...on her blog! So cute!
...on her blog! So cute!
I've been looking for a knitting project that would get me excited about knitting again, but I haven't really seen anything new and different out there. Any suggestions on a fun and interesting knitting project?
In the mean time, I knit a Tribble for fun. It's such and easy project that it took me almost no time at all and I'm already using it in the kitchen. Perhaps not very exciting, but that's the state of my recent crafting endeavors.
I've been baking too -- making Maddie's favorite which is banana bread based on this recipe. Of course, I make it gluten free, subbing 210 gr of my GF flour blend for the flour. I also like to use brown sugar for half the sugar, add a bit extra vanilla extract, and top it (in this case) or mix in some toasted pecan pieces and semi-sweet chocolate. So delicious!!
I've also been working in the yard -- pulling weeds, planting potatoes, and other things. Pete spent the better part of yesterday building a new raised bed for the raspberry plants that just arrived. So that's strawberries, herbs, onions, potatoes, lettuces, blueberries and raspberries, so far. The pepper & tomato plants should arrive soon and I really have to get the carrot seeds in the ground. I'm pretty excited about the garden this year.
So, I finished up that needlework project I started a couple of weeks ago. It's from the Blackbird Designs book "Thank you, Sarah Tobias" but done in colors of my own choosing and on an old piece of linen I had in my stash. Fun to work on while watching Downton Abbey (I'm so hooked).
After I attempt to frame this, I need to get to work backing & quilting my current quilt project, and after that, who knows. I have a few ideas brewing...
A big thank you to Mrs. Douglas, who taught me to do cross-stitch back in grade school. (I believe she was also the math teacher, and I distinctly remember her always complaining to the boys about their need to wear deodorant -- I believe math class may have been right after recess.)
Just doing a little stitching to ease my self back into creative work. I'm following a pattern, but had to improvise on the colors, so there was a little room for thought. And now that I've started this piece, I have plans for a year long sampler. I love how working on one little project can get the cogs and wheels turning.
Well, school break has come to an end, but on the final day, Maddie and I had some fun with one of her holiday gifts -- the hypotrochoid art set. I loved Spirograph as a kid (do they even make it anymore?) and have been on the look out for a set in decent shape at the yard sales, so when I saw this little set, I knew I had to get it for her.
I've been wanting to try making a log cabin quilt for a long time, so when Modern Log Cabin Quilting came out, I grabbed a copy. Of course, I'm not doing any particular project from the book, because that would be too easy. Instead, I read the opening chapter that gives you hints and tips, grabbed a FQ bundle I had laying around and started stitching.
The blocks are going together quickly and easily, so I'm thinking there may be more log cabin quilts in my future.
While my Macbook is pretty compact and lightweight, my iPad is even more petite, so I knew I would be bringing it on vacation with me. And while I have one of those fancy magnetic covers, I wanted a little more protection for my iPad since my carry on luggage is not well padded.
I whipped up this little felted wool case in literally 10 minutes the day before our trip. I have a bin of pre-shrunk thrift store wool sweaters, so I choose this colorful, stripey piece, stuck the iPad between the front and back of the sweater and pinned very close all the way around 3 sides. Then I simply sewed inside the pins, clipped the seems very close and turned it inside out. to make the flap, I cut straight across one side and made a rounded edge on the other. I ran a line of stitching about 1/4 in. to the inside of the rounded flap to keep the wool from stretching out of shape.
Instant iPad case for next to no $ and very little time or effort.
I've been feeling a bit uncreative lately. After a tragic bout of spinning (or more accurately, plying), a large block of time spent browsing Ravelry and a couple hours of TV while looking at photos of quilts on Flickr, I was still uninspired. So yesterday I took out my scraps and decided to see if anything would grab me. I found these little colorful pieces that I bought *years* ago and started playing around with them and the color wheel.
I think today I'll sew some up and see what happens. They are pretty tiny and once they are sewn together, they will make tiny little blocks, so a mini quilt is the best I can hope for. At least it's a start though. Maybe it will get me moving on a bigger project.
When you live in an old house, sometimes you have to improvise. In our closets, we have the old fashioned exposed bulb fixtures with a cord hanging down that you pull to turn on the light. Since the ceilings are quite high, the cords need to be very long (about 4-5 feet). So when the ancient string attached to Maddie's closet light broke, I decided to replace it with a sturdy and prettier cord.
