Category Archives: Crafts

Gifts received and Given

Well it’s been a mad few days recently with having to cook two Christmas dinners two days in a row. My back was so sore it’s amazing it feels as good as it does today but it’s all over. Everyone has eaten so much food in the last couple of days what with dinners and treats that I’m letting them fend for themselves with the leftovers until they leave.

I’m behind on posting pictures of items that I made for Christmas and I now have pictures to post of items that I received for Christmas so…

Here are some of the things I made in the mad scramble in the last two days before Christmas.

washcloths
Some crocheted washcloths for Dan’s girlfriend to go along with some other toiletry items in a gift basket.

A couple more in different colours for John’s mom they went with a basket of Aveeno products. These washcloths were inspired by a post over at Thornberry’s site: http://thornberry.wordpress.com/ and the pattern taken from Lion’s brand free patterns. This is the sedge washcloth. Just type in washcloth and you’ll find it.

washcloths-2
Bernat Handicrafter Cotton – Colonial Colours.

My one son Jon informed me that he wanted a Where’s Waldo Hat to go along with his striped scarf. This was two days before Christmas. Of course I didn’t have the one set of correct needles so it was a mad scramble to find some but I finished the hat Christmas Eve. Here is the other son Dan modelling for me.

wheres-waldo-hat
I thought this hat would be striped but the cartoon of Waldo shows it as red brim, white body and red pompom for which I was thankful as it made it easier to knit. He now wants a striped sweater to match (oh joy).

Next are a series of photos of the gifts I received from my secret sister. We decided to swap items that we already had on hand at home and I feel like I cleaned up from what she pulled from her stash (does the happy dance).

jacquies-fly
Here we have a foam stamp (I can use it on my hand-dyed fabric), some Angelina hot fuse fibres and a cute fly that she had made in a class she took. He’s so adorable.

fly-back
This is the back view and he has “metallic” wings, so clever.

inside-fly
Look at this, he even has pockets inside of him. (He came with a chocolate bar inside, yum…)

complex-cloth1
I got this cool piece of complex cloth.

In a complex cloth swap what happens is the owner of the piece dyes a piece of white pfd (prepared for dyeing) in the colour of her choice. The piece is then mailed off to the next person in the group and this person then does something to the piece. In this case although you really can’t see it I believe a discharge of some type in the shape of a fish was applied to the cloth so the fuchsia became pink in those areas.

Next a stamp of purple (or blue) dye was applied over top and then finally a pattern of blue metallic paint (probably lumiere but maybe shiva paintstick) was put on as a last layer. I don’t know if this piece was part of a swap or something my secret sister did all herself but all in all it’s a very valuable piece of fabric for all the time and effort that went into it. I’m going to have to think how to use it , maybe for part of a quilt or maybe that special bit of fabric that is just the right accent for something.

wall-hanging
Last is this beautiful piece of machine embroidery. Lovely matching fabric of yellows and purples. It is now taking up residence on the wall in back of my sewing machine.

Speaking of sewing machines…here is my new baby.

megaquilter
Husqvarna Mega Quilter.

megaquilter-table
MegaQuilter with table.

I haven’t had a chance to use it yet as I still have company but sometime this week we have a date to work on the Christmas tree skirt I just finished sewing.

One last picture just because you all know how I like a bargin (even if I don’t need it).

scissors
Drop-forged Heritage scissors.

I saw these at Costco the other day but refrained from buying them because I have a lot of scissors but when they dropped the price to $10 I couldn’t resist. I’m always misplacing scissors so didn’t feel too guilty at ten bucks for three.

Well hope you all like seeing the goodies as much as I liked receiving them.

Karen

Crayon Rolls

I finally finished the crayon rolls for the Sunday school for Christmas. I used a variety of kids prints I’d been collecting all year long with some of my hand-dyed fabric, lol, I went and checked the link to the tutorial in last year’s post and noticed last year the hand-dyes were part of the background whereas this year I’d used them to make the pockets. Here they are all sixteen of them.

Finished crayon rolls.

Finished crayon rolls.

Crayon Roll

Crayon Roll

Lots of different kids prints.

Lots of different kids prints.

