Monday, September 24, 2012

Help! I need somebody!

Sometimes when working on a project you just need a little help.  Here is a list of some great places to get that extra little umph to make your project great!

Web tutorials

Need to make some bias tape? Check out Stop Staring and Start Sewing's wonderful tutorial!

Need to convert a measurement or double a recipe?  I use WolframAlpha for all things math!

Getting lost on how to bind your quilt?  Pop over to Heather Bailey's instructions

Video Tutorials

Starting to knit? Here are a few of my favorite videos to get started!

Longtail Cast-on  -- This has very clear instructions

Longtail Cast on  -- This second one has some extra helpful tips!

English Style Knit Stitch vs Continental Style Knit Stitch

Knit Stitch Continental -For Beginners

These are just a few of the many tutorials out there. What are some of your favorites?

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Never Ending Baby Blanket!

 It seemed like I was knitting this baby blanket forever! 
Now it is finished! Now I can start on another project !  

In this picture I took it with mom's little rocking chair that she had when she was little, isn't it so cute? We used to rock our baby dolls when we were little in it too! 

The pattern is from a book called 99 Yarns and Counting, by Green Mountain Spinnery. Pattern is Evening Shadows Afghan 
A close up of the blanket. It looks like it is woven!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy me maties!  It is arr-guably th' best shore leave in Septemb-arr it is Talk Like a Pirate Day!  This fantastic shore leave has been around fer 10 years.  Ye can learn all about it at th' Official website. Or translate ye speech into scurvy pirate speak at th' scurvy pirate translator.

In celebration of this festive holiday I just wanted to share a project from last Christmas.  The fantastic and wonderful home decorated mug!  Christmas time is always a fun time to try out some new crafts.  After running across some fun Halloween plates and decorative plates I set off to create my own. 

Tracking down the right pens were a bit tricky so check out dickblick or Cheap Joe's.  I just drew on my design using a wet paper towel to remove any stray pen marks or mistakes.  Mine look homemade but I liked the look.  You can use painters tape to help keep things straight if you want a more polished look.

Let dry overnight for 24 hours then bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes to set.  I have read that the pens are food safe and that they are not so I just went with designs that would not have food contact. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finished Project: Stockholm Cowl

This was my distraction project. I am suppose to be finishing up a sweater so I can cast on another sweater. But when I saw the last three balls of Rowan Wool Cotton as the yarn sale....I couldn't resist! I love love this yarn! If you remember, I knit my Audrey Sweater with it and knit four hats for Christmas last year. It is very soft and elastic. I know the cowl is going to be a favorite. Now we just need a bit cooler weather!

 Pattern is Stockholm Scarf by Knitted Bliss. A very easy knit. the pattern is an easy to memorize four row repeat.
 A wonderful feature about this pattern; it is completely reversible!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Decoupage Collage

Decoupaging does not take a lot of thought or planning, just wandering about the house finding things to add. I had so much fun I had to make two!

Starting with a canvas covered board that I got at a craft store, I decoupaged on a piece of light blue mulberry paper for coor and texture. In my scrapbooking supplies I found a sweet old-fashined lady who looked like she enjoyed birds.

What really inspired me to begin this was my collection of bird fabric that will someday become a quilt. After I cut out the birds I felt the collage was still lacking something......
Well a tree of course! I painted that on with some acrylic paint from the crafting stash.
After arranging and re-arranging I decoupaged the birds and papers on, I think about four coats of the glue, letting them dry at least 2 hours between each coat. Instructions are on the bottle.
I dug around in the Christmas wrapping supplies for ribbon which I combined to use for hanging the art. I tried to fasten the ribbon on with the staple gun but it was out of staples. Then my husband pointed out that I would have stapled the art to the table..Saved from a a crisis!
I did miss one step in the pictures and that was when I painted words in a translucent silver paint, one picture says Pretty Birds, the other says Love and has an X for a kiss of course.

Can't you just hear the birds chirping?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hand Dyed with Fun!

