What The Hay

Crafty Hayseed Goodness!

Rick Rack Apron April 30, 2007

Filed under: projects — clothespin @ 11:06 pm

Aprons are funny. Yup, funny. They remind me of a funny time when women were stay at home wives and made jello mold salads while the husband trudged off to work wearing a suit, briefcase and sack lunch in hand. Only one of my grandmothers was a housewife, and she was the wife of a farmer, so he only went as far as the field to work. The other grandmother was a young war widow with a career prior to the war (she was a nurse) who worked in a doctors office her entire adult life. I’m fairly certain that both wore aprons at one point or another, but none fit the funny picture in my head that goes along with the word “apron”.

For those who know me, you know that I am not a housewife kind of girl. Oh, I have my fantasy moments of days full of time to make fun stuff, but then the reality of housework rears its ugly (and dirty) head, and I realize that I am not cut out for the world of domesticity. (And I am very impressed for those who are…)

So, my making this apron was a bit of a laugh at being a wife and a terrible housekeeper all at the same time. Plus, I like the 50s look and found this totally cute fabric and well….



I found a very cute pattern, Butterick See & Sew B4838 that is sold as being a super easy pattern designed for beginners. In fact, they even state in a bright red box on the envelope that “yes! It’s easy”.

Liars. Deceitful manipulative liars. This is not an easy pattern! Thank heavens I have enough sewing practise behind me to be able to figure out the blasted thing….

First, curvy edges are a pain – add rick-rack to sewing these edges together – not fun. At least, not if you want it to look like something you might want to wear. Second, they want the entire outside thing edged in BIAS TAPE! My least favorite thing in the world to use and definitely not an “easy” thing to do well. Then, the entire thing has tons of raw edges all over the back side that will ravel… not a pretty thing.


The next time I make it (and yes, I will make it again because it is so cute) after sewing on the bottom edge, I will make my own pattern for a piece of fabric to cover the entire back – thus eliminating the raw edges and the messy bias tape. Much neater and easier.



Now, being me, I decided that I did not like the top ruffly bit that went with this terrible pattern… so I co-opted a top from Simplicity 3949. Not willing to attach it to the bottom (I want options, baby!) I decided to make this an optional top. Sooo…. I added buttons to the bottom that are used to attach the two pieces!


I really like the results and plan on using this idea again. Like I said, this is a gift for my sister for Christmas but I plan on making another one in different fabric for me. I might be a modern girl – but in the end, aprons have one real purpose – to keep my jeans clean!


Blipin Beautiful April 24, 2007

Filed under: environment — clothespin @ 1:46 pm

Ads. How much can I personally hate them? I mean, holy hayflowers, they seem to be everywhere these days, in free patterns, recipes and even some blogs. One site that I visit frequently for the free crochet patterns (ya have to visit every day as the pattern is different each day) has so many ads as to be annoying. AND, they print with the pattern! They take up paper, use ink and get in the way of the actual pattern itself. As I print most of my patterns as PDFs (Primo PDF is great and free) and save them to my computer (I mean, how many of these patterns am I really going to make in this lifetime?) the ads get to stay on my computer until it crashes. I think that there are ways of cleaning up PDFs, but that’s beyond me at the moment.

Now, however, there is a FREE extension for Firefox browsers where you can zap the offending portions (be they ads, text, photos… whatever) off of the page before you print it! It’s just a beautiful thing really. The link above will take you to a blog for a guy that knows a bit about web stuff and can walk you through it a bit. Go directly to the extension here….

It’s wonderful, it’s environmentally happy, it is just… Enjoy!


Groovy Fabric April 19, 2007

Filed under: projects — clothespin @ 6:00 am


I am not a morning person.

I love the sunrise, the quiet, the stillness… I just hate the early part of it. Hubby makes fun of me as my happy shiny personality growls at him as he pulls back my covers. I am a night owl, reading into the wee hours, enjoying the time that is my own. I get more done after mid-night than I do during the rest of the day (well, I would if I didn’t have to get up early)… I don’t know, perhaps it is due to my procrastination type personality. Maybe it’s genetic, though I can claim grandmothers of both avian species. Regardless, those who have known me for more than a few days know that it could be rather entertaining to try to talk to me before my brain wakes up – at around noon.


So, it comes as a bit of a surprise to my friends that I am an avid garage saler. Oh, I grumble and stumble, but the truth is, I am out the door earlier on a Saturday morning than I am the rest of the week when I have to be at work.


