Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reused cloth bags

 My friend Naomi owns this great little farm and garden store in SE Portland called Naomi's Organic Farm Supply store and she recently spoke with me about making cloth bags for her store, with her name stamped on the front. Great advertisement for her as well as being a much needed creative outlet for yours truly. This is what I've come up so far...
I really dig reusing while conserving both our economic and environmental resources. Luckily we live just a few miles away from The Bins. The Bins is a Goodwill Outlet store, we just call it The Bins because everything is in these 20ft long bins; you've got to dig for your treasure. It usually stinks in The Bins and we've found some pretty gnarly stuff that I'd be remiss to describe here, in amongst some retro jewels. It's proven to be an excellent source of random fabrics.
 I found this great old skirt with little mirrors along the bottom that I was able to cut up and use in two different bags. Nik stops by on his way home occasionally and he's picked me up lots of old doilies and dishrags that I mash up and use as fun little add-ons. Each bag is reversible and super sturdy. The idea is that they'll eventually be used as grocery/farm bags. 
 In total, I've made maybe 10 prototype bags (as I had to write up my own pattern) and 4 finished bags. And it only took me 3 weeks! I'm sure I'll get faster and more proficient as time flows along.
P.S. I thought I'd also throw this one in. Another friend just had a babe and I thought, what better then a reversible baby bag with tons of pockets and a little secret on the bottom of the inside? Nothing! So Josh and I whipped this bad boy up. I kinda wish I could keep it now.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Duckie duckie

 Jason heard the first * cheep * cheep * cheep * cheep* cheep * cheep * cheep
 And we all crowd around the Eggsabator (incubator)
 to see little pieces of egg shell crumbling off our lovely little eggs.
 And feathers begin to emerge from between the edges of thick shell.
 One wing flops out
 and another.
Suddenly she straightens her neck out from the unbelievable pretzel position she'd spent her embryonic days growing in to.
 Pushing her webbed feet against the inside of the egg...
 She squeaks as she's pushing, so hard. Come on baby! We whisper encouragement.
As she lays, spent from the exhausting effort it took to birth herself, we stand amazed by the miracle we've just witnessed. 

She and her siblings are full of miracles. 

Earlier that day, they narrowly escaped death by my hand. As their time of birth grew closer, someone (a beautiful little someone) accidentally turned up the heat in the Eggsabator. When I discovered the temperature error the following morning, it was well past 106 degrees. According to the books I've ingested regarding incubation, embryo death occurs at 103 degrees. That morning I was distraught by the thought of our unfortunately cooked babes and decided to candle (holding a flashlight to the bottom of the egg to discern if there's life present) the eggs. I saw no life in the turkey eggs, no movements or chirping, which had previously been evident. The duck eggs were so thick that I was unable to see into their living centers. I assumed they were dead. Stella gathered the eggs together in her skirt and raced outside to "bury" them in the compost. Not two moments later she rushed back into the house, screaming and crying frantically and I'm just able to gather that there was a great deal of blood and chirping in the compost bin. We all race outside together and what do we behold? A cracked egg with movement beneath the thin inner layer and blood around the cracked shell. Aghast at my attempted murder, we gently carry them back into the house and return them to the Eggsabator. Later that day we welcomed our first hatchling, aptly named Compost. In all, we've hatched 10  beautiful ducklings with 9 surviving. What have we learned through this experience? 

That life is a hardy thing and that mothers are fallible.


I'd like to introduce you to Freddie, the newest addition to our homestead. Freddie is a 1950's Janome New Home sewing machine that somewhat resembles, in my opinion, a 1958 Dodge Dart. I was in great need of a heavy duty sewing machine as I've recently been asked to create a line of shopping bags for my great friend Naomi, of Naomi's Organic Farm Supply fame. My last machine, unfortunately, was cursed. Through no fault of my own, the timing got all screwed up and I was unable to retain my loyalty for the 1970's Brother that used to aid in my creations. RIP Brother. My wonderful mother not only found Freddie, she bought him for me as well. Thanks mom!