More Than Just Felt

I have made thousands of felted friends for people all around the world. Even though I make each one with care, every once in a while I will get a note from a customer letting me know a little more about where the owls, penguins, elephants, etc… have ended up, and for what special purpose. Anniversaries are a frequent reason, but so have been memorials and long hospital stays.

It serves to remind me that even the smallest act of creation can have a meaningful impact on someone miles away. And, even though it is a business, there is often more happening than just an exchange.

One occasion I have enjoyed customizing for are weddings. These little guys end up being center pieces or cake toppers. And the possibilities of different combinations are almost limitless — I have yet to encounter two request the same, as you can see below.

Owl Cake Topper

Owl Cake Topper

Owl Cake Topper

Owl Cake Topper

Owl Cake Topper

Owl Cake Topper

Owl Cake Topper

The biggest challenge, believe it or not, is finding a curved branch that supports the owls above the ground and also fits within a cake top diameter (usually 7 inches). The nearby park and our back yard offer stick-hunting opportunities, but I sometimes wonder what the neighbors think seeing me forage through the brush.

Owl Cake Topper

Old to New Bike Trunk

On a recent trip to the library, Virginia was wishing she had a basket on her new bike. The old one, still in service (though not reliably so), had a trusty front-mounted one.

Vintage Dunelt Bike

Though equipped with a rack, the new bike was clearly lacking the personality and utility of the vintage Dunelt. So, she came up with a brainstorm that just so happens to be a—if I may say so—perfect solution.

I ran to the hardware store for $5 worth of brackets, nuts and bolts, and down to the basement for a few scraps of an old inner tube for placing between the rack and the brackets (don’t want any squeaks when riding), and the actual box.

Old Wine Box Bike Trunk

We happened to have a couple of these old wine boxes (one of the local wine shops was giving them away a few years ago… you never know when you might need one, right?). I busted out the sander, smoothed down some of the rough edges, drilled a couple of holes and now she has this:

Old Wine Box Bike Trunk

It happens to be the perfect size for transporting a lunch, a bunch of books, her u-lock and helmet (although, the helmet stays on her head during the ride, but it still fits).

Old Wine Box Bike Trunk

And, best of all, it comes with a sliding top to keep everything secure.

Old Wine Box Bike Trunk

I know you can buy much lighter, much more waterproof versions of these bike trunks (and most of them start at $75 or more). You can’t go wrong with a solidly built pine box that you got for free and a few bucks for some hardware. Plus, it just looks cool.

Old Wine Box Bike Trunk

I’m not sure about the wine, though. It’s not one we’ve tried before. We might have to after this, what with all that free advertising.

Fermentation, Revisited

I made my approach to countertop pickling very slowly. Not sure why, given how tasty soured veggies are (not to mention the long list of healthful benefits packed in each bite). Nevertheless, here I am, experimenting with some of the season’s bounty with a little help from Linda Ziedrich’s book The Joy of Pickling.

Fermentation

So far this summer (still a bit early, yet, to be taking full advantage of the piles of veggies at our farmer’s market), I’ve been working on some pickled radishes, kohlrabi, kimchi, sauerkraut and some dill cucumbers. The kimchi is still bubbling away, so I can’t say for sure how it will be, but based on what I’ve experienced with the pickled cucumbers and kohlrabi, I’ve got high hopes.

Did I mention how simple and easy it is? Some water, some salt, fresh veggies and a little bit of patience…

We’re Back

Yes, it has been a looooong time since that last post. Perhaps this will be the start of a new era, one that even includes some posts by Virginia.

Speaking of whom, she has just recently published her first patterns that are now available at Ravelry (something she’s been meaning to do, and hopefully will continue to do beyond this). The first, of course, is a pair of socks.

Catwalk Socks

Catwalk Socks

Pattern details available on Ravelry, or you can purchase by clicking:

The second, is a scarf.

Simone Scarf

Simone Scarf

Pattern details available on Ravelry, or you can purchase by clicking:

Both of these were knit using the gorgeous yarn from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts—they have a beautiful line of handdyed yarns.

The Choice

Every morning that I go to work I face a couple of options on how best to get there.

Option A:

Commute Option A

or, Option B:

Commute Option B

Any guesses as to which one I end up picking?

I’m not super confident my eagerness to go with Option B will be maintained through the next couple of months. It is 45-50 minutes on the bike, each way (about 9.5 miles), potentially a lengthy time to be exposed to the elements. However, rumor has it that El Niño is brewing, which often means a milder winter for us. So, despite the impending winter season, I may still be opting for Option B.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy a saner (not to mention healthier) way to get to work, and hope that by being outside more, my ability to withstand the cooler temperatures will grow (something my still-Ecuadorian blood often objects to).