Monday, July 22, 2013

Tricksie Coral

These are the latest from my studio...

...polymer clay faux coral stick buttons!  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tour, day 12

This is a picture of 2 oz. of lovely Dyelicious superwash merino from TYF, in singles, on my bobbin as it sits after an afternoon of spinning it up.  (Long draw... that's why it got done so fast!)

It will be some lovely thick and thin yarn to go with my first skein.  Once this one is plied and completely finished, I'll have spun 8 total ounces of the 12 ounces I bought from TYF from Nancy's very first batch of dyeing.  I feel honored to have been part of the inaugural batch of her fiber.  It wasn't the last, and it won't be the last, and everyone keeps loving her stuff.

I've got to start saving money and get to the shop on time the next time she gets a batch of her fiber and yarns over there.

Mud face, bracelet, and layered bead flowers

I had a fun spa night at my friend's house:

I finished the first bracelet design, which I re-made in some green Malabrigo laceweight because Tempe Yarn and Fiber doesn't sell the yarn I started with.  This is my little button, too.  I think it's so cute poised just above the wrist bone like that.  ^_^

I've almost completely redone my craft area, too.  I've turned it from a paper crafts area into more of a jewelry studio.  It's definitely taking some time to adjust, but so far, it IS producing cute, creative results in my jewelry making.

The last step for me is to figure out how to make a more permanent clay addition to the studio area.  It's got to look good since it's in the corner of my living room.  I'm still working on it, but I know that eventually I'll get it.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Lately, I've been attempting to come up with cute little bracelet patterns for knit and crochet.  Theoretically, I'll be offering them for free through TYF for people who want to use them to use up a stray button or two since, you know, I sell buttons.

So far so good, I believe.  I love how this one turned out all finished, anyway, even though I haven't sewn a button to it yet because I feel like I have to make a new one that will look perfect.

The irony isn't lost on me that the whole reason I started this was to use up odd buttons I already had and that by making a new button specifically for this project, I'm totally missing the point.

(I don't care.  I'm totally making a new button.)

Tour update: I'm spinning lovely superwash Dyelicious today.  It's four ounces, spun rather thin, and I'm planning on turning it into a three ply when I'm all finished.  That should be keeping me busy for the next week or so.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vive le Tour

Tour de Fleece is going very well.  So far I've got a little less than 2 oz. of a lovely gray merino, about 166 yards, Navajo plied, to show for it.  Here is the yarn as singles, before they were plied:

There's something about this color gray that just makes me happy.  It's so lovely, like a slightly overcast sky.  Nothing is more beautiful than a gray day.  ^_^

(Keeping in mind, of course, that I live in central Arizona, so for us, an overcast sky, especially in summer, is a wondrous treat, indeed.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tour day 3

Another quick picture for Ravelry...

Where there's no smoke...

I've been ridiculously absent of late from the blog.  That doesn't mean, of course, that there isn't a lot of crazy crafting going on in my house.  In fact, it means quite the opposite.

Also, it's summer break, and being that I live in a place that gets so hot that I find myself saying, "It's 110 today, but wait until it actually gets hot..."  You can imagine that I'm not sending my boys out to play very much.  We tend to do here in summer what most people do in winter if they live somewhere that actually gets cold and very snowy only, you know, the opposite.  We hole up inside the air-conditioned house, wearing as little clothing as is appropriate, trying to fend off the boredom for as long as we can.

It gets so hot here that it even gets too hot to swim, for any of you non-locals who just thought that we should live at the pool.  No.  In the mid day of our crazy heat, the pool water feels more like bath water and it evaporates so quickly when you get out that you get barely any time to feel cool in the air.  It's not refreshing at ALL.  The breezes that blow are hot breezes.  The other day, I was walking out of Tempe Yarn and Fiber and a hot, hot wind kicked up and it felt like my little toes were about to pop off of my feet like little pieces of popcorn.  Pop!  Pop!  Pop!

Anyway, so, as I said... We're holed up inside.  A lot.  And that makes for busy days and not much blogging.  But the Tour has started (Tour de Fleece, I mean... no one cares about the Tour de France anymore in this house.  My husband, who loves bicycling with all of his heart, has completely lost interest in that other Tour because of all the doping.  Sad business.) and I'm spinning up a storm.  I'm also getting stuff made for church and keeping up on my clay, so over the next few days, I'm hoping to catch up on all that I've been doing when I've not been here recording it.

