Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wool to the Rescue!

Its cold here, very cold. And its only going to get colder. The nasty old weatherman is predicting a HIGH of -10 on Thursday. Now thats cold. So we will be bunkered down at home this week. Today it is a balmy 5 above outside, so I think we may run some errands, rent some new movies and stock up on the neccesities. Which leads me to my point. Carrying around a 24 pound kid all bundled up can get a little tricky. Usually I do okay, but ocassionally I get to my destination and realize the poor kids pants are hiked up funny and her calves have been hanging out in the cold the whole time. BBRRR!! So, to try to get rid of my guilt, I went to my most trusted new friend...the felted sweater, and made these...

What are they, you may ask. They look surprisely similar to the wrist warmers that the fabulous Vallen makes (only not near as cute!). But alas, they are baby leg warmers!

And trust me, they are even funnier in person! The kiddo thinks they are really fun. Her typical pasttime these days has been trying to put her own socks on, which at 18 months is a bit impossible, and it makes her very angry. Wow, does this girl have a temper when she can't get things to go her way! Anyway, she loves these because the opening is wide enough she can put them on herself. Then she struts her stuff, thinking she is pretty darn cute.

So, add it to the list, use No. 146 for a wool sweater from the thrift store! And don't worry, when we actually go out in public, I'll put the leg warmers under her pants...still perfectly functional but a little less 1985.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mini Wool Tote Bag

Hope you all had a great weekend! Our family survived the home improvement projects, thank goodness. We now have 6 much needed recessed lights in our family room. Unfortunately we have 8 more to go! I am so thankful for my husband, he does a great job with this kind of stuff and only complains a little! He's been trying to work in the family room in the evening, but the lighting was so poor it was almost impossible. So, I didn't have to nag too much to get him to finally do the project. Only bad thing is that we are going to have to paint the ceiling now. I hate painting ceilings!

I had plans to meet up with my very good friend Wendy this weekend, but she had a death in her family and could't make it. I decided I should probably just mail her the Christmas gift I made her, since its almost Valentine's Day! So, I thought I would show it to you first! And, Wendy if you're out there, here is a little sneak peek of your gift.

I made this mini tote bag from the wool scarf you see at the right and a really dark wash denim.

The inside lining is a red paisley cotton.

Hope she likes it!

I've also been working on my brooch for Little Lovelies brooch swap. This is my first ever swap, and I am kind of nervous! I'll have to wait to show you of course so Beth is surprised!

Friday, January 26, 2007

All sorts of stuff

Busy busy busy around here. Last night we hung these up...

(which I think look much better now that they are on the wall.)

And these...

(which match the velvet duvet patchwork my sister made me. I framed leftover fabric. Since we don't currently have a headboard, I think this acts as a decent focal point for the room.)

Then I stayed up late to finish this...

Woohoo, one down, 11 more to go! Go check out the Christmas in Progress page...you can still join us!!

Did I mention I also snuck in a little fabric shopping yesterday?

I got a coupon in the mail from a quilt shop that is literally 2 minutes from my house. Its pretty new and kind of small, but what they did have was very cute! The people were so nice and friendly, and not to nosey..just enough you know? I have issues with fabric store employees that have to know what you are making. Sometimes I want to tell them, but sometimes I am just too ashamed to say that I don't know, that I just like it okay, and no I don't know where I am going to store it in the meantime, just get off my back okay!!! Whew, sorry, they get me a little excited sometimes! Anyway, back to my story, Sydney had a blast walking up and down all the aisles, and only unloaded a couple baskets of fat quarters. She's lucky she's cute!

Hope you all have a great weekend! We have some home improvement projects planned, so cross your fingers I'm still married when I talk with you next :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

WIP?? ... Tree Painting

I have been working on this for a couple days now. Last night when I went to bed I thought it was done. But now that I set it up behind the couch were it will someday live, I'm not so sure! Maybe they just need to actually be put on the wall and they will look right to me. They seemed large when I was painting them, but now they look kind of small and puny on the wall.

I haven't painted in years, but I got a card from my Grandma the other day. She taught me to paint when I was about 10 and has been a major influence in my life. She had some encouraging words about art and said that her and my great aunt Helen had decided to start painting again (I think she must go through phases of creativity too...maybe this is were I get my short creative attention span!) It got me thinking, so should I! I've had these three canvases sitting in a closet for probably a year, meanwhile I had a very empty spot behind my couch. I have just realized after looking at these pictures how boring this wall really looks. Not to worry, if you could turn around in the picture there would be a red wall and two tons of toys!

Acrylic on canvas

So, anyway, here it is...Painting #1 for 2007, hopefully the first of many.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hey Look!!

I soldered something!! As it turns out, soldering is harder than it looks. This is not good for me (well actually it probably is.) I do not like "practice". I like to have an idea in my head, get the stuff and make it. I don't want to learn how to do something. I just want to do it. This is not the case when it comes to me and soldering. So, here is my first attempt. To get these four washer stuck together took me about 4 nights. And boy is it ugly. After that I had pretty much ruined my first soldering tip and had to start the mad dash all around town to find a store that carried more!
So last night the hubby and I had a date night (my sis watched the kiddo) so we ran to a couple stores to try to find more supplies. We finally found some of the things I had been looking for, namely copper foil tape. So I stayed up way past by bedtime last night and made this!
Extremely hard to see, I know. Basically its a collage of fun stuff put between two pieces of glass which are then soldered together. In a perfect world it would have a jump ring hooked to the top, but that must be part of the soldering 201 class, cause I couldn't get it to stick. Its pretty rough around the edges too, so this may not be jewelry grade work just yet. But hey, its stuck together!!!
Here is the view of the back. Again, horrible picture. Gonna have to work on fixing that.
So, obviously I need more PRACTICE, but its getting there.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I've been tagged!

I got tagged by Becki to tell six weird things about me. By the way, this is me and my little chica.

So, I've been thinking really hard about this...not that I'm not weird, because trust me, my husband would disagree in a heartbeat. Come to think of it, he should do this for me! Anyway, I think I am just kind of a boring weird, but here goes...

1. I am scared to take my car through a carwash. I'm worried that my tires aren't going to get in the right spot or that I will go in too far and wreck my car or that the big blue brush thingys will break through my windshield and attack me. So my car is usually dirty unless someone feels bad for me and does it for me.

2. With the exception of the bathroom, I am very rarely in a room alone with the door closed. For some reason it freaks me out. My husband constantly shuts the door on me when I am in the laundry room and I feel panic immediately...I have no idea why. There must be some scary repressed memory in there somewhere!

3. My middle name is Dee after my Grandma Virginia (Dee). And as an additional weird name thing, my last name has more vowels than consonants (5 to 3 ratio).

4. One of my favorite snacks is pickles dipped in ranch dressing.

5. When I was little I wanted to own a Pizza Hut when I grew up. Still get a lot of crap for this one.

6. This isn't so much about me but, I taught my Mother in law to knit last weekend. It seemed kind of weird at the time, like some sort of strange role reversal, but it was fun.

Well, thats all I got. I would love to tag some other people, but honestly everyone I know out here has done this already or been tagged to do it....so, how about all of you nonbloggers that are just out here looking around leave me a comment with one weird thing about yourselves! We'll call it a delurking/weird thing tag combo!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Knittin' Up a Storm

Had a pretty relaxing weekend with lots of eating, shopping and knitting! I have been working like crazy on a sweater for my January Christmas in Progress project. You can still join us in getting organized for Christmas 2007, just let Teresa know you want to play too! I also knit up a couple flowers. I haven't figured out crochet yet, but I found this pattern in the book Handknit Holiday and thought I would try it out. (In reality, it was the only pattern in the whole book I had a clue how to do!) They came together pretty quick. I think next time I will use finer yarn and smaller needles. I originally made the green one to go on my daughter's hat, but the thing is as big as her head! She loves them though, she carried them around all day sniffing them like they were real flowers! Too cute :)
Got to do some thrifting on Saturday too. If you click on the photo you can see my labels for each item. I am really anxious to come up with a project for the tablecloth, I love those colors! And the citrus fabric is just screaming to become an apron. Hopefully a big week of projects around here. I think I better make a list!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

WIP - Felt Activity Book

Haven't gotten to work on too much this week. Sydney has been sick and so crabby. Definitely not herself. Went to the Dr. today...ear infection. Poor kid. Hopefully we can get it cleared up quick. My in-laws are coming to visit for the weekend. They have so much fun with her, I just hope she is feeling better and happy!

So, in the few minutes I've had, I've been working on this book for the kiddo. I had plans to sew it all together, but then saw a show on HGTV (from DIY - I love the new shows from DIY on HGTV!!) where they made an activity book with grommets and put it in a 3-ring binder. SOOOO much easier. I only have one page done so far, which turned out pretty ugly...the sharpie should not have been the labeling tool of choice! I'll have to fix that! Good way to use up fabric, ribbons, etc. I'm using the horribly cheap felt from Michaels. Cheap for a reason I'm realizing!

On the additional pages, I plan to have snaps, laces, a pocket, and velcro. I still have two pages to come up with...any ideas? I had considered some stick on animals or something, but I think I'll save that for a different book.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I have big plans on Saturday to make it to a sale at the thrift store - $4 for a bag full of clothes...cross your fingers for a bag full of sweaters!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I *heart* the Internet

I have rekindled my love with the internet today. Don't get me wrong, most days I like it, A Lot, for the obvious reasons of writing my blog and reading all of yours, but today...today I LOVE it!! I ran around this horribly cold town most of the morning with a small child that is still leaking snot trying to find several items. Albeit rather unique items, but still. I only checked a couple stores and was contemplating starting in the bizzarre hobby shops, etc, when I said to myself DUH, go home and look online!!! So, I did. Now in the warm coziness of my own home, with the little one asleep in her bed I got a great deal on microscope slides, glass test tubes and copper foil tape. The shipping was more than the cost of my whole order, but I just don't care! I saved that much in gas and patience today!!

Another reason I am loving the internet today is all the free stuff that's out there. A little copy and paste of some free html code from here and I have a counter on the bottom of my page!

No longer are we limited by miles. Whatever your crafty heart desires can be found with the simple click of a mouse. However, be cautioned. Maybe its just me, but when I shop online, I feel like I am shopping with play money! I spend way more money on something than I would in person. But, I guess the point is that I can't get it in person. What did we do before all of this?
I will leave you with some fun links that help me when my inspiration is lacking.
Color Combo Ideas - I use this all the time for my mini-part-time job in marketing...have I told you about that? Not too exciting, but I'll save it for another day.
And of course here and here which are like a mini index to lots of good crafty blogs.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An Apron At Last

I have been eyeing all the adorable aprons that have been created out here and finally decided to try one for myself. Of course I didn't use a pattern, that would have been to easy. So this took twice as long as it should have, but oh well! Not sure when I may use it. I'm afraid I am too much of a messy cook to actually use it in the kitchen, so it may become a crafty apron.
I remember one of my favorite books when I was little was about a kid that won a contest and couldn't find the ticket he needed to claim his prize. After searching high and low, it ended up being in his mom's apron. I think mine should be like that...a keeper of important mom stuff. Pencil, paper, tissues, winning tickets and the sort! Speaking of tissues...I may just put this to use today. My little one has a cold and her nose is a constant dripping faucet. Unfortunately my daily work attire (sweats) is not outfitted with pockets to hold tissues. I think I just found my solution!
Anyway, its bright (maybe too bright?) and springy and I made it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Look what I grew!