What could possibly entice me out of my slumber into the early dawn? Cool cheap stuff of course. In my dreams, I see a little old lady, moving in with her son… As a result, an estate sale is held to disperse the collection of a life time. As a youth, she had little money so as an adult, she had bought as much fabric as she could. At the time of this fantasy sale, no one else had ventured out into the sleet storm and there in front of me are piles of wonderful fabric, so old and odd that they are suddenly cool…


Oh, wait! That’s what really happened. This sale was great – apparently interesting fabric doesn’t sell at garage or estate sales… and sadly, it is hard to find a sale that has any in the first place. At this particular estate sale, I got all of the fabric (various pictures in today’s post), most around 1 yard or more, along with some trim, old knitting needles, handkerchiefs… all for $6.

banner-1.jpg yellow-circles.jpg

So, this stash will eventually become parts of various projects, some of them tote bags, and who knows what else. The best part? They’re not new, so I’m getting to be crafty and keeping stuff out of the landfill at the same time.

floral-canvas.jpg green-ugly.jpg

The scarey part of all of this is – not so very long ago I would have found most of this fabric … well, ugly. I was a little kid in the 70’s and I remember the polyester grey pants with red kitties on it, wide colar shirts, bell bottoms… and while I still have issues with most of the fashions of that era, some of the fabric I’m seeing in a new light (though the green print stuff above is still a bit much). Must be old age…

nike.jpg asian.jpg

Hubby asked me what I was going to do when I was old and some young thing was pawing through my stash. I told him that I would be very happy for her and I hope that she has a wonderful time!

yellow-and-brown.jpg butterfly.jpg

The best find in all of the sale was this amazing silk blend vintage table cloth! It does have a small stain, and a nearly formed hole (see pictures) but is still in remarkably good shape – and hay, it was only $12.


stain.jpg hole.jpg

In with the $6 pile, I also found this square table cloth, all cotton, also vintage. It has more staining/discoloration but…


I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these table clothes, but I think they will fit in somewhere in a future house. That future house will have to be a tad bigger than where I’m living now for the table to fit into it but… hopefully, in the next few months, I will get to post about that bigger house and the wall or table that a table cloth gets to decorate.


Mashed Potato Salmon Patties April 17, 2007

Filed under: recipes — clothespin @ 6:00 am


“So, what do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t know, what do you have?” he replied while standing in the kitchen and I was sitting in the living room.

“What’s left in the fridge?”

“Mashed potatoes and some rice from yesterday.”

“OK, I have an idea…” Almost always a scary thought, I tend to be one of those odd cooks who sometimes uses recipes but often only as a suggestion (except for baking, baking requires recipes).

Below is a combination of what came out of the fridge and the pantry and hay, while maybe not what you would have thought up to make out what we had, it actually turned out really tasty. Best of all, it stretched the ingredients into enough servings for 2 adults for 3 meals.

Mashed Potato Salmon Patties



1 16 oz can salmon

3 c. mashed potatoes (I used the instant kind)

1 c. cooked white rice (though feel free to sub in rice of your choice, or leave it out entirely)

2 eggs

1 T. Chipotle Tabasco sauce

1 T. Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle

2 inches ginger – minced fine

1/2 c. cilantro – finely chopped

2 T. lemon juice

2 c. bread crumbs

olive oil


Drain salmon juice into dog food bowl. Dumb meat into dish and separate out icky skin and place skin into dog bowl. Leave in bones in the salmon, unless husband is near and will notice (in which case, feed those to the dog, too) and mash salmon and bones well.

Add mashed potatoes, rice, eggs and seasonings. Mix well. At this point, it should be a rather homogeneous mix of goo…

Add bread crumbs until you are able to make a patty that holds together without leaving a big sticky mess on your hands. Make it the size of a small hamburger, about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat olive oil in skillet (I used a non-stick skillet) and fry patties until golden brown on both sides, adding olive oil as needed. Serve with veggie of your choice. Enjoy!


Hope you can swim that far! April 16, 2007

Filed under: funny stuff — clothespin @ 12:00 pm

So, I got an email telling me to do the following:

1. go to www.google.com.
2. click on “maps” above the search bar
3. click on “get directions”
4. type “New York” in the first box (the “from” box)
5. type “Paris” in the second box (the “to” box)
6. click on “get directions”
7. scroll down to step #23

I did as instructed, hopeing for some fun distraction from work… What I discovered is that I follow directions very poorly. I first put in New York, NY and Paris, France… which didn’t result in the desired outcome. Finally, frustrated, I read the directions AGAIN and discovered what is so funny. I took a picture of my computer screen and it is below.  (Click on the image to see the entire thing.)


I have heard that the fine folks at Google have a great sense of humor and that it is a fun place to work at. I think that perhaps a bit of the joke escaped their offices and made it’s way onto their maps. Enjoy the distraction from work!