One of the really exciting things going on right now is that I'm heading up the project portion of Scrapmania at my church this year.  I'm putting together the project and kits and trying to keep everything inexpensive so that our ticket sales mostly go to our single moms' Christmas party.

Pastor Holly found an amazing project idea online, and I adapted it to make it less expensive to produce.  This exploding box is BEYOND cute.

Above, the box is decorated with a bunch of stuff that won't come in the kit.  But below is the box showing what kind of finished thing will be possible with only the kit contents, although these colors are completely different.  That night, all of the ladies will be learning how to make these roses and the layered flowers and the rosettes.  It's going to be really fun!

Part of lowering the cost is in making all of the items for the kit myself.  So far, I've done 200 polymer clay embellishments (100 kits total... I want each lady to get at least three pieces of clay embellishment, so I have one more set to do) that look like this:

I'm pondering making the third one more like a flower.  Maybe a little rose or something.  I have to see if there's enough clay for that.  Maybe I'll do little cameos instead.  I can't decide!  All in all, I believe it's going to be a great night!

And... yes, the Tour is on, so it's back to the wheel for me!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pictures for Ravelry

New buttons for TYF!  I'm excited about the shank buttons that look like knitting.  ^_~

Handspun: Four ounces of superwash from Dyelicious fibers at TYF that was truly amazing.  Nancy called it "Gumbo".  I called it "Nebula Gumbo" because it looked like all of the colors of a nebula to me.  I love how much this turned out like Malabrigo's Pocion colorway, which is my new favorite... It's like a dirty rainbow.  EVERY color, but subdued so that it isn't too much for every day.  (Unless you're Joseph in some church pageant.  There's a place for billions of colors in one outfit, I'm sure.)  This was my first real three ply yarn from three separate bobbins... I LOVE how the colors mingled!

Handspun: Four ounces of a polwarth/silk blend from TYF.  I love the greens and kept them in their repeats by Navajo plying.  This is close to 700 yards and will become awesome socks for my hubby in the month of July.

Handspun: a bit less than 2 ounces of a silk/wool blend from TYF.  It's a two ply and very nice, if I do say so myself!

Handspun: No idea what the weight/yardage is on this... it was my first experiment with hand carders, just a bunch of dyed merino top from TYF.  Two plied from a center pull ball... I love how the purple ends melded so nicely with the yellow ends.  I can't wait to get more carding done.

And, that's it!  These are here so that I can get them to Ravelry.  Tour de Fleece has begun!  Yee!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shawl Pins!

I made a batch of new shawl pins.  I figured that this time I'd get some to TYF before they asked me.

Sometimes it's fun to get back to just wire and beads and what you can do with them.  I do love using charms and added things in my pins, but this time, I just played with the wire, and I had a lot of fun!  ^_^

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Painted and finished...

I won't discuss how many hours went into accenting all of these buttons, and this isn't even all of them.  I hope people love them on Saturday!

Monday, April 29, 2013


Oh, yeah, and here's 52 (or 53?) sets of buttons for my show on Saturday.  These haven't been painted or finished yet at all, but they're made and baked.  I'll have a finishing frenzy later this week.  ^_~

I'm excited!  The show will be awesome!

New Shawl Pins for Mother's Day show!

Here's a quick picture post of the newest shawl pins I've made for my Mother's Day show this Saturday at Tempe Yarn and Fiber:

The sand in the hourglass actually moves. 

And... the lock and key one is my favorite all time EVER.  I might be lying about putting it in the show.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mother's Day Show Promo

Come out on Saturday, May 4th, from 12-5pm to shop my show at Tempe Yarn and Fiber!

My show this year will really be fun!  I'm bringing buttons and shawl pins.

I've taken some of my jewelry in a new direction, too, which I think will be fun to see.  It's a little bit eclectic...

A lot beautiful...

And everything truly stunning...

