29 October, 2012

I Sewed Yesterday

I did.
A brand new pair of pajama pants.
With pockets.

Unfortunately I work from dark to dark so there is only daylight at  my workplace.
---So not the place to take show & tell photos.

You will just have to wait.

They were made with a t-shirt knit  by Patty Young for Michael Miller.
The Heaven & Helsinki line.
Blues & greens.
My favorite colors.

Incredibly soft knit.
It washes up softer.

The waistband is from a soft grey that I had in my stash,
The pockets are bound with the same.

28 October, 2012

Pinkham Millinery

Two weeks ago. Pencil Girl, Theatre Girl & I
attended the grand opening of Pinkham Millinery.

Miss Pinkham's creations have just been published in a history of hats book entitled Couture Hats: From the Outrageous to the Refined  by Louis Bou. Dayna is one of four Americans featured and the only american milliner outside of New York.

 I debated whether to use this photo since there is such a rosa parks' feel to it.
This gal knew Pencil Girl from a class at Portland Sewing and had taken a class from Dayna Pinkham to make this hat.

 The sweet pale pink in her hat perfectly matches her well put-together outfit.

 Simply brilliant creations.

From cupcake hats to over the top. With discreet netting to feathers & fur.

A fashion show plus some nibbles and bubbly.

Live jazzy music

Tools of the trade


Located at 1012 SW Washington  Portland, OR 97205 in downtown Portland, Oregon, Pinkham Millinery is a workroom as well as a showroom.

20 October, 2012

Clam Chowder, non-dairy

I have had a gigantic craving for clam chowder the last two weeks. It occurred to me that I could make some - with coconut milk.
I have used coconut milk with great success with cream of broccoli soup but, frankly, how much green soup can a person eat in their lifetime? (rhetorical)

I haven't had as much creative clutter up in my head lately. Working full-time with overtime and zero time for breaks, I am always about two steps behind at work. My head, in a huge sudoku game, has been puzzling how to get two more things done AND take a break (damn it!). Which doesn't make good blog posting as who really wants to hear about the janitorial contract and attachment five in triplicate and getting the payroll and the eflash numbers by lunchtime.

I'm only thinking about my readers.

Pencil Girl and I and Theatre Girl went to a Hat show (grand opening) and Josephine's Dry Goods a week ago and there is plenty of good bloggy material to post. In reality, 50 pounds of tomatoes to freeze, shorts to sew, Japanese hand-sewn gifties to sew, and the aforesaid w-o-r-k and I might need a break.

Anyway --- back to the chowder. As many of you know, I endure amazing food sensitivities, resulting in boring menus (salad? Yes, please. Let's just have salad the rest of my life). Occasionally, I suffer from epiphanies and thought that I could possibly make clam chowder - using coconut milk instead of the dairy.

I have to say, while the coconut 'taste' is nearly non-existent  with broccoli, it's a little more pronounced with the clams. So I added twice the usual amount of thyme and hot sauce and it has  turned out interesting, as in tasty. My husband slurped down two bowls.  The real test is tomorrow when the flavors have had time to meld.

Kathy's Clam Chowder, non-dairy

2 cans Snow's Chopped Clams, drain and reserve the clam juice.
5-6 Potatoes  -- from my garden - mix of red and yellow
Sea Salt, White Pepper
5 slices of Bacon fried (non-nitrate - Voget's in Hubbard)
1  13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
2 tsps.Thyme - dried from my garden
20 drops Hot Sauce
Brown Rice Flour to thicken.
Dollop of real butter

Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4" chunks. Barely cover with salted water. Add white pepper if you have it.  Boil until nearly tender.
I dumped about 1/2 cup of the water and then added the reserved Clam Juice.

Add the Coconut Milk (turn down heat to medium - once you add any milk - you don't want it to boil again)
Now start adding the flavorings. If you didn't add salt to the potatoes, add some here.
I typically use white pepper in my clam chowder.
I usually use about a teaspoon of Thyme but I felt the coconut flavor needed to be damped down - so add two tsps.
Add some Hot Sauce. Taste, Add more, Taste. Maybe two more drops.
Now add the clams.
Break up your bacon into bite-size or smaller pieces and add.

Stir.    Taste.    Might be thin.
To about 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour (your choice of thickener), stir in water to mix, add to chowder to thicken.
Dollop of real butter.

Yum. Totally satisfied the craving.
And I minimized the allergen response.