You can find the tutorial for these here:
http://www.skiptomylou.org/2007/04/25/on-a-roll/

Karen

Closet Organization

Time seems to have slipped away once again. Today I thought I’d blog about my closet that I cleaned out last week. Actually I took the photos meaning to blog it and then realised I hadn’t…old age setting in I guess.

Anyhow people were amazed when I told them that I spent “3” days organizing the closet but I have to admit that although I worked at it steadily it was in between breaks and daily stuff. I managed to get most stuff off the floor and clear out some space for the clothes hanging in there. I had an incredible amount of stuff on the floor because there was no space up top so once the stuff on the floor was gone I had about another two foot section that could be used to hang clothes on the rack.

I basically put back everything that was in there but did it using plastic storage boxes ($230.00 worth of them). Hmm…I lie, I did buy three under-the-bed storage bins so I guess not everything went back in. I didn’t take a before picture so can’t give you perspective but I do have the afters to give an idea.

closet01
First trial with bin for old pictures and frames.

closet02
Pull-out shelves that had an incredible amount of stuff in them, cleaned and now used for sock and sweater storage.

closet03
Fabric up and off the shelves (now protected from dust) with quilt batts tucked in beside them.

closet04
Under-the-bed storage bin being filled with full balls of yarn and left-over projects.

closet05
Picture of another bin full of yarn under the bed.

closet06
This is left-over yarn remnants and yarn from my mother-in-law. I had these stored in plastic zip bags the kind you get comforters in but they are kind of bulky-sloppy to store.

closet07
One huge bin of the remnants, discovered some full balls in there. I was going to donate this stuff to the church group until I realised that I had enough to make several afghans so decided to work on it myself.

closet08
Another two bins of the remnants, one is fuzzy yarn and the other my crochet cotton for my oven towels.

closet09
View of more bins of yarn, beads, projects, etc.

closet10
New look of top shelf after adding the big bin of yarn, unfortunately the boxes that were up there had to go back on the floor but at least they are now managable and out of sight.

The thing with the bins is that you can stack stuff in them that would otherwise fall out or down off the shelves and it looks neat and tidy so it does free up more room. Another bonus is that it’ll keep the dust off. I had to vacumn some dust off of one unfinished project at one point of the clean-up. I found a lot of usable items that I had forgotten about. All in all you’re looking at about 30 years worth of collected craft materials. Some of the yarn left-overs go back to when I was 14 years old. I’m hoping to crochet some of those granny square afghans, lol, I just bought four more balls of black to do this. More yarn to use up yarn? Works for me.

Karen

Towels and Pillows

Well I haven’t been blogging much, I’ve been doing stuff but not much that I felt was blog worthy. I finally got around to finishing up a couple of pillows for the basement couch. I’d bought this material when I went searching for fabric for my batik fish pillow. Our local Walmart’s fabric department was closing down and the fabric and trims were 75% off so off course I just had to buy something and did. The pillow forms ended up costing more than the fabric and cording but having just finished stuffing the batik pillow with left-over fibre-fill I felt it would be cheaper buying the forms and it was. Besides which no matter how carefully you stuff a pillow it always ends up being somewhat lumpy. I’m pleased to say that the pillow forms worked out beautifully.

Olive pillows made from upholstry fabric and cording.

Olive pillows made from upholstry fabric and cording.

I’ve also been working on the annual Christmas oven towels (tutorial at right). I take these (and my scarves) with me whenever I’m waiting for an appointment. That way I’m not resentful of the wasted time while waiting to see whomever (I can however waste plenty of time on the computer and am not resentful at all).

Christmas oven towels.

Christmas oven towels.

Last week while waiting in the optomitrist’s office with my son I was crocheting an oven towel and this senior started a conversation with me and placed an order for four of the oven towels. I thought it quite funny because she didn’t ask me first if I took orders, just assumed that I would. She was quite pleased with them and wants another two or three next week and by the way did I do any other crafts for Christmas? LOL, I said I did tie-dye but the long and short of it was that her niece needs a size M ladies and I don’t have any. I can get men’s white T’s quite easily but the ladies shirts I have to special order from the States from Dharma. It’s surprising how hard it can be to get a 100% plain white cotton shirt at least not at the price I want to pay.

