Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crochet Flower

I had some extra black yarn from the scarf. And so I did this.


I made my life a lot harder by varying the stitches from single crochet to double crochet and treble, and spiraling in the same chain row, but you could easily mimic it by doing a long chain of singles, doubles, and trebles and then sewing it into a flower shape.

Although why you would want to is beyond me. What do I do with this thing? I'll just have to set it aside and think about it, I think.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ruffle Scarf

This scarf was made using the rest of the yarn from the cozy and hat that my boyfriend's Mom bought me. I used a Lion Brand pattern just like for the hat, so I would be sure to use a pattern that would suit the texture of the yarn.


I adore how the scarf came out, although I haven't quite figured out what to wear it with (which I will have to wait to figure out until I pull out my winter/fall clothes from storage). The only bad thing was that this yarn was very difficult to crochet (because it's not a smooth textured yarn, the stitches tend to be difficult to see) especially on the chain row. If you do want to work with Homespun for crochet, you'll need lots of patience!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I don't wear hats. I've always thought they look weird on me, so I've just never gone there. But now I live in Berkeley, and it's significantly cooler than Southern California or Central California, so I decided I'd give it a try. I had quite a bit of extra yarn left over from the Cozy, so I picked a Lion Brand pattern that suited the Lion Brand Yarn.

I actually really enjoy Lion Brand patterns. They do a good job of suiting the yarn Lion Brand makes, and they can be used with other yarns, also, in case you're not a huge fan of Lion Brand.

Anyhow, I think I might have been wrong about hats not suiting me:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tee Shirt

There were holes in my tee shirt.


And now there are weird bumps.


I just zig zagged over the holes and thought that would be less noticeable, but now I'm thinking I will have to get rid of this top :/

(File this one under how not to do things)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Major Project: Secret Project

What, another major project before I've gotten any significant progress done on the last major project? To which I say "shhhhhhhhh."

Here it is:


And I'm not going to say anything else about it, because I want it to be a surprise :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Sweater

My Mom keeps asking me if my books were cold every time she sees this project, but I refuse to be offended, because it makes me happy!


This is actually a really simple to make, even without a pattern. Cast on enough stitches to go across the spine of your book, plus an inch or so. Work an inch in 2x2 rib, work in stockinette for long enough to travel all the way around the book, work another inch in stockinette, bind off and sew up edges.

I'm working on one now that will function more as a dust jacket, so I'll post regarding that one once it's done :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Bag

Guess what I almost forgot to show off? My friend's swap gift! The bag looks like this:

And it has six big pockets inside:

I had so much fun making it, and I'm glad I went for it, even though sewing isn't my strong point!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Filling Cupcakes

I know it was a long time ago, but back in May I had this idea for making Reese's Peanut Butter Cupcakes. So I decided to try to make them, and came up with a recipe for a peanut butter and chocolate filling to add to the center of the cupcakes before baking them, and tried it out. Here're the cupcakes:


And here's how they look on the inside:


That darker spot is the filling. And while these tasted fantastic, they're not really what I had in mind at all, so I wasn't really satisfied with them. I was really hoping to make something that more resembled Peanut Butter cups, but I couldn't find peanut butter baking chips. I think I'll have to try to make these again some time so that I can get them right.

I'm also thinking that I'd like to avoid using too many more boxed cake mixes so that I can experiment with my own cupcake recipes. And maybe it would be good to focus on that particular basic before I moved on to other ideas...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beaded Necklace

When I was younger (like in high school, so not too much younger) I learned how to make my own beaded jewelry. I wasn't fantastic at it or anything, and I made some truly ugly pieces while I was doing it, but much more valuable were the skills I learned while doing it. Now I have the ability to repair, re-string, or remake homemade and store-bought beaded pieces, which is a pretty cool skill to have. To do this, you only need a few simple tools, and a few supplies.

First of all you need a pair of needle-nosed pliers. You could always steal a pair out of the garage and use those, but since they're made for things like bolts and nails (or whatever-- I'm not much of a handywoman) they're really too big for what you need to do (although they'll work in a pinch). Places like Micheal's and Joann's sells pliers for beading with their beading supplies. If you're going to do a whole heck of a lot of beading, you'll want to buy a higher-end pair, because they'll last longer. But if, like me, you mostly intend on doing repairs or only need to use them a couple times a year, the cheapest ones they sell will probably do you just fine.

Other tools you might find useful: a pair of tweezers (to hold beads) and a beading tray (so you can line up your beads pre-stringing). Since I do so little, I go without these two tools, but they can be useful.

Most of the money you spend on repairs will be on string, crimp beads, and clasps.

String first: there are loads of options on what kinds of string to buy. You can get elastic for stretchy bracelets, wire for earrings, natural fibers, or (my personal favorite for necklaces and flexible bracelets) nylon-coated wire. For a cheaper, similarly flexible necklace or bracelet, you can go with fishing line, but be aware that it will break fairly easily (don't use it for your pearls, fine metals, or other expensive beads!).

