Thursday, August 23, 2012


I really had no idea how many cucumbers would be in a bushel.  My logic went something like this -
  1. The farmstand is selling pickling cucumbers by the bushel, 
  2. I want to make pickles, 
  3. I guess I need a bushel.
No.  I did not need a bushel.  But a bushel I have, and now I've got to gear up for some crazy-ass pickle making: long fermented kosher, quick(er) kosher, bread & butter, and cucumber relish.

2013 may end up being the year of the pickle.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Keep On Cooking!

Simply awesome!

Alabama Modern

Before I left Alabama, I had the chance to go to The Rosenbaum House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian houses.

The interior was beautiful as well.  As we start to reno the house next door, which we bought before leaving for Nova Scotia, it's nice to see such well-conceived design.
Living room

Original kitchen; larger kitchen included in addition - also designed by FLW

The study

The "dormitory" where the Rosenbaum's four sons slept
Who would've guessed that Florence, Alabama had all this and more?  I'm sorry that I didn't have an extra day.  Next time.

Alabama Getaway (No, I'm Not a Dead Fan...'s just the song that pops into my head when I think about Alabama - better than "Oh Susanna"?)

This past weekend I had the pleasure and privilege to attend a weekend workshop at Alabama Chanin (thanks to the OAC).   I have to say - it was great.  I picked out my own project (albeit one that is almost identical to one in the most recent book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design), received all the attention (and in some ways more) that I needed, and got to experience first-hand the Alabama Chanin aesthetic and ethics.  It was a perfect storm: crafting, fashion, conversations about sustainability, local food, and no other obligations. Yes, I ran away to sewville! And I would gladly run away again although next time I might try to get my mom to come along as well.
Natalie Chanin and her staff were great.  I was often a dork, but they didn't let on that they knew, which I really appreciate.  It's just hard when you're really excited but also second-guessing your choices (dress? skirt?  cardigan?  Ack!).  Everyone, including the other participants, was generous with their time and advice.  I've come home with a project that I'm terribly excited about as well as new confidence in my sewing and construction skills.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MichFest 2012!

After a year off, the ladyfriend and I ventured back to “the land.” Yes – the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.  We hadn’t taken last year off because we hadn’t had an amazing time the first time but because we were in Newfoundland and there’s only so much time or money.

While different than the first time, which, for us, was spine-tinglingly* overwhelming and wonderful, this year cemented the fact that we will come every year that we can.  In fact, we’re thinking about trying to offer a workshop next year called “So Wrong for So Long” about how even after our friends talked about Fest all the time, it took us awhile to actually get there.  Now that we’ve experienced it for ourselves, we wished we’d come earlier.  So wrong for so long.  I’m sure we’re not the only ones.  Now the question is – how do we convince more of our friends?

One of the great things about Fest is that there’s room for all kinds of womyn (spelling remains in deference to Fest).  If you’re the crunchy granola type, there’s music, workshops, and things for you to do.  If you’re a Goth chick, you’ve got options as well. Into hip hop, punk, or mellow jazz?  Got you covered.  It’s not the big, over-processing plant (my initial fear) that one could think it is.  It’s really just a great time and an easy place to be.

Some of the entertainment highlights this year were Tender Forever (whom we’d seen in 2010 at Fest), Scream Club, MazzMuse, Gina Breedlove, Dorothy Allison (amazing!), and Leslie and the Lys (wonder if “Lys” is also short for Local Yarn Store – she is very crafty).  See the joy in my face as I pose with Leslie Hall?  Do I really have to convince you further?

Elvira Kurt, who not only MC’d multiple stages but had her own set on Opening Ceremony night, is worth the price of admission in and of herself.  Terribly funny, incredibly smart, and super cute!

I could go on, but I’ll practice some restraint.  However, if you have questions about Fest, feel free to ask me or check out their website.  It’s a really important space to have, and it would be a great loss if we were to lose it.

Just to keep things interesting, I’m off to take an intensive weekend workshop (thanks to an Emerging Artist Grant from the Ontario Arts Council) at Alabama Chanin.  Stay tuned.

*this word is easier read than spoken aloud.