Anyhow, I’m finally working on my Christmas tree skirt. Last February I bought some fabric (on sale of course) that I intended to use for this project. The kicker is that I’m only using a couple of pieces of that fabric. The fabric I ended up choosing I already had in my stash. Perhaps a good reason not to buy on spec.

Fabric choices for Christmas tree skirt.

Fabric choices for Christmas tree skirt.

I have an order coming in from “Thousands of Bolts” that has a piece of Christmas ecru in it so hopefully that piece works out with the rest of the fabric. It’d be nice if the package arrives in the next couple of days but if not I have lots of other goodies to make for my secret sister swap and a bunch of crayon rolls to get finished by Christmas as well. There never seems to be enough time does there no matter how early you start?

Karen

Bingo Christmas Oven towels and Hat/Scarf Set

Well today I finished off a couple of small projects that have been on hand for a while. I’m currently hostessing a Bingo game over on the DyeHard_RunOff forum that I belong too. Up for grabs is a couple of oven towels that I’ve made for Christmas. Anyone that’s read my blog knows that I make these towels up every year to give to friends and the seniors at church and this year is no exception.

My bingo theme is Christmas words and what better prize than a Christmas themed one? If anyone is interested I have an oven towel tutorial over on the side bar.

Christmas oven towels.

Christmas oven towels.

I also finished off a hat and scarf set today. I’d had the scarf done a while back but finally got around to working on the hat a couple of days ago. Very easy to do in one day if you want to put the time into it. I’d originally planned to make this for a younger girl but it was the first time using the hat pattern and the yarn I used had a bigger gauge to it so it fits me fine, which means it’s too big for a young child. Hopefully there’s some teen out there that likes pink. I make the hats and scarves for charity as well. I figure it’s a freebie so you take what you can get.

Here I am in all my goofy pink glory.

Here I am in all my goofy pink glory.

I usually get Ted E Bear to model but since I’ve had a request for pictures of moi in them I decided to do the modeling myself. I don’t think it’s possible to take a picture without getting the arm holding the camera in the picture. Of course the picture that looks the best is the most goofiest one, oh well off to finish off some more hats.

Karen

Toronto’s creativ’ festival – Fall 2008

I went to the craft festival yesterday. The main reason I went was to look at sewing machines, material, wool and a spindle.

I have been looking at Husqvarna’s Sapphire sewing machines. These machines are a step down from their top of the line quilting/embroidery machine but I don’t really want an embroidery machine although if I get some of those features with a machine it’ll be nice. The machine I was looking at was the 905 Sapphire, which on sale is around $1699.00. This price range is still a bit too steep for my budget or rather my husband’s so I thought that maybe the machines on display at the festival would have a cheaper show price or maybe come with an extra bonus package. Unfortunately this was not the case and I believe that the machine was $100.00 cheaper at my local sewing shop. Oh well I met the owner of the company (awesome man) and Joyce Hancock who is local to my area where I live. She has a fantastic studio/store and after talking to her I decided the best way to figure out what machine I would need would be to take a couple of classes and get a feel for a machine. It just might turn out that I don’t like machine quilting so we’ll see how it goes.

I’d also dropped by to visit the Janome exhibit because I’d researched those machines as well. What a difference in the way the two exhibits operated. The Janome sales clerk was all for selling me the show special which had this and that features and was only XX amount of dollars. She didn’t really want to listen to what I wanted. I compare the two experiences to going to a used car lot and BMW. One is pressuring me to buy, the other is confident in their product and willing to let me find the right machine for my needs knowing that I’ll be back. Nice “Glad to meet you Karen.” and shake of the hand from the president and Joyce. These people know how to treat a customer, very classy.

Anyhow after looking at the machines I headed on over to the Len Mills exhibit. Now for years I have been going on and on about Len Mills and the deals they have on their cotton quilting fabrics. For years I’ve bugged my husband to stop off at any nearby outlet as we’ve driven by, not any more. It was a shock to see the price of the fabric knowing that these were the sale prices. I guess I’ve gone beyond retail pricing. I am quite bluntly an Internet online shopping junky. Every exhibt I went to I knew where to find the product at roughly half the price online. For the Len Mills prices I could buy 2 yards online for the price of 1 from them.

