What The Hay

Crafty Hayseed Goodness!

Craft Area May 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — clothespin @ 4:41 pm

Unlike some bloggers that I read, my craft area is not pretty.  It’s not cute, tidy, orderly, spacious or inspiring or colorful.

What it is is tiny, messy, completely disorganized (despite my love affair with Rubbermaid) and white.

The picture below is my craft space.  It is next to my bed, which is under a north facing window, which does provide some light and breeze.  My ironing board (one of the half sized ones) sits on a trunk full of blankets, the sewing notions reside in the 3 drawers of the 5 drawer chest that we glued together after finding it on the side of the road.  My sewing machine sits on an old sewing table from hubby’s family.  My stash of fabric and yarns live in plastic containers under the bed or in the closet – they are at least generally contained.



 I am LUCKY to have this space.  I am.  My entire house is about 500 square feet, so the ability to carve out any space at all for this was amazing.   I do wish that I could organize it better – but that would probably require a lot of work and energy and…. and I am getting better.

I started a new project recently.  I am cutting strips to make a quilt along the lines of the one at happy things.  I’m using fabric from my craft exchange that I was in recently that I found so totally fun, but didn’t know the fiber content of it at all… So, decided that this was the perfect project to go stash diving for the fun random fabric that I didn’t buy at a quilt store.  Some of the fabric was from Freecycle a few years back, some leftover from other projects and some may have even come from mom.



 I’m cutting the strips into 2 inch pieces and the leftover edges are being cut into 1 1/4 inch pieces to make into 2 inch pieces to add to the quilt.  Why not?  So, now I have a pile of strips and I’m still cutting.  I don’t know how much I need and I’m not even sure how big this quilt will be.  Right now, I’m just enjoying the process.  I put my rotary cutting mat on top of my cardboard cutting board on top of the bed (I’m really tall and the bed is up on cinder blocks, to accommodate the Rubbermaids) and cut away…

I was thinking of why I am making this super easy quilt now, when I have so many more challenging and difficult projects that I really want to do, just waiting in the wings?  Then, it dawned on me, I’m stressed out.  After the fun of rejection for hubby last week, another job interview, the stress of waiting for “the phone call” from the interview…  I need something fun and easy and fast so that something pretty is going on in my life.  I at least have control over the fabric, maybe not where I’m cutting the fabric at or in which state, but I can sew the strips into something pretty and useful.  Men have drills, I have a rotary cutter!



Of course, all of this would not happen without my wonderful sewing machine.  It’s a Bernina 830 and is about 30 years old.  Mom got it for $50 from a lady and then paid another $100 to have it fixed.  It is wonderful.  Hubby laughs when I talk of how much I love this machine, but I truly do.  It makes me happy.  It works, never argues with the fabric and will last me until the next century.  I’m contemplating buying a walking foot for the machine so that I can machine quilt smaller projects – still trying to convince myself that a $100+ tiny bit of metal is worth it…



While on the Bernina website, lusting after the foot, I found this game.  Even the non-sewers in the crowd can sew with this site!  I’m terrible at the game, but it’s fun to try.  Have fun!


What Stress? May 23, 2007

Filed under: funny stuff — clothespin @ 1:15 pm

Hubby is job hunting. His post-doc position is ending in October and the serious need for a real, grown up job is growing with every day. He applied for a job last fall that he was the insider candidate for, the job that we have heard for years would be his as soon as Guy M retires. Guy M assured us that he wanted hubby as his successor, a true “heir apparent” as it were.

Job applied for, a grueling 4 day, 2 seminar interview ensued. Harrowing would be an appropriate word. My mother asked if hubby liked doing this? I had to reply that this was just part of the game in PhD land… (as if anyone would enjoy this process…)

So, we waited for a response. Hiring committee met a few weeks ago, they had to pass it up the food chain and each level would agree or make a different choice… all the while, we sit here, twiddling our thumbs. Do I start job hunting? House hunting? Collecting boxes for packing? It is this inbetween time of knowing that is making me crazy. Well, crazier than I was before (don’t laugh, it is possible).

Fearing that a level or two in the food chain of deciding were just sitting and doing NOTHING, hubby became proactive. Some of the folks at the food chain are actually references of his for other jobs. So, he applied to a few more jobs in industry, which moves decidedly faster in the hiring process. Maybe, if the industry folks make a call to the references, maybe something will happen in the job that he was after.