This cord is just the basic spiral braid in two colors and I'm using a pearl cotton floss in pink and magenta. The Hamanaka Kumihimo Disk is super easy to use, and makes this project portable. In fact, I did a good portion of it while I was in the car on the way to and from Mitsuwa yesterday.
I wrote more on the topic of Kumihimo and info on where to get supplies back in July of 2006.
I totally want a Yudu!!
I've been keeping up with the Kirigami Calendar and my paper cutting skills are starting to improve, but I have noticed that while I always use a scissors, sometimes the correct tool is probably an exacto knife. I need to find my mini cutting mat and keep it handy so that I actually start using it.
I bought myself a present this week -- the 2009 Kirigami Calendar. I was a bit obsessed with Kirigami during part of 2008, but never really practiced my cutting skills. This calendar will be a fun little daily project that should give me lots of practice in very small doses. Fun!
So a while back -- maybe 6 months or more -- I became obsessed with flower looms. I hunt for them at yard sales and estate sales and watch them on eBay. And I finally did find that little loom on the left -- a Studio Twelve Flower Loom -- at a yard sale for $1. Then I discovered the Hanaami Flower loom from that most awesome of crafting gadget makers -- Clover. I finally broke down and purchased one through eBay and I have to say it's a fun little toy.
It's like all the old 70's flower looms rolled into one. There are 6 different shapes that you can snap in and use together or separately -- nifty!
You can use yarn, ribbon or whatever (wire? pipe cleaners? hmmm. . .) but it's awfully fun to use vintage ribbon straw and I scored a bag full of tons of colors from Cathy of California's etsy shop. Speaking of her shop -- here are some links to get you started with making flowers of your own!
Tutorials & Info on flower looms:
Have other flower loom sources? Please leave them in the comments -- I'd love to check them out!
I've never been one to run out and buy a $50 (or more -- the prices shock me!) costume for Maddie each Halloween, but I'll settle for the $14.99 specials at Target since Maddie likes to wear the costumes over and over for fun. This year she didn't really see anything she liked at Target, and she loves all things Pokemon, so we decided she would be her favorite Pokemon trainer -- Dawn:
A quick search of the internet revealed that pre-made Dawn costumes were going for $100 on eBay -- HA! There was no way I saw that happening. So I decided to put it together myself. She already had pink snow boots from last year -- one item down -- but we didn't have anything else, so it was off to the thrift shops. We found a pink skirt for a couple bucks -- check! Then we found a black shirt at Old Navy for $4 (something she could wear again too) -- check! She already had a long sleeve white t-shirt she could wear underneath -- almost done! But where would we get a hat like that? And I certainly didn't have time to knit a scarf.
Thank goodness for fleece and felt! For something like $2.50 I bought the white fleece and pink felt. Then I whipped up the logo in Adobe Illustrator, pinned it to the felt, cut it out and sewed it onto the fleece with a zigzag stitch. Then I cut out and stitched up the hat and I was done in minutes. The scarf is just a scrap of red fleece from the remnant table -- it cost less than a dollar. Yeah for cheap costumes -- and even better than that -- Maddie loves it!
I don't talk about it very much on the blog, but I have an online rubber stamp store. In fact, I've been running it for over 7 years now. It seems like I never have any time to do any stamping now that I have a stamping business, but recently I saw a project I had to make time for -- candle decorating. Well, not much of a name, but it is fun in a magical sort of way.
You don't need much to do this -- in fact, you might have most of the stuff already. First you stamp on white tissue paper -- just cheap tissue paper, nothing fancy. I stamped with black ink because I wanted to keep it simple and it seemed like the right choice for a Halloween theme. You can color in the stamped images with colored pencils if you like. Then cut each motif out.
Then, one at a time, you place the images on the candle and melt them into the surface with a heat gun. Oh -- a heat gun is what you use to melt embossing powder when you stamp. I'm sure you use it for other things too. Here's what mine looks like:
Is it just me or does that heat gun look like it's happy to see me :) Okay, sorry about that. . .
You just move the heat gun around the image quickly so it doesn't melt too much in one place and after only a second or two it looks like the image is part of the candle -- you can't even see the tissue! After this you can continue to embellish with gems (like I did in the top photo) or ribbons or whatever.
A while back I got some cool paper cutting books from Mitsuwa but I hadn't had time to play around with them until yesterday. I just took some cheap origami paper that I had laying around -- folded it in half from corner to corner and the folded in half twice more. Then I browsed some of the designs in the book and freehanded these. I have some nifty little super sharp titanium blade scissors which made it quite easy to cut through all the layers. They did tend to shift though, so some little binder clips might be a good idea in the future.
