Monday, December 5, 2011

Rag Rug Re-Do!!

So, I told you all that I was thinking about ripping apart the red/yellow/orange rag rug and stitching it back up to look more like the pink and purple one, right?  This week I did just that. 


Here's what it looked like before
I wasn't crazy about the way the colors kind of step-laddered.  So after a re-do, here's what it looks like now.
I like that all the colors are in their own rounds.  Oranges are all together, yellows are all together, and reds are all together.  
I'm still having some trouble with wrinkling/curling.  If I have time I may take the last round out to fix it, but the curling is very minor.  It might be something that bugs me enough to fix it, but it might be something I can live with.  I haven't decided yet.  Part of my problem, I think, is coming at the end of the rounds where it joins.  I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet, so there's a little bit of ridge there.  I think I also need to work on my stitch tension.  Just some things to work on for the next one!!





Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rag Rug Tutorial---Sort Of

A couple of people have requested a tutorial on how I made the rag rugs I've posted in the last couple of weeks. To be honest, I used tutorials I found on other blogs and a pattern I bought from CraftSanity magazine.  So I would feel bad if I redid all their work and called it my own.  Instead, what I'm going to do is provide all the links I used to get my info.  


The T-Shirt Yarn tutorial I used came from Let Birds Fly.  My strips are 2" wide for this project because it makes the rugs thicker.


I started off using an excellent tutorial on crocheting round rag rugs from The Sunroom.  This pattern uses single crochets and I used it to make the rag rug no one has seen.  You know, the starting rug that doesn't look that great and I have every intention of fixing, eventually.


Then I found this pattern using double crochets.  It was published in issue 4 of CraftSanity magazine and you can get the entire magazine, as a PDF, for $5.  It's definitely worth it because, turns out, there's lots of good stuff in there!!  I really like the way this pattern works up.  It's pretty and it's fast.  


I think that's it!  Oh, the hook I use is a size Q, 16mm.  Hope that helps!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Rug!

Last week I finished the T-Shirt Rag Rug for my younger niece, and I have to say, I love the way this one turned out!!  Her favorite color is purple, so I tried to use more purple than pink.  
The yarn I used for the two inside rounds is actually doubled up yarn.  The first couple batches of T-Shirt yarn that I made, I cut really thin.  When I wanted to use it for this project I just doubled it up.  It worked perfectly and it gave it kind of a neat texture.
The fabric on the last couple of rounds came from a twin size sheet made from t-shirt material.
I'm so happy with the way this one turned out that I'm actually about to rip apart the rug I made for my older niece so that I can fix it.  I like having all of the pinks in their own rounds and all of the purples in their own rounds.  The orange/yellow/red rug has more of a ladder appearance to the rounds.  Yep, definitely changing that!!





Sunday, November 20, 2011

T-Shirts Transformed

A month or so ago I saw these awesome tutorials on Pinterest about making your own t-shirt yarn.  I knew I had to try it.  So, I bought some t-shirts at the Salvation Army on "Family Day"...
And got to work.  It doesn't take long to do, especially once you get the hang of it.  I got a bunch of yarn from this batch of shirts.
I used a couple of different tutorials because I was confused about one of the steps, but the best one is from Let Birds Fly.  With all this yarn I was psyched to get started on some projects, so I started a rag rug.  A rag rug that I will not show you here because I messed up the last couple of rows.  It ended up getting all wavy and the method I was using to fix it was, shall we say, jacked.  I'm planning on ripping the last few rows out to fix it, but I'm too busy right now working on Christmas presents!!  Speaking of Christmas presents, I made this rug for my oldest niece.  (SHHHH, no one tell her!!!!)
For the last couple of years her favorite colors have alternated between orange, yellow, and red, so I used all three.  I think I like it.  It's MUCH nicer in person.
I wish the rows were only one color, but it's tough to get enough yarn with t-shirts to do that.  Time to start looking for some sheets!!!  What do you think??  Do you think she'll like it?  I hope so!


Oh, one more thing...I got some new socks this weekend...They're wicked bright....
They seem to almost glow, and there are five more pair where this one came from.  





Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HollaBirthaWeen 2011!!

