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Fog & Cedar Giveaway

Liesl Made : Fog and Cedar Giveaway
Liesl Made : Fog and Cedar Giveaway
Liesl Made : Fog and Cedar Giveaway
Liesl Made : Fog and Cedar Giveaway
When Nicola contacted me to team up and do a giveaway here, I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve long been a fan of her style and creations. Paired with with Elaina, a fellow Canadian creative living in Denmark, they make up Fog & Cedar. When I see their work, the first words that come to mind are simplicity, quality and timelessness. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like things nowadays have to be loud and sparkly and outrageous to be impressive. Not many things rest solely on characteristics like quality craftsmanship or timeless design. Luckily, those of us in the handmade world understand more readily the history that lies behind every handmade piece (from brainstorm to final product) so I knew you would all appreciate discovering this shop and having the chance to win a wonderful handmade piece.

To enter to win this handwoven mixed yarn wall weaving simply visit the Fog & Cedar shop and come back here and leave a comment mentioning which item is your favorite. To earn extra entries: like Fog & Cedar on Facebook. Mention this giveaway on Facebook. Tweet about this giveaway. Mention this giveaway on your blog.  (Be sure to leave separate comments for each extra entry you do.)

This giveaway is open internationally. It will close on July 28th in the evening US Eastern time. The winner will be drawn randomly and announced here in this post. I will contact the winner directly via the email you enter when leaving a comment. (There are designated places to enter your email address and URL when commenting. Please do not put either in your comment. They often get filtered to my spam folder and I no longer will fish them out.) If I do not hear back from the winner by Wednesday July 30th, a new winner will be drawn.

Also Fog & Cedar is offering 10% off until the end of August for all Liesl Made readers. Just use the coupon code “Lieslmade” when checking out.

PS: If you have a small-scale, indie or handmade shop, product or service and want to team up to do a giveaway here at the Liesl Made blog, feel free to email me.

3 Questions : Amanda

3 Questions is an interview-style series featuring some of my favorite bloggers. Every week, I ask one inspirational person 3 completely random questions and ask them to share three photos that represent Who they are, What they do or make and Where they feel the happiest.

Liesl Made : 3 Questions : Amanda

Although there are so many lovely food blogs out there I like, I have to admit, there are only a small few I follow regularly. I get most of my recipes and food inspiration from the likes of Pinterest and links shared from other crafty bloggers. When it comes to a food blog, I’ve found I really like the ones that have that certain something to them. Sometimes it hard to pinpoint what that something is–maybe its just the way the author writes or the styling in their photos. With Amanda’s blog it’s these things and the fact that her love and respect for whole, real food is so inspiring and infectious. I found it a few months ago and fell for Heartbeet Kitchen right away, flipping back through the pages, indulging in the photographs and mouth-watering recipes.

What is you favorite thing about summer? Living in Minnesota, soaking up every last bit of Summer is a must. I enjoy so many pieces of it…..  sunbathing by the lakes, coffee on the patio, spontaneous picnics, the sound of music in the park, and most of all – weekend trips to the bountiful farmer’s market. The smell as I joyfully stroll down the aisles is invigorating, especially the fresh herbs. The multi-cultural chatter of the vendors with their customers, that often ends in friendships. The colors of the rainbow scattered among peak of the season vegetables, fruit and flowers. The taste of artisan garlic and herb marinated chevre samples from one of my favorite stands and the hot, buttered sweet corn. It’s sensory overload in the best of ways.

What was your first pet? When I was three years old, my father let me pick out a puppy from a litter of four black labs. We named her Sally and she became my very best friend, as I was an only child until the age of seven. At 80 pounds, she slept with me every single night in my twin bed, taking up over half of the space but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Sally and I played catch in the yard, I dressed her up in my clothes, and even tagged along on a few pheasant hunting excursions. She and I created so many memories together that I will never forget. 

What is there too much of in your life? With social media and online interaction being the core of not only my full time job, but also my freelance writing and blogging, I sometimes feel like it takes me away from the simple things in life. It certainly is a blessing and a curse all in the same breath. I have met the most amazing people through social connections {like you Liesl!} and have been given opportunities that would have never come along otherwise. But then they are the days I yearn for time to just let my mind escape in a book or go without checking my email or Twitter stream. It’s all about balance and I’m hoping to get a little better at that.

Be sure to check out Amanda’s blog, Twitter and her newly-released book “Smitten with Squash.

Click here to see all 3 Questions interviews.

