I think the worst part is taking pictures…

Sewing is the easy part. Taking pictures is a chore. I feel pressure to take pretty pictures, because that is what will sell things. And after all, I do have a film degree. I should be able to whip out something creative, right? Sure, it just takes forever! And, I’m not super happy with the result. I’m not fishing for complements, but I’d love some input or ideas on how to make this process less painful, yet still beautiful!

The process

Open garage door for light.
Clothespin sheet to wall.
Put on coat and gloves because its still cold out there!
Iron sheet to remove most of the wrinkles. Er, after I find the extension cord to plug it in!
Place set items (like flowers,yarn and needles, wine glasses). Of course, this is after I purchase them or drag them out of the closet underneath the boxes of hand-me-downs.

Shoo cat off sheet and pick cat hairs off.
Position handmade item.
Snap lots of pictures.
Go find tripod for timed picture.

Shoo cat off sheet and pick cat hairs off.
Set up tripod. Set timer and run to sit on sheet with bag in under 10 seconds. (For size approximation.)
Get fed up with kids needing attention.
Give them “attention.”

Shoo cat off sheet and pick cat hairs off.
Put away bags and camera.
Close garage door.
Fold and put away sheet, because obviously, the cat can’t keep her butt off it!

Still need more pictures…

Got any ideas?

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You Know My Name!

Why does looking at my name stitched into something I’ve made make…me…so…incredibly…happy! “You know my name…te-lee-lee-bop-bop…”
By the best boy band, eva:

On stupidity and burning fleece on the iron…

I’m sure we’ve all done it… At least, I tell myself that so I don’t feel as stupid… Taken a freakin’ hot iron to fabric that can’t take the heat. Wimpy fusible fleece… As soon as I pulled the iron away, strings of glue and wispy white threads followed my movements off the board to the iron stand, like hot glue.

“Ah, crap!”

This resulted.

Knowing I have piles of pieces to fuse today, with no vehicle to run to the store for a new iron, I binged. That’s ed, Microsoft’s new, amazing search engine! (Why yes! My husband works for Microsoft, why do you ask?) How to clean crap off the bottom of your iron? Many suggestions, only one worked for my experiment in stupidity.

Oven Cleaner…This stuff is scary strong. It will melt the plastic, so its important to tape off the non-steel parts. Spray and ignore for 20. Outside, unless you can afford losing more brain cells.

“Wah-la!”

Wipe away.

Its like picking a scab. Clean as new. Happy ironing!

Working Hard! I Can Do It!

I am working hard on a new design for a clutch/handlebag for the shop. It was inspired by this poster, so it will be named the Rosie Riveter Handlebag or Clutch (Depending on if I add the little handle). Here’s a sneak peak.

Birthday Cookies

Today is Eleanor’s 6 birthday! Her Kindergarten teacher prefers cookies to cupcakes, so I couldn’t make these wonderful rainbow cupcakes which I’ve been dreaming of making since Meg posted them. Instead, I made these delicious cookies that Saltwater Kids linked from Intimate Weddings. What a great idea! Thank you ladies for the inspiration.

Spanish Paella

My husband was born and raised in the Basque region of Spain. We recently visited his family and were reminded of the little Spanish store here in Seattle. The Spanish Table is a fun treat for Stephen when he wants “home-cooking”. They have sausages, cheese, imported cans of $12 white asparagus (gulp!) and olives, wine, cookies and of course, paella pans! I bought a large pan a few years back that feeds 6-10 people. I’m not sure if they had smaller pans then. Maybe, and I missed them. But while in Spain 2 months ago, the paella restaurant we frequent started serving personal pans of paella and I  had to buy my own little pan!

With my little pan  (feeds 4) I made paella 2 nights ago. I thought I’d share the super easy recipe. Paella is like casserole in Spain. Whatever they have on hand is tossed in. So, it varies from day to day. But, the traditional ingredients are chicken, chorizo and shellfish.

Easy Paella For Four

Ingredients:

1 pkg Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice (Note: Of course, you can use saffron, but this just makes it quick and easy. Stephen thinks the taste is more authentic!)
1/2 chicken breast, cubed
1/2 lb chorizo, sliced (be careful you don’t pick up Mexican chorizo, its not the same.)
6-8 shrimp
1/2 c Green beans or peas, frozen or fresh
1/2  tomato and red pepper (optional), chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
2 cans chicken broth
white wine (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Salt and pepper all the meat.
  3. In an oven friendly pan (Paelleras, cast iron skillet or wok), saute chicken and chorizo in 1/4 c  olive oil on medium until cooked. Add the onion and garlic for 5 minutes more. (Spanish folks love oil, so don’t skimp!)
  4. Add 1/4 c -ish of white wine to de-glaze the bottom of the pan for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the contents of the rice bag and 1 can of broth. Let it come to a boil.
  6. Scatter the vegetables around, and stir lightly to distribute all the goods. This is the last time you’ll stir it. The best part of paella is the crust that forms on the bottom of the pan!
  7. Place the shrimp on top. Put it on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes – 45 minutes. Check the pan every 10 minutes to add more broth as needed until the rice is almost done.
  8. Every time I’ve had paella, the rice is cooked differently in different parts of the pan, so don’t sweat it if some of the rice is under-done. Just make sure the majority is soft and not too chewy!

Spanish Salad

Have a traditional Spanish salad on the side. Trust me, its sounds weird, but its great!

Green-leaf lettuce
Hard-boiled egg
White asparagus (From jar)
Can of tuna in oil
Tomato
Sliced red onion
Dress with Lemon juice  and Olive Oil
BIG GREEN OLIVES!

Sewing Labels

I started a search today for tags to sew on/in my items. About 15 years ago, I had generic tags made, but they have my maiden name on them. So, I binged.That’s ed, Microsoft’s new, amazing search engine! (Why yes! My husband works for Microsoft, why do you ask?)

sew tags

custom sew in tags

crafting labels

Most of the sites I found were more than I wanted to pay for more labels than I wanted to purchase. They were also commercial oriented, hence ugly. Enter Etsy search.

Sewing labels

Yay! A forum question about how to sew in labels led me to JennifersJewels’ Shop. She makes small orders of pretty little custom labels. She seems to be overwhelmed with orders, but generously gives links to articles detailing the new bill concerning clothing labels, called the Textile Fiber Products ID Act. Basically, if you make clothes, it has to have a label with certain information. Good to know. Since Jennifer didn’t have a way to purchase her tags, I looked for another shop, and purchased tags from MommieMadeIt. 80 labels for $20. That’s a start. Here’s my super simple (and somewhat ugly) label design. I will fold it in half and sew it in across the top. Meh, it gets the job done.