Tuesday, March 31, 2009

archived: updated crafty to dos

craft space

Jenni inspired me to go through my crafty to do's. i've gotten more done on this list than i expected - i never think to refer to it. i'm really hoping to be inspired to stick to a few things on here that i've been wanting to try.
  • figure out how to cut straight...
    • still working on it, but getting better
  • oven mitts and pot holders (here and here and here)
    • bought oven mitts - this wasn't at all intriguing for me
  • skirt for me (here, here, here, here, here, here, here , or here )
    • whew! that is a lot of options! i might just have to make them all because i live in skirts in the summer.
  • coasters & placemats to match
    • Jess made me some coasters! i still need to find a place mat pattern i like.
  • continue practicing & learning the lingo
    • doin' good on this one, although pattern reading isn't as easy as it seems! here here and here
  • eventually sweaters like katie makes!
    • soon - after some more confidence and practice
  • debbie bliss seed stitch baby shoes
    • cast on for these last night. i'm making them for our future baby. it isn't conceived and won't be for a long time, but the only yarn i have works good for baby stuff...and i need to learn how to increase and decrease.
  • slouchy beret
    • not sure i can pull it off, but i love it. i also want to cut my hair like the girl in the pictures!
  • toy elephant
    • i love love love this. i think i will have to improve, but i REALLY want to make it.
  • baby legs
    • i think the knit baby legs are the cutest, but the whole double pointed needle thing is intimidating... soon i will try
  • coffee cozy
    • i have a friend getting married who LOVES loves starbucks - everyday in college she got at least one. it will forever remind me of her. i was thinking a gift certificate to her fav and two matching cozies would be cute for a shower or wedding gift.
  • resume practicing & learn the lingo
    • on hold for now
  • day of the week dishtowels
    • just going to do two and not include the days. i have the towels - just have to transfer the designs and start stitching!
  • freezer paper shirts (examples here & here)
    • i have everything to do this except the freezer paper
  • canvas silhouettes
    • if we get a house i will FOR SURE be doing this, if we rent i will probably STILL do it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

archived: cabled baby bib

Modern Cabled Baby Bib

I have lots of Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn in different colors so I decided to knit a little bib for Baby M. I'm slowly expanding my knitting skills - this included cables (ooh ahh!), seed stitch (more on that in a minute), and a button hole (i know you are impressed).

Modern Cabled Baby Bib

back to seed stitch... I LOVE IT. i think it is so soft and nubbly. i just can't get over how it feels! so so great. cables. intimidating, but SO not hard!

Modern Cabled Baby Bib

i hate this picture - it shows all the flaws, but this was a really good learning project for me. you can see about two inches up where i started being able to knit more loosely - it kind of bulges. can i just tell you how much easier that made my knitting life??

Modern Cabled Baby Bib

a cute simple button from the flea market this weekend! now if i could only find (and afford) a rocking chair to knit in...

Friday, March 27, 2009

archived: knit washcloths

knit washcloths

these are for a special new homeowner.

i am the slowest knitter EVER. i've been working in these for about three weeks! in my defense i wasn't devoting all of my crafting time to them (mostly just knit when i watch a movie or tv) and we were traveling last weekend, but still. i think my slowness can mostly be attributed to the fact that i knit too tight. makes it difficult to maneuver so i go more slowly. i'm learning to knit more loosely and as a result my latest project is going much more quickly.

checkered knit washcloth

i love this checkered one. such an easy pattern, but i like the effect.

knit washcloths

the solid green is just a simple garter stitch.

knit washcloths

i love the way the cotton knits up - it is firm enough to be kind of scrubby, but still feels soft and organic.

pattern - dirty-girl washcloths from The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting
yarn - sugar 'n cream 100% cotton in green & green twists

these will be on their way soon linz!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

archived: animal silhouettes

i made these a few months ago and forgot i had never posted about them! now i can't remember how i got to the tutorial for this project, but somehow i found it and knew it would be perfect for Baby M's nursery.

it was really easy to make the little animals. you just print out the template, cut it out, and paint it. you can be sort of sloppy as long as you get the paint all the way to the edges and have a scrap piece of paper underneath. once they dry the edges curl a little, but if you put them in the middler of a heavy book for several hours they flatten out.

the hard part for me was writing straight and in french no less! it took me and my perfectionist self MANY times to be sort of satisfied and that was with giving in and doing one in english. so much easier to write fluidly in a language you know! after i was satisfied i glued the animals on with rubber cement - my all time favorite adhesive! i just love it.

from what i hear they have been successfully framed and hung in the nursery. easy, unique, inexpensive art - awesome!

