Starting Fresh

If you tried visiting the Liesl Made blog at all last week you obviously saw the lovely error message. I was busy working on things behind the scenes (ironically in an effort to make my blogging experience simpler) when something went terribly awry. Every time I tried to fix it I became so thoroughly frustrated that I just walked away and left it. I also read too deep into it and wondered if it was a sign that I should just walk away from blogging all together. (This year has been a tough one and I've been reevaluating a lot in my life.) But I've calmed down and returned to blogging. I still don't know the cause of or how to fix the problem with my old Wordpress blog but I think there is certain freedom in starting fresh. Well, almost fresh. Luckily I managed to import my tutorial and 2014 posts to this space before the old one went down.

As you can also see, Liesl Made is now Buckaloo View, the name of our family farm. Changing the name was just an idea I had been tossing around for a while but since the Liesl Made blog is lost in an internet wormhole, I figured now was as good a time as any to switch. As some of you may remember, before he passed away, my Dad had started up a shop called Buckaloo View where he sold his woodworking. It's not an easy decision to take on the name but I feel it's the best fit. My blog has always been a documentation and celebration of all things 'home.' I'll still be sharing the things I make and do around this place, the adventures I embark on as I try to turn it back into a working farm again. (There is a lot of talk about goats lately!)

My personal life is pretty hectic and emotional right now but I'll work on fixing up what was imported here the best I can in my spare time. In the meantime, I apologize for any broken links or lack of photos. And you may need to subscribe to this new blog rss to continue to get updates.

3 Questions : Anna

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 : Anna
Liesl Made : 3 Questions : Anna

Summer caught up with me and I had to put the 3 Questions series on the back burner. But I’m happy to say I’ve been in touch with some great women to feature and will get the series rolling again. Up first is the lovely Anna of Speckles. She is originally from Spain but currently living in Germany. Her posts, projects and the general way in which she captures and shares the simple beauties of the everyday always impress me. She has such a great eye for color and print, which shows in the things she knits and sews. Visiting her blog leaves me feeling warm and cozy, like I’m wrapped in handknits and having a cup of tea on an autumn day.

What is the last vacation you went on?

My last vacation was two years ago (now we live in Munich and this summer we’ve come back home to home, so they were “homevacation”). so two years ago my hubby and I drove to Provence , it is very close to home (barcelona). The car broke down, but this is another story. We stayed in a country house ,the owner was a lovely woman, every morning she prepared breakfast on the terrace. I remember the pleasant evening walks by fruit trees. It was wonderful, I would love to live there, I’d love to live in a house surrounded by wildflowers and ivy on the walls.

What was your favorite movie as a kid?

I remember that my parents recorded a movie from TV on VHS, it was a children’s film with great music. Also I had the cassette, so I had the full kit.. I remember seeing this movie all the time, any time was perfect for it. Now I’ve searched the link I have remembered my father saying, “Anna, again, don’t you think you could see other things?”

What is the thing you like best about your work?

Although now I’m not working, my career is design. I’m a creative person, perhaps a bit chaotic, I need to be doing many different things because I get bored with monotony. Define the idea, shape it and to be able to communicate, that’s what I like. obviously I hate the bureaucratic part ..

Be sure to check out Anna’s blog, shop and Instagram.

Click here to see all 3 Questions interviews.

Dyeing with Marigold and Red Cabbage

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Since my marigolds are still blooming like crazy around here and I was rather impressed with the results from last time, I decided to do another round with squishy soft Malabrigo. This one turned out a little less orange-y and instead is more of a classic yellow. Last time I only used the petals but this time I used the whole flower head, green bits and all. Next time I’m going to try with just the petals again.

This year I planted twelve red cabbage and only six or seven of them resulted in decent sized heads. The others were scrawny things that were refusing to get any bigger so I reserved them for dye experiments. Red cabbage is a notorious fugitive dye. The dye pot is rich and lovely but the color doesn’t always hold well to fiber. I was lucky. I used my standby alum and cream of tartar to prep the fiber. With certain dye materials, the pH of the bath can have a big effect on the color. With red cabbage, adding an acidic modifier, like vinegar, will result in more pink shades while an alkaline one will shift more towards blues. So I grabbed some baking soda and sprinkled it right in the pot and basically said “Whoa!” when I saw it transform from pink to blue. In the pot, it was the most perfect mermaid blue-green and even though it bled some of the richness out, it’s still a perfectly pale aquatic/mint blue-green. Definitely a nice break from the yellows and browns I’ve got from plant dyes. I only did this one skein since I wasn’t sure any color would stick but now I’m tempted to grow a garden full of red cabbage next year just so I can get more of these beautiful shades.

