And there's stuff in it! It's a start at least, just testing the waters. I did read somewhere that it takes an average of 6 months for the first sale. Plus I have no feedback yet, so I'm sure it'll be slow starting.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I finished all my gifts but three. Two of them I gave anyway, with an IOU to finish. One was my dad's fingerless gloves, and I'm glad I did, because they weren't going to fit right if I had finished without him trying them on. Then my husband's gift I didn't finish and didn't show him yet. I ran into some modifications needed, and I realized that it'd be best if he waited to see it. Pictures of everything will be for the next post.
I always associate lemon curd with Christmas. I had tried making some lime curd from this recipe, and I think it turned out well. But it wasn't until yesterday I finally got around to making the lemon curd. The dozen or so lemons I picked from my mom's place had been staring at me every time I passed the kitchen.
There's something extremely satisfying about enjoying lemon curd on homemade bread. I haven't made bread in awhile, and this turned out a little dense, but not bad. I didn't realize that I was running out of white flour, so it turned out to be about 1/2 whole wheat, instead of the 1/4 I was going for.
I decorated my office cube a little bit. I always put up this bit of greenery with wooden beads, and this year I added tiny stockings with my team members' initials on them. I tried to keep them well-stocked with chocolate goodness.
A friend had a Christmas open house, and I made her these little wine tags. I had fun picking out the charms to match the seed beads. I realized after I got home that the red was a bigger bead, but I think it looks alright. I want to try making more of these someday.
Speaking of beads, a friend has inspired me with her jewelry-making. I have been really enjoying browsing through Fire Mountain Gems, and I've placed two orders with them so far. I just realized that their quantity discounts don't apply only to a single item, but are accumulated. That's dangerous to know :) For inspiration, check out their gallery. Wow.
Here's a quick update on the Christmas gifts. I know this would be much more interesting with pictures, but you'll have to wait :) And of course some items are more involved than others.
In progress: 5 90% 95% 10% 5% 5% - started last night :)
And two more left to start, possibly 3 more still. Some of those I don't mind too much if they're given in January.
I also get distracted with non-Christmas gifts, one of which I'll be finishing and showing off this coming weekend. I'm also doing a general holiday thing, which I prepped this weekend and hope to get out next week sometime.
If I make everything again next year, I think I'll start in April...
First off, I've finished TWO Christmas presents, and I have one more at about 75%. Woohoo!
Secondly, here are two fantastic sewing ideas:
A simple, yet pretty-looking market bag. I've been searching for the perfect re-usable grocery bag to make. I've tried crochet- too thick and bulky to carry many at a time, and I've tried the fabric version cut out from a pattern of the original plastic ones, and that worked alright, but didn't pack nicely. I think I'll try this basic idea. And it's reversible!
Next, from the same site we have the reusable produce bags. These I'm very excited about. We've been using so much plastic since we've been eating more fruits and vegetables. And now I know what to do with the leftover 50+ yards of tulle from our wedding, even after I make a petticoat or two. Not to mention the spools of ribbon! My favorite projects are things I already have ingredients for :)
I'm wondering how either of these might work as gifts... too practical? Anyone have suggestions/thoughts? As a receiver I would be ecstatic, and the author talks about giving them away often. Maybe I'll try a couple for myself and see how well I like them.
The other day I decided to try maple brown sugar snickerdoodles. They turned out alright, but I learned something valuable. I knew our oven ran a little hot, but when the smoke detectors (all of them) went off on these puppies, I decided to actually check the temp with an oven thermometer. At each setting I tried, it was at least 60 degrees hot. Wow! Good to know.
I love my tiered baking sheets.
They weren't to bad, just a little too crispy. A couple days wrapped in plastic definitely improved that though. A co-worker said they were good dipped in coffee. I think the dough was also a little dry, since they didn't absorb the brown sugar like the picture on the recipe.
Then I finished a couple more pumpkins which I promised my mom I'd make for her.
What do you make with crocheted pumpkins? Crocheted pumpkin pie, of course! My mom got a kick out of that as well. I also brought her a real pumpkin pie, made from the recipe on the can, but with less sugar and more spices. It went over well.
