Thursday, January 26, 2012

Progress and What's For Breakfast....

All of the knitting and crocheting for the nappy cake is done so it's just about embellishing, wrapping with clear cellophane & packing for the shipping. Once the diaper layers are made you need to "frost" them. After the "frosting" comes the embellishments, my favorite part!!

It kind of looks like a haphazard pile of stuff at this point. This is just a rough final draft.  Items will be added and rearranged and the cellophane wrap topped with an oversized bow will really finish the piece off and contain the mess. 

Now on to my breakfast project this morning.  I have a bunch of aluminum crochet  hooks that I love but my tired old hands like a more ergonomic handle so I only use the Etimo's right now.

So we've all seen the Sculpey, (polymer clay) covered hooks.  I just happen to have some Sculpey in my stash as well as a clay baking dedicated toaster oven, (thrift shop find) and a wonderful Atlas pasta machine, (also a thrift shop find). So this morning I decided to cover some hooks, (before work, I'm an early riser).

In between coffee and my shower I was able to roll out some clay, cover a few hooks & bake them. This is a very simple, fun & fast project. Sure there are some fine tuning steps, like lightly sanding and buffing and of course, making prettier clay cover designs but this was just an experiment as I've never done these before.

After baking at about 200 degrees for about 35 minutes, they were done. I promptly took them out and holding them by the hook end, (watch out they may be a little hot), I rubbed the handles while still warm with waxed paper, (I saw this tip somewhere online and it works well), in order to give them a bit of a finish.

Inspired by my Etimo's, I added a flattened thumb rest area. Oh and because the handle covered the size detail on the hook I put the US size letter in clay on each one. 

Bad photo, but you get the idea. Now to take them for a "test drive" for shape and fit. Then I'm off to the store to purchase more Sculpey in my favorite colors; turquoise & sky blue & teal & cobalt blue and all the blues in between, with a little white in the mix and maybe some other colors as inspiration hits. Ooo, and how about the colors to make leopard print & zebra stripes?

I will definitely be re-visiting this craft and will post some pictures to prove it.

Until then, take time out for fun today and a very special thank you to those of you who read my blog. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Long Live the King...

CAKE, that is!!

And let the eating begin. Things are starting to look a lot like Mardi Gras around here. Witness the yummy goodness....

I dub thee DELICIOUS!!

This particular cake has a brown sugar, nut and cinnamon filling and it is oh so GOOD!!

The tradition surrounding the King Cake is that you bake a plastic baby in the cake and the person getting the baby has to host the party next year.

Due to choking hazards bakeries now place the baby outside so the purchaser can stick the baby in the cake or not. In this case we didn't. See the little purple toy baby? It is sitting inside the ring.

In keeping with the purple, green & gold of Mardi Gras and since this is a crocheting and knitting blog, I will share a WIP. I am calling it "Purple Prose". It is a rectangular shawl worked in Patons Lace Sequin in  Amethyst, which is a blend of acrylic, mohair & wool.  I'm really enjoying this inexpensive yarn with it's little sequins and nice weight. It is rather itchy however but mohair always is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who Doesn't "Heart" a Puppy?

My latest pattern for Red Heart called "Puppy Love" is out on their website. These pups are quick to crochet with appliqued hearts for a little bit of Valentine's day decoration. Oh and it's FREE. Now who doesn't "heart" THAT?



And speaking of puppies, I have a smaller version of the crochet Pomp-a-Poodle coming out. I'm calling it "Pomp-a-Puppy" (or should I call it "Pompy-pup"?). It is made with the same Red Heart Super Saver & Pomp-a-doodle yarn as the larger version but stands only about 11". Perfect size for little hands to hold.

Here's a rough draft of her.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Who Wants Cake?

Carolyn Christmas is a favorite go-to designer of mine, especially when it comes to adorable baby items such as her "How to Make a Crochet Nappy Cake" booklet, (Don't crochet? How about "How to Make a Knitted Nappy Cake" ?).

I have made 3 of these cakes and here you have the ingrediants for my 4th. The booklet not only gives instructions for crocheted baby items but it gives a tutorial on construction of the cake using diapers as the basic "cake" layers. I LOVE it.

This time I have added some items from other designers, (such as Susan Anderson's adorable Cupcake hat & her basic rolled brim hat from "Itty Bitty Nursery" as well as a few ad lib things of my own).

Here are some of the ingrediants; 017 014 012 011 007 009

There are other items not pictured that I have either made or purchased. Once you start one of these projects it's hard to stop.

Last night I started to build the cake itself, so I could access the degree of completion. Tucked amongst the hand knits & crochet are purchased baby items such as spoons & bottles & rattles and so on. Shopping for the extras is almost as fun as the knitting/crocheting parts.