Next week I’ll share the results of the walnut dyes I did the same day.

The Web

As you can see by these photos, the spiders are at it. My mother always said August and September were cobweb months. The mornings have been amazing. I sit on the porch with a big bowl of hot oats topped with maple syrup and peaches, sip my coffee and watch the chickens. Some mornings the fog and light are magical, which makes for picture-perfect cobwebs.

In the spirit of being interwoven and the world wide web, I thought I’d share some of my recent finds with you:

~I never knew Ashley English had a blog. I’ve been binge reading past posts and soaking up the inspiration and beauty there. And looking forward to her upcoming book about drinks called Quench.

~These blog are pretty great too: Babes in Boyland and Woolful

~And speaking of tasty drinks this Sparkling Spiked Peach Lemonade seems like a perfect way to relish the rest of summer.

~So many of my favorite bloggers have been on grand adventures. Ine explored Norway. Margie also went to Norway, as well as Iceland. Lori went to the Shetland Islands. And Kristina went to British Columbia. Thank you women for letting us live vicariously through you!

~I love that Julie is now sharing photo shoot outtakes. I love seeing the behind-the-scenes.

~Favorite Ravelry finds: Slant, Precious and Sandbank

~Things to bake: GF Rosemary CrackersCoffee Walnut Loaf, Sweet Potato Almond Butter Muffins

What have you been finding on the web?

Gifting No. 2 - Pot Holders

Good morning,

I haven’t been the best of bloggers lately because life is so busy around here. This week, my Mother and I picked and froze about 200 ears of corn. (I don’t grow corn here but a family friend does and they are going through a hard time now so we agreed to do the work and split it with them.) Another friend was out-of-town for a few days and left me in charge of a dog, a cat, four chickens and seven pigs. (It was good practice if I get pigs myself.) Right now, between writing a few sentences here, I’m blanching the massive bowl of beans I was too tired to work on last night. (They got their second wind. And the tomatoes are ripening nicely.) These are just a couple of things that have taken up my days beyond the regular workload, inside and outside the home. I do have posts in mind and fun things to share here. In September I hope to start up the 3 Questions series again. (Summer is not only a super busy time for me but for others as well.)

But this post isn’t about all of that. It’s about gifting. Remember my Gifting series? I only partially forgot about it. OK, maybe completely forgot. These four pairs of pot holders were finished ages ago but, like many other things, have sat in an I’ll-deal-with-this-tomorrow pile. (I really should look through that pile—I fear there might be unpaid bills in it.) I finally got around to snapping a photo of them and even gifted the one. The other three will hopefully be gifted soon as well.

Want to make a pair yourself? Check out the tutorial here.

Squash In the Kitchen

When it comes to food, we a pretty simple. In the summer, we kind of let freshness be the star by simply steaming or sautéing all our veggies and adding a sprinkle of salt and pat of butter. A longtime friend of mine said recently that she remembers eating sautéed squash with cheese often at our house when she was a kid. It made me realize we really haven’t changed much in over twenty years. All summer long we deal with the overabundance of summer squash in a small handful of ways. Occasionally we grate it to make pancakes or bread, or steam-puree-freeze it for winter soups. Rarely we will make a zucchini boat. One year I used larger ones as the “crust” of mini pizzas. But mostly, it gets sautéed in a pan with onions, salt, pepper and granulated garlic, sometimes topped with cheese and eaten with nearly every dinner. Which can get boring by August. Needless to say, I am continually on the lookout for great squash recipes to keep our interest in this garden staple. So when Amanda of HeartBeet Kitchen gifted me her book, Smitten with Squash, it was such a help.

The first recipe I tried was the Banana Oat Streusel Summer Squash Muffins, partly because I had all the ingredients on hand and partly because I can’t flip through a cookbook and not make the muffins. Once I get some cardamom I’m also hoping to bake the Maple Cardamom Zucchini Snack Cake. But since I can’t live on desserts alone and the squash was overtaking the fridge, I also made the Fluffy Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Pancakes and Easy Curried Tofu Salad. Later today I plan to make the Bumper Crop Spicy Squash Pickles hopefully try the Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Meatballs later this week.