I can see that it will take a lot of practice before I am making some of the beautiful elaborate designs that I want to experiment with -- something suitable for framing -- but for now I think I'll just do these for fun and maybe think about cutting some that I can glue on little handbound notebooks or something.
I've had a difficult time finding good Kirigami (Japenese for "cut" "paper") books. Any suggestions from fellow paper cutting addicts out there?
As I race to the finish line (okay, more like crawl) on my two latest craft projects, I'm wondering what I should tackle next. So I'm going to list some ideas here to give me a bit of focus. I'm great when I have a goal, otherwise I flounder around (read play too much DS).
So, in no particular order, here are some craft projects I've been wanting to do:
I don't think this is specific enough, but it's a start. With a little more thought, I should be able to come up with a real list that I can work from. Focus -- I need focus!
On Monday I turned 38, so over the weekend I indulged in a little birthday shopping for myself by heading out to Mitsuwa and the Sanseido Book Store with the family. They didn't have Cotton Time in stock (one of my favorite Japanese craft magazines) but I did find a nice selection of paper crafting books which included origami and these excellent paper cutting books. . .
I couldn't resist the mix of modern and traditional designs in this first book (ISBN978-4-277-75344-9). I especially love these graphic leaves, but there are some cute animal silhouettes, garden scenes and much more.
The next book (ISBN978-4-569-69235-7) has a lot of fun ideas too, but it was these flowers that really drew me in.
Of course I had to pick up some Japanese chocolate while I was there. I'm curious about the Lotte Matcha Chocolate -- although one of the ingredients is a bit strange -- bayberry extract? And that KitKat bar is chestnut flavor -- should be interesting. (Look for reviews of these in the future over at the Chocolate Blog!)
I did finally take a photo of the last little bit of bread I made from the big bowl of dough -- more on this dough can be found in my previous post. I took the small bit of dough, squished it flat and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese & Italian herbs on top. Then I popped it in the oven so I could have it for lunch. Very tasty -- and the oven spring was great even 2 weeks after I made the dough. Here's the inside:
I was planning on making up another batch of dough yesterday, but got sidetracked. I'll get to it today hopefully and try to remember to take photos.
I've also been cutting paper:
I've been meaning to do some papercutting, or Scherenschnitte, since someone mentioned it in a comment on my blog back in 2005! (Yes -- Elizabeth (no link) left a comment to this post way back when!) I've checked out a few books, done some research on the web, but hadn't actually *done* any papercutting. Why? I have no idea, other than I was busy with other things, I suppose.
Enter Amy and her amazing Mailorder -- or eMailorder in this case. It's so funny, because Jan was just doing some papercutting and I was going to get my act together and do some myself, but that weekend got away from me. So I guess it was fate -- and I was just waiting for Amy to come along with issue #8!
It was super easy, fun, quick and the results are really great! I mounted the heart on a blank card and the girl on a sheet of cardstock so I could perhaps frame it.
I see more Scherenschnitte (& home baked bread) in my future!
So, did you ever get an idea -- get inspired -- and then file it away to do "someday"? Well, it seems like I've been doing that a lot lately. In fact, I look back at 2007 and don't feel like much happened. So this year I'm going to try to act on those little ideas instead of filing them away.
Project #1 -- This morning as I was surfing, I came across this little printable calendar at the Blueprint Blog. Well, I'm not so hot on the idea of cluttering up the desk, but I thought -- hey! I can make a tear sheet calendar to hang on the wall using those little pages!
So here's how I did it.
So, that's all there is to it. You can make all kinds of little scrap pads using this same technique. Save those scraps!
I'm not sure I have any resolutions this year, except maybe to do more crafting. So over the next few days I'm going to take stock and try to focus on where I'm headed. Today's craft:
I've fallen in love with cross stitch again this past year. The amazing reproduction designs as well as the monochromes have brought me back to this once uber-cutesy craft. I want to finish up the last little bit on my band sampler:
And then I'm planning to move on to Blackbird Design's Loose Feather Club -- Strawberry Garden:
This should be a fun and quick stitch and I bought all the thread and fabric along with the pattern, so it's ready to go!
I'm also very inspired by the designs of Jan Houtman who died this past year. He made amazing samplers (many of which seem to be pictured at this website.) I would love to make my own sampler this year in a similar style.