Chicken Diary : The Breeds

Liesl Made : Chicken Breeds
Liesl Made : Chicken Breeds
Liesl Made : Chicken Breeds
Liesl Made : Chicken Breeds

Last week, I introduced you to Chuck, the Silver Polish rooster. He definitely stands out among the standard breeds I have. The remaining 15 birds are made up of four varieties. I specifically chose four separate colors so I could tell the chicks apart, even at only a couple of days old. I went with very classic breeds for the layers. Six Rhode Island Reds, which are a reddish-brown and three Barred Rocks, which are a black and white speckled.

Out of the six meat birds, half are Orpingtons (the golden buff color) and half are Wyandotte (white.) I say “meat birds” because that is what I am raising them for even though they are considered a standard dual-purpose breed, good for both eggs and meat. Maybe next year, I can try raising one of the specific meat birds, like Pioneers or Red Rangers. However, there will be no eggs from these six as all are male and, if everything goes well, will be butchered in about a month.

I really like the Buff Orpingtons. They are a pretty bird and, so far, these boys are very docile and sweet. I’ll probably get some layers next year. Friends and family are pushing for more exotic breeds as well. Normally, I’m a classic kind of girl (and aiming for hens that are more notorious layers, therefore, earning their keep) but, on this one, I agree with them and hope to get a couple of “top hats” like Chuck, just for a little interest in the flock. Also on the list next year are Araucanas, which produce the colorful “easter” eggs.

Those of you with chickens, do you have a favorite breed? Or anything to share on notable differences between the breeds?

It’s the Little Things

Liesl Made : Baby Birds
Liesl Made : Baby Bird
Liesl Made : Morning Light
Liesl Made : Elderflower
Liesl Made : Breakfast and Lunch
Liesl Made : All Lined Up
Liesl Made : Moon

Often, it’s the little things. Like the morning sun sneaking into a west-facing room. First year elderflowers. Witnessing babies leave the nest for the first time. The waxing moon hanging in the late evening sky. A row of young chickens all lined up. Hot cereal topped with fresh picked berries. And the first cucumber sandwich of the season.

3 Questions : Kristin

3 Questions is an interview-style series featuring some of my favorite bloggers. Every week, I ask one inspirational person 3 completely random questions and ask them to share three photos that represent Who they are, What they do or make and Where they feel the happiest.

Liesl Made : 3 Questions : Kristen

This week I get the privilege of interviewing Kristin. When I think of her, the word ‘anachronistic’ pops to mind. She is one of those souls who is from another time and place. A true lady, she is sweet and charming and gracefully. And has a passion for sewing, knitting, spinning, crafts, reading and old movies and shares all of this and more with us on her blog. 

What is your favorite TV commercial? I love watching my favorite shows on DVD, but I rarely watch actual TV so I don’t see a lot of commercials. There was a Volkswagen one last year that I liked, though. A few guys are driving a convertible in a cold and snowy environment, so they’re wearing ski masks. They stop at a convenience store, and the guy who goes inside forgets to take off his mask. The reactions of the other customers inside are hilarious (they assume he’s going to attempt robbery). I drive a VW Beetle so of course I’m partial to their commercials! Also, whenever I get the chance to watch TCM, I really like the bits they play between films: a mix of special features, old movie trailers, and commercials for DVDs and such. I’m a huge classic movie fan, so that’s the one channel where I actually enjoy the commercials.
What makes you unhappy? Conflict. It makes me feel so uncomfortable when people are arguing or when there’s a disagreement that can’t seem to be solved. It’s not that I consider myself a peacekeeper…I don’t try to fix the conflict, I just avoid it. That’s something I need to work on, though, because you can’t really solve any problem by ignoring it.
When have you embarrassed yourself in public? Many, many times. I’m a shy introvert with a tendency towards clumsiness, which leads to all sorts of awkward situations. To make matters worse, when I’m embarrassed, my face blushes beet red, so it’s impossible to pretend that nothing happened. I’ve fallen down the steps on a bus. When I took a mandatory public speaking class in college, my hands shook so badly that my papers kept rattling. I’ve said things that didn’t quite come out the way I intended them to (I’m not very good at small talk). I knocked over a glass jar in Hobby Lobby and it shattered on the floor, which sent a couple of employees scurrying my way with a broom and dustpan. Once, I was supposed to play the piano for the Easter service at church, and just before we left the house, I misplaced my sheet music. I tried to make it through the song from memory but got stuck in one section, so I played that part over and over until I finally just gave up. (When we got home, there sat my sheet music, in plain view on the coffee table.) I’m trying to not take myself so seriously…these things seemed awful at the time, but now they just make me laugh!

