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Monthly Archives: September 2013

october unprocessed 2013

For October, I am taking the October Unprocessed challenge.

The rules are, basically:

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients. 

It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.

This is something I did last year, and found really satisfying. It wasn’t super hard since I mostly eat food I cook myself (because it is cheaper), but I ate well all month. It limited the amount of junky snacks I munched on in class and I felt much healthier.

I will be posting at least one recipe I made every week, so follow along or check back!

You can find more on the challenge here.

strawberry season

strawberry season

I also feel strongly that the local food movement is incredibly important. I worked on a CSA in high school rather than at a retail job or restaurant, and it opened my eyes. Local food supports jobs and small businesses in our communities (raise your hand if you think the economy needs a boost). It is also often less expensive, fresher, and more delicious because it hasn’t been shipped from a bajillion miles away. I no longer eat factory farmed meat- this results in me eating less meat overall, but more variety in my diet. Sometimes I’ll eat factory farmed meat when I go out, but I don’t buy it at home.

(Excuse the preachiness. This is how I choose to eat, but everyone has their own preferences, and I respect that. The world would be a boring place if everyone agreed with me.)

bees= local honey

bees= local honey

In the name of good food, onward!


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Look at this patch I found! It says: work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work… round and round. Love it. Seeing as how my bike is my main source of transportation, I think it’s fitting. I’m on the search for something to stitch this on to.

This is my third week of blogging. It has been satisfying learning the ropes of WordPress, telling stories with a series of pictures, and finding my voice as a blogger. I get giddy whenever I see that a post has been “liked,” or when I have a new follower. It’s fun seeing that people are enjoying reading the posts that I enjoy writing. Thanks to everyone for your support!


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I think the leaves of the croton plant are absolutely gorgeous:

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So when I saw the leaves used to make a cuff in a runway show (blogged about here), I decided to make my own.

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I started out with some sketches

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I traced my sketches, pinned them onto felt, and cut them out. I sewed two leaves of each shape together to make each leaf thicker and sturdier. Then I painted.

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I free-handed the designs while using my sketches as a reference, but could have also transferred the designs using tracing paper or a fabric pencil. I used magenta, dark green, light green, and yellow fabric paint. The easiest technique was to use the bottle they came in to apply the paint. I used a paintbrush for the magenta, but it was hard to control.

Finally, I laid out the leaves I liked best, and sewed them together. I used elastic and a snap to close the cuff.

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After I did all this work, I realized I could have just bought a fake plant and hot glued the false leaves to some elastic. Or done a photo transfer onto fabric to make the leaves, then sewn them together. At least it is one-of-a-kind! And I had a lot of fun making it.

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I found this gorgeous jacket from Lucky Brand Jeans at Buffalo Exchange, but it was so sun damaged!

Before:

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The sun damage was so pronounced that they gave me 50% off… which was more than enough to cover some RIT dye.  I used a package of navy blue powdered dye and followed the below instructions from the RIT Dye Studio.

This process has worked for me many times, and always results in richly dyed fabric that is pretty colorfast. I dyed some faded grey jeans back to their original black last year- except for the wear and tear, they look almost new.

From the RIT Dye Studio

      “Steps for Dyeing in a “Front-Loader” Washing Machine

1.  Pre-wash your fabric.  This will help to remove any finishes that may interfere with the dye process.

2.  Place your wet fabric in the washing machine.

3.  Shake dye bottle.  Pour dye into the soap dispenser followed by 4 cups of hot water.  Note:  If using Rit powder dye, mix dye with 2 cups of hot water before pouring into the soap dispenser. Then follow with 2 cups hot water.

4.  Set your water temperature to the hottest possible setting and a wash cycle of at least 30 minutes or longer.  Rit loves hot water!

5.  Start the wash cycle.  For cotton, rayon or linen: After 10 minutes into the wash cycle, add 1 cup of salt dissolved in 4 cups of hot water.  Pour into soap dispenser.  For nylon, silk or wool:  After 10 minutes into the wash cycle, add 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 4 cups of hot water. Pour into the soap dispenser.

6.  After the machine cycle ends, rewash fabric in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry.

7.  Clean washing machine immediately after dyeing using the hottest water setting.  Place 3 to 4 old towels in the washer with detergent and 1 – 2 cups chlorine bleach.  Run towels through the wash cycle.  Wipe up spills and clean out the dispenser with a chlorine bleach solution.”

I think it turned out pretty great. The entire thing is a rich blue, very close to the color of the un-damaged parts before I dyed the jacket.

After:

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How is your weekend so far?

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I found this gorgeous jacket from Lucky Brand Jeans at Buffalo Exchange, but it was so sun damaged!

Before:

2013-08-22 18.05.58 2013-08-22 18.05.32 2013-08-22 18.05.23 2013-08-22 18.05.01

The sun damage was so pronounced that they gave me 50% off… which was more than enough to cover some RIT dye.  I used a package of navy blue powdered dye and followed the below instructions from the RIT Dye Studio.

This process has worked for me many times, and always results in richly dyed fabric that is pretty colorfast. I dyed some faded grey jeans back to their original black last year- except for the wear and tear, they look almost new.

From the RIT Dye Studio

      “Steps for Dyeing in a “Front-Loader” Washing Machine

1.  Pre-wash your fabric.  This will help to remove any finishes that may interfere with the dye process.

2.  Place your wet fabric in the washing machine.

3.  Shake dye bottle.  Pour dye into the soap dispenser followed by 4 cups of hot water.  Note:  If using Rit powder dye, mix dye with 2 cups of hot water before pouring into the soap dispenser. Then follow with 2 cups hot water.

