Sunday, November 20, 2011

Robots in Drag (when choices are limited, customize!)

As a mother to two little girls, who I generally really enjoy dressing,  I have also come to despise certain color combinations and motifs found all to commonly in girl's apparel.  I can't stand "bubble gum" pink.  Put pink together with white and purple?  UGH.  Add some lace and flowers and I just want to barf.....and to make it worse, the barf will show up as these colors are notorious for showing every single speck of kid gunk.
My latest trip to Target to find some shirts for Bea was pretty underwhelming.  As a former apparel graphic designer, I totally get why the market trends towards the "safe", and predictable when the economy is in the shitter.  But, that doesn't mean I'm going to go along with it.  Conversely, I don't believe in shelling out more than $30-$40 for a single item of "boutique" kids clothing.  So, I thrift.  I sew.  And as of lately, I customize.

The above shirt I found in the Target little boy's department.  I thought the colors were great for Bea.  The robots are cute (she likes robots).  But, I also thought that I could "girl it up" just a bit and add some personality.  After a little ribbon, a few rhinestones, a crocheted flower and some purple tulle, it became this......

All "girled up".  Without the usual stuff.....

I like how these two seem to be having a conversation.

A robot in a fuzzy blue boa and rhinestone earrings?  Why not?  My favorite though is the purple tutu.  It's like he's saying,  "hey, check out my tutu.  Isn't it cool?

This was a fun one.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Upcycled Cashmere.....what to do with a pile of thrifted sweaters

This is kind of a followup from a previous post, "The Cashmere Hoard", that I wrote last Spring.  I've continued to hack, scrap and sew my way through a giant bag of thrifted cashmere and wool sweaters, making the usual leg warmers but also three sweaters for Lola.

"Bunny People"

Lola, Easter 2011

My latest Lola sweater. 
Cashmere scrap appliqued mushrooms on a sweater made from a burgundy wool cardigan that I wore about 20 years ago along with brown cashmere ribbing.  The ribbing at the shoulders was actually the result of screwing up the armholes to where I needed to add fabric back in.  I love happy accidents.

Next, I will finally be making a sweater dress for Bea.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cider Press Restoration (and subsequent cider enjoyed)

So, this actually happened over a month ago.  But, at the moment, I'm pinned down with a sleeping baby without access to my camera to download more pics of the stuff slated to be sold on ebay.  But I digress....

This was actually a fun, though time-consuming, dirty but ultimately rewarding project that I took on this past September.  The cider press has been in my family for about 50 years or so.  My uncle found it somewhere in Castle Rock, Washington and gave it to the Huson/Kiser clan since we had access to plenty of apples.  So, this was the press that we used to make cider when I was growing up.  I have very fond memories of it.

When I got a hold of it a few months ago, it was in pretty sad shape.  I didn't bother to take pics but basically I had to grind of years worth of rust and repaint.  The staves of the basket, originally fir, were filled with powder post beetle holes.  I found some locally grown and milled alder wood for replacements.  Also, new screws, new drain board (an Ikea carving board, which I carved additional drain channels into), new press disks (made from Doug fir) and new tamper.

Anyway, the big debut just happened to fall on the last sunny Saturday in early October.  With a small gathering of friends and neighbors, cider was pressed and enjoyed along with bratwurst, "blaukraut", fried potatoes, spinach salad, fresh pretzels and my mom's delicious raw apple cake.

 About 200 lbs. of apples were pressed, yeilding, I figure, about 5 gallons of cider.

Most of the cider was enjoyed fresh and taken home by our guests. The remaining is still fermenting!  And that will lead me to a separate posting later.