Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Very Knitty Christmas

Although I do many crafts, when the weather gets cold I feel like hunkering down and starting some knit work. I have decided that I will make all (or at least some) of my Christmas presents this year. So here are some of my first completed projects:

Tim the Elephant and Edward the Mouse

This is a present for my best friend's little boy. The elephant pattern is from Knitted Toys: 25 Fresh and Fabulous Designs by Zoe Mellor. Very cute. I sewed the ears to the body, as they seemed easy to pull off. I also decided to add buttons for the eyes as the pattern indicated. However, they could certainly be a choking hazard for young children. The yarn is Yarn Bee - Baby Bee in a light blue.

The mouse was from the Garden Mice Mobile pattern in Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson. The mobile was cute, but I just wanted a simple mouse to go with the elephant. I used Yarn Bee - Baby Bee yarn in white and pink.

Koolhaas Hat

This hat was made for my other best friend. Years ago she made me a beautiful crocheted blanket and a couple of scarves. This year I thought that I would grace her with my own knit skills. The pattern is from Interweave Knits pattern store. The designer happens to be the same designer as my men's Cobblestone Sweater. It seems that I am a fan of Jared Flood's work. The yarn is Lion Brand - Vanna's Choice Brick Red.

Tretta Hat

This hat is a gift though I don't know who it is for yet. I like the pattern, but I created it with a thicker yarn and larger needles than the pattern called for so it is a bit longer than I would prefer. I chose larger needles, because that is what I already had. I used a size 6 seed bead, but the large yarn makes the beads almost disappear. Despite these setbacks I would definitely do it again. Only this time, I will take some rows from the bottom. The yarn is Lion Brand - Vanna's Choice Pea Green. The pattern is by grumperina.

A Simple Beanie

This hat is a Christmas present for a male friend. The design is my own, but nothing special, just a simple beanie. The yarn is Lion Brand Yarn - Vanna's Choice in Espresso, Pea Green, and Dusty Blue.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Am Not a Tumor

A coworker and friend at work was recently diagnosed with a tumor in his spine. I wanted something that could cheer him up, so I decided to make a softie tumor. Perhaps it will be something that he could poke pins into like a voodoo doll.

So here is the creation of my tumor softie:

Step one: Decide on a shape and cut out all the pieces. I kept it simple and chose to make a triangular softie with a circular/ovular bottom. I created the patterns on paper with a compass and ruler. Also cut out the same shapes in an iron-on interfacing.

Step 2: Iron (or baste if you prefer) the interfacing to the fabric.

Step 3: Embroider the face. I added felt ovals for the whites of the eyes and small red buttons for the pupil. Then I embroidered the eyebrow with a full strand of brown embroidery floss. Finally, I added the mouth which I made from white felt and then embroidered the teeth with black floss.

Step 4: Sew on some yarn for the veins. I had a variegated yarn that was red and blue that worked well for that. I used a couching method to attach the yarn.

Step 5: Sew the sides together. Sew the bottom onto the sides, allowing a small opening for the filling.

Step 6: Stuff the tumor to the desired fullness and then stitch the opening. I finished the tumor with a whip stitch so that it would sit a little better. Sorry the picture is a bit blurry.

I also got a great jar at Hobby Lobby and put the tumor in the jar. I used a make-your-own ink jet rub-on decal kit and I labeled the jar with "Biological Sample" and some silly information about the tumor. Unfortunately I gave the tumor to my friend before I got a picture of the completed tumor in the jar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night

Today is election night. I decided to celebrate our great democracy with a patriotic pizza. Someone had a lot of olives on their slice!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween 2008

Ahhhh Halloween! My most favorite of holidays. Here are a few costumes from years past.

Halloween 2001 - Scooby Doo

Halloween 2005 - American Gothic

Halloween 2006 - Zombie and Scientist (I ran out of time that year)

This year I had a hard time deciding what I should be. I wanted a costume where I was something inanimate, so I finally settled on sushi. When I looked for ideas on the internet, I realized my idea was not that original. There were so many great ideas! There was a little boy who as a giant sushi roll, a woman who dressed as sushi, and finally the sushi hats in last year's Halloween Make: Magazine. I liked the sushi hat idea the best since the woman who made the little boy's sushi roll costume gave instructions and it appeared that it would take a long time.

I do subscribe to Make: Magazine and in last year's special Halloween issue there were instructions on how to make the shrimp sushi hat. However, I liked the roe hat. So here are my instruction for making the roe hat.



Hat Box
Small Christmas ornaments (not glass) or something small and round
Orange spray paint
Hot glue gun and glue
White cotton fabric
Green fabric (I used a green vinyl)
Black riboon



Step 1: Glue together the Christmas ornaments with hot glue. You can use the lid of the box as a guide for the size of circle you will require. I found these small plastic Christmas ornaments at Hobby Lobby.

