Saturday, September 8, 2012

lil' biggie

I'm entirely obsessed with this Gingermelon bear pattern.  I enlarged it a bit and made another today.  I can't stop!

Here they are for size comparison:

Making it this size took me about half the time it took for the little one!  the tiny one was all sewn by hand, but after it was enlarged I was able to sew the parts on the machine which saved time.  Of course there's still hand sewing involved, but knocking out most of it on the machine was great!

They're lil' pals!

The pattern has an adorable little dress too - I don't know why I haven't made one yet!  Naked bears are awfully cute, but with a little dress...over the top!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Brace yourself

Oh my heavens, this little bear...

This is the other pattern I got from Gingermelon on Etsy.  It was my first time sewing fur - not as terrible as I thought it'd be.  Not easy - I think mostly because of the size - as you can see, he's just a little squirt!  sewing those little arms, then turning and stuffing them, wasn't the easiest thing in the world, but oh the rewards:

The way his arms and legs are attached allows movement so he can sit or stand, which is super!  Maybe sometime I'll enlarge him and make a bigger one as a gift ( I think bigger would be easier - I could stitch  him on the machine instead of by hand) but this guy is never leaving me!  he's mine!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

that's my fun day

Instead of Sunday being my fun day (Sunday was set in stone as fun day by the Go Go's - that can't be argued) it was Saturday for me!  Not sure I did anything remotely responsible except for running to the grocery to get eggs, making breakfast, then making dinner.  The rest was me time - and I with that time, I made this little cutie!

She's from the Best Friends pattern by Ginger Melon except that I didn't use the felt hair because I was inspired by her Cotton Candy dolls with hair that was needle felted on.  I figured I could get one pattern and have several options.  I didn't stuff her head quite enough so i think the lower part of her face is oddly shaped, and I'm not in love with her dress (I think it's the contrasting thread that I chose - I though it'd be cute but I'm a little meh about it.  easy enough to redo though.) Other than that, i think she's a sweet sweet sweetie!  Her arms lay down nicely (they're standing out a bit because of the dress) and have movement due to the way they're attached - it's a really good and well written pattern.  I only stabbed myself with the felting needle once - boy, that's a brain jarring experience!   I love her curly little hair!

Then after dinner I started on this:

Looks like I'm making a Yeti, doesn't it?  It'll be an adorable little bear!  I splurged on two pattens because I just couldn't make up my mind.  cutting out fur is a tedious affair - you have to snip snip snip slowly and shallowly through the back so that you aren't cutting fur - just the backing fabric.  The pieces turn out very nice though - I've always been afraid of fur because of the mess, but this has the added benefit of not being messy.

The stitching is also tedious - you blanket stitch, then go back and back stitch it.  I can see how it's necessary to make it good and stable though.  Oh, it'll be so cute!  Just for the record, Emily, I blame you for all of this - you started it with the Pin of these little bears and got me started  obsessed!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

ingredients for cuteness

Add a bit of this, and some of this (felt from BenzieBazaar and mohair that i got with the intention of doing a Blythe reroot until I decided that the temporary wig was beyond perfect)

and a half yard of this

to get some super cuteness!  results to come!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

another swoon and a lesson about cotton (and what to do when a CSI van is in front of your house!)

This was a full weekend - I feel like I got a ton done!  (not rebuilding the fence gate, or replacing the curtain rod in the bathroom - you know, that'd be stuff that actually needed to be done!)  On Saturday I got up early and went to the Yellow Springs book fair and farmer's market (both fantastic!) then in the evening I went to a special knit night party at Carrie's house.  I'm super jealous of your fun kitchen, by the way Carrie!  (in case you couldn't tell!)  On Sunday my eyes popped open at 7:20, for some reason, and as usual, my brain started reeling off all the stuff I should get up and do - so i got up and did a bunch of cleaning and little things that needed to be done - that always makes me feel accomplished.  Then in the middle of my cleaning I realized I was hearing a lot of talking outside and I peeked out the front door to be nosy.  Well it was 2 cop cars and a CSI van in front of my house!!  whaaat?  I went out to get the paper, just to see what I could see and it was just 2 cops talking and a couple neighbors down a ways - I went back in, but kept peeking out!  At one point I thought I heard one cop say "blah blah blah blood trail" and I went out and said "uh, i'm sure I'm not supposed to come out here and ask what's going on, but what's going on?" (i'm just basing what i'm supposed to do and not supposed to do on episodes of Law and Order!) and the rest of the conversation went like this:

cop - "one of your neighbors found a gun in your front yard"
me - "you're kidding!!"
cop - "I don't make up stuff like that"
(at this point I look down and see a gun right by my crab apple tree! )
me - "oh my god!"
cop - "yeah, you're our prime suspect! haha!" - I'm pretty sure that was meant to translate as "ok, just take your ass back in the house ma'am" so I did!  oh, I don't think anyone actually said "blood trail" because I didn't see any of that.

