A Galaxy Background Card

Galaxy backgrounds are both super fun to make and incredibly nerve-wracking. They look a hot mess until suddenly, they don’t.

Exhibit A:


Pretty ugly, right?

But then you add black, and a smattering of stars (in this case, white paint) and suddenly, you have a cool galaxy background. Who knew!


For this card, I wanted to make a holiday card with a non-holiday set by Kindred Stamps, a challenge set by the Kindred Stamps Facebook group! Here’s what I can’t up with:


This is the Space Western set. I used the new Tim Holtz for Sizzix star dies with glitter cardstock underneath for a bit of sparkle & movement!


For the sentiment I used a Lawn Fawn stamp plus “Shiny” from the Space Western set.

I absolutely love how this turned out. So much fun!




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7 years later!

The blog has been abandoned for a very long time! Craft-wise, I’ve shifted focus over the years. I still knit. These days, however, more often than not I am papercrafting. I have fallen in love with coloring stamped images, and what better way to share those images than sending cards to people I love? Cards are fun to make and fun to send! So it’s a win-win!

I still knit. I still sew. I see more than I knit actually! But papercrafting is really where my heart lies these days!

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Candy Corn Hats

Back in the fall I realized that Littlest’s pumpkin hat (from when he was a baby!) was getting a might small. Time for a new hat! I did think about just making another pumpkin but decided since I had this lovely extra-chunky yellow yarn, that a candy corn hat would be MUCH more fun to make.

Candy Corn Hat

And it was 🙂

Candy Corn Hat

(Sorry ’bout the pics being so little I need to dig up the originals; these are off Ravelry.)

Course I was all proud of myself for using stash yarn til I realized I had to BUY orange and white to make it work. Oops. But that’s ok.. a) I’ll totally use the white and b) the orange was majorly on sale.

The white and yellow are both Cascade Yarns Magnum and the orange is Debbie Bliss Como. I looooove the Magnum in a major way. It was on sale a while back at my LYS and my boy begged for some red. So we all picked out a color.. yellow for littlest, aqua for me, and red for eldest. I still don’t know what to do with the red though. Contemplating a colorwork hat for eldest as he can still wear his other red hat. Maybe with white snowflakes? I dunno. He doesn’t wear hats a lot. Youngest, on the other hand, LOVES hats.

I winged the pattern after perusing online a little bit. I thought, how hard could it be? And indeed it was not hard once I established what gauge I had. I think the yellow is straight up, the orange starts decreasing every other row, and the white is every row. Or something like that.

Funny thing about candy corn accessories: People seem unable to decide what order the colors are in. I had to go look at some real candy corn!

Anyway, I love how it looks, and youngest appears to love his hat too. He requests it! How cute is that? And we get lots of comments. I assume this is a good thing 🙂 He’s very cute in it.

I have a few other hats on the go… a snail hat (Zimmermann pattern) for eldest, a thinner silk slouchy hat (again) for me, and a few baby hats 😉 Perhaps this will be the year of the hat! Or not. Perhaps it’s just the phase of the hat. At least they get used and appreciated!

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Doll Clothes

My boys have two anatomically correct dolls. At a certain age they loooooove them. There’s just something about toddlers wanting to take care of babies that is universally adorable.

Unfortunately since the dolls don’t get played with a lot and it’s for a relatively short period of time, it sort of drives me crazy how much doll clothes are. There aren’t that many options for “boy” clothes, either. I’ve tried to make doll clothes before by winging it and, to be frank, they sucked. Sewing clothes is not my forte. The boys *like* changing the doll clothes but I can’t make myself spend as much as would be required. Therefore they just don’t have much.

The thing is, I really *want* to make doll clothes. Not only for their pretend play, but something about it seems so satisfying. And tiny! And tiny == cute, therefore I must figure it out. Eventually I stumbled on a Simplicity pattern with sizes from 12″ to 22″ dolls, and thought, you know, I should buy it and go from there. I am pretty good at altering patterns.. just not making them up from scratch, apparently.