Bitches 4 the Environment April 11, 2007

Filed under: environment — clothespin @ 12:01 am


stop global warming


Laurie David and Sheryl Crow were at the Texas A&M University campus Tuesday spreading the love about Global Warming. Part of the Stop Global Warming College Tour, Laurie talked about the reality of global warming, showing excerpts from An Inconvenient Truth, and spouted stats and importance of making small changes like a seasoned tree hugging granola eating hippie (but probably without the hairy legs and lacking the tie-dyed clothes).


Sheryl Crow



Sheryl Crow followed Laurie with a few songs… OK, by a few, I really mean four songs. Starting with A Change would do you Good, then Winding Road, and then a Beatles song. It was just her and her buddy on the guitar and some really fun graphics up on the dual screen behind them. The picture above was of an animated George Washington with wind turbines in front of the White House. Just a suble political message – do you think the current resident of that house will figure it out?

Sheryl Crow and Misty Pascual


During the Beatles song, Sheryl asked an innocent enough question – “Is there a music major out in the audience?” At any other campus, this question would not have garnered much in response, but here at TAMU, there was a bit of a guffaw. Why? We are one of the few (I’m guessing here, I hope that there aren’t many like this) major universities without an art or music department! Of course, we do have a truly amazing marching band… but apparently, none of the band members were sitting close enough to the front for Sheryl to see them. So, a brave student by the name of Misty Pascual (Misty, I’m sorry if I butchered your name, if you by chance read this, please send me the correction.) stepped up to the stage and bravely tried to play the tambourine. It was fun and I’m very glad that there is at least one extrovert out there willing to get on stage (that definitely wouldn’t be me).

Sheryl Crow and Laurie David


After the songs, Sheryl and Laurie returned to the stage to answer a few questions from the students in the audience. Before taking any questions, Laurie called both of the “Bitches for the Environment” – which really isn’t a bad thing to be called. I kinda like it really…

One question from a student was, “How, as a student on a limited budget, am I supposed to make environmentally responsible choices when so many items, (like the hybrid car that Sheryl drives) are priced so much higher than regular items?” A valid question for students and anyone on a budget, it does seem to me that many manufacturers are taking advantage of a “green” status and jacking the rates. But, as pointed out in the answers, there are compromises all the way around. Compact Fluorescent Light-bulbs (CFLs) cost more initially, but in the end, use up to 2/3 less energy (saving many times the cost of the cfl bulb) and last 10 times longer, which saves even more by not having to replace them nearly as often. Philips Light Bulbs donated bulbs to the tour and every person who attended received a CFL bulb after the concert! Because, every little change, if done by a great number of people, can make a significant change. Pretty cool (and bright).

Lots of the simple things that everyone can do that Laurie mentioned were really great ideas. However, there was one really obvious thing missing on all of the lists and all of the easy ways that normal folks can make a change. Bikes. What gives with dissing the bike? Not only does it have a minimal carbon footprint, but it is healthy, non-polluting, quieter and on a college campus, has much easier parking and no parking fees! OK, with the exception of tonight, it is easier to park – tonight, we had to stand our bikes without a bike rack and hope no one would carry our locked together bikes off…

The other great hazard with biking, at least at TAMU, is the occasional misappropriation of biking lanes for emergency parking.

tour bus in bike lane


You might not be able to tell it from this view, but these are the tour buses (using bio-diesel) of the event parked – wait for it now – in a BIKE LANE!

As a person who biked to the event and actually uses the space between the white line on the right and the curb for actual transportational activities, I have to say that it is incredibly difficult to bike through a bus. But, to give Sheryl and Laurie credit – theirs was not the only vehicle parked in the bike lane that we encountered in our 1 mile ride to campus. However, they were the only ones promoting environmental awareness… Oh, the irony. Ok, to give them even more credit – there probably isn’t any other space available close to the stage that wasn’t in a parking lot – and anyone who is or ever has been on the TAMU campus can only guess at what the ticket writing parking employees would do to a “liberal” bus like this that doesn’t have a parking permit. =)


And, for other bike riding wierdos out there on the TAMU campus, let us not forget the great bike supporter – Freebirds! “Bike to Work and School Day is April 27th and the City of College Station is teaming up with Freebirds World Burrito to make this event great. On that day, between 11am and 2pm, Freebirds (Northgate location) will be giving anyone that arrives on bike a free burrito.” This is excerpted from the email I received forwarded from a city official – though I couldn’t find the info either on the Freebirds site or the city site… That said, I’ve gotten a free burrito in years past, so know that this is the real deal… so make sure to start biking to work. At the very least, if you bike to campus, it is much harder to get a parking ticket. And,Freebirds is interested in your opinion – so if you care, take their survey and tell them what you think about the tour (I think that this is mainly for folks who were actually there).

