Make’n’Tell Day 8: Clay Day

February 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

I saw this pin a while back for making clay with cornstarch and dishsoap, and I actually meant to make it for the  kids on one of our many snow days, but kept forgetting. Today Becky was looking for something artsy to do, so I decided to throw this together for her.

The artist at work

The artist at work

Ours didn’t ever get ropy like the picture, but was more the consistency of paper clay. I think she found it a little frustrating to work with but it held her attention for  20 or 30 minutes, and I think it was also a good introduction to impermanent art. See, Becky’s a lot like I am, and channels her creativity into making “things”. Making something useless or impermanent is almost anathema to us. So I think that sometimes pushing ourselves into doing that — even though it’s frustrating — is a good thing.

Make’n’Tell Day 5: This Isn’t the Hook You’re Looking For

February 6, 2014 § 2 Comments

Yet Another Snow Day, so I asked the kids if there was anything they were itching to do, and both said “clay!” Since I’d been planning on making a TOTALLY AWESOME handle for one of my crochet hooks, this sounded perfect to me. Unfortunately, when we pulled out the bag of clay I had on hand, none of the colors I needed were there. So, I went ahead and made this other, totally awesome in a completely different way, handle.

Flowered sculpey crochet hook handle

I’ll make the other one later in the month. Just need a day not filled with snow and freezing rain to get to the craft store. Or possibly to place an Amazon order.

(non)Intelligent Design

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Three things happened to me yesterday, directly related to my designing of knitted things. Two are super awesome, and the other one not so much (and the lack of awesome there is exacerbated by it being avoidable):

Thing the first: I received notice that a submission I sent out a while back had been accepted. YAY! Emails of that flavor always give me a good 10 minutes or so of pure, unadulterated happiness before I start organizing and moving things around on my schedule and updating spreadsheets and whatnot. And even after the organizing part starts, there’s still a happy little glow there from the acceptance.

Thing the second: Jane Austen Knits Fall 2012 hit newsstands, and I received a note from a lovely woman asking me to please add my Maiden Fair Blouse pattern to Ravelry, as it was so beautiful and she’d like to add it to her queue. Done! A few notes about the Maiden Fair Blouse:

Slightly puffed sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and empire styling under the bust all evoke Regency-era fashion. Like many of Jane Austen’s characters, this little sweater has a sweet girlishness but also a hint of sophistication and elegance. The lace rib of the bodice is reflected in the detailing of the raglan sleeve shaping and easy ruffles adorn the edges.

It’s worked in Rowan Cashsoft DK, which is lovely both to look at and use. I really want to make one for me, if I ever have the time. Much like the cobbler’s children, I’m quickly finding that the designer never has cute new sweaters for herself. [Note to publishers: This is totally a problem I’m okay having.]

Thing the third: I tried on the sweater I’ve been working madly on (for self publishing! Finally a sweater for ME!) the past couple of weeks to check the armhole shaping…and discovered the chest measurement was way, way off. Let’s talk about this a minute, because I really have no one but myself to blame here. I mean, clearly my swatch is a filthy, filthy liar, but I know better by now than to ever fully trust a swatch.

I had a feeling while I was working the ribbing that it was going to be a bit wide, but I decided to ignore it/hope for the best/pretend it was all going to be fine once I was working in stockinette. THEN, I somehow never got around to actually measuring the width of the sweater (I’m blaming this on the fact that I was, at that point, determined that it would be my Rhinebeck sweater, which clearly didn’t happen anyhow — god, can you imagine how pissed I’d’ve been if I actually had managed to finish the thing for the show only to find it didn’t fit?). So I really could have saved myself a lot of heart/finger ache here, if I’d only a) trusted my instincts and/or b) actually taken a moment to check that I was on track. Sigh. At least it’ll be faster to knit it back up once I lose the extra stitches, right?

I’m going to put this one aside for awhile to focus on a couple of submissions and a super cute hat that should, in theory, be ready for release next week, but then I’m going to jump right back to it as, fit issues not withstanding, I think it’s going to be fabulous when it’s done properly.

