Tag Archives: handmade

Craft Show Goodies

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The holidays always give me the itch to do a craft show. The snowmen are my new favorite. I had some old styrofoam ornaments and crocheted over them with white yarn. I’ve had them laying around in that state for about 3-4 years now. This year I finally decided it was time to do something with them so I made them hats, gave them those adorable faces and I am in love!

 

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My Recent Obsession

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Blankets!

I have a ton of yarn (maybe not an actual ton, but I moved down to Austin with a 7 foot pod and let’s just say that most of that was and still is…yarn…)

I’ve actually narrowed my collection down to the yarns that I like (I’ve been the recipient of a lot of leftover yarn as well as made some questionable color choices in the past…) and have hope of actually using but it still leaves me with about ten large plastic bins of yarn. I started knitting blankets as what I hoped would be a way of making a dent in my stash.  It is surprising how little yarn a blanket will actually use up!

The purple/lavender chevron blanket was number 3. The yarn is Red Heart Super Saver which I picked up for $12 at Goodwill. I still have yarn left! The gold/blue/yellow squares will make up my fourth blanket. I’m loving this design. Basically I picked my colors (again, all the yarn was bought for super cheap at one thrift store or another  – it’s an acrylic sport weight yarn) and went with a block design instead of knitting it in one piece. I learned a lesson with the lavender monstrosity. I was blanketed (see what I did there?) in acrylic yarn as I knit it and wanted to avoid doing that during the 90 degree temps we often see during an Austin summer. I’m loving the touch of blue with the golds and yellow, help make it more contemporary (along with the geometric design) instead of a 70’s vibe. I’m getting at least a square a day done and I think I’ll easily end up with 40 squares. This might be a queen, maybe even a king size blanket when I’m done as each square will be at least 11 inches after they are blocked.

The problem is that I’ve got the yarn set aside for my next blanket and I’m itching to get that project started but I’ll be good and finish this one first.

 

 

Knitted Cowl

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I made this cowl out of some cotton yarn I found at the thrift store. It is the perfect complement for a denim jackt. I did a lace bobble edging and then knit the body up in a seed stitch so that it was reversible.

To get the second edging right, I had to knit it separately and then kitchener stitch it on. Now, I’m not a big fan of the kitchener stitch, I would much rather do a three needle bind off. But once I got into the grove of it, it wasn’t so bad.

 

Sweet Potato Ravioli and stocking up

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Today I spent my Labor Day laboring away in my kitchen. I didn’t really mind. I like good, homemade food and I like cooking so I decided to stock up my freezer.

First off, I decided to make sweet potato ravioli. I had cooked up two sweet potatoes (just stuck them in the crock pot) for sweet potato enchiladas (yum) and only used one so I decided to use the second one for ravioli filling. I mashed up the sweet potatoes (I probably had about a cup and a half ), added about 2/3 cup ricotta, a 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and about 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

I used the pasta recipe that came with my ravioli mold (well worth the $15 I spent on it) and made 48 ravioli which are now sitting in my freezer.

Couple of hints for on making ravioli – first off, get the mold if you intend to make it more than once. I mean, look how pretty those little puffs of pasta are. Plus, you don’t waste so much dough. My first try at ravioli was hilarious – they were all wonky and the dough to filling ratio was way off.

 Second, make sure that you use water or egg to seal your edges. I’ve had ravioli filling spill out when cooking and water downed ravioli is not the best.

Inevitably I have pasta dough left over. I hate waste so I roll it out and take my pizza cutter and slice it up into misshapen noodles. Then I set them out on a baking rack and let them dry overnight. Homemade pasta is always good.

I actually enjoy these days when I stock up my pantry/freezer. I rarely buy prepared foods. I usually cook from scratch breakfast, lunch (mostly leftovers) and dinner. It’s taken me about a year to really get into my cooking grove, but it has paid off tremendously. And except for labor intensive stuff like ravioli, most of my meals do not take a lot of time. I’m a working mom and with a little thought, some handy made-ahead meals and a selection of well-loved recipes, it takes me just as much time to make dinner as it would to run to the fast food joint and buy it. While I have spent a lot of money on groceries, careful planning and cooking from ingredients I have on hand has kept my food bill down.

After I made ravioli, I went outside and got some basil from my basil bush and made a batch of pesto. One of the secrets to good pesto is to toast your pine nuts. Then I used my small ice cream scoop (it’s about an inch wide – it works great for filling the ravioli also) and scooped the pesto onto a baking sheet lined with freezer paper and popped it into the freezer also. Once my little pesto balls were frozen, I put them into a plastic freezer zip lock bag.  The trick to getting all the air out is to put a straw into the bag and close it up to the straw then suck as much air out as you can. Quickly pull out the straw and finish closing the bag.

My final project was to make some peach muffins for my son’s breakfast.

All together a pretty productive day!

Crafty Guys

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Crafting is not a female only sport. There are many guys out there who are creative and crafty – whether it’s rebuilding an old mustang or making sculpture from junk. Ben Venom happens to be a quilter who uses rock t-shirts as his medium and incorporates lyrics from his favorite and obscure rock and punk rock songs.

His stuff is incredible – check it out.

 

Ode to the Scarf

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I’ve been busy getting ready for a craft show I’m doing in November. Now that I carpool (why I hadn’t hopped on that bandwagon sooner is beyond me – 2 out of every 3 weeks I sit in back and knit or crochet. It’s an extra 1 1/2 hours a day of playtime), I’ve been making much more progress.

I will be selling mostly jewelry, bags and scarves. I love making scarves. First of all, one size fits all.

Second, a scarf is the perfect winter accessory. With our mild Texas winters I find that as long as my neck is covered, I stay warm.

Third, and most importantly for me, scarves are an opportunity to play. Scarves are the jazz of the knit/crochet world. They are perfect for improvisation because they don’t take a lot of time. It’s a time to explore stitch patterns, play around with techniques and use up odd bit of skeins left over from other projects. And the end result is always fantastic.

For the purple/green crochet scarf above, I had a bunch of scraps from a miter block project that I abandoned so when I unravelled it, I use the pieces for a simple circular crochet motif and joined them as I crocheted rather than sew them all together (what a pain – I’ve done that before). I still ended up with scraps so I tied them all together to create a large ball which I will use to – you guessed it – make another scarf.

The second scarf is actually two in one. One is a deep tan and the other is cream. This is my own pattern which mimics leaves on a vine.

Scarves are little works of art and I think that they can be beautiful as well as functional.

 

Hand Knit Wedding Dress

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I came across several stories about Lydia Taylor, a yarn shop owner in England, who knit her wedding dress.

This story appealed to me on several levels. First of all, SHE KNIT HER WEDDING DRESS! And it’s gorgeous. As an avid knitter, she has my admiration.

Apparently the couple did a handmade wedding. I think this is such a wonderful idea and I am glad to see that so many more couples are planning smaller, more intimate affairs that are about family and friends rather than seeing who can bankrupt mommy and daddy the quickest.

Sites like etsy.com and pinterest have made it much easier to get an elegant look at discount prices. Personally, I would love to be able to plan and execute these affairs for a living, but most people that do it are pretty crafty and don’t need my help.