I have been reading Tilly and Buttons, since I started sewing clothes a few years ago and have watched her publish a book and be on the Great British Sewing Bee. She’s a sewing celeb in the online sewing world and I am a big fan. I discovered Madalynne’s blog more recently, but was so impressed with her beautiful photos and wonderful content. She specializes in bra-making, which I have yet to delve into, but I know where I’ll go for info when I do. Deborah of the blog DFabrication is new to me, but apparently she was on the 3rd season of the Great British Sewing Bee. I need to catch up! So how I ended up with the likes of Tilly, Madalynne and Deborah, in a feature in Simply Sewing Magazine, I’m not totally sure. I wasn’t going to fight it though and I am beyond honored to be included with these three talented ladies in a feature about sewing bloggers!

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It absolutely made my day when I opened my email on Friday and saw this. The author, Judy Darley, did a wonderful job writing this article and curating the photos and content for it. If you’ve been reading my blog awhile, you will recognize some of these photos!

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Judy talks about the importance of good photography in a blog, which is something I feel like I work hard on. So I was flattered when I was asked to submit photos for this.

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Thanks Judy, and Simply Sewing Magazine, for including me with all these amazing blogs!

Simply Sewing is a UK magazine, but you can still subscribe and get issues shipped to you in the U.S. (which I plan on doing) or you can download issues to your tablet or other device. This article is in the latest issue, number six. I just got mine in the mail today and it looks like there is a lot of great content in it. Plus it comes with 3 free gifts: some faux suede fabric, a little booklet and a pattern!

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This magazine is not free online, but Judy was nice enough to give me permission to share the article with you all, so you can read the full article below!

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Last weekend was my 3rd time being a host on the Seattle Tilth Urban Farm and Chicken Coop tour and I think it was my favorite year. It was certainly the biggest turn-out we had ever had! There was a steady stream of people from 10am when we opened until 4pm when we closed and that was a first for us. Matt estimated that we had about 80 people come through that day.

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Mind you, I don’t host every year. The first year I hosted was in 2010 and then again in 2012. I don’t like to host every year, because sometimes I like to go on the tour! It’s only been in the past few years that they have whittled it down to 25 urban farms and I think that helped the attendance. Plus, I was grouped with more coops in my area than I had been in the past, so that probably helped as well.

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Our coop got a makeover this year! More on that later!

This year was also the most fun because it was the first time I hosted with Matt. As I’ve said before, Matt has done all of the hardscaping in the garden and that is a lot of what people wanted to know about, so it was great to have him there. He also knows a ton about gardening now, from helping me over the years, so I feel like between the two of us, we were able to talk to just about everyone and answer questions throughout the day.

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A lot of what I get asked is what things are, so this year I made these nifty laminated labels. Laminators are almost as fun as label makers, except when the machine jams (yes, I almost broke the laminator at work- oops). I also love to go crazy with my logo and put it everywhere. Yes, I branded my garden.

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This was also the first year, our little farm got named, due to the folks at Seattle Tilth wanting a name for the tour map. It’s Rake and Make Ranch. It was just off the top of my head, but I like it! Do you know how long I’ve been wanting a name for our farm and couldn’t think of one? Well there it is… Rake and Make Ranch. Now I can geotag it on Instagram or whatever!

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This was a great time for us to host because we have been working really hard on the garden this year. We had just completed a remodel of the chicken coop and Matt recently built this awesome hops trellis (that people were very impressed by). We also met so many friendly, knowledgeable and like-minded people, that were more than happy to share their stories an experiences with us as well. I learned a ton and got a bunch of great tips from people, like sticking fertilized eggs under my old lady chickens to get baby chickens (I just might have to do this and soon). We should have been exhausted at the end of the day, but we were so energized and inspired by all the great conversations we’d had, that our minds were just racing with ideas.

It’s events like this that really bring the community together and get us all excited about what we are doing. So thank you Seattle Tilth for organizing such a wonderful event!

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“Rake and Make Ranch” (as I so dubbed it in this year’s application) was accepted to Seattle Tilth’s Chicken Coop and Urban Farm Tour, listing it as one of Seattle’s top 25 urban farms! I’ve been a host before in 2010 and 2012, but I’m especially excited about this year, as Matt and I have been working really hard on our coop and garden lately. The coop got a new fence, paint job and concrete pad and Matt built a new hops trellis, so everything is looking tip top. If you are in the Seattle area and have been wanting to see our urban farm in real life, now is your chance!

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For more info and to purchase a map go to:

www.seattletilth.org/special_events/chickencoopurbanfarmtour

I hope to see you there!

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Every year I find myself elbow deep in greens. Early this year I planted four varieties of lettuce, two of them mustard greens. After many an inventive salad, it dawned on me: Could I ferment my greens?

