birthday camping trip

With my birthday approaching, I knew how I wanted to celebrate it: getting grubby around a campfire. So the Guy + dog & I headed for the hills inland from Santa Barbara, where we found ourselves a place by a creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

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Due to recent rain, the brook was babbling ….

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… and the wildflowers were out.

Hours were spent hiking …

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… and staring at flames.

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The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.

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After two days, we took the high road home, scoping out possibilities for the next camping trip, which will require a 4WD. As I’ve been saying for, oh, six months now, I really do need to get myself one of them.

be more dog

New office mural #whereiwork #bemorehuman #bemoredog

New mural/mantra at my (dog-friendly) workplace. What do you think “be more dog” means?

what we need is here

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Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

~Wendell Berry

toddler tshirt dresses

#calihepburn 's birthday gifts arrived so I can finally post pics. Upcycled toddler dress #1
Upcycled toddler dress #2 for #calihepburn

Upcycled toddler dress #3 for #calihepburn

Little Miss Cali Hashi recently turned one, and her gift finally arrived downunder (really, Australia Post? Three and a half weeks to deliver a small package?). So at last I can post pics of the upcycled dresses I made from cast-off tshirts.

I started with this tutorial, and just used what I had on hand to craft some cute-but-not-too-cutesy outfits for our little rock chick.

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Mama and baby approve! Yeah!

camping with the girl

Cooking breakfast #camping #bigbasinstatepark #adventureswithlauren #intothewild

It’s been nearly two years since L & I had a road trip. She’s been asking me to take her camping for a long time, so finally we went.

#redwoods #bigbasinstatepark #adventureswithlauren #intothewild

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, north of Santa Cruz, is spectacular in a wet, lush, massive kind of way, so different from the landscape in southern California. We stayed in a tent cabin, as a way of easing a first-time camper into the joys and discomforts of ‘roughing it’.

#bigbasinstatepark #stellersjay #intothewild #adventureswithlauren #365gratitude_hashimaree

It was cold, but not unbearable. L was a good sport about it.

#ferns #adventureswithlauren #intothewild #camping #bigbasinstatepark

#ferns #bigbasinstatepark #camping #intothewild #adventureswithlauren

And it was spectacularly beautiful.

#ferriswheel #santacruzboardwalk #adventureswithlauren #roadtrip

We spent time in Santa Cruz too, sampling the Boardwalk, and visiting with friends.

View from the top #ferriswheel #adventureswithlauren #santacruzboardwalk #roadtrip

It was fun to get away with L for a few days. She was 6 when I met her. She’s 16 now, and driving. Amazing. Am I really a decade older?

thenandnow

Yeah, I guess I am.

#redwoods #bigbasinstatepark #adventureswithlauren #intothewild

One thing is for sure: I’m not going to stop camping any time soon. Where to next?

‘wonderful’ check-in #1

Winter sunsets are so gorgeous

Wonder-ful, for me, boils down to two things: paying attention, and gratitude.

So lucky to have access to a wealth of fresh seasonal organic veggies. Love my farmers market! #365gratitude_hashimaree

It’s easy to become despondent and disgusted when one pays attention. Obviously, there’s a lot of shit going down in the world. I don’t need to point out the ways in which humans hurt each other and the creatures sharing this planet with us. We all know there’s plenty of bad out there, and it’s important to pay attention to that crap, and speak up, and be the change you want to see in the world.

Grateful for silliness at work #365gratitude_hashimaree

For me, a huge part of being that change is noticing and celebrating and being thankful for the things that make me smile, that give me hope, that create connections, that make space for silent wonder. That’s why my one little word this year is wonderful.

Grateful for another day to live, laugh, and love in. #sunrise #365gratitude_hashimaree #noedit #nofilter

Not to be all ‘la-la-la I can’t hear you’ about the bad shit. But simply to give myself respite, and strength, and a reason to do my part to make this world better.

Thank you #bigbluebus for getting me to work this morning when my car was in the shop #365gratitude_hashimaree

Because it truly is a wonderful world we live in, and those other humans we rub against, they’re people like me. We’re (mostly) all trying to do our best with what we’ve got. If we all approached each day with gratitude, there might be more smiles all around.

Sunday afternoon jam session in the living room #365gratitude_hashimaree

It’s also important, I think, to create environments in which people can share, enjoy, relax, relish, have fun. If we are always wound up and unhappy about how messed up things are, how do we make space for things to be different?

Succulents are breeding!

While I totally respect those activists who pit themselves against oppression, right now my path seems more about an open table, good food, gardens, music, and kindness.

Yeah, so far my year’s pretty wonderful. How’s yours?

adjustable full apron for women or men: tutorial

Adjustable full apron for women or men

I recently picked up some soft chambray, knowing it would be perfect for a gender-neutral apron. Want to make one too? Here’s how.

Apron materials

You’ll need:
1 yard of main fabric (or a tad more; you can squeak it out of one yard though)
10″ x 16″ pocket fabric
3.5 yards of 1.25″ twill tape (I got mine here)
Thread to match each of the fabrics, and the twill tape.

apron layout

Fold your main fabric in half, selvedge to selvedge. Measure and mark a shape as shown above, using chalk or a soluble marker. Cut it out.

