Friday, July 6, 2012

The Importance of Punctuation

Here are a few of my more recent projects!

This is my favorite project that I've ever done.  It explains the importance of punctuation and says;

'Let's eat children!'  and then 'Let's eat, children!'  and then 'Commas Save Lives'.   It also earned me my first Featured Project on Craftster!  Woo hoo!  I think the recipient also liked it. :)

And then I made a bunch of cute little owl notecards for another swap.  They were really hard to let go because they were so darn cute.  

Anyway, I've got a few more things in the works.  Summer always makes it easier to find time to craft!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adventures in NeedleFelting

I received a very cool needlefelting kit.  I had never tried needlefelting before and I was a bit hesitant at first.  After all, you take a barbed needle and stab it into a very thin material.  How would I not injure myself?

Well, apparently I didn't have enough faith in myself.  After reading the directions on the website of the store that sold the kit ( and looking at Craftster's basic directions ( I got to work.  Of course, I couldn't do exactly what the directions for the kit said.  I had to improvise.

I ended up entering the little snowman I made in the Needlefelting Challenge on Craftster.  I didn't win, but I was really pleased with my entry, anyway, since it was my first try at it!

And a side view, so you can see the 3-Dness of his little nose.

I've got some more wool left over and I might try my hand at another or use it for something else.  This little guy was a gift for my mom for Christmas.  I've recently purchased a set of small cookie cutters that I might use as templates to make some flat, needlefelted ornaments.  Yes, I know it's only January, but getting a start on Christmas gifts is never a bad idea!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Okay so that was bad, but I think my little gnome is rather cute!  My friend collects gnomes, so I thought this would be a perfect birthday gift!

He's made in a few pieces - hat/head/body, the bottom, and the felt beard.  He was great for using up some of my random scraps and he was a quick crochet, too!  I edited the pattern a bit because my safety eyes were larger than 6 mm and I thought he'd look bug eyed otherwise.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Finally - a finished afghan!

I finally finished!  Woo hoo! This the biggest crochet project that I've ever done, so I'm rather proud of it.

My first completed afghan!

It's for my friend's little boy, who will be a year and a half or so at Christmas.  Some of the granny's daughters came from the Granny's Daughters 2 swap on Craftster and the rainbow GD's were the inspiration for this afghan.

I started it back in June, but worked on it very inconsistently since then.  With Christmas coming up, I got my rear in gear and finished it up this past week.  It's super soft now that it's been washed.  I used Red Heart Super Saver and was concerned that it would be scratchy, so I'm glad to see that it's perfectly cuddly!

Comments and critique are welcome!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tomato Vegetable Lentil and Rice Soup

One of my all-time favorite soups is based on the Tomato Vegetable Lentil recipe from a cookbook called Soup Makes the Meal.  Over the years, I've changed it so it's more my own - adding some things, leaving others out.  I make it almost every week to take for lunch.  You'd think I'd get sick of it by now, but I haven't!

Here is my version of Tomato Vegetable Lentil soup!


10 cups of chicken broth (use vegetable to make this vegetarian/vegan!)
1 T olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 potatoes (depending on size), peeled and chopped
1 cup lentils
1 can of diced tomatoes (low sodium if you can)
1/2 cup of rice (uncooked) (I've also used barley, which is fun, too)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. basil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (or less - adjust to your taste)
1/4 t. black pepper

1. Chop carrots, onions and celery.

2. Put olive oil into stock pot along with chopped veggies and garlic.  Add all herbs now, too.  (I do it early so I don't forget!)  Saute until onions are tender.

3. Add chicken (or vegetable) broth and bring to boil.

4. Add lentils and rice.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.

5. Dice potatoes and add to pot.  Simmer 15 minutes.

6. Add can of tomatoes (with juice if you like a tang to your soups!) and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

7.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

This makes at least 10 one-cup servings, but I usually portion mine directly into tupperware to take to work throughout the week!  It tastes even better after reheating!  Oh and serving it with a crusty bread is so yum!

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jewelry Organizer

I was looking for something to craft-fu into a jewelry organizer - the ones on the market aren't really my cuppa and they're expensive to boot.  So when I was at Salvation Army, I spotted one of those wooden collectible spoon displays for $4.  Sold!