Be sure to check out Kristin’s blog, shop, Ravelry, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Click here to see all 3 Questions interviews.

Dyeing with Mulberries

Liesl Made : Mulberry Dyed Yarn
Liesl Made : Mulberry Dyed Yarn
Liesl Made : Mulberry Dyed Yarn
Liesl Made : Mulberry Dyed Yarn

Mulberries have become a pretty important harvest here. We have two trees (conveniently right where the berry patch is) that we happily pick from every year. It does take a bit of work to get them. My preferred method has been to spread a sheet over the grass and either shake the branches or pick by hand, dropping the berries to the sheet, then gathering them up. They don’t have the zing a blueberry or raspberry has and the little green stems can make for an interesting texture in your mouth but they are probably my favorite berry here, just behind blueberry. The fact they taste sweet and are a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamin K, C and iron and are free and organic helps their appeal as well, I’m sure. I managed to put over two gallon bags in the freezer as I’m hoping to make a mulberry jelly as well as mulberry cordial. (More on that later.)

But every year, I look with sadness at the berries wasted: way up in the trees, unreachable and eventually falling to the ground, smooshed and dirty. Then I had a clever idea on how to use the “seconds”–the ones that aren’t the best to eat but are still worthy of other uses, like dyeing! I laid a couple tarps down and every morning and every night, over the span of four or five days, I had accumulated enough to feel confident to get a decent color.

Berries, however, are usually what they call “fugitive” dyes, meaning they don’t hold to the fiber and tend to fade or wash away. So I prepared for that possible disappointment in the back of my mind. Although I have been reading up a bit about the science of dyeing, mordants, modifiers, PH and what not, I still like going with my gut. This time I stuck with my familiar route (what can I say? I’m a Taurus) of alum and cream of tartar as a mordant. Then did an after bath with vinegar. Whatever I did, it worked! I will say I used a lot of material in ratio to the fiber so that probably aided in the dark color. I’ll also admit, after I took these photos I realized they aren’t perfectly accurate. It was very hard to capture the color–it’s not so shiny looking, a bit darker and more of a greenish gray with a purple-y brown through it.

Behind the scenes photos here. And this photo shows what the pillowcase I used to strain the berries with looked like a few days and a few heavy rainstorms later.

Chicken Diary : Meet Chuck

I’ve decided to try a little series here called “Chicken Diary” to contain the chicken-talk in an orderly fashion. I’m planning on it being little updates about the birds and their antics as well as random thoughts on chickens and things I’m learning or enjoying (or not enjoying) about them.

Liesl Made : Meet Chuck
Liesl Made : Meet Chuck

First up, I’d like you to meet Chuck. It’s hard not to mention him when I talk about the little flock. He is our superstar. Everyone loves him. As a free extra they threw in the order, we didn’t know what breed he would be or even if he would be a he or she. All we knew what that his name would be Chuck (a friend asked to name one before I managed to put my foot down about naming our food.) It didn’t take long for us to realize he was a Sliver Polish top hat chicken. However, the gender still remained a mystery. I guessed he was a boy early on, based on the fact that he acted bold like the other boys. But some of the girls were pretty gutsy too, so I really couldn’t be sure.

Then, at just under five weeks, before the certainty of an audible clue, a friend said he knew how to tell the sex. So he checked Chuck over and said it was girl. We had all come to like the idea of having a rooster so we turned our sights on upgrading one of the meat birds to that role. And there wasn’t much doubt on which one it would be–one specific Buff Orpington. Even though he is one of the biggest (therefore the most practical to butcher), he is also the sweetest and most friendly of all sixteen birds. I made the mistake of not waiting for a definite gender identification on Chuck and let my brother name this Orpington. He chose Franz Joseph (the Emperor of Austria.)

But not long after, one morning, I opened the chicken door and they all came barreling out, Chuck in the rear. He stayed on the ramp and let out three of the most awkward crows I’d ever heard. He was officially a cockerel and claimed his position as our flock’s future rooster. Unlike the other birds, Chuck has been our “pet” since the beginning so his fate was never in the air. Either we’d have a mighty pretty rooster or an extra layer. Since I’m not sure two roosters is smart, poor Franz Joseph has returned to being a nameless bird destined for our freezer. (I’ll save the meat bird talk for another diary entry.)

Yarn Along – Knitting and Reading

I’m joining in Yarn Along this week hosted by Ginny of Small Things. It’s the chance for those of us who love knitting and reading to share what project is currently on our needles and which book we have our noses buried in. And I personally add what music I’ve been listening to as well.