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Fold down the top edge half an inch, then another half inch. Stitch.

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Fold and stitch hems on the 20″ long straight sides, and the bottom, in the same manner.

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Fold one angled side under 1/4″, then fold again at 1″. Press and stitch close to the edge.

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Repeat for the other angled side.

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Turn one long edge of the pocket piece under a half inch, then another half inch. Stitch.

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Turn the other three pocket edges under 1/4″ twice. Press.

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Fold the pocket in half width-wise, and press to mark the center line. Open up the fold again.

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Align the pocket with the center fold of the apron, 2-1/2″ down from where the angled sides begin. Make sure it is straight and centered. Pin in place.

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Stitch close to the edge of the pocket, then again about 1/8″ inside the first stitching line.

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Mark and stitch a vertical line about 3-1/2″ from the edge of the pocket, to make a divided section.

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Turn under one end of the twill tape 1/2″, then another 1/2″. Stitch to secure. Repeat with other end.

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Thread the twill tape up through one of the angled channels and down through the other.

Adjustable full apron for women or men

Give to your favourite cook or artist.

weighted blanket: tutorial

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Weighted blankets are beloved by those with sensory issues, anxiety, joint pain, and folks on the autism spectrum. They are expensive to buy, but pretty simple to make.

The finished blanket should be not too much bigger than the person, otherwise most of the weight will be on the bed, not on their body. The total weight of the blanket (including the fabric) should not exceed 15% of the user’s weight. For a small child, 10% is better. (A child should not be left unattended with a weighted blanket, and should be able to remove the blanket herself without help. It must never be placed over the face. Please use your common sense if you make this item.)

Here’s how I made an adult-sized blanket for a friend who suffers from joint pain. My friend is 5’2″ and weighs 148lb. The blanket measures almost 4 feet by 6 feet, and ended up weighing 24lb, which is a bit more than 15% of her weight.

Note: wrangling 24 lbs of blanket is a workout. You will not need to go to the gym on the day you sew this.

I used:

• 19lb weighted poly pellets (like these)

• 4 yards of corduroy for the outer cover

• A canvas drop cloth from a hardware store for the internal bags of pellets. It wasn’t quite enough fabric to complete all the bags, so I used a heavyweight cotton tablecloth for the last few. All up, you’ll need about 4 yards of heavyweight fabric. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, because it will be completely enclosed in the finished blanket.

• Strong sewing machine needles. I went through four needles making this blanket, so have spares on hand.

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Cut 128 rectangles measuring 5.75″ x 8.75″ from the canvas.

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Take two rectangles, and stitch along three sides, using a 1/2″ seam allowance. No need to backstitch at the ends.

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Do not turn right side out! Leave it with the seams on the outside, and fill it with 1 cup of poly pellets.

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Stitch the bag closed with a half inch seam allowance. Be careful to shake all the pellets away from the sewing line. They will break your needle if you stitch on them!

Repeat for the remaining 63 bags.

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Pin two bags with a long edge overlapping. The edge of one bag should line up with the stitching line in the next.

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Join with a zig zag stitch. Repeat till you have a row of eight bags joined together.

Then make seven more rows, ending up with eight rows of eight bags. Have a rest for a while.

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Cut two pieces of corduroy 48″ x 72″. With wrong sides together, zig zag the two pieces together along one short edge. Open so that the fabric lies flat on the floor, right side down.

Lay one row of pellet bags about 3″ from your zig zagged seam, and centered left to right. Smooth everything out, then close the corduroy back over the pellet bags, enclosing them.

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Pin through the half-inch seam allowance at the top and sides of the row of pellet bags, catching both front and back corduroy pieces.

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Stitch through all layers, parallel to the zig zagging, with a slightly lengthened straight stitch. Don’t stitch all the way to the edges of the corduroy; stitch only the length of the pellet bags.

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Lay a second row of pellet bags inside the corduroy ‘sandwich’, overlapping seam allowances with the row above. The edge of the second row should line up with the stiching line on the first row of bags. Flap the corduroy closed again, smooth everything out, and pin through all layers along the overlapped seam allowances.

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Stitch along this line, parallel with your first line. (Note, the pins along the side are just there to help keep the layers straight. You do not stitch along the sides at this point.)

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Continue in this manner, adding rows of bags and stitching through all layers. You will need to roll the unfilled side of the blanket and keep it to your right as you sew. The more rows you add, the heavier and more cumbersome the blanket becomes. Go slow and steady, taking stretch breaks as needed!

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When all eight rows have been stitched into place, sew down the left and right sides, catching those bag seam allowances.

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Trim the blanket to 2″ wider than the outer stitch lines.

Mitred corners are my #happyplace

Turn each edge under, creating a border 1″ wide. Top stitch close to the edge all the way around, mitering the corners as you go.

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So happy with my new labels from the Twill Tape Guy. #365gratitude_hashimaree

Attach your label! You’re done!