That should get me through most of the year, but there is always Paradigm lost to work on. I'm afraid my eyes aren't really good enough to work on it much though. In fact, I don't think I've made significant progress since the last photo I took of it about a year ago:
It's really a gorgeous design and I would love to get some work done on it this year, so I'll make an effort to work on it during the day when I have better light. Maybe with the new office I'll be more inspired to sit in here in the sunlight and get down to work!
While most of our flowers are at the end of their blooms for the season, there are still plenty of interesting things around our yard. Leaves with delicate, lacy outlines in the garden, ethereal feathers over by the bird feeder and all kinds of leaves -- well, everywhere. So I decided to take Maddie on a hunt around the yard and we collected all kinds of things.
After that we grabbed this book:
It's actually a book/kit called The Sunlight Print Kit and it comes with 12 sheets of treated paper, a nice book which we will be studying in school (homeschool) and a plastic cover and box for making the prints. This is really a lot of fun and can be educational too.
Basically you take a treated sheet of paper -- which is photo sensitive like film -- and place things on top of it. You want to do this inside away from direct sunlight. Then cover it with clear plastic or glass (to hold the items in place) and take it out into the sunshine. It only takes a minute or two. Come back inside, remove the items and rinse the paper in a shallow tub or pan filled with plain water and a couple drops of lemon juice. It's really like magic!
You can also make cyanotype prints on fabric. The most excellent book -- Complete Craft: Making Beautiful Projects at Home by Katherine Sorrell -- has a nice chapter on cyanotype and it's different applications. Her feather floor cube is printed on silk and is just gorgeous!
Last Thursday was a wild one here -- storms tore through and damaged too many trees, flooded roads and rivers and downed power lines. We were out at the post office when in struck! It went from sunny to 60-70 mph winds in a heartbeat -- in fact, it was sunny when we left the house. On the ride home we had to turn around several times because trees were blocking roads. Our power went out, which lead to a harrowing trip to the grocery to get ice. (Of course the power was on when we got home -- go figure.) Pete had a business trip and got stuck on the road for 3 1/2 hours coming home. (He would normally be on the train which was also very slow we heard.)
When Maddie and I reached our house, we found this huge branch down in the backyard. This is sad because it's the second large branch to come down from this tree just this year, so it looks like the tree trimming we had done didn't save it. That first photo is a look up at the gaping hole where about 1/3 of the tree is now missing. This is the 3rd huge maple we are losing since moving to this house -- very sad.
In crafting news, I finally started -- and finished -- a project that had been hanging over my head for years.
We went to Disney World back in 2004 and I bought a scrapbook there, got the photos developed and then I never did anything with it. With another trip to Disney planned for next year, I decided that it was time to get this thing done. This project did confirm my belief in my office remodeling project. I can't wait to have a huge countertop to do crafty projects on!
Finished! Bring on Disney World 2008!
Where the heck have I been? It seems like the summer is always a busy time even though both of my businesses slow down a bit.
And the heat, my god the heat! (Can anyone place that quote?) I always seem to slow down once the really hot weather hits. Lately Maddie and I have been taking early (for us) morning walks before it gets too hot. Good exercise for both of us.
But I've also found some time for crafting. I've been working on a new craft -- rug hooking. I bought this kit last year at the Michigan Fiber Fest and haven't done a thing with it until last weekend. I have no idea what I'm doing as I've never taken a rug hooking class and I don't have a book on the subject. It seems to be going okay though. I think I really need one of those rug hooking frames -- doing this with a little embroidery hoop is very difficult.
But mostly I've been reading -- I'm trying to re-read all the HP books before the new one comes out. I've finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) (finished last night). I just started Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) but I don't have book 5 (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)! Must remember to order that today along with the new one -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7). (Book 6 -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is waiting in the wings -- by book 6 I was hooked and had to purchase the hardcover as soon as it came out!) Do you think I'll finish by July 21st?
I am so behind! I just received mailorder #4 and realized that mailorder #3 still was unfinished. (In fact, so are #1 & #2 -- shhhh. . . . ) So in an effort to get things going, I pulled out all my back issues and cut out all the recipes and put them together -- then I decided to get down to work on this adorable needlestitch booklet.
I love book arts! In fact, I'm contemplating taking some classes at Columbia College's Center for Book & Paper Arts in the near future. So this project was right up my alley. I had never sewn a signature together with my sewing machine before, but it was quick and easy and worked out quite well. Amy is such a genius! I love mailorder!
It's time to lay it all out. Well not all. . . I know I have more wip's than I'm showing here, but these are the ones I'll probably finish. (Well mostly. . .)