Since this is such a large project, it warrants more than one entry so I will post some progress updates as steps are completed.

TGIF y'all!

Dolls With Heart Update...

Back in November 2011, I shared an email on this blog from Ginger. It seems that she was in the process of making up some "Maggie Bean" dolls for a very special gift.  Well, yesterday I got a follow up email with photos of the finished dolls.

Check them out. I just LOVE the sewn dresses! Aren't they adorable? It's always fun to see how folks make my designs even better with their own customizations and these are wonderful.

 I'll bet there are some mighty tickled little girls right now. Thanks for sharing Ginger and for taking the time to make something with love, designed to comfort some children who are hurting.

And here's another doll picture from another pattern user named Reeva. Look at her streaked hair. So CUTE!! Looks like a lot of people are opting for sewn clothing for their dolls. It's a good option as it is fast and not as tricky as stretchy knits can sometimes be.

Thank you Reeva for sharing your photo as well. I love seeing these different versions of Maggie Bean so much!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Copenhagen Update and Where's That on the Color Wheel?

OK, so the Copenhagen pillow top is DONE! Ends woven, piece blocked. However, the cashmere back did not happen. The sweaters were too small so I was going to do a patchwork back. Lining up corners in non-stretchy quilting cotton is hard enough but add to the mix the stretchiness of knits and the fact that my sewing skills are rusty and well, I wimped. The cashmere has been put away for some future crafty thing.

Instead I used a plaid upholstery fabric to make a complete slip cover. Again I wimped with the closure and used VELCRO, (say it ain't so). I know, a buttoned slip cover is so much better, without question. But I said I was rusty at the machine as evidenced by so many elementary mistakes, including not doing a great job at matching the plaid where edges joined. SO yes, I used VELCRO.

After sewing up a complete slip cover I attached the granny square top by handsewing it to the finished piece. I love this pattern and will definitely make it again. It was easy and fun and the join as you go is awesome. jan18 014 jan18 013 jan18 018 jan18 016

Now for the 2nd part of my title. About a month ago a friend of mine from Ravelry sent me a wonderful drop spindle and gorgeous fiber batt. Not wanting to learn on the "good stuff" I have been using remnants and bits of fiber that I already had for use in needle felting and doll construction.

The learning process is producing a lot of (questionable) handspun yarn(?) in random color schemes. SO yesterday I decided to take it for a test drive and knit with the handspun(?) for a while, just for fun. Due to my inexperience, the yarn is bulky, (super bulky).

Witness the color scheme for which I don't even have a descriptive name. I think I'm going to keep on with this, even in it's non-coordinated colors. I WAS going to make a scarf and really wear it but I just now had an idea. I am going to hang it and use it for holding some of my circular needles. Hmmm, that will be just the thing and I won't have to explain it everytime my non-fiber friends ask me "what the heck are you wearing?" jan18 003 jan18 002

Friday, January 13, 2012

Copenhagen and Cashmere

No excuses, it's been a while.

I am currently working on Yvonne Eijkenduijn's wonderful Copenhagen pillow ,which is a free design for Red Heart & Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation Yarn. I really, REALLY love Debbie's yarn and have said so on so many occasions. 

The pattern is super easy and a quick crochet. It calls for attaching the squares as you go and I have to confess that I've never tried that. Well I'm here to say that I will never do it any other way from here on. I started this pillow top on Wednesday of this week and the crochet work is now done and it is only Friday morning of the same week. Awesome!

Needs a good blocking.

Look at all of those loose ends...good TV watching task.

The pattern directs you to sew the finished top to a pillow which is a very quick finish in deed but I stumbled upon the pillow back made out of thrifted sweaters tutorial on the Attic 24 site and really want to try this as I love the slip cover effect of the removable cover.

I have been collecting cashmere sweaters to use in crafting for a while now and had just the right colors for this pillow. Unfortunately, after I felted them they seem a bit small, especially given the fact the top is going to stretch out a bit when I block it. SO, I am going to TRY to do a patchwork back, made out of the dark pink and turquoise sweaters. Fingers crossed. Will upload pictures if this
is succesful.

And while I was studying my felted cashmere sweater stash and given the fact that it is cold here today, I was struck by inspiration. A cashmere cowl!! Using the light pink cowl neck, which was still plenty big after the felting, I cut the collar from the sweater.

Then I carefully trimmed the rough edges. DONE!! Because this sweater is felted there's nothng else to do. I suppose I could have cut the neck off pre-felting or perhaps I could crochet a decorative lacy edge using the chain stitching along the edge as my foundation,but why bother? It's cold today and I'm going to wear it "as is".

TGIF y'all!