My first opportunity (well, besides ignoring the needs of my own children of course) came this weekend when I decided to make some doll clothes for a little friend’s 6th birthday. This little girl loooooves her American Girl doll, and since this pattern has some 18″ doll clothes, I thought, why not? And staying true to my new years resolution, I even used stashed fabric! That I normally would have saved but since it had no intended purpose I decided not to be afraid to use it. Plus the black corduroy was someone else’s stash that they gave to me! Gave! For nothing in return! I should make them some doll clothes too.

I chose two dresses to make and voila, I love them! They took SO MUCH MORE TIME than I expected, but I do like them. I hope they fit the doll! As I don’t have one of my own it was a little hard to test the sizing!

Here they are:

I always forget how long it takes to cut out patterns. Oh. My. God. No wonder I prefer knitting. Sewing is far too exact for me. On the bright side, a friend shared the tip of using freezer paper for patterns and that works so much better than what I used to use! So that’s good. And this pattern is also nifty in that you can re-use a lot of the same pattern pieces for different garments, so a lot of the cutting out work is now done.

I actually did enjoy making them, although parts were tedious, as sewing always is. If I hadn’t tried to do two in one night I’d probably be a bit happier. But that’s what I get for not planning ahead I suppose!

So I really should make some boy clothes for my kiddos now, right? 🙂

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The lone xmas pressie

I haven’t done a lot of knitting for holiday gifts in the last few years. I gave myself permission a while back to not freak out and try to make things for everyone, but to pick a few key gifts, and that’s worked very well for me! Although not for anyone else who might want something 😉

I try to spoil my aunts. I figure they’ll appreciate it. Always important to give handmade gifts to people who will appreciate them. (Yes I’ve learned that from experience.)

This year (well, 2010) I wanted to make this colorwork neck warmer thingy (it’s hard to call it a cowl as it’s rather skinny) for them. I started it at Madrona (it was a steeks class!) in February, 2010, and put it aside in March because I had loads of time to finish, right? Around November I realized that I was not, in fact, done with one, much less two, and also did *not* have loads of time left until Christmas!

So the original was finished. The yarn for the second one is still waiting to be cast on. Whoops. Luckily my other aunt is very generous and probably expects me of this by now.

Anywho.. it *is* rather pretty if I do say so myself 🙂

These pictures are pre-blocking. It was extremely narrow before blocking and bloomed in a most lovely way upon washing. It loosened up considerably although if I made one for me I would add one if not two more repeats of the flower pattern. I also think it’s rather tall so I would probably cut out maybe the yellow bits and one section of leaves where it’s doubled up at the top. I think the flowers are genius though!

Pattern: Wisteria Cowl
Designer: Mary Scott Huff (designed for Madrona steeks class 2010)
Yarn: Abstract Yarns “colorwork” (although it appears they don’t do this line anymore. It’s a sport weight wool)
New techniques: Steeking!! I loved working in the round then cutting. Woo!

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My friend Will asked if I could make some crocheted ewoks. Sure, I thought, why not? I can crochet.

Well. I *thought* I could crochet. Turned out I had a lot to learn! Not only about crochet in general but amigurumi in particular. But I persevered because a) I said I would and b) how stinkin’ cute are crocheted ewoks? Very cute. I like cute. So I persevered.

Ewok amigurumi aka crocheted ewoks.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up. Aren’t these little guys cute?

The boys, of course, were totally enamoured and wanted their own.

Turns out they were enamoured with their own for about 2 seconds. Oh well. *I* like them. In fact I’m seriously considering building a treehouse for the ewoks. Because really, why not? How cute would that be? Very cute. You see the theme here.

The funny thing is that the boys were totally fascinated with them before they even looked like ewoks. In fact they looked positively alien for a while. I imagine if you did these in grey and stopped at this point you’d have that alien guy from American Dad.

