Saturday, May 31, 2014

DIY: Fabric Teaches Gratitude

I don't sew.  I'm afraid of the sewing machine.  It looks like a high tech monster. But I have the amazing ability to accumulate fabric, yarn, lace, and the stuff you sew to the bottom of clothing (I think it's called hem?) It's been collecting in my 'art' room for years.
Recently, while in a yoga class (I go about twice a year), I noticed my thoughts wandering to the windows.  Usually I would try to refocus on the pain of the pose that I was in, but I had discovered the COOLEST window curtains/coverings... prayer cloths! This discovery ruined any benefits I knew the class would give me.  All I wanted was the class to be over so I could examine these prayer cloths.  They were handmade, and I needed to see how they were put together.

Of course they were sewn together... which made me feel defeated.  But then I realized that I could do what I always do when I have to "sew" something, use HOT GLUE!!!  My defeat turned into exhilaration and I went home to make these window coverings.  

Once home, all the 'sewing' stuff came out. I decided to use any lace/ hem/ shoelace to hang the fabric off of. I got my fabric and glue gun out, and was set to go.  I cut 2" x 3" squares of fabric making piles by like material.  Then I started noticing that much of the fabric I was using was coming from old clothes and  table cloths that I wanted to repurpose.  With each square I cut, a memory would arise.  I saw my daughter's first step as I cut a dress she wore when she was one.  I remembered the feeling of being impatient on Christmas Eve as I cut the tablecloth my Grandma always used for that holiday, and I recalled the stupid (yet wonderful) jokes my husband told me on our first date, as I cut up his old shirt.  

Honestly, I wanted to create a prayer cloth window hanging for its coolness factor. But, it turned out that it did what it was intended for.  As I put the prayer cloth together, I got to mediate on a lot of great moments in my life. By the time I finished, I was calm, feeling refreshed and grateful for my family, friends, and the beautiful city I was born and raised in, Oakland.  

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Getting to Know Local Businesses: From Garden To Jar

I LOVE LOCAL!  I’ve met many amazing artists, crafters, food artisans, and small businesses doing fairs in the Bay Area.  I thought it would be fun to get to know them better.  Today, Judy Cardiff, custom food preservationist extraordinaire, shares her story and love for all things local! (By the way, I’m in LOVE with her Carrot Cake Jam!)
Who are you and what is your business about?
I spent 20 years in corporate America and gave up my career for my "calling" (motherhood) when my son arrived 3 months early back in 2007.
A big part of embracing the roll of a homemaker after two decades as a ladder climber and ceiling breaker was reigning in our budget. We are HUGE proponents of organic and much so that we grow almost all of our own produce during the summer. I come from a family of canners. My grandmother and her sisters would "Put up" and divide their respective harvests every year. So putting up our harvests was a no brainer. After having a friend join me to can tomatoes one summer, it was suggested that we offer a class for my son's preschool auction. It was a great success and we developed a few canners from that class, but I also had a few women tell me that for as much as they loved the tomatoes we did, they didn't see themselves ever doing all that work on their own.
All this time I'd been working for a friend's home based business. I had start up experience and we'd done some great things to grow his business. But, adages about working for friends being true, that relationship didn't last and last September I found myself trying to figure out what to do with myself when a neighbor asked for ideas on what to do with the passion fruit that was taking of their yard. I offered to make jam and split the yield. She used her share for gifts and mentioned to me "I'd LOVE to have all home canned stuff in my kitchen...especially with all that's growing in our yard, but I don't have the time."
So my business is actually custom food preservation. You grow it or source it, and I'll preserve it for you. I do canned produce, frozen produce, dried produce...I'll make jams, jellies, salsas, pickles and I'll re-create old family recipes. I also do lessons. This year I decided to do some jams to bring to craft fairs to introduce myself and my abilities and much to my surprise, I sold out of everything each time. So now I offer a few seasonal jams and jellies year round. Soon they'll be available on my website ( and (hopefully!) at a small venue near you!
What are some random facts about you?
1) I was a competitive figure skater for 10 years -Early in my career I traveled internationally quite a bit. So much that I flew 200,000 miles in 6 months!
2) I hate grocery stores!
What’s your favorite part of Oakland?
My favorite part of Oakland is Fairyland! This little, unassuming playground was the impetus for Disneyland. And that kinda sums up Oakland to me...unassuming, full of charm, and a place where big dreams are launched.

Thanks Judy!  You can find out more about her at and 

And remember, From Garden to Jar is Oakland!
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