Even though it is the dead of winter here these managed to pop up in my craft room!
I got this idea from Kiddley and decided to whip some up, possibly for Valentine's day gifts or just to "Spring" the place up a bit. They were extremely easy and came together very fast. Plus, its a fun reason to sort through your button stash.

Had a fun day on Saturday with Rachel. Did a little thrifting, craft supply shopping, lots of eating, and ended with some brain storming & coffee at Barnes & Noble. Tons of fun - thanks again Rach! As promised, I took her to the trim store, where she reacted appropriately! Here is a picture of just part of their trim supply. Took it with my cell, so I'm not sure of the quality, but you get the idea!

I spent most of Sunday cleaning up the craft room. Seems like this is all I ever get done. I am a very messy crafter. I have tried to change, but I think it is just part of my creative method. Its always nice to start out a new project with a fresh clean room. Now I just have to decide what to work on next!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Green Bear Pincushion

After being inspired by this and a pincushion that was made in a ceramic dog that I can't seem to find now, I decided to try it out. So here is my little green bear pincushion. He has been sitting on my shelf for years, completely unfunctional. But now he steps forward, eager to be a part of the crafting. I believe he took all of 5 minutes to create. And when he tires out and would like to return to the shelf to rest, the fabric and batting just pop right out. I think I will be making more of these, so that eventually I can throw the horrible magnet pin thingy out the window. I hate that thing!!

Hope you all have exciting weekend plans. I am planning to spend Saturday with my very good friend Rachel. Instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, we decided to spend the day together. So we have a couple fun stores to hit (most notably, the trim spot I mentioned earlier this week), but mostly we will probably drink coffee and chat. The best kind of Saturday! I am very excited.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Phases of Creativity

I'm not sure if anyone else goes through this, but my creative, crafty desires go through stages. Sometimes I am all about knitting, sometimes sewing, decorating, cooking, painting...the list just keeps going on and on. My sewing stage is starting to come back around again, and so I thought it an appropriate time to clean out my pattern and notions drawer. I have found it is very important to only clean out craft supplies when in that specific craft mood. Heaven forbid you get rid of something useful just because you are not feelin' it that day! During my cleaning I found some patterns that I knew I had, but had never really looked at. My MIL gave them to me after they had gone through my husband's grandparents things (my MIL's in-laws). The patterns are from the 50's I am guessing (I might be totally off on this one, but it cost 2 cents to mail the envelopes) and were "sent away for" by my husband's grandma. There are all kinds of transfer embroidery patterns to make the day of the week dishclothes, sock doll patterns with multiple outfits - this one I hope to try soon, and tons of other stuff. It is really fun to get to see the things that she was interested in. She passed away before I got the chance to meet her, my husband and I had only been dating a short time then. But getting to go through the patterns helped me feel like I know a little more about her. I almost hate to cut them up and actually use them, I might just scan them so I can keep the patterns intact. I think it would be a neat thing for my daughter to have a doll made from the patterns - in a round about way, a little bit of her heritage being passed down.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Trim Extravaganza

I had a great birthday yesterday. Thanks to all of you who sent cards, e-mails and comments. I really appreciate it! It was a pretty low-key day, but very nice. My sister watched the kiddo so my husband could take me out for supper. We went to the only Thai restaurant in town. It was so good! Its hard to find good independent restaurants around here. We have every chain known to man, but they can get so old and boring. So, this was a nice change. Plus I got to take home my leftovers in those cute little Chinese food boxes, so my lunch today will be fun too! Oh, its the little things in life, isn't it!