Lilly blessed me with an amazing crock so I have been doing quite a few ferments lately. Not only is fermented food delicious, it is wildly nutritious! If you would like to learn more about fermenting and why it is so life changing, read The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. It is a game changer!

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I will admit, I am not sure how long fermented lettuce will stay good for because I can’t seem to keep it around. It is great in grain salads made with farro or wild rice, pasta dishes, stir fries and oddly enough…mashed potatoes!

And it is oh so easy! All you need is lettuce, sea salt and water!

Be sure to wash your lettuce thoroughly. I am not sure how fermented critters taste, but it gives me the heebee geebees. I usually immerse my lettuce in a big bowl of water and add a tablespoon of sea salt. Let it sit for a half hour and then agitate the water to make sure the lettuce is fully clean.

Then, I pull out handfuls of lettuce and place them in a strainer. Sprinkle the lettuce with sea salt and then pack it in a wide mouth jar. Once all the lettuce is in the jar be sure to smash it down. I usually add a teaspoon of chopped garlic and a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

Place a paper towel or piece of cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and seal with a ring. Keep this jar out on the counter and monitor it twice a day, packing down the lettuce with a spatula at that time. Within eight to ten hours you want the brine to almost fully cover the lettuce. If that does not happen add a little water.

After two days, place the jar in the fridge and enjoy! I usually repack into a smaller jar, the lettuce really condenses in size as it wilts and ferments.

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**One thing to note, I think a lot of the amazing flavor comes from using mustard greens in addition to lettuce. I would love to hear how your fermented lettuce turns out!

Hi strangers! Here is my slightly belated Me-Made-May ’15 recap!

I sort of half assedly participated in this year’s Me-Made-May. So half assedly, that I never even really announced that I was doing it. So the least I can do is a little recap!

In case you don’t know what Me-Made-May is, it’s something Zoe from the blog So Zo’ What Do You Know came up with several years ago, that has gained a lot of traction with the online sewing community. The idea is that you pledge to wear items you made yourself for the month of May. Many pledge to wear something handmade everyday, but the amount and frequency is up to you. Since I haven’t made a month’s worth of clothes yet, I pledged to wear something handmade twice a week.

May was a super busy month for me. I was traveling a lot and I started a new job (more on that later) and it got really hot weather-wise. Between all of those things, I did the best I could. I also wanted to get shots of me actually wearing my handmade clothes out and in public as much as possible, since that is a true test of how wearable something is.

Here’s how I did and what I learned-

Week 1

Sunday–  Wore my “Kentucky Derby” Moneta dress in Austin, TX.

I wore this the day after the actual Kentucky Derby, mind you. Do I get extra points for that? I would have worn it the day before, but I was in a wedding, so that wouldn’t have really been appropriate. I love love love this dress. I would wear it every day if I could and plan on making tons more.

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Week 2

Saturday– Wore my Colette Violet Blouse and my Jennifer Lauren Cressida Skirt out to a lovely brunch with my sister, for her birthday, on Alki Beach.

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Sunday– Wore my Colette Truffle dress.

I hadn’t worn this dress in ages, because I wasn’t that crazy about it. It wasn’t because of the fit or anything, I just could never figure out how to wear it. It’s such a bold print, that it can easily look way too over the top. I styled it with a jean jacket and some cowboy boots that day and was actually quite pleased with how this outfit turned out.

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Week 3

Sunday– Wore my Victory Patterns Ava Dress in Leavenworth, WA with the fam.

I had to wear my “Heidi” hair. It seemed appropriate.

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Monday– Wore my pink striped Sewaholic Renfrew top while hiking in Leavenworth.

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Week 4

Saturday– Wore my Colette Crepe dress.

I actually wore this to my nephew’s 2nd birthday party that day, but never got around to getting a picture. This photo was taken later that evening when we were back home. Matt actually likes it when I play my ukelele around the firepit and often requests it. I hadn’t worn this dress in awhile either and wearing it that day made me realize that I actually do like this dress!

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Sunday– Wore my Colette Patterns Meringue Skirt to a bbq that my friends Coleen and Jason hosted. They not only only had a house full of people, but they smoked 40 lbs. of (pretty much every kind of) meat and they did this just two weeks after having a baby. Ask me how that is possible? I do not know. They are amazing.

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Me-Made-May was such a good exercise for me and I’m glad I did it. A few of these outfits have already gotten a lot of wear, but many of them were early makes that I didn’t think much of. Me-Made-May forced me to revisit these items and by styling them a bit differently, or just giving them another chance, I found I liked them more than I thought. It also further solidified what I really like to wear (knits, comfortable clothes) and what gaps I have in my wardrobe (tops, casual wear). Looking through these pics is fun too. May was a fun month for me, full of travel, family and fun outings, so it was a good, yet challenging, month for me to strut my handmade items!

Thanks Zoe for coming up with and hosting Me-Made-May and for making it fun and accessible to sewers of every level.  I will definitely be participating again next year!