They never knocked on the door to ask any questions, after a while they, and the gun, just went away.  Yikes!  Excitement!  Ok Hannah - I may not ride city buses, but I do have guns in my yard so I don't think you can call me "country mouse" anymore! haha!

Anyway, I made some popovers for breakfast and then made another Swoon block:

This is the FIRST one that I made without having to rip anything apart and redo it!  you wouldn't think making a damn quilt block would be rocket science, but I never fail to f*#@ something up!  It's more turquoise-y in normal light, but that's what I get for waiting until 8:00pm to take a picture.  The red is the same gingham that I used to bind the baby quilt.  4 blocks down - i need 9 for the quilt (these are BIG blocks - 24"x24")

Oh, and now for the lesson!  At Carrie's party we were talking about mercerized cotton and wondering just what that meant (guess that's the kind of conversations you get when you have nothing but knitters in a room!) so I googled it and here's the answer from :

Mercerized cotton is cotton which has been treated with sodium hydroxide to bring out certain properties first discovered by John Mercer in 1851. In 1890, Horace Lowe added an additional step to the process, and the British cotton industry began to take an interest in mercerizedcotton, which is available today in a wide range of incarnations from thread to completed garments. When treated properly, mercerized cotton is stronger, smoother, and shinier than regular cotton. In addition, it takes dye more readily so that manufacturers can create rich color saturation in their cottons. The brilliant, lustrous hues of Mercerized cotton can be found in fabric stores, yarn shops, and department stores all over the world.
John Mercer discovered that immersing fibers such as cotton and linen in a caustic soda bath would increase their strength and also allow them to take dye more readily. He patented his fiber work, but the cotton industry did not express very much interest in it. It was Horace Lowe who popularized the process, by discovering that keeping the fibers under tension while they were soaked yielded a more lustrous thread. Mercer's name is presumably given to the process to recognize his important initial discovery, which paved the way to Lowe's refinement of the treatment.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Olga the gimpy bear

I finally stitched up the Huggable Bear last night.  I'm pretty sure I previously mentioned how frustrated I was with running out of yarn once, buying more, then running out before the last leg was finished.  I thought her short leg could sort of be disguised in some way during construction, but apparently I didn't try hard enough!  it's pretty obvious!

However, I still think she's quite cute, gimpy or not!  And she's very huggable!  I tried to not stuff her too much so she'd be squishy.  I decided to name her Olga after a girl on an episode of Little House on the Prairie who also had a short leg and wasn't able to play with the other kids until Michael Landon made her a built up shoe.  So touching!  Right now I have the bow horribly straight pinned into her head - i just needed something to make her look girly.  I'm thinking maybe she needs a scarf or something too.  who knows.  maybe the bow is enough.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

the results show

I had a great day with my mom yesterday - antiquing and flea marketing for her birthday.  Somehow she bought nothing, but did have a great time!  She LOVED her hot pads (and of course could not be talked into actually using them - she'll display them and never let a pan bottom touch them!) She also loved the Rahn's bagels - she bought us a little chunk of aged white cheddar from an amish shop and we at that and a bagel for lunch.  We shopped the outside vendors at Caesar's Creek flea market.  meh. a little junky.  However, I did score some vintage cookbooks (the little paperback kind that I love) for 50 cents each, and this amazing Pyrex casserole in a color and pattern that I don't have yet!  I only paid $4!!  the vendor had it marked $5.50 and my mom asked if she'd take $4 - it wasn't even the price that was making me hem and haw - it was the fact that I have so many casserole dishes already!  but $4 is amazing!   

Then we shopped some place across the street that had several outbuildings and signs that said "flea market" but it was kind of the equivalent of shopping in somebody's garage.  nothing good there.  So we went into Waynesville.  That little lady has some real stamina, let me tell you!!  We met at 10am and I didn't get home until a little after 6pm!  In Waynesville I picked up another little cookbook, a delicious cup of lemonade from the Hammel House, and a set of 5 of these glasses!  Glasses tend to be slippery little fish when they're wet and soapy and we break a fair amount of them, so when I see fun ones like these and the price is right, I pick them up!

