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Driftwood Mobile

October 11, 2013

driftwood mobile

This mobile is a fail, in that I intended for it to be a very “instant gratification” project . . . but instead it turned out to be very labor-intensive. I don’t know why I always think mobiles will be easy (like this dang thing, or this one). I mean, Calder made a living on them, so of course there must be some work involved.

But in the end, I really like the finished result. No pain, no gain! It’s not the destination, it’s the journey-blah-blah-blah.

driftwood mobile

This is a zero-budget project if you’re already a crafter – you probably have all the supplies on-hand. I try to spend as much of my life as I can near the water, and when you live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, driftwood flows freely in and out of your life.

To make this driftwood mobile, you’ll need: small bits of driftwood (find it at craft stores or online if you are land-locked), embroidery floss, tacky glue, a drill, a large hoop, a small ring, and scissors. I used a plastic hoop that (I think) was part of a macrame set, but you could use an embroidery hoop instead. If you have a cat, I strongly suggest shutting him in a room throughout the duration of this project. Also, please remember to tie your hair back when wielding the drill, okay?

driftwood mobile

  1. Drill a hole at the top of each driftwood bit.
  2. Wrap thread around the driftwoods as you wish. Run a thin bead of tacky glue over the wrapped threads and spread it around to secure the threads.
  3. Cut three long threads. With all three held together, fold them in half and secure them to your small ring with a lark’s head knot (this will be the business part of the hanger).
  4. Tie the loose ends of those threads to the large hoop at equal distances from each other, in three spots (two threads held together at each tie-to spot).  You must also try to make them as close to the same length from the hoop as you can. This is where things start to get tedious.
  5. For each driftwood bit, thread a long string through the hole. Tie a square knot at the top of the driftwood. Now take the small end of the thread and make a few half hitch knots to secure it. After making a few half hitches, cut the small thread end close to the last half hitch knot and dab on a tiny bit of glue to prevent it from coming apart.
  6. For the remainder, I highly recommend hanging your hoop up somehow, so you can get a better feel for where to place the driftwood, and at what length.
  7. Tie your driftwood danglies onto the hoop however you like.
  8. Move the danglies around until they look evenly spaced.
  9. Wrap thread around the hoop as you did with the driftwood and secure with glue at the end.

driftwood mobile

‘Tis pretty, but t-e-d-i-o-u-s. Hang it up where your cat can’t destroy it, and you’re good to go.

Fruit and Nut Bites

September 15, 2013

This recipe won’t blow your mind, but that means it’s quick and easy – so, WIN! I needed something that could pass as breakfast, and something I could shove in my face quick on my way to work. After checking out several recipes for homemade Luna and Clif bars . . . I gave up and just threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor to see how it would turn out. And it just so happens they didn’t turn out half bad.

Fruit and Nut Bites

I can’t attest to the calorie or fat count for these, but it’s full of healthy fats from the nuts, flax, and coconut oil, so I feel okay about it. Next time, I’ll try adding some protein powder into the mix for some extra oomph. And maybe I’ll roll them in chia seeds or something. If you try it first, let me know how it turns out!

Fruit and Nut Bites

This makes 16 inch-ish-sized bites:

1 cup nuts (any – I used cashews)

1 cup dried fruit (any – I used a mix of dried berries and raisins*)

2 TB flax seed, ground (I used a coffee grinder)

2 TB flax seed, whole

1 TB coconut oil

1 TB of honey or brown rice syrup (if you want to make vegan bites)

Some sunflower seeds (optional – about ¼ cup or so)

Put the nuts and flax seed (both ground and whole) into a food processor. Whirl it up until it’s ground up nice, but not so much that it turns into nut butter. Dump the nut mix into a bowl.

Put the fruit, oil, and honey (or brown rice syrup) into the processor. Grind it up until it looks like a paste. This takes patience and your food processor will make some ugly noises. Talk nice to it and take your time. Scrape the fruit paste into the bowl with the nut mixture.

