Monday, December 31, 2007

Why I Love Break

Because it gives me time to put together ideas that have been percolating for a while. I saw an idea for sewing fabric leaves onto floral stems a while back. I don't have floral stem wire laying around, but I have been looking for a way to reuse the wire hangers I get from the dry cleaners which I can't ever throw away (I once tried to return them at the dry cleaners figuring they could be recycled - - they looked at me like I was nuts.) So here is my contribution for Valentine's day, up in the shop. Andrew helped me figure out a way to get lavender buds into the design, so they smell purty too:)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Morning Breakfast

And my Dad won't admit to table-feeding the cat.

Lots of positive kitty vibes being sent to Nancy and Bo:)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Holiday Spectacular Post!

OK, I'm going to get over the fact that I'm posting about gifts, and let you see what I've been up to lately. Now that I'm finally done with crafting for the holidays, I'll be knitting some sweaters for myself (I have a hefty bill from Webs to prove it!) so here's what's been taking up my time:

Three Koolhaas hats (by Jared in Interweave's holiday edition...such a fantastic pattern that it's being offered here now!):These were actually simple to knit once I got the hang of the pattern. For some odd reason I felt it necessary to knit without a stitch marker the first time which made the process a whole lot longer. When you knit it, use the dang stitch marker (I did on the second and third hat and they whizzed off my needles.) I'll probably be knitting more of these in the future:)

Two aprons made out of a reproduction German fabric:
I also dried some herbs from the garden and the farm to go along with this gift (going to the cooks in the family). The aprons are from a pattern from this book here.One dragon hand puppet (Interweave holiday again) which will be huge on the recipient, but I think that'll make it cuter:One superhero cape for a superhero nephew (made it up as I went along):
The superhero, revealed:A pillow made out of the softest yarn in the world (picked out by Sophie). I also put a little heart from recycled cashmere socks that finally died on me this year. And a necklace for my mom:
And, whew! That's my interpretation of the Handmade Pledge! And I finished it all with a day to spare!!! Now, where is that sweater I'd started for myself a few months ago???
Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Deadlines Are A Good Thing

I was fully prepared to not send out Christmas cards this year. I got too wrapped up in making all of my gifts and hadn't even thought of a design for this year's card. My Gocco looked pleadingly at me, but I just decided it was one thing I was going to have to let go this time.
But we have family friends who we get together with on Christmas and one of our time-honored traditions is judging all of the cards they have received. It's a silly event that some people can't stand (after all, we are judging the taste of others through their card choices) but I love it. Last year, my submission was my first handmade holiday card and word on the street is that there is a new category for this year's contest: handmade. Being as how I am probably going to be the only card in this category, I thought I'd better get on it.

So I woke up this morning (first day of winter break!) with an idea to draw a pair of hands knitting because knitting brings me peace. In my half-awake state, I also decided that I'd draw a pair of hands holding a book open for Andrew because reading brings him peace. Or at least, as far as I was concerned at 6:30 this morning: reading brought Andrew peace. Before jumping out of bed I verified this --
me: "Reading brings you peace, right Andrew? Right?"
Andrew: "Huh? What? Um, yeah, reading brings me....uh....peace....snore"
(edit: Andrew has reminded me that I also tried to foist "playing golf" on him as a suggestion for something that brings him peace. His response? "Sometimes.")
and then drew up a design and Goccoed a bunch of cards (which I had to hand cut). It's important to point out that I heard last night that today was the last shipping day to guarantee Christmas delivery. Andrew thinks that's wrong, but at 6:30 AM today, I was convinced that these cards must get done NOW. Anyway, here's what came out:
I printed them in gold because the line drawings reminded me of diagrams that I used to see as a kid in books from the 70s....and for some reason they were always in weird colors. I'm pretty sure that no one is going to understand the meaning of reading and knitting with the word peace, but that's the kind of stuff that my brain thinks up in those moments before completely waking, so there you have it. Many of the cards we sent have some sort of hint written inside as the message like: Wishing you the time to do all of the things that bring you peace this holiday season. That, or something equally clunky.

So, in a whirlwind of inspiration, design, printing, and writing/addressing, Andrew and I managed to get handmade Christmas cards out on the supposed last-possible-shipping day and not a tear was shed in the process. Have I mentioned recently that I work well under pressure?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hoodie, Reconstructed

I haven't been blogging for a while because the wrapping-up of school stuff gets crazy before winter break. That, and I'm busy making Christmas gifts (which I can't blog about just yet). But last night, I spent a few hours reconstructing a hoodie (finally). I think I blogged about doing this months ago, but I needed to do it last night because today was Winterfest. Don't ask what Winterfest's enough to know that it's a random/ unique holiday/ celebration that my school has developed over the years that incorporates as many faiths and cultures through their winter holidays (including Ramadan, which is only applicable when it falls during a winter month, but whatever.) It's goofy and zany and I love it.

Each year the juniors design a hoodie that has Winterfest written on the front and a theme word (like peace, light, hope, or faith) written on the back in as many languages as they can find. As Winterfest was today and I had been planning on converting my hoodies into zip-ups for months, last night was the night. Having a deadline and a limited amount of hours that I could actually stay awake for this task was an important aspect of my success. Not having any time to mess around, I just dove in. Usually I hem and haw. A lot. But last night, I grabbed my scissors and cut the whole thing up. I used a favorite-fitting zip-up hoodie as a template and cut the arm holes in, refitted the sleeves and made them bracelet length, took off the weird elastic ribbing part of the bottom, and released the hoodie from the neckline, lowering and widening the neckline as a result. I used bias tape on the bottom hem and the sleeves with mild success.
(This is a shot of the good part, there are some lumps and bumps elsewhere.) I had some vintage tape in an old sewing basket that I bought at a yard sale (filled to the brim with gobs of vintage notions - best 10 bucks I've spent in a while) but the color tape I wanted to use was pretty narrow. So I slapped the tape onto the hoodie and just double stitched it to make sure it was really on. I decided I'd be going for the deconstructed Free People look pretty early on, so this gave me room to just stitch and restitch over things until they stayed put. Putting the sleeves in worked fine except for dealing with the armpit where the sleeve and side seems met (again lots of random stitching and just trusting that it would all work out,) and I took the sides of the hoodie in while I was at it. I chose to put the zipper on the front (that sounds funny, as opposed to in the back?), leaving the raw edges of the sweater visible so that I didn't lose any of the Winterfest logo.
Again, think: Free People, loosey-goosey, weird seams are hip. I used my cute star stitch on my machine around the brim of the hood, and that was it.
Many hours later I had a perfect-fitting hoodie that didn't make me feel like a lump of oatmeal when I wore it. Of course, this completely took time away from getting Christmas presents ready (perhaps procrastination was an important ingredient in getting it done too.)

There, Megan. I posted.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Light Issues

Winter is a nightmare for trying to keep up with my photography. I need to work through all of my etsy goods because I'm sick of the old photos and I know that I can make them better. But it seems that no amount of racing home after school is getting me enough light to get it done. I have two giant cardboard boxes saved at school to bring home and make a light box out of, but I'm worried about having to find a place to store the gigantic I need to design it so that it can compact into something we're talking major craft effort during the holiday season when I have no business doing anything but knitting. Oof. Well, I couldn't get enough shots today, but I got a few of this new necklace that I made. I'm not thrilled with this one, because it's not showing the sweet little red button that I threw into the curly Q, but you get the idea at least.I had found the little red buttons at that immense 4-H fabric sale in the summer but there were only three. I made the necklace and then was ready to put the two remaining red buttons away when they yelled "make us into earrings!" Luckily, the buttons are plastic so I just snipped off the backs and filed them down and stuck them onto some ear posts.

And I was going to try to get a photo of how pretty the dusting of snow was this morning, but it was so cold that I just dove into the car. So here is the downside of the snow, from the warmth of the car, while my dear Andrew is scrape scrape scraping the windows.
It really was pretty. Honest.
Oh! And we are going out ON A SCHOOL NIGHT to see Michael Hollinger's play An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grand Boeuf which I missed the first time it came to the Arden and I'll be damned if I'm going to miss it again.


Monday, December 3, 2007

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

Well, here it is: my first attempt at spinning:I used my new kick stand spindle and my Hobbledehoy fiber and went to town. I think I'm getting the hang of it. These photos show the product of one fiber batt, I've since spun another and I think I've loosened up a bit and so the colors aren't striping so much. There are a few lumps and bumps that I'm learning to handle, but I think I've got the basic idea (and anyway, knobbly yarn is more fun if you ask me.) I had help from this you tube link that was sent with my spindle and also from this site.

Do you remember when Tetris was REALLY big and you'd play it so much that you'd go to bed at night and SEE all of the little shapes falling in the darkness? Well, I found myself looking at everything that I saw and wondering: can I spin that? No joke. I discovered last night that I have many hours of free video-watching on Netflix last night so I downloaded an Office episode (the Dundee Awards episode, so freakin' funny) and I actually looked at Pam's hair and had thoughts about spinning it. And a colleague of mine has her chinchilla in my room this year and I've been eyeballing it all day, wondering what'll happen if I give it a really good, thorough combing 'cuz, you know, its fur looks

Oh man. Am I showing early signs of being a spinning addict or what?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Homemade Day

Yesterday was spent manning my table at my school's first (hopefully annual) craft fair. There were about 50 vendors there and a few of them were from the school community. I spent the night before in the Theatre with April making some things to display goods on. She helped me make this board that I stuck all kinds of vintage door knobs, pulls, and hooks on (I absolutely HOARD this stuff....I'd rather a glass doorknob over a diamond ring any day!) and then over my usual bed-of-rice box, we created a stand with a wooden dowel so that I can hang some stuff up behind the items laid out on the rice. I'm trying to make things to get people to look up, and I'm happy with the way things turned out. I need to find a better way to display all of my flower pins though, and that answer hasn't come to me yet. I did pick up another mini hat stand like thing (I think it's really for teacups) from a white elephant sale this weekend. It was 25 cents and every peg unscrews out of it so it was literally meant for my travelling shop box. Here's the table in its entirety with my lovely assistant warming up to the customers.The evening was spent visiting with our Fulbright exchange teacher from Argentina. She found a store that sells Argentine products and needed to share some homemade empanada goodness with someone...we got lucky and even took some home for today. We had wonderful conversations about culture and traditions (Mummers parade versus Carnival!) and I said a silent thank you to whoever set up this teacher exchange program. It not only enriches the two teachers who are traveling, but also anyone they come in contact with, and so I feel lucky. We also experienced the pleasures of dulce de leche in many forms. Yay for international food!
Today will be spend figuring out how to use my knew kick stand drop spindle with my insanely lovely yarn from Liz. There is a dusting of snow on the ground telling me not to go anywhere, so I will happily oblige by learning how to spin. Hot cocoa first.....

made. by k.d.