The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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October, 2009

Sewing My Fingers Off

Wall Organizer!

Wall Organizer!

Sewing is way more high contact than knitting is! You forget that when you haven’t done it in a while. And, granted I did go to the gym  yesterday morning and ran a couple miles while watching college football pregame, I’m SORE this morning.

In my SHOULDERS. And arms. Because I haven’t sewn for a long time.

It’s not just sitting at the sewing machine and going at it. You are rolling around on the floor, cutting a ton of fabric, measuring your fabric out, getting up and down off the floor.

… ok yeah it’s pathetic that I’m sore from sewing.

But got so much done! I made my wall organizer! Kinda.

Bottom Row

Bottom Row

It’s a little crooked. The pockets are a little crooked. The top was a little crooked and, thus, it hangs a little crooked. I have never made a sewing project without a pattern that you pin to the fabric and then cut out before. This pattern was like, cut two 21″ x 31″ rectangles. In hindsight, maybe I should have marked out the measurements instead of being too stubborn that thinking I could just wing it. Eh.

Top Row

Top Row

I scrambled around my apartment to find things to put in the pockets for the picture, but I’m excited to actually put things in there that will come in handy. And it makes my work table look more like a work table. I love it, despite it’s crookedness.

I made a couple artistic changes to the original design – I made the rod casing the same color as the pockets instead of the same color as the background. I sewed around the entire wall hanging after turning it out to give it a more finished look. I finished it by seaming the rod casing and sewing it over the top of the purple pieces after I had turned it out so I wouldn’t have to hand sew.

Overall, the pattern was over written, and not even for clarity’s sake. I skipped an entire page of instructions that could have simple been described in one step.

But! I’ve got a wall organizer now!

Tara's Linings

Tara's Linings

Tara, who made my amazing sign, asked me to pay her in linings for all the cabled change purses she is making for holiday presents, so I knocked those out yesterday, too. Seven! It was a lot of cutting.

Toilet Lid Cover Elastic

Toilet Lid Cover Elastic

I had a couple toilet lid covers to put elastic into. Rachael took my class and I said I would elastic her, and I finished my brother Adam’s house warming/Christmas present.

Go Blue

Go Blue

Though, naturally, Michigan was getting the crap beat out of them while I was working on this, which took the joy out of it for me. I see it’s cute, I see it turned out well, but it makes me want to punch someone. I don’t think Adam reads the blog so I’m not worried about him seeing it.

Rachael's Toilet Lid Cover!

Rachael's Toilet Lid Cover!

Velma Approves

Velma Approves

Velma loves my toilet lid cover so much! She is always sitting on it when I’m getting ready to leave in the morning. I couldn’t even slip these on my toilet lid without her jumping up and making herself comfortable.

Rachael’s lid looks great! And Velma obviously loves it.

Off to class this morning, then I’ve got to FINISH THOSE STUPID SLEEVES! And make that message board thing. And maybe my Halloween costume.

AND I’ve got a HUGE announcement coming tomorrow! Chicago knitters will be pleased as punch. I’m not going to say anything else because I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. I’m bad enough with secrets as it is. Check back tomorrow!

Stuck in Sleeve Hell

First of all, thank you so much for all your kind words. It’s good to know that there are so many animal lovers out there, and that they are all my friends. I couldn’t even write those two sentences without getting a little teary!

All of your facebook, twitter, and blog comments meant a lot to me. Thank you so much. I keep spontaneously hugging poor Velma and Pudge Rodriguez, and I know they are sick of it because they have started hiding under chairs and tables, but they will get the brunt of my Oliver missing from now on.

Mommy's Shawl

Mommy's Shawl

What better time to finish my mom’s Glorified Necklace! Mommy, I hope it makes you feel better! It’s really pretty. Pre-blocked it looked like a big mess, but post-block it looks fabulous. You will get it in about two months, and then we can be twins.

Body Finished!

Body Finished!

And since I’m not even ashamed anymore, the body of my Girl Friday sweater is finished! I was about to finish the back when I last check in, and now both fronts are done. I didn’t bind off the tops because I feel the need to pick up stitches in my future. I’m just leaving them all live until I figure otherwise.

Sleeeeeeeves...

Sleeeeeeeves...

And now. I’m working. On these. Sleeves. I’ve hit a wall with the sleeves! I don’t know why. I feel like I’ve been knitting them forever! And I’m pretty sure I started them Tuesday.

Girl Friday might take a back seat this weekend, though. I’ve got my sights set on my sewing machine.

Blue Room Wall Organizer

Blue Room Wall Organizer

So yes, the blue room is done and we love it and I’ve got my work table up and functioning and it’s great.

But I need this wall organizer!

A couple years ago I bought this easy sewing book, Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing, for a friend’s birthday, but then I got sick, and then I didn’t see her for two years, and now the book is mine!

And it’s got this great pattern in it for this walk hanging organizer. So I’m going to attempt it.

...um?

...um?

Even though there are like 4 pages of directions and this chart with lots of numbers on it that I’m going to ignore.

But, it is going to be a rainy weekend, and I’ve got the blue room to spread out in. I’m guessing it’s going to be a smashing success! (nervous laughter)

I also want to make a message board, kind of like this, but, you know, not really ugly.

So I’ve got my hands full! First up, though, I’m having a couple girlfriends over for dinner. I’ve got a pumpkin in the oven, bread rising on the stove, and a bottle of cheap wine in my purse.

Any menu guesses?!

