Archive | October, 2010

swimmy seatsaver: true freestyle fashion crafting

30 Oct

I got tired of soaking my car seat with chlorine water four or five times a week when I finished swim practice. So three years ago, I crafted my swimmy seatsaver, a two layer seat cover that completely blocks the water but is comfortable on my bare skin. I sling the seatsaver over my seat after practice and remove before I leave for work. This way I keep my car seats clean and my work clothes dry.  This is what freestyle fashion is all about- using your craft skills to make beautiful and practical handmade items for yourself, family, and friends.

My original was light pink, but it’s now faded and stained from river water and archaeology dirt. It also has a cheesy ribbon that holds the top over the head rest.


My new and improved version has four pleats that curve around the top of the head rest and hold the seatsaver in place. The lack of elastic, ties, and snaps makes it easy to use and remove.  The seat saver will work for kids, pets, or adults. It’s perfect for swimmers, surfers, kayakers, paddleboarders, pets, kids… anybody who loves water and mud! Swimmy seatsavers are available on my etsy shop here.

Stay tuned for a future post in which I give tips on making your own Swimmy Seatsaver.

Freestyle Fashion Pumpkin Soup

25 Oct

Pumpkin soup is a fantastic, warm, hearty meal for fall. My version is not sweet, but it can be adapted in many ways.  Soups are some of the easiest meals to freestyle fashion. This recipe makes roughly three dinner size portions and is awesome with some crusty bread and goat cheese.

Take three small pumpkins and cut them in half. This part is a bitch. I am a distance swimmer with considerable upper body strength, and I find it nearly impossible. Use a very sharp, thin knife, and keep your fingers clear of the work. Next time, I will be experimenting with microwaving the pumpkins whole to soften them a little bit before cutting into them. This will be delicate, because I don’t want them exploding all over the microwave. If you try this, definitely puncture the skin before attempting this.

Once you have the pumpkins cut in half, scoop out the seeds and set them aside. I microwaved the pumpkin halves for 5 minutes on high to shorten the time in the oven. Be careful- they will be hot!. Smear olive oil on the inside of the pumpkin halves and roast them in a 400 degree oven until they are soft. This may take up to 30-40-50 minutes depending on if you pre-microwaved and the thickness of the pumpkin.

While the pumpkin is roasting, slice and saute an onion in a little bit of olive oil. After about 10-20 minutes slice portabella mushrooms and add them to the saute pan. The moisture in the mushrooms will require you to stir frequently. Red or green bell peppers or chilies would be a great addition to the saute.

Remove the pumpkin seeds from the inner flesh, toss them with a little bit of salt and pepper, and spread them out on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake them in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Once the pumpkins are roasted and cool enough to handle, scoop out the inner flesh into a blender. Add several teaspoons of smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Start small and add as you blend. You can always add more, but you can never remove. Add liquid as necessary to make the blender work. I use water to keep it healthy, but stock, milk, or cream would only add more depth of flavor. Blend until completely smooth. Check spice and seasoning levels and adjust as necessary. Stir in sautéed vegetables. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds. Delicious warm or room temperature.

To freestyle this recipe, change up the sautéed veggies and spices. Curry powder or garam masala would make it sweet and spicy. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger would make it taste like pumpkin pie. Any of your favorite spices would be good on the pumpkin seeds as well. Crumbled bacon would be really good, but less healthy and not vegetarian. This time, I swirled chopped arugula into my bowl for crunch and kick.

CraftyPod Reality Check

22 Oct

CraftyPod is one the best crafting podcasts out there (in my limited and humble experience). I recently discovered it and have been catching up on some back issues. (Can I can call podcasts issues?)

Episode #117 is the podcast to which everyone in the handmade business or contempting the handmade business should listen. Sister Dianne interviews craft-business blogger Megan Auman  about and the concept of a “pro-am community” (or professional-amateur). This conversation is a serious reality check on the joys and tears of having your own business. A valuable, but not depressing, comversation.

Old Freestyle Fashion

18 Oct

Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t given away all of my best work to birthdays, holidays, and weddings. Other times, I worry about small (or medium) imperfections in gifts. Yesterday, I was surprised at how much I liked an old gifted project. The case in point:


When I made this purse with a “pull through” closure, I wasn’t crazy about the look. It was too bulbous and unstructured, and the strap was a little unwieldy. The closure is a large knitted handle that passes through a small knitted handle. Is there a proper name for this type of clasp/handle? There should be.




On second look, the colors are great and the materials feel wonderfully soft in your hands. The inside is lined in soft purple corduroy.

Mom’s feedback confirmed the handle is too long and a little squishy. Also, the dark lining makes it hard to find items at he bottom. But several years later, she still loves it and uses it.

She is probably biased.

not freestyle fashion- but funny

14 Oct

This is a kit, not freestyle fashion, but it’s still funny. Have Your Say in Helvetica cross stitch.

 For the old-fashioned graphic designer.

(found on the Communication Arts Daily email).

Good Food

11 Oct

I adore the KCRW show “Good Food“. (KCRW is the NPR affliate in Santa Monica, CA.) Each week, Chef Evan Kleiman delights with interviews, restaurant recommendations, and fabulous recipes. This week, she interviewed Chef Rene Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, which was recently named the best restaurant in the world. (no pressure). Listen to the interview on their website here. The fascinating part for me was listening Redzepi talk about his own version of freestyle fashion- he insists that his chefs cook a spontaneous dish once a week to keep their creativity flowing.

Pet costumes are hilarious!

8 Oct

After cataloging train wreck photos (really) at my museum day job all week, I needed a laugh. So meet, Opie, my Aunt Beth’s long-suffering dog.

Squirrel pet costume

Opie dressed as a squirrel for Halloween.

Opie loves squirrels, so Beth decided to make him a squirrel costume. Opie’s sister, Taylor, was dressed as a devil/angel, but I believe that costume was purchased. Opie’s costume is a beautiful example of Freestyle Fashion. Beth bought a $2 gray sweatshirt at the thrift store and with less than one yard of furry material, made this adorable costume. The ears and tail were simply sewn into place.
 One caveat on pet costumes: Beth had to pin up the lower part of the sweatshirt when they were outside. Dogs will pee whenever they want whether their costume is in the way or not!
Opie patrols for squirrels without his costume.

I was aiming for pink

5 Oct

My creation style is a bit slap dash. Freestyle fashion is fearless. Try something, if it doesn’t work, try something else.  I applied my usual methods to a new pasta dish for “Picnic in the Park”, an annual event here in Savannah.

This year’s theme was Pinknic in the Park in honor of breast cancer awareness. A friend made pink cupcakes. I brought pink prosecco and tortellini in red pepper cream sauce. I was aiming for a pink sauce. Rather than go the obvious route, pink vodka sauce, I decided on red peppers.

I roasted 6 small red peppers and 3 small chilies. Then I whirred them up in the blender with a few ounces of goat cheese, fresh basil, a half of a small tomato, a dash of heavy cream, sea salt, and pepper. Similar taste-wise to pesto, the sauce had the texture of mousse. I tossed the sauce with cheese tortellini and capers. Fabulous! The only down side- the sauce is orange not pink.

The next day I pepped up the leftovers with more capers, fresh basil, and some halved cherry tomatoes. Next time around (and there will definitely be a second time) I will use fresh linguine, rather than tortellini. This sauce deserves to be the center of attention.

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