Buy it or Make it?

Buy it or Make it? Do we have to buy everything or can we just make it ourselves?

Barry and his Dad made an oven, Barry is making just about everything under the sun and I made curtains!

On a recent trip to San Jose I found some lovely Guatemalan fabric in a store downtown. It has rich colors and bold stripes, exactly what I need for the guest rooms. I purchased a new sewing machine in the States before moving here so all I needed to do was learn to use it. My Mom and Aunt tried to teach me before I left but that was in July of 2010, there was only one evening of training and they both wanted to show me at the same time, so I got confused. I brought the fabric home and Barry got the machine down from storage for me and placed it on the floor where it sat for at least two weeks. I was afraid of it as I normally am when I have to try something brand new and scary. When I finally got the sewing machine out last week it I looked it over to assess my situation. It has a lot dials on it, more dials than I remembered. There are 5 different dials and one dial has 20 options! There is also a big red option that has SS on it. I don’t even want to know what that is for. Does it automatically sew German armbands? I hope not. I don’t have a lot of patience so I set all the dials to the number 4 and turned it on just to see what would happen. When it didn’t automatically thread the needle or activate the auto-sewer option I got worried. I had to resort to reading the manual.

Luckily, it came with a quick start guide. All the important stuff right at the beginning with pictures included. The “on” button, check, the thingy that holds the thread, check, the presser-foot-lever-arm thingy, check, the foot pedal, wait a minute. The artist’s image of the foot pedal has a slipper-ed foot on it and not the dainty Cinderella slipper-ed foot either but the extremely old lady, the shoe only covers the toes kind of slipper-ed foot! I am wary of using this contraption anyway and they show me that the average user’s foot is somebody’s Grandmas. So, with that confidence booster I trudged on. I made a few cuts, pinned a few hems, did a back stitch on the ends and made these curtains. They have a “this is obviously someone’s first attempt at sewing” kind of look but I am damn proud that I made them at such a young age.

brightly colored fabric

colorful curtains

Concrete Stone Heads

This is an Aztec Stone Head Planter and yes it is as cool as it looks. Barry made it for me for my birthday this year. He doesn’t have to work hard to make creative things. He just goes to the garage and comes out with something awesome. One day I yell outside “Why are you cutting up my good  bucket?” (in a subtle yet firm tone) and he says “to make your birthday present honey”. “Damnit” I say. Three days later I get this incredible planter that costs  $100 or more in tourist shops.

stone head planter

PVC – A versatile building material

He also made me this pasta dryer from pvc tubes. I’ve been making my own pasta since his Grandma Darby showed me how to do it and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to buying it. It is so yummy and delicious and thick and tasty and did I mention yummy? Barry makes a squash soup, from squash we grow here and fresh chicken stock and I add fresh basil pasta and we feast and we feast and we feast, feast, feast, feast, feast (Dr. Suess reference). We also have a yard game made from pvc tubes and golf balls. We use pvc tubes in a square to hold different colored material behind our photography subjects. So versatile is pvc!

pasta dryer diy

pasta rack homemade

Wood Shelf

Barry makes a decorative shelf

Wood Shelf making

To be sanded and varnished later

He makes shelves, he builds pasta dryers. He’s amazing.

Here is an his squash soup recipe.

Boil chicken bones all day like we do or buy chicken stock in a can

Cut and remove seeds from squash, boil until soft

In a blender combine chicken stock (minus bones), cooked squash, 1 onion, garlic cloves to taste, salt, 1/4 cup honey and then transfer to crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours.

Our next post will be a detail of the outdoor oven building process so that you can make your own.

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