And finally, on a different note, but also under the "results" category, the english muffins!  They came out looking just like english muffins should!  however, the insides aren't filled with nooks and crannies - just bread.  "a fine crumb" as the bakers would call it - however, they're delicious and are still great toasted and spread with butter or jam for breakfast!  I'd have cut one open to take a picture, but I already had breakfast and didn't time it well!  I still highly recommend the recipe - it was probably something I did - maybe I should try a longer third rise to really build up some bubbles next time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

vacation from worky

(whenever I think the words "vacation day from work" i immediately have the song that Homer sang to Marge when he got sent on a business trip for the nuclear plant "oh Margie, you came and you brought me a turkey, on my vacation from worky!"  I know you don't care - I just didn't want you to think I made a typo in the post title!)

I took a vacation day today.  Tomorrow is my mom's birthday and we're going to the Ceasar's creek flea market because neither of us have been there, and it's where she wanted to go.  We might also go into Waynesville - expecially if the flea market turns out to be a dud.  Even if we spend hours there, she'll probably still want to do more - she's got a lot of stamina!

Anyway, I've been struggling to figure out what to get her for her birthday - unfortunately I didn't realize how close her birthday was until it was really close!  i always like to make her something and July just went by so fast that it was August before I knew it and there just isn't much time to make anything.  I have no idea why I spent so much time and energy wracking my brain for what I could knit in a week - knitting anything would be the slowest way to make a gift!  I decided a hat would be do-able, but then I settled on a dk weight cabled number.  sheesh.  And to make matters worse, I got all the way through the ribbing and then struggled with the first couple rows of the cables, only to find out that I'd *#$*@d up the ribbing by not reading the pattern right!  My friend Carrie ripped the whole thing back (because she loves ripping out other people's stuff!) and I started over.  At some point, probably on Tuesday, I just said "to hell with this - it's not going to be finished by Friday night!" so I quit rushing and decided it'd be a great Christmas gift!

I did think of something quicker finally - some embroidered pot holders!  I haven't made anything for her with my embroidery machine yet, and it seemed fitting since it was a gift from her!  I got a pattern for some cute root vegetables and used some fabric that was left over from her kitchen valance for the borders.  I think she'll love 'em!

I'm betting she'll say "well why didn't it outline right?" but I'll have to explain that's how the design is supposed to be - sort of sketchy!

I went to the 2nd Street Market this morning to get her a dozen bagels from Rahn's Bread because she loves bagels!  then I found a Burro's Tail plant at the Wegerzyn booth and got her that too.  Unfortunately, while buying that I fell in love with this Philodendron and got it for myself.  I put it in a big pot in my sewing room.  Look at how the new growth is RED!  beautiful!

Also, on my vacation day, while I have time for things like letting bread rise three times, I'm making english muffins for the first time!  The recipe is from my new favorite food blog - Budget Bytes.  She has amazing stuff - check it out!  Let's hope these turn out nice and craggy with lots of nooks and crannies!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

quilt fit for a baby!

All of my quilts are really only fit for babies - they haven't quite developed any critical skills yet and can't tisk-tisk at my uneven stitches!  Even so - i'm kind of pleased with this one.  I started it before I knew whether my next niece was going to be a niece or nephew and I thought the colors would work for either.  (and you may recall, it was something I felt bad I hadn't finished yet!)  This block is called a bento box.  Um, now that I looked at other bento box quilts to make sure I was remembering the right name, I might have kinda done it wrong.  I mean it's not wrong - it just may not quite be a bento box!  oh well!  oh, you can't really gauge how big this thing is from the picture - it's only about 36x36, I think.  

I used a tiny red gingham for the binding!  

I did a pretty piss poor job of the actual quilting.  Some of the stitches are too long because I just couldn't seem to keep an even speed on my free motion action - I've got to get better at this!  It's kind of terrifying - so much to maneuver and so little to grip onto!

I made this back snazzy too - it was partially out of necessity because I didn't have enough of the green kona!  


I'm not usually super into the summer olympics, but I do LOVE the parade of nations for some reason! I know it's just hours of people walking and waving, but I love seeing so many countries and their parade of nations outfits, and even the little pop ups that tell you that country's population!  I especially loved the placard bearers with their giant back brace country names!

 I felt sorry for ones who only got to carry short country names, for some reason - I thought if it was me, I'd want a giant one that really took up some space!  I also liked their odd dresses with the volunteer's faces on them, and their shoes, which I still can't seem to get a good picture of!

