Sunday, August 31, 2008

It only took me 3 months...

I finally sewed up some pillow covers for the new pillow forms I bought back in the beginning of summer.
I finally used that really fun Japanese button cotton canvas fabric! Yay! I love it. And then for the larger floor pillow I used some clearance linen blend I had on hand. I still have a few more to make, but those pillow forms haven't been purchased.

Saturday morning I decided to do some vacuuming which lead into moving a few pieces of furniture, and then I included Jeff on the action and now we have a completely rearranged/reorganized living room space. I couldn't stand having all his electronics in plain site anymore so I gave him a hutch (where I normally store candles, table linens, vases, knickknacks) to hide everything. That small storage sacrifice was worth it!

So the new space with the new pillows makes me want to make my red and aqua blanket even more.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Etsy Update!

Little by little I spent some time building up stock for my bare Etsy shop. 6 new pincushions are listed and some additional zipper pouches will be making there way soon. Clicking the photos will link you directly to the listing.

I am so in love with this Lecien My Folklore fabric.

Vintage purple fabric. Just the right scale for the pincushion too!

I find this cushion so funny. It was only when I was editing the photo's did I realize that it looks as if I am sticking the bird with the pins! Voodoo anyone? It's not what I was going for, but maybe this little mistake will be perfect for someone that enjoys a little dark humor. No?

Canning- Is it worth it?

--- I ended up taking off on Friday! I finished up 4 work in progresses and I am finishing the 5th one today. Good stuff. ---

I mentioned that I am keeping a food preservation journal this year and one of my objectives is to determine if canning/freezing is worth it? Thursday evening my neighbor came over to help can the 60lbs of peaches sitting in my garage. Before she came over I washed all the peaches, starting the large pot for the hot water bath and all the jars were freshly washed (using the highest temp available) in the dishwasher and hanging out in the hot dry cycle to keep them warm. The lids and rings were sitting in their pot ready to be sterilized and the pot of water was simmering to take the peach skins off.

I used the Ball Blue Book of Preservation as a guide. I bought my copy from the grocery store and I believe it was cheaper than what Amazon has it as. The book was located right next to the canning supplies they sell.

Variety: Bounty (freestone peach)

60 lbs of peaches (a little over a bushel by volume) cost $32.00 or $.53/lb. It yielded 31 quarts of canned peaches (halves in the wide mouth jars and quarters in the regular jars) and 4 10'' peach pie filling portions which I froze in ziplock bags. So that's a total of 35 food units (this is an official LeeAnn household measurement, in case you are wondering). I used prit-near a whole 5# bag of sugar at $2.25 and $5 in rings and lids. (You can't reuse lids from year to year.) I did not factor in the cost of the jars since most were given to me and they are reusable year after year.

So $32 + $2.25 + $5= $39.25/35 food units= $1.12 per food unit.

Also consider the labor involved. A good 3 1/2 hours (with 2 people) Thursday night and another 1 1/2 hours Friday night for the pie filling. This time includes clean up (and even a floor mopping!).

One of the quarts of peaches didn't seal. Carefully inspect your canning jars before you use them. Make sure there are no nicks or chips along the lips edge. You won't get a safe seal for storage. The quality of the peaches is not diminished as long as you place the jar in the fridge soon after canning. I am kinda glad one didn't seal because I got to have a preview of what I can look forward to in January. The peaches were still firm and oh so tasty!

TIP 1: If you are planning to try canning peaches for the first time make sure you ask for a "freestone" variety. This is a variety where the stones (pits) are easily removed from ripe peaches. Saves a ton of headaches!

TIP 2: For even cheaper peaches ask if you can get 'seconds'. These are the imperfect peaches, sometimes on the brink of being over ripe, but they are incredible cheap. Just make sure you can them within 24 hours to get the most yield.

Just as I was finished typing this blog post I looked over to my right and found Critter sound asleep by my feet in my sewing room. You can see the progress of yesterdays sewing on the floor by her head. We joke about needing a fireplace so we can put our kitty fur rug on display. She is one seriously fluffy kitty. Good thing she likes being brush- a lot.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The women behind Mint Basil...

has a real job. But today I really just wanted to spend 8 hours in that mess I call a sewing room.

The morning light was so nice on the bare, rented, white walls. I can't wait till we get a house and can paint. I did take my spiral bound idea book with me today. Not that I had a chance to open it. But still it was like having a 'creative blanket' with me as I worked. I've been so analytical at work that I am contemplating taking Friday off to be inspired. I don't know about you, but I find I do my best at my career job when I exercise the right and left side of my brain.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grasshopper or ant?

Grasshopper: 'Why do you work so hard, dear ant?' he would say. 'Come, rest awhile, listen to my song. Summer is here, the days are long and bright. Why waste the sunshine in labor and toil?'