Just like Mom!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Storage for Tsukineko DewDrop Inks

My mother-in-law always comes bearing gifts.  To her, many times, I know they're just castoffs (like 28 practically brand new Tsukineko Dew Drop inks), but there's a lot of new stuff in there, too.  I got a stamp set from the most recent Sale-a-Bration through Stampin' Up! because she always orders a lot and then sometimes doesn't want any of the free stuff, so I get the free stuff.  It's so awesome!

I'm pretty sure most people know how to make these little boxes, but just in case, I'll give a brief explanation.  If you need a ton of details, look around online at how to make cardstock boxes, but chances are you can figure it out just from written directions.

Each of these boxes will hold 24 Tsukineko Dew Drop Inks.  These are not the sturdiest boxes, but I will say that the first one I made several years ago is still practically perfect even though I repeatedly dragged it with me to classes in tote bags (laying flat, of course, not on its side) over the course of about 3 years.  For the purposes of neatly storing your inks, they work perfectly.

The inks fit into the boxes as shown below... one pointed up, one pointed down, six of them across the slightly longer side, and four down the slightly shorter side.  I use regular cardstock to make these and, as always, my favorite glue is Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive.  It dries hard and makes the finished boxes feel more sturdy.

The box size is 7.5" by 7.75", with one inch sides.

To make the bottom, cut a solid piece at 9.5" by 9.75".

To make the lid, cut one piece at 9 5/8" by 9 7/8".

Score both pieces one inch in from each edge.

When you've scored the papers, you'll notice little squares at each corner.  Cut into ONE of the sides of each square, creating little flaps.

Fold all of the scored lines in.  At this point, you should be able to visualize how this is going to turn into a box.

Glue the square flaps to the OUTSIDE of the sides of the box.  No matter how you cut them, you'll end up with four squares glued along the edges, creating the sides of your box.  Complete this process on both the bottom and the lid, gluing the flaps along the outside.

At this point, I like to make a mosaic of favorite scraps along the top of the lid.  This is for decoration as well as strength.  The first box I made a few years ago is on the right, the most recent one is on the left.  Basically, glue pieces down, and when you get an odd hole, measure it with your ruler, cut a piece that fits, and stick it in there.  Because the lid is actually 7 5/8" by 7 7/8", you will end up with some pieces needing to have an extra 1/8".  Go until your entire top is covered.

Glue one inch strips along the outside edges of both the lid and the box bottom.  I basically just cut a bunch of one inch strips and start wrapping all around, not cutting at the corners.  Gluing these strips makes the box sturdier and hides the square flaps you folded and glued to create the box shapes.

Arrange the inks inside according to color.  I go pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, neutrals.  It creates a nice little rainbow look that is really pretty!

I also take the time to stamp with each pad.  This makes sure that the inks are still good, but also, since I store the inks upside down, it helps me identify what color I'm looking at.  The tiny strip on the bottom of the ink is not enough for me to see very well.  I use a roughly 1/2" stamp (a wood mounted rubber stamp, ideally, because of how often you'll be cleaning it, but another stamp will still technically work) and a 1/2" circle punch.  Punch each stamped image and glue it towards the top point of the back of the ink so that you can see the color itself in the stamp and the name of the color just over the bar code at the bottom.

The boxes stack really nicely in my second desk drawer, towards the back.  The footprint of these boxes is somewhat large, but they stack nicely and as you can see, I have nice, deep desk drawers and I stack almost everything in layers to fit more in.

Hopefully this was helpful to anyone!  I'd love to see the box you made to hold your little inks.  They're so handy and so cute and I love having that many colors at my fingertips in a relatively small space.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

C is for cookie, H is for hat...

My husband has a thing for Cookie Monster.  Ever since he was a little kid, he always thought Cookie Monster was the funniest thing on Sesame Street.  It's become kind of a joke to our family, and we get Adam little Cookie Monster things every now and then and he thinks it's cool.

On Monday, we were in Safeway and I saw a man walking around in a Cookie Monster beanie.  I told my husband about it, but he never managed to see the guy.  He said, out loud, "I want one!"  And I said, "Reeeeaaaallllllyyyy?"  And he said, "Yes.  I love the idea of a Cookie Monster hat!"