Found It on the Internet Friday #16

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fall has…fallen. The temperatures are dropping, and I’m chilly ALL THE TIME. So when I came across this tutorial for a super easy, lightweight cowl I was all over it. It’s exactly right for chilly-but-not-cold weather.

I’m wearing it doubled — cute, right?

It’s seriously so, so easy. Take an old tshirt (or a new one you picked up on sale or something). Cut the bottom hem off. Then cut parallel to the bottom hem just under the sleeves. You now have a tube of fabric. Stretch that mutha out as much as you can. Start with stretching it your full wingspan, then you can step on one end and pull the other up — the more you stretch it, the longer it will get (obviously) and the curlier the edges will get. I think I might make a few more of these and decorate them with bleach pen designs, or dip dye them, or applique them…

Fire and Ice and All the Stars Above

August 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

In addition to all the delicious food I’ve been finding on Pinterest, I’m finding lots of fun beauty tips (remember the hair? Still loving that!). Lately I’ve been getting into the whole decorative nail polish thing. I’ve played a little bit with stripes and stuff, but last week I went to the drugstore for shampoo and deodorant and found myself in front of the nail polishes. Normally I’m a more high-end polish kid of girl, because polish chips like crazy on me (I like OPI, China Glaze, and Zoya, in case you’re wondering), but for the fun stuff I tend to cheap out. Sinful Colors runs two bucks a bottle and they have a veritable rainbow of shades to choose from, plus metallics and glitters and all kids of other stuff.

This time, there was a pretty blue glitter that I just fell in love with, and then there was a bright orange that I picked up. Now, I’m not normally an orange girl, but I figured if I’m going to start doing arty stuff like flowers and whatnot, orange is a color I might want to have. This was a reddish orange, and reminded me of the color of one of the Vettes we had when I was a kid – orange being my dad’s favorite color, we had a lot of orange stuff. Hell, the house I lived in until I was 8 was orange. No kidding. Anyhow, I picked this up and glanced at the name – because I love a cleverly named color – and it was Big Daddy. So that one went home with me.

When I got home, I took a look at the stuff I had, and then at the new stuff, and then a plan formed: I would do grey/blue on one hand for a rainy day theme, and orange/yellow on the other hand for a sunny day theme, and then I’d try the galaxy thing on my toes (again – didn’t work out last time, but I thought I knew why). I did my toes first, and they came out just fine this time – I even did constellations! (From left to right: the Compass, the Indian, Bird of Prey, Orion, Cassiopeia, Big Dipper, the Sculptor, the Fox.)

Yeah, I need to work on getting them cleaner. But I still think they’re awful cute!

On to the fingers. I did a grey and silver base coat, but then I had a hard time keeping the blue up as high as I had intended. Also, all of tutorials I read said if you keep patting with the sponge as you’re doing the gradient it’ll smooth out, and that never happened for me. But, when I put the glitter coat on that hid the texture issue so that was fine. However, it didn’t look so much like a rainy day. Then my big plan for the other hand just went to crap. I can’t even begin to tell you what went wrong – it was just all kinds of fugly. So I started over. I decided to scrap the “sunny day” idea and try for a fiery look to contrast with the icy look of the other hand. I started with a hot pink base coat, then added orange, dark pink, and red over top, then finished it all off with a gold glitter topcoat. I’m pretty pleased with the final result, though I’m going to work on doing gradients higher on the nail.

Found It on the Internet Friday #15

August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh, Pinterest. The delights you lead me to. This one was so easy…a rectangle of jersey fabric with a couple yards of t-shirt yarn sewn on to opposite corners. You can wear it as a skirt, as a wrap, as a top.

So comfy on a sweltering day.

This one is a bit longer and makes a great lightweight skirt — it can even be worn as a mini-dress.

You’ll need some jersey fabric, wide enough to wrap around your waist (or chest) about 1 1/2 times. The length of the fabric will determine the length of the skirt/top. The grey piece in the top pic is about 30″, and I flip it over at the top before I criss-cross and tie it when I wear it as a shirt. The red piece on the bottom is about 36″ and is a great longer skirt. Both pieces are 45″ wide.

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