Monday, December 28, 2009

Feeding the Hungry

"The Gratis Cafe"

This is more of a brain storming post intended to explore some possibilities for aiding the hungry and homeless in Fort Collins. I read an article in the Collegian some days ago about students who dumpster-dive for perfectly good discarded food, mostly bagged day-old bagels and dented tinned foods from grocery stores. I also saw recently a *documentary of a zen chef from Tassajara Mountain Center in San Francisco, in which the center delivers leftovers (and their leftovers are quite exquisite) in little white Asian take-out boxes to homeless folks around the city. Both have got me thinking about how I could be of greater service to my impoverished compatriots.

If there were one or two free public locations with tables and chairs, near downtown, and appropriate for all weathers, a dedicated group of at least 15 volunteers able to pick-up and transport food donations and prepare meals, and a willing supply of discarded food donations from local supermarkets, food shops, and bakeries, donations of produce from local CSA's and home gardens, and individual contributions, a free "cafe" could be conceivable.

If anyone is interested in discussing how this idea could be put into action, please call, e-mail or comment on this post.

Kristianne Gale

*"How to Cook Your Life" with Zen chef Edward Espe Brown

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hazel's Birthday Gifts, aka Pincushion Redux

So here is what I decided to do about that pesky pincushion. It came to me at the last minute, seeing its completion only 6 hours before the birthday girl awoke on her special day. No more late nights for Mama for a while, please!

The scissors case is made of wool felt, in red of course, and blanket stitched together. I used some red print fabric to make a "bean bag style" pincushion, stuffed with several layers of cotton batting. It is the "flower" and seems to work pretty well as long as one is careful with how they put the actual pins in. I sewed the cushion onto the scissors case, then added felt leaves and embroidery. I am excessively proud of this little beauty!

I am also pretty proud of this simple little bag, made late on the night before the scissors case/pincushion. My sewing machine has been out of commission for years (I'll be fixing that problem soon!) so this is all hand sewn.

Finally, here is the whole present: Hazel's Busy Basket. She's got a slate board and chalk, a Waldorf alphabet book (because she'll be facing those letters already next fall in Kindergarten), lots of paper tied with pretty red string, three balls of yarn (The string games book I ordered has not yet arrived. I'll ask the fairies to slip it in quietly when it gets here.), homemade playdough in two colors, lots of fabric in nice fat quarters (thank you, Scott), an embroidery hoop, thread in a homemade bag, the pincushion/scissors case w/ goodies, and the homemade bag with hand-me-down rubber stamps and stamp pads. Whew! If that doesn't keep those busy little fingers happy and out of mischief, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Solstice love

A wool child's sweater from the thrift shop becomes a Solstice sweater with a touch of embroidery.
These felted wool sweater slippers were easy enough for a total beginner.

Solstice was wonderful and very simple. Through the generous donation of a dear friend who sent me an entire box of felted sweaters (Thanks Kiri!) I was able to make sweet gifts for my family that were truly needed.

A toy for Galen

In the spirit of teaching a possessive toddler to give, I used the excuse of Yule to get my daughter to make a gift for her baby brother.  I of course made most of it, but she helped pull the needle full of rainbow thread in and out of the wool felt, helped stuff the wool inside, and helped pick out the nicest sounding bell and her favorite shades of silk ribbon.  Galen loves his jingly ring!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stuffed acorn squash

2 acorn squashes cut lengthwise and seeded
1 onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 carrot diced
pre-cooked rice
spinach leaves

pre-heat oven to 350
brush interiors of squash with oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, black pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
put squash face down on oiled pan, bake 40-50 minutes until fork tender
saute onion, bell pepper, carrot in oil, add bouillon cube.
season with 1/2 tsp. salt, black pepper to taste, 1 and 1/2 tsp. coriander,1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 10 large sage leaves chopped
toss in 1and 1/2 cups of precooked rice and spinach leaves until wilted

When squash is done, fill with sauteed mixture.
Serves 4

My family loved this meal, it was so savory. We all agreed that poached pears with maple syrup would have been the perfect afterthought.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pocket pin cushion

Ivy, my pincushion is buried deep in storage at the moment. Here is a rough sketch, although Ani's felted spiral sounds amazing!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I'm working on making a pincushion for Hazel's birthday present sewing kit. Scott helped me create a pattern for a ball ... but it's too big and the eight seams just aren't doing it for me. It'll be a fine ball for Rain. But not the pincushion that Hazel's kit needs. Any tips?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Make Stuff!

