We held a silent auction at work as part of an ongoing fundraiser. The organizers asked us to bring in things we crafted – we have a lot of talented people in my workplace! These were my contributions:
It’s a lavender neck and eye pillow. You can freeze them, or heat them up in the microwave for aromatherapy and relaxation. The lavender is mixed with jasmine rice. If you’ve never tried this, rice makes an excellent hot pack. It forms to your body and holds heat well.
And I also did a little acrylic dandelion painting. On slate, because I just think these make cool wall hangings. I’ve got a few around my house as well.
My theory on silent auctions (and secret santa/yankee swap types of occasions) is that whatever I bring should be something I’m happy to take home again. If I love it that much, then I know others will too!
Here’s a combination craft recipe and cooking recipe! Home made play dough. This stuff is awesome, it’s my mom’s recipe and I remember many fond hours playing with it as a child. This weekend I shared it with Windsor for the first time.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s cheap and non-toxic (although a bit salty). Which means when Jake eats it, or it gets full of dirt and we throw it away, I really don’t mind. Just be aware that the food dye can stain things if you add too much or don’t mix it in thoroughly.
2.5 cups flour
2.5 cups water
1.5 Tbsp cream of tarter
1.25 cup salt
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
In a medium saucepan mix everything together except the food coloring. Put it over low to medium heat, and start cooking. Stirring. Keep stirring, this doesn’t take long and you don’t want it to burn.
Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring. We did yellow (less likely to stain, but also less fun) and needed almost 20 drops. You’ll need far fewer for blue.
Continue stirring until the dough is thick and begins to gather around the spoon. When it’s so thick you can’t really stir it anymore, remove from the heat and put on a plate to cool.
You can also mix the colors in once it’s cool. But be careful not to get the food dye all over your hands. Once it’s cool you’re good to go! Be sure to store it in an air-tight container or it’ll dry out. And like commercial play dough, this doesn’t dry smoothly. It tends to crack as it goes.
(yes, she does have playdough stuck to her cheek. That’s the sign of a good time!)
I didn’t make any progress on Windsor’s little vest this weekend. All it needs is an i-cord belt and some garter trim around the armholes. I really, really thought it would be done by now. But I do think I’ve isolated the problem- I’m not actually knitting it… All my free time this weekend was taken up by something else.
As the pattern says, these are the Beanstalk Britches from Stitch Upon a Time. They’re little pants designed to fit properly over her cotton diaper bottom. If they work as well as they look like they should I can see myself making SEVERAL more pairs. They’re one-size-ish, by which I mean the pants I’m making should fit a 9-24 month old. The brilliant part of these pants is the fake pockets – which are actually giant pleats. And at the top of each there’s a range of snaps. So you can easily get the pants on over a diaper, and then snap the waist closed so it’s snug at the top and doesn’t fall off again. The pant legs have generous cuffs at the bottom that can be turned up and then adjusted as the kiddo grows.
The pants are really well designed with lots of good details. Top stitching on many seams makes everything look more professional as well as keeping things lying flat. The gussets are really well designed, the cuffs are brilliantly lined, the butt of the pants is formed out of several pieces of fabric to make it nice and roomy. Like I said, very well designed. I would recommend the patterns for a sewer somewhere above beginner though. There’s not a lot of hand-holding for how to make the three dimensional pieces fit together. (if you also sew you know what I mean, how on woven fabric the angles of a 3-D section are opposites – and you have to pin the straight edges and ease the corners) And my sleep deprived brain had trouble with which direction the gussets needed to be pinned before sewing the side seams…
So yeah. I slowed myself down several times on these pants. I cut out 70% of the pattern pieces from corduroy before I realized I didn’t have enough of that fabric. I started over with denim and managed to cut THREE right back pant legs and no left back pant legs. Neil had to sacrifice a second pair of jeans to my sewing-cause to find another piece of denim with matching shades of blue. Then there was all the seam ripping to fix the gussets.