This blue blanket weighs 24 lb/11kg! I could say I'm grateful for the opportunity to make this for my friend, but mostly I'm glad it's done! What a workout, wrangling it through my sewing machine!

After three nights under this blanket, my friend reported: “I have been sleeping just so well, I couldn’t have anticipated such a difference. It’s been magical!” Hmm, maybe I need a magical blanket for myself!

simple floor mat: tutorial

Here’s a super simple bath mat that can be customized for your recipient. It’s even — gasp — suitable to give a guy.

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Better yet, all it takes is a towel from the sale bin, plus a yard and a half of flannel, to make TWO.

Note: If you wish to share this tutorial, please repost one photo and link back to this original post. Do not repost the entire text and pictures. Thank you!

Wash and dry your towel and fabric on high settings, to get maximum shrinkage.

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If your towel has woven band near the ends, you’ll see how much it shrinks! Cut off the bands, then cut the remaining towel in half. Cut flannel the same size as your towel pieces, then pin one piece of each right sides together.

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With a good half inch seam allowance, stitch around the edge, leaving about 8″ unstitched in the middle of one long side. Tip: to avoid accidentally sewing the gap closed, mark start and finish points with two pins.

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If you want to, round the corners as you sew, then trim the fabric back to match the rest of your seam allowance. If not, clip your corners. Turn right side out.

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Version 1: stand on the mat and trace around your feet with chalk or a soluble marker.

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Using six strands of embroidery thread, outline the feet in running stitch. To start, knot the end of the thread then insert the needle between the two layers, through the still-open gap. This way the knot will be in the inside of the mat. Finish off in the same way.

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Version 2: with chalk or soluble marker, draw lines at the quarter, half, and three-quarter marks, going from top to bottom of the mat. Thread a needle with strong thread (I used Coats Button and Carpet thread).

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Sew a row of running stitch along each line. Again, place your start and finish knots on the inside of the mat, between the two layers.

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Close the opening with ladder stitch.

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Optional: increase your stitch length and top stitch all around.

Then vacuum your floor and sewing machine to get rid of all the toweling fuzz!

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divided clutch coupon wallet: tutorial

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I’m not a big coupon cutter, but I do like to use the discounts at Joann and Ralphs, the two stores at which I spent the most money, it seems. They mail me coupons which I stuff in an envelope in my handbag. But with all the other crap in there, the envelope gets torn and ratty pretty fast. So I decided to make myself a little wallet/clutch thingy, divided into two sections, for stowing these useful bits of paper.

Want to make one too? Here’s how.

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You’ll need …

For the outside and lining: 2 pieces 12-1/2″ x 9″

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For the divider: 1 piece 8″ x 8-1/2″
For the accordion folds: 2 pieces 8-1/2″ x 3″

You’ll also need:
Very heavy duty fusible interfacing: 1 piece 8″ x 4″ and 1 piece 12″ x 8-1/2″
About 40″ bias binding
Snap fasteners

1/4″ seams are used throughout.

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Fold the divider piece in half so it measures 8″ x 4-1/4″. Using the fold line as a guide, fuse your smaller piece of interfacing to one half, butting up against the fold.

Fold the fabric right sides together, and stitch the long edge with a 1/4″ seam, right at the edge of the interfacing.

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Turn right side out and press well.

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Center the larger piece of interfacing on your outside piece of fabric. Fuse. Place right sides together with the lining, and stitch along one short edge.

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Turn right sides out, and press well.

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Take one of your accordion pieces, and fold right sides together so it measures 4-1/4″ x 3″. Stitch along short edge. Turn right sides out, and press well.

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Fold in half lengthwise so it measures 4″ x 1-1/2″. Press well. Repeat with remaining accordion piece

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Sandwich one end of the divider into the fold of one accordion piece.

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Stitch 1/4″ from edge. Repeat at other end of divider with remaining accordion piece.

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Place the outer piece with lining side up. Place the divider on top, lining up one of the loose accordion flaps with the side edge, right at the folded edge of the outer piece.

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Zig zag to secure.

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Measure one inch from edge of divider, and make a mark on the lining at side edge. The bottom of the other flap of this accordion piece will line up with this mark.

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Line up the edges of the lining and flap as shown. Pin, then zig zag to secure. Repeat with the other side of the divider, attaching the flaps to the edge of the outer piece.

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With the outside facing up, check to see if your outer fabric and lining fabric still align. If not, trim back the lining to match the outer.

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Using a suitable round object (I used my lens cap), trace curves onto the corners of the flap, then cut them.

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Zig zag around this edge to keep the layers together.

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Starting at the front edge on the accordion side, attach the bias binding. Allow the binding to extend past the edge by 1/2″. Stitch slowly; getting round the bottom curves is tricky. When you get to the end on the other edge of the front, cut the binding about 1/2″ longer than your sewn seam.

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Fold the binding to the outside; press.

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Slip stitch the binding to the outside of the wallet, tucking in the start and finish ends as you go. If you want to attempt this step on the machine, go for it. I just knew I’d get a nicer finish if I hand stitched it.

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Attach one or two snap fasteners, sewing only through the top layer of fabric and interfacing.

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You’re done!

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