Industry definitely moves faster than academia. As I was reading the latest post from the Yarn Harlot, hubby got a call – an on phone interview from a job that he submitted the application for 2 days earlier. So, as the Harlot was posting about teenage stress, I posted in her comments:

Stress? What stress? I am only sitting here reading your post about being surrounded by stressed out teenagers while my husband has an over the phone interview for a job that he applied for on Wednesday. He applied for it arguably to light a fire under the seats of the deciding people of a job he had a 4 day interview for a month ago… Shall we live in Texas or Georgia? No, no stress here… Hopefully, it will end for all of soon. (Not that there is any stress at all involved in interstate moving.)

Posted by: whatthehay at May 18, 2007 6:08 PM

As one of 304 people who posted comments, I figured I was lucky if ANYONE read my feeble words. Not that it was important that anyone read them (it isn’t) just that I was commiserating in this odd medium of blogginess. I was a bit surprised to get a real email from… the Harlot.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
to hayflowers

Ok. You and I are at least on a tie.

Holy hay flowers! A response from the Harlot. I nearly fell out of my chair.

Then, insanity reigned supreme and I decided to reply to her thinking… I don’t know what I was thinking, but this is what I wrote:

He has an interview in California NEXT WEEK now. Has to give a big fancy phd level talk NEXT WEEK. And, he has to make sense, at least to DNA wielding gene jockey folks. (Which may not make sense to the rest of the world.) So much for weekend plans! Oh, and when they asked when he might be able to move, he asked when they needed him by. How about July? Again, no stress.

The good thing is, maybe he’ll get this job and we can move to Georgia and not have to stay in Texas. My heart is breaking because I really wanted to move to Dallas. (Not that I am at all sarcastic and ready to escape Texas.) Dallas is so beautiful in the summer. It’s the other Austin. Just bigger and less weird.

Tell the teens good luck on the exams!

Oddly enough, no response to my witty thoughts from the Harlot. 8)

Honestly, it was the stress, I’m not usually so clueless. (Again, no replies needed to this statement.)

Hubby has left today for the interview, perhaps ready (he only spent 5 days preparing – the other interviews he spent a month on) and now, actually needing to do well. We received an oh so tasteless email yesterday informing us that the heir apparent job actually went to the less talented candidate. Politics and stupidity and many more words that I cannot use in public (or at least have been informed by others that I should not use). In the end, he was the best choice and has been informed of that by others who are as angry and upset as we are. It doesn’t make the hurt any less though.

So, more fun on the job hunt… Now that we are thoroughly deflated, we will have no hopes or dreams of jobs until the contract is signed. Here’s hoping for better luck this time around.


Rag Sponge May 20, 2007

Filed under: environment,free pattern,projects — clothespin @ 4:55 pm

I hate dishes. Well, I actually hate doing dishes. The dishes themselves are fine, and even pretty on occasion.


Part of my reluctance is the icky dishrag. (Or dishcloth for those of you too good to use a rag.) I grew up with dishrags and never liked them. They flopped and dripped and were just icky. But, they were washable and lasted a long time. Still, didn’t counter the ick part.. SO – when I grew up, I became a kitchen sponge girl.

Couple of negatives with sponges. First, you have to buy them. Not good on a student budget. They also tend to stink after a while, which can mean nothing good as far as bacteria in the kitchen go. Recent brianiac scientific news reports educated the masses with the stunning information that heating a wet sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes will kill all of the nasties… Some people obviously think that this is too laborious, and just throw out the sponges and start over. Having issues with throwing out things that are otherwise fine, this wasn’t working for me.

In an effort to combine washability with cheap with environmentally friendly with sponge… I came up with the following idea. It’s easy to make and takes only pennies of supplies – so cheap in fact, I plan on having lots of these so that I can use several in a week. Then, when laundry day hits – throw them all in the wash with some borax powder and laundry soap! The result will be clean, bacteria free kitchen sponge rags! (Though, due to their thickness, I would suggest drying them in the dryer unless you live where hanging them out to dry goes really quickly…)


old washcloth or towel, terry cloth type

heavy weight sew in interfacing, 1/8 inch thick

afghan fabric, or other open weave heavy type fabric***

*** I got this for about $3/yard at Hobby Lobby on a bolt in the fabric section. It is nylon and has about 6 holes to the linear inch. They told me it was afghan fabric, but I have not been able to find anything like it on line. If you know what this is really called, please let me know!

*** You could also use the net plastic bags from around oranges and onions or thin rug hooking canvas. I also found this needlepoint canvas which would probably work, though you might need to sew down the middle each way to stabilize it.


1) Cut towel into a 9×10 inch size. If your wash cloth is that size already, perfect. Zig-zag the edges if using a towel (or serge the edges if you are lucky enough to have a machine!)