Amanda is gluten-free so most of the recipes are GF by default or are easily adapted to be so. I should confess I haven’t even looked at the second half of the book yet, which is all about winter squash. I’ve got quite a few winter squash plants in the garden. And I’ve since forgiven them for taking over everything since I spy a bunch of Jumbo Pink Banana and Butternut growing. Can’t wait to harvest them and dive into the second half of the book.

What is YOUR favorite way to eat summer squash and zucchini?

Chicken Diary : Waiting

Liesl Made : Chicken DiaryLiesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary
Liesl Made : Chicken Diary

The chickens are about 14 weeks old. Right now, we are at a waiting stage: waiting for the boys to reach a decent market weight and more importantly, waiting for the girls to start laying eggs. A lot of friends and family are asking about eggs. I have to keep telling them “not yet, not yet.” (Maybe in September?)

While we wait, their antics and behavior are providing great therapy and entertainment. It’s a lot of fun to watch them get so excited about kitchen and garden scraps (they especially love corn cobs.) Actually, just watching them in general is fun. Someone came over for a visit and spotted the row of chairs we had lined up and said: “Do you guys, like, sit there and watch your chickens?” “Yeah, we’re simple people.” Two of them are crowing (one being Chuck.) When we sit on the deck and call out to them, they crow (talk?) back. The cat is oddly calm around them. One evening I spotted her bathing herself right in front of them. The dog is afraid of them and won’t go anywhere near the run. When they hear me unlocking the run latch in the morning, singsonging a “Good Morning, Chickens!” suddenly, a handful of little chicken faces appear at the coop window, looking at me eagerly. It’s slowly getting darker a little earlier each night so I no longer have to wait so long to go out and lock them in. The biggest boy is definitely the head honcho. (He is the white one, easily seen in the last photo.) He doesn’t seem to appreciate me being around his girls.

(These photos were all taken over the course of the last month.)

Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigold

Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and MarigoldsLiesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Goldenrod and Marigolds

I hadn’t intended to dye again so soon but while searching the property for more pokeberries, I spotted the goldenrod in bloom. I had wanted to try it last year but wasn’t quite ready for it in time. Since I would be going through the hassle of digging out and setting up all my dye supplies and it was the most lovely autumn-like day, I figured I might as well do a second dye as well. The marigolds here are all doing do beautifully and have plenty to spare for me to dye with. In the end, I got a gallon jar full of petals. Both flowers produced these different but equally lovely shades of yellow. I didn’t fully saturate the marigold yarn before dunking it into the dye pot so it resulted in some white patches that turned out to add beautifully to the variegation. A happy accident. The goldenrod is an alpaca/wool blend and the marigold is 100% merino wool. Both had alum and cream of tartar as a mordant. I’m already planning another marigold dye soon and an early walnut, since they have begun plunking to the ground already. The last photo shows all the yarns I’ve dyed this year, in chronological order. From left to right: dandelion, avocado, mulberry, bronze fennel, purple basil, purple basil, goldenrod and marigold. Which one is your favorite?

Dyeing with Basil and Fennel

Liesl Made : Dyeing with Basil and FennelLiesl Made : Dyeing with Basil and Fennel
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Basil and Fennel
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Basil and Fennel
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Basil and Fennel
Liesl Made : Dyeing with Basil and Fennel

Every since I started naturally dyeing yarn, I’ve wanted to get gray—my favorite color. So this year, I grew both Bronze Fennel and Opal Basil from seed, after reading both can produce the color I seek if the fiber is silk. Both have grown well, the fennel is in a pot away from other plants (as it doesn’t often play well with others) and the basil is out among my tomato plants (which are plentiful but still green—a problem a lot of local people seem to be having.) For both materials, I crushed them up and shoved them in the leg of an old pair of pantyhose (to create a teabag of sorts) and let them simmer with the fiber. In the fennel pot, I used a skein of merino/silk blend. The result was not a gray but rather a soft, subtle yellow, plenty pretty in its own right. (In the top photo, it is the one of the left.)

