Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 projects



I saw this idea for a finished object mosaic on Oiyi's blog. It's a fun/scary way to look at how much time/money/work I spent on crafting this year...eeks!



I'm not sure I'll have as much crafting time next year as I did this year, but I'm hoping to do some more knitting (bigger projects like a sweater and a tote bag), finish up some older quilts that are still wips (this one and a college t-shirt quilt that I started back in 2002), and work on some more bags and purses. And I'm also looking forward to using up the various stashes I've accumulated during the year and I'm looking forward to using and making the craft books I've bought in the last year.



knit purses



I made these two purses for my sisters for Christmas. They're made with Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick on size 13 needles. The green purse is made with the Grass color and the blue purse is made with the Sky Blue color. I really like working with this yarn...it's thick a spongy and I think it looks great with a simple stockinette stitch.





For the purses, I cast-on 36 stitches and knitted a 15" x 18" rectangle. This pattern is loosely based on the purse pattern in Hollywood Knits Style, but instead of wrapping the knitted stockinette portion over the handles, I tied the knitting to the handles by winding the yarn around the handles. The purse used just about one ball of yarn.





The handles on the blue purse are made by Clover and were purchased at a local yarn store and the black handles are from Joanns.







Sunday, December 30, 2007

ruffle scarf



I discovered this novelty "yarn" on a sample scarf at my local yarn store and picked up a few skeins to make a scarf for my cousin for her Christmas birthday. It's Online Linie 194 Solo yarn in color #11 (red/orange) and comes wound in a tight ball, so you have to separate the yarn and flatten it out before knitting with it. The yarn took a little bit of time to get used to working with and kept twisting around as I worked with it, but other than that this was a quick knit with great results.





I used three skeins of yarn and size 8 needles in a garter stitch pattern with 8 stitches on each row. The scarf is about 50" long, but is very stretchy.



Il_430xn16543476



The other gift I found for my cousin was this super cute journal that reminds me of the monster book Hagrid assigned for the Care of Magical Creatures in Harry Potter. Kari loves Harry Potter and writing in journals, so I thought it would be a perfect fit.



Saturday, December 29, 2007

criss cross coasters

There was lots of holiday crafting going on in our house during November and December! I'll be sharing the finished gifts here in the next week.





First up are these criss-cross coasters that I made - a set for my grandma and a set for Jon's mom. I found the tutorial at allsorts and she's got lots of other cute little tutorials to try out on her site also.



I had a few fatalities in the corners of some of the coasters when I was flipping them inside-out (too vicious with the chopstick and poked holes in the corners), but I was able to re-sew the corners to hide the evidence. I'm definitely going to be making some more of these - maybe one day when I get around to making placemats, napkins and a table runner for our kitchen table.



Friday, December 28, 2007

and they're finished!

I love these stitchettes and I think they're so cute, but I am so glad that I've finished stitching all of them up! What a relief!



Here are the final four that I've finished over this holiday break week:



Georgia Grows





Oliver Observes





Miles' Mother's Day





Ruby Ricochets



And, the hero shot with all 16 stitchettes together:





Now, onto the quilt!



Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!



It wouldn't be Christmas around here without Peanut Butter Bon Bons.





Here's the recipe for this festive little treat we make every year:



1 cup Peanut Butter

1 cup Butter

2 cups Confectioner's Sugar

4 cups Rice Krispies

12oz package of Chocolate chips or bits



Melt butter and add peanut butter. Stir until melted on low heat. In a large bowl mix Rice Krispies and confectioner's sugar. Pour in peanut butter mixture and mix with hands. Form into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm. Melt chocolate bits in double boiler or microwave. Dip half the cookie in melted chocolate. Place back on waxed paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. After dipping in chocolate, they can be dipped into colorful sprinkles, chopped nuts, etc.



yummy marshmallows!

Design*sponge had a little video tutorial on marshmallow-making last Wednesday and after stocking up on corn syrup and sugar, I decided to give the recipe a try. I used the recipe from readymade magazine featured in the video and added vanilla for extra flavor. The first batch was ruined because I didn't mix it long enough, but the second batch came out just right and I've been munching on them ever since.





Let me tell you...these things are absolutely delicious! I am not a fan of marshmallows whatsoever - I can manage one melted marshmallow on a s'more once or twice a summer and that's about it (I really only eat them for the chocolate). I'm not going to own up to how many of things tasty little things I've eaten in the past two days...they are so good and taste nothing like the packaged marshmallows from the store. You've definitely got to try a homemade marshmallow (or two or three) yourself!



Sunday, December 23, 2007

big bright light show



Jon and I took a spontaneous little road trip to downtown Rochester, MI, my hometown, on Friday night. Last year, they started this Christmas light spectacular called the "Big Bright Light Show" which decorated the downtown shops with 500,000 lights. This year was bigger and better with twice the lights and twice as many decorated buildings. It was quite the sight! While we both would have preferred downtown Rochester to be turned into a quaint Dicken's Christmas town, the continuous stream of lights for blocks on end were quite amazing to see in person. It's definitely brought tons of business to the downtown area and revitalized a lot of the stores. Red Knapps got our business when we treated ourselves to one of their tasty chocolate malts!