I took Wednesday off work so I could finish getting the house ready and start cooking. I made a pumpkin pie, an apple pie with a lattice top, and a berry blend pie. I thought the berry turned out well, especially since I just improvised. I used a bag of frozen blackberries, a bag of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), and added the basics for a pie: sugar, spices and flour.
On to the turkey! I was very excited to use our new roasting pan for the first time. I'm glad I learned about the oven temp ahead of time.
It's easy, right? Just turn it on and set a timer!
Actually I'm just testing the height to make sure I can cook stuffing and rolls on the top shelf. Look at my clean oven! (except for the berry pie, which folded on its foil pan on the way out, but I saved it... Then I put more stoneware pie plates on my shopping / ceramics list)
Here's myself manning the stove, and my friend V helping me make cornbread chestnut stuffing. We made a small batch of wheat-free cornbread, since she's allergic to gluten. The stuffing turned out very well, and got a positive response. I'll be making that again for sure.
Next year I want to try the turkey in a brine. What I did was put some roasted garlic and a bunch of herbs in butter a few days ago, and sliced it up to slide under the skin of the turkey. Then we had the requisite canned jelly cranberry sauce along with a hot cranberry and orange sauce, homemade rolls, the stuffings, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, and of course the gravies (regular and wheat-free).
This morning I tried Alton Brown's recipe for sweet potato waffles, using some leftovers from yesterday. I thought they were tasty, if a little too sweet, but they got a "meh" from my husband, which is not too bad, considering he actually ate them :) I want to try something similar, but using regular potatoes and cutting out some sugar.
So far today I've also finished my first complete Christmas present, which is exciting. While everyone else is out there shopping, I'll be sitting at home crocheting my presents.
I made these for my friend M, who's birthday was last week. The fingerless gloves were the original project, and then I decided I had enough for a scarf. Well, I had enough to start a scarf, so I went back to the shop for some more. Could have been dangerous, but I was in a hurry, so I only walked out with the two skeins I came in for!
The pattern is taken from here with some modifications. The black I did normally with the single crochet and bobbles, and the purple I did in a half double crochet to make sure it didn't get lost, but didn't add too much height.
It's funny that when I just looked at the pattern to give the link I see they have since added a version 2, with ...wait for it... black and purple!
It's totally different than these, and I like it also.
The black is half llama and half wool, and the purple is baby alpaca. The purple is a little bit softer than the black, but I like them both together. The people at the yarn shop liked my scarf pattern (a simple sc-dc with a huge hook), and they were surprised that I was putting two slightly different weighted yarns together. It works for me anyway. What, rules?
(yes, yes, I know, gauge is important...)
Here's M modeling her present. She liked them :) Incidentally, her cake was black and purple as well, and we didn't plan that.
I've re-worked part of a project twice now, and I'm realizing that the llama-wool does not like to be pulled out. Ouch. I think it also doesn't help that it's single-ply, but I think it'll look ok, as it was only a couple of rows. It reminds me that I was glad I learned on acrylic. The other day I was hanging out with a friend who was learning to knit with some wool, and she mentioned that a friend of hers saw her starting with acrylic, told her no-no-no, and gave her the wool instead.
When I was learning to crochet, I liked to try different things, rip it out, and try again. Acrylic can take that kind of abuse.
It's like getting your first motorcycle. Better to start with a 12-year-old EX500 that you can learn on, and open up to see how it works, pull all the farings off to paint them with chalkboard paint if you happen to feel like it :) Then when you're done with that, go get the brand new Yamaha Fz6.
Yarn, motorcycles- maybe that's a stretch... but it make sense to me.
Re-working this wool is reminding me also that I'm not a fan of felting, which seems to be approaching the craze stage of popularity. I like felt, and cool things you can do with it. I think the main reason I don't like felting is because you see a lot of it done with knitting, and knitting is still tedius to me. Why spend all that time knitting if you won't see your work? I know I'm probably stepping on toes of die-hard felters, but that's ok.
However, I do like these coasters, and I think that's a great use of felting. Still, I look at those and think "crochet" not knitting, but that's just me.
I'll try to post the changes I'm making to this pattern, as I'm really happy with how it's turning out. No pictures yet, as it's a gift, but it should be done and delivered in about a week.