When I did the opal basil, I used a few skeins of wool/Angora and a couple of 100% noil silk. As they were simmering, the color was similar to the fennel, a greenish-yellow. When I added a splash of vinegar it changed to a purple. The silk turned out the nicest and held to the fiber the best (it’s the one farthest to the right in the top photo.) Granted it didn’t stay that bright purple but the final bluish gray is perfect in my opinion. Unfortunately, the wool/Angora lost a lot of its color (center skein in the top photo.) I’m on the fence about it. When I first saw it dry, I thought it looked a bit like dirty water. But it has since been growing on me: If you look closely you can see a very subtle color variegation and honestly it looks great in these photos, under this light. If I still don’t like it later int he season, I have the option to dunk it in a pot of black walnuts or maybe even berries.

Monthly Sock Challenge

Liesl Made : Knitting Socks WIP

As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to challenge myself to knit a pair of socks every month for a year. When I started knitting, I had the thought and hope that I’d make a lot of socks (something you can’t really make as a seamstress.) But oddly enough, after almost three years, I don’t feel like I have knit that many. I have an armful of yarn ready to be knit into socks (some with patterns in mind already, others just waiting for that perfect pairing) but always seem to cast on for different projects instead.

Overall, I’m doing this for myself and will knit alone if I have to. But if you’d like to join me, I’d love the company and camaraderie. You’re welcome to make your own minor rules. For instance, I’m aiming for a whole year/12 pairs of socks but if you just want to commit to a few months, maybe even just here and there, that’s fine. But try to stick with the main rule of completing a pair of socks within a month. (I’m actually directing this mostly at myself, notorious for starting projects but not finishing them.) If you’re interested, I’ve set up a page here on my blog for you to share your progress and completed socks here.

For this first month, I’ve cast on for another pair of Warm and Cozy Socks which will be gifted to a relative. The worsted weight held double (and the fact that I’ve already made three pair in the past) will hopefully make reaching my deadline a little easier.

Quite Nice People

Liesl Made : Quite Nice PeopleLiesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People
Liesl Made : Quite Nice People

A few weeks ago, a package arrived for me and after opening it, I just cried and cried. The good kind of cry. The kind that comes from being overwhelmed with how nice people can be. The level of kindness I’ve received since my Dad passed away back in March has been so touching. Not only from my family, friends and local community but the wider community I’ve come to know through blogging and Ravelry and other social media platforms. Inside the envelope was a comfort blanket. Andi was the one who brought it about, calling out to fellow Ravelers to knit or crochet blocks (in gray, knowing it’s my favorite color,) which she then stitched together. The result is such a beautiful variety of hand stitched love. It’s going to be so comforting to wrap myself in this blanket come winter. Thank you all, so much. (Details here.)

A Bit of This and That

Liesl Made : Simple Tank and Fog and Cedar NecklaceLiesl Made : Sweet Potato
Liesl Made : Ballyhoo Farm Yarn
Liesl Made : Lemon Queen Sunflower
Liesl Made : Baking Bread

Some things are photographed above, others are not.

A family friend gave me a sweet potato she’d be sprouting. I put in the ground and it’s doing well. No idea if it’ll amount to anything but it’s worth a try. (Actually, that sums up my entire gardening approach: Let’s see if this works.)

The sunflowers are blooming. (This variety is fittingly called Lemon Queen.)

I’ve been baking bread. (Someday I might do a specific post sharing more about that.)

Ever since a friend shared this on Facebook, I’ve been a little obsessed with astrology in general and thinking a lot about all the people in my life and what signs they are.

In the beginning of the year I was busy perfecting the fit and construction of a simple tank and a tank dress. I’ve been wearing some of the attempts and they are helping me beat the heat. And the bead necklace, a gift from Fog and Cedar, is the perfect addition. (Summer fashion shouldn’t be fussy.)

I won a giveaway from the lovely Allison of Field Wonderful for this skein of Ballyhoo Farm yarn. It’s the color of oats and I hope to find the perfect Scottish/Irish inspired pattern to compliment it.

Speaking of knitting…anyone joining in the SSKAL?

It’s amazing how we are only a few days into August but it suddenly feels like August and that summer is winding down. Here on the blog this month I’ll have the results of my most recent dyeing experiments, a heartfelt handknit gift I received, more chicken talk and hopefully some completed knits!

What are you looking forward to this month?

3 Questions : Nat

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 : Nat

I’m very excited to feature Nat of Made in Home this week. I’ve long been a fan of hers. She has one of the most well-rounded blogs out there, where she shares bits about her personal life, helpful tutorials, tasty recipes, and, obviously her wide variety of creations. I always leave her blog feeling impressed and inspired by her drive for DIY. Often I’ve seen her find something she likes, something in a store or online or outside her budget, and try to recreate it, often sharing with us how she did it and notes on the technical details. That is a true DIY community spirit.