We've been trying to think of some Christmas and winter things that we shouldn't miss out on, so it was nice to get out and see some lights this year before Christmas. We've got three more months of winter to do all of those other crazy outdoor activities: sledding, ice skating, snowboarding/skiing and igloo building (Jon's idea) later this winter if we can brave the cold.





Friday, December 21, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

new hat



I finished up my first hat last night. I found a pattern for an easy hat here and then adjusted it for my yarn. I used Red Heart Soft Yarn from Joanns and cast on 104 stitches on size 6 16" circular needles. From there I followed the pattern until the end. I ran into a few problems at the end when I realized how useful double pointed needles would have been. The ends of my adjustable circular needles just weren't cutting it, but I made it work and was able to finish the hat without

having to purchase a new tool.





I wanted Shinji to model the hat for me, but he was clearly not a fan!





Don't worry...he forgave me two minutes later after I gave him a nice head scratch and belly rub!



Monday, December 17, 2007

Finn's Friend



Here's another stitchette for my collection. I've got five more to go and then I can get started on the patchwork quilt. My mom and I have a date on Thursday to check out the quilt shop by her house, so hopefully I can get some new fabric to use on the quilt then!



Sunday, December 16, 2007

first big snow



Other than shoveling our driveway and sidewalks, we enjoyed our first big winter storm inside today. Catching up on some Battlestar Galactica episodes (Jon is very proud of getting me hooked on a sci fi show), making Thai Chicken Pizza, knitting and embroidering. A wonderfully lazy Sunday!





our wood pile for next summer's bonfires





Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ornaments!



One of my new favorite Christmas traditions is participating in the Holiday Ornament Swap hosted by cake+pie and freshly{blended}. Last year I made little felt button tree ornaments and this year I just finished up these patchwork star ornaments. I really enjoy receiving little packages filled with new handmade ornaments for our tree throughout the month of December.





I first saw the concept for these patchwork stars in the holiday issue of Marie Claire Idées online and spent an evening driving around town trying to find a copy at the bookstore so that I could copy the pattern. When the new issue didn't show up, I had to lean back on my trusty geometry skills and figure out some angles. (did you know that they now make flexible protractors? I have broken many a plastic protractor in my day).





I picked a few red and green fabrics from my stash, cut the pieces into diamonds and did a couple trial runs to work out the kinks in the design. The stars were finished up on Sunday night and photographed and mailed yesterday afternoon. I received my first ornament from the swap yesterday and am looking forward to seeing the rest of the ornaments soon.





Sunday, December 2, 2007

Handel's Messiah



Jon and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon concert at Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit this afternoon. Our friend, Jodi, bravely joined the chorus this fall (yes, she would be the one who refuses to hum in front of her classical guitar teacher) and made her concert debut last night and this afternoon.



The church was stunning and hearing the verses come to life through the singers and instrumentalists was an amazing way to hear the Christmas story come to life. Jon and I both agree that we felt chills and heavy waves of emotion throughout the piece.



My favorite part is definitely the chorus: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9 : 6)" Oh, to be able to play the trumpet for this chorus! I'm still bumming that the flute was not invented in time for Handel to include it in his score. I would have loved the chance to play in the accompaniment!



And, how can you not go through a Christmas season without hearing the Hallelujah chorus at least once?



Thanks, Jodi, for letting us share in this special day with you!

Jodimessiah_2



Saturday, December 1, 2007

no more granny squares



I have finally finished this never-ending granny square afghan! I'm so glad to be able to cross another project off my to-do list. Plus, I've been wanting to make an afghan like this for at least 8 years and have had just about everyone under the sun try to teach me basic square construction, so it feels great to have a finished project that can actually be used!





I had originally intended to make this 8 blocks by 10 blocks, but after lining the blocks up side by side I realized that I'd need to make some extra blocks to increase it to 9 x 12. Well, after starting the additional blocks, I ran out of yarn and was only able to finish an additional 18, so the final size is 9 blocks by 11 blocks (52 in x 64 in). The sizing is a little wonky because my gauge change about halfway through the project. Actually, I had to re-crochet the outer round of about 20 squares because they were way too big in comparison with the other squares. This helped to make the square sizes more uniform but contributed to the crookedness of the whole project In Jon's words: Aren't afghans supposed to be crooked? Thanks, Jon!





This is my first and probably only crochet project for quite a while. I've found crochet to one of the only craft projects that really agitates my left wrist, and I had to limit my time on this due to pain, so I'm not sure I'll be able to do another large scale project any time soon. Because of this, I ended up sewing the squares together instead of using the single crochet method. I'm happy with how the afghan came together and the sewing was much easier on my wrists!





I used Vanna's choic acrylic yarn on this. Unfortunately, about halfway through the project I discovered my preference to merino wool, so at times it was just a bear to work with. On the whole, it's a great acrylic yarn, though and was great to work with...very soft, not too much splitting and no knots within the ball of yarn. I used about 19 balls of yarn (170 yards each). 2 each of the 6 colors included and 7 of the main color, so the project cost about $50 total. A great price considering how long this project helped to occupy me.





Our little kitties have taken a liking to this afghan, so they've been kneading away at it and in turn pulling out all of my sewn in ends. Oh, well! I guess they get to enjoy it too.





Now it's back to the regularly scheduled knitting and stitchette-making!