This past weekend was the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. If you have never been to a fiber festival as the name implies, it is all about Sheep! There are different sheep breeds to see, sheep shearing, newborn lambs, sheep herding, spinning, felting, hooking, braiding, sewing and Dying! A lot of wool and a lot of sheep! In case you are a little sheeped out, there was abit of other fibers thrown in; alpaca, angora rabbit and goat.
The sisters, a friend and I signed up for a sock yarn dying class!! So fun!! It is really a very simple process, but you do need some special equipment. Like dye and large syringes and a large place to spread the yarn out. The yarn above is one that Mandy and I collaborated on. We did not have a plan, no rhyme or reason, just picked a color when we needed it and had fun!
 This is how we dyed the yarn, already knit up in a "blank". Yarn can be dyed either way, knitted or un-knitted. The reasons it is sometimes knitted is it is easier to handle when wet and it is easier to visualize when dying. The blank has been figured so the width is approximately one round of an average sock. This blank was dyed by our friend Shauna, she was going for a plaid affect.
 I painted this one. We named it "Monet", which was exactly the affect I was going for! A watercolor melding of my favorite colors!
When I say painted, we used large plastic syringes (the kind you use to give horses and cows medicine) to put the dye on the yarn. That way we were able to literally draw anything we wanted. The dye did soak in and blend a bit. If you wanted a really precise line, there was a thickener added to the dye that you then painted on. (In the first picture, I painted green circles on the blank! Fun!)
This one is Mandy's. You probably guessed that. Who else is obsessed red, white and blue?!
I also painted this one. You can see I used the thickened dye to paint stripes. I have always been sad there is not more sock yarn that has wide stripes, so I made my own! Unfortunately, we did not get pictures of Becky's dyed blank. Of course, she choose to do various shades of green.
It is fascinating to see the yarn going through it's different fazes and see how it changes. First it is a boring white, then a crazy striped, zig-zagged length, then wound in a skein it looks totally different and knit up I am sure it will completely different again!! We will be sure to keep you posted!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happiness Cookies

This had to be one of the most excited days of the year! I discovered in an old church cookbook a recipe for easy peanut butter cookies which unexpectedly did not call for any flour. With a little tweaking of my own, they are fabulous gluten-free choice. I have to confess I ate the whole batch myself, not all in one day of course....

They just look so delicious! And that comforting smell in the house of fresh baked cookies.

Milk and cookies, gotta have milk with mine, especially peanut butter cookies. They were so fabulous, I can't even begin to tell you how good they were. This was the first batch before I had the bright idea to add some chocolate chips.

The Recipe: 1 egg, 1 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar. 
Reduced sugar version: 1 egg, 1 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup Bob's Mill all purpose gluten-free flour.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Copyright 1936


While on a recent road-trip across the entire state of Ohio, we stopped at a very large antique store. After much pleading and begging. You cannot imagine my excitement when I discovered a whole shelf of Grace Livingston Hill books! I quickly dialed my sister's work number and her boss answered. Unfortunately it was a bad connection and I felt bad for bothering her boss. With much "hello-ing" and "are you there", I attracted all the people in the antique store, and the staff were rushing to help me, perhaps thinking I had fallen or been skewered by an ancient weapon. My sister assured me I needed to buy at least several of them. I also had to call my mother-in-law and check her stash of these books by our beloved author and justify my first impression of grabbing them all!

Most of them were in fabulous condition and fairly priced and I eventually chose Maris, Through These Fires, Coming Through The Rye, Rainbow Valley, Silver Wings and April Gold. Also an unexpected book at the end as you will see.
 Can you get over these wonderful covers and original art? These are some of our very favorite titles! If you have not read a Grace Livingston Hill book you really need to, they present such a wonderful view of the past, full of great food and always honest and upright ideals. Mrs. Hill wrote over 100 books from around 1900 to the mid 1940's. I could gush on and on about her....

Surprise! On the way to the check out, how a plain brown book binding caught my eye, I don't know. The dealer could not have known who L.M. Montgomery was and had priced this at a mere $2.00. In fabulous condition, I have not even been able to find this book in paperback. I have always wanted to read it! For those of your wondering, L. M. Montgomery wrote the Anne of Green Gables series, one of my very favorites. As you can imagine I snapped this book up and practically ran to check out.
Note: The wonderful pineapple fabric in the background, I found at a great quilting store in Ohio. I think it is going to become a tablecloth.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Flat Bread Pizza

 At a restaurant a week ago, I ordered Flat Bread Pizza. It was so delicious!! I loved the combo of topping and it was a small personal size, just right for lunch. Once I got home I decided to replicate it. I think this would be a wonderful last minute throw together meal.
Of course, I had to make my own flat bread. But if one is in a hurry, store bought is always faster. The recipe I tried for the crust I didn't really like and so I won't recommend it. But I did learn that flat bread is a generic term for a type of bread. Focaccia, ciabatta, pita and pizza crust are all in this category. So I think when I make it again, I will use a pizza crust and just make them personal sized. After the dough had raised I rolled it out and baked it before putting on the topping, just until the edges started to get brown, then put the toppings on and popped it back into the oven. One recipe I read suggested roasting the vegetables before putting on the pizza if using premade flat bread.
This pizza I replicated the one I had eaten in the restaurant. It is tomato free! Start with a generous layer of olive oil, sprinkle Italian seasoning and garlic, add a layer of spinach leaves, toss on a bit of pre-cooked chicken chunks(leftovers), cover with cheese and top of with fresh mushrooms and olives. One of the reasons I am so excited about this pizza, is tomatoes don't agree with me and this version finally clicked! This is also what made me realize I don't like white sauce on my pizza.
As you can see, it is very easy to customize! On the left, is a goat cheese version and on the right, tomato lovers version.
Does anyone have a favorite flat bread recipe? Or do you make a similar pizza?