What is one thing you feel completely sure about? It was never part of my life plan and in fact we waited a bit, but I am sure I was always meant to be a mother – when I saw my little boy for the first time, I knew he was meant to be part of my life. He changed my outlook in ways I could not have imagined – even during these long sleepless nights. Personally I hate being pregnant, but knowing that I will be able to experience it again later this year is worth every day of it.

If you were going to karaoke tonight, what song would you sing? ‘Build me up buttercup’, with my friends from University – there is no way I would be singing on my own at a karaoke. We lived in the same corridor when on campus and then in the same house in following years – we still meet every year at New Year and this was/is our song. We even have actions with the song.

When was the last time you went to the beach? When people are reading this, hopefully that morning – or the previous day. We are on holiday in Brittany in France and I will nag my husband to go to the sea every day.

Be sure to check out Nat’s blog.

Click here to see all 3 Questions interviews.

Come Winter, You'll Be Glad

Liesl Made : JelliesLiesl Made : Making Red Currant Jelly
Liesl Made : Wineberry Cordial
Liesl Made : Onion and Wineberry Harvest
Liesl Made : Starting the Fall Garden
Liesl Made : Drying Rosemary
Liesl Made : Garden Haul

...that you can open a jar of homemade jam and smear it on bread. That the freezer is full of the likes of green beans, kale, red cabbage. That you can make delicious warming soup with the saved vegetable water and squash purées. That you can top your pasta with stewed tomatoes or pesto. That the pantry is stocked with jars of sauerkraut and applesauce. That you can treat yourself to a delicious berry cordial.

While I do enjoy preserving food, occasionally, when I’ve been up since dawn and it’s after dark and I’m still blanching and freezing kale, or cutting up green beans or washing pots, sticky with leftover jam, dead on my feet, these mantras akin to “come winter, you’ll be glad you did this” are what get me through.

So far, the freezer is filling up with bags of green beans, kale and summer squash purée. The pantry now has a decent collection of homemade jams and jellies* (mulberry, red currant, wineberry and blueberry.) There is a wineberry cordial in the works. Herbs are drying. Beets were pickled. The largest head of cabbage will become cabbage rolls.

What has been happening in your kitchen or garden lately? What things (food related or otherwise) do you push through, knowing they’ll pay off in the end? 


*This is the first time I’ve made it myself and am surprised how easy and fun it is. The only experiences I’ve had with making jams or jellies in the past have been kitchen grunt work: cleaning up dishes, helping seal jars. I’ve been using Pomona’s Pectin and really love how you can scale back the sugar content while avoiding all the added preservatives and whatnot.

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 : Sock Knitting

Knitting: I’m thinking of starting up a sock-a-month type of challenge to help me knit more socks. I’m working on the same socks I mentioned last time, which I started on the 5th of July. If I can complete them in the next week or so (in the height of summer), that proves making a pair of socks every four weeks should be doable. Plus a bit of structure and a deadline with my knitting always helps motivate me. If you feel like joining me, let me know in the comments below. If you want, maybe I’ll set it up as a real thing with graphics and a link up each month, etc. I’ll be starting officially with my first pair in August and will probably aim for a whole year (12 pairs of socks) but feel free to join in just here and there or only for a few months.

Reading: Finding Planetary Planting rather interesting.

Listening: The new album, Wild Animals by Trampled by Turtles. As well as some older favorites by Basia Bulat and Andrew Bird.

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

EDIT: I posted this without first checking the Small Things blog. After reading the most recent post I will be keeping Sarah’s family and Ginny in my thoughts and hope you will too. If you’d like to do more than that, there has been a fundraiser set up to help her children.

Gratitude Sunday

Joining in Gratitude Sunday with Taryn and others over at Wooly Moss Roots. We take the time to acknowledge all the things (big and small) that we were most grateful for in the past week.