Keepsake Shawl knit in many colors of Koigu. I started this in 2004, I believe and I came up with a great system for knitting it so that I could just pick it up and remember exactly which yarn to use and which row I was on. So why does is sit? Who knows. I really want to finish this one up, so I think I will make it my #1 knitting priority.
Ingeborg, oh Ingeborg. I started you back when the knit-along began. Was that 2004 also? And every winter I pick you up and get re-invigorated . . . for about 15-20 rows. Maybe this will be they year that you get finished!
Trekking socks started for the "Trek along with Me" knit-along. I never did take a picture of me trekking along. Is it still going on? I'm *awful* with knit-alongs (see Ingeborg above) and should never, ever join them. These socks will get finished though. I love Trekking yarn! It just takes me several months to finish a pair.
New felted bag design I'm playing around with. It's a smallish bag and I'll finish it up in the next week or two.
What is this thing???? Why am I making it? Okay, this is the Amineko and I decided to make it with Encore from the stash. I should have gotten a different yarn. I didn't really want a red cat and I don't really care for this yarn, so I never work on this project and the featureless head is all that has been made. Time to rip this one out and start over with a new yarn, I think. This was my only crochet project in the works and it's a failure. Ugh!
Oh! My quilt! I love these fabrics and want to get back to work on this soon. The last month has been so busy and I really need time when I want to quilt, so this has been neglected. I know that cooler, quieter weekends are on the way though, so it will progress!
Mountain Colors woven scarf. I love how the weaver's wool from Mt. Colors is sort of striping, sort of not in this scarf. A free hour or two and some good podcasts to listen to and this will be finished!
I'm still making good progress on that lovely pink fiber from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The third bobbin is well on it's way to getting filled up and then it's on to plying. I have no doubt that this will be finished up very soon.
Paradigm Lost cross-stitch sampler. I often want to work on this but there are several impediments to my progress -- First, I don't have good lighting pretty much anywhere in the house and I really need it to work with this dark thread on linen. Second, it's in a small basket, so I have to keep it stored off it's stretcher bars. So I can't just pick it up and stitch a bit -- it requires set up time. Third, my eyes get tired at night and that's usually when I find time to craft. Hmmm. . .
Elsa Williams Jacobean Crewel Embroidery. Not sure why this has stalled, other than the fact that I have so much going on.
I realized that I haven't listed the Kumihimo braid I'm working on either. And I'm sure there are other things. Maybe posting photos of my wip's on a regular basis will get me excited about them again. It seems to have worked. I'm already looking forward to getting in some rows on the Keepsake Shawl!
In other news, guess what tomorrow is. It's not my birthday, or wedding anniversary, but it is *an* anniversary for me. . .
For a while now Kumihimo has been on my list of crafts to try and last week I finally gave the folks at BraidersHand a call and ordered myself some supplies to get me started. Let me just give a shout out to Janis at BraidersHand. I didn't know her before I ordered from her and had bookmarked her site ages ago somehow, so when I called her up to order I didn't know what to expect. I usually just like to place my order online and wait for it to arrive, but I'm really glad I gave her a call! She was super friendly and really helped me out by suggesting exactly what I needed to get started (and what I didn't!) and also directed me to some cool links on other weaving and braiding things. Thanks, Janis!
So, my order arrived yesterday and last night I already made my first braid:
It's just a simple little spiral made out of some DMC (the thread you use for cross stitch) that I had around the house. The directions were very simple and I had no trouble getting started.
There's a lot of info out there on braiding, so rather than throw it in with my podcast on weaving, I'm going to be putting together a whole show on kumihimo and other braiding techniques. Any braiding tools & techniques you think I should look into?
The agony of crafting defeat. I should have listened. I wanted to save a few dollars. . . .
Learn from my mistake.
So I'm hear to tell you that you *do* need to use Bubble Jet Set when printing onto fabric with an inkjet printer. I took a picture of Maddie's watercolor painting:
I cleaned it up in Photoshop Elements, resized it and everything. Then I prepared my fabric -- Kona Cotton in some shade of white. Snow, maybe? I cut it to about 9" X 11 1/2" and ironed it. Then I cut a piece of Renyolds Freezer Paper (the kind that has one side that is coated in plastic) to size -- 8 1/2" X 11". I did all this cutting with a rotary cutter and a ruler, by the way. Super quick and easy! Then I ironed them together. After that I cut off the extra fabric and made sure there weren't any bubbles in the fabric. The final step was a quick going over of the fabric with a lint roller to remove any stray fuzz that might come between the ink and the fabric.