Monday, March 23, 2009

archived: onesie cookies

the shower this weekend was fantastic! it was so nice to spend time with good people and get away for a few days.

my sole contribution to the shower were these cookies. pretty cute, right? i first saw baby shower cookies on Homemade by Jill - a great blog and resource for this project.
i don't know why i've never worked with royal icing before, but i will use it EVERY TIME i decorate cookies from now on. Here's how I made the cookies and some tips I learned along the way.

make your dough. it is important to use cookie dough that is made to be used with detailed cookie cutters. i originally thought i'd just try the pillsbury pre-made stuff, but it makes puffy cookies. i used this dough and was very pleased. the cookies keep their form, but aren't hard or poorly flavored. i don't like dealing with huge amounts of dough so i made three half batches.i used the suggestion in the recipe to roll the dough between sheets of wax paper - OMG what a difference! took all the frustration out of using a rolling pin.

my cookies were about 1/4 inch thick before baking and i ended up with 62 cookies.

(excuse these photos - it was dark out)

cut out your cookies. use a cute cookie cutter that is 3-4 inches or larger. at first i tried a stroller that was about 1.5 inches and it was really hard to "draw" defined details with the icing - just not enough room. leave that for the pros and make it easy on yourself - use a big cookie cutter. i got mine here.

bake your cookies - i found 7 minutes at 350 to give the best results

make royal icing. i used the recipe discussed in this video. i love the woman in the video - doesn't she just make you feel good? part 2 of her royal icing video is good too - it discusses how to pipe it.

to spread your initial layer of icing use a small spoon. spread it all the way to the edge with the back of the spoon. keep your unused icing under a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out.

let the bottom layer dry at least an hour before adding any other layers. to pipe the icing outlining the shoulders and leg holes of the onesie i used a #3 piping tip. there are tons and tons of examples of how to decorate onesie cookies on the web. i went with the simplest version i could find.

i went back and added a green monogrammed M and a few dots for buttons. to color the frosting i recommend using a concentrated tint like those made by wilton. a little goes a long way so its worth spending a little more money and getting richer colors

one thing i missed while reading up on royal icing was that it takes 12 to 24 hours to fully dry. this posed quite the problem when i finished icing my cookies 1 hour before i was to drive 8 hours to the shower. thankfully gift boxes from dollar tree allowed me to transport them without having to stack them. also, don't worry about leaving them uncovered during the dry time - the icing will keep the cookies from drying out.

these served as favors for the shower so i finished them off by putting them in individual bags like these.

and in case you are wondering how much time to budget: from start to finish it took me about 3 hours to make the dough, roll, cut and bake all 62 cookies and an additional 4 hours to ice all 62 cookies. not too bad for how cute they are!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

archived: buttercup

look what i made!

i'm so pleased with myself.

it is the buttercup bag from made by rae. i have been wanting to make something for myself and this looked doable so i just went for it.

i've been thinking a lot lately about why sewing is so frustrating for me. i decided it was (1) because i had never taken the time to really teach myself. i just started doing it. and (2) because i never give myself time to make something. i rush through it and when it doesn't work the first time i get frustrated.

so i decided to set out to make something slowly. i implored myself to be patient and chose a pattern i thought i could handle without going back to teach myself anything. it was SO much better to work this way. funny how if you just give yourself permission for something it feels better. i don't think i swore once, but there was still a lot of sweating. all told i think it took me about 3 hours of actual work to complete.

i saw a simple button clasp like this in the flickr group and decided to copy it. i am pleased with how it turned out and it actually keeps the bag closed!

hard to take a good shot of the inside. this will have to do. i like the little pocket!

how it looks on my shoulder. i like. its a little less sturdy than i would prefer - interfacing will be used if i make this bag again. i will also make it much bigger. i really want a big sturdy purse.

oh and don't worry about my frizzy hair, k? i'm home all day alone without even children to impress.

the aftermath.