(This, by the way, proves Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's hat chapter from "Knitting Rules!" entirely correct.  She said, under the "Who Wears a Hat: Hat Rules" section, "Most men will wear a fairly wide assortment of hats.  I find this somewhat surprising, as these same men are inflexible in all other aspects of their wardrobe.  It's a happy little quirk that men who look at you like you're trying to get them killed if you suggest a nice green shirt will become attached to odd, distinctive, or unusual hats.  This tendency has not been sufficiently studied by anthropologists."  Get the book.  It rules!  ^_~)

Yesterday was his first day at a brand new job and we're really excited about it.  I wanted to give him something special as a congratulatory present, so I spent all day long yesterday knitting on a hat for him.  I just so happened to have the perfect shade of blue leftover from making Elliott's neckwarmer.  I used my gauge free top-down hat method and made the plain hat, then embellished it with crocheted googly eyes.

I crocheted little white circles and little black ones, Googled their correct position (yes, his eyes are crossed ever so precisely and correctly), and sewed them onto the hat before washing it and drying it and presenting it to him last night as his present.

I had informed him when he showed up at home unexpectedly early that I made him a present and it was done, but not ready (it was in the dryer at the time).  Later, I asked him if he wanted me to put it in a gift bag and make a big presentation and he said no, so he closed his eyes when I brought it out, and when I put it in his hands, he unfolded it, saw the eyes and started laughing.  He said, and I quote, "It's my Cookie Monster hat!  I was hoping that's what it was!"

Magnificent man I have.

Later, on a completely different and somewhat gross note, I rather violently tossed a bunch of fresh guacamole and delicious little chips that I had eaten earlier that afternoon.  He came into the bathroom, holding my hair out of my face like a sweetheart.  Again, he's magnificent.

Later, we were sitting on the couch and he was looking at his hat and suddenly looked over at me and said, "You knit an entire hat in a day?  No wonder you threw up."

Here I was thinking to be more careful in the near future with fresh lime juice, cilantro, avocado, and tomatoes.  But maybe it was the knitting.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kitchen love...

Well, I've finally done it.  After months of laying around doing practically nothing around this house, I finally have finished my kitchen.

I cleaned it in stages.  The best news is that I don't feel completely wiped out from this exercise.  I feel pretty tired, but nothing like I used to be.  So I'm definitely getting better, and that's enough to make me dance around (inside my head, of course)!  I need to really reign it in, though, and not suddenly go on a mad cleaning spree.  Stages is the name of the game right now.  Baby steps.  I figure that if I do a little bit here, a little bit there, I'll slowly regain my house AND my strength.

I never, in a million years, thought that I would ever actually feel blessed to clean my house.  I've been faking it a long time, motivating myself, thanking God that I have a house to clean, etc., but it had never gotten into my heart like it has now.  I am SO thankful to be physically able to do this cleaning.  I'm praying now that I never, ever lose that feeling (or the ability!) again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April Socks

I have actually managed to keep up on my socks even though it's been rough.  I managed to finish a full on pair of Malabrigo socks for Adam that turned out totally cute.  I did the ultimate cheat in February by knitting worsted weight socks for Elliott.  It still took me the whole month.

March, I did fingering weight socks for Elliott that turned out amazing.  Here they are in progress...  I don't have finished photos yet, but they are done.

Again, because I'm not doing fancy photo shoots right now, you have to settle for junky cell phone/Instagram photos.

Here are the socks I'm currently making for Thad.  I love this Patons yarn right now.  The self striping is addicting, let me tell you, and highly motivating.  The amount of progress made is completely clear with a self striping yarn.  There's none of that, "I've been knitting FOREVER and I'm not any further," thinking going on because you can see, "Whoa!  I did three colors!"

I'll be done with these by the end of the month.  Thad's feet are now the same size as mine and that's crazy to me.  Pretty soon I think he's going to get bigger feet than Adam's and that will definitely shoot these way up into the major labor-of-love category.

Okay, off to the couch for, you guessed it: "Murder, She Wrote" and April sock knitting.  Yesterday was a pretty good day, actually, and was my last day of antibiotics, but today I seem to be slumping again.  I can't even say just how eager I am for this thing to be kicked off of my body.  I love how knitting for others helps me to stay outside of myself, though.  I may be feeling bad, but I don't have to focus on that as much when I'm making something for someone I love.  It's really very helpful... anything that keeps my mind off of myself.

