Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
As the days get colder and the nights darker, I find myself snuggling in and just wanting to sip tea and and make things. I have resolved that at least 85% of my gifts shall be hand-crafted. Between embroidering, crocheting and sewing, I decided that my house needed some handmade holiday cheer of its own.
The crocheted snowflake garland was the perfect solution.
To make the snowflakes:
Ch 5 on hook size 3 mm and form a ring with 1 sl st in first ch.
Row 1: ch 1, 11 sc in ch-ring, finish with 1 sl st in first ch.Row 2: ch 2, * 1 dc in next sc, ch 6, 1 dc in next sc *, repeat 5 times, 1 dc in next sc, ch 6, finish with 1 sl st in 2nd ch from beg of round = 6 ch spaces.Row 3: ch 1, * 1 sc between the next 2 dc, 4 sc in ch space, ch 3, 4 sc in ch space *, repeat from *-* a total of 5 times, 1 sc between the next 2 dc, 4 sc in ch space, ch 20, 4 sc in ch space, finish with 1 sl st in ch from beg of round. Fasten off.
I made a snowy pile of flakes, some for the garland and some to give as small tokens.
To make the flakes more defined, I used t-pins to stretch out each one on a cardboard copy paper lid covered with wax paper. The lid allowed the pins to do as deep as necessary and the wax paper kept the cardboard from getting soaked with the starch.
I sprayed them all liberally with laundry starch and let them dry overnight.
I tied each snowflake to a string of white lights and finally wrapped a doubled length of strung sequins around the strand. I love how the lights shimmer off the sequins and the silver threads in the snowflakes. Because the garland is not Christmas specific, I plan on leaving it up though the winter for a little glow on those dark winter nights.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Everyone that I know is busy...work, school, family, hobbies, chores, the holidays. Life happens and sometimes it can throw you a curve ball.
In the three weeks (arghhh!) since I last posted; I turned 40, the show that I directed was produced, some major health issues have cropped up, Thanksgiving has come and gone, I have learned a new skill, and I have been making if not sharing.
The last morning in my 30s, I taught myself to needlefelt. I love it and have lots of projects in my mind. Stay tuned after Christmas for some photos of an applique/embroidery/needlefelt project. Can't spoil a holiday surprise though...
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Fall is the season that many people focus on what they are thankful for.
I am trying to do that everyday, all year long.
This has been a huge year for growth and learning for me. I have learned tons of new crafty things which makes me incredibly happy. I was made to make things. I truly believe that that is my purpose.
In the spirit of making things, it is also play season for me. I am the only full-time adult with a large group of students. It can become overwhelming at times. I am also a bit of a control freak, so I have never been comfortable asking for help. This year though I am breaking that habit. I designed this embroidery pattern to remind myself that you can be a super woman without being a superwoman.
Asking for help does not mean that you are weak. It means that you know your limitations.
You can download the pattern to remind you as you face your challenges.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Fall is a wonderful time to gather with friends and share your blessings. Brunch is one of my favorite ways to get together--it feels fancy without all the stress of a dinner party. This seasonal french toast is easy to prepare but easily impresses all. It is a great party items or perhaps as a holiday breakfast.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
This time of year, everything seems to come in a pumpkin flavor or scent. Candles, I get...coffee, not so much. Maybe it is because I am a tea girl. I figured that my hands shouldn't miss out on all the seasonal fun. This scrub is a variation of the recipe from Under the Table and Dreaming.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
I will be the first to admit that I may not be the most fashion-forward lass out there, but I try.
Luckily this year something that I love a wear all the time is a big trend. Scarves are everywhere this autumn and these infinity scarves are super simple to make.
I decided to do the prep work for two scarves at on time. For each scarf, cut a piece of fabric 18 inches wide and 60 inches long. I folded each in half along the long side with right sides together. I pinned the open side and stitched them into two long tubes.
Once they were stitched, I pulled them right side out and pinned the open edges of the tubes
together as much as possible. I stitched along the edge as far as I could with machine.
Once I had a 3 inch gap, I pulled the fabric from the bottom of the loop.
I hand stitched the opening shut with a quick whipstitch.
I ADORE these scarves and have since made several more.
They only take about 10 minutes and jazz up any outfit!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I love fall. Okay, I really love summer, but you can't beat fall for getting down to some serious crafting. I am right in the midst in play rehearsals, yet oddly, it is also when I get the most stuff made! Currently, I am working on:
- a double crochet/lemon peel scarf
- a "rick rack rib" knitted cowl
- a crocheted lace shawl
- just starting some felt brooches
- completing my octopus embroidery piece...just french knots left
- busily working on a Gandhi/floral piece (see below)
- starting another embroidery that says "whimsy matters"
We also just made homemade chili powder from chili peppers that we grew ourselves and dried. Many types of homemade hot sauces will be coming soon.
This shot is a bit blurry, but there are 11 types of stitches in the flower alone. Super excited!
Planning my next big gift project, a veggie tote from a design that I found in Doodle Stitching.