Busily working away on making stuff. Not bad for a person who used to be oh so un-crafty.

For the tree...
The pomanders (oranges with cloves) will be wonderful when they're all dried up and have lovely ribbons around them, ready for hanging up. And they smell nice too. The popcorn strings have been fun for the whole family to (munch munch) work on.

I'm very proud of this knitted pidge scarf. Only took me two years ....

And Scott says he's had compliments on the hat all over town. "Mostly from moms who knit or crochet..."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Felted Toys

These are some of the handmade gifts I've been making for Rowan's birthday and Christmas.

I especially enjoyed making Lowly's shoe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

For the love of chocolate!

Hey ya all.  First off, I want to tell you to take a look at the new blog description at the top, since I just changed it for us all, with our new, distant situation.  It was a bit outdated.  I must admit I haven't been crafting a single bit in a few weeks, due to chaos of moving, and mountains of boxes, but I do have some exciting, vegan, health food news to share.  This might be common knowledge, but when I looked on the "dairy" shelf in my new, fabulous and humongous health food store, here in granola town, Eugene, Oregon, I saw something most wonderful.  A new flavor of mochi that I did not know about: Chocolate Brownie w/ Walnuts.  I haven't actually baked and tried it yet, but it is sitting over there on my awesome new, flat top range, waiting for me to chop and pop into the oven this evening, for my nightly, after-the-kids-are-asleep sweet treat.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rose Lotion For the New Apocolypse

The ingredients for this rich, emollient olfactory-titillating face and body lotion could all be wild-crafted or self-produced in the event of wholesale economic collapse. I recommend speaking to people in your community who have had experience in Apiarian preparations and/or oil extraction, or consulting your public library before it looses all funding, is forced to shut, and is looted for kindling.

1 t beeswax
1/4 t raw honey
4 T almond, or any available vegetable oil, lard or goose fat; or see if there are any eccentric old land-lovers left in your area who raise Emus, and ask if you can barter for oil.
4 T rose water

Put rose water in a blender with honey. (If electricity is unavailable to you, or if you are living in a highly degraded urban area see *) In a clean used glass jar, set inside a pot with a little boiling water, add the beeswax(measure by grating with a fine cheese grater) to the warmed oil. Swish around the contents of jar a bit until the beeswax is melted. Remove jar from heat. Allow to cool, but not to a solid state. Add oil and wax mixture to blender contents while blending on high. Blend for a minute or so. Store in a clean jar. Lotion should not separate.

*In an old tin can, rinsed as thoroughly as is possible with what remains of the little dew you collected that morning from the plexiglass fragment of the old rubbish heap you now call home, melt the beeswax in the oil over an open cardboard and scrap insulation fire, being careful not to burn or cause the oil to smoke. When wax is melted add honey and rose water and whisk vigorously with your old hairpin. Quickly remove from heat and continue whisking until a thick cream is formed and the lotion is cooled. Store in said tin can or broken glass cosmetic jar you found partially buried by that dilapidated ruin of a service station across the lot from your heap-home. Contents will separate over time, but are still functional.

Of course, no matter how powerful the grip of suffering, there are always fully-realized, enlightened beings holding the earth, the universe, and all beings of manifested consciousness in loving, compassionate radiant pure-presence. And at any moment any individual can fully awaken to the truth of the present moment to end all suffering.

God's Love--Consciousness--infinite, formless, ever-changing.

Fuzzy Legs:more than just leg hair

Tonight, in a rash and frenzied primal fit of fancy, I chopped the sleeves off an old felted sweater. Eureka! Leg warmers elude me no more! Add a dash of edging and a trizzle of needle felting, a pair of galoshes and Hari Krishna! I'll be the queen of the ball.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I have been making all kinds of new yummy foods since moving to this beautiful land of New Mexico. Tonight I stuffed peppers for the first time (they were filled with tofu and rice and spice). I baked them and served them with polenta. Here's the recipe for polenta, eat it hot with butter, it's as good as cornbread but has only three ingredients.


in a bowl mix 1 and 1/2 cups of coarsely ground polenta with 1 tsp. salt, and 1 and 1/2 cups of filtered water. Set this aside and boil 2 cups water in a saucepan. when the water boils, add the polenta mixture, turn down to simmer and stir for ten or so minutes (until very thick). Preheat the oven to 350 and let the polenta cool for a few minutes. Spread evenly in an oiled casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes.