March 30, 2009

Mousetrap times 100!

This. is. so. cool.

Thank you, DKD for sharing this with me so that I can spread the joy.

March 28, 2009

For all that is good and's done!

Yay! I reformatted the blog background to be a little more personal. I liked the cute scrapbooky ones that Becky and Jenna and Katy have but wanted to incorporate some other types of crafty looks. Well, there were too many things to choose from, so I just took a picture of some of the boxes that organize various crafts in my craftroom.

Thanks to The Cutest Blog on the Block for the mini tutorial! The size didn't work for me so I had to mess with that, plus it took me a while to figure out what I wanted (or, rather, what I really didn't want). Ten or so versions later and we arrived at what you see. In any case, after many hours of scrutinizing way too much over something so simple looking it is done!

Certainly there will updates, but maybe not for a while.

March 26, 2009


Our garden has officially begun.

I've got snow pea, lettuce, and broccoli sprouts. I'm so excited to plant a garden this year - because I've never done it and don't yet appreciate how hard it probably is, plus I have hope that we can actually get some edible produce out of the deal. You can almost see the things growing...between yesterday and today there's a marked difference! Maybe in the next few days we'll also have pole beans, zucchini, carrots, and green onions. Yum.

We also planted a slew of perennial seeds with which we'll try to fill in the copious amount of bare dirt we have. And by bare, I mean laden with weeds. That's one struggle. The other is that most of this area is on the north side of the house where there is little sun and even less drainage. We're trying to save money by going the seeds route - but the savings might be used right up if we have to install gutters. We'll see. The next few weeks will have to bring about those kinds of decisions...

For now I'll bask in the satisfaction of having sprouts AND the re-emergence of the lily I almost killed over the winter. It was in a pot at the front window all winter where it seemed to be slowly dying. I would water it sometimes and then pick off whatever dead leaves were loose and eventually, all the dead leaves were gone and there was just two short green stalks that have proceeded to thrive now that they're no longer impeded by the other crap. It's horrible, but this is kind of my gardening M.O. Don't treat the plants too nicely and hope they become hardy enough to withstand inconsistent watering and alternating periods of scorching sun/no sun. I'm treating the seedlings much nicer. For now.

Knitted Stem Rose

This knit flower may not be the color of any actual flowers in existence. Oh, well.

Stem Rose
by Egret Effects (Theresa B)

Height: 11.5”
Width: 3-4”

[C1] Lion Brand Wool (100% wool; 85 g/158 yds). Color 178 Dark Teal; GAUGE
Doesn’t matter!

Large Petal (make 3)
Using straight needles and [C1], cast on 24 sts.

Using this key…
A = Purl
B = K1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, ssk, k1
C = (K1, ssk) twice, knit to last 6 sts, (ssk, k1) twice

work rows as follows:
Bind off all.

Medium Petal (make 2)
Using straight needles and [C1], cast on 16 sts.

Using the same key as for the large petals, work rows as follows:
Bind off all.

Small Petal (make 2)
Using straight needles and [C1], cast on 2 sts.

Using this key…
A = Knit
B = Kfb all
C = K1, kfb, knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1
D = K1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, ssk, k1

work rows as follows:
Bind off all.

Using DPNs and [C2], cast on 5 sts.

Work I-cord for 40-50 rows, depending on how long you want the stem (pictured is 50 rows; about 8”).

Still working in I-cord fashion…
- K1, kfb, k3
- K3, kfb, k2
- K5, kfb, k1

Turn work and purl
Turn work and k1, kfb, k4, kfb, k1
Turn work and purl
Turn work and bind off all.

Now pick up 3 sts on the open side of the base of your I-cord increases and work rows as follows:
K1, kfb, k1
K1, kfb, kfb, k1
K1, kfb, k2, kfb, k1
Bind off all.

Make the stamen using [C3]. Pick up 4 sts at the base of the inside of one of the flaps and knit I-cord for 5 rows.
Bind off all.

Sew the petals onto the base of the stamen one at a time, starting with the small petals. Unless you want the flower to be wide open, make a few stitches higher up to attach the petals to each other. Make sure to leave a small opening at the top of the stem to put in your pipe cleaners or wire.

Felt the whole flower. If you felt things really small and tight, you might want to feed the wire into the stem beforehand. Otherwise, feed it in afterwards.

Clip the wire a bit longer than the stem is and stuff the top end up into the flower or stamen to add support.

Sew the green flaps to the base of the flower to cover the wire and opening. Put a rubber band around the petals until they're dry.

If your wire or pipe cleaners aren’t strong enough to hold up the heavy flower, you can add a decorative wire around the outside of the stem, as pictured. Any bead store should carry memory wire that is really thick and holds its shape. The pictured flower has memory wire made for a choker that has been wound around a stem-sized tube to re-shape it (it’s hard, wear gloves!). You could add beads to it if you like some sparkle, or you could wind real or silk leaves into it if you like something more organic looking.

Danielle asks:
Hi there, firstly thanks for the great pattern. Im right in the middle of making my first flower and im stuck... could you please explain to me exactly where i should pick up the stitches for the top of the stem. I'm new to picking up stitches so i apologise if im being an idiot!

You are most certainly not an idiot...the problem is more likely that I am not a pattern writer. I should've taken pictures of the work as I was going, but since I didn't, I have tried to answer your question via illustration. I'm so sorry. The "V" marks are supposed to be knit stitches and the flatish "U" shapes are purl ridges. Don't pay any attention to how many marks there are - it is no indication of how many stitches there should be. You can click to enlarge it. I hope it helps!

March 21, 2009

Mischief Managed: Just so cute

Penny likes to nest.

The bed (against your legs and under the covers especially), the blanket/pillow on the living room couch, and any kind of laundry pile are her favorite places.

I've been working on a few projects that I'll share soon. Penny usually tries to sit with me, totally ignoring my strands of yarn and various needles - except when they poke her. Or she rolls on the floor, trying to scent her toys; sometimes pausing a few feet from them so she can suddenly pounce and "get it." She never used to entertain herself - until she stole her favorite ball from its rightful owner. If she's really bored and she knows where her toys are but can't get to them, she will whine until you realize that's what she's looking for.

She is sitting next to me now, and I think she just ate a ladybug.

March 19, 2009

Accoutraments for all your vices

Diverging (once again) from regular blog content, I have to share the greatest gem yet found as we clean out my grandma's house:

Yes, decades ago, some people sat in a office brainstorming product ideas and came up with a mug instructing you to drink and smoke. "Hey, I know...let's pair the phrase with some folk-arty painted fruit!"

And yes, if you flip the lid of the mug upside down, it is an ashtray.

March 17, 2009

A Different Kind of Bear

Gasp! I've veered from my usual bear pattern! I don't know what came over me and I feel a bit unfaithful...

This bear is from the Bubby pattern on Knitty. He's super cute, but the neck is so skinny I had to use a pen to stuff the head. He's much smaller than my usual bears from LMKG - the small ones that I used lighter yarn and size four needles for (like this pattern) all came out to be about the same height as Bubby (about 7") but they're more substantial. Anyways, Bubby is cute; I'd make him again.

Sweet Stuff: Lollishops new look

I like to think that girls and women are not predisposed to the adoration of lace, ruffles, and the color pink. But predisposed or not, sometimes I just like cutesy stuff. A local crafter has opened an Etsy-esque shop devoted to "the frou-frou friendly marketplace" and recently updated the homepage, which now neatly pulls out some key items to peruse and highlights featured sellers. Click here to check out some ribbons and curls!

March 16, 2009

Sweet Stuff: Olive's pillows

Um, awesome. Words cannot describe how much I love pillows. In every place my husband and I have lived, I've asked him if I could have a pillow room. Unfortunately, they don't really build living spaces with appropriately sized rooms for such a use, but I'm collecting pillows anyway.

Sunday Baker, I'm excited to announce, found Olive on Etsy and loved her pillows so much that she's doing a give away that anybody can enter. Click here if you want in. This is my favorite Olive pillow:

And this is the pillow prize for the lucky drawing winner:


So other than hats and mittens, this is the first piece of clothing I've ever made. Ok, there have been leg warmers, too. But that stuff doesn't count. I'm obsessed with shrugs - I guess because I'm obsessed with layering - and I've bookmarked about 85 different ones to make. This one is a super easy design by Peony Knits. You can find the pattern here.

I used Wool-Ease Chunky and a larger needle size. I did check the gauge (and proud of it, even though I FAILED) but the finished product came out smaller anyways. It fits me, but just barely and it would really work better for an adolescent girl. Ah, well. It took less than a skein to make so I can always try again.

March 10, 2009

Lightly felted bag pattern

Good for holding some fruit or a few skeins of yarn. Would also make a fun little purse for a kid.

This is my creatively-named first stuffed animal: Spotsie.

Lightly Felted Bowl with Handles
by Egret Effects (Theresa B)

Height: 7.5”
Width: 8.5”

[C1] Heilo Dalegarn (100% wool; 100m per 50g skein); Color 7081: dark green; 1 skein
[C2] Heilo Dalegarn (100% wool; 100m per 50g skein); Color 3841: dark oatmeal; 1 skein
[C3] Heilo Dalegarn (100% wool; 100m per 50g skein); Color 2931: light oatmeal; 1 skein

1 set US #6 double-point needles
1 12” US #6 circular needle
10 stitch markers or small rubber bands
1 yarn needle
2 buttons

22 sts/28 rows = 4” in stockinette st before felting, but it doesn’t really matter.