I ran the paper/fabric sheet through my printer using the "normal" paper setting and it worked great! The fabric looked great! I was so happy! Maddie was excited about the tote I was going to make her. I ironed the heck out of it on *hot*. I figured that might set that ink. Doesn't heat always set a stain? And what is ink on a fabric, if not a stain? Hmmmmm? I ask you?
Well, I left it to set for a few days until I got up the courage to plunge it into a sink of cool water. (I wasn't planning to wash the bag I made for her, but I worried about rain, spills and what not, so test it I must.) You can see the results.
So learn from my lesson. And now I'm off to purchase a bottle of Bubble Jet Set. And probably some Bubble Jet Set Rinse. I've angered the gods and I must pay retribution.
And if you like books and reading, please check out the latest episode of Booga Talk! Pete and I wax nostalgic about our first childhood reading experiences and other such nonsense. It's a hoot!
This past weekend was designated a work-free weekend and I pretty much didn't work. (This is actually shocking -- ask Pete. He didn't think I could go through with it!) Instead I focused on crafting. I have lots of craft supplies that I have been amassing in the hope that I might actually have time to try them out at some point.
You may remember back-tack II. When the heck was that anyway? Well, I bought all the stuff for my b-t buddy to learn lino printing and bought myself the "stuff" too. I have also been picking up the plastic erasers and different carving medium over the past few months, but until this past weekend I never gave it a try.
Now I did have motivation -- I have to admit. I signed up for moki's recipe card swap and the cards are due the 21st. And you had to stamp them with a hand carved stamp -- yikes!
It turned out to be pretty simple. I used my BSB logo sans swirls. Printed it out, went over it with pencil, turned it over onto the stuff I was carving, rubbed the back of the paper with my bone folder to transfer the design & started carving with the cutting tool.
Here it is after the first test stamp. I liked the rugged look, so I didn't fix the extra lines that showed up. I kind of wanted it to look like a woodcut, so the I figure the roughness helped rather than hurt.
To make the "recipe cards" I printed my "recipe" on back (It's a secret, in case any participants read my blog!), stamped the cards with commercially made stamps for a background and then stamped my sheep stamp in black on top:
Oh, there was other crafting too. I worked on amineko, my poor socks (I still knit, really I do!), and something else that I hint around at at Maddie's homeschooling blog. Stay tuned!
If you listen to my podcast, then you'll probably know what this is. Lately I've taken to crochet and decided to try my had at amigurumi (lots of links on amigurumi over at Stitch-Cast episode 6 since I went on and on about it!)
At any rate, I started this amineko (crochet cat -- pattern here) using dk weight yarn and a little crochet hook and it was just too small. Lots of people say they have been using good ol' Red Heart and having fab result, but I didn't have any of that in the stash. I did however have some Encore worsted weight, so that's what I'm using. It's working out much better and I actually got halfway through the noggin' while sitting down for a wee bit of crafting time last night.
In unrelated news, it's climbing up to 90 degrees here and my air conditioning is on the fritz. The repairman says he *may* get here today -- he may get here Monday. (I'm one of those people who has been know to faint -- yes, actually lose consciousness -- in the heat. Wish me luck!)
I'm not getting much crafting done, but Maddie is. Can you tell what she's doing in that picture? Read all about it at her homeschooling blog!
Where do I start? On Saturday I suppose, since that's where the weekend began. My wrist was sore, so I did my podcast on Japanese craft books (this plays a part later surprisingly) and then tried to do some crafting anyway. I started my quilt and nearly completed my backtack project. That's a sneak peek up above. Meanwhile, chef Pete when shopping and fixed a mixed veggie grill for dinner.
Sunday I was kind of miserable because my wrist was really sore and I couldn't do any crafting. Here I was hoping for a super crafty weekend too! So Pete, having listened to my podcast (ah! It all comes together. . .) suggested that we go out to Mitsuwa so I could check out the Japanese craft books and we could do a little shopping and eating.
All was well, but on the way home Pete suddenly didn't feel well -- at all. He was driving and I told him to pull off into the nearest parking lot. There happened to be a Starbucks there and he ran in while I got Maddie out of the car. I guess he nearly passed out and fell face first into a shelving unit at the back of the store, slicing open his chin. But he has a *much* better story explaining how it happened (he's a writer, after all :)
We drove all the way back to Joliet, went to the hospital, and a few hours later he was all stitched up and we were very tired and ready to go home.