2) Cut a 3×4 1/4 inch piece of the heavy interfacing. Center this in the middle, on the lower edge of the 10 inch wide part, of the washcloth, placing about 1/4 inch above the edge. Pin.



3) Zig-zag around the edge of the interfacing.


4) Fold the washcloth over the interfacing as shown in the picture.


5) Fold one side over the top of the interfacing section, the other under the bottom, creating an “s” around the interfacing.



6) Cut a 3 1/2 x 5 inch piece of the mesh. Place over one side of the cloth. Pin.

7) Slowly zig-zag around the edge of the mesh, making sure to catch all of the edges of the cloth as you go. It will be very thick, so take it slow. If you don’t get all of the edges, sew another line down to catch them all.


8) Go do your dishes!

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Vegan Enchilada Casserole May 18, 2007

Filed under: recipes — clothespin @ 9:04 pm

Lunch is a tricky thing for me. I love cheese, it just doesn’t love me. I have to eat lots of fiber, so eat only a small amount of meat. So, what’s a hungry girl without lunch to do? All to often, it’s the grocery store at 8am looking for lunch. Amy’s frozen dinners are yummy, on my wonderful diet and it tastes pretty good, too.

But, buying pre-made meals is not cheap, and really, how hard is it to make what I buy from Amy? I mean, I love Amy, but I can cook, too. So, after a failed recipe search on line, I concocted my own version… Now, the only trick – actually cooking.




Vegan Enchilada Casserole

3 c shredded soy cheese

18 corn tortillas

3 c cooked white rice

2-20 oz cans enchilada sauce

12 oz package ground meat substitute (many brands, this is just one of them)

15 oz can vegetarian re-fried beans

15 oz can corn – drained

15 oz can black beans – rinsed and drained

15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced

1 T. oregano

1 t. cumin

1 t. chili powder



In skillet, saute onion and peppers in olive oil until the onion starts to wilt. Add the fake meat, diced tomatoes and spices. Cook until onion is translucent. Add drained corn and beans. Set aside.

In a 9×13 baking pan, pour enough enchilada sauce so that the bottom is coated. Place corn tortillas over the bottom, about 6 total. You can add more if you like. On top of tortillas, layer 1/2 of the cooked rice, 1/2 meat mixture, 1/3 soy cheese. Pour more enchilada sauce over the top. Add another layer of tortillas. Repeat filling, adding the re-fried beans. Top with more sauce, tortillas and end with the rest of the sauce and a coating of soy cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.



Car May 17, 2007

Filed under: projects — clothespin @ 6:00 am

When I was a little girl, my mom and grandma and a couple of ladies the age of my grandma would meet two times a month to quilt and talk. They would meet all day at one of the ladies homes, eat lunch together and talk. The old men would also come along (except my dad, who wasn’t “old”) and play cards all day. In the afternoon, they would each have one beer with the cards.

This was during the early ’80’s and I remember one time when grandpa sent me down to the basement to bring the beer up. The can was white and said “beer” and had a UPC code on it. Nothing else. That was the brand, white generic beer. Remember that brand? They made everything, “cheese” and “bread” and “flour”…. and was the cheap stuff in the store. So grandpa and the other old men drank “beer” that afternoon and for some reason, I remembered – and it still seems funny to me now.

So, this fall, my father in law purchased a new Scion xB car. I love Scions, have an xA myself, but I do prefer cars in colors other than white. My in laws always buy white vehicles. Every time. Hello – boring! Don’t know why, they say something about the heat in Texas… to me, it’s too hot inside a car in August in Texas no matter what the color, but I digress…

One morning in the shower, I was ruminating on this silly white car thing when it hit me – it is a “generic” car. Simple box, wheels, motor and white. What was it missing? A UPC code of course! As it was before Christmas, and I needed a gift for my father in law, I quickly presented the idea to hubby – who also thought it a great gift.



Making one of these is easy and perfect for anyone you know who has no personality when it comes to car color choices.

The most important thing to do is to make the UPC code. There is a free generator here that you merely have to punch in the numbers that you want (say maybe your birthday or lucky number), pick the type of UPC code that you like and hit generate. “EAN/JAN-13” makes a code similar to that in my picture. There are other generators out there, but this was the easiest one that I have found so far. Hubby made our code, so I’m not sure where he got it from…

Now, follow the directions on the site to save the image. Import it into photoshop to re-size it to the size that you need, we made it 8×11 inches. Laminate the code, making sure to leave some laminate all around the edges to protect it from the weather.