I think that's the key to staying connected to joy through all of this.  I can't focus inward, I have to trust that God is taking care of it, and I focus outward.  I'm looking forward to a full and amazing recovery.  ^_^

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Coaster Carnival

Been sick, been laid up, been tiiiiiiired...  And now I've got a fever and a sore throaaaaat to boot...  Then they done tooked my doooog and my truuuuck...

Okay, enough of that crap, even though it's true, but I'm laughing even as I'm typing here that I have actually managed to get sick on top of being sick.  This is so not cool.  What do we do?  Fight fire with water.  That's right.  We're staying positive, even if we insist on referring to ourself in plural (never a good sign).

Laid up on the couch, watching a "Murder, She Wrote" marathon, thinking a plushie lying on the floor of my son's room last week was the head of a dead body (Like what you watch doesn't change the way you think!  Pshaw!)...  Sick and not moving, duh, I won't keep beating that dead horse with a stick.  What is one of the things that has kept me going even when bigger crochet/knitting projects were too much for me to manage?


Below are my favorite coasters so far, the Calla Coasters by Purl Soho.  These you can make in knit or crochet.  I've made three in the last few days, using up remnants of various worsted weight yarns.  I just looked again at the crochet ones when I went over to grab that link for you and now I feel like I MUST make a crochet one.  Right.  Now.  (Oh, and I haven't lined mine with fabric yet.  I like them just fine all curly and cute, like they're hugging your cup.)

Clockwise from left: A lovely discontinued cotton yarn (not Sugar and Creme... no one freak out!), Malabrigo (outside) and Cascade 220 Superwash (middle), and some lovely worsted handspun I had named "Avast, Ye Hearties!".

Circles are all well and good, and very entertaining, but I was itching to try something else, so I made a square coaster using tweed stitch like someone about to go completely crazy.  It's totally hip to be a square, let me tell you, and now I have the Sesame Street song stuck in my head. (Check out the 40 second mark.)

If you'd like to try your own hand at making a cool little tweed stitch coaster, follow these directions with the yarn and needles you want to use and have at it!  For my coaster, I used a worsted weight cotton that was actually a bit lighter than Sugar and Creme, with size 7 needles, and cast on 23 stitches.  Play with what works for you.

Cast on an odd number of stitches.
Row one: *(Knit one, yarn front, slip one purlwise, yarn back); repeat starred portion across row to last stitch: knit one.
Row two: Knit one, *(purl one, yarn back, slip one purlwise, yarn front); repeat starred portion across row to last two stitches: purl one, knit one.

Continue these two rows to work the tweed stitch pattern.  The back looks like seed stitch--it's so cute!  I love the look of this stitch and I'm totally making more.

I will end with a shot of one of my greatest little inspirations, my sweet Elliott.  He was on the way to the doctor in this photo.  Turns out he's got bronchitis.  I'm treating him at home with essential oils and having a huge success doing so.  Within only a few days, his cough has virtually disappeared and he has all of his energy back.  So much so that I have to actually tell him to calm down because he still needs to be resting.

He had asked if he could take his favorite book to his appointment and I said sure, so he grabbed his atlas.  He's a geography obsessed little boy, and can probably name more states and countries than I can at this point.  The other night, after he got his oils, I said he was a greasy boy, and he said, "Actually, there's a country in Europe called 'Greece'."  What a sweetie!

Anyway, he's another reason I smile.  It's a bit of the blind leading the blind over here right now, with me being sick squared and him being sick and me having to take care of him during the day, but it's all good.  Life is still just so good, and there are ALWAYS reasons to smile!

(...Hip, hip, so hip to be... It's hip to be a square!  Hip, hip, so hip to be... It's hip to be a square!)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Random + sickies

I haven't posted in so long in general, even though I wanted to post more often this year.  It was one of my goals.  Something about marketing and growing my business and all of that.

Basically, I've been battling sickness now for I don't even know how long.  It started late last year, with general feelings of weakness and nausea.  I thought I had everything from diabetes to high blood pressure to stomach cancer and beyond, but finally I got tested for H. pylori bacteria, and it turns out that was what was wrong with me.