Wow I've been busy. I can't show pictures yet, as I have half a dozen gifts in the works.
Ever since I started working with yarn that comes in hanks, aka nice yarn, aka expensive yarn, I've wanted to get a ball winder. The thrifty in me said I could find one online cheaper, and pay less than $45 for this little piece of plastic, but no. They were even getting bid up on Ebay. So I finally broke down and got one.
<insert angelic chorus here>
So, I wound my first ball before this one, a llama/wool mix that got entirely too tangled at the end. Sadness. The item I didn't shell out for was the $70 umbrella swift. I've seen homemade ones with 4 adjustable points, but I happen to think the umbrella one is really cool. Then I found plans to make one over at Schoolhouse Press (toward the end of the page), which I gather from reading online is really insane to make. Oh well, I'll consider it a challenge, and will be immensely pleased if I can actually make it.
I wish I could take credit for this improvisation, but I can't. This lady came up with it, and I copied. It worked great for the most part, until it started getting loose at the end, and then my husband held it for the last couple rounds.
Marmsy's supervising from the floor. She was VERY interested in the llama yarn, sniffing it intently, and rubbing up against it. If I have enough left over, I'll make her a little toy/pillow. I don't remember what the purple is. I think it's an angora blend, but I'll have to go back to the shop, as mine didn't come with a tag.
Speaking of yarn, I did a lot of shopping last weekend. Michael's is having a great sale, which is pretty dangerous. Among the usual acrylic (I know, yarn snobs don't touch the stuff), they had some nice wools, wool-soy blends, and bamboo.
I know now why I started with acrylic. Though once I get used to the different fibers, I may be able to find better deals online... At the boutique shop I got 4 large hanks and 2 small balls of various wool/angora/llama blends, and I spent the same amount at Michael's and filled one of their largest bags, plus another smaller bag. Quality vs. Quantity, I know. However, I've been more impressed lately with Michael's selection. They've been moving more into cottons and other blends. I'm really excited to try the wool-soy... They had some awesome colors, and it was about 75% off, so I couldn't resist =)
Oh yes, the little baubles next to the yarn winder are glass fridge magnets I'm making. Something like this. I found heart-shaped marbles, and a heart paper punch that almost fits perfectly, so I had to try it. The hearts aren't completely clear, but it's nice that they're glass. I've been meaning to go to Tap Plastics to get some of the cabochons which will be lots clearer.
Last weekend was busy, and I realized I forgot to post my costume! This was originally my office costume, and I decided to keep if for the evening, adding orange painted claws (instructions here.)
The mane is made of the extra artificial hair leftover from when I had braid extensions. I took 8-10 inch sections of it, and looped it around some stretchy round elastic made for jewelry. I added some bright orange Homespun yarn, and fluffed it all up with a brush. The wrist tufts are just yarn, around the same elastic.
I wish I could show the picture of my cubicle, but it's on my camera. And sadly, my camera has decided to wander off. I'll be happy when I find it again. The lion idea first came from the office, because my cube is on a main walkway, and people tend to tap the glass as they walk by. I've joked around that I feel like I'm a fish, or that I'm in a zoo... so I printed up bars, and taped them to the glass along with a brassy antique-looking framed plaque which read "Please do not taunt the lion!"
I added the claws for our evening out with friends. They were quite a challenge, but it was fun! At one point I was trying to pull the paper off a cupcake, and my friend C took pity and unwrapped it for me. They were also quite strong, and could give great back scratches, and also probably do harm, though I didn't test for that.
A friend of ours had a baby shower yesterday. I didn't like the way my two blankets were turning out, so I decided to make something different.
The lighting is horrible, as I was finishing these up at a coffee shop on my way over there =) Nothing like last-minute gifts! The yellow is actually a baby-yellow, with a bit of sheen to it. The mother-to-be is very much into bumble bees. The big fat bee has a little rattle in it, and the hat is slightly too big for a newborn, but he/she can wear it later.
I made these bats for my mother-in-law's birthday, and I had a lot of fun with them. The pattern is here, and for these I used some very thick yarn, and a bigger hook. I also set the wings a little differently, and I think a little more in the middle than she has them. They were definitely a good use of the black stuffing.
