Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gluten Free doesn't have to be Expensive!

Posts around the interweb today have got me thinking. Thinking about gluten.
Thankfully, it’s only wheat that bothers me, and not gluten, but I end up eating close to gluten free as a consequence. And when I say bothers, I mean BOTHERS, friends, not a pretty sight, so I’m pretty motivated to stay away from the stuff.

I keep having a conversation with a friend about how expensive it is to eat gluten-free. I vehemently defend the point of view that it doesn’t have to be expensive – it just depends on how you do it! For example: For breakfast today I had plain yogurt with frozen berries, a dribble of maple syrup and some pumpkin seeds. Yesterday for breakfast I had cheeze, rice crackers and a couple of strawberries. Lunch was leftover chicken, brown rice and leftover broccoli with apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. Supper was homemade hamburger helper with rice noodles. No special expensive ingredients here.

I was recently at a specialty gluten free bakery. I paid $8 for 2 pizza crusts and $3.50 for a coffee cake. One tiny serving of coffee cake. $3.50. And that was the best darn coffee cake I had ever eaten. For someone who doesn’t get cake often (ever) boy that was good stuff (and you can bet I’ll be back). But can you imagine how much you would spend if you ate there on a regular basis? Save it for a treat.

So, my advice to you if you are trying to avoid gluten – avoid the specialty shops and specifically gluten free items. They ARE expensive. Because they can be, it’s a niche market. Eating gluten free is easy when you cook from scratch.

I make pizza crust at home from spelt flour (not gluten free, but you could easily use a gf blend) and baking soda which probably costs pennies. We eat a lot of potatoes and brown rice. I make a big pot of brown rice, leave it in the fridge and serve it with everything. Spaghetti sauce, tacos, everything. When the rest of the family has noodles and breads I have rice or quinoa.

Anyone else with me on this one? Do you find eating gluten free to be expensive? Comments and discussion welcome.

Here are some interesting resources I just discovered – there’s a gluten free carnival going on at kitchen stewardship this week, so I am looking forward to seeing what else comes up. Plus there's a giveaway on there right now from some coconut flour that you won't want to miss.

Also, simply sugar and gluten free looks like a good site for resources. It’s making me start to wonder if I should try quitting sugar for a while, too… but I’m just not sure how to drink coffee without it.

And I have to leave you with Gluten Free Girl’s delightful blog which asserts that she is not missing out by eating gluten free. Just look at the pictures – she is definitely not missing out!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

handstitched mama...

As promised, here are screenshots of the two treasuries I made this week on etsy.

This one is on handstitching. Inspired by Alabama Chanin, my current obsession (can you tell). This one was actually tough to do. I was looking for projects inspired by, not copies of the style.

And this one I really do love. I was thinking Mother's day. Maybe that's obvious. All of these selections are so expressive to me about what it means to be a mother. I especially love the little girl with the frown. She's got a bee in her bonnet about something. Some days are like that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

By some stroke of luck I managed to get two treasuries today, within minutes of each other.

Here is the first one, on motherhood.

And here is the second one, on handstitching. I was thinking about the Alabama Chanin books I recently purchased when I made this one. It's amazing how little is handsewn for construction these days, even in a handmade marketplace.

I will put up screen shots in a few days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

DIY Revelation – Starting a Yoga Personal Practice

I have practiced yoga since 2001, so 8 or 9 years off and on. Off mostly when my babies were born and then on again when I returned to work. But this winter I just couldn't get into the class.

My brain was moving too quickly and I needed to modify or skip so many of the poses that the class became, for me, disjointed and unfulfilling. The class failed to meet my needs anymore. So I stopped going.
And stopped moving.
Not moving is bad when you sit in a chair barely moving all day anyway.
My body started to feel stiff and still and I knew I had to do SOMETHING. Anything.

Suddenly, one day it dawned on me that I already knew everything I needed to practice yoga on my own. Call it a DIY revelation. After 9ish years of practicing, I had learned a thing or two. So I did a little research and came up with a plan and have been practicing in my little office twice (more or less) a week for a couple of months now. I thought it might be beneficial to share the journey a little. Because starting a yoga practice on your own is easier than you think (though I do think you should take classes to begin, yoga can’t be learned by reading about it).