Needless to say, Monday was low-key. It actually stormed here throughout the day and we just lazed around. I actually finished my pincushion for the Pincushion Challenge! Have you? Remember to email me your pictures to the pincushion challenge email address by tomorrow!
Yesterday, while Theresa was weaving in all those ends, I was finishing up the handle so I could felt the entrelac bag. And I have to tell you, the most amazing thing about entrelac felting is how incredibly flat it gets! It's like blocking lace, for goddnes sakes! You throw this lumpy, textured thing into the washer and this super flat, stained glass looking bag magically comes out. So much fun!
As I feared, I ran out of yarn before I could finish the handle -- that was 5 skeins of Noro Kureyon and it wasn't enough! -- so the pattern needs a bit of tweaking before it's ready for publication. That means I will be knitting another bag to test the changes. And fortunately yarn arrived yesterday:
Ooooh! Noro Kureyon 164! I've been wanting to knit with this colorway for a while. Green and brown are my colors and there is just a hint of orange and blue thrown in for good measure -- should make for a nice bag. I'm thinking this will be my MS&W project. I got the yarn from Linda who also sells my patterns and will be selling the new entrelac pattern when it's available!
And while Theresa was weaving in even more ends on Liberty, I decided to get started on my cross-stich project. Here's what I'm working on:
It's called Paradigm Lost by Long Dog Sampler. I talked about this on my podcast (Episode 3 -- Embroidery) so I won't go on about it here.
So thank goodness Theresa came over, or I may not have done any crafting this week!
Thanks for all the great comments about the Pincushion Challenge! I'm so excited that so many of you were interested in this project and I hope you like the first theme.
Stop by the new Pincushion Challenge website and let me know what you think. I can't wait to see pictures of your creations!
Last night I finished up this cute scarf from Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet -- yeah! I can crochet now! Thanks Deb Stoller! I talked about this book a while back and I just want to say that I am still a fan upon completion of this project. I'm already trying to figure out what crochet project I'll take on next.
Okay, I've had this idea in my head all week and I can't get it out. I know I already have a lot on my plate, but I'm thinking this might not be too much work once it's set up. Here's my idea. . .
I want to set up a pincushion challenge something like tie one on. Basically there would be a website and a flickr set. Each month there would be a new theme and you would make a pincushion and upload your picture.
I was also thinking that I could incorporate a pincushion swap a few times a year. (I know this part would be more work.) But wouldn't that be fun? It could be a pincushion & pin swap or something!
Okay, tell me what you really think about this idea.
First, a quick thank you to everyone who listened to my first episode of Stitch-Cast & an extra-special thank you to everyone who left me comments. I really appreciate it! I was very nervous about it and you all made me feel so much better!
So about that picture up there. Can you believe it? Debbie Stoller has done what no one else could -- she taught me crochet. And easily too! I sat down a couple nights ago (after 4 vodka tonics -- weak wedding vodka tonics, but vodka tonics nonetheless. . .) and started to crochet after picking up her book and looking at several pages. Really! It's true!
So if you are like me, and you have tried to learn crochet from a bunch of other books but failed, I suggest that you pick up Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. Seriously.
Books have been piling up and I thought I should share them with you. . .
52 Projects by Jeffrey Yamaguchi -- I've been seeing this book around many of my favorite blogs and I decided that I must have it. It's subtitled "Random Acts of Everyday Creativity" and it's filled with 52 projects that you can use to kick start your creativity. Paging through the book already has me excited! I'm sure I'll be posting about the projects as I start to work my way through the book.
Super Crafty -- I think I mentioned that Pete bought this for me for Valentines Day. Let me give you an idea of the projects that I plan to try from this book -- "Super Sock Monkeys" (can you believe I never made a sock monkey before?), "Magnets Galore + Inspiration Board", stuff from the section on shrink plastic (a whole section on shrinky dinks!) and the "Superstar Luggage Tag". Of course I'm sure I'll give each of these projects my own twist. I have to say that this book is packed with great jumping off points -- such as the section on vinyl, which is packed with tips. In fact, there's info on everything from sewing to block printing. Really a great resource to have around.
Complete Craft by Katherine Sorrell -- Great out of print book that I was lucky enough to find for a song on Alibris. Really great book! The crafts covered are unusual and while they produce beautiful sophisticated results, they are presented in a no nonsense way. You get the feeling that you could do any of them! Crafts covered include: screen printing, silk painting, felt making, paper making, cyanotype, mosaic, acrylic molding, gilding and many more.
