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?