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July 29, 2010

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

Museum Day is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian Media in which participating museums across the country open their doors for free to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket. This year is free admission to one person, plus a guest on September 25, 2010. One free pass per household. There were five pages of museums to choose from in the state of CA when I looked, but this is a national program, so there should be events near you in any state! Check here for site finder. Register early to receive your ticket by email, as they may sell out.

July 28, 2010

Quilted Kite Basket Liner for Rita's Walker

My aunt has Parkinsons, and it's affected her to the point where she just got a walker to aide her balance. Aunt Rita's always been one of the most active people I know, so she's having a difficult time adjusting. Rita was a huge quilter for most of her life, so I came up with the idea to quilt a liner for the basket of her walker. It'll be a great conversation piece for her and practical too, as well as reminding her of me.

I went to the fabric store the other day and lucked out with all these remnants for about $25. I'm loving the bright but earthy colors. I wanted to use a sturdy fabric, as I know this will get a lot of use, so there are lots of upholstry fabrics in the mix.

I chose a kite motif in honor of some times I've spent with my aunt & uncle. Since I'm not a quilter myself, I scoured the internet for a free pattern. Here's what I came up with. Next step is to size it to fit my actual project, and design the pockets and physical construction of it. If I have any material left, I may make a doggy blanket for Rita's Chihuahua Katie, who will probably be spending lots of time in the basket.

This is definitely a work in progress, so I'll post an update when I've begun putting it all together. I've had fun conceptualizing it though, and wanted to share.

What's the biggest sewing project you've ever attempted? Leave a comment on the blog, with pictures, if you have any to share.

July 26, 2010

Needlepoint-Plastic Canvas Card Box

I realized I haven't shared a craft project in quite a while, so I photographed this Needlepointed Plastic Canvas Card Box I made for myself a couple of years ago.

I came across a stack of needlepoint pattern magazines in a thrift shop for about two dollars, and it seemed to light a fire in me. It was the first time I found practical, heirloom craft projects--like this box. I made it with Lion brand chenille yarn, so it looks rich and beautiful. The best thing about making something yourself is that you can make it fit your tastes exactly. I picked fall tones that fit into my design scheme.

The pattern is from the July 1998 issue of Plastic Canvas Corner magazine (a Leisure Arts Publication). I really liked that it had several different stitches, including tent stitch and Scotch stitch, which add to the richness of the texture. I'll try to add the pattern to this post once I figure out how to scan it in.

The inside has a removable solid divider that allows perfect sizing for two decks of playing cards, with room for a book of matches to light my living room candle.

I put felt bumpers on the underneath to raise the box slightly off the tabletop so it wouldn't get scuffed up as easily over time.

I lined the top of the lid with felt, which hid the underside of the stitching for a more finished feel.

Even though I made this for myself, I'm hoping it'll become something of a family heirloom, so I put a label in it marking my work.

What sort of practical handmade items are in your home? Did you make them yourself or receive them as gifts? Please leave a comment on my blog so I can hear your stories as well.

July 24, 2010

LA Street Food Fest 2010

The Fun at the LA Street Food Fest's Summer Tasting Event today at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena....

The Event....

I arrived during the VIP hour, which was limited to about 1500 people. There were two four hour shifts of volunteers, and I took the later shift so that I could enjoy the event beforehand. I thought some of the lines were a bit lengthy when I got there, but it was nothing like....

...the size of the crowd by the time I left.

Last year's event was held downtown LA at LA Center Studios, with a flat $5 admission but charges at each food truck. The first-time event was open unlimited ticketing at the door, leading to huge crowds, and the food running out. To improve this year's event, tickets were limited advance purchasing, much more expensive at around $65 for general admission, but all you can eat with no further charges at the trucks. That sped up the lines considerably, but the 3,000 people still filled the football field.

I've been to the Rose Bowl before for the namesake football game, and it was a stark difference to see the field populated by foodies. I expected the food trucks to ring the stadium, the way the Rose Bowl Flea Market is run. So it was a great surprise to actually get to walk out onto the field! Fun to see that it is actually grass, not an artificial astroturf.

They had live twitter feed about the festival on the Jumbotron, and several cameras wandering the event.

The signage wasn't great, so you'd often find yourself waiting in a line not knowing what they were serving. But the surprises were half the fun. It's definitely an event to tag-team, preferably with four or six people in a group, so that you can leap-frog all the lines. Logistically, it was well laid out, and it was nice to be able to spread a blanket out on the green.

And, of course, The Food....

I've waited months to sample the Grilled Cheese Truck, and they did not disappoint, with traditional cheddar on french bread, and a mac n cheese sandwich, along with tater tots and tomato soup.

Crispy Tofu Balls from Starry Kitchen, at 350 S. Grand Ave, 90071 (without the spicy aioli)....these were my favorite of the day: crunchy outer shell, chewy inner tofu filling, and great protein.

A Soyrizo Taco, that looked great but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to taste....

A wonderful Vegan Spring Roll from The Vegan Joint, at 10438 National Blvd, LA, 90034 (who also caters)....totally yummy!

Strawberry Tamales from Tameles Elena, based in Wilmington near the 105 frwy....the fruit taste was subtle, but the corn tamale was a great palate cleanser amongst all the dessert items. I often get pineapple tamales at the farmers market in Burbank, and I'll be looking for this company in the future.

Author Robert Danhi was at the event publicizing his cookbook Southeast Asian Flavors. What most impressed me were his lovely sculptures of honeydew and watermelon:

The day would have been perfect, but a vendor at Tiara Cafe promised me a vegetarian option of a portobello mushroom wrapped item, which turned out to be pork! I bit into it unknowingly because of the wrapping--it was similar to an eggroll. I've been a vegetarian for at least 25 years, and I think I may throw up tonight. Of course, I spit the food out into my plate, and ended up throwing all the food I'd been collecting from several lines into the trash. I had a call time for volunteering, so I couldn't wait in all those lines again. It took several desserts to wash the awful aftertaste from my mouth. I'm totally grossed out but trying to get over it.

And I would have had more pictures of beautiful food (including the desserts) but of course my camera battery ran out.

So there's my recap. Were you at the event? What did you think of it--especially, what was your favorite food item? Please leave your comments on the blog.

July 3, 2010

A Crafty Week at 4-H Camp

There was a lot of creativity in the Handicrafts area at Camp Seely, Los Angeles/San Bernardino Counties 4-H Summer Camp. I was the head of the arts and crafts section for a full week, as well as being a cabin counselor. These pictures are basically in order of the week. Here's the building where we found inspiration in the mountains....

Katie and Christine handled the tie dying area with expertise born of years of campership. I learned that the prettiest colors come out the first day, before all the colors had been mixed together to mud.

Campers had free reign to create from beads....

Lots of campers returned to paint their bird houses, built during the camp-wide craft building activity that took place during the first two days of camp.

The girls of cabin twelve were camp all-stars. Amber and Gracie, you surprised me, proving that teen-agers can be easier than younger kids!

Crystal taught a class on making God's Eyes. Susan is making a lanyard. More were waiting for Hannah's lanyard class the next day!

The painting table was consistently full, with acrylics, decoupage, and mosaic pieces from puzzles and other found items to decorate bird houses, picture frames, rocks, and whatever anyone could think of....

A goblin-esque papier-mache mask created by Rebecca....

Lily working on posters to decorate her cabin for Hula day....

A Hawaiian Lei necklace for hula day....

Campers have such enthusiasm....

Laura & Simon working on Stop & Go Needlepoint Keychains....

Making Braided Yarn Octopus Dolls....

The Leathercrafting table was always hopping....

Even Chaperones loved to participate. Esther shows off her talent....

Textured Mosaic Pictures from beans and grains kept campers busy outside while we were inventorying and packing up inside on the last day....

Miss Rebecca's craft....

But the best part of all was the chance to spend the week with my mom, who chose to be a Chaperone. Jane had four 10 year old girls in cabin 22. 4-H rocks!

Do you have memories of 4-H camp or some other summer away program? Please leave a comment with your stories--I'd love to hear them!
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