Tis the season for food preservation. I started this evening by freezing some fresh crushed tomatoes in quart bags for later use in stews. Tomorrow I am picking up a bushel of peaches for canning on Thursday with help from a neighbor. She'll come over to help with the prep and canning and we'll split everything. The time goes by faster and it's half the work! Saturday I hope to freeze a bushel of green beans.

I was sewn before the canning season started!

I am doing a bit of record keeping this summer season. I plan on recording the amount of fresh produce purchased, cost of fresh produce, variety if known, how much it yielded, and eventually how long said preserved produce lasted us during the winter season. Hopefully these details will help in future years to remember what varieties we liked best and if we stored too much/ too little.

Linen top, scrap of white eyelet, hand stitched vintage crochet trim, vintage button closure.

A few weeks ago I started harvesting my fresh herbs. This year after I washed everything I let all the leaves air dry for 24 hours. Then I wrapped them up in a dry paper towel and placed in freezer bags. I checked the basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sage yesterday and they are all looking excellent. In fact upon reopening the plastic bags I was surprised how aromatic the herbs were. We'll see how they look in 6 more months.

Which this reminds me... someone requested I give my recipe for the rosemary/lavender hair rinse. (Sorry, I forgot about that!) There are more recipes than you can count out there including some that have you seep the herbs in water for 3-4 weeks in a sunny window sill. Over kill maybe? In the end I decided to do it this way:
  1. I took one water bottle (about 16 oz size) with a sports cap and filled it with water.
  2. I put that measured amount of water into a small sauce pan and brought it to a simmer.
  3. I added about 3/4 cup of rosemary leaves and 1 heaping tablespoon of dried lavender buds in water and let it seep for 15 min and strained the liquid from solids.
  4. Once the liquid was cool I put it back into water bottle.
  5. I took this bottle into the shower with me. It lasted 2 rinses.
I really loved the results! I have dark, long, thick hair. Rosemary is suppose to help darken hair over a period of time and has properties to prevent dander. After my normal shampooing I for-goed conditioner and just used the rinse. Amazing my hair was tangle free, had a wonderful fragrance, and was super shiny the next day. I used this recipe multiple times with great results. More recently I switched the rosemary out for mint and absolutely loved the smell of that. That scent lingered into the next day and I got the thumbs up from the husband.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You know you want one too!

I stopped in JoAnn's this week for a few supplies.and took a few extra minutes to walk down a few isles I never spend time in. This past week they restocked their organization section and my eyes were immediately drawn to this basket.
Upon closer inspection I realized this basket was made out of woven recycled newspapers! Japanese newspapers no less! How cool is that?! And it was 50% off. I had been looking for something to hold my patterns. Originally I thought I would make a fabric basket, but this is so much better. The bottom is just a tad too narrow to hold magazines. (Which is too bad because my Japanese crafting magazine would have matched!)
And I want to share something really odd with you. But its OK because your all my friends right? This week I had a freckle fall off my face. You heard me. For as long as I can remember I had a freckle right on the tip of my nose. When I got back from Panama I noticed it had gotten a lot darker. A few days later my nose was itchy and I checked it out in the mirror. One more finger scratch and I watched this freckle fall off my face and gently float to the bathroom floor. Isn't that the oddest thing you have ever heard? I wouldn't have believed it if it didn't happen to me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Even though I haven't found a waffle iron that's been on my thrifting list for quite a few months, I have been fortunate enough to find my fair share of cashmere sweaters. I have grand plans to make a large cuddly cashmere blanket. A few days ago (as part of the big sewing room clean up event) I decided to sort through all these thrifted sweaters I have been accumulating.
Cashmere on the left, felted wool on the right.

My cashmere pile is catching up to my wool pile. I am having the hardest time picturing how this cashmere blanket will look like. I know I don't want it to be all crazy quilt-ish, but I have such a wide variety of colors I am not being inspired for a finished project. It's just not coming together for me. I need someone who is good with color combos to come over and help me.

Just for the record there are 14 cashmere sweaters in that pile. All purchased for under $4 a piece. I found an additional 3 sweaters, but two fit me and one fit my sister. Can't beat that!

There is a baby blue cashmere sweater in the pile I want to turn into some sort of scarf for myself. I wear a black pea coat for work and I think the blue would brighten everything up.

In the mean time, I may just keep the pile on display and pet it every once in a while. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Sorry this is a little late!

The winner of the plum Swing Bag is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-08-10 21:58:44 UTC


Congratulations Strawberry Cat! I could not find an email address for you, so please email me at leeannhuber(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing information and I'll deliver this to the post office this week!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

TAGGED- 5 things

$8 yard sale bookcase with a bad blue paint job. Hopefully 2 cans of chocolate brown spray paint will give it a face lift. We need something to house all our cookbooks!

Ann-Margret tagged me to answer the following questions.... Maybe you'll learn something.

What was I doing ten years ago?

  1. I was getting ready to begin my senior year of high school!
  2. I had just purchased my first vehicle- 1992 Nissan pick up with a wooden tailgate.
  3. Attending my last county fair before I started college. I won grand champion steer and lamb.
  4. I started writing over 150 applications for grants and scholarships.
  5. I was throwing thousands upon thousands of hay bales. I was a good stacker. :)

What are 5 (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?

  1. Order my wedding photos. Hush. So what it was almost 2 years ago?
  2. Make peanut butter cookies.
  3. Write a blog posting.
  4. Cut fabric for a pattern.
  5. Find Critter's collar.
Five snacks I enjoy:
  1. Ice cream
  2. Peanut butter and jelly crackers
  3. Bagel chips
  4. Dark chocolate
  5. Iced mocha coffee

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:
  1. Tithe
  2. Give my family financial security
  3. Buy a farm
  4. Buy animals to live on farm
  5. Invest in my community

Five places I've lived:

  1. State College, PA
  2. Moscow, Russia
  3. Hillsborough, Northern Ireland
  4. Novi, Michigan
  5. Chambersburg, PA
Five Jobs I've Had:
  1. Paid no mind on the farm
  2. Student technician for Penn States Livestock Ultrasound Lab
  3. Regional Representative for Farm Bureau
  4. Sales Rep for SYSCO Foods
  5. Pharmaceutical Sales

Tomorrow evening I will be drawing a name for this bag! If you missed the give-a-way, head on over and sign up. There will probably be another give-a-way next week too!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bag Give-a-way

What I love most about sewing is the entire learning process. It's satisfying. It's tactile. It's colorful. It's a process. And you have to start somewhere.

One of the first patterns I purchased was the Amy Butler Swing Bag pattern. I purchased the pattern so I would learn how to seamlessly line a tote with handles sewn in the top seam. And what a great learning experience. I remember taking the time to prepare the fabric, read and rereading the directions, and taking it one step at a time.

I used a very rich colored plum deco weight fabric for the exterior and coordinating floral pattern for the interior. The bag is reversible too. I even made my first ever fabric flowers that were included in another pattern of Amy Butlers. They are attached with safety pin backs.

But unfortunately this bag has just been hanging in my closet and it deserves a new life with one of you. So, if are so inclined leave a comment by Friday and this could be yours. :)

Monday, August 4, 2008


Can you believe every battery in the house is dead? I have two chargers working overtime just so I can get a pair of AA's in working order to download pictures from the camera.

But as I sifted through 1200 new blog posts, I noticed that there were quite a few crafty give-a-ways going on. Here's a review. Enter away!

Bee Square Blog- Mistake Mondays!

CraftyPod- offering up a handmade futuregirl crochet bird bag!

Tula Pink- a new bag and charm pack of her new fabric line Nest!

Indie-Pendence- July edition of Swag-a-Licious. Very nice indeed.

Piece of Mind- super cute handmade greeting cards!

Simply Green- you know those celebrity gift bags they get for attending fancy shows... ya... you could have your own.

Craft Apple- Brand new, fresh from the publishers Tiny Yarn Animals book by Tammie Snow.

**Edit/ Addition** Wee Wonderfuls- Winners choice!

And there will be a few give-a-ways right here throughout the month of August! So check back soon! (This might have something to do with the cleaning of the sewing room this weekend. Just maybe.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Quick Vacation Review

Thanks everyone on the skirt comments! Funny thing is I never even got to wear it on my vacation! It had something to due with the airline losing our luggage. We didn't get our luggage until 6 days into our vacation. But that's an entirely different story. Add a canceled flight on the way to Panama, really stormy weather the entire trip and it was an adventurous trip to say the least. But we did have fun and that's what matters most!

I wanted to share a few photos of an uninhabited island where baby sea turtles are born. It was an amazing ( wet) trip by boat. The friends we visited in Bocos work with the Smithsonian doing research on the local wildlife. That's how we got the inside scoop on the baby turtles.

Just a simple dock and a thatched roof hut house a couple of researchers from May til Nov on this far off island. No foot prints but our own. Oh, lookie. Another storm rolling in!

This nest hatched a couple of days ago, so the researcher dug the hatched nest up to count the eggs.
Turtle eggs. They are about the size of golf balls.

Add we were lucky enough to see a baby hatchling! Still camouflaged by sand it was trying to make its way down to the waters edge. I have a cute little movie I made using my camera and once I figure out how to put it on here I will.
It made it's way to the water and the sand got washed off!

And if you ever wonder where all the worlds conch shells go, they come here. The beach was littered with tons of these gorgeous, large shells.