I love how the brown yarn turned out, with the little fibers sticking out.
I've made a couple with smaller, worsted-weight yarn, but I still want to make more before the end of the year. Before you put the wings on, they look like mice.
Spook wanted to taste this one.
Yes, I definitely think some catnip mice are in order. And I experimented with little white spikes to make vampire teeth, but haven't perfected that just yet.
Last Sunday I had a very productive day. In the morning I went to my clay studio and glazed the second pumpkin and the leaves (only 1 broke!), and started two more pumpkins, this time on the wheel. I think they turned out ok. I forgot to trim one of them, but I should be able to do it in the second step.
Then I started a couple bowls to keep at work for soup or for salads. I'm pretty happy with them so far.
I had emailed my husband a link with instructions for making awesome-looking paper maché jack-o-lanterns, which inspired both of us to hit the hardware and craft stores for supplies. So our living room is currently covered in plastic with shredded newspaper strewn everywhere, buckets of paste, and three pumpkins in varying stages of completeness. The maché took longer to dry than we anticipated, so we couldn't even finish them up last night, but hopefully we'll be able to put more layers on tonight. I'll post the link and pictures when I get to it.
On that note, I need to come to the realization that the blog will always be at least a couple days behind. And anyway, if I were to post real-time about life, then I wouldn't really be living, now would I?
But back to the pumpkins. So the paper ones are still setting, and on Sunday I worked on some of a crochet one as well. So we had pumpkins in clay, paper, and yarn! We haven't carved real pumpkins yet, though we have a few of them decorating the front yard.
Last night I started crocheting a visor cozy for my husband's helmet visor, which gets scratched when he puts it in his gym bag. He has two: tinted and clear, so one is always in the bag. I only did half of it, but hopefully I'll finish it tonight. I didn't take a picture, because it's not very impressive yet. It's burgundy and shaped like a visor =)
I don't have anything exciting to show yet, so I just wanted to give a rundown of current projects. I'll start with the Christmas projects, but those are intentionally vague :)
I have three started, which are each 10% or less completed. I also have 3 or 4 more planned out, and I just figured out what I'm going to make my husband, so I should get started on that also. We'll see if I finish all these in time!
I have a miniature American flag afghan that I started years ago, which just needs to be assembled. I'm doing a little heart pillow to go with it, and I thought I might try to sell that. It's acrylic, so it's not very soft, but it would be good to toss around on 4th of July excursions or something. I'm making up a bigger version of this heart, done in double crochet.
I still want to finish more small pumpkins to give away. I owe my mom two more, since I gave two of hers to my aunt who was visiting.
And then I have two creatures from this book to finish, which are belated birthday presents. Maybe I'll do that tonight.
And that's just the active projects, not the ones I have stored away to pick up again someday. I do like having several going at once, but I want to get some of these wrapped up.
While at the Autumn clay workshop last weekend I started some leaves. The ones on the left are definitely thick enough, if they get handled properly before being bisque fired. Some of the others are too thin, and while they'd be cool when done, they may break before hand. These will all get a simple iron oxide treatment, which should show off the details wonderfully. (the note is to the kiln handlers explaining that I realize I made them too thin, so they don't stress out when they do break)
Then I went back to the studio to start some big cylinders and try a little more slab work. I wanted to do a bowl/tray of some sort, and was looking around the studio for a nifty texture to roll into it. I ran across this cotton doily, done in fillet crochet. Whoa, combining two hobbies?? So I rolled it into the slab
and dropped it into the bowl form.
I should have returned by now and pulled it out, but it's probably ok since it's shrinking away from the bowl. I plan to go by tomorrow and check on all my stuff. I've also started a notebook to keep track of everything, and record what glazes I use, etc.
Tonight I went by the coffee shop, but since I didn't get a confirmed "yes" from anyone, I shouldn't have been surprised when nobody else showed up. But I still had a good time sitting there crocheting with my chai.
I sewed up the sides and started putting the sleeves on this sucker, which hasn't seen the light of day in awhile. There's just a narrow band on that right side, but it's close to being finished! I might do a black border around the neckline, but I haven't decided yet.