 I felt bad because I fell asleep while we were only in the "N's" or something - I just couldn't make it!

I also love this website from NBC - it shows all the sports with tons of info!  Like, if I wanted to know how exactly the judges score something like "trampoline" (which is did not realize was an olympic sport!) then I can find it right here!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Victorio victorious!

When my grandpa moved into a nursing home years ago and we were cleaning out his house, I picked up a Victorio Food Strainer from his pantry and took it.  It was all still in the box and it remained there until this morning when I decided maybe I'd try to process some tomatoes and make marinara. It looked like he'd only used it once maybe because nearly everything was still sealed up!  I picked yet another big bowl of tomatoes this morning so I needed to make something delicious with them!

After doing this, I have a newfound respect for jarred sauces - I felt like it took a LOT of tomatoes to get this amount of juice!  It was about 40 oz when I was done, and it was very watery so I knew it'd need to simmer down quite a bit.  At first I felt like there was a lot going into the waste bowl, but it actually did a great job of just separating the skins.  (My yellow gooseberry Pyrex bowls helped out too! :)

I used the biggest strainer - I suppose a smaller one would have removed the tomato seeds, but then I'd just have had juice.  There are 3 other sized strainers that come with it - berry, pumpkin, and something else.  I put it on the stove with some sauted onions and garlic, a little balsamic vinegar, a little sugar, a couple bay leaves, and some dried basil and oregano.  I let it simmer for probably a hour and a half and I think it's great!  It's cooling and I haven't transferred it to anything to see just how much I got out of it - but regardless, I think it was a good use of tomatoes!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

why paying $5 s/h is worth it!

I started making what I think is going to be a super cute teddy bear for my niece.  It's this pattern, which is first saw on Craftsy - it's called huggable bear, and I think it will be!  I found some of that Lion Brand Luxe Fur at JoAnn's - I'd seen it in their ads, but never at a shop, AND it was 40% off, which is good because I'm not too keen on paying $8+ for some fancy fun fur yarn! And just for the record, I like it, but I don't love it - i think it knits up to resemble carpet, and the thread that holds it all together needs to be nylon or something tougher than whatever it is - it's very easy to break, like when you're threading it back through stitches at the end of a piece.

 I got 3 skeins which was pretty close to what the pattern called for, but even the pattern is a little sketchy about how much you need - it seems to be based just on the yarns she's used (and I believe she's from the UK, so i couldn't get my hands on any she used, plus I was wanting to try the Luxe Fur.)  Turns out that 3 skeins only got me through the body, head, and part of one arm!  Billy suggested that he could be a disabled bear.  I decided to buy more yarn.  Shipping was $5 on Joann's website unless I spent $50 so i was like "no way".  I went today and, of course, spent more than $50!  I did get a remanant of some black fur fabric because my uncle gave me some vintage teddy bear book a while back, and I thought maybe this bear would like a bear friend of its own!  There were three skeins left of this color, so I got all of them!  i'm not going to risk this again! I also got two of these packs, not because I needed more fabric, but because I hadn't seen these before and it seemed like a neat little packaging idea (geez, i'm such a sucker for merchandising!)  It's a Denise Schmidt fat quarter pack, but it's all one piece of fabric with cut lines.  Anyone else seen these yet?

What the heck - spending a few hours at Joann is more fun that ordering a couple skeins of yarn online!

Friday, July 20, 2012

the downside of queues

I used to think the idea of a queue was fantastic - specifically when Ravelry came about (doesn't if feel like its always been about?)  It gave me a way of remembering all the stuff I want to make so that when I get around to it, I won't have forgotten anything.  Sometimes, like lately, I'm thinking that forgetting is probably bliss.  I feel like I have a queue of everything - whether it's a documented knitting queue, or yarns I want to try weaving up instead of knitting, or things to sew, or books to read!  It's all snowballing and I for some reason I can't just tell myself I've got a lifetime to get around to it, because it feels like I'm constantly behind!  just look at the lists!  it's obvious that I'm behind!  aaaaak!

I have so many sewing patterns that I've bought and intended to make that I've got doubles of some - I've looked at the pattern books so often I can't remember what I liked enough to buy the last time and which ones i didn't but should have!  Granted, I buy them when they're 99 cents usually, so I'm not going to go to the poorhouse over it, but still!  I have this quilt top that I made a year and a half ago - it's  still not a quilt.  I have this one that I made for someone - maybe it was intended for my next niece?  or my manager's new baby?  I can't even remember - but this is where it is now, pinned but not quilted.  does it look like it's next in line?  no, it's getting buried by other stuff in the queue!