I have always practiced ashtanga yoga and I always enjoyed the classes that most closely followed the traditional ashtanga series. I don’t know why it took so long to figure out that all I had to do in my own private practice was to use that series as a starting point and then branch out from there. Easy. Before I figured that out I would meander from pose to pose, not exactly knowing what I would do next. Finding my foundation was key to a good personal yoga practice. I can deviate from there, but at least I have something to start with.

In my next post I’ll tell you about what poses make up my personal practice, and then I have a third post in mind with tips and hints to get you started and keep you going.
And don’t be shy posting a comment – I love to dig deeper.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

TAST - Beaded Hedebo Edge

Here are a couple of pictures for Take a Stitch Tuesday from Sharon B. Check out her blog if you are at all interested in stitching, it's a great resource.
I have to tell you this wasn't my favourite stitch. I don't normally carry beads around with me in my embroidery kit - and I didn't have many ideas for doing different things with this stitch. I like the challenge of doing as many things as possible with a stitch. It is a very pretty stitch, though, and I can see using it in little girl's clothes a lot. It is quick and easy to work up and, as you will see, quite dainty.

You might have noticed that I didn't use beads, but substituted french knots.
I also tried putting it on the edge of the fabric which I'm not actually crazy about, but it was worth the try.

and a close up:
And another close up. This one is actually the front. Next time I would stitch it so that this is on the back.
And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Links

Links to interesting things I found on the web this week:

An inspiring story about people making a difference in their community. I love the simplicity of the story and the huge grass-roots impact. There's a lesson to be learned here. (OK, and the pictures! I so want white hair like that when I am older!) I've been thinking a lot about the doing that has a bigger impact than just our small lives. Any other ideas, readers? Cause I'd love to see them.

Food Links:

A waffle recipe using soaked oats (and bonus - no wheat!). I wonder if we can make pancakes out of this recipe... perhaps the perfect use for the whey I'd like to make out of this recipe for whey and cream cheeze. Oh, I'm going to be so healthy! or at least well fed...

And, finally, a link to bacon font for Jessica, my fav. bacon foodie friend. I love being your daily sanity call!

I'm working on a new project this week that I am totally enthralled by! I can't wait to show you. I don't even have a sneak peek teaser for you, bad blogger, I know. It's inspired by Alabama Chanin, but a pattern I made myself.
For the gardeners out there I've got something new in my shop. I imagine people giving them as gifts to their mothers and grandmothers. To me something personalized and specific like this says that you recognize and appreciate them for who they are.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

TAST - Knotted Loop Stitch

Here are my samples for TAST week 2 - knotted loop stitch. See here for more details on the challenge and how to do this stitch.

(above) Of course, I tried a circle, spiral, whipped, laced, varying the size and placement of the stitches, and combining it with other stitches. I was most pleased with the knots I was able to create (below) by working the stitch singly and very tiny. The darker green knots are french knots show to demonstrate how much smaller and closer to the fabric these ones are.
I must say I am smitten.
Most of my work is done on things that are worn and washed, and I think these little knots will stand up to that kind of wear much better than french knots. If anyone knows the name for them please leave a comment. I'm sure it's been invented before but I couldn't find it on my stitch book.

I like to make things more complicated (so says my husband anyway!) so I made this picture below out of knotted loop stitches. There are a couple of straight stitches thrown on for good measure as I felt I needed more density of color after the knotted loop stitches were in place.

I've always lived near the mountains, and I have such a nostalgic affection for them. I look up at them every day and think how amazing this world is.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wordle: stitch


Wordle: stitch

via wordle.

Friday Links! Leprechauns!

Today, a list of links to use as educational resources in case you need to 'splain to someone about leprechauns. Who knows when you might need this.

Leprechauns up to mischief at wee folk art (I love this blog). Be sure to check out all 8+ days of mischief.

Oh, my, this family really has a leprechaun problem! This is from last year, I wonder what's going to happen this year.

Maybe they should look at building one of these leprechaun traps! They look well engineered.... I wonder what they would do if they really caught one!

And last, but not least, May the wind be at your backside.... an oh so funny remake of the Irish Blessing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Stitch Sampler Ideas

Here is handy list for things to try with a new stitch.

Things to try with stitches:
curved, spiral, circle.
layering it on top of itself.
layering with other stitches.
different thread.
fill a space with it.
open vs. closed
vary size
spacing and angles

Feel free to add your ideas in the comments.
Happy Stitching.