The most important thing I learned from this experience is that I now have a helluva lot more respect for crochet than I used to! It takes a lot more attention than I expected, particularly to counting. Not a craft night friendly activity. But the results are super cute and fast. I hope to do more. Someday. 😀

Pattern by Lucy Ravenscar at Etsy
Yarn: Cascade 220 superwash (slightly thinner than regular as this called for dk) plus random scraps for the hoods, hands and feet.

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A Christmas Stocking Story

Once upon a time there was a child who needed a Christmas stocking. Mama had knitted a stocking for Big Brother when Big Brother was just a baby, and now it was little one’s turn.

Unfortunately for Mama, she did not do a gauge swatch on the first knitted stocking and it turned out HUGE. The baby could fit in it huge. Ginormous stocking. So, there was much to live up to because you can’t exactly have one child with a gigantic stocking and one with a regular size stocking.

Therefore littlest’s stocking was clearly going to gargantuan as well.

Now Mama was in a bit of a felting phase at the time and thought, “I know, I’ll hand felt a huge stocking! That sounds like a brilliant idea!” So she did the test swatch (having learned THAT lesson before) and did the math to see how big the stocking would have to start out in order to end up the proper (ginormous) size.

This turned out to be stupendously large:

It took up an entire half of the cutting table! There wasn’t a piece of plastic large enough in the house to make the resist, so a garbage bag was used. Hey, whatever works!

Laying out the second layer of batting -- sparkly!

Laying out the second layer of batting -- sparkly!

That sucker took DAYS to felt.

Starting the felting process with tulle on top and lots of towels underneath!

And again with the second side of this "seamless vessel" 🙂

Mama had to roll for what seemed like hours, then work in sections on the washing board, and generally pound the thing to death.

Hugest. Stocking. Ever.

Eventually it shrunk.

And more…

Somewhere in there either the felting was different from the test swatch (entirely likely has the vertical felting was limited) or the math was just plain wrong (also entirely likely) and the stocking ended up too tall.

The right boot size but too tall!

So Mama cut off the top part. Voila! Blue felted stocking. (Apparently there isn’t a picture of that part.)

Of course that wasn’t the end of the story. No, it can never be THAT simple.

For Mama had a Plan and the Plan included Polar Bears. Mama had seen an utterly adorable stocking in some catalog or another that had a Mama Polar Bear and a Baby Polar Bear and the image got stuck in her head. But Mama knew she could improve upon the idea and so was determined to make her own version.

Therefore in order to complete the Plan, Mama needed to make some white felt, obviously, for the Polar Bears.

Thus more felting was needed. (By this time Mama’s wrists and arms were getting mighty sore indeed.)

By Christmas, the blue stocking was in existence and the white felt was in existence, but neither knew of the other. “Oh well. It can wait until next year,” Mama said.

And wait it did.

However Christmas did eventually roll around again and Mama remembered, “Huh, I think I have a stocking to finish!” So several evenings were spent designing the bears.. cutting them out..

sewing them on..

figuring out how to finish the top..

and YET still the stocking was not done by Christmas. All that was left was the child’s name, though, and yes, that too can wait yet one more year.

Finished product

Finished! Without the name though.

In any case, littlest seemed to love his stocking, which is good since it took so damn long and took so much effort to make! Next time, Mama said, I’ll just buy the felt and sew the darned thing. Sometimes retail is just so much easier.

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This may be obvious, but the blog is moving to WordPress. I apologize for any broken links! We used to host our own server but that became financially less appealing over time, so we’re moving everything to other services. Pictures may be broken.. I haven’t really figured out pictures.. but I do hope that the move will simplify the blogging process and I might actually start posting things again! 🙂

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Real Yarn

Oh look! It’s May! Apparently it’s time for another blog post 🙂 This time about spinning as I haven’t sewed squat since April. There’s also been some knitting happening, but that is lacking photos.

However, I have been spinning on my lurvely new wheel, which I am still loving. Back in… February? March? I went to a spinning night at The Fiber Gallery, my favorite local yarn store. The spinners there were very friendly and a font of information. My spinning improved dramatically in just one evening with them! When I got home I finished off my purple wool, the gift roving that came with my wheel.