This extended to the hand-dyed wool I saw at the fair as well. At one exhibit the wools/yarns were exquisite. They had some fine Alpaca yarn for $40/hank. All I could think of was that I could purchase the same stuff for $19.98 at Dharma. At one exhibt I saw some hand-dyed cotton fabric that was $28.00/yard. This is the same stuff I make up in the laundry room using my Procion MX dyes. The cotton fabric costs me about $4/yard and the dyes, water, electricity a bit more. I guess I’ve been undervaluing my work.

I’d pretty well given up on buying anything at the festival until I came across a booth that came all the way from Chilliwack British Columbia. I spotted some Thimbleberries fat quarter bundles. I adore Thimbleberries and these ones were marked down from $99.00 to $54.98 – sold done deal with tax at $63.23! And yes I checked, I couldn’t find a cheaper price for the bundle anywhere on the Internet.

Thimbleberries Fat Quarter bundle "A Gardener's Touch" Thimbleberries "A Gardener's Touch" side view.

The really neat thing about this bundle is that when I came home I realised the top fabric looked familar. I went and checked in my shopping cart over at Thousands of Bolts and sure enough I’d had a yard of it in the cart. I ended up ordering six yards of the Gardener’s Touch line. Two more each of the floral cream, green and raspberry prints. That will give me seven yards from the bundle plus the extra six yards I ordered for borders, should be enough for a decent sized quilt. LOL, the fat quarter bundle is still sitting on my desk top as I type. I feel like Gollum in the Hobbit, picking it up every now and then and muttering “My preccccious”.

One of the spinning exhibtors had mentioned that she’d seen some spindles at one of the booths but darned if I could find it so I gave up and just as I was about to go out the doors I discovered Gemini wools and several beautiful spindles. These were beautiful but at $65.00 did not fit my budget for having a go at trying to spin my own yarn. After talking with one of the sales ladies I came away with a basic beginner spindle from Ashford at $21.00. I have some carded wool stashed somewhere so I’ll give it a try and see how it works out.

Ashford beginner spindle.

Ashford beginner spindle.

Well I’ve written an essay so time to go. Final thoughts on the festival – glad to have made a connection with Joyce Hancock, bought my fat quarters and spindle – but no, wouldn’t go back again; I’ll stick to Internet shopping.

Karen

Thrift Shop and Dollar Store Finds

Yesterday was a travelled filled day for me. First stop was the chiropractor then I had to pick up some filter sponges at big Al’s aquarium place then of course since the Value Village store was right across the street and I needed some props for a halloween party John and I are going to, in I went. The reality is Value Village has become my new favorite store to pick up used books and of course I managed to find five at the buy four get one free price. Now I may never use any of the patterns out of these books but I figure I don’t buy magazines and at $3.99 for most of the hardcover books it’s cheaper than a magazine. Most women buy magazines don’t they? How’s that for a big case of rationalization?

Thrift store bargins at $19.00 for five.

Thrift store bargins at $19.00 for five.

After the thrift store it was back home for lunch – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. It hurt to eat the sandwich which led to my next stop – the dentist. Long and short of it, the TMJ I thought I had was really an abcess wisdom tooth so off to the next stop the library where I parked my car and walked down to the oral surgeon to make an appointment Tuesday to get the tooth pulled. Back to the library to take out five books to read, most of them by Patricia McKillip.

After the library it was on to the drugstore to pick up some penicillin for the tooth infection (which by the way really, really, hurts as I write). Well while waiting for the prescription to be filled I wandered on in to the dollar store to have a look at the yarn section to see if they’d gotten in any new balls of yarn. Bingo! Not only did they have new stuff in, they had yarn that was very similar to the yarn I’d almost bought at Walmart the day before. To borrow an Australian expression, I was quite chuffed to find this yarn at a buck a ball rather than the four dollars a ball Walmart was selling it for.

Chenille type baby yarn from the dollar store.

Chenille type baby yarn from the dollar store.

Eye lash yarn for charity hats and scarves from dollar store.

Eye lash yarn for charity hats and scarves from dollar store.

