farmer's market shorts

So I'm pretty excited about wheeling out some of my goodies and hanging out in Troy tomorrow. Partly because I think anything so close to the Troy Farmers Market must be pretty boss, partly because I've got this inventory surplus here leftover from an abandoned early summer show and partly because I will definitely perhaps maybe probably wear my newly appointed Farmer's Market Shorts there.
(Isn't my stance here kind of funny? Looks like I've got the Bow Leg. Also maybe the Pigeon Toe, if you could see my feet. Ah, lovely.)

A few weeks ago I scored a pair of jeans on super-clearance at an already discounted thrifty consignment shop. For $2. They cost less than the Buffalo Chicken Wrap I intend to to eat tonight. They had crazy flared bottoms that were hyper-"distressed" aka splattered with bleach and purposefully wrinkled with an industrial iron. And, of course, about a foot too long for me. I promptly cut them off a few inches above the knee and have been in love ever since.

And they are perfect for a few hours at an outdoor market.

silhouettes are for lovers

Or for yourself. Or your BFF. Or you can make silhouettes for your grandkiddos. Really, make a silhouette of your puppy for all I care!
  1. Take profile photos of your + your homie (or you + your pet chimp or whoever). In an effort to be clandestine, I scoured pre-existing pictures and happened to stumble upon a good profile pic of the boy without him knowing. A light colored background will yield the best results-- use flash if necessary to get sharp feature outlines.

  2. Enlarge the pictures on your computer (or using a copier) and print.

  3. Taped each photo to the top of a piece of heavy cardstock and cut out the silhouettes using an Exacto knife--careful now! Try to capture every detail you can-- even a stray hair here and there will help make the silhouettes realistic and not like some generic shadow figures. Once they are cut out, clean up any rough edges with your Exacto knife.

  4. Using a glue stick, attach the silhouettes to your chosen background-- I used two 8 x 10 pieces of scrapbooking paper.

  5. To finish off, frame your cute new shadow buddies as you like!
Unframed, the project cost about $3. There's still plenty o' time to make one for you Valentine! If you wanted to get really creative, you could decoupage your silhouettes to a jewelry box or some other little trinket, or you could print them out on fabric and sew up a mini Valentine's quilt. In which case, you would be a classic overachiever. Probably trying to make up for some past relationship wrongdoing.

ugly plastic drawers, upgrade

Ugly plastic drawers.

Who decided that we should use Tupperware as furniture?

This one is supposed to hold miscellaneous hair, makeup and accessories and it's fugly. Tried to paint it this past summer. Fail. Paint just chips and peels right off, duh.

Four months later...

I measured and cut up some leftover fabric scraps from a floor pillow project, slapped a layer of Mod Podge on the drawers, stuck fabric on and put 3 or 4 more layers of Mod Podge on each drawer as a finish, waiting about 10-15 minutes between each coat. Sanded quickly with super fine grain sandpaper and that was that. Still a little ugly, but at least it's been crafted upon.

making your own butter: a tutorial

A month or so ago I learned that you can make your own butter, without needing a 3-foot butter churn or a trip to Hancock Shaker Village. You don't even need to wear a bonnet, though I would look the other way if you wanted to. I've been fascinated with this Make Your Own Butter thing and finally mustered up the courage to do it this past weekend. And what do you know, it was awesome. No mess-ups, no foul language, no tears. Just good old-fashioned homemade butter.
Get your ingredients and supplies ready. You will need heavy cream (not necessarily a whole quart, a little pint will do fine for your first try), a jar with a tight lid, and an optional pinch of salt. That's it. Honestly. I know, so simple!

Pour some of that heavy cream into that jar. I used about a cup or so. Now SHAKE IT. Shake shake shake. Shake shake shake. Shake that butter. Shake that butter. For like 20-30 minutes, depending on how many breaks you take and how much you can normally curl at the gym. I was nervous that I wouldn't know when to stop shaking and that I would somehow mess it up. Keep shaking past the whipped cream stage, past the creme fraiche stage and past the point where you don't hear anything sloshing around. You'll enter radio silence as the cream is whipped into a solid frenzy, but fear not. After 20 or 30 minutes, you will take a quick break to massage your bicep and all of the sudden you will realize that it isn't just heavy cream in that jar anymore; nope, it's a big glob of butter surrounded by buttermilk. You'll hear it and see it. At that point, you can stop. Drain the remaining buttermilk and save it for use in another recipe if you'd like (see below). Now rinse that butter glob off with cold water. Just fill up your mason jar with cold water, swish it around, drain and repeat until the water runs mostly clear. For best results, you will want to press out any excess liquid from the butter glob. I like to put it on a cutting board and smush it with a rubber spatula, letting the liquid run off into the sink. This usually takes a few extra minutes, but I think it helps the butter keep longer.

Oh what's that now? Butter. It's freakin' butter. Put it in the fridge to harden it up. Since I was feeling particularly precious and had some time on my hands, I used the leftover buttermilk to make a batch of corn bread. Buttermilk is used in lots of recipes including some very delicious coffee cake treats, so you may want to set it aside instead of pouring it down the drain.

Mmmhmm, homemade butter and homemade cornbread. Can't beat it.
And yes, of course, I will be experimenting with herbed butter in the future. Rosemary + garlic? Lemon basil? The options are limitless. If you are adding herbs or flavoring to your butter, add it in at the last minute: after you've drained the buttermilk, rinsed it and squeezed out the excess liquid. Butter keeps fairly well in the fridge (put it in a tupperware or wrap it up in parchment paper) or in a cute little butter crock, but if you won't be using it right away, wrap it up tight and keep it in the freezer.

relaxing heat pack

  • 1/2 yard fabric
  • 1 cup dried rice or beans
  • 3 tea bags or tablespoons loose tea of your favorite flavor

1. Cut a 10" by 9" piece of fabric.

2. Fold in half with right sides together so that the folded fabric measures 10" by 4 1/2".

3. Sew a 1/2" seam around the raw edges, leaving a 3"ish opening on the long raw edge to insert filling. Make sure to backstitch at both edges and also before and after the opening.

4. Sew another seam at 3/8" to reinforce. Trim excess seam allowance and turn rightside out.

5. Fill the fabric pack with your choice of dried rice or beans. Tear open the teabags (or use loose tea + herbs) and add to the rice. Anything can be subsituted here so if you have a favorite dried herb or potpourri feel free to use it! The pack shouldn't be filled too much, it should still bend really easily and have some "give" to it. (If you still want an extra fragrance kick, try dabbing your favorite essential oil or perfume on the outside of the pack.)

6. Carefully pin closed the opening, being sure to fold the raw edges under 1/2". Hand sew opening closed using a slip stitch. Reinforce the opening by sewing closed the opening twice.

Tip: I doubled up my fabric so there are two 10" by 9" layers instead of one. Consider doing this if your fabric is particularly thin.

Microwave for 20-30 seconds on high and place over eyes, shoulders or any other area that is TENSE. Then c h i l l o u t.