Use your hands to combine the fruit and nut mixes thoroughly. I found that treating it like you’re kneading bread dough makes for less messy hands. Sprinkle in the sunflower seeds and combine those in, too.

Once everything is good and incorporated, grab something to make balls. I used this 1.5 TB scoop, but you could use a regular spoon. Scoop, then roll into balls. Keep these in the fridge for face-shoving.

* Raisins. You want to know what bothers me about raisins? This is what the ingredient list says, “Ingredients: raisins.” Shouldn’t it say, “Ingredients: grapes?” This drives me nuts. Welcome to my brain.

The Other Portland

September 8, 2013

Saturday Market Portland

Since we got engaged on our trip to Portland, Maine, we decided to honeymoon in the other Portland – OREGON! And why not kill a few birds with one stone: we visited friends and family while we were there, too! We did a little bit of everything, including a small road trip on the coast, so I’ll try to narrow down the pictures as much as I can.

We saw Wilder Lee at the Portland Saturday market. Mesmerizing. We also ate food and drank local beers and shopped at said market.

Wilder Lee Portland Saturday Market

We met up with my uncle and aunt for a tour of the Columbia Gorge. This also included lots of waterfall sightings, a trip to the lock and dam, and a visit to the sturgeon/trout/salmon hatchery. Which is much more interesting than it sounds.

Columbia Gorge

Multnomah Falls!

Multnomah Falls

We had lunch at this little place in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. ‘Twas delish, and they had three-feet-tall ice cream cones!

Hamburger Stand

Here now, the coast. We stopped about every ten minutes to take in the scenery, so I’ll just put a few out of the hundreds of coast pics here. We were lucky enough to find two ocean-view rooms along the way: one in Lincoln City and one in Cannon Beach.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Cape Foulweather. A good place to start because our coast trip was gray and rainy the whole time.

Cape Foulweather

Cape Foulweather

Yes, we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese factory. Cheese and ice cream. And more cheese. And some cheese curds.

Tillamook

Cannon Beach was to be our final destination. We were planning on two solid beach days there, but the weather was SO crazy. Super high-powered winds, driving rain, and sand blowing everywhere.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

So, we just spent one windy, snotty, rainy day at Cannon Beach (Romantic!), then headed back to Portland.

Beer! Lots of local crafty beers in Portland. I don’t drink much beer . . . but when in Rome, you know . . .

Rogue Pub House!

Rouge Pub House Portland

Deschutes Pub House!

Deschutes Pub House Portland

Downtown Portland is much cleaner than downtown Minneapolis. With a lot more fountains and greenery.

Portland

Went to Voodoo Doughnuts. Saw the line. Decided not to wait for an hour and a half for a doughnut. We don’t even really like doughnuts, anyway (I know, the HORROR – we can still be friends though, right?).

Voodoo Doughnuts

And also, this guy! No, we did not have a baby on our honeymoon, but we did spend lots of time with our friends and their little one. Zach may have ruined us for babies, as he is the cutest, happiest, best-natured-est boy ever.

Heidi and Zach

We loved you, Portland, and we can’t wait to visit again!

Altered Book // Quincy’s Flowering Word List

August 19, 2013

Book Mobile at Speckless

Here, now, I will reveal a few things about myself.

(1) Firstly, I work at a place that makes books. I’m all page counts and paper weights and ISBNs, ten hours a day. I explain the difference between white paper and cream paper. French flaps and duplex covers. Sometimes, I get paper cuts.

I’m up to my ears in books . . . and imperfect books that need to go to the garbage. And so, I thought I might embark on an altered book project. Here we go.

Book Mobile at Speckless

This book mobile may look familiar – I see them all over the place. I thought this looked fairly straight-forward and a good place to start a first project. Of course, nothing is as easy as it looks. I learned this the hard way when trying to ride my bike with no hands for the first time. (2)

Book Mobile at Speckless

Nicky was really liking this until I tried adding some color to the petals. I thought it needed a little something – and I think I like that little something – but then again, maybe I hate it. I can’t tell yet.