Needless to say there was some really cool eyelash yarn as well. I was debating buying some lime green and saw the purple at the bottom of the pile and completely lost it and grabbed all they had. I’m such a sucker for purples and blues.

That was the end of my day outside the house. It was a big splurge but I guess I was feeling sorry for myself and weak. There are days when you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything but then you realise that you’ve wasted the better part of a day running around and no wonder you feel exhausted by the time you get home. Hey, I managed to do dishes….aside from spending my hubby’s money… (in a very small voice). Dang, I hope he doesn’t read this.

Karen

Rice Bag

I’ve not been doing much of anything lately, well I guess that’s not true, lots of stuff but most of it boring normal everyday stuff. I got in an order of books from Amazon so I’ve been on a bit of a reading jag.

John’s aunt passed away this past week so Saturday saw us attending the funeral. The kids stayed home because they’ve only really seen this aunt a couple of times besides which our Thanksgiving dinner was on Saturday so I had the pleasure of coming home to dinner already prepared for me by the girls. This was great because really I didn’t feel all that well what with being up half the night with TMJ (jaw pain) and a massive headache.

One of the girls in my fabric dyeing forum mentioned using a rice bag on her jaw that she made out of flannel material so I thought I’d give it a go. I made the bag that held the rice out of cotton and then made a slipcover out of flannel to go over top.

Cotton bag filled with rice.

Cotton bag filled with rice.

Rice bag with removable flannel cover.

Rice bag with removable flannel cover.

We’ve had some fantastic weather for the holiday weekend and I should have been out doing the final gardening chores but admit that I just didn’t get around to it between playing games and talking with the kids. I did end up doing some cleaning today so all was not lost. Tomorrow is a holiday as well so we’ll see what can be acomplished. I guess it sounds weird to be working on the days off but nothing seems to get done on the week days so you make time where you can.

Karen

Swarovski Bracelet

Well I have four days to go until the wedding. I have been busy doing various stuff getting ready running around doing chores. Just thought I would post a picture of a bracelet I made from one of the local bead shops in town.

Swarovski crystal bracelet in moonlight and black diamond.

Swarovski crystal bracelet in moonlight and black diamond.

Same bracelet I like to wear them loose.

Same bracelet I like to wear them loose.

I ended up making two of these. The first one I had made for myself but it went so well with my daughter’s wedding dress and she liked it that I made another one. The second has a nicer clasp on it and the wire is softer so it drapes a bit better.

It was hard to get the shiney bling bling in the photos but its very sparkly so I guess thats a good thing 🙂

Karen

Bathroom curtains

It’s been a while since the last post sorry but I haven’t really had my mind on anything other than trying to get the house into shipshape for the bridal shower (this Saturday) and getting things done for the wedding in September.

I do have something to post though, some bathroom curtains I finally got done last night. The old ones were really ratty and I threw them out when I cleaned the bathroom for my brother’s visit in July. The new ones were made with some hand-dyed material to match the shower curtain.


New patchwork curtains using hand dyed fabric to match shower curtain. Really hard to take a shot with light behind the curtains so hence the closed blind.

It took me a bit to work out the dimensions for the valence and sew the seams. Of course I sewed the wrong seams first and made the pocket to small for the curtain rod so it didn’t fit and that had to be ripped out but once I had done the upper curtain the bottom curtain whizzed along just fine. It kind of tickles my fancy that I now have the knowledge to take any colour in the house and make accessories that match.

I did some cleaning yesterday as well so things are slowly moving along, who knows maybe I’ll even get a decent amount of cleaning done before Saturday. On a different note, we now have a new record for rainfall during the summer in Toronto and greater area with rain falling at some point/place each day of the past two months and yes it looks like rain again today. Last few years have been drought conditions though and the Great Lakes had fallen several feet so this rain is needed. The days haven’t been to bad with lots of patches of sunshine inbetween the rain so I can’t complain. My daughter had her basement flood a couple of days ago with a heavy rainfall. One of the town’s pumps failed and the sewers backed up. Unfortunately they had just spent a lot of money, time and effort re-doing the basement to code so they could rent it out so I don’t know what this will set them back although their insurance should cover it, such is life.

Karen