HollaBirthaWeen was awesome again this year.  This year had some of THE best costumes, and we had a ton of fun.


For those of you who don't know, HollaBirthaWeen is a Birthday/Halloween mash-up started by my friend Fuss and me a few years ago.  Our birthdays are 5 days apart, and since they're only a few days before Halloween, we invented HollaBirthaWeen.  Here's a picture of Fuss this year.  She's dressed as a "Nana" because she turned 30 this year.  What an old broad.  (Side note: please don't judge our icky kitchen floor.  It's super old and one of the major projects on our to-do list for "hopefully" this coming year)

She had cookies in her bag and kept asking people if they wanted one.  Here's another pic of her with our fancy birthday cake.
Yeah, our friend Vic, the crazy cat lady made that for us.  I almost couldn't eat any of it because it was TOO convincing.
That stuffed cat moves and cries like a real cat.  CREEPY!!!  We had some great costumes this year, did I mention that already?  
That's my husband with the "beard" shirt on.  If you don't watch the digital shorts from SNL, you won't understand his costume.  He played the song and danced for his entrance.  
That's my little brother as Johnny The Homicidal Maniac and my brother-in-law as Sheriff Rick Grimes from Walking Dead.
My brother's girlfriend as Nail Bunny, Johnny The Homicidal Maniac's pet.  Those ears are awesome.
Sexy Sax Man!!!!  He can play that sax too.  He serenaded us with "Careless Whisper" all night long.  
My sister Kira in her Steampunk costume (she and our Mom MADE that hat!), my sister Shellie as BatGirl In Sensible Shoes, and me, as the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who.  I couldn't find a bowtie and didn't have time to make one, so I used a ribbon.  You get the idea though.  Soon after this things started to get crazy....


Our friend Laura makes THE most beautiful pig I've ever seen!!!


We had SO much fun, and then, the next day....THIS happened....
The hubs and his cousin Scott hanging out in the snow getting jazzed for winter camping.  It was super heavy snow and it knocked our power out.  Luckily, it was only out for about 8 hours.  We sat and talked with Scott and his beautiful wife.  It was actually very peaceful.


I wonder what will happen next year?!?























Sunday, November 13, 2011

All Apologies and New Hobbies!

Hi everyone!!  Did you miss me??  Well, I know that it's typical for a blogger to apologize after a long absence and give a reason for their lack of blogging.  However, I'm not going to do that.  I took some time off because, well, this blog is for me, by me, and I just didn't feel like working on it.  (I'm fickle like that)  During my absence I was still pretty busy crafting (and forgetting to take pictures of the stuff I finished), helping with flood clean-up, going on vacation with my entire family to Florida, and hosting one hell of a kick-ass HollaBirthaWeen party.  I'm back now though, so don't worry.  


One of the things I was supposed to be doing while I was away was some craft fairs.  That didn't turn out the way I'd imagined it.  The first one was a bust.  It was very poorly organized, but I still managed to sell a couple of things.  The second one, well, I got sick and couldn't go.  The third one, I got busy with vacation planning and FORGOT to send in the application.  Ugh.  There's a bunch of stuff that I finished up specifically for these fairs, but forgot to post them here.  I'll show you just a couple...


These frames were originally a bright gold.  I spray painted them silver and glazed them black.  I haven't decided what to do with them yet though.
This chalkboard was originally a really super ugly painting in a cheap plastic frame.  With a little spray paint, I got this!
This frame is one of my favorites.  I think it would be awesome to use as a card display at Christmas, but it could also be a jewelry holder.  There are a bunch more projects to show you, but I think I'm going to give them each their own post because they're just that awesome.


Another of the things that happened in my blogging absence was that my area got hit with some major flooding.  In my last post I mentioned the weather we were experiencing as a consequence of Hurricane Irene.  Well, 2 weeks later we got dumped on again by Tropical Storm Lee.  It devastated large portions of our area and many of our friends were seriously affected by the flooding.  I spent a couple of mornings after work helping our friend Laura clean up at her bookstore in Owego, NY.  If you are ever in that area, make sure you check out Riverow Bookshop.  It's a fantastic store!  I wish I'd had time to do more, but by then it was time for vacation!!


