Category: Gifts

Knitting plastic bags… a not-quite-tutorial


Creative upcycling is fun. What is even more interesting (to me), is finding out that other people have independently come up with crazy ideas that I have 🙂 And the best part? Being able to Google random ideas and find instructions, lessons learned, and tips and tricks for almost anything you can think of.

I love the internet. 🙂

The other month or so, I thought, “surely, people knit using old plastic grocery bags. Cut ’em in strips, and they’re knitable…”…

At the time, I figured I’d find one or two kooky rogue bloggers and design students who have given it a whirl.

I was wrong.

Knitting with plastic bags is a whole ‘thing’ 🙂 Love it.

[Do a quick search on Google for “knitting plastic bags”… 🙂 ]

It wasn’t long before I found a site (Pie and Coffee) with a handy, easy to follow, basic tutorial on how to get the most material out of one bag.

After a few tries and experiments with different gauge knitting needles, I got the hang of it.

So now what?

Make a market bag for a friend, of course 😉 (Ugly? Yes.  Imperfect? Hell yes.  Unexpected birthday gift? Of course.  Sweet? I think so!  )

The front/bottom/back are one knitted rectangle with varying plastic types for each section. The bottom/middle of the rectangle is composed of thicker, less stretchy plastics (for more durability) while the mid-section of the front and back are from regular grocery sacks. The top sections are of a mid-thickness plastic. All strips are about an inch wide, knit with 8 gauge needles.

The side panels are regular grocery sacks cut into two-inch strips, knit with 17 gauge needles (so they can stretch to make more room if the bag is full, but the thicker strips have enough strength to compensate…I hope!).

The handles are a simple braid of three strands done in a loop to provide a bit of extra support to the bag. The bags here were cut in half to make very thick, strong pieces.

The components were sewn together with an embroidery needle and some sturdy thread, using double-triple stitches, widely spaced.

This is why I don’t do tutorials. Description ain’t my forte. (For bad-ass tutorials that you can really use if you want to learn how to sew, etc., go to Ikat Bag. LiEr rocks. Hard.)

My baby franken-bag? Here ’tis:

Side view of Frankenbag
Front view of Frankebag

Rapid Update


What a beginning of spring! It’s been a sequence of great weather, great friends, great food, great babysitting, and Spring Cleaning… I love it!

Some recent, easy food hits:

1. The Sandwich- Billion-Grain/Seed bread (fresh, of course, from our local bakery) with Flamengo and Emmental cheeses, some chopped fresh leeks, oregano, salt, and pepper, toasted. YUM.

 

2. The Soup– a base soup comprised of a head of cauliflower, a medium zucchini (about 2 cups, chopped), and about 1 3/4 c chopped leeks. Cook and blend into a lighter, happier, healthier potato soup replacement. Save and freeze some for later use. Season according to your mood. Today I added salt and pepper and some fresh chopped leeks. Perfect.

 

3. The Sugar Spiral- Yes, it is nefarious. It strikes suddenly, usually in the form of My Man Sweetness… He’s been plying me with a variety of pastries, cookies, and almond tarts. We’re ending it after today. It’s been fun, but that much sugar just isn’t good for anyone! 🙂 Back to whole grains, veggies, and feel-good foods for the spring and summer 🙂

 

I’m also trying to finish knitting a market bag from plastic bags for a friend’s birthday…nearly finished! (I’ll try to remember to post a link on how to do this later!)

 

xx

It’s not that I don’t love you…(Vanilla Bean Beignets and The Value of Talking to Oneself)


It’s just that, at least for My Man, Carnivale in Portugal = work holiday.

That’s right. When I’m hanging with my unreasonably attractive husband, I don’t spend time blogging. Don’t feel used or dirty, friends. I still love you. I’m just taking a little break.

I know how to make it up to you…don’t you worry. First, I’ll share some lovin’ that OTHER cool blogs have offered up recently. Then, later this week, I’ll share a bad-ass baking fix that my Gal Pal whipped up when she wanted some baked goodness but didn’t have any eggs in the house.

Yeah…you like that, don’t you?

Hm. Now I feel a little dirty. That was weird.

Anyway, all of the above promises will be made good on, starting with the OPB (Other People’s Blog) promise.