The other major thing that they left out of the “easy” things that one can do to save the world is to… BUY LESS! Less stuff purchased means less stuff made which means lower polution levels and less stuff in the landfill. Buying used is a great option, as is repurposing items for a different use than originally intended. There’s a growing number of folks out there who are doing this all on their own. The Compact people vow to not buy anything new for one year (though there are exceptions for medical things…). And then, there is a guy in New York City, the No Impact Man, who is trying to see how low he and his family can go on the ol’ carbon footprint while still living in a small apartment. Interesting stuff and it definitly motivates a person into reconsidering the need for the cute little bag that they fell in love with at the store.


Finally, after all of this, Sheryl closed with the song, Circle the Sun… an appropriate song to be sure. It was a great event with a good number of folks in attendance (maybe 600?) which is all of about 1% of the student population. Giving the fact that a good number of us were post-docs, staff, grad students and faculty, the actual number of “real” students was probably a bit lower. But, there is change in the wind and the students who organized the “Clean Energy Now” group even managed to give Sheryl and Laurie t-shirts (organic cotton I’m sure)…  The campus newspaper wrote a story about it, though I havn’t found it referenced on the city paper or TV news site yet…   And, the tour website also mentions a recent victory on the TAMU campus in regards to using bio-diesel with oil from the dining facilities.

Of course, this IS TAMU, and with the emerging environmental awareness, comes the backlash to the caveman era and a protest next to the MSC (the TAMU version of a student union) by folks who think that this global warming stuff is all crazy hippie dippie stuff.

stupid stupid



I took pictures of this just so that I could prove to my environmental buddies out there that there are actually people on a university campus, where one is supposed to open the mind and learn things that they have not ever even considered prior to stepping onto such sacred hallowed grounds… And yet, they are practising their right to free speech… Eh, maybe they’ll move to the beach and the rising sea levels from the global warming that they don’t believe in will impart a bit of Darwinian education upon them?

In the end, it was a fun filled night with good music and even a few friends. Many thanks to Sheryl and Laurie for making the trek to our hard to get to town and trying to stir the environmental pot… and hay, I for one am glad that you were here, even if you did park in my bike lane.



Retro Chairs April 6, 2007

Filed under: house stuf,projects — clothespin @ 10:50 am

Thrift stores are great! I was in a local one looking for some mismatched china for a gift (it went over really well) when I spotted 3 of these:

Retro Chair

Two were in red, one was in blue. The lines were cool, kind of a retro-modern and they looked old. I sat in one, trying to talk myself out of buying them… They were comfy. A bit springy with a slight backward rock. The one in the picture was solid, too and aside from needing some love on the wood and a redo on the seating, the bones were in great shape.

retro chair sideretro chair back

I resisted, tried to remind myself that my tiny house, a mere 450 square feet and home to a hairy dog, a fat cat and one tall husband was already full to the gills. Where ever would I store them and WHAT would I do with them?

I asked the shop keeper how much they were, hoping that the price would be unreasonable and thus prevent my lustful cravings for cool retro things. $25 for all three, yes we take checks. Needless to say, I wrote a check and then left them there, returning today with hubby’s truck to cart them home.

Currently, they are sitting in the back of his truck (the weather people swear it isn’t going to rain tonight) waiting until he returns so that I can put them in the field lab at work. (He has the key.) They will sit there waiting until the glorious day when he finds/gets “the job” and we get to move away from our tiny, yet cozy, home into a slightly bigger house with a garage.

Until then… I need a bit of help. In looking at these cool chairs further, I realized that what I thought was old and peeling vinyl was in fact a slip cover velcroed over the original seating! The good news is, I can take that cover and use it as a pattern for new covers if I decide that that needs to be done. But, then I realized that the former owner had then PAINTED the chairs, vinyl and all it seems, first to blue and then to red. The paint covered the original seat part, too.

retro chair velcro

So, does anyone know how to get old paint off of a seat and edging material like that? I get the bad feeling that I may have to redo it all… and that may not be bad as I’m not the greatest fan of light pink, which is apparently their original color. But, I am concerned that my sewing machine is not capable of such heavy duty sewing and that it might cost a bit to have a professional do it..

(This is the blue chair with the original pink edging and webbing showing through the paint.)

.retro chair seat paint

Thoughts? Advice? Hay, I know I won’t be working on this soon, but would like at least two of them to go into a future house… Thanks for any help you can give!