I simply adore making things! Can't wait to show you how they all turn out :)
Monday, October 22, 2012
Every crafter worth her salt has an impressive button stash. Sometimes though, a project just calls for a certain kind of button. And sometimes, only a handmade button will do.
I took two aluminum discs and ran them through the embosser using an art deco die.
Although I liked the look of the buttons fresh from the embosser,
I wanted to added another dimension.
I utilized a dark purple gilder's paste to bring out the detail.
I applied the color with my finger and let it sit for a few days.
After the color was set, I buffed them and added them to a wonder hand-crocheted cowl. It was my first ever crochet project and it is special to me. The buttons make it even more important.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
This was one of those weekend that a crafter dreams of: research, projects, new skills, progress. It was a balm for my busy week and cluttered mind.
I had an absolutely stellar trip to my local library!
I am so excited to dive into these books as I plan projects, posts and gifts :)
We also had a great stop at our local reclaimed sewing supplies store.
I was able to score this awesome horde for only $16.74!
Weekends were made for this kind of dinner with my sweetie.
Cheeses, rice crisps, apples, olives, almonds...LOVE!
Followed by pumpkin carving...so much fun!
I indulged in some awesome treats for myself. Yay for 50% off coupons and inspiration!
Spent some time redoing my double crochet/lemon peel project.
It will make a great holiday gift!
Stay tuned for some great roasted pumpkin seed recipes. As you can see, it was an absolutely wonderful weekend full of many blessing, quality crafting and bonding time, yummy dinners and much project progress. I am one lucky girl!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
In the last 45 days, I have been undergoing a major attitude adjustment and it has truly changed my life. I am not at all ashamed to say that I started an antidepressant and knew that I had to do some work to make that a major life change. I have been learning to let things go, not to take things personally and what really truly matters to me. I have little post-it notes around my desk at work on my lap top with gentle reminders to keep things in perspective. Rather than being stressful though, the effect has been lightening and has allowed me to really devote time that I used to spend worrying or catastrophizing or getting bent out of shape in creating and learning. I am so much happier.
With this life change has come a better mood, a sharper dresser and a new zeal to learn. I just completed my first ever crochet project and as you can see above, I am working on my second. I am about to start my first knitting project done from a commercial pattern. This weekend, I am going to try my hand and wool felt applique. I have cooked and prepped food for the next two weeks and have all my meals planned through early December. Blog posts are also planned that far in advance and I am happily working on projects to share.
My life has become my own and I am thankful daily.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I love to learn new things. It makes me seriously happy. I went to the craft store to get transfer paper today. Sadly, they did not have any any. Th did, however, have yarn, beautiful embroidery floss, and wool felt. It all jumped right into my basket. It wouldn't have been right not to bring them home.
I have decided recently that I wanted to learn to crochet. Luckily, my dear friend Paula is a wonderful teacher. This is my first ever piece. I am making a cowl (yes, another one) out of just single crochet. Tonight, she also taught me double crochet and shell stitch. Yay for new skills!
I also bough several pieces of wool felt (and ordered some other colors) to start some brooches. I have not done applique before, but I did some research and our local library has several books available. I am super excited to try it out!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
You know how they say, "Cold hand, warm heart"? Well, my heart must be nearly boiling because my hands are almost always like little blocks of ice. These lil sweeties will help warm me up!
I took a cozy piece of microfleece and cut out four circles. I decided to make small warmers since my hands are tiny and because I thought it might be nice to slip them into my gloves some super cold days.
I sewed around the edge of two of the circles, leaving a small gap for filling. I loaded each one with rice and sewed them shut.
I decided that they needed a little something extra so I did a blanket stitch with some sunny floss.
30 seconds in the microwave and I will be good to go!
Monday, October 15, 2012
A new season brings new trends and new styles. Recently, one of my co-workers came in sporting a fabulous necklace with two types of chain and some metal discs. After staring at here several times through the day, I asked if I could design a piece based on it. She said that I could as long as I named it for her-hence the "Zarra"!
I started with two small copper discs, a larger disc, a copper washer of the same diameter and two different types of chain.
I ran all the pieces through the rolling mill and gave them a dunk in liver of sulfur. I domed the washer to make a locket style pendant. I punched teo holes in each of the smaller discs so I could add chain on both sides.
I added the smaller chain on the same side as the smaller discs and assembled the pendant at the bottom. The texture of the backing piece shows through the washer. The texture is different on each piece and I love how it all came together. I am ready to rock all my fall fashions.
Friday, October 12, 2012
This time of the year in the Northeast means falling leaves, crisp air, and visits to the apple orchard. Apple butter is on of the best treats of the fall season, yet I never thought about making it at home. That is until Pinterest and my seeming obsession with recipes. Win!
Peel, Core, and Chop a dozen apples.
Toss the apples in the sugar and spices.
Put everything in the Crock Pot.
Set on low and get on with your day.
To thicken, turn the heat up to high and prop the lid open for a bit.
To smooth, put the apple mixture into the blender and pulse til smooth.
I love it on biscuits, scones, and mixed into my morning oatmeal with some walnuts. YUM!