Oh, and then I bought this whole design pack of mother goose embroidery patterns and started making them, think they'd make cool quilt blocks for a baby blanket.  and they will.  but add it to the list!

I bought 7 Norwegian crime novels on my Kindle and I'm on #2 - I read it for as many minutes as I can before I fall asleep at night.  On my Kindle Fire I have Taft, another Ann Patchette novel - because I've decided I need to read her entire backlist now.  I know words like "backlist" because I listen to the NY Times book review podcast while I'm sewing - you know, so I can add more books to the queue!  In addition to the electronic versions, I've got 3 books I borrowed from my uncle in a pile by the bed - one I'm halfway through, but three books got to be a bit much!  And then there's the bookshelf with all my other used book finds, and the co-worker who reads like a banshee and passes good ones on to me in a never ending stream - oh geez, I have one of hers in the pile by the bed too!  

Here's the thing, reading this post, I feel like I'm so busy, but I'm really just frantic - i'm pretty lazy and I think my eyes are nearly always bigger than my crafting stomach most of the time!  I have time after work, but I find myself playing Words With Friends and watching yesterday's episodes of Project Runway (did you know the new season started?) instead of doing something in one of my many queues!  i'm my own worst enemy.  The only thing that has made me feel better is rolling back through my blog to find posts for old quilts and whatnot and realizing that I've made a damn lot of stuff!  I need to take a deep breath and remember that this is all supposed to be fun!  

Monday, July 16, 2012

another fake Purl Bee project

I say this is a fake Purl Bee project because I got the idea from them, but not the suggested $22/yard sheer linen!  I just can't justify that.  I did, however, find some sheer linen at JoAnn Fabrics, and while it was still a bit of a splurge, it was not anywhere near $22/yard!  It's hard to tell in the picture how sheer it is, but it really is lovely and thin.  It's slightly off white, and the pom poms are white so there's a little contrast, but it's still going to be super versatile!  I love it!  I should have taken a picture of it worn long too - it's doubled in the picture.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Despite the drought

I've been picking tomatoes like crazy this past week!  It feels early to me, but I'm no good at keeping track of things like that!  (Unlike my grandpa who kept super detailed logs of when everything was planted, when it was picked, how many quarts or pints were canned, etc.  How did he find time to do all that?)  I have so many I'm going to make gazpacho today!  I got a nice french baguette at the farmers market this morning.  I also got a couple cukes and a red pepper.  I'm assuming the cucumbers were homegrown - they looked like it, but when I asked about the pepper he said he bought them.  i'd already given him the money so I couldn't back out, but I find myself getting more and more disillusioned with the farmers market.  If I wanted to buy a non-homegrown pepper, I could just go to Kroger and pay way less.  I suppose it's my job to ask the questions, so it's my own fault.  The 2nd street market does require the vendors to list where their produce was grown now, but not all of them post signs.  Sometimes I feel like the vendors are just laughing and saying "those dupes will buy anything if it's at a farmer's market!" as they're buying boxes of lettuce from the same distributors that pull up to the big grocery stores!

Monday, July 9, 2012

crocheting like a tunisian!

Well, actually I learned that tunisian crochet isn't really from Tunisia, but whatever - I'm doing it!  I got 2 of the 3 hooks I ordered in the mail today so I started watching my Craftsy class taught by Jennifer Hansen.  She's a great instructor and somehow they get really  nice close camera shots when she's showing little things, like where to put your hook.  The first project is a spa cloth.  Because the hooks I got were the two bigger ones, I didn't go with the dk weight like the pattern is written for.  So hers is a beautiful silk dk weight spa cloth and mine is a big bulky weight cotton-from-a-cone rag!  That's ok though - it's pretty fun to do!  Here's what I've got so far:

Can you see the three different stitches?  The bottom part, and up the sides is simple tunisian crochet - it looks kind of woven, like little boxes.  Then there's a tunisian knit stitch - which looks just like a knit stitch!  Then there's a reverse tunisian crochet which looks like a purl stitch.  Those three stitches will make up the cloth - with concentric squares of each.  Tunisian crochet is really dense at normal gauge - like armor!  in fact, Jennifer Hansen designed a couple corsets for Vogue knitting that are tunisian crochet - I've seen the patterns but never noticed they were not knit!  I'm eager to get to the next lesson where we do multicolored things!  I think that's going to be similar to the stashbuster blanket that's on the Craftsy website!

