07 Dec

December 7th

My BIL emailed me this morning to ask what it feels like to be on Oahu on December 7th. Hmmm. Is Sunday a slow blog day and he’s bored? Oh, I missed something. Better check CNN. Duh, it’s “The Day That Lived In Infamy.” The day Pearl Harbor was bombed and started the US in WWII. If the house across the street would nudge a little to the left we could see Pearl Harbor. Yup, it’s still there. Looks quiet. My neighbors of Japanese descent to the right went to work today. My neighbors of Hawaiian and Korean descent to the left are finishing off installing a new wood floor. A German friend offered to mail me Lebkuchen for Christmas. It appears that, at least in my little corner of the world, we’re over it. Perhaps there will be fireworks or something tonight. Although, if there were, I probably wouldn’t be able to differentiate them from the noisemaker fireworks the teens down the street insist on setting off each and every night. OK, apparently we missed a memorial service at the USS Arizona this morning:

Highlights of the ceremony will include music by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, morning colors, a Hawaiian blessing, a rifle salute by members of the U.S. Marine Corps, wreath observations, echo taps and recognition of the men and women who survived that December 7, 1941, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Maybe next year. Meanwhile, life was almost normal here. I do have the pleasure of enjoying two gifts that arrived in the mail from internet friends this week.

Jude sent me this little “Spirit Cloth” since I admired it in progress. She says it was inspired by me a little (roots on the heart, maybe?). I am so inspired by her and her process that I just can’t see how she could be inspired by me though. I was going to frame this, but now I’m thinking it might be great sewn to a pillow for my bedroom. She also included a great piece of vintage palm tree fabric. I love their retro funkiness!

I also won a sock monkey naming contest over at Gennine‘s blog. I got the better end of the deal because she sent me a set of lovely postcards to send or frame. I think I’ll do a bit of both. These are high quality prints.

At risk of sounding like we’re more eco-friendly and educational-project-oriented than we really are, our big activity today, December 7th, was to start vermicomposting. After years of excuses as to why we couldn’t compost (too small a space and not staying in one place long enough to reap the benefits being the biggies) I decided that worming actually might fit our lifestyle. We went to a Green Fair yesterday to talk to Mindy of Waikiki Worms and she agreed that, yes, we’d make fine vermiculturists.

This morning she called to say she’d be in our area and could deliver our quarter pound of starter worms. So, crafty daughter and I got to work drilling holes in a plastic tub (yippee for purging our belongings and having several empty tubs around) and shredding newspaper and cardboard for bedding.

The worms arrived and the tub was approved. We’ve given them lunch (muffin papers with crumbs, peas and an apple core) and can’t wait to see what happens.

December 7th in Hawai’i isn’t that much different than any other day.

05 Dec

Rainbow Drawstring Bag

I’m fascinated by the bottoms or sides of bags that have the little sewn-in triangle thingie to poof the bottom out a bit and give it more shape. I think I cracked the code today! If you want the triangles to be on the bottom of your bag, you need a bottom seam, and if you want the triangles on the side of the bag, you need side seams. Why this was not immediately obvious to me, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I made a pretty cool drawstring bag with triangles on the bottom today and I’m willing to share. These instructions make a good sized bag — just a bit smaller than a plastic grocery bag. It’s great for holding odd shaped gifts or kids’ toys.

First, cut about 19 fabric strips 2.25 inches wide by 20 inches long. Mine are arranged in a rainbow, but you could, of course, use whatever you want. Sew them all together on their long sides, using a .25 inch seam allowance. Press your seam allowances open. Cut a piece of lining fabric 13 inches wide by the width of your sewn stripes. Sew the lining piece to one short end of your stripes. Press seam toward the lining fabric.

Fold in half lengthwise and sew up the long side creating a tube. Press the seam open. Fold the lining fabric down to meet the bottom of the striped section, allowing about 3 inches of stripes to fold over as well. You should have a tube with the right sides of your fabrics showing both on the inside and the outside. It will be folded at one end and raw edges at the other.

Trim the bottom of the strip section straight if you haven’t already, and press the upper fold in place.

At the bottom end, tuck in about 2 inches of both inner and outer layers, as shown, making sure that all the raw edges are even. Do this on the other side as well. Pin in place.

Sew the bottom shut through all layers. Use an overlock or zig-zag stitch to keep the seam allowance neat and tidy.

At the upper edge, sew “in the ditch” where the stripes meet the lining fabric. This will be the lower seam of your drawstring casing. Be sure to use something nice in the bobbin as well as the top thread since this will be what shows on the front.

Turn your bag right side out and stitch again a presser foot’s width or more (the thicker your drawstring the wider the casing should be) toward the fold side of the first line of stitching.

Now your casing is done and your bag bottom has those pretty triangles giving it a nice full shape.

Cut two lengths of cord twice the width of your bag plus a little more. I used ribbon here and though it looks nice, it doesn’t draw up in the casing as nice as a pretty cord would.

Using a seam ripper, cut open two seams on opposite sides of the bag, between the casing stitching. Do not cut open the seams on the interior of the bag. Using a safety pin, thread one drawstring through one hole, past the other and back out the original hole. Knot the ends together. Thread the other drawstring in the same manner, through the other hole on the opposite side of the bag and knot it’s ends together.

Find something wonderful to put in your bag, pull the drawstrings to close it and admire your work!

03 Dec

Wanna Hear Something Funny?

I drive a Volvo sedan. That’s not the funny part. One reason we bought it was because of all the stuff it can hold. I’ve put a tent, camping gear and food for three people for four days plus bikes and toys in the car. We once drove to Holland (from Germany, not Hawaii) with five people, their luggage, Christmas presents AND a vacuum cleaner in the car. Just a few weeks ago I had two kids, four dining room chairs, two recycling bins, terrarium supplies and lunch for four in the Volvo — with trunk and all doors firmly shut and everyone buckled in safe and sound.

What I couldn’t fit in either the front seat, the back seats or the trunk was our 27 inch tube TV in it’s original packaging.

Darn. It’s my goal in life to prove that one need not own a truck or SUV to carry things, and here I was in the position of having to have to ask my neighbor if I could borrow her SUV.

That is, until I had the epiphany that I just might be able to fit the TV in our “smaller” car!

Minis — they’re a lot bigger than they look!

01 Dec

A Malthusian Quilt

It’s understandable that people, including myself, tend to post finished works they are proud of. Who wants the world to see the half-baked reject projects that litter the floor? But, every now and then, it’s nice to see that not all works go as envisioned from start to finish.

About half way through my latest 12×12 challenge quilt, I decided that, since it’s about food, the edge needed to be finished with corn kernels. Problem is, eventually, little critters would want to eat the corn. So, I went to the bead store looking for corn- or seed-like beads. I came home with a whole bag full and started to sew them on:

Looks pretty good, but the intricacy of all the colors and shapes distracted from the quilt itself, which is quite spare. Out go the dark wooden beads.

Better, but the trio of “corn” beads at the corner is still too fussy. Oh, and those numbers stenciled on the side? I did those three times before I got it right.

To see the finished, blog-worthy quilt, check it, and all the other 12×12 challenge quilts, here.