I ended up with three bobbins. It was very obvious which was my first — very thick/thin with big patches of fuzz and some very, very skinny sections! The singles got more even and predictable as I got better at drafting, and the final bobbin reminded me very much of Malabrigo, if I do say so myself 😉

The problem, however, with having the singles done was that meant next I needed to ply. Hmm. I read up on plying, I watched You Tube videos, I thought about it a lot, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually start to ply.

Months passed.

The May spinning night was coming up and I knew I should go so I could get over this hurdle! And true to form, the spinners were all incredibly helpful. I now know how to ply — with two singles at any rate. In fact I know two different ways to ply! And now I have yarn.

Real yarn.

Really bad yarn.

But still, real yarn, and it’s very pretty in its own lovely and unique way 😉

The yarn was wound onto my Niddy Noddy, washed, and is now drying peacefully. I’m not sure it’s “balanced” but all in good time. It’ll do.

On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it as I didn’t really have a plan for making it beyond learning to spin. It’s super squishy and soft, and I’m fairly sure knitting with it will ruin how pretty it is. But I’m also not one to have yarn just sitting around appreciating it for its own sake. I like my yarn to turn into something I can use. So I’m sure I’ll find something to do. I have 103.3 yards after all! Perhaps a hat. Maybe something by EZ as both the Ganomy and the Snail hat are on my list of things to make.

As soon as that yarn was set drying, I started on my next spinning project — some incredibly beautiful wool from Frabjous Fibers that I got at Madrona. It’s a colorway called “Redwood Forest” and it’s full of deep greens, copper, and lots of colors in between. It’s beautiful. In fact, there’s a picture here. At Madrona I walked by petting it about four times before I finally gave in and just bought it.

I’m slightly nervous about spinning it up though. It’s so pretty I’m afraid I’ll ruin it! After all, plying will undoubtably mix the colors. Hopefully it will still look nice though. The singles are much thinner this time around so I’m hopeful I’ll have more yarn to play with when I’m done!

And when I am done…. I don’t really have much in the way of spinning fiber! Such a shame.. guess I’ll have to go shopping 😉

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March sewing brings April blog post

Apparently I’m posting monthly at the moment. Has to be said it is actually due to lack of stuff to post. There’s only so much complaining I can do and crafting is going at a snail’s pace, so monthly posts it is, apparently.

For some unidentifiable and inexplicable reason, I haven’t felt like knitting much lately. I’m still working on various and assorted knitting projects, but nothing worth commenting on.

However, I have been sewing a wee bit. I made a few projects for my latest trip back home with the boys and I’m fairly proud of them so thought I would elaborate here!

First up is my mom’s birthday present. I got a great deal on one of those stainless steel bento box lunch box type things that I’ve been wanting for myself, so I got one for mom too. I also like the bags but thought they were a bit expensive for what they were. So, of course, I thought, Hey, I’ll just make one! Here’s what I came up with:

I totally winged making this and it’s a bit snug. I will make one for myself (sometime) and hopefully remember to make it a little looser.

I had the brainwave of “upcycling” some jean pockets to hold silverware, napkins, etc. I realized after cutting the bottom off the first pocket that that was a huge pain in the arse not only to cut but to sew through so many layers and I should have just left it longer, but by then it was too late. So note to self: Make the bag the length of the pocket next time! Anywho, then my friend whom I was sewing with told me it looked like a tiny butt.


I panicked. I cannot give my mother a “tiny butt” for her birthday! I realized then that the bag was unintentionally reversible so if she had a problem with the tiny butt aspect it could just be turned inside out. WHEW. Turns out she loved it anyway so no harm done.

So that little sewing project went well! Finished the (lined) bag in one night.

I had two projects in mind to make the boys for our trip as well. One was some “I Spy” bags. I got the idea from Etsy (there are several makers on there if you do a search) but wanted to make it myself, of course. The hardest part was a) procuring the sewable vinyl which I’ve never used before (huge thanks to Megan for helping with that!!) and b) collecting the tiny toys.

As a rule, in a house with small children, you don’t *have* tiny toys and I hadn’t a clue where to look for some. I did eventually round up about 20+ for each kiddo, including things like beads, safety pins, small toy cars, playmobile animals,  buttons, etc. Sadly the pictures of the bags don’t show how cool it is to find stuff in them.

Then making the bags themselves was super easy. Pouring in the rice less so. Apparently I need a funnel for my craft room! The fabric is heavyweight, and they feel great. Like beanbags. Which incidently is exactly how the younger one uses his.

As a final touch I had the sense to take pictures of the contents before creating the bags, so I printed the photos and laminated them. I was going to put grommets on the bags to attach the picture, but apparently I don’t know how to use grommet pliers so that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, the pictures are good as the kids know what to look for.

However, my five year old, in all his wisdom, looked at me on the plane and said “How am I supposed to mark off which ones I’ve found?”

Well, crap. So another note to self, bring along a flippin’ dry erase marker next time too.

Anyway, the boys did like these a lot. So that went over well and was, of course, gratifying.

My next project, which I barely finished in time, was a notepad/pencil holder book thingy.

Originally I was going to make them pencil/crayon rolls. I have to admit I hadn’t really understood colored pencil rolls until then. I just throw them in a bag and they seem good to go, you know? The rolls seemed fiddly. But the genius of the idea struck me when contemplating travelling because if each pencil has its own pocket, well, then you know when any are missing, right? Hooray for organized travel!

But then I thought, if they each have a roll then they’ll each need a coloring book and that just sounds so….. loose. And bulky. In a tiny backpack. So I saw some notebooks with pencils on Etsy and thought, hey, now THAT is a good idea. I combined the instructions in the Pink Chalk Studio Notetaker with the instructions from the Pink Chalk Studio colored pencil roll, both patterns I already have, and used the same fabrics from the I Spy Bags.

Of course, as with any sewing project, it seems, I learned a few lessons. I sized up the pattern to begin with because the drawing pads I purchased are bigger than the lined notepads the pattern was intended for. This turned out to be a big mistake because the notebook is, well, too big. I guess I overcompensated. Or I can’t measure, it’s debatable. In any case, I made the youngest’s first because I figured he wouldn’t care, so I made the eldest’s the original size and it was perfect.

(I am soooo tempted to rip out the first one and make it smaller too but an resisting. It’ll be a lot of work and I can just buy a bigger notebook, right?)

The other thing I learned is that I made the pockets too small. Well, not really, the pencils and crayons fit just fine, it’s just that they pull in the pocket too much in my opinion. I’m not sure how I could have done that differently though because I was determined to get a whole rainbow in there.

I screwed up at the same part on both books. For some reason, and I still don’t know how I managed this, the stabilizer isn’t sewn in correctly for the middle part where it folds like a book binding. I don’t know how to describe it, but it somehow got off and sticks out funny when you fold them. Of course no one has noticed this but me. I want to make one more for grocery lists at home and I’m determined to figure out what I did wrong!

Now the funny part of these is that when I gave them to the boys, as Boo knew I had two surprises for them and they got the bags first, Boo said, “Mommy, these aren’t very exciting.” I must have looked a bit crushed because he followed that quickly with, “But I love it very much thank you for making it!” Ha! Poor kid. Sweet though, isn’t he? Well, he can be, anyway 🙂

They worked very well for the trip. We pulled them out at restaurants and hanging out at people’s houses and stuff like that. It may not keep them entertained for long, but it’s something.

So that’s the latest sewing I’ve done! I’ve got some other things brewing that deserve posts of their own too, like curtains and aprons and my grandmother’s embroidery, so maybe I’ll post sometimes else before May. Maybe. We’ll see 😉

If you’ve stuck around this long I just wanted to say thanks. I appreciate it 🙂

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