Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Love Bread

I've been a bit addicted to bread making lately. Especially the no-knead variety (so awesome for people like me who have tile countertops!). Hubby received this book from me for Christmas (actually he ordered it himself and paid for it, but really, it's from me), and I've sort of taken it over.

artisan bread

IMG_0626
Turban-shaped Challah with Raisins

beer bread
Peasant Loaf w/Parmesan

IMG_0723
Challah

I've heard people say that no-knead bread isn't the best for sandwiches. Maybe the peasant loaf isn't so great because of the hard crust, but the challah is soft and chewy and makes me want to go out and get a panini maker, it's really that good.

More bread posts are sure to come. I can't seem to stop taking pictures of every loaf that emerges from the oven.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be Well

eye mask

Michael Miller fabrics has posted my tutorials for a spa set made from their collection of organic cotton. The set includes patterns and instructions for an eye mask, bath mitt, therapeutic neck wrap and a soft fabric basket to put them all in.

neck pillow cover

The neck wrap is filled with flax seed that I purchased in the bulk section of my local grocery store for $1.20/lb. I feel like I need to state that tidbit lest anyone think that flax seed is some exotic material that is hard to obtain. Affordable wholesome goodness. Sigh.

flax seeds

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Comment Thing

pretty tulips

I feel like I should explain myself to the poor people who come to my blog trying to leave me a comment and can't figure out where to leave it. Some of my posts have a place to comment and others do not. I promise I'm not trying to be unpredictable or anti-social. There is a method to this. My ordinary run-of-the-mill posts are comment free. The only exception I have been making to this is when I post a tutorial. If there is something wrong with it, or something that can be improved upon, I want to know right away. It's important to me that people have a convenient way of letting me know these things. Also, it makes me happy to see people using my tutorials, so I figure leaving a place for them to leave a link to their finished project and let me know how it went is a good thing.

It's been many months now since I have been mostly comment free. The main reason is that I felt like this blog was encroaching on my life. Time that should have been spent reading/hanging out with my kiddos was being eaten up by my constantly checking email to see what comments were coming in and then clicking around the blogs of commenters. Some people have self-control around their computers, but sadly, I do not (well, not enough, anyway). I've decided that at this point in my life it is better for my sanity and my time to do away with comments. This has freed things up incredibly.

At first I worried that without the social aspect of blogging I might give up blogging altogether. The concern was that perhaps I was blogging because I had an audience and nice folks coming by to applaud the things I made. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that creating is it's own reward for me. This blog has been plodding along quite nicely without comments and I'm even more happy than ever with the direction I've been able to take with it in terms of feeling like I can do whatever I want without being worried that I have to please an audience.

Some issues that are now no longer, thanks to having a comment-free blog:

The guilt I was feeling for being a delinquent responder to comments.

The creepy feeling I had when receiving comments from strangers...if you haven't had nasty encounters with "anonymous," consider yourself fortunate.

Feeling sorry for myself for not getting "enough" comments, especially on posts that I worked hard on or that were particularly meaningful to me. Isn't it bizarre the effect blogging can have on a person? I never had problems like this before!

Feeling used when my stats showed thousands of visitors with very few to no comments materializing from those visits. Hmmmm. Perhaps I should give up checking my stats too....

Depending on the praises of others to feel good about myself.

I love that this blog is now only one compartment of my life. I can post and then I'm done. I can get on with other things. When I'm hanging out with the family, I'm really there and present with them. My mind isn't on what my imaginary friends are thinking about whatever craft I made.

Of course, there are downsides to this as well. I feel like I've lost a few bloggy friends along the way. Friends who are in frequent contact with each other, but not with me anymore. I'm OK with that. It's worth it to me to sit things out. When I first started blogging I did it as a creative endeavor. Making blog friends was an extra I didn't anticipate. It was fun while it lasted, but I value my real life friends too, and if I spend all my time in the comments that's time away from them. I'm sure there are other downsides, but I'd rather not focus on them.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! Comments are closed on this post, but if you feel the need to chat, there's always email.

joanna (@) greatturtle (.) com

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let the Healing Begin

recycled cotton

I'm feeling much better about the sweater snafu. I've decided to chalk it up to a learning experience. One that ate hours and hours of my life that I'll never get back, but still....

You know how seamstresses make garment mock-ups out of muslin? Well, that was my muslin. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

I've decided to jump back on the horse. I'm knitting a sweater. Out of cotton. It's blockable. I'm using the same yarn that the pattern calls for. This time I've given myself every opportunity. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Phooey on It

pieces of vest


It's a good thing I'm a process knitter. I learned so much in the making of this sweater.

1) The long-tail cast on.
2) How to join shoulder seams.
3) How to do the mattress stitch.
4) How to make a nice looking cord.
5) Three methods of increasing: the bar, the M1R and the M1L.

cord

If I focus on all the new things that I learned instead of how I will never, ever, not once wear this sweater out in public, then I will feel much better about the hours I spent knitting it.

OK then. Big breaths.

Other important things I learned: when knitting your first ever sweater for yourself, do yourself a favor and squelch the "I'm-going-to-improvise-with-this-other-yarn-and-see-how-it-turns-out" feeling. Stick with the yarn the pattern calls for. I feel like such a dummy. I'd tell you what kind of yarn I used, but if V*nna reads my blog, she'll be mad at me. At least it was on sale, right!? I even did a gauge swatch this time! Oh, and no matter how hard you try, acrylic doesn't block. And why did I buy acrylic yarn anyway? I never buy myself acrylic sweaters in the store. Aaaargh!!! I'm in such a foul mood right now.

pesky curl
This is the bottom of the back. Seed stitch isn't supposed to curl like this!!!!
This cannot be corrected by blocking!!!!! And why not? Because acrylic stinking doesn't block, OK?
I learned my lesson! Humph! :(

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Baseball Stitch

While in the midst of creating a tutorial for the most awesome of felt sausages, it occurred to me that I was writing a tutorial within a tutorial. So instead of doing that, I'm going to break them apart. Here is a tut on my favorite way of stitching shut a softie. It's the baseball stitch.

Have you ever been to Build-a-Bear where the lady stuffs the bear and then magically pulls some floss and closes everything up? Now that's what I'm talking about!!! I'll stop talking and let the pictures speak for themselves...

stuff

sew1

baseball stitch

baseball done

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An April Fool's Breakfast

breakfast

Hope your day was full of fun and laughter!

Donut tutorial from here: http://torreadora.livejournal.com/64116.html
Egg tutorial from here:
http://melissagoodsell.typepad.com/day_to_day/tutorial---felt-food-eggssliced-orange/
Pancakes--no tut. Just two circles blanket stitched together w/no stuffing.
Sausage tutorial: coming soon... :)