Diamond Stitch - Take a Stitch Tuesday

Here are the samples I worked up for the very first TAST - Take A Stitch Tuesday. A new stitch is posted every Tuesday and then you spend some time playing with it and post your results. I will try to get photos on Saturdays and post them as soon as I can. That's the hardest part for me, so wish me luck!

All right, diamond stitch. I started working a 4 inch square sampler on felted wool.

I was delighted with the star - I've been looking for a way to stitch a 9 pointed star (a Baha'i symbol) for a while now and I think I've found a good stitch for it.

I really liked the argyle look of diamond stitch on top of itself (right), and couching with it (left) has potential.

Next I got this silly little idea of stitching green thumbs on some garden gloves! I like the look of it but I think I will choose a stitch that is more attached to the fabric (if you know what I mean) for this for durability. I liked the idea of this stitch because it is stretchy and I can see lots off applications for it in garment making where stretchy stitches are needed.

And then I got this idea to stitch on my apron. Aprons and embroidery are both symbols of domesticity so this is a comment on that. I think I will do a lot of sampling on this apron and see where the project takes me. The first sample here is whipped diamond stitch and the second is playing with the size of the elements. I really love the look of alternating small and large sections.

And then a band on the top of the apron.
My thinking is to add to this band with other stitches as time goes on.

I'm already beginning to regret using such bright colors, but I'm sure I'll be bale to tone them down with the next row of stitches.

And finally, I couldn't resist a small patch of french knots. I saw this on a blog somewhere for using up the last bits of leftover thread and I think it's kind of pretty. I'm adding to it already.

I can't wait to see what other people have done with this versatile stitch.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Links

Here are some interesting links found this week.

Alabama skirt. This is an absolutely gorgeous project.

Graphic Design. The basics all on one page. I have zero art training, and I found this little article on design principles quite helpful.

Here's an interesting project I stumbled upon. Maybe a good place to send all that extra brown thread you bought by accident.

So, I bought the book from last weeks list. And here's the website, I think I'll be spending a bunch of time (virtually) with Summer Pierre.

I've been working on prototypes for a new project for my shop - green thumb gardening gloves! I just thought up the green thumb part today on my lunch break and it makes me want to clap like a little girl. Seriously, though, I hope to have these listed in the store soon - tomorrow if all goes well. I'll post something on here about it, too.

I'm also working on a huge blog post with some covert stitching I did in January and February that I can now show you. Lots and lots of pictures to go through first, though. It's eye candy, though and I think you'll like it.

Also sometime this weekend I should have a post up about TAST - Take a stitch tuesday which I've been playing with this week. I promise pictures in that one, too.

Phewph! I even tire myself out!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Red Petal Onesie. Stitching Love.

This was the scene at my house Saturday. I woke early to get the most out of that precious quiet time when the house is still before everyone else wakes up. Stitching and reading. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

I was in progress with a onesie for a baby I know (not Anya, sorry, Jessica). I appliqued a pale yellow base - an old work shirt that I loved the color of but didn't fit me really well, and red petals from an old sweatshirt of my daughter's (also used on this project).

You can see some petals stitched and cut out and some in the process of being stitched. I stitched the petals first, then the background fabric and then embellished with more surface embroidery. I was too impatient to wait and cut everything out after it was stitched, so I stitched 3 and then cut.

And here is a shot of the finished shirt (below). You can't see, but there are green and yellow stitches on the background. Once I did those I felt the petals looked a little plain, hence the stitching there. Next time I do this shirt I'll be a little simpler with the embellishing. I wasn't entirely happy with the stitches in the petals, but it was colorful and pretty for a little girl, so I left it (plus I was running out of time).

Anyone care to leave a comment with suggestions for stitches for the petals (this is feather stitch)? I have another onesie and am thinking of doing this design again.

I might go super simple and ditch the yellow background next time around. I don't think it added that much to the overall design. I can't wait to see it on it's new owner ... it's a little big still, though.

I'm also thinking of making my own baby t-shirt pattern up instead of using bought onesies to give myself more flexibility in the design. Working around the pattern already on the shirt was a pain in the butt. They'd be fairly quick to sew up due to the small size and could probably be made from one large adult t-shirt. I could see making a tonne of these once I've got the pattern right.