Behold (via Pretty Girls Cook):

Vanilla Bean Beignets with Chocolate Fudge Sauce

March 7, 2011
by Prettygirlscook

In celebration of Mardi Gras I made these beignets. They are light fluffy pillows of fried goodness. Seriously, they are delicious! What makes them even better is the warm chocolate fudge on the side. Enjoy with a cup of Café au lait.

Get the full recipe (including directions for the fudge sauce, which I presume can me made and consumed all on its own ;P) at http://prettygirlscook.com/2011/03/07/vanilla-bean-beignets-with-chocolate-fudge-sauce/
Now, if you are a friend of mine, you are fully aware of the sadfact that I will not likely ever attempt this recipe. This doesn’t mean it isn’t a good recipe. Nor does it mean that I don’t want to eat it.

On that note, I’ll happily and gently remind/inform you that my birthday is tomorrow. Vanilla Bean Beignets with Chocolate Fudge Sauce would qualify as an appropriate gift. FYI. I’m just sayin’.

And now, for something completely different:

(aka, funny stuff that you KNOW applies to you, but you may or may not choose to admit it to anyone else at this time, via Ramblings )

Using Technology To Avoid Commitment (The Padded Room Variety)

Portrait courtesy of lackcolor.com

I talk to myself. Which is OK, except I’ve started answering me back.

Sometimes I have long, involved discussions with me while puttering around the house.  I’m a sparkling self-conversationalist!  I also talk to the TV and the cat, but I don’t think that counts. When I talk to the TV and my husband is in the room, I consider that social interaction.

Most of the self-chatting is done in my car.  Almost every day I spend quality time going to the bank, the store, lunch and commuting.  If I’m listening to talk radio, I talk back.  If I’ve got music on, I sing along.  Loudly.  Then I critique me.  I can be pretty hard on me, but it’s for my own good.

…Read more and cackle to yourself at http://pegoleg.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/using-technology-to-avoid-commitment-the-padded-room-variety/
Cute, no? (If you answered “no”, quit being a hater. Oh– and it was rhetorical. Snob. ;P)

Photos! An update on Knishes and Flowers and V day…


Ok. So photos aren’t entirely impossible in that kitchen. And sometimes there’s enough light to make something out of a photo 🙂

Behold, the knishes from lunch (a success, thank you very much!):

my lovely knish-y lumps, ready for the oven...

Ahhh….see the olive oil gloss? The red smudge of pepper? The brown flecks of linseed/flax seed? Mmmmmmm.. and they do look a bit like pastry-potatoes, don’t they? 🙂

Potato-ey filling

Now, here’s what came out of the oven:

Fresh lovin' from the oven...
Warm, flaky, carby goodness...

Lunch was good.

While I’m putting photos up, I thought I’d include a shout-out to My Man, my Lancelot… I know Valentine’s Day can be touchy, and I respect that. So, I waited to put up flower photos until that day had passed.

Now I’m braggin’. 🙂

First, a quick back-story. A few weeks ago, my man had a crazy week at work. Everyday was pretty much a shitstorm of extra work and bullshit politics. He couldn’t come home for lunch most days (we live about a minute from his office), and he was often late. It sucked. I felt so bad for him—he was working so hard (and I’m not working yet), and no matter how irritating the day was, he was always such a pleasure to have once he did come home. He’s magic. And at the end of the week, he came home a little late (because he picked up our laundry from the cleaners, of course) with flowers for me for being so patient (!)  Unbelievable.

Love token from my awesome Man

Then, of course, came Valentine’s Day. We’re budgeting like good newlyweds (reference back to the house/mortgages rants), so we had a sweet and simple V Day. I cooked, we had sparkling wine and candlelight dinner… and he brought be roses 🙂

The first Valentine's Day roses of our marriage...

Yeah, I’m sappy. Deal with it 😉 Happiness is awesome 🙂

Valentine’s Consumerist Seduction (Part One in a Series)


Riiiiiiiiight.

So, I find myself alert (two cups of coffee), fully dressed (notable, when working from home), and sitting at the kitchen table (for some reason, we have sun today, so the cold/natural light balance is worth it), and I’m ready to work.

The folks I’m ready to work for are still running late sending the necessary documents through email.