I’m almost done, finally! I need to hand-sew the top edge of the turned cuffs. The pattern recommends machine sewing, but my old sewing machine doesn’t have an adjustable deck for narrow sleeve and pant cuffs. So hand sewing is really my only option. I attached the plastic snaps right before bed last night. I may be a little TOO excited that I finally own plastic snap pliers. If Neil doesn’t watch out there will be snaps on EVERYTHING in our house.
I managed to finish dolly’s outfit in time for Windsor’s birthday. Mostly. I mean, it was done but far from perfect.
Dolly’s hair was done in plenty of time. All her hair is sock yarn, so hopefully it’ll hold up well and not get fuzzy. It’s a combination of all three colors used in the Lady of Rohan shawl, along with some reds and a little bit of pink, brown, and white, just to make it variegated. I like the way it can be french braided.
I stitched up a little t-shirt out of jersey fabric. I solve the “I hate machine sewing jersey” problem by hand stitching the whole thing. It wasn’t too time consuming since the longest seam is 3 inches, and gave me a chance to do a little embroidery on the collar. Unfortunately dolly’s shirt is too big, but since she’s a doll she doesn’t mind. (see what I did there, ahh puns…)
Next came the sweater, knit out of some peace fleece DK. Instead of using standard sweater construction the “yoke” is a flat circle, because dolly’s shoulders have no slope. The shaping is perfect, but the whole sweater is too small by about 3 inches. I’m not sure what happened there (might be that I skipped the gauge swatch) but dolly, being a doll, doesn’t seem to mind.
The jeans have the same problem. It’s like I forgot dolly was three dimensional and would need fabric to go all the way around. The pant legs fit, but the seat doesn’t go over her dolly butt, or the body fabric that passes for a butt. Luckily, dolly doesn’t seem to mind this either.
And since Windsor doesn’t have the dexterity to put clothes on and take them off yet – she doesn’t seem to mind either.
My current crafting project is a hybrid. I started with something boughten, added some embroidery, some crochet (yes, crochet!) and there’s more sewing imminent. There will even be some knitting before I’m done.
What is this thing? It’s a waldorf doll. I didn’t want to make one from scratch (I hate sewing jersey fabric) so I found an etsy store (WildMarigold) where I could buy one – actually just a naked doll body. I got to embroider the face myself. Then I taught myself single crochet so I could make the wig cap, and add the hair. Now I’m sewing an outfit. And yes – dolly will need a sweater. Can I get it all done before October 6th? We’ll find out!
I hope the soon-to-be birthday girl will love it as much as she loves hanging out in the garden with me. Which, for the record, she does!
This project has way more sweat and cursing in it than any baby-room related item ought to:
Alternate title: At least six reasons I don’t do scrapbooking. Seriously, why am I so bad at cutting things evenly in a straight line? Why aren’t my little photo corners even? I used a ruler and a template for placing them any everything! Grr. Argh.
But I’m sure the baby won’t mind. And it is rather adorable in the overall presentation, even if the details are wonky. AND it makes use of this window frame Neil and I have been moving from place to place for at least 8 years, so that’s good!
Note to self: I need more portrait style family photos…
These would be more accurately titled my great grandmother’s pinking shears, but my grandmother’s scissors sounds nicer, you know?
I’ve been going down to my parent’s house to help mom declutter for awhile now. They have the old yankee “don’t throw that away, it might be useful” thing going on and sometimes this means quite a bit that just needs to be thrown away.
And sometimes we unearth AWESOME things. And I get to help declutter her house by bringing things home to my house. Along with the shears I’ve rescued some thread scissors for my craft room. My kitchen got some lovely biscuit and cookie cutters (with HANDLES! You don’t see cutters with nice wooden handles anymore) a whole collection of custard cups, and several wire bale jars.