Here are some great tunisian crochet garments for inspiration:  Anais (a cropped jacket), chain mail beret and cowl,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Things I'm loving

A few weeks ago I was driving home from the North Dayton Garden Center, where I impulse bought a barrel cactus and named it Jesus because I just thought a cactus should have a Mexican name - anyway, I heard a piece on NPR about a local writer who'd written and published a detective novel that's set in 1930's  Dayton.  I repeated the title "No Game for a Dame" all the way home and looked it up on my kindle when I got there.  It was available as a free download through their Prime library so I started reading it. It's great!  then I decided not to keep my Prime membership and it got sucked right back - and I wasn't finished!  aaak!  I remembered that it wasn't very expensive, but when I went back this time, it was free for the Kindle.  yep.  zero dollars.  That means you totally need to get it - especially if hearing about old Dayton landmarks is something you think is cool, or you enjoy getting to say "gumshoe detective" a lot when you're talking about it to friends and neighbors!  The main character is a spunky detective (that's the "dame" part!) and it's definitely worth reading.  Note - i just went back to Amazon to link to it and it's $2.99 for a Kindle version now - maybe I caught the very tail of my Prime membership?  who knows - it's still totally worth it!

Another thing I'm loving lately is Craftsy!  Anybody else tried any of the online classes they offer?  They have a couple that are free - like one called Block of the Month for quilting.  I tried that one to see if I'd like it, and it's pretty cool!  I bought another called Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine - I've learned so much and I haven't even finished watching it!  It's cool because  you can start and stop wherever you want.  You can post questions for the instructor or comments/questions for other folks taking the class and then get responses.  They have spots where you can upload pics of your finished projects for inspiration, and all of the patterns and class materials, etc. are downloadable.  It's a pretty cool platform for a class - I've always been a book learner - but the visual is pretty cool too.  They have sales on their classes pretty often - you can get on an email list so you know when they are.  Most recently I bought a class on Tunisian Crochet taught by Ann Hanson from Stitch Diva.  I haven't started watching it yet, but I did buy 3 tunisian crochet hooks (just assuming I'll love it!) Two projects are made during the class - a spa cloth just to get the hang of it, then a multi garment (that's what they call it - it's kind of in the vein of their wear-it-a-million-different-ways garments they have on their website.)  Oh, and once you've bought the class you can watch it as many times as you want - it's yours forever.  Or, as they say, as long as the internet exists.  They have a huge variety of classes too - not just knitting and quilting - crochet, sewing (like really impressive couture how-to's!), home decorating, holiday stuff, cooking (there's one on artisan cheese making!), cake decorating, paper crafting - everything you can think of!  check it out and tell me if you take anything!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

welcome home!

The fella comes home tonight - it's been a very long three weeks for both of us!  he was in California visiting a good friend, and even though he had a great time, he's ready for home!  I made him this banner to greet him when he walks in the door!  It's just a paper, glue, a sharpie, and a pair of fancy edged scissors kind of project, but it'll do the trick!

And this afternoon I'll be baking a welcome home cake - Duncan Hines has a french vanilla cake mix that's really great!  Even Julia Child said she always used a cake mix - so don't hate on me!

This morning I finished 2 more project bags.  This time, at the fantastic suggestion of English Emily (not sure if she realizes we call her that back in Ohio!  She met a dreamy Englishman and moved there to start a family with him - now her life feels to me like some kind of wonderful PBS drama!  Yet she pines for Taco Bell - i can't understand it!  sorry Emily, but I can't! :)  I used whole coffee beans inside the secret scent pouches.  She used to knit with us at a local coffee house and she said her knitting always smelled like coffee when she got home so she suggested I use coffee beans instead of lavender in the pouches - I love it!  and the scent automatically refreshes as the beans knock into each other when the bag moves.  Thanks Emily!

I eyeballed the size for the overall bag - kind of based on the embroidered piece, and kind of based on laziness - and just by sheer luck some are the perfect size to slip a magazine into - and because both projects I've been working on lately are from magazines, it's just right!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let the pictures flow!