Oh, and I'm also currently a brunette. This is the most drastic change I've done (I get teased for perfecting the "half-a-shade-different" temporary dye jobs), but I figure having short hair is the perfect time to play around with it. I'm still planning on changing it a little bit more before I grow it out and go back to red.
Today I went to the clay Autumn Decor workshop for pumpkins, acorns, and leaves. SO much fun. 5 hours didn't nearly seem that long, though by the end I was ready to go... though mainly because then at 6pm I realized I hadn't had lunch. I learned a lot, and did a lot more handbuilding than I have in awhile. Here is some of what I'm working on
The left one I made last week, before the class, because I was really excited to make pumpkins. The stem isn't at a very good angle, but it's short and stubby, and gnarly like it just got ripped off. It's also done with coils, and the right one is done with slabs around a round form. These are still greenware. They'll dry, then get bisque fired, then glazed and fired again. Then I'll take another picture :)
And here's some cuteness from Spook. I had fun taking these.
I'm still home with the icky. It seems to be (almost) mostly gone, but I'm still sticking close to my kleenex box and cough drops. Not fun.
So I'm working from my laptop a bit, but it's hard to be focused when my nearest inspiration is this purring ball of fluff being so cute and cuddly!
Spooky's been quite friendly lately, when she feels like it. It's quite nice. She still jumps at the sound of the neighbors, but that's unsurprising as they're loud and unpleasant at times. I have a feeling that's why she's been wandering away so much, but I try to make home as nice for her as possible. She likes to sit with me while I crochet, and doesn't go after the yarn at all )_p'??/.,lllll
Oh, she just pointed out that my keyboard was taking up HER lap space! I think it's time for some kitty attention, and some more tea. I took care of the immediate deadline anyway.
So I had this dream last night about an unfinished project of mine. I have these little tiny squares done in a chunky yarn, light cream color, with alternating accents of pale blue, deep blue, pink, purple, yellow, and green. It was a baby blanked for no-one in particular I started ages ago.
In the dream I was making bigger blocks also and stitching them together in a jumbled sort of way that looked really cool. This morning I picked up yesterday's mail looking for a package (that didn't arrive yet) and got a baby shower invite from a friend. I dug through my stash and realized I have two baby blankets in progress. Yay!
Aha! The pieces are coming together (groan, bad joke.) I really like the colors in the blocking page rather than the original blanket pattern.
And now I know what I'm making my friend! I just have to decide which one to finish... I think I'll do the one I can turn into a babette of sorts. I may only do 2 or 3 sizes bigger, which I think will look pretty good.
The problem with little projects are that they're distracting from the big projects I'm working on. Like these coffee sweaters. I liked the cuff pattern on those red mittletts, and wanted to try them on a cup cozy. I also finished the red mittens, so I thought I deserved a reward in the shape of instant gratification =)
I'm undecided on this yarn. It's called "meadow." I think I mostly don't like it, but it's still intriguing.
Then, since I'm still in a fall/halloween mood, I decided to try pairing my variegated orange with the black semi-fuzzy.
I like it! With the double yarn it's also very chunky, which is nice in any kind of sweater. The keyboard shot shows the texture a little better.
Unfortunately I got the ick that's been going around, so I came home from work this afternoon, and didn't make it to the S&B, which was very disappointing. I slept most of the afternoon, and hopefully it'll go away soon.
I wanted to post the second installment of the wedding, but my Flickr uploader isn't behaving, and I should be in bed soon anyway. So here's some fluff.
I've been working on several projects lately, but many are gifts that I can't show off yet. Two Christmas presents are in the works, and I just picked up yarn for two more.
Here are some things I can show, however. I went to my clay studio's sale last weekend, and picked up some fun stuff. The pumpkin and acorns are made by a lady who's teaching a class in a couple weeks, and I'm so there! I got inspired and started my own pumpkin. I'm really happy to be working with clay again.
I'm also working on some Halloween goodies, from E-Patterns. I've made some improvements on the pattern, though, and also made up a couple more designs. I'll post those when they're finished.