I won’t use the wire bale jars for canning, but I love to use them to store the open bits of pasta, rice, barley, etc… They’re great for keeping out mealy moths (or keeping them in, since sometimes the eggs come with your purchase – yippie?) Not to mention my whole pantry looks pretty with everything in jars.
Neil and I tackled a different kind of craft project last weekend.
one involving slightly more lumber and 100% more power tools than you might see amid my other ramblings.
We needed a new box for storing our firewood. The majority of it gets stacked on the porch. But having to go outside every time we need to put another log on the fire gets old fast. Especially in the really cold spells when NOTHING makes us want to go outside except double dares and the need for more firewood.
Also, this was an excellent chance for Neil to play with his birthday present – an new cordless drill!
We’re not the best wood workers ever. Wait, I take that back. I’m an inexperienced wood worker, and Neil’s not so much a fan of the power saws. The man can do amazing things with dove tail joints and chisels (woodworking is a class they teach at his college)
But for a box that’s going to take the abuse of 4 cords of fire wood passing through on the way to the stove what we really wanted was something durable and rustic.
Also large. This is a very large box.
The comparisons to my first sweater are startlingly easy to draw. The materials are solid and rustic. Good quality but not the fanciest out there (brown sheep lamb’s pride and knotty NH white pine respectively) The edges aren’t straight (in either case). I got exactly what I wanted, but I can see plenty of places for improvement. I know just enough to try my best, but don’t have quite all the right tools. I don’t own a square, I was marking square edges on the lumber with a book. I didn’t own a yarn needle when I seamed my first sweater.
The major difference is I don’t see myself building enough boxes to really learn the fine details of the trade. But that’s just me. Neil’s dreaming of a wood shop in the basement now…
Have you seen any JHB buttons?
These guys make some pretty good buttons! I got a collection of them at TNNA in my designer dinner bag. They’re also the makers of most of the buttons I get at the craft store in Burlington*.
Generally when I’ve got a finished sweater I want a nicer set of buttons than those boring plastic ones – but not buttons that are going to cost me $4 each. One thing to keep an eye out for when you’re looking at craft store buttons is making sure they’ll work with knitted fabric. Generally this means larger button holes or shank style buttons like these blue ones:
And I wanted to pass these two sets of buttons on to you! So I’ve picked them because they look like they’ll be good for knitted sweaters (or hats, or mitts, whatever you like that needs a set of buttons)
There are 6 of each color. And I’m willing to mail them off to anyone in the continental US** Just leave a comment here telling me: which is your favorite pattern with buttons? I’ll choose two winners next wednesday (August 1st) at 5pm est.
*including the see-through ones I used on Trout River.
**Sorry, but I mailed tape measures internationally and that cost more than I’d expected.
Friday night at TNNA I went to the designers’ dinner hosted by Marly Bird (who also hosts the Yarn Thing Podcast)
If you remember it was a masquerade. That’s my table mate, show companion, and all around awesome designer friend Ruth of Rock + Purl. (photo from Ann Kingstone)
The dinner was sponsored by a number of AWESOME companies. For the next little while I’ll be thanking them as best I can – and passing on some of the goodies to you!
There were a lot of goodies. Today I’m going to give away three Craftsy tape measures.
Please tell me you’ve heard of Craftsy! They’re an online community for learning and sharing crafts of all kinds! They have classes on sewing, knitting, weaving, photography, and lots more. They also offer space to share the things you’ve created and another fun way to buy patterns.* I’m taking Caro’s class on photography right now and I’m wicked excited about it!
Ok, so give away details. Comment here, I’ll use the random number generator to pick three winners on Monday (noon EDT). Be sure to include a valid e-mail address when you comment (it won’t be displayed) so I can contact you if you win. Today’s in-theme spam-bot-foiling question is: tell me what kind of a class you’d be interested in taking from Craftsy!
*No, my knitting patterns aren’t on there yet. Yes, they should be. Yes, I’m trying to find time to get them uploaded…