A Not so Quick and Very Sad Ode to My Puppy, Oliver

It is hard to put into words just how much a pet means to you.

There are pet people and there are non pet people. As a pet person I know I always assume that you aren’t a pet person until you prove otherwise. Even people who have pets sometimes aren’t real pet people, so I wait for a story. I need to hear a story about how your cat puked inside your favorite shoes and you didn’t realize it until you were running out the door, and slipped your foot inside your shoe, and you, laughing, were so late for work! Or how you brought a boy to your house for the first time only to find, upon opening the front door, that your dog had pooped all over your living room. Laughing.

Or how you are always covered with hair!

Or how your cat just knows when you are upset. How she does her own thing until you’ve had a bad day at work and then she doesn’t leave you alone.

Or how your dog helps you get out of bed in the morning and go for that run you never want to take.

Or how you are so sad because your dog died.

Oliver

Oliver

I’m sitting in New Wave all teary, because I know that if I were at home I would just be crying and doing nothing . So I’m here, looking like a crazy person, probably, because Oliver died.

It is amazing how much we love our animals. My family got Oliver when I was 13. He has been a part of my life for over half of it. And he died. And part of me feels very silly for sitting in New Wave crying about a dog, but that is just the part of me playing to the people who didn’t grow up with animals. Who don’t have a dog or cat at home. Who don’t know what it’s like to love and be loved by a dog.

But for the rest of us: God it sucks. Because you can’t tell them how much you love them before they die, you just have to hope they know. And you can’t explain to your other animals where their brother went. And you want to apologize for being so sad because, sure, he is ‘just a dog’, but he isn’t just a dog. He was there every time you came home and was happier than anyone will ever be to see you. He protected you while you slept, and, no matter how sweet he was to you, he would kill anyone who tried to get into your house.

We made pickles together.

We hung out together while everyone else was working.

He sneaks his cute face into many pictures.

I’m not going to make it back to Michigan until Thanksgiving. I know that, despite all the people and all the other animals, it is going to feel so lonely. And I’ll probably get killed by an intruder. And my brother Matthew will have to carry all the wood to the fire pit by himself because Oliver won’t be there to help. And Papa will be terrible at cards because he lost his good luck charm.

… now I’m just torturing myself. I’m going to go home, cuddle my kitties, and make some pancakes.

Roasted Potatoes, Veggies, and Beans Recipe

I always joke about eating like a poor person, but all healthy vegetarians eat like poor people. Unless it’s a special occasion, our meals usually cost between $1-2  a person.

One of my favorite poor person meals is Roasted Potatoes, Veggies, and Beans. It’s also a great pantry meal, when you haven’t gone grocery shopping in a month and there really isn’t anything left. It’s warm and filling and an excellent comfort meal. It’s 10am and I want some right now.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients (for 2)

Four baking potatoes cut into pieces

Two large carrots

One onion

2/3 cup prepared beans (black, northern, pinto, any!). If canned, drain and rinse. If dried, soak as directed and rinse.

Two cloves of garlic, diced or garlic pressed

Three tbsp oil, divided

Spices of your choice! I use: pepper, sea salt, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, rosemary, bbq seasoning, cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet or 9 x 13 cake pan with cooking spray. Cut up your potatoes and toss them in a bowl in 2 tablespoons oil and seasonings.

Ready to Roast!

Ready to Roast!

2. Spread your seasoned and oiled potatoes in your pan and throw them in your hot oven. Bake for 45 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cut up your onion and carrots and put them in the same bowl you used to season your potatoes. Add beans, garlic, remaining (1 tbsp) oil, and re-season.

Ready for Round Two!

Ready for Round Two!

4. After your potatoes have baked for 45 minutes, take the potatoes out for a hot second, add carrot mixture, stir to combine, and bake for another 20 minutes.

Ready to Eat!

Ready to Eat!

5. When it comes out the potatoes will be crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, the carrots will still be crisp, the beans will be warm and seasoned, and the onions sweet.

Ready to Love

Ready to Love

I squirt a little ketchup on mine because I love potatoes and ketchup! PT uses sriracha to spice it up a little. Either way, this dish is the perfect warm meal on a fall day.

And lets break this down:

4 Potatoes: 35 cents

2 Carrots: 15 cents

1 Onion: 10 cents

2/3 Cups Beans, Dried: 25 cents

Oil, Garlic, and Seasonings: Maybe 20 cents?

Meal Total: $1.05 and I’m being generous. I know I got that 10 pound bag of potatoes in my pantry on sale for $1.25, and I got the 5 pound bag of black beans for about $4 on sale. 1 pound of dried beans makes 5 cups. I’m not a mathematician, but that would be like, what? 13 cents for 2/3  cups of beans?

I’m making allowances for non sale items and we are still looking at a meal for two for $1.05! I love that.

A Quick Ode to Blocking

I finished knitting my mom’s Glorified Necklace! It’s not officially done; I’ve got to hide the tails and block it, but I’ve never knit two of the exact thing before, so I wanted to use this opportunity to show you just how amazing blocking is.

Before and After at the Same Time!

Before and After at the Same Time!

The bottom shawl is mine and the top shawl will soon be my mom’s, pre blocking. You can see that the edges are curling up, the top is curling. It’s a good three inches smaller height wise and probably eight or ten inches shorter width wise.

002

003

The texture is completely different, too. You can see the top fabric is crinkly and rough looking, whereas the shawl I blocked is smooth.

I’m going to get soaking this baby and get it looking just like mine. Especially now that I have so much room for it to lay out and block properly!