Friday, November 27, 2009

My favorite day

You may call it Black Friday, but I call it Bright Friday. Why do I love this day? I'm not a mall shopper, so I stay away from the stores. In fact last year I shredded all my Black Friday shopping circulars and made these cute ornaments. I made enough food for an army yesterday, so I know everyone is taken care of in that department. There's no grocery shopping to do or dinner to make tonight. I have plenty of time for a long walk, and since my husband isn't working, he can join me. I know I'll be able to read for several hours this afternoon -- one of my true indulgences. What are you doing today?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Making mashed potatoes tomorrow?

Check out this recipe for "freecycled" potato skins. It's just what you need to keep hungry kitchen helpers satisfied -- that is if you can spare your oven for a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meredith's Senoir Pictures

I just finished ordering Meredith's senior pictures. I can't believe it, really. Weren't we just looking at those toothless first grade portraits? I read in someone else's blog that childhood is long days and short years. I couldn't agree more.

For a sneak peak at Meredith's photos, check out Carol's blog, here. And if you're in the area, please consider Carol for your next family event. She's a delight to work with; the hardest part was choosing from all the excellent photos. She gave equal time to Meredith's requests for a moody, artsy look and my request for a "really nice smile." Luckily for us, her prices are so reasonable we were able to purchase several different poses. For more information, see Smile Out Loud Photography.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I heart Mondays and...

I have a lot to heart today -- makes up for the last few Monday's I've missed!

First of all, if you know me, you know I heart snowmen. I have a great collection that comes out just after Thanksgiving and stays around until February.

Second, I heart the ArtGirlz. I've posted about them in the past, and I recently purchased a snow person kit from them. Kits are a great way to dip into a craft. You don't have to run around collecting supplies, and someone's already thought through the directions for you. ArtGirlz give you enough guidance to get the job done, but they respect your crafting instincts and let you make most of the little decisions on your own. Here are a few of my new friends:

Third, I heart needle felting.

I've been looking for an easy needle felting project and this was it. I took some wool roving (a very tiny bit) and worked it into the felt ball with a felting needle. It was very easy to do a free-form heart. My snowmen are full of love! I also had fun felting the "coal" eyes and mouths.

But it gets better! ArtGirlz also sell a kit for culturally diverse snow people. How cool is that? I couldn't pass it up. Don't they make you happy?
And just because I think they're so cute, here's one more picture of the group as they were drying:
Due to technical difficulties, this is posting a day late, but I hope it made you smile. What are you crafting?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Easy Scarf Project

Although a scarf is about the easiest thing to knit, I have two no-knit scarf projects to share with you. The first one is really fun if you're a color-outside-of-the-lines crafter. The second is just as easy, but a little more measuring is involved.

No-knit yarn scarf:
I have been wearing this scarf for about four years, so it looks a little raggedy, but I still love it.

In fact, I love it so much, I made a second one to go with a different coat.

What I like the most about this project is you have so much control over the colors, the length, and the width. I wanted a scarf that would wind around my neck several times and then have the perfect length ends to tuck into my coat without being too bulky.

To make the scarf, gather miscellaneous yarns in complementary colors. I chose several weights and textures. You'll also need a product called Solvey (it's like a roll of plastic wrap but it dissolves in water). Finally, you'll need thread and a sewing machine.

1. Determine your finished length. I did this by draping a strand of yarn around and around and then measuring it.

2. Cut a piece of Solvey equal to your desired length and place it on a work surface (a kitchen island or long dining room table is great).

3. Cut and arrange your fibers along the length of the Solvey. You want them fairly close together.

4. If you want to make little flourishes like this one, just wind some yarn around your finger and pin it in place with two pins crossed like an X.
5. When you're happy with the way your scarf looks, layer a second piece of Solvey on top of the yarn. Pin through all the layers, creating a "sandwich."

6. With contrasting or matching thread, sew a straight line across the width of the scarf about 6 inches from the end. Repeat on the other end.

7. Randomly sew between the two "anchor" seams until most of the fibers are secured. Have fun making zig-zags and curves with your thread. About every four inches, make sure you sew completely across the width of the fibers. To secure the flourishes, sew across the bundle at least once -- you want to secure it but give it room to spring up. As you sew, your packet will become more compressed.

8. Soak the bundle in water to dissolve the Solvey. If your fibers are wool, handle carefully to avoid felting. Rinse until the Solvey is completely dissolved.

9. Dry over your shower curtain rod. Blot with a bath towel to speed the drying process.

10. On each end, tie the loose strands together to create fringe. Enjoy!
Flannel-lined fabric scarf
You'll need about 1 yard of flannel and about a half-yard of several fabrics. I used a similar scientific method to measure my desired length: I draped myself with yarn, measured the length, and then rounded the number to make the math easier. My length is about 80 inches and my width is about 9.
1. Cut a piece of flannel to your desired length and width, or sew together a few pieces to create the length you want. Mine has a seam in the middle.
2. Decide what you'd like to do with the accent fabric. I decided I wanted about a foot of accent color on each end. You can add three or four accents if you'd like. Cut your fabric and sew together until you have a rectangle the same size as the flannel piece. Iron your seams flat.
3. With wrong sides together, pin the fabric to the flannel. Beginning at the 1/3 mark of a short end, sew toward the long edge. Turn the corner and continue sewing the scarf together until you are back to the short edge where you began. Turn the corner, and sew about 1/3 of the way across. Secure the thread by backstitching a few times.
4. Trim all the edges and clip the corners.
5. Turn the scarf right-side out, using the hole at the bottom. Press the scarf.
6. Close the seam by either hand stitching together or fusing with fusible webbing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are you having a hand-made holiday?

Photo by Meredith Buckingham

A little birdie told me there's a sale going on at through December 31. Enter coupon code SCF10P-ARTBEADS-0424 for 10% off any purchase and free U.S. shipping. There are several other promotions going on as well, so check out their great selection of beads, gemstones, crystals, silver and more -- just in time to stock up on supplies for holiday gifts.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Gardens

I ran into an old friend a while ago and among other things she asked about my gardens. After politely listening to a long list of coulda-woulda-shoulda's from me, she said, "well, there's a big difference between spring gardens and fall gardens." And, you know, I really agree. There's nothing like the smell of mulch in May, and the sight of fresh beds and young plants ... so much potential! But I really love the rambling leftovers that come in the fall. I love the many shades of browns and the rustling leaves. More than anything, I love the freedom that comes from walking through the remains of a garden and just enjoying what's left instead of feeling the urge to weed, trim, transplant...
Our winter is long enough that I have months to plan my spring garden to-do list. Here are some fall photos to enjoy now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Winner and some new work

Frivolitea wins a copy of Mostly Metals. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for replying, reposting, and following me!
Here's some new work from today -- nothing spectacular, but I had fun experimenting with steel wire. For some reason I've been resisting it, but after a few sterling silver screw ups, I decided to experiment with the cheap stuff. You really can't beat the price ($3 spool) and it looks like oxidized silver. I'm curious to see how these pieces wear.