I'm in the middle of a course of antibiotics right now.  Feeling weak and tired all of the time doesn't make for a very active craft life.  I've had days at a time in which I felt too weak to even hold my own head up, much less sit at a desk and make things.  Those days I've had that weren't too overshadowed by pain or issues were such a blessing to me, and I've been making things a bit at a time, as I felt better.

I felt really great over this weekend, but completely crashed last night and "woke up" this morning feeling just as bad as I ever did at my worst.  ...If you understand that by "woke up", I mean I managed to make myself mobile enough to take care of bathroom things and take my medicine, then almost immediately crash onto the couch again.  I worked REALLY hard this weekend, between Easter dinner and my mother-in-law visiting (which is a good thing) and I ate too much at the Easter dinner I made.  I think that's what my problem was this morning.  I had a cat nap on the couch and put some drops of peppermint oil in my water and I'm feeling on my way to better again.  Obviously, I have enough energy to sit and type this post, and while that may sound incredible, it's a huge improvement.  I feel so grateful these days to even have the strength to unload my dishwasher or put laundry away and, let me tell you, I never thought I'd ever be grateful to do either of those things.

I've made things slowly, but haven't taken many pictures.  Here is a random assortment of those pictures I happened to have in my phone, and which have happened to be uploaded to my Picasa, so I can put them on the blog without too much trouble.  It's just a random compilation of shots of my life over the last couple of months, with captions.  These are all either things I've made, or things I can be grateful for, or things that made me happy.  It's good to dwell on these things.  ^_^

I was at my Wednesday morning church group for I believe the last time I felt well enough to go, and I got a text message from Adam.  He said, "I miss your beautiful face."  I had my table hostess snap a picture of me and I said, "Here it is!"  ^_^  I love my husband.

I got all of this sock yarn with coupons at JoAnn.  I love the Patons Kroy sock colors, but it always strikes me as expensive to spend $6 for a 50g ball of sock yarn even though I feel no pangs dropping $20 for 100g of Malabrigo at Tempe Yarn and Fiber.  But Patons isn't Malabrigo, as any knitter knows, so I wait for coupons to get it.  It made me happy.  ^_^

I felted my River Stones purse, pattern by Yumiko Alexander.  I haven't finished embellishing it at this point.  I can't wait to finish it!

Over Spring Break, we got supplies to make paracord bracelets and my sweet Thad did SUCH a good job on his very first try.

He was so proud!  It was fun to have a day of crafting with him.

At my latest doctor's appointment, I was filling out the medical history paperwork and this question was on it...  How would you not know if you were married?  I laughed at the fact that the alcohol question was right after, and right after that was the smoking question.  There was an "unknown if ever smoked" box to check on that, too, and I was laughing so hard.  I told my husband, "If you can't remember if you've ever smoked, then you probably smoked WAY TOO MUCH."  Anyway, again, these were some funny moments I got even as I felt bad.

I started a new doily, inspired by my friend's circular shawl knitting.  I don't want a circular shawl, but I was so charmed by the patterns that I decided to start a doily to use up some leftovers of 100% alpaca lace yarn that has been staring at me from my newly organized scrap yarn display.  I love it!

For Easter, my sweet Thad dressed up and when he walked out, I couldn't believe how grown up and handsome he looked.  This, right here, along with his brother, are the two best things I've ever made, and they are a constant source for me of joy and fierce, fierce pride.  These boys are amazing.

I have a lot of other great things to share (like, for instance, how cute Elliott looked in his Easter clothes!), but, again, this was all that was in my phone.  Every day there are reasons to laugh and smile, if we only keep ourselves ready to seize them when they come along.

I'm off to crash on the couch again, watch some Murder, She Wrote, and possibly knit some more on a shawl I'm making for one of my friends.  She's going through a lot more than I am (even though I'm not really going through very much... I think it's more the long term feeling of it than anything for me, not so much a severity) and I want her to have something to make her smile, too.  Keep us both in your prayers.

Oh, and I thank God for knitting and crocheting right now.  I can still do either of those things while crashed on the couch and watching Murder, She Wrote.  ^_~  Knitting and Netflix Instant!  I love it!