Step 2: Paint the roe orange.

Step 3: Cut a hole in the hat box slightly larger than your head. This took some effort even after I created a grid. The key is to slowly cut away the box and then fit it to your head as you go. Since your head is not really circular, you may find that you have a front and back to the hat. Be sure to mark the box if you do. I also found the box at Hobby Lobby.

Step 4: Line the hole with something comfortable. I chose to use backer rod that is normally used to fill cracks. I did have to split the backer rod with scissors so that it fit around the cut edge of the box. It was very comfortable to wear. Be sure to check that the box still fits on your head once the backer rod is in place. You can find backer rod at any hardware store.

Step 5: Cover the bottom of the box with the white cotton material. I glued the material onto the sides of the box with hot glue. If your head-hole is a little too large, the fabric will help to ensure that your head does not push completely through the head-hole.

Step 6: Cover the side with the green fabric. I used this fabulous vinyl that I found at Joann's. It really looked like Nori.

Step 7: Sew a round pillow that will fit into the top of the hat. This is what the roe will sit on. Stuff the pillow with the polyfill, but be sure not to add too much.

Step 8: Glue pillow into top of hat.

Step 9: Glue roe onto the top of the hat.

Step 10: Add ribbon to the sides of the hat by gluing it underneath the vinyl. Make sure to fit the hat to your head to find the most comfortable position before attaching the ribbon. You're done!

I also sewed a kimono since the hat makes more sense with the appropriate attire. I found the kimono costume from JoAnn's. It was Simplicity 4080 . This costume required a LOT of fabric. Five yards for the brocade, five yards for the lining, and then several more yards of a contrasting brocade. As sewers know, those brocades are not cheap! The length of this costume was also challenging. Since I did not have a table that was big enough to work on it, I did most of the work on the floor.

I forgot to get pictures of the final costume, so when I get the pictures from my friends I will post it then. Unfortunately, people kept wanting to touch the hat and it was ruined when I went out that evening.

We also carved our pumpkins. Here are the pictures:

They aren't really as good as last year's pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Skirt

As many of my friends know, I love to sew. As a result, I spend a lot of time at our local JoAnn's. There I stumbled upon a pattern for a cute 1950's skirt from the new Crafty collection from McCall's (M5631). I loved the cover and chose to make pattern view A. I picked out some pretty cotton fabrics that I got from both JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby. Since I followed the pattern exactly, I will not put the details here. However, here is the final result:

Generally I like to wear skirts that are just above the knee or maybe slightly below. This skirt did hit below, but the combination of the length and the fullness, just didn't look quite as I imagined it. I think this skirt might look better on someone taller (I am 5'4"). Also this skirt had both pleats and gathering, which is a bit strange.

After browsing the internet, someone else made this skirt and suggested trying McCall's M5390 . Perhaps I will try that next time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Database Design

This spring I took a class on database design for my job and what a handy skill that has turned out to be! I decided to create a database in Access for my home business. With this database I will be able to track the same basic information that all businesses should track: purchases, sales, and inventory. The same information can be tracked in Excel, but learning Access is truly handy since data can be related and centralized in one location.

Here is a general breakdown of each unit.

- included all purchases that I make for the business
- tracks vendors that I purchase from and sell to

- tracks all consumable supplies in my possession
- allows me to see what I have on hand, when I purchased something, and from where
- tracks finished products and what supplies and labor are put into each one

- tracks all sales of products that I make.
- tracks my customers, where I sold a product, and how much it sold for

Here is the general diagram of relationships for my database:

It seems more complicated then it is, but each box represents a table in access and each line in the box represents a field of data that I collect. If you prefer Excel, each box can be a separate spreadsheet.

Now I will begin the long and arduous process of filling in the inventory.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Craft Room Design

Like any crafter, at any given moment I am working on a hundred projects. Unfortunately, I have a hard time following through and finishing up my projects. I usually make purchases without any specific project in mind. I stash these supplies away for a rainy day and on occasion, I might start a project. Afters years of being an avid crafter (most would say from birth), working two years at Hobby Lobby, five years of working in a bead store, and owning several home craft businesses, I have managing to collect a enviable cache of goodies. Too bad I won't be able to come to my own estate sale!

Anyway, one of the many projects under construction in my house is the creation of my craft room. Since my leg is unusable for the next few weeks, I figured this would be a good time to start the design of this room. However, even as flighty as I am, I realize that good craft room design starts with an inventory of your supplies. It is important to know what kinds of supplies you have in stock and what kinds of supplies you might get in the future. Once I have the inventory completed, I can decided how to store my supplies and what makes the most sense for that small space.

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