After supper I convinced my husband to wander through the little mall that was right by the restaurant. Its a small one with only a few shops left open, but I hit the jackpot. In one of the stores they had a TON of ribbon, trim, rick-rack, etc. Everything you could imagine...old (some very old)and new, in every color of the rainbow. I saw nothing there over $1/yard and most was .10 - .25/yard. I tried not to freak out in front of my husband. The poor guy was so bored and he already thinks I am a total nut. So I limited myself to just a couple different trims that caught my eye. Most of it will be a gift for some lucky lady (its a secret!). But I will definitely be back. I tried to take a picture with my cell phone, but somehow deleted it :( I promise to bring my camera next time so you can all be jealous that you don't live up here in the frozen tundra!!! Yeah, right! After I calmed down a little, we went to a really good scrapbooking store next door. Their stuff is really cute, but you know after spending .10/yard on equally cute trim, I couldn't even look at the ridiculous prices they had on stuff there. Guess my thriftiness got the best of me! Farewell until tomorrow, when I will hopefully have completed something with my new trim to show off!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Today is my birthday. I turn 28. I really feel pretty good about it. I mean, its only 28. I think I've felt this old since I was about 18, so it really isn't a big deal, right? I can totally relate to Mary Ann's post the other day about feeling much older than you really are. I have always felt that way. Most of my friends are older than me (except for the very young Rachel!! She is 4 months younger than me. Ha ha Rach, your secret is out!) and my husband is 5 years older than me.
Plus, I have a ton to be thankful for in my life. Not that its perfect but I sure can't complain.
So here is my thankful list for the day:
Great friends (in blogland and in person)
Wonderful family
My Janome sewing machine that never fails me
A warm house with a big craft room
And presents!!! My mom and dad gave me this over the weekend!

Its a soldering gun in case you weren't sure! I'm not real sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I am very excited to find out. My dad let me borrow an awesome book called The Farm Shop to give me a few pointers. Isn't that funny! I could probably learn how to put up an electric fence or something at the same time! I love learning stuff like this. When I was in high school my dad taught me to weld, which is tons of fun too, but requires some pretty major machinery, so this will definitely be better. I'll let you know how it goes...hopefully I don't burn down the house or anything.

In other thankful news, I got a package in the mail yesterday from the fabulous Mary Ann. She commented on this post about some extra fleece she found when she was cleaning out and offered to send it to me! Woohoo!!! Some very cute stuff. Thanks Mary Ann, very generous of you. I've been in the the use what you have mood for a while now (you wouldn't know it by all the thrift store shopping I've been doing, but I don't think that counts!). And Mary Ann's gift has made me think we should take this to a new level. So I propose that if any of you are working on a project and are in need of something...maybe 3 green buttons, or a 1/2 yard of purple fabric, or something to inspire a new idea, a pattern, whatever, lets put it out there and see what happens. I know I have a huge stash of craft stuff that if I'm not using someone should. What do you guys think?

Lastley, I did a little edit to my bag from yesterday. It just needed something. So, I added a little tag to the front and embossed the name I came up with for the line of purses I dream of making some day - Feminine Addictions. Not sure if you can see it too good, but I made a stamp with this cheap stamp kit I got at the office supply store and embossed it onto fabric. I'm sure its not washable or anything, but it was the subtle look I was looking for. I think it adds a little touch that the bag was missing.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Felting Success

Made a quick trip to the thrift store yesterday afternoon and found myself in the middle of a 'buy one get one free' sweater sale! What more could a girl ask for! So, here is project No.1 of probably 50 felted sweater projects to come!
I started with this...

And made this!

The hood made the base of this bag and the belt made the handles. I've had the houndstooth fabric in my stash for a long time just waiting for the right time to use it.

I am really happy with how this bag turned out. It's wintery looking, but with some color. I am contemplating embellishing it a little...any ideas?

P.S. Sorry for the crappy photos. I just put the finishing touches on this and was very anxious to show it to you!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Happy Friday!

Aah, Friday, finally. This seemed like a long week, not sure why. Headed off to visit family for the weekend, but wanted to share this little project with you first. These are yet another Christmas gift. I made these potholders for my SIL, and had planned to do many more sets, but this is all that got done. There's always next year I guess!

