Friday, September 28, 2012

Just some more.....

Just sharin' some more of this bee's busy work. Check out some fresh creations that are heading down south to Simply Vague.
 




 
 
 
 


 
And for the sake of saying it.... 
I'm going to try really, really hard to make some seasonal items for The Mint Needle. Just a heads up that even though you may not spot fall themed patterns or candy canes with Santa here,  I'll do my best to get some holiday colors flowing.

Happy Trails Readers!


And on a totally different note:
I can't believe we have roses in full bloom at the end of
September!!!
 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Fall Table Runner

 
Oh...thank you silly, overpriced stores for displaying that beautiful, rustic table runner on your 'fall tablescape.' It made me realize what great project potential it had.  So here we go! Take a look at this super easy project. It's guaranteed to give your table an autumn lift! 
 
 
 
I used four coordinating fabrics. Even though they differed in color, they all had a similar tone, (which is why I think they go together so well). I cut various sized strips. They were all 19" in width & varied in length.
 
I serged them together, (the 19" sides), but you can use a regular sewing machine.
No one will see the reversed side because it will be lined.

 
Assort your colors as desired. You don't have to create a pattern. Odd placement of your color strips are more likely to make it unique & aesthetically pleasing:).....this part being the 'good tip' from the silly overpriced store...
 
Sew your strips in sections of equal weight. For example - do not keep adding to one side of the table runner unless your machine plate is flush against the desk or table. The reason.... the weight of the runner is heavier than the little strip your trying to sew & will most likely cause a curve or not so straight line. (Hence.. my use of woven medium to heavy weight fabric.)
Therefore....work in sections. So much easier & it's sure to come out perfect!
 
When you reach the length that fits your specific table, measure & cut your lining the same length.
With right sides facing eachother, sew your long sides together, (leaving your 19" sides open).
Then turn it inside out & press. Iron your ends inward. Sew a double stitch for a completed look.

 
Yup! It's that simple....  Just sewing some straight lines!

 
Here are some measurements for the curious. The completed table runner is 18" x 62".
At this size, it required less than 1/2 a yard of four fabrics.  And I had enough to make a second one.

 
Hope you enjoyed this simple & fun sewing project.
Could you imagine a super long runner on a colossal table?
Or...doing a one of kind valance for a window?
Perfect for the season!

 
To inspiration at a fraction of the cost:)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hello Autumn!

A vintage linen towel with a beautiful wheat motif.

 Happy Autumnal Equinox! The season that engulfs our senses has arrived. From the crisp colors of red & yellow to the scent of pumpkin pie or apple cider.  I can never seem to get enough.  I adore it for the significance it has with nature as well as our spirit. Everything starts to slow down & rest. The leaves begin to change & the nights are much cooler. Soon we will indulge in the smell of a fresh lit fire to keep the house cozy. But for today's post, let's indulge our senses with that of taste & make a toast to Fall with a recipe of Homemade Wheat Bread.
Take a look & a try!



4 cups warm water
2/3 cup wildflower honey
2 Tablespoons of dry yeast
5 cups of 100% whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups of white flour
non-stick spray to coat your pans


Lightly mix your warm water, honey, & dry yeast till the yeast begins to dissolve.  I admit, I cheat.... I use my Kitchenaid mixer at a low speed with the Spiral Dough Hook. I slowly add my 5 cups of wheat flour, one at a time. Your dough should not be formed. Add 2.5 cups of white flour. Now....it should be a really soft dough. With white flour on your kneading surface, take your 'soft' dough and go to work. Knead more of the white flour into your wheat bread.

  


When a soft & spongelike dough forms, set it aside in a wood bowl to rise.
 
 
 
I like to use wooden bowls because of the natural warmth they hold. Stainless steel, glass, or plastic is often cool & can slow the rising process.
 
 
 
After your dough has risen, punch it down, re-knead, & place into the bakeware.
Let it rise again.

 
When it has risen again, bake it at 350 for about a half hour. Immediately remove your loaves from their pans to cool. I enjoyed this yummy bread right out of the oven with our homemade blueberry/blackberry syrup. Ohhhh... how I love this blog & the things it allows me to delight in!




 
 
Hope you enjoy!
To cooler days & comfort foods!
Happy Trails:)

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Singer Dressmaking Guide

 
 
Hey readers! Take a look at my super vintage find. I came across this 1947 seamstress guide to dress making and knew I had to have it. It's got everything and more than I pictured. The book starts off with an introduction that's based around the idea that 'now everyone can sew like the experts while at home'. The book goes through the basics, covering tools, sewing essentials, and the importance of pre-shrinking all garment fabric before working with it. It even touches on children's clothing and how to make those adorable raglan sleeve dresses or bishop dresses. I gotta mention...the most entertaining part was hearing the view point from that time. For example:
 
"Six school dresses and six pairs of undergarments
are none too many for a little girl to begin
a school year with." 
 

"Many women exclaim regretfully when they see
machine stitching on a baby's garment. But there
are no regrets if one takes the precaution to buy
fine sewing thread and uses a fine needle and a
short sewing stitch."
 
"A sewing room, fully equipped, is ideal for real joy
in sewing. Your equipment should be the best you can
afford, for good tools are the inspiration
for good work."
 