Betty Crocker's Cooky Book -- I just had to get this one. I remember making cookies from my Mom's Betty Crocker Cookbook when I was little -- oooh! found a picture of hers online:
So anyway, I'm loving the vintage pictures and old fashioned recipes in this cookbook. And there is just about every cookie recipe imaginable included in this book too!
The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion -- A birthday gift from Pete. I love baking and I love books on baking. This is a winner of the James Beard Award and it's truly a comprehensive baking reference. Tips, advice and recipes -- my god, the recipes! If it's not in this book, I don't know where you'll find it. When I go to bake something, I love to have 3 or 4 recipes that I can look at as a jumping off point and that makes this a great addition to my cookbook library.
So that's some of the books that have been coming my way. And I haven't even started to tell you about the library book sale books. I'm almost finished with Wicked, so I'll be talking more about those soon!
It's been a bit of a mad dash around here today. Thank goodness Pete had today off!
First, I wanted to get together a post for whip up on French monochromatic cross-stitch designs. I have the design I included in the post over there coming from Stitching Bits and Bobs. Bobbie, the owner, has been a peach! I had to special order the thread because it takes a *ton* of the same color (*duh*) which had to be dyed up all in the same lot. I'm hoping to get everything to start on it in the next week!
I also had to get all the fabric for my quilting class washed and pressed today. It's in the washer on *super* gentle cycle as we speak.
The rest of the morning has been taken up with work (lots of orders for Black Sheep Bags since I was featured in an article in CNA Magazine!) This did give me time to get caught up on the crafting podcasts though. Here's some new ones (episodes) I listened to:
So you see. . . it's been a busy day. And I still have a quilting class ahead of me!
And Liz, you have *completely* changed my mind about CVM!! I am in love and will not be happy until I have a whole mess of CVM in my hot little hands. I think Theresa & I will be combing MS&W this year for this lovely fiber. I'm now thinking that the dyeing process must not have been kind to the CVM I had, because the lovely chocolate brown stuff you sent was so soft and springy that we could hardly believe it! Thanks again! We are having a lot of fun trying out these new fibers and were ooohing and aaahing as we fondled each one.
There's a new collective crafting blog / website out there called Whip Up. They were sweet enough to link to the knitting book review website that Theresa & I co-author --Two Friends Collect Books. Wasn't that nice?
Looks like it is going to be a very fun site as many of my favorite crafty bloggers will be contributors. This is one you will want to subscribe to and keep your eye on! I'm predicting many wondrous things!
Good news for those of you who, like me, are into crewel embroidery. Soon you will be able to purchase wool thread, linen and other supplies at the Wool & Hoop website. I exchanged emails with Katherine this afternoon to find out a little more and she is hoping to get the new items in her online shop sometime in the next month -- yipee!
She was so sweet and said that she will drop me a line when the shop is open. Until then she suggests looking for local needlepoint shops (oh, I wish I had one!). She also recommended these two online shops:
And in other embroidery news. Have you seen the cross-stitch charts from Anagram Diffusion? They are from France and their Collection "Monochromes" is incredible. I especially like their Sampler 4 Saisons. I used to do cross stitch as a kid, but hadn't really found anything I liked well enough as an adult to actually pick it up again. This may make me change my mind.
When I was at the Fold on Saturday, I saw the wall of merino fiber in every conceivable color and homeschooling crafts came to mind! I grabbed a bag and tried to get a bit of just about every color so that Maddie and I could try our hands at making some felted beads. Aren't the colors gorgeous all piled up together?
I gathered the necessary tools, which seemed to be only dish soap, towels and a bowl for the warm soapy water. (I just kind of surfed around the web a bit this morning to see if I could find some different "how-to's" to lead me in the right direction.)
What we did was this:
Here are the finished beads and the bowls of water. Not much output, but we also tried some beads with some BFL and they just didn't work out at all. And keep in mind -- you have to roll these for probably 5-10 minutes each (5 for me, 10 for Maddie who didn't use much pressure). Maddie thought it was a lot of fun though, so I'm sure we will be doing it again.
Oh -- and see her sheep up in the left hand corner? MSL Kids had a section on sheep in the Winter Issue and this was one of the crafts. Cute, huh?
So here is a close-up of our beads. I'm thinking that I want to try some with other colors layered on top, or maybe I could embroider them after they dry. I seem to remember seeing something like that somewhere. Oh the possibilities!