I started by knitting wool yarn into a square. I was shooting for a 12"x12" square, but I ran out of yarn before I got there, and I refused to use more than one skein per potholder. Then I threw them in the wash to felt. I actually had a hard time getting this yarn to felt for some reason. I ended up putting baking soda in the machine and that did the trick. After felting they were all strange shaped, which I expected. So I cut them down to a uniform shape and whip stitched the edge so it didn't fray. I added a loop, and was done. I really like how they turned out, but I think if I try to do these again I will just find wool sweaters to felt instead. It is a much cheaper alternative to buying wool yarn. I bought the yarn on sale, but these each probably cost me $4-5. Still a pretty inexpensive gift though.

Before felting

Finished product

I wanted to comment on a couple of the comments I got on yesterday's post! The green leaf bolster pillow was made from a sheet I got at a thrift store...I'm really proud of that find, so just wanted to brag about it - sorry!! The granny square afghan was made by my Great-Grandmother, whom I did have the pleasure of knowing. She passed away when I was about 7 or 8. I remember visiting her in the nursing home. She would always have an apple or an orange or something to give us. She was the "up hill both ways to school" kind of story teller. Now I wish I had been older and could have gotten to know her better. Her son, my grandfather, passed away when my mom was 7, so she was my only link to that part of my heritage. Anyway, I am really glad I have this blanket to remember her by. I especially love the colors in this one...most of the other blankets that she made were some pretty nasty 70's colors!!

Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

A Little Corner of My World

This is one of my favorite corners in my house (minus the cords hanging down from my tv...anyone got a good idea how to get rid of those?). My craft room is my idea factory, oasis, sanctuary, my tent of meeting, a warm and cozy place of inspiration for me. Someday I hope to call it a studio, but I don't think I am there yet. There seems to be a line drawn between those two terms, and I guess I haven't crossed it yet...someday. I love to snuggle into this spot and knit and make lists (one of my true passions!). The teddy bear welcomes my daughter everyday. I have been working to somehow kid proof the room. Its gone pretty well so far, I'll show you those ideas another day. But I always knew that she had to be welcome here. I want my daughter to grow up in a creative space with no limits to her imagination. Sometimes the task of parenting seems so scary, what if we screw her up! What if she goes on Oprah and talks about how awful I was!! But then I remember that Oprah is 50 something now, by the time Sydney is old enough to complain about me, she will have surely retired, right!

From this spot I can look onto the rest of the room and chaos and just dream. Lots of memories to be made here...many already realized, looking forward to those to come.

Welcome to my corner. Rest a while and leave refreshed.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Quick Knitting Projects

I finished up this hat and mitten set for my daughter last night. They were both so simple and quick, I love projects like that! I found this yarn on sale at Hobby Lobby for 99 cents! It is usually 4.98 and it matched her new winter coat perfectly, so of course I had to get some. The hat was such a simple pattern that I got from Martha Stewart's website a while back. Its the kind of pattern that does not require double sided needles, which scare me to death, and is not in the round or anything else scary like that! You basically knit a rectangle, decrease a few rows on the top, fold in half and sew up the side and top seams. I can try to find the pattern if anyone is really interested. I wasn't sure if mittens would be warm/waterproof enough if I just knit them, so I decided to make some out of fleece. I had this purple stuff on hand, but it didn't really match the coat, so I just stitch a little yarn across the tops to make them sort of coordinate. I didn't put thumbs in because 1.) they seemed rather time consuming and 2.) It is impossible to get a 17-month old's thumbs in there anyway, so why bother. Here is my beautiful model...
And here is the set with the coat...what do ya think?
Another knitting project I finished a while back is this man scarf. I find it very hard to find yarn and patterns that are masculine. I made this for my brother for Christmas, which he hasn't gotten yet because of a nasty flu bug that kept them home. I really don't think he reads my blog, but if he does, oh well. The surprise is out of the bag. Anyway...I used an entire big skein of yarn for this scarf. I wanted it to be really wide and extra long (my brother is very tall). He has a dark brown wool coat, so I think this will look nice with it.
That's all folks! Until tomorrow....