Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tutorial: Reusable produce bags

So, a few days ago I mentioned making some reusable produce bags, which turned out awesome! They're pretty handy and it's an awesome way to avoid using a million plastic bags at the grocery store. Plus since they're breathable, they help keep veggies from getting mushy from excess moisture. I thought I would whip up a little tutorial for them! Here we go!

Step one: Cut a rectangle out of a breathable, meshlike fabric. I've had whatever this is sitting around for years now, from the days when I used to do broke-ass silk screening (before I discovered the glory of freezer paper). It's like a nylon, mesh but not as open of a weave like tulle. I imagine that pretty much any light meshlike fabric would work for this. I pretty much just randomly hacked a bunch of rectangles, but they all came out approximately 12" x 24", although you can of course make them to whatever size you like.

Step two: Serge or hem the top and bottom of your rectangle. Because I didn't feel like dealing with the fabric fraying, this provided motivation for me to get the ol' serger working again, which I did to some relative degree of success.

Step three: Fold your rectangle in half and pin up the sides. You may note my complete lack of ironing, which comes from both my laziness and my desire to make these as quickly and easily as possible, as things have a way of getting lost or destroyed around here to the point that I would be incredibly surprised if I have any of these three months from now. But, you know, if you wanna iron, you go ahead and do your thing.

Step four: Sew up the sides, leaving the top open.

Step five: To make the casing for your drawstring, fold down the top about half an inch, pin, and sew.

Step six (which I forgot to take a picture of, sorry): Use a seam ripper to open up a couple stitches on on one side seam of the casing. Thread a ribbon or rope or whatever you'd like to use through your casing, and secure the two ends together with some stitches.

Turn rightside out, and you're done! Hooray!

Now fill with delicious fruits and veggies and store in the fridge. Look at that poor lonely lemon.

Anyway, I hope that was pretty clear. I've only ever written one or two tutorials before, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

We're going to be aht of tahn (check out that Pittsburghese) for a few days for Eric's dad's retirement for the Air Force, so I'll see you next week!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Behind the seams

So, when Eric was working on those aforementioned pants, at one point he says to me, "Can you help me with the pinning? This is taking me forever."

I look over to see how he's doing it, and there he is:

... using safety pins, completely unaware of how using straight pins would be way easier.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Pants Party (You are Invited)

My brown cords are the best pants I have ever owned.  They have been with me twice as long as Erica!  Given our history together, I thought I owed this friend at least one more season of good wear before I frame em' and place them above my fire place.

Pretty beat up.  I don't want to walk around showing off my delicates to the whole planet (though I did just post a picture on the www...) so I figured I would just patch them.

The patch is huge, taking up the whole mid-bottom region.  I used a big needle and embroidery floss while drinking a few Pabst tall guys. Much Always Sunny in Philadelphia was watched (I sew slow).

Despite the fact that the green fabric appears to be boxer shorts, I am still decently happy about this.  These pants and I are going to finish the summer strong.

Speaking of summer... the other roomies and I rocked this awesome gazpacho and black pepper parm zucchini out.

Now playing: 07.25.2011

Reading: Like many other people I'm sure, after ravenously devouring the Game of Thrones HBO series (we watched the entire first season in the span of four days), Eric and I have both been reading the books. He decided to start on the second one since the first season covers the first book, and is now already on the fourth. Meanwhile, I'm still halfway through the first book. Considering how slow of a reader I am, this one may take me a while. Good thing I've got this dreamy painting of a Fabio-esque Jon Snow on the cover to keep me company.

Eating: Last night's tasty dinner - red lentil dahl (dhal? dal? wha?) and garlic sesame green beans. Sadly no naan, but a loaf of Italian bread was an adequate substitute.

Crafting: My current work-in-progress is reusable produce bags! More to come of that soon. Probably the most exciting part about this project so far:

Busting out my serger! It came unthreaded several months ago and after hours of much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I put it away and haven't touched it since then. After much more wailing and gnashing of teeth last night, I managed to get it mostly working again. Holy moly, why are these things so damn difficult?

