Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On the road

For the last few years I've been taking a trip to Seattle the week when Stitch and Pitch happens. I love baseball. I love knitting. And I love a few days alone in a hotel. Reading at meals. Sleeping when I want. Only worrying about me. Indulgent! Last week was the week. I spent 2 days alone and Ward joined me for 2. The Mariners lost 3 of 4 games - it isn't easy being a Mariners fan!

 I  needed a portable project. These little knitted hats seemed to be a good choice.I made one the first night and another the next. These are kits I got at Knit Purl in Portland several years ago. There are 3 colors of yarn and 3 patterns: a fair isle, a striped and a solid. I didn't make the solid.

I thought it would like posing on my windowsill overlooking Safeco Field!

When I got home I added the pompoms. I've never made a pompom before. I used a fork, wrapping the 3 yarns around the tines abou.t 15 times. Then I tied around the middle and trimmed.  The only hard thing was tying the middle tightly. Yarn didn't work well - it kept breaking. I eventually used the same beading thread I used last week. I think they might need to be stuffed with something - tissue? - to look more well-shaped.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easy feels like cheating ...

This idea idea comes from Martha Stewart. I love Martha's ideas. Some are tricky. Some like this one are easy but the challenge is finding the materials. These are made from wood veneer. After a search online, I found some at ARC Crafts. They had an assortment of woods and thicknesses, including some sampler packs. It was tricky deciding what thickness would be right some I got several sample packs.

She used embroidery floss. I have lots of different kinds of thread from the beadwork I've done. Small spools of this nice nylon thread seemed like a good choice.

Next, I looked at my punch and Martha's directions. My punch was about 25% smaller but the bigger issue was that it had fewer scallops. The directions said to skip 9 scallops - I realized I only had 14! I punted and made 4 different woods and 2 different spacing. I thought they looked pretty good.

Then I got out 2 scallop circle dies for my Sizzix.

These are so much better! Albeit a little hard to see the scallops on the cherry butcher block since I used cherry wood paper.The smaller of the two used Martha's formula exactly - skip 9 scallops. On the bigger one I skipped 8.

Here's a picture on my kitchen tablecloth - crumbs and all!

I'm heading up to Seattle for my annual Stitch and Pitch excursion. I am taking a portable knitting ornament along - we'll see how I do next week!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Paper craft

When I looked at my halfway collection of ornaments I realized that a category that wasn't represented was rubber stamping and other paper crafting. There was an ornament on the Stampin' Up 2012 catalog cover that I really liked. I got all the supplies to make it and then didn't. Last week, I got some new glues and a new (working!) mini glue gun. Actually a fancy 2 temperature glue gun - cool!

This was a bit time consuming but not too difficult. Each of the points consist of 4 pieces - stamped and cut with my Big Shot die cutter. 3 are folded in half, glued together and glued onto a 4th.

The rosette can be hand scored and folded but I also have dies to make them in 3 different sizes. The die cuts a narrow strip with a scalloped edge and scores it every 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I enjoyed finally figuring out how to make these. I ended up with all 3 sizes and decided the middle one looked best.

Once the 5 3-dimensional pieces in each color and the rosette were made and the tuille was cut into pieces it was just a matter of using the glue gun to put everything together.

Unfortunately I had a tragic accident with my nail polish during the crafting. I think the really good paper glue stuck to the foil on my ring finger nail and pulled it off when I cleaned it off. Just the fact that I have foil on my nail is rather surprising - 3 years ago I would have laughed at the possibility. Ah well. In any case, the polish loss was a small price to pay for this awesome ornament finally being done.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Adding or subtracting

I had trouble deciding what to work on this week. I was going to do a paper craft /rubber stamping one that I've been anxious to get to. It requires a bunch of materials and tools to do it. And a large work area. I found all the stuff except for one kind of glue. I got that but the desk was definitely not cleaned off and I couldn't convince myself to clean it.

Then I thought I'd work on a kit using plastic beads on a tinsel stem (otherwise known as a pipe cleaner) that makes a wreath. I actually strung the beads on. But then I needed to glue gun little tiny beads on and it was too hot upstairs where the glue gun was (can you say low energy week?).

Sunday I got a flat of blueberries. Monday was spent making various things with them. Side cooking comments. I wanted to find more savory things to make. I made pickled blueberries we had on crostini tonight, blueberry barbecue sauce, and Monday night's dinner of turkey meatballs with a blueberry sauce. And a delicious blueberry poundcake - it couldn't all be savory!

So Monday night rolled around and I was in a panic. This little folded fabric tree kit was the ticket! The fabric was precut into rectangles. They were just folded, creased with your finger and pinned onto a styrofoam form. Simple and cute!

The sad thing about this saga is that every one of these kits is  a recent addition to the stash. I got an email about a sale at Herrschners and there were so many cute ornaments. And then I couldn't help searching on Etsy for more. Yikes - I have a problem. 12 step program for craft addiction?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


 First things first: I finished the beaded ornament cover. I had to make a few modifications; interesting since I bought the kit from the designer. There are two kinds of beaded ornament covers. One is loose on the ball, usually with long dangles. The other is fitted onto the ball. The other covers I've done so far are the loose style.

There are s couple of advantages to the loose style. First, if the ball ever breaks it's easy to replace it. Second, and more important in this case (at least so far!), the fitted style has to be fitted fairly exactly onto the ball so it stays in place and looks good.

This one was hard to test the fit of until it was really close to being done - the strips of medallions and the larger medallions were made and then attached with a ring of beads around the top and bottom as well as the beads to the large medallion. When I got it together it was way too loose.

I assume the bead size was correct since the kit was put together by the designer and shown as one of the samples in the directions. My guess is that it is a function of my tension.

The solution I came up with (since I really didn't want to take it all apart and use fewer beads!) was to stitch an X of seed beads across the bottom of the cover through the ends of the strips. I also made a similar stitch around the top to pull it in. Seems relatively stable.
So 26 weeks are complete - halfway through the year. A few more than 26 ornaments since I painted several one week and beaded more than one once or twice. I discovered that the mix was pretty well distributed: 3 bead covers, 4 other seed and glass beaded, 6 Czech blown glass, 7 painted, 5 with pins and sequins or beads, 4 knitted and 7 of various other sorts. Wow!