Foraging & Feasting

wild greens

I am an amateur forager… wait, that’s giving myself too much credit. I am an aspiring forager. I read books and a lot of online material about the topic. I’m proud to say that I’ve picked some wild stuff (shown above, mustard greens). I am lucky, though, because the area in which I live is rich with wild veggies.

I recently received a book called Foraging & Feasting by Dina Falconi and illustrated by Wendy Hollender. They raised money to publish their book via Kickstarter (if you don’t know about it, check it out – it’s a wonderful way to support great ideas). Anyway, Dina knows her stuff and just flipping through the book has me all tingly with anticipation. Learning is fun! Also, Wendy’s illustrations are pretty awesome. I’ve always been a fan of botanical illustrations – they have an old-timey feel that you don’t see too often in the art world these days.

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If you are interested in purchasing, you can go to the publishing website Botanical Arts Press LLC.

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The Best Ceramic Bowl Ever!!!

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I know it sucks, but I’m in love! Also, it’s my first, so by the laws of nature, I have to be in love.

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I began the class 5 weeks ago and after the first session I was not in the best of spirits. Turns out being a ceramicist is actually pretty difficult. I am not the best student or persevere-er, however I get to make things with my hands and it has been rewarding. Working on the wheel can be relaxing and meditative, although sometimes, I have to admit, I feel a tingling desire to grab the clay and throw it against the wall whenever it’s not coming out the way I want. Why didn’t anyone ever teach me how to deal with disappointment?

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I hope you are as excited as I am to share in whatever junk I create next!

A handmade life?

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I originally designed this website/blog as a showcase for my crocheted and crafted goods. However, even from the beginning, I knew that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I want to create a space where I can share with others my journey from buying into the consumerism-hype, not caring about the loss of quality in our society, not caring about the damaging products I put on my body and into our world, simply doing what I do because that’s what I was told to do, to where I am at present – which is perhaps just as complicated. The mindset I had 10 years ago is vastly different than how I think now; and by different I mean I actually think now.

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I think about my words and actions and how they affect others’ words and actions. I think about how connected we actually all are. I think about my desire to treat others with kindness and compassion, which then leads to my thoughts of how horribly I have treated people in the past. I have remorse. I realize that my past is nothing to regret, but something to learn from as I move forward in my life. I think about the injustices we must suffer. How can I change this? How can I motivate people to care about suffering, the loss of human rights, poverty, fraud, greed… does it even matter? Should I even try?

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I desire simplicity. All I want is to be with the people I love, to eat food the land produces naturally, to respect all life, to work with my hands. I think that’s a pretty simple list. Yet, it isn’t as easy as that, as most of us know. I have responsibilities – namely, school loans and the desire to support my parents when they reach an age where they cannot support themselves. And these things require money. Money that I do not want. My desires and my perceived responsibilities are constantly at odds with each other. How do I find a balance? How do I live in a society that places importance on things I do not care about?

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I don’t have answers, but I have things that help me through these inconsistencies. I find people who think similarly – it helps to be around those with the same sentiments. I daydream… a lot. I crochet. I craft. I make things. I hike. I pick wild veggies. I find the joy and amusement in irritating things (maybe not right at the moment of irritation, but I usually do later). I laugh. I play with my cat.

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I also try to do things that reduce my dependence on living the way we are accustomed to live, such as not purchasing items for health, beauty, and hygiene; not using hot water all the time; not going to the grocery store; not driving everywhere; etc. Some of the steps I have taken to achieve independence is harder than just not going to the grocery store. A lot of it has been questioning why I do these things. It has been consciously and actively redefining what is important to me. This takes much thought and honesty, which I believe the majority of my countrymen are not particularly apt at doing.

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So, this means… what? I don’t know. I’m not sure how this will translate on this website. I will still write about crocheting and crafting (and try to get you to buy my items!), but I think the blog will encompass all the things I do to maintain my handmade life.

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I’m An Amazing Hooker. Be Jealous.

i'm an amazing hooker

I first saw this on Pinterest, but I couldn’t resist seeing if I could get it. This image comes from CafePress, which is a pretty cool online shop where you can buy already printed items or have your own designs printed.

Loop & Leaf

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loopleaflogo“We are a yarn shop specializing in unique, artisan yarns designed to enlighten & inspire. A few brands we carry: Habu, Shibui, Handmaiden, Lorna’s Laces, Jade Sapphire, Lantern Moon, Araucania, Koigu, Madelinetosh….”

Loop & Leaf is a shop located in Santa Barbara, CA and has recently become my go-to place for all things yarn. Not only do they carry a wide variety of yarns, the staff pays attention to each customer as if they were the only one in the store. This might mean you will have to wait your turn, but it is a turn worth waiting. The owner, Celeste, and her staff are very knowledgeable and eager to help in any situation.

The shop also offers classes and tutorials, an area where you can sit and get help on your item (while drinking a wonderful cup of tea), yarn winding, and an index of folks who can help in the event that the staff may not be able to.

If you are ever in the Santa Barbara area I recommend checking this place out, regardless of your yarn necessity or lack thereof.

Website: www.loopandleaf.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoopLeaf

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All photographs are property of Loop & Leaf.

Computer Sleeve

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Plarn

I know this has been covered everywhere on the internet, but I think it is such a fun, simple idea. For those of you who have not read up on this, plarn is a portmanteau, or blend, word that was created to describe the product of making plastic strands to use as yarn. If you have an excess of plastic bags laying around making plarn is a wonderful way to upcycle. Crocheted or knitted items made from plarn are great gifts, however you may end up just keeping them for yourself because they are that neat!

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to create your own plarn:

Supplies – Plastic bags, scissors

  1. Make the plastic bag flat by folding at the creases (like the way it would have been packaged).plarn2
  2. Fold it length-wise over itself, keeping the width about the same size as the handle.plarn3plarn4
  3. Get your scissors and cut the bottom off, then cut across the folds. I usually keep the sections between 1/2-1 inch, however set the size to what you need – the thickness of the plarn and width of the sections are directly proportional.plarn5plarn6
  4. Attach each section to the next by looping one circle around the other and pulling it through.plarn7plarn8plarn9plarn10
  5. When you are done attaching each section you will have a strand of plarn. Continue doing this until you have enough to create your item. You can keep attaching more to the end if you find yourself in a shortage.plarn11
  6. Now you can begin crocheting (or knitting) your item!plarn12plarn13
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