Crimp beads are pretty basic, and I've never met a crimp bead I didn't like. They are slipped on to the beaded piece right before the closure and then pressed closed with needle-nosed pliers to keep the whole thing together. Pretty important!

And, clasps. I know someone who replaces all her bracelet clasps with the loop-and-bar type as soon as she gets them, and does the same for her friends-- this ends up being most of the "beading" she does. Clasps can be cripplingly expensive, or super cheap-- entirely based on your preferences (I go cheap, because my preferences are cheap).

Anyhow, all this just goes to explain what I did the other day. My Mom delivered me a broken beaded piece:

 It had one side of the clasp still attached, and some of the beads still strung, so I could see the patter (or in this case, lack thereof). The rest of the beads were loose, so the first thing I had to find out is if I had all the beads or not. If I did have all the beads, I would be left with no spare line to attach the other half of the clasp (I'll explain this later). If I didn't, and it was now too short to wear, I would going to have to either shorten it to a bracelet, or add more beads to make it wearable. I strung all of the beads back onto the line to find out where I stood.

This is how much line I had left over after re-stringing:

This is perfect. It's enough line to add the clasp, but still long enough to wear. Happy me :)

So to add the other half of the clasp, you have to string on the crimp bead, string on the clasp, and the re-thread the string through the crimp bead, which leaves a loop to hold the clasp in place. I start the process loose and then pull the whole thing tight after I have the thread through the crimp bead and several of the beads closest to the crimp (which hides the end). Then press the crimp bead tight (without breaking it!) and trim off any extra wire/string (there's a really good explanation of this with pictures here, as well as some explanations of some of the other ways of finishing a piece).

This is the necklace after the repair:


Pretty cute, right? (Mom assures me one of us made this-- it must have been her!)

I have plans later (like, when I have money, later) to re-string some of my favorite pieces from when I did a lot of beading. While I did make a whole lotta ugly pieces, some of them were actually kind of charming, so I'd like to make them wearable (figures that even when I did something right I would do something wrong-- they're all too small or on breakable uncoated wire or some such nonsense that means I have to fix them :/)

Till then, I guess I'll return to my knitting and sewing projects that don't cost me as much!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dish Scrubbie

When I found the super bulky yarn I used for the bias scarf, it was actually tied into a scrap yarn ball with some worsted. I separated the two weights out, and after I was done with the bias scarf, I used the rest for this scrubbie:


I love how it looks (it was supposed to be a circle, but I accidentally made it into a heart...when you tie it into a circle, you're supposed to pull the center tight to make it scrunch up in the middle, and I also accidentally pulled the top section tight, too) and I really do like how it functions (the ridges make washing dishes nice) but I have this aversion to sponges, because I hate that they sit there and collect if I were to make this again, I would give it an i-cord loop so that I could hang it over the faucet to dry. And I've actually seen a lot of patterns that already include this feature, so maybe I'll make one of those next, instead.

This is a pretty good way to use up some scrap yarn, though, so I think I'll keep this in mind!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finished Cozy

My boyfriend's Mom bought me yarn :) She took me into Micheal's, led me to the yarn shop, and told me to pick out enough to finish three projects. I swooned <3

I picked out the yarn for the apron, a yarn for a super-special project I'll show you later, and this yarn here:


And remember how I said that the chances of me finding the same color of yarn were slim because I bought it so long ago? Well I found the exact. same. color. I was so excited!

And I figured that since I was working with 100% acrylic this cozy would be more for looks than functionality. But guess what?! This actually keeps my tea hot exponentially longer than without it! So it's a pretty cool little project :)

I even had yarn left over, which leaves me with the opportunity for future projects :)

And this cozy has a pocket in the bottom for a sachet, so at some point I will make something pretty-smelling to add to that spot :) Very excited!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Apron

So after I ran out of the crochet thread my boss gave me, my boyfriend's Mom took me shopping for more yarn, and one of the things I bought was more thread!! And since we were at Micheal's, I found the exact teal thread I had been using before! So now my apron looks like this:


And it's still not done :/ I think I'll try going by Micheal's again and picking up the same brown and a cream. I think it will look nice...but who knows when that will happen!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Card for Daddy

So this shows you how behind I am on posting my crafts: Here is my Father's Day Card! But this could be used for pretty much any holiday, I promise.

I gathered four colors of construction paper (two neutrals and two colors), markers, scissors, an envelope, and some "extras" (yarn, a sea shell, some buttons, a cool tag, and a little heart left over from Valentine's Day).

My first step was to cut the neutral colored construction paper to the size of the envelope. I made sure to leave myself a little room, since I intended the card to be pretty thick. Then I cut the two colored papers a tad smaller than the neutrals.


I made several of each of these so that I would be sure to have plenty of extras if I needed them. (P.S. See my Cup Cozy? It's a love thing :) )

After they were cut, I glued (just with a plain glue stick) one piece of colored construction paper onto each piece of neutral. I decided to keep the colors consistent, so all the greens are glued to white, and the yellows to black.