  • I typically can handle butter way better than milk, cream or cheeses.
  •  I try to wash off the starch from the potatoes and this helps me. 
  • Alternative flours in small bits are better than regular flours for me. But I typically do not eat any grains or legumes. This has helped to minimize my joint pain.
  • Pork products tend to bother me but I don't have much problem with Voget's bacon - theorizing it's the nitrates/chemicals.
  • Canned coconut milk is cheaper than the cardboard cartons in the refrigerated section which often have odd things added to keep the milk in suspension. Yes - I know that the cans leach a small amount of some plastic chemical but I haven't found a better solution other than moving to a fresh-coconut populated place.
  • Seafood - some gives me problems -- so far, clams are still in.
  • WORK is a four letter word.
  • This was a really good recipe.

05 October, 2012


I actually embrace change.
I may start off kicking & screaming (aka whining and more whining), but I eventually find something to like about working six days a week with overtime and I totally get into the new attitude.

I'm still working on the embrace-this-change part but I think I came up with a plan to help keep my creativity going which we all know keeps me from going insane.

It all revolves around this book: Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo
I first borrowed the book from the library then fell in love with it and had to buy it.  There are more than 20 projects that totally appeal to me  and I could see gift-giving in every one of them.

And then the book sat on my bookshelf - never too far from my thoughts - but not worthy of them until I needed the projects.
I have plenty of scraps and needles and threads so I think I will work myself through the book.

In Woodburn, there are three fabric shops catering to Russian women (old believers) which have all sorts of silky, patterned and textured fabrics to buy if I run out of scraps. These shops are near enough to my work place to run to during the lunch hour - so yet another reason to buy fabric. There is even a thrift store that carries old believer dresses.

A humongous amount of hand-stitching small pieces of fabric. Little projects that I can do on my lunch hours. Some for gifts, and some to keep.

01 October, 2012


I managed to hit both the Pendleton Woolen Mills store and The Mill End Store
on McLoughlin Blvd on Sunday.
I didn't buy much - some cheesecloth for the Waste Not V-8 juicer person and some trims.

I am still grumbling (well - minor rumbling) about a customer service problem I encountered recently while on-line fabric shopping. If you'll remember, I posted here about my crankiness.

To recap, most of my order fell out of the hastily sealed flat-rate envelope. The seller took five days to get back to me.  She then wanted me to go find my order through the morass that is the USPS. In short, it was not her problem.

Since then, I have visited other shops and kept an eye out for policy wording.

This seems to be a typical worded policy at several on-line fabric shops:
After your order is shipped, we cannot be responsible if your package is lost, stolen, or undeliverable. (To date this has never happened.) We will help you locate the package by providing all relevant shipping information, but we cannot reship or refund your order. Please call your local  Post Office and/or local Customs Office.

Several on-line fabric stores have this policy posted. I don't believe the one who took so long to get back to me and then wanted me to chase my fabric had this policy - which is actually the norm - not to have any policies. I haven't been back.
Those are important words: "I have not been back".

I then looked at Joann's, Hancock's, and my own Fabric Depot. No policy stated.
Are these 'no responsibility' sellers only boutique sellers? hmmm. . .

1. What do you think of foisting the entire blame for an incomplete or lost shipment onto the post office and the customer?

2. Would you be satisfied to say sayonara to your money and your fabric if it went missing?

3. Am I the only one who sees this as bad customer policy?

4. Have you had a shipping incident? What happened? Were you satisfied? Dis-satisfied?

I went back to my etsy shop and re-worded my policy to include provision for the customer to tell me what they wanted to make them happy as I clearly identified my dis-satisfaction of not getting the fabric & pattern I spent time to order and pay for.  I was never asked what I wanted - to make the problem better.

Here's my re-worded policy:
In the event USPS or UPS loses your item or it arrives irretrievably broken or incomplete, I will refund all monies. However and Please, let me know if you would like to try something else. I want my customers to be really happy.

I tend towards overkill in the shipping and packaging department. I want you to receive your order asap and in fantastic condition.
I rarely encounter problems and I believe there are generally few problems. But if you wanted the customer to come back wouldn't you bend over backwards to keep them?

I would be interested in what you think. If you don't want to share in public - you can e-mail me at k8hobbies(at)yahoo(dot)com.

And finally: USPS.com has about 40 different priority products that you can order for free and receive for free. Take a look.