Get this - i won a new camera at work today!!!  i never win anything!  even better is the fact that I've been camera-less for a week because the fella went to California to visit a friend and i was like "sure - take the camera!  i can totally survive without it for a few weeks!"  but it turns out that i cannot!  everywhere i turn, there's something i need to take a picture of.  Like this little gal that I finished up this week:

I don't know who she's going to, but I just had to make her!  The drawing was part of the Battle of the Businesses thing that we do every year, but it's sporty and i'm not sporty, so i gave money instead and got raffle tickets.  and won.  It's a Nikon coolpix s4300 and it's a tiny little thing, but it takes smashing pictures!  i couldn't believe the detail it got on this, my third Swoon quilt block, that I made over the weekend:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

another bag and a new project to put in it

I just couldn't stop embroidering yesterday!  I finished this second project bag!  I realized after the fact that it was supposed to have 3 colors, but i think it looks good in a single color too (I'm probably only saying that because I screwed up!)  It says "knit fast Die warm!"  pretty funny. 

Because this one has a flat bottom, I did a lavender patch inside like this:

Then I did this one, but haven't made it into a bag yet.  See the little bandaid on his rump?  it's because he sheared himself to knit a sweater - pretty cute!

Oh, I also did a kitchen towel, but forgot to take a picture - it's got a Fiesta Cat on it!  it's a cat with a mexican hat and maracas - perfect for mexican night, or a breakfast ole' (not that I'm getting out a special towel to go with a meal, but still cute!)

Because I'm getting kind of sick of working on nothing but my chevron scarf with the wolle cotton, I decided to start on this summer tank.  I have some mill ends flax/linen blend in orange, tangerine, and yellow so I'll make it a striped, color block version.  I'm going to make it longer too - more of a tunic length, which i think will be more flattering with its flared shape - a short flared tank will look not great on me!  I've had this pattern in my queue for some time and the though of trying to find a 2008 issue of interweave on my bookshelf was kind of daunting - but believe it or not, I put my finger on one issue in the magazine organizer and it was THE ONE!  can you believe that?  never again will that happen.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I didn't even want one until you had one!

I, like everyone else, I'm sure, voted for my favorite design to be put on Ravelry's new project bag, but when it was announced, I was kind of like "hmm, i'm not sure I'd actually buy a muslin drawstring bag.  My friend Catherine and I were emailing back and forth about it and I realized that while I may not buy one of those, I could sure as hell use the excuse to buy some machine embroidery designs and make my own!!  I've been buying up a shit ton of designs because Urban Threads is having a huge sale for their 4th Birthday - woohoo!  Let me just stop for a minute and tell you that I can't say enough about Urban Threads - they have great designs for those of us who want to machine embroider but aren't into borders of country hearts or teddy bears, and their prices are unbelievable.  Other sites have way less detailed design for at least double the price.  I love that place!!  I'd even say that you should buy a machine JUST to buy designs from Urban Threads!  haha!  

Anyhoo, I started on this last night and finished it today.  It's going to be 90+ degrees all weekends, so i plan to not step outside for even a minute, and therefore won't feel guilty for sewing!  I think it's a great size, and it'll be super useful.  Even if it's not - it's pretty cool looking!

I had to chuckle a bit when I bought this pattern though, because honestly i barely feel like machine embroidery is very "handmade" - i just listen to my iPod and change thread colors whenever it's finished with a section.  In fact, I don't even have to sit in front of it - I let it go to town while I sit at ol' Alice and actually sew something!  it's a pretty sweet deal!  Oh, I did choose the colors, so i suppose there's a hair of creativity there.  i'm grasping at straws now.

Here's the little bit I'm actually proud of thinking of though:  i made a loosely filled sachet of lavender and sewed it to the bottom of the bag where it'd sit flat and repel moths and make my knitting smell lovely!  it's like a secret in the bottom of the bag!  Sometimes I'm a genius!

This will be my next bag - it says "Knit Fast Die Warm!"  haha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Read this!

I know this is supposed to be a crafty blog, but I feel like I've been reading like crazy lately and I personally love, love, love, book recommendations - so I'm going to give some based on some of my recent favorites!

I picked up one of Ann Patchett's non-fiction books somewhere (half-price books?  i don't remember) for just a couple dollars and totally fell in love with her style.  I'd also recently heard a piece on NPR about her opening a local bookstore and I know she's not a big fan of Amazon, to put it mildly.  I can totally understand that.  I don't shop at Walmart for the same reason.  However, I haven't been able to give up Amazon.  so sorry, Ann, for the Amazon links.  This non-fiction book of hers was Truth and Beauty and it was about her lifelong friendship with Lucy Grealy, also an author.  I loved it.  Because of that one, I got the  kindle version (actually I checked it out of the Dayton library electronically) of State of Wonder and it was amazing.  It's one of those books that you just don't want to end.  It's about a researcher who goes to the Amazon to check on a drug development cell there and lives with the natives.  The women there chew the bark of a rare tree and it allows them to be fertile far longer than normal.  Of course it's also about the relationships between all the characters, which is what Ann Patchett does so well, in my opinion.  So after that I bought Patchett's Patron Saint of Liars for my kindle because it was only $2.99.  It's about a woman who runs from everything in her life but ends up living at an old hotel converted into a Catholic home for unwed mothers.  Again, the story of the relationships - told from her point of view, her daughter's, and her husband's, is super.