With two DPN and [C1], CO 5 sts. Distribute sts between three DPN.

Rnd 1: Join and kfb all (10 sts).
Rnd 2: (Kfb, place marker) 10 times (20 sts).
Rnd 3: Knit.
Rnd 4: (Kfb, k to marker, slip marker) 10 times (30 sts).
Rnd 5: Knit.
Rnds 6-23: Repeat the sequence of rnds 4 and 5 a total of nine times (120 sts), and switch to the circular needle when necessary.
Rnd 24: Knit a rnd with a ssk stitch after the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th markers (115 sts).
Rnd 25: Purl.
Rnd 26: Knit a rnd with a ssk stitch after the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th markers (110 sts).
Rnds 27-31: Knit. At the end of rnd 31, switch to [C2].
Rnds 32-36: Knit.
Rnd 37: Knit a rnd with a ssk stitch after the 1st, 4th, and 7th markers (107 sts).
Rnd 38: Knit.
Rnd 39: Knit a rnd with a ssk stitch after the 2nd, 5th, and 8th markers (104 sts).
Rnd 40: Knit.
Rnd 41: Knit a rnd with a ssk stitch after the 3rd, 6th, and 9th markers (101 sts).
Rnds 42-44: Knit.
Rnd 45: Knit a rnd with a kfb stitch after the 1st, 4th, and 7th markers (104 sts).
Rnd 46: Knit.
Rnd 47: Knit a rnd with a kfb stitch after the 2nd, 5th, and 8th markers (107 sts).
Rnd 48: Knit.
Rnd 49: Knit a rnd with a kfb stitch after the 3rd, 6th, and 9th markers (110 sts).
Rnds 50-59: Knit, removing markers except for the one noting the beginning of the rnd. At the end of rnd 59, switch to [C3].
Rnds 60-64: Knit, placing markers after the 15th, 55th, and 70th sts.
Rnd 65: BO sts between the 1st and 2nd markers, knit to next marker, BO sts between 3rd and 4th markers, knit to end.
Rnd 66: CO 14 sts to right hand needle, knit to 3rd marker, CO 14 to right hand needle again, knit to end.
Rnds 67-71: Knit, removing markers.
Rnd 72: Loosely BO all sts.

Use [C1] to wind a binding around each of the handle openings.

Fold the top of each handle into a diamond shape and fasten with [C3]. Thread strands of a scrap yarn that won’t felt through the fastened sections so you’ll be left with two holes in each after felting.

Weave in all ends except the scrap pieces, which will provide space to sew on the buttons.

Felt the bag using whatever method works best for you. I did it by hand with a tub of hot water and a tub of cold water. Allow to dry in the shape you want it – mine fit perfectly around my small tea kettle.

Sew on the buttons and you’re done!

March 9, 2009

Free gift drawing!

I love this idea!

My friend posted this contest of sorts on her blog after she was the recipient of a free gift from a friend of hers. Now, I'm passing on the opportunity to whomever happens upon it here.

1. You have to be crafty and willing to make and ship three handmade gifts.
2. You must have a blog that you post to regularly.

Here’s how it works
I will randomly select three people to receive a handmade gift from me. Those selected will then have to post this game on their blog, offering a handmade item(s) of their own to three people, and so on. The gifts will likely be random, but if I decide on a set gift, I will announce it here.

To enter
Leave a comment with your name and blog by April 1st.

March 3, 2009

Sweet Stuff: Choco-PB Grahams

Mmmmm. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Graham crackers.

Local vegan baker Honey Bun Bakery is training for a half-marathon benefiting the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and 100% of the proceeds from the Etsy shop are being donated to the cause. I don't know much about vegan food, but the blue icing makes these look decadently delicious. $4 for eight squares.

March 1, 2009

Mischief Managed: Penny helps with chores

My apologies for the cell phone photo...

This is what happens when I sit down. Penny gets all up in my business, no matter what I'm doing. Only when I'm eating does she know that she's not allowed anywhere near my lap. But she often tries to squeeze herself betwixt me and my laptop. Sometimes she goes ahead and lays her chin on it.

Then there are those days when I do my exercises - after elipticalling for a while, I lift some five-pounders and then do maybe 20 minutes of stretching. As I bend at the waste to touch my toes, here comes Penny, weaving in and out of my dangling arms in a futile attempt at forcing me to pet her. Then I sit on the floor in the butterfly position and she crawls in there, circles a few times, and then hunkers down while I try to bend forward as far as I can without crushing her or tearing any muscles.

And as any pet owner knows, laundry is the best chore to be involved in because the person folding may very well have a lap to fill, and if no such lap is available, there are probably piles of scrumptious-smelling, soft clothes to muss and fall asleep in.