These fingerless mitts are for my co-worker's son. I got the pattern in an email from Lion Brand Yarn. (I'd link it, but you need to register on their site to see the pattern). I REALLY like the way the cuffs came out, and in fact I think that would work well for a coffee cozy. It would taper naturally, since it's quite stretchy.
Tonight I stumbled on The Snuggles Project. I think it's a great idea, and I really want to contribute. Once I finish all my Christmas presents, I think I'll start working on some snuggles. It's be a great way to use some of this acrylic that I have hanging around, since they want washable, synthetic materials. I can't take in any more rescue kitties than our two, but this is a great way to help out the kitties still in shelters.
When I finally organized everything for this, I realized that it's going to take 5 posts. So here we go :)
I'll start at the beginning. About two years ago I realized that I was dating the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I also started thinking that I might like to be the one to propose. I was contemplating doing it on our 3 year anniversary, but I had a feeling he might beat me too it (which I later confirmed), and I really wanted to propose. Why should guys have all the fun? All the planning and scheming, and trying to keep a secret that's REALLY HARD TO KEEP! So I decided to do it on our 1,000th day anniversary. I went down on one knee, and popped the question. He said Yes, after he got over the surprise ;) Yes, that was nice... I'm glad I did it, and he didn't mind that I did.
A few days later we put this up on our fridge to-do list, just for kicks:
This is our unofficial engagement picture, at my Uncle's wedding.
Then, on to the dress! I had made no wedding or dress plans prior to proposing. We did all the wedding planning together, and I schemed on my own for the dress. I knew I wanted to make it, and I had a basic idea of the style in my head. I did a little surfing online to get inspired, and once I saw this picture, I stopped looking entirely.
We discussed color schemes, and decided on white, green (ivy and a soft green), and purple (plum), with silver accents. I made the main body of the dress super-shiny satin, with a matte sheer. It's almost the inverse of my inspiration picture, which is an organza over a duller satin/silk. I made the accents in green, but once I finished the dress itself, I decided to leave most decoration off. I found my fabric at the Costco of fabric shops, Fabrics R Us (they used to be called the more dignified "S.J. Fabrics.")
But before that, I needed a pattern. And a beta dress, which I made in black.
For the basic construction, I drafted up a pattern based on 3 things: that picture, a simple bodice with straps from McCall's (4109 view A), and Laughing Moon's Dore corset. I had made the corset a couple of times before, once for a black canvas true corset, and once for this red shimmery thing with plastic bones and a v-neck front. I'd make that again, but I'd put straps on it, since I don't do strapless unless it's a true corset. But back to the dress, corsets are for another post!
Here's my final pattern, which is about the 3rd incarnation. The test pieces were made from this hideous pink and orange plaid. You really don't want to see it, trust me on this...
The arm band was a little tricky. I ended up putting a band of elastic inside the back 2 inches or so. That kept it in place, plus tacking it lightly to the sleeve itself.
One side is complete, ready for the boning. I ended up using only 14 bones total, which is REALLY light for a corset, but just fine for a bodice. Notice the arm band is a little messy. It took me a couple tries to get that right. Hence the beta dress!
First fitting of the real beta top! The boning isn't in yet, because as you can see it's not very smooth. (picture is small because it's blurry from my phone). I'm holding the back, because I haven't put the lacing grommets in yet. Speaking of grommets, I <3 corsetmaking.com. I don't think I'll buy grommets anywhere else. They have nice, 2-piece grommets, and I was able to get black ones for the groom shirt. I also got boning there, plus lacing. I think they have great prices, and fast shipping, too. </plug>
Here's another fitting, with one sleeve on, and my criticism on the right. I extended the sleeves a bit for the real thing. Yes, it's all about the sleeves =)
I was also simultaneously working on 2 bridesmaid dresses, 5 poets shirts (1 groom, 3 groomsmen, 1 bridesmaid), and a doublet-like top for my guy bridesmaid.
The Bridesmaids and Site Decorations Hair and Jewelry The Dress and then, The Wedding Day
I am a lefty, and I like to try a little bit of everything in the crafting world. I have a wonderful husband, toddler boy H, and four cats: Casper, Herbert, Mouse, and Dragon. I love crocheting, and I've been sewing since I could reach the pedal. I like to explore all kinds of crafts, and recently I started machine knitting.