Aside from my Ann Patchett spree, I've read some other great books - lots of times I find some surprising stuff on Amazon's list of 100 for $3.99 or less (again, Kindle versions) - things I'd never try otherwise.  World Made by Hand was one of those.  It's by James Howard Kustler and it's a postapocalyptic novel but instead of being all Mad Max-like, it's like the world goes back to colonial times where everything is smaller, if you know what I mean.  Travel isn't possible (and there isn't anywhere to go anyway) and things seem more conservative - people convert back to mores and traditions their grandparents might have lived by.  It's pretty interesting.  There were some bad reviews about the female roles being so weak, but I think it was kind of part of the times, mentally, for the people building a new kind of world based on old ways.  Sure, they're modern folks so you'd think something would have stuck with them, but I just have a hard time getting too political about novels so it didn't bother me.  I really liked it a lot actually.

I'm kind of a cheapskate and usually don't pay a lot for my Amazon books, but I'd heard so much about Murakami's new novel 1Q84 that I had to splurge.  It's about a million pages long, so I feel like I got what  I paid for in terms of bulk!  Aside from that, it was amazing.  Weird and interesting - which is what he does.  It's about a world split into two.  I don't even want to try to explain more than that.  Just read it!

Lastly, a co-worker leant me a copy of The Tale of Edgar Sawtell (oh man, it's only $2.99 for a Kindle edition right now!)  - it's another long one, but I feel like I actually slowed down as I was nearing then end because I didn't want it to be over.  It's about a mute boy whose father dies, and how he slowly figures out what happened.  It's also about his relationship with the dogs that he family bred and trained.  It was so good - I was surprised when I just looked at some people's comments about the ending.  I thought it was perfect and totally unexpected.  I found a copy for $2 at a used bookstore, but it's totally worth more than that.

Ok, those are my recommendations.  What are you reading?  do tell.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

sachets a-stuffed!

I worked on some sachets this morning when I thought it was going to start raining - seemed like a nice rainy morning activity, but then it didn't rain!  Anyway, they're turning out great!  I still have about 10 more to do, but my fingers were tired, and frankly my nose was a little tired of smelling lavender!  

The fabric on the right is from a vintage tie that I bought ages ago.  The designer was Rooster (I kept the cool tag from the back of the tie!) - i should look it up online.  I never did anything with the tie but I couldn't bear to get rid of it so I just deconstructed it and kept the fabric.  I love it!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

paper bow

Use this tutorial and make a paper oragami bow.  do it now!  it's fantastic!

(this picture, however, is not fantastic.  sorry.)

too much, again

Much like my past overzealousness when it came to colorful snaps and gingham buttons, I recently purchased something like a half a kilo of lavender!  

Who needs that much lavender?  well, I do - I'll get to that in a minute.  I also bought that much because I'm frugal and it was way cheaper to buy it bulk than to get it by the ounce somewhere.  I did talk myself out of the 2lb bag, because at some point the per unit price starts being a ridiculous measure.  seriously - i don't need 2 lbs of lavender.  that would be crazy.  

Here's another thing that's crazy - the fact that those folks at Purl Soho can make me obsessed with something like sachets!  It was this recent post - and of course it's because they have a way of photographing things and arranging colors that totally overtakes me!  it could be a stack of unwashed socks and they could convince me that i absolutely needed to make that project!  They nearly had me convinced that I needed that roll of vintage chintz prints, but at $75, i could pretty easily say no way.  Besides I have tons of great cottons.  So i made these:

I'm sure I have places for 20 sachets!  I'm sure you do too, if you think about it - chest of drawers, closets, yarn bins, winter hat/glove drawers - everywhere!  Now I just need to do some stuffing of sachets and hand sewing them closed!  By the way - the lavender smells amazing!  even inside the ziplock bag AND the bag it was packed in for shipping, it made the whole dining room smell like lavender!  I got it from Lavenderluxeries on ebay - she was great!