Liesl Made : The Colors of Summer

It has been since December since I’ve done a Gratitude Sunday post. Although I do take time to think about what all I have to be grateful for, it really does help to do these posts here once in a while, to write them out and acknowledge them

This week I was grateful for:

  • a bit of rain.
  • and the cool air that followed.
  • teaming up with some great artists and creatives.
  • avoiding a ranty response to something insensitive someone I really respect posted online.
  • the many colors of summer (seen above.)
  • that I get to live with my Grandma and spend so much time with her.
  • a big bowl of fresh picked blueberries.
  • and blueberry pancakes.
  • chicken antics.
  • visits from family and friends.
  • a new-found love (addiction?) of jam and jelly making.
  • bags of green beans slowly filling the freezer.

What were you most grateful for this past week?

3 Questions : Nicole

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 : Nicole

I first found Nicole via Pinterest. It was one of those instant pinner-crushes. I loved everything she shared and often specifically went to her profile just to check her recent pins. Then when I got on Instagram, I was able to follow here there and learn more about her—like how she had started up a shop featuring lovely hand knits. I could say the things that draw me to Nicole are the obvious ones, like her knitting and sense of style and design, love for Iceland and furry critters, commitment to a clean, healthy body and planet, honoring our history while also thinking about our future. But just like with all the women I’ve featured in this series, she has that certain shine beyond all of the obvious that makes her hard to miss and hard to not like. If you take some time to read this post and follow through to the links, I’m sure you’ll see it too.

Who or what would you like to be reincarnated as? I would love to be reincarnated as a mountain in the Westfjords of Iceland, near to and facing the sea. To keep watch over my favorite spot, day in and day out over the centuries, while wearing a blanket of snow through the dark days of winter, to feeling the rays of the midnight sun on my face in summer, would be ultimate bliss. 
What is one of your favorite words or phrases? “You are the cosmos.” These four words, together in this order, are a lovely reminder of where we came from and to where we will return. I rejoice in the fact that we are all the same: you, me, the moon and the trees. This line is one that I draw endless inspiration from; it has the ability to really light up the dark days. I have found that to sit and think on these words is a great remedy for self doubt—that beast doesn’t stand a chance against all of the time, space, and good ancestral vibes that dwell in the cosmos, rooting for us to do and be well!
Are you generally a clean or messy person? Clean! I do not function well in a cluttered environment, at all. I feel like the clutter comes in through my eyeballs and makes a home in my brain, then thoughts back up like a traffic jam  and cannot get rolling efficiently again until the debris is cleared from the road. Clean feels like driving down a quiet country road on a crisp autumn day, whereas messy feels like sitting in traffic on an L.A. freeway on the hottest day of the year, without air conditioning. These days, I struggle big time in most situations that bring about too much outside stimulus, so for me, a room where everything is in it’s right place makes for a calm, peaceful place to be.

Be sure to check out Nicole’s blog, shop, Facebook and Instagram.

Click here to see all 3 Questions interviews.

Garden Notes

Liesl Made : Garden Work Bench

I’ve decided to spare you all gratuitous photos of vegetables and long ramblings on the specifics of how each plant is growing. The garden is producing and thanks to the squash abundance, I’ve officially moved up to the ‘two basket harvesting’ stage. Instead, maybe I’ll go into how I’m feeling about the garden lately. At times I feel very content and confident, like “oh yeah, I got this.” Then there are times when it hits me just how many weeds and how much work surround me. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of kind-hearted people who would help me, whether it be pulling weeds, harvesting or offering advice, but I’m too stubborn and proud. And a bit emotional about the garden this year. All of this emotional weight has left me doing a lot more work than I need to do and making more mistakes than I might have made if it weren’t all so heavy. I know I’ll learn a lot through this experience, through my victories and especially my failures and I already know things I’ll be doing differently next year. Gardening is a very humbling thing, isn’t it?

So, this year is a year of experimenting for me, of learning just how much I can handle, how much I want to handle. Julie posted this recently and mentioned an earlier post by Milla on the same subject (its this one, I remember it well.) Both echo some of my recent sentiments and fears and hopes (though much more eloquently and much more wisely.) In all honesty, I’m not cut out to be a farmer, not a for-profit one. A garden big enough to feed my household and have a little left over to offer friends and family seems about right for me. Then again, who knows where life will take me in the future. But for now, my plate is full.

(If you do want to see more specifics, I post far too many photos on my Instagram of what I’m harvesting and doing.)


Fog & Cedar Giveaway (Closed)

Liesl Made : Fog and Cedar GiveawayLiesl 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.

Giveaway is now closed and the winning comment is from Milla.

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.