Friday, February 26, 2010

Bride Burger, Groom Burger

We've picked a place and a date: Bartram's Garden, Memorial Day weekend, 2011. Whew! I will spare you most of the details of the wedding planning, because this is not a wedding blog, and we still have 15 months until the Big Day. But I will share this link with you, where I will be posting all of the fun details and making inspiration boards and whatnot.

The photo below is from the Entwined Studio photography blog, and it shows the view of the Philadelphia skyline from Bartram's Garden.

P.S. We met with some caterers this week, and my parents prepared for it by watching a family favorite, Father of the Bride (something like this happened in our house recently).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tweety Tote

Here's the adorable reversible grocery bag I made at my sewing class! It took me at least 20 minutes to choose these fabrics because there were so many incredible choices at Spool. Now that I've made it I think that I should have chosen darker fabrics because these will get dirty so quickly, I couldn't possibly use it as a grocery bag.

The leaf pattern is "Lindy Leaf" from the Nicey Jane collection by Heather Bailey, and the birds are from Erin McMorris' Park Slope collection.

I am in love with those birds.

It took me less than four hours from start to finish (with lots of coaching in between). After I finished it I immediately called to ask my mom to find my sewing machine from high school which has been sitting neglected for quite a few years now. Hopefully I will follow through and dust that baby off for some springtime sewing!

And check it out - they have the grocery tote pattern available for free on the Spool blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Valentimes Day Recap

This year I received three amazing valentines from my friends; Chloe made a lovely washcloth, Katie wrote a note that was incredibly heartfelt, and Nicole made me an e.e. cummings valentine!

yes is a pleasant country:
if's wintry
(my lovely)
let's open the year

both is the very weather
(not either)
my treasure,
when violets appear

love is a deeper season
than reason;
my sweet one
(and april's where we're)

- e.e. cummings

M and I went to see the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center to celebrate the day and I spied the VERY BEST Valentine's Day outfit I have EVER seen.

And that hat.

I love VDay. I don't care what anyone says.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Scarf for Jaja

Isn't it pretty? I've discovered the magic that happens when you follow a pattern and use the correct size needles and yarn. You get something that looks a lot like the picture! What a novel idea.

This is the Entrelac Scarf by Allison LoCicero which Jaja and I discovered on the fantastic blog Flint Knits. It's ravelled here. Jaja mentioned it in passing one day, and I stored it away in my brain for later (I love doing that). By the time she got it she no doubt forgot all about it.

This is the most complicated pattern I've ever followed, but once I knit two rows it became really obvious what I was supposed to be doing - knit three triangles, then start another row and pick up from the sides of the previous triangles. I chose not to block it, mostly because I'm lazy and it would show the mistakes, but also because I like the way it puckers - so three dimensional! And I loooooove the Noro colors, I had the hardest time choosing but eventually settled on a colorway that reminds me of a meadow with a deep blue lake in the middle. Lovely.

Happy Birthday Sis!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentimes!

This year I decided to do something a little less time-consuming than last year, and I actually finished them on time (last year people were still getting them in March).

I had this great paper that I saved from an ad for an art school in Northeast Philly - I think it would make the most amazing wall paper. Check out the little pteradactyls . . .

I cut out some great illustrations from my seed catalogues and went all french with them. It was fun looking up the names of all the vegetables . . .

I wish you and yours a wonderful and snuggly valentimes day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Playing Hooky

I don't know if you've heard, but Philly and other parts of the Northeast got dumped on this week - two blizzards in a row! I've only been to work one day so far, and the public schools are all closed too. We've hit a record for the most snow ever to fall in one winter - EVER. Or at least since people have been recording that kind of thing. Here's what I did yesterday, instead of going to work (it's the winter, the gardens will understand).

M and I went for a walk in the neighborhood . . .

. . . and made our way over to Clark Park where people have been sledding nonstop since Saturday. I mean it too, M said he could hear a crowd of people at the park sledding even at midnight last night.

Clark Park is the hub of all fun activity in our part of West Phila, and the perfect place to go on a snow day. There were forts, snowmen, and of course jumps built into the side of the hill.

M and I came to the disappointing realization that we have hit that age where you can seriously injure yourself whilst sledding. M's tailbone can tell you all about it. But that didn't stop us.

Happy snow week everyone!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lovely Moss Ear Warmer

I bought this gorgeous moss-colored wool at the Davis Farmer's Market back in November 2008 and I've been dying to use it ever since. I only got one skein so I figured it would be a hat or something similar, but I ended up with enough yarn for a hat and an ear warmer (raveled)! (I'm not quite finished with the hat, so I'll post about that when it's done).

The reason I got so much out of it is because I used moss stitch (or seed stitch). I love the way it looks; the natural pattern of the stitch with the beautiful earthy color of the yarn was just what I wanted. And then I threw it all off by lining it with a bright beautiful flannel (!!) fabric by Amy Butler in her new "Love" collection.

Here's a picture of it turned inside out. I had to leave a bit open at the back so it could still be stretched over the head. These pictures make the fabric seem much more orange than it really is.

Here's the fabric in all of its glory - it's called "Paradise Garden" and I think it would be fabulous in a quilt! I got this gorgeous fabric at Spool, a fabric store in Philadelphia where I just started taking sewing classes. The fabrics they sell are totally delightful and it's right next door to a wonderful yarn store!

I'm so happy to have crafting back in my life, I was afraid I was getting too busy for it (the blizzards we've been having here in Philly have also helped me get ahead in my crafting). But now I have several exciting projects in the works, mostly knitting, and these sewing classes are really getting me excited for the spring - A-line skirts, here I come!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Garden-Planning Potluck

The Woodlands community gardeners and I had a fabulous garden-planning potluck last weekend at my house! We spent Sunday evening poring over stacks and stacks of seed catalogues, eating delicious food, and sharing seeds, stories, and ideas for the spring.

I also surprised everyone by giving them a free pair of gardening gloves! At the ACGA conference in August I bid for and won a gift certificate for a free pair of gardening gloves for everyone in my community garden. They're from Wells-Lamont, via the America the Beautiful Fund and they are supposedly worth $5 each. But when I opened the box my eyes nearly bugged out of my head! They are gorgeous gloves, some made out of goat skin and worth up to $30!

Everyone loved their gloves and by the end of the night we were all re-energized about our gardens. I got several follow-up e-mails and even a letter thanking me for having the potluck - I guess everyone really needed it. January and February, though a much needed break from the garden, are still very difficult months for us gardeners (especially for me, having lived in the ever-blooming state of California for the past couple of years).

I wish you good luck in your own garden planning this year!

P.S. Check out The Woodlands Community Garden website, I've been adding to it and tweaking it a bit. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A New AgVenture

***The Walnut Hill Mini Farm and Grower's Cooperative, before (above) and after (below) our spring cleaning in 2009.***

I have some big news on the West Philly community garden front. My neighbor/partner-in-crime Nic and I applied for and got a really exciting grant from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society!! We will be part of the inaugural class of the City Harvest Community Growers Alliance, a program which will supply us with soil, lumber, plants, stakes, tools, harvest boxes and more so we can grow and sell our own produce, thus increasing the amount of locally grown fresh produce in Philadelphia and contributing to the local economy. PHS is funding this program through a grant from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The grant is for 3 years and PHS plans to absorb the program into their internal funding once the three years are up. Click here to see an article about the grant in Grid Magazine (on page 5).

There are 15 groups of people who are part of the first class of Community Growers and we all have different backgrounds, growing conditions and ideas for how to implement our urban "ag-ventures." Nic and I will be using our resources to start the
Walnut Hill Grower's Cooperative.

Officially: "The main objective of the Walnut Hill Grower’s Cooperative is to communally grow fresh, organic produce to be put up for sale at local markets, thus increasing access to fresh, locally grown food and providing supplemental income to local urban farmers. We aim to create urban agriculture jobs that are not grant-funded, but are supported by resources from the City Harvest Community Grower’s Alliance Grant (CHCGA) and the entrepreneurial action of community growers. The target community for this project is residents of West Philadelphia who would benefit from supplemental income, such as senior citizens and people of college-age."

So the gist is that it will be local people, farming communally, earning money, and selling to their neighbors and local businesses. Simple!

We're still partnering with The Enterprise Center to incorporate that piece of land into the Center for Culinary Enterprise (CCE); a kitchen incubator where community members will go through a program to learn how to process their own food and market and sell it in the community. However, the CCE won't be up and running for another year or so. In the mean time, Nic and I will be using the land to start our Grower's Cooperative, which will eventually be incorporated into the CCE.

Things are clearly happening in the Philly urban ag scene and I am so excited to be a part of it! For the next three years we will have the resources to see what we can do to locally farm and sell produce and provide jobs for people in our community. Eventually we will incorporate education into our mission and hold workshops, lectures and activities to teach people how to "grow their own". Wish us luck!