Watching: When I sew, I like to have something on as background noise, so lately I've been enjoying all of The Twilight Zone on Netflix. I find it amusing for both the crazy OH MY GOD UNEXPECTED TWISTS as well as the time capsule it presents. Everyone's smoking in this bank? A whole meal only costs $1.40? AMAZING.

Listening: There's something about The Promise Ring's Very Emergency album that always reminds me of summer. I don't know what it is, but when the weather gets hot, it's all I want to listen to, every year, for years now.

Celebrating: Our buddy Jordan celebrated his birthday this weekend. Here he is: a Canadian holding a Canadian. Happy birthday Jordan!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Onesie twosie

So, I sell some of my stuff at a wonderful little craft store (or, I guess you could call it a boutique, but I have an inexplicable dislike of that word) in our neighborhood called Wildcard. Recently the owner, Rebecca, suggested that maybe I should stitch some onesies to sell (all the shirts I have there currently are for adults). Now, I have made onesies before, but just for friends - there's already a ton of cool kid clothes at Wildcard, I thought perhaps I'd just be saturating the market, but if she thought it was a good idea, I thought I'd give it a go. I made ten in all, nine of which are pictured here:

I think probably my favorites are the Business Cat one and the Laika one (yes, I'm aware that the real story of Laika is pretty depressing... but, I mean, come on. Space dog? Totally awesome? Yes.). The little singing giraffe is a close third. All of these but the kiwi were new designs for me - each piece of clothing I stitch is different. It's pretty rare that I repeat a design - I guess in part I think of it as a challenge, and also just for my own personal entertainment value.

If you'd like to see more detailed pictures, you can check them out over at my embroidery set on Flickr.

Friday, July 22, 2011

File under: Sack, Meat.

Erica sewed a ton of onesies for a local craft shop Wild Card but until she gets that post up, here is one I made.  Although I am not a big fan of babies, a girl I work with recently had the misfortune of making one.  As a consolation prize I decided to stitch this "Meat onesie" because that is what babies are made of.  Turns out her baby was cute anyway (I guess they manage to do that).

Intra-state Beerventures

My wife and I have been married for one year now! We wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion with an exciting vacation. Sadly for us work/family obligations (congrats on retirement, Dad) kept us close to home so we went to Slippery Rock instead. Thankfully for us, the North Country Brewing Company exists.
Imagine if Bilbo Baggins opened up a micro-brewery: hand crafted hard wood surrounds you, with recycled art abound (think portraits of US presidents, pre 1930's advertisements, outdoorsy bric a brac, etc.). Built in an old house/furniture factory/store front, there are many rooms and patios to explore.

Most important of all though, is the beer. It is GLORIOUS. The Breakfast Mild is a beer to quest for - and served on nitro, no less. Think coffee, toffee, nice roasted notes all at an ABV of 3.8%. You could stay all day with this one. Other beers tried included the Paleo IPA (huge earthy hop aroma) and the Stone House Stout, also on nitro (great smoked notes).

The Mrs., who is a big fan of fruit beer, tried their Fruit Bowl, which is a rotating ale with fresh fruit added. Currently, it was a blackberry ale. It had a great fruit flavor without being cloyingly sweet.
She also had the Firehouse Red, which has a portion of all of its sales go to the local fire department.

The owner, Bob McCafferty, happened to be sitting near us and came over to say hello. He is a kick ass dude who grows some of the food they serve at the restaurant at his own farm. The restaurant is committed to serving local food all around. Also, the food was pretty hyper delicious, with several creative vegetarian options, which is not something you see a great deal of in pub food.

It was a wondrous place to celebrate one year with a special lady.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So, on Monday we took a trip to Slippery Rock to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and to visit the North Country Brewing Company. We'll have more on that later, but I wanted to leave you with some evidence of one of the TWO bar trivia machines we left our mark on that night.