My family took an incredible vacation to Orlando.  We hit up the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Universal (Harry Potter world was my FAVORITE!!), Sea World, Aquatica, Medieval Times, and the Beach all while staying at a gorgeous house that my parents rented for us for the week.  This topic deserves its own post, so stay tuned for that.


Within a couple weeks of our return from vacation it was time for HollaBirthaWeen.  This year we had some of THE best costumes.  Again, it deserves its own post, so I better get crackin on that one too.


Lately, I've been really busy crocheting.  A few years ago my Mom bought me a kit to teach myself how to crochet, and I've gotten pretty into it.  I've done a bunch of dishcloths...


Love these colors.
I've also started working on some African Flowers.  Eventually they will be a blanket.
So that's my last couple of months in a nutshell.  Don't worry, I'll be back soon with new posts.  Thanks to my sister Kira, I'm feeling very inspired now.  See you soon!!







Thursday, September 8, 2011

Weather Insanity!!

Okay, I want you all to know that I AM still here.  Like so many other people, last week our power was out thanks to Hurricane Irene.  After 3 days without power, I didn't feel like crafting.  I'm trying to play catch-up because I'm supposed to do a craft fair on Saturday.  However, in the past couple of days we've had torrential rains that led to some pretty serious flooding. That led to some extra time at work and now I need to sleep.  I'm just tired.  I know that there are a lot of people out there that have it waaaay worse than me.  I'm super thankful that I made it home today, my house is standing, and I have electric.  


On that note, I'm going to go sleep for a few hours now.  Maybe when I get up I'll actually accomplish something crafty.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Christmas? Already?

So, I did my first craft fair this past weekend.  It wasn't exactly what I had imagined, but more on that later.  I just want to show you a couple of wreaths I did for the craft fair.  I started out with some wreath forms that I bought at a yard sale for $.25 each.  Yes, I said a quarter each!  The lady selling them had 6, so I took them all.  At that price how could I not?  Anyway, I wrapped them both in two different color ribbons.  One has a gray ribbon on the bottom and the other has white.  Then I wrapped them with some ribbon my Mom gave me and added some book pages to fill them out.  I used more of the base ribbon to make a hanger.
The pages came from an old romance novel I found in the attic.  I have to admit, I was skimming the pages as I attached them.  The story was, well, kind of lame, but still entertaining.
You can't see it very well, but I sprayed the pages with silver/white Smooch Spritz.  They have a shimmery look.
You can kind of see the shimmer in this picture.
I think they'll be really pretty for Christmas, but they could also be displayed year-round in the right kind of decor.  They didn't sell at this fair, but I'm doing another one next month.  Hopefully they'll sell.  Or maybe I'll just list them in my Etsy shop.  It's looking pretty bare these days.  







Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My 1st Jewelry Box

I'm still here.  This weekend is my first ever craft show, so things have been crazy here at home.  Then last weekend my body had the nerve to get sick.  Apparently it didn't get the memo about the craft fair coming up.  So in all the insanity, blogging has taken a serious backseat.  


One of the projects I'm taking with me this weekend is my first attempt at making over a jewelry box.


Here's the original
And the inside
My hair looks cute, right?  Anyway, I got this little beauty for $3 at a yard sale.  That was a little more than I wanted to pay, but that's just because I'm really cheap.  I spray painted it turquoise, added some scrapbook paper in various spots, and painted a white dandelion on the front.
The second drawer met with an unfortunate end.  Somehow in the spray painting process it swelled up.  When I put it back in its spot, it got stuck.  I yanked, and the knob fell off.  Oh well, it makes for a nice little cubbyhole I guess.
I'm not positive, but the paper inside the big cubby looks uneven.  I am NOT a precision person.  Ugh.  No hair glimpses in this picture.  Sorry, it didn't look so hot today.  I got it cut anyway.  Stay tuned for a post about that!
Do you like my dandelion?  I think it's pretty cute.  Well, maybe it'll sell and maybe it won't.  Only time will tell.  






