baking

This is the recipe I've used for years for American southern biscuits, scones, savory empanadas, and hand held fruit pies. For scones, I split the milk to half cream and half milk. Not 'half and half' product. And I add a few spoons of sugar and sometimes a little vanilla extract. 

We had some berries in the freezer that really needed to be used so I made little fruit pies. I ended up not pinching the little pies together enough and they opened a bit. That's okay. I just licked the gooey yummy thickened berry juices off the baking paper when I took them out of the oven. I considered it a tip for the cook. 

Ten seconds after snapping a pic, I had tea in one hand and a hot scone in the other.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (you can also mix whole wheat and white)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup milk

Blend the dry ingredients sort of sifting them with a fork as you go. Blend in the softened butter with your fingertips. Then add the milk and mix until the dough starts to follow the fork around the bowl. Turn it out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead 10-12 times. You can roll it out and cut 8-10 biscuits or just grab chunks and kind of roll into a ball and flatten a bit. Bake at 450F (230C) for 12 minutes or until turning a golden brown. 

Mine were done before 12 minutes were up. This was not my usual oven and you have to get to know your oven.

Use these to make lunch box apple pies. Or mix up a savory meat and veggie filling. Roll out the cut biscuits until they are very nearly flat. Place a couple of tablespoons of filling in the middle and fold the dough to a semi-circle. Pinch the edges together using milk on your fingertips to glue it all together. Bake at 350F (180C) for 15-20 minutes. Cover them with a little foil the first 5 minutes if you find they are browning too quickly.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Starting at the end of the blog

This post is dated late 2012, but it has actually been rewritten for you in May 2016. 

I re-welcome you if you have been following my blog and I welcome new readers who have wandered into the story.

My old Blogger blog is growing up and moving onto a real website. But the blog doesn't need the dozens of posts that are no longer relevant and whose crazy cool links are often no longer valid.

Much was deleted.

But I saved the best, I think. There remains the progression of this blog, from the days I made dolls upcycled from sweaters (hence "SweaterDoll"), through the many sewing and needlework tutorials with their free downloadable PDFs, stopping to make do and mend with a number of helpful posts about mending all manner of clothing and home textiles. There are a few recipes I didn't want to remove because they are just so yummy. And a few articles about textile history that I was raised with and have a sweet echo in today's handmakers. 

There's a whole section about the toxicity of polyester fiberfill and an exploration and review of many types of natural fiber craft and toy stuffing.Those are some of the most popular posts on the blog.

There is even a post with video lesson links that show you how to make an upcycled sweaterdoll. 

In the beginning of 2016, I had the intention of spending the year immersed in personal fiber art explorations and experiments. But a major move turned my Sewing Cabinet of Curiosities into Craftus Interruptus.

Boxing, unboxing, for weeks, I ended up reconnecting to a memory of the gift of time. It was Grandma Ida handing seven year old me a stamped cross stitch potholder to which I remember adding wonky Xs that spelled Love Dad. It was then I learned the enjoyment that blossoms when your own two hands make the pictures in your head visible.

That memory gave me the impetus to create Embroidery School, a free learning series on the blog complete with downloadable sampler pattern. The series was so successful, it has propelled me into the world of designing simple, artful embroidery patterns and stamped fabrics for that special time for YOU. Time when you put down the ringing, beeping, buzzing things and just live - one stitch at a time.

And so I'm starting the blog with the ending. Well, not THE ending, but the end of it the way it was and with an introduction to what it is. 

It's you and me and some needles and thread. The tea is brewing. Come on in.