 

Ohhh, how the times have changed.... But, there is a plethora of great detailed information & it's all about the old school way of doing it!
 


.
 
The picture on the right above, shows the chic hem marker using a chalk puffer system. These tools are still around and used today... (but are made of flimsy plastic). I recommend if your going to be working solo, try to find the vintage wooden ones. The reviews show that they still work far better than the new ones. And...if you can't find chalk refills readily available, try baby powder.
 
So if someone was to say this guide was outdated - Nope it isn't and probably never will be as long as people wear clothes. The concepts are basic & geared toward creating a completed, wearable garment in the end. Hip, hip hooray for this singer sewing guide! 
  
To coming across good finds!
Happy Trails:)
 
 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

For the Love of Sage



Throughout the centuries, sage has been known as a wondrous & spiritual herb.  Used for it's healing, cleansing, & aromatic qualities, everything about this plant is amazing. Packed with Vitamin A, it's known to be good for your teeth, bones, & skin. Steep it as a tea to ease tension & anxiety. Or...use it as a gargle for sore throats. Either way, you'll reap the benefits of this great herb that comes from the mint family.

 
Pick your sage in the morning or afternoon, but never during the midday heat. Give it a good shake to loosen any bugs. Tie with a thread or twine & hang upside down in a place that has good air circulation. Don't over cramp & bunch them too much. The moisture of being squished together will give a perfect environment to turn your sage moldy. I know some people like to wash their herbs, but I don't (for sage) unless I use it raw.  Two reasons, my sage grows where no animals have access to it & unless dried thoroughly, you'll probably get mold. Remember, herbs are clean naturally. So.... let's get saging and give a tasty try to a very special & refreshing drink!

~Lemon Sage Water~
 
 
Ice water
Fresh Sage Leaves (washed & patted dry)
Honey Comb, cut 2 cubes (1"x1")
One Lemon, sliced not squeezed
 
 
Put all your ingredients together, adding the water last. I love our glass jug. Your able to seal the top & give it a good shake. Refrigerate or serve right away:) But I promise it won't last.
 
 
To Harvesting Sage!
Happy Trails:)
 
 






Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Calvatia Gigantea

 
Every end of summer confirms the presence of an amazing thing that grows in the field behind our house.....the Giant Puffball or Calvatia Gigantea. This giant mushroom is so huge & resembles a white ball in the middle of the grass. I just had to share it with my readers. Take a look at these pics.





Yes...these are edible but only when they are young. And no.....I've never tried to cook with them nor do I plan too:) To be quite honest, I tell the girls not to get too close because after a certain amount of time, they start to rot & trillions of spores can become poisonous. So....instead we admire these beautiful, interesting puffballs from a distance & leave them to decompose.

To finding the unique things right in our backyards!

P.S. I promise more crafty posts coming up soon:) I'm just enjoying the natural elements before they deplete!



Friday, September 7, 2012

The Fall of Gardening



It's officially 1 week into September & I'm already getting the gardening jitters. Ya know....when you realize you only have 'yay' amount of time to switch, move, & transplant those items before the cold winter sets in. I'm referring to that spot in our yards where a particular plant was sworn to thrive & never really quite did. You ask, what do I do? Well to say I wait till Spring would be a lie. For all those do it yourselfers, this is about the time my 'fall of gardening' kicks in. I start whipping out our perennials & dividing them. I plot out next years to do list & try to knock off as many things as I can. Now...in this odd Ohio heat....I should probably wait till the temperature drops. Anything below 70 is ideal for transplanting. Here's a few things we should do before moving those plants to their new winter homes:
1. Dig out the new plant site first.~ Make sure to include depth & width.
2. Always have loose soil available to add around the plant immediately after planting.
I always keep an extra bag handy.
3. Don't over water! Fall brings lots of rain.
4. After your transplant is complete - don't prune off any dead branches!
(Save that part for Spring. The dead branches act as insulation from further death,
especially with roses.)
5. And again, temperature. Transplant & divide on the cooler fall days.
 
The main reason I love fall planting is because your literally giving your plants an ideal time to grow & get situated. Don't forget perennials don't die. They come back year after year, so why not give them a new home, fresh soil & a new spot to flourish if their old one wasn't so great.
And most importantly.....Don't forget to plant Spring bulbs now:)
 
Remember this for next year: Plant morning glory's at the base of a tree.
During the summer, you'll enjoy flowers throughout the leaves.
 
To garden planting for the upcoming year!
Happy Trails:)


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Simply Vague

Today marks a pretty special day. It's Simply Vague's opening in Tuttle Mall (Dublin, Ohio) & guess who's items are there?.......You guessed right! The Mint Needle along with a bunch of amazing Ohio artisans are partaking in a wonderful store, Simply Vague, created by Nate & Andrea Archibald. The store has an eclectic mix, ranging from jewelry & clothing to furniture & food! I'm so excited that I got to participate in such a positive movement for local crafters. This is the store's second opening and it's pretty exciting! People will get to browse & shop more one of a kind items. So....when my blog's August posts lacked anything & everything about sewing, that doesn't mean I wasn't busy stitching away.  Take a look at a few items that haven't made it yet to the Etsy shop.






 
 
I'll be busy sewing away again so stay tuned for some more items.
 
Happy Trails till then!