Finally, stick this to the back of a sheet of adhesive magnetic sheeting. There are products like this available at most big box stores and craft stores.



To make the “car” or “box” labels, simply go into a word processing program and make it there, print, laminate and stick to magnetic sheeting.

Ideally, FIL would only use the “car” OR the “box” label and not both at the same time. Hay, it’s his car, so he can do what he wants to do! And, I know that he likes it and even gets comments on the magnets from people in town. Enjoy!

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licensed under a

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Peace – Man May 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — clothespin @ 10:48 am

Peace, man.




 Oh yeah, this bag is so completely me!  And, it is something that I would have never made for myself, but completly love.  Fun bright floral fabric for a pocket, denmin with embroidery, the coolest dirt button ever… Elizabeth really did well over at Crafts of Destiny.  I can tell that this bag took so much time to make, and the thing I like most is how she made it so differently than I would have, but how it turned out so great.  I may have to use some of her techniques on future bags of my own, and will definitly have to think about embroidery on future projects.



She also included tons of great stuff.  All of this fabric is so fun!  And, I of course immediately thought of using it to make a quilt like over at Happy Things.  Easy and fun and won’t require alot of mental energy.  I may have to fussy cut some of the prints to center the pictures and add to it, but I definitly think I’ll use the basic idea with some/all of this fabric.


And, I love buttons and trim and how did she know that my nephews room is done up in a John Deer theme?  I see a birthday pillow with those buttons on it!  (I hope that 3 year old boys like pillows…)

bag-stuff-1.jpg    bag-stuff-2.jpg


 Also, those books, especially the furniture book, is so great!  I’m hopefully moving once the man of the house gets word on his hopeful job… and haystacks know that I will need good cheap furniture ideas.

So much fun, so many neat things… Thanks so much Elizabeth!


Skirt Bag and Ties May 10, 2007

Filed under: environment,projects — clothespin @ 5:36 pm

A little over a month ago, I lost my mind. I, who takes forever to make a single item, joined a craft swap at Craft Daisies. It sounded like fun in the beginning, but I quickly realized that I had no clue what to include in the swap! Luckily, I was paired with a quirky crafter Elizabeth over at Crafts of Destiny who, like me, is also environmentally minded.

So, I made a list over the course of weeks, gaining ideas from other craft blogs that I read to add to my surprisingly large list of things that I COULD make. The list includes the Altoids box needle holder that I posted about previously, felted potholders, shopping bag, knit dishrag, towel topper (I swear, a tutorial is coming on this!), neck cooler… Well, my crafting ability did reach a little further than my time allowed, but I think that I managed to put together a respectable box. Check out the Crafts of Destiny blog to see all of the things that I included…

skirt-bag.jpg skirt-bag-pocket.jpg

But, the real main project was the recycled skirt tote/shopping bag! I found the skirt at a local thrift store for $1.50 knowing that Elizabeth loves green and recycled things…

So, I matched up the two existing button holes on the skirt, sewed down either side of the holes to make a tube. Then, after undoing the hem of the skirt, sewed along the old hem line to make the bottom. I cut out a lining of estate sale fabric in green, and sewed that together. After placing it inside of the skirt, I marked where the new button hole needed to be and put on on the lining along with a pocket adorned with a bit of an old hanky. I stitched the top of the bag, lining and neckties together, then made a flap with a button on it to keep the two sides together… tucked up the corners on the outside of the bag to give it a bottom, and it’s easy peasy new bag!

OK, not technically hard, but it was time consuming…

I also put in the pocket a couple of reusable produce bags for the grocery store. Elizabeth now has no excuse for using plastic on her loose veggies! These are really fun and easy to make and can be made out of any really light weight material. I just happened to find a bunch of tulle and organza at the estate sale… so made her a couple (in green!) and some for me with some funky fabric that I had in the stash.


I weighed them on my fancy digital scale and compared the weight to that of a plastic produce bag from the grocery store – was twice as much as the plastic, which is still virtually nothing. It adds a few pennies to my bill, but not having to deal with plastic bags is worth it. Plus, my bags are pretty!

Basically, I made a rectangle and then french seamed the edges to keep them from fraying, added a bit up top to run some ribbon through to make a draw string bag and it was done!

monster-blue-tie.jpg monster-red-tie2.jpg

Finally, I am in the midst of writing a tutorial on how to make a bag out of another reclaimed fabric source. More info to come later. But, I was so impressed with my tie handles on the skirt bag, that I went to the thrift store and found a few more. Above are two of my favorites, modeled by my favorite hairy guy!