Book Mobile at Speckless

(3) The house we rent does not let in very much light (which you may or may not have noticed by the photos I take). So, I snapped these outside in the wind.

Book Mobile at Speckless

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

August 9, 2013

When you are small, you don’t have any rules for color. Remember sitting at the table with a stack of paper and crayons, dreaming up all sorts of things? The grass could be pink, the sky could be green, the sun could be blue. Inevitably, there was always an adult around who said, “The sun is not that color, the sun is yellow.”

I did not appreciate that. The sun can be any color you want, when you are in charge. Let’s make some color. Any color you want.

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

You’ll need worsted weight yarn (in whatever colors you desire), a 4mm hook, a hairpin lace loom, a large-eye needle, and scissors. You will need patience at the start, as I consider this a bit of an advanced pattern. You will, of course, need to know how to make hairpin lace. This is definitely something you want to learn from watching a video, and there are scads of tutorials on YouTube. Here’s one I like. The finished motif measures about 7 inches in diameter.

Sunburst Hexagon Motif

Set your loom forks so they are 3 inches apart and make a strip of lace that has 36 loops on each side. Cut your yarn and finish off the strip while it is still on the loom. Use a needle or your crochet hook (like I did, below) to thread a piece of the same color yarn through all the loops on one side, making sure you don’t skip any.

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

Slide the strip off of the loom, keeping the threaded yarn in place.

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

Cinch the yarn you threaded through and tie a tight knot. This closes up the center of the motif. Using the needle (or your hook again), hide the ends of the knot you tied within the loops of the center of the motif.

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

There will be two yarn ends remaining at each side of the braid (where you started and ended your hairpin lace strip). Tie these together with a square knot and weave the ends into the braid, trying your best to mimic the braid so it looks as seamless as possible. You may want to move the center loops around with your fingers to even them out. Now the center sunburst is done! Switch to a different color to edge the sunburst center.

Time to make the sunburst border. You’ll be working through 3 loops at a time, keeping the twist in the loops. This part is kind of like working broomstick lace!

Round 1: Join your new color through the first 3 loops with a single crochet. Make 2 more sc in same 3 loop group, ch 3. * Make 3 sc in next 3 loop group, ch 3. Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st to first sc. (36 sc, 12 ch 3 spaces)

This is the start of round 1:

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

And this is the end:

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

Round 2: Chain 1, sc in same st as joining. Ch 5, sk one sc, sc in next sc. Ch 3, sk one sc, sc in next sc, ch 3. * (Sc in next sc, ch 5, sk one sc, sc in next sc. Ch 3, sk one sc, sc in next sc, ch 3, sk one sc, sc in next sc, ch 3). Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first sc. (6 ch 5 spaces, 18 ch 3 spaces)

Here’s the end of round 2. It’s starting to look like a hexagon, with six chain 5 spaces for the corners and three chain 3 spaces between each corner:

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

Round 3: Sl st in first ch 5 space, ch 3 (counts as first dc). Make (2 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) in same ch 5 space, ch 1. (Make 3 dc in back loop only of next sc, ch 1) twice. *[Make 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc in next ch 5 space, ch 1. (3 dc in back loop only of next sc, ch 1) twice]. Repeat from * around. Join to top of beginning ch 3 and finish off. (72 dc, 6 ch 3 spaces, 18 ch 1 spaces)

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

You can easily join-as-you-go with these motifs. I used the single crochet JAYG, making a ch 1, sc join, ch 1 at the corners – and a regular sc join at each space between the 3 dc groups along the sides.

Sunburst Hexagon Crochet Motif

No finished picture for this blanket yet . . . because I’ve been WIP’ing it for about two years now . . . soon, though, soon.

Coconut Cardamom Popsicles

July 28, 2013

CoconutCardamomPopsicles

Pinterest is good. I love Pinterest.