Liesl Made : Yarn Along : Knitting and Read (and Listening Too)

Knitting: Right after I mentioned I wasn’t knitting much last week, I started up again in earnest. Most of my current projects were at a standstill because I was at a point where I need to tackle a technique I find intimidating or tedious. Or I needed to make a decision: Some small (Should I add some extra rows here?) while others big (Should I frog and start over? Should I abandon this pattern all together?) I figured I needed to cast on something new, preferably something small, something to offer instant gratification (well, as instant as you can get with knitting.) Turns out a couple small projects are just what I needed to fill the time in between the bigger ones. Apart from adding some buttons, one project is complete and now I’m working on a pair of socks with some yarn gifted to me. I’m determined to have a lot of hand knits socks this winter, for myself and others.

Reading: The Beekeeper’s Bible. What a beautiful book.

Listening: This Empty Northern Hemisphereby Gregory Alan Isakov. Check out “That Moon Song,” “Evelyn” and “If I Go I’m Goin‘.” And keep an ear out for Brandi Carlile on many of the tracks.

What are YOU knitting/crocheting, reading or listening to this week?

Links, Finds and Other Good Things

Liesl Made : Knitting

First of all, thank you so much for your kind words after my post last week. It might have seemed like I was fishing for those comments but in truth, I really do struggle a lot with what Liesl Made is anymore, considering I don’t make like I used to. I’ve heard a lot of people tell me the reason they keep coming to my blog is because of who I am. I guess I can get caught up in the stats aspect of blogging, which shows tutorials and sewing stuff are my most popular posts. But really, that traffic is just passers-through. The real connection lies with those of you who actually read these rambles. It’s funny how I share my favorite bloggers each week and the reason I like them so much is because of who they are not necessarily the specifics of what they are posting or doing with their lives. Some bloggers I’ve followed for years and their lives and paths have changed but I still enjoy reading about them, sharing with them. But yet I don’t offer myself that same realization. (Maybe it has to do with the fact that I feel more comfortable talking about what I make than myself or my journey?) I suppose a lot of you are right: even though this isn’t a crafting blog in the traditional sense, I am crafting a life, whether I’m knitting, sewing, gardening or whatever. I think both myself, and all of you, are looking for that in our lives, making an authentic life. So in that way, I am still Liesl Made. And I’m glad a handful of you still want to hang around.

I’ll be back with a post sharing what all has been going on around here and how, after writing that last post, I’ve been knitting a lot more. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a list of links and finds and other good things. (Although I haven’t been speaking up in the comments, I have indeed been following my favorite bloggers and sites.)

Now that I’ve thoroughly overwhelmed you with lovely finds, what have you found lately that you’d like to share?

3 Questions : Kylie

3 Questions is an interview-style series featuring some of my favorite bloggers. Every week, I ask one inspirational person 3 completely random questions and ask them to share three photos that represent Who they are, What they do or make and Where they feel the happiest.

Liesl Made : 3 Questions : Kylie

One thing I love seeing is young photographers, crafters, makers and artists, especially when they have such a strong foundation with technique and personal style. Kylie is a 19-year-old Canadian gal who fits this bill. (And yes, I’m getting to a point where I can call a 19-year-old young.) Visiting her blog is not only a treat for the eyes (thanks to her gorgeous photography) but also inspiring to see all the knitting, sewing, crafting, baking, gardening and general stop-and-smell-the-roses attitude.

What do you think of when you think of New York? I really love New York, and it always makes me think of new adventures and exploring new places! I live in a big city and although I often miss the open skies and fresh air, I love that I will never see or experience everything there is. I imagine living in New York is the same- always a new shop to visit, a new park to explore, a new restaurant to try out.
The last time I went to New York was a few summers ago with my dad, and we had such a great time. Some of my favourite memories are walking through Central Park, seeing the city from the Highline, and buying yarn at Purl Soho and books at The Strand. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit again soon!
What is the last dream that you remember? I very rarely remember my dreams, but I do remember snippets of one I had  recently where my mum and I travelled to British Columbia… I’ve never been there but I’ve heard the coast is beautiful. Since I’m not travelling much this summer, I guess dreaming about new places will be the closest I get to actually seeing them!
In what ways are you a nerd? I think being a nerd just means you’re enthusiastic about your interests… which I definitely am! Aside from knitting, sewing, cooking, and the other crafty endeavours I often blog about, I also watch a bunch of different shows, listen to podcasts, and read blogs and books. I really love hearing stories, whether they’re fictional or real!

Be sure to check out Kylie’s blog, twitter, Ravelry and Instagram.

Click here to see all 3 Questions interviews.