4.  Set your water temperature to the hottest possible setting and a wash cycle of at least 30 minutes or longer.  Rit loves hot water!

5.  Start the wash cycle.  For cotton, rayon or linen: After 10 minutes into the wash cycle, add 1 cup of salt dissolved in 4 cups of hot water.  Pour into soap dispenser.  For nylon, silk or wool:  After 10 minutes into the wash cycle, add 1 cup of white vinegar mixed with 4 cups of hot water. Pour into the soap dispenser.

6.  After the machine cycle ends, rewash fabric in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry.

7.  Clean washing machine immediately after dyeing using the hottest water setting.  Place 3 to 4 old towels in the washer with detergent and 1 – 2 cups chlorine bleach.  Run towels through the wash cycle.  Wipe up spills and clean out the dispenser with a chlorine bleach solution.”

I think it turned out pretty great. The entire thing is a rich blue, very close to the color of the un-damaged parts before I dyed the jacket.

After:

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How is your weekend so far?


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“Holy moly!” you think, “What a big shirt on tiny little Claire.”

Well, I’m about to remedy that.

I saw shirts similar to this one on Skunkboy Blog and Fancy Treehouse that caught my eye. So I grabbed this one on sale through ASOS Petite. But when this size 4 arrived, I realized that it is HUGE! But it has serious potential. If only it was a little slimmer…

Here’s what I did:

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I put the shirt on inside out and pinned where I wanted the sides seams to be. Then I sewed a basting stitch starting about halfway down the sleeves, turning at the armpit (making sure to leave room for tatas), and then down the side. I turned it right side out and tried it on to check that it was the size I wanted and fit well. After making necessary adjustments through further application of basting stitches, some seam ripping, and further tryings-on of the shirt, I sewed a regular stitch right over the basting stitches. Then cut some of the excess fabric off and tried it on one more time (just to make sure it is exactly how I want it). Then I serged the raw edge.

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Yes, I know it’s a weird shape- I need some extra room up top. Your shirt will be shaped differently.

Instead of leaving the serging thread hanging, I like to turn it over the seam and sew a zig zag stitch to hold it down. I’m afraid that it will unravel if I just cut it, so I reinforce the end of the serging seam before I cut the excess thread off.

Ta daa!

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Next time you have a shirt that is too big, you can trace the first one you made by reading this post. Saves time.

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Alternate title: hairdo for attending a fancy schmancy soiree

Cut the stem off of a fake flower and liberally hot glue the flower to a barrette. Super easy!

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Other tips: sanding the plastic barrette slightly before gluing makes a better surface for the glue to hold on to. Slightly flatter flowers work best to be glued onto a flat surface. Use a LOT of hot glue.

I tried to find a picture of myself wearing this in my hair at a friend’s wedding this summer, but it seems the image was not captured. Here are some more recent pics:

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Hairdo also good for ladies who have half their hair shaved off. Makes those alterna-haircuts look so dressy!

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I had some fabric scraps lying around, and wanted to make a fabric covered journal. I picked up a couple little journals from my local craft store and got to work.

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Here are my supplies

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First I traced the journal onto felt and cut out a piece for each side. This will be hidden by the fabric over it eventually, but will make the journal softer. Then I hot glued the felt on the front and back of the cover.

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Then I cut out the piece of fabric that will cover the journal. I did this by laying the book open, flat, and tracing a large border around it.

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I glued the fabric to the inside of the journal covers, making sure to leave enough room for the book to close. It helps if you cut diagonals on the corners to remove extra fabric. Around the spine I cut a notch in the fabric and folded it under.

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I cut a piece of card stock slightly smaller than the inside of the cover and glued it over the raw edges. The journal will close better if you leave some room between the edge of the card stock and the fold.

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There it is! I glued a button to the front of the journal, and glued a ribbon to the back (under the cardstock on the inside) to keep this one closed. You could also add a bookmark. If your journal has trouble closing, keep it under something heavy for a week.
Happy journaling!

2013-09-11 21.39.33 I found these beautiful purple skinned potatoes at Whole Foods and decided I had to make myself some potato salad. Since I started cooking for only myself, I’ve had to resize many of my recipes, and get used to having less variety in the dishes I eat. I like to make dishes that I can eat twice- one portion for dinner, another for the next day’s lunch- or that I can freeze so I can eat some now, and some in a few weeks (when I don’t feel like cooking, usually). 2013-09-11 21.40.30 2013-09-11 21.49.38 2013-09-09 15.51.15-2 2013-09-09 15.50.52 2013-09-11 21.51.31 Oil & Vinegar Potato Salad 2 medium sized potatoes 1 hard boiled egg, cut into small pieces Tbsp apple cider vinegar 2 tsp olive oil 1/4 tsp salt 1/8 tsp smoked paprika Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and boil for about 10 minutes, or until soft enough to slide a fork through. Drain potatoes and mix with the cut up egg. Combine vinegar, oil, salt and paprika. Pour over potatoes and egg and stir with a fork. Chill. I love how the paprika turns everything a little bit red, and the skins of the potatoes are lovely against the white meat and egg whites. I like to use apple cider vinegar because it has such a gentle flavor. The potatoes soak up the vinegar and are so delicious the next day. Enjoy!