Featured at:

Sweet Tea Serendipity Fabulousity Fridays




Beyond The Picket Fence

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adventures in Baking

At my house when I say I'm going to bake something, that usually means I'm about to experiment.  I typically feel the inspiration to bake something new at THE worst possible time.  For example, in the middle of a flipping heat wave, 10 minutes before I need to lay down to sleep before work, or my personal favorite--when I'm missing some, or most, of the ingredients. 


Last week I was dying to make zucchini bread.  I picked an enormous zucchini from the garden and some wild blueberries from around our house.  I really wanted to use the recipes I found last summer to make some muffins and bread.  Problem?  It was hovering around 105 degrees outside and was already 83 in my kitchen.  Yeah, not a good time.  I waited....and today was cooler!!  That meant baking was the plan as soon as I got home from work.  


First up, Banana/Blueberry/Currant whole wheat muffins.  Oh yeah baby!  My husband is in love with these bad boys.  Today's batch is the fourth I've done in 2 weeks, but it's the first batch with currants (picked from the bush in our backyard).  I found the original recipe last year on AllRecipes.com and made some changes based on reviews and my personal tastes.


Banana/Blueberry/Currant Muffins


Ingredients

    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
    • 1/2 cup fresh currants
    • 1/2 cup applesauce

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix the bananas, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla extract.
    3. Mix the banana mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Fold in the blueberries and currants. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan.
    4. Bake 16 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.


    The structural integrity of this batch was a bit compromised by the immense amount of berries I packed into it.  However, the taste is phenomenal.  You can find the original recipe here.  Did I mention that these are only 4 Weight Watchers points?  Cause they are.  That's not too bad for a muffin!!!

    Now, on to the Zucchini Bread!!!  This is another recipe I found on AllRecipes.com last summer.  It's my favorite zucchini bread recipe EVER.  The problem with the recipe as written on the site is that it uses a LOT of vegetable oil.  Last year I used half applesauce and half vegetable oil and was all set to do that again today.  But then I used the last of my applesauce on the delicious muffins.  So, I had to find a new substitute.  


    After a little digging around on the internet I discovered that you can substitute beans for vegetable oil!  You just puree the beans and sub it in for the oil.  If you're making something that will be light in color, you use a light colored bean.  If you're making something dark, like brownies, you use a dark colored bean.  I grabbed a can of white northern beans out of the cupboard and pureed it up in my blender.  Then I got to work.

    Zucchini Bread


    Ingredients

    • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
    • 1 cup unbleached whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup pureed white northern beans
    • 1 1/8 cups brown sugar
    • 1 1/8 cups organic cane sugar
    • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 4 cups grated zucchini
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts


    Directions

    1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
    2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
    3. Beat eggs, beans, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
    4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.


      
    My loaves took a lot longer than the recipe said they would, and I had to turn the temp up to 350 degrees towards the end because, well, I needed to get to bed.  I'm not sure whether the difference is because I increased the amount of zucchini, added the beans, used bigger pans, or my oven is starting to fail.  No matter, the bread is awesome!!!  It's even better than when I made it last year.  It's by far the best zucchini bread recipe I've ever had.  


    With the bean substitution this bread is only 5 Weight Watchers points for a whole slice, and 3 for half (I say go for the whole slice).  Without the substitution, using the full cup of vegetable oil, a slice is 7 points.  You can find the original recipe here.


    Did I mention that I'm on Weight Watchers?  Because I am!  I've been on the plan for almost three months and have lost about 12 pounds so far!!  I'm going to try to share more of my food type things with you as I experiment my way down to a smaller size.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Stash Busting Butterflies!!!

After that first round of butterflies, I wanted to do more!!  I scoured my local thrift shops to no avail.  Then I checked the closet in my craft room and found 3 metal butterfly coat hook thingy ma jigs!!  I forgot to take a "before" picture because I was really excited to get them painted.  I just spray painted them and gave them a quick glaze.
You definitely cannot see the glazing in these pictures.  It was just too sunny to get a good shot of it!!
You can kind of see the glaze a little bit in this picture, right up near the body.
Same with this little guy.
I think the orange is my favorite color, but I really love that green!!!
That was a super quick project.  I'd say it took about an hour, same as with the other butterflies.  Want a sneak peek at what I'm working on right now??  Good, because I have pictures.




 




Exciting, right??  I thought so!!