So, take that M! And Team W! And... Anal Bandito? No, on second thought, don't take that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crafts you can do (while drinking)!!!


Potter this world.
One marker (colour not important)
Beer (I recommend Bells 2 hearted IPA)

A "craft" I invented after returning home from a storied evening at the local tavern, I vowed to Potter something in my house everyday. It did not take long for Erica to get sick of this BUT there are still some tributes to the boy who lived around our house.


Pour(t)land , ME

If beer is more than just a beverage, the Allagash 2006 Grand Cru was more than just a beer to me. Brewed the year my wife and I met, and shared by us on the back porch on our one year wedding anniversary. We visited the brewery (among several others) on our honeymoon but really felt a special connection to the people at the brewery. The love that they put into the beer they make is evident in every bottle. I could prattle on about big plum, dark cherry, and raisin flavors or mention the color was a deep amber but those things were pretty far from my mind as the two of us sat in the cool summer night, remembering the moments good and bad. The good (beer)life.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

So, every year Pittsburgh has a huge art show called Art All Night, which is a super cool event because, as the name implies, it lasts for 24 hours but is open all night long, so you can go at any time that you'd like. It is a non-juried art show and anyone can submit one piece. It's pretty neat because you get to see art made by all kinds of different people, and while some of it is perhaps on the not-very-good side, I think it is an awesome idea to encourage artistic expression in the community. 

This year I decided I wanted to make something for it, and I wanted to stitch something. Prior to this, I'd never really used embroidery as an artistic medium, mostly just for stitching on clothes and such. So I came up with this design, but I wasn't sure what to stitch it on - for a while I was just figuring the standard cloth using a hoop as a frame, but then I remembered I had a box of vintage linens that Eric's mom got at an estate sale and gave to me. I'd been hanging on to them for a while, not really sure what to do with them. This piece worked out perfectly - I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to be. It's about 13 inches tall by maybe 8 wide? It's a bit too rectangular to be a napkin or a handkerchief, but too small to be a placemat or a table runner. Maybe it's for setting on the arm of a couch or chair? I have no idea.
I really attempted to challenge myself with by creating this piece in ways like: 
1) I am not super great at drawing people. 
2) A lot of my embroidery work tends to stick to simple line drawings, so I tried to do different kinds of stitches (well, back stitch and satin stitch, mostly, but two is more than my usual one), with lots of colors and variations on the amount of threads used. In the end, part of me wanted to add even more stuff to it, but I worried about heading into the land of Too Much Stuff, so I decided to stop before I added something I didn't like but couldn't undo. 
3) Trying to work in concepts of shading and such to add some depth to the piece was tricky. Again, my stuff tends to be pretty simple, so it was a step up for me to add details like that.

I have officially titled it "This Is Our Most Desperate Hour," a line from Leia's holographic plea for help that the banner quote comes from as well. There's more detailed photos over on Flickr if you'd like to see more!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Well, hello there!

Hi, and welcome to the very first ever post of Knit 1, Pour 2. My name is Erica, and my co-host will be my lovely husband, Eric. Yes, that's right. We're Eric and Erica. Welcome to every day for THE REST OF OUR MISERABLE LIVES.

Ahem. We have been living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for nearly two years now and in a few days we'll be celebrating our first wedding anniversary.

The earliest picture of us, at the horse races. October 2006.
Over the years, we have entered into various creative projects together, like being in a band (which came with side endeavors like making packaging and t-shirts and a video) and creating some elaborate costumes for past parties (and future parties). Recently the idea came to us to combine forces once more to create a blog, largely talking about our interests in crafting and craft beers. Eric's more of the beer guy and I'm the crafty lady, but we overlap a lot too. We'll probably talk about life around Pittsburgh and all sorts of other stuff too. Who knows, if nothing else, it'll be something we can add to our Google+ bragging rights, am I right?

I'll be back soon with my first craft post!