Of course, my next step is to go to Chow.com.

And here we are…

Offbeat Chocolate Treats for Valentine’s Day

Now, I’m not reposting the entry for you. If you are appropriately intrigued, click the link and read it on Chow’s site. However, I will point out the tidbits that I found interesting…(my blog. I’m queen. Deal with it.)

Yes, I like it because it’s vegan. I’m nostalgic like that. But I’ve also found that some vegan chocolates are absolutely superior, as chocolate, to most milk chocolates (Speak not of white chocolate. It is heresy.) In addition, this appeals to my wanna-be elitist, yuppie sensibilities. Bittersweet with Sea Salt. Mayan Chile. Olive oil and Sea Salt. Sure, it’s been done…but it’s good, and I’m interested whenever I see someone doing it.

All about aesthetics. Maybe the chocolate is awesome, but I honestly don’t care. The cover art is groovy. I want to plan to but then never actually reuse the  “perfectly square box [that] closes with a smart magnetic click”. Here’s what TCHO says about themselves:

Holidays are about sharing unique experiences with loved ones. So we’re proud to launch TCHO’s “Artist Series” highlighting the work of different artists in our limited editions of our luxury gift collections. We begin the series with the Love Collection by Max Kisman, an award-winning Dutch graphic artist and designer. His iconic, bold designs are modern, provocative, and sexy—lending a fun new accent to our chocolate.

Sounds fun, right?

Another blatantly aesthetic choice.

The image on top of each chocolate is a design that was originally inspired by classic Byzantine tiles. The packaging, a simple cardboard box, grew from the idea of the chocolates as actual tiles. Fortuitously, the box selected holds 49 pieces of the chocolate, the result of squaring a prime number, 7. It seemed fitting, as the collaboration is the result of the combined efforts and imagination of two unique, and uniquely Angeleno, companies. Unlike any other gift on the market, the commune chocolates are bound to be a hit both with those who appreciate interesting design, and those who love dark chocolate.

Yeah. I was hooked when they mentioned the tiles. I have a ‘thing’ for the tiles found all over Portugal. The ugly, the beautiful, the elaborate, the simple, the psychedelic, the groovy, the classic… For me, they are art. I dig that someone else digs tile art enough to paint it onto chocolate. Their designs are pretty simple geometrics, but I love the idea.

This is great niche marketing. The premise of the company strikes a chord with my Seattle-lovin’ tendencies (P-patches, how I love you). Read this description:

New this year, our Might Mint Urban Garden Chocolate Bar highlights mint from four urban gardens in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The fresh mint leaves are steeped directly into the chocolate for an amazingly refreshing flavor that tastes just like mint picked from your Grandmother’s garden. 5% of the sale price goes directly back to the gardens to support the educational programs the gardens provide to inner city youth. 3 oz. (Planter not included.)

Don’t you feel warm and fuzzy about yourself? F#ck, I do, and I’m just thinking about how I want this bar. (I’m actually not being facetious. I eat this stuff up. I’m okay with that. I’m human.)

If you aren’t American, this probably won’t do much for you. If you are, you’ll think the concept is cool. We all (the non-peanut allergy kids, anyway) ate innumerable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our youth. Australians and Brits have their Vegemite and Marmite, and we have PBJ. We probably love Reese’s Peanut Butter cups a whole lot more than you (you if you aren’t American. If you are, you’re on board. I know it.), too. Peanut butter and chocolate are awesome together. PBJ and Chocolate? Yes. Yes, please.

In addition, this guy is from Missouri! I grew up on the Mississippi river, yo. We’re peeps. Midwesterners, unite!

Unfortunately, I must end this post. I’m making myself hungry, and I’m hungry for all the wrong things. ( I keep hoping I’ll wake up in the morning, only to find that a clever, overzealous plastic surgeon has snuck into my house and liposuctioned my extra belly flab while I slept. It hasn’t happened yet.)

Do check out the Chow.com article. Chow is always a good time. And check out the links above. If you are in the US, I recommend taking advantage of online shopping. I’m not going to try it from Portugal, though I’m sure some of these folks could manage it.

Needless to say, as more bright shiny things come to my attention, I’ll be adding them (with commentary) to this hard-nosed and very serious pre-V-day series.

🙂