I had a couple pieces of colored paper left over, so I set them aside. Then I made my "Title Page." I wanted this to be the first page my Daddy saw.

This could be an introduction to a list, like I did here, or the beginning of a story, or even just a name or title, which would leave you with a lot more freedom inside the card. As you can see, I added a small embellishment by stitching over the first letter.

On the next page, I listed my first reason, added another embellishment (buttons this time) and then connected it to the first page, like so:


I kept adding pages, punching holes in the top and bottom and tying them together, to get a longer card.

On the last panel, I went ahead and added a real letter that was less playful.


And then I folded the whole thing accordion-style, so that only the title page was showing:

And tucked it into the envelope.


Remember the remaining sheets of colored paper? I used one to create a "Yay for Daddies" tag on the back:

And I glued the last one on the front of the envelope to make it less plain and boring :)

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out-- especially because my Daddy liked it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Indian Pajamas Dress

You know those really pretty Indian tops you see all over the place? I picked one up several years ago at a Goodwill and thought I could wear it around. The seaming is hand done, and I just imagine that some woman spent hours making it for someone she loved.

But then when I tried to wear it, I got worried that someone would get offended that I was wearing their traditional costume. My Mom actually asked one of her students about it, and she said that was crazy, and she would be honored...but I still felt weird.

So I thought if I took the pretty top and changed it somehow so that I preserved the beautiful embroidery and cloth, but wore it differently, I would feel ok. And so now it's a dress :)

I'm really in love with it. I wear it with a belt, and I feel so pretty :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mini Cabled Scarf

Remember all that yarn I bought at a yard sale a while back? Well this is my first project using it:

  This little scarf went super quickly, and is really soft now that it is knitted up. I'm not wild about bright red, so I might be on the look-out for someone to give this to! I'm trying to get a good stock of little projects finished, because I have this idea to give away tons of knitted items around Christmas time. But if I end up not having enough this year, I'll just keep stock piling for next year!

And of course I have to leave myself time for the projects that I know I want ready for Christmas...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shortened Skirt

I had this black velvet skirt that I didn't feel like I could wear because it was too short to be considered  a gypsy skirt skirt and too long to be a regular skirt. So now it's shorter!

It's just about knee length now, and while I was doing it I was a little worried that I would change my mind about thinking I wanted it shorter, and since it was a really gathered skirt with tons of body...

I just left all the skirt there. That way I have the freedom to change my mind later, and I don't worry about ruining a perfectly good skirt.

Now I just have to wait for fall to come so that I can wear this piece...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bias Scarf

I've been using a lot of the old yarn that's been stored away in my closet for the last several years to use in my knitting projects instead of breaking the bank for new wool, and one of the things I had was fifty or so yards of super bulky Lion Brand yarn that I couldn't figure out what to do with. Finally I found a pattern for a scarf knitted on the bias that I think uses it up just fine:


But honestly, it's just fine. I'm not ecstatic about it. Give me a couple years-- I bet I rip it apart to do something else with it (or give it to someone who likes it better than I do!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Table Cloth

When I was in high school (which seems like forever ago, but really wasn't) someone at my family's church brought back a lot of great things from India, where they headed a mission. My Mom bought me this great piece of cloth:


For the last several years, it has had unfinished edges, and been covering a table in my bedroom at my Dad's house, but when I moved into my new apartment, I brought it with me. Of course, I wanted it to be finished to use it.


So now I have a very cool table cloth from India!


(Clearly this is more of a "man, it's nice to have a sewing machine" kind of post than a "look what I did" kind of post. Although I am proud that the seams are straight...)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Last Ex-Sweater Piece

Remember the massive yarn ball from my Mom's sweater? Well this is what we're left with:


Because I made one last piece for my Mom: A table runner :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Torn Top

I am a genius. Also, I hate tags. So when one of my new tops had a tag on the side, I decided to rip it out. And I did this:


Like I said, I'm a genius. However, a sewing machine and a little white thread later, I had this:



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fixed Found Shirt

Remember the shirt I found on the ground? Well I got around to fixing it. Here's what it looked like before:


Clearly I'm not too happy about how it looks. The first step was to change the collar:

I think just folding back the collar is a good way to make it look younger, without ruining the integrity of the piece (it still has an old-fashioned vibe, without being old-fashioned).

I like to use a contrasting thread, but that's just me. While the first half was simple, the second half required that I remove some buttons.


Then I matched the fold and sewed that side down, too.


The next step is to fix the sleeves. I thought maybe the best thing would be to take out the shoulder pads, but they're not the normal removable ones I'm used to:


So instead I just decided to make the sleeves short. My options were traditional short sleeves, or cap sleeves.

  I decided to start with short sleeves, and then change them if I wasn't happy with the look.


I cut out the extra sleeve:


And tried it on.


Much better! I made the other side the same, finished the edges:


( note that there are better ways to do this), and cut off the excess:


And now it's a wearable top :)