But I also think Pinterest might have brain-washing powers. After being barraged with popsicle recipes on Pinterest, I felt I had to get a popsicle mold, and so that is what I did. No regrets, because Pinterest told me I could not live life without one. If Pinterest is a mad scientist, I am the hunch-backed lab assistant, buying popsicle molds and making ombre bookends and doing all sorts of things with vinegar and just saying yes to everything with my big googly glazed-over eyes.

So there I was on a Friday night at home – popsicle mold in hand – but no ingredients to make the popsicles I wanted to make. And then coconut cardamom popsicles were born – straight out of the dark corners of my cupboards, patched together with what I had on hand. This is all starting to sound a bit like a horror movie, but trust me, there’s nothing scary about these babies (although I did feel a little like this when they were done).

CoconutCardamomPopsicles

Coconut Cardamom Popsicles

Put all of this in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally:

Two 14 oz cans of coconut milk

½ cup sugar

14 green cardamom pods, crushed or split open

3 cinnamon sticks

Turn off heat and stir in ½ tsp of vanilla. Let steep for ten minutes or so, then strain the mixture into a container with a spout. Chill mixture in the fridge until it’s nice and cold. Whisk it one more time and pour into your popsicle molds. FREEZE.

This made a just-about-perfect amount to fill this popsicle mold. There was a tiny bit left over and I put that into my morning coffee on Saturday. . . and all was good in the world.

Field Notes // 1

July 19, 2013

Rings

Showing off our rings, totally SFW.

Hi, I’m here, I didn’t join the witness protection program – promise. Just busy soaking up summer, and here’s proof.

Fire

Hanging out with friends from near and far. I think that this fire is the culprit behind the mysterious foreign-object-lodged-in-my-eye debacle. Thanks, fire – you cost me $600 in ER fees. Love you.

Tree

Street

Branch

A  nasty storm came through and caused mass damage to our neighborhood, resulting in a big fat mess and an almost 5 day power-outage. A big group of our friends came over with chainsaws and food, resulting in the best fence-fixing-tree-pick-upping-grill-out-party ever!

AvettFest

Two nights of camping at Avett Fest. It rained a bunch and Nicky and I discovered that our tent is no longer water-proof. We also discovered that it is not comfortable to spend two nights in the front seat of a 1993 Buick Regal. Adventure!

BerryPicking

Berry picking with Nicky’s parents. Check out my sweet berry picking outfit. Don’t be jealous. We’ve been having strawberry smoothies like crazy. I especially like this one from Thug Kitchen. Strawberries and ginger are also a winning combo.

Tubing

Tubing and kayaking at the lake! I was going to attempt wind surfing again, but I wasn’t in the mood to set myself up for defeat that weekend. Way to reach for the stars, Heidi! Next time . . .

Deck

Here’s us setting up our new fire pit – really! Someone said, “Be careful not to drop any of the screws in the deck,” so of course someone immediately dropped one of the screws in the deck. This also happens with Scrabble tiles, so I already knew what to do: chew gum, put said gum on stick, insert into deck, remove lost item, save the day.

HSP1407_cover

My over(ly) easy pin cushion was featured in this issue of Homespun magazine. I also had a project shout-out in Simply Crochet, and I did a guest interview over at Stitch Freak (note the name change, which is still super-weird to me)!

//

I read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I also read Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. I highly recommend both. Four stars and two thumbs up.

I made Ree’s crash hot potatoes and (almost these same) hasselback potatoes. I can’t decide which I like better.

I did things with baking soda and vinegar. I tried no-poo, and it did not work for me. I made this cleaning solution and loved it. I did this, and it worked, and that’s all I’m saying about that.

Also, I have been trying to be better at Twitter! Apologies to those that already follow – I am making an effort for real now, I swear! And to those that are thinking of following . . . do it! I lead a very riveting life full of awesome adventures, dramatic encounters, and mysteries galore – you don’t want to miss out!

Ha ha! See yous soonish!

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