With a bit of spray paint, some wooden dowels, two pieces of scrapbooking paper, a ribbon, 3 vintage buttons, and some picture hanging paraphernalia and ... voila:

The ribbons were supposed to be for my stud earrings ... put the post through the ribbon and they're all in one place.  Easy as pie, right?  Well, I chose the He-Man of ribbons, apparently, and it wasn't working at all.  So now it's just decoration and making sure the dowels don't roll out (unlikely, but ah well.)  I've since tucked up the ends with a bit of craft tape so it looks more finished.

Overall, I really like how it came out and it makes my bedroom look a lot less messy with no tangle of jewelry on the cabinet top! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Their Road to Tying the Knot

So my cousin got married this past July and I wanted to make him and his new wife something as a gift (it also turned out to be cost friendlier!)

I saw a great idea online of using a heart punch to cut important places out of a map and then mounting them.  Loving this idea, I adapted it a bit and came up with this:

I included four places - where they met, where they first lived together, where he proposed and where they actually got married.  I just printed off the wording onto a cardstock paper, mounted the little maps (which I got off Google maps and printed) on cardstock, punched them out (actually I did it the other way - punched first, whoops) and then framed them, using a frame from Joann's.


And on the back, I found a Native American/Indian blessing and adapted it for them ...

It reads:

The road stretches behind you ,
even as the future lies ahead.
A long and winding road,
whose every turning means new discovery.
Old hopes, new laughter, shared fears.
The adventure has just begun!

Although I wasn't there when they opened it, I was told that they really liked it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Knit Hedgehog

So, since a friend of mine loves hedgehogs, I decided to knit her one for Christmas/her birthday a few years ago.  I used my own pattern (read: made it up as I went along) and this little guy is the result!  Not too shabby.

Mr. H. Edge Hog is pleased to make your acquaintance.  Even if he doesn't show it.

A side view - Mr. Hog has been eating a few too many biscuits at tea and so is a bit on the portly side. (H. Edge Hog is totally British in my head ...)


This is my very first pattern, and I've tested it, but if you see any problems or know of any easier ways to accomplish what I've done, please tell me!


3.5 mm dp needles
embroidery thread (black)
jewelry wire (if you want yours to be spectacled)
dark brown yarn (I used Wool-Ease Chunky)
light brown yarn (I have no idea what the kind I used is called - it's a worsted weight yarn, though)
yarn needle
embroidery needle
stitch marker
2 buttons for eyes (if you want)


Working in the round, cast on 9 stitches with your dark brown yarn.  Put 3 stitches on each of the 3 needles.

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: k1, kfb across (12 sts total, 4 on each)
Round 2: kfb across (24 sts total, 8 on each)
Round 3: K1, kfb across (36 total, 12 on each)
Round 4: k2, kfb across (48 total, 16 on each)
Round 5: knit until body length is about 4 inches, or a good 'hedgehog size' (it might help to do the legs first so you can see how he'd look with them/if they'd be too close, etc. ... really this part is flexible as I just knit until it looked right)

Once your body is a good length, flip your knitting inside out, so the purl stitch is on the outside (okay, I guess, if you wanted to, you could just purl the whole thing, but I started this while on a bus and supervising forty five screaming thirteen year olds, so I was only doing it with half a mind.)  Using the tail of the dark brown and a yarn needle, stitch closed the hind end (where you started) and weave in the tail.  Stuff as much as you'd like while still on the needles (about 3/4 is good).

Switch to your light brown yarn.

Round 1: Knit
Round 2: k2, k2tog across (36 sts, 12 on each)
Round 3: knit
Round 4: k4, k2tog across (30 sts, 10 on each)
Round 5-6: knit
Round 7: k3, k2tog across (24 sts, 8 on each)

Stuff some more.

Round 8: knit
Round 9: k2, k2tog across(18 sts)

Finish stuffing (if you can get it in!)

Round 10: knit
Round 11: k2tog across (9 sts)
Round 12-13: knit
Round 14: k1, k2tog across (6 sts)
Round 15-17: knit

Use a yarn needle and your light brown to stitch close the nose by running the needle through all 6 stitches and then pulling it so it closed.  Weave in the end.

LEGS: (Make 4)

Working in the round, cast on 12 stitches with your light brown.  Move 4 stitches to each of three needles.

Round 1-6: Knit
Round 7: purl
Round 8: knit
Round 9: k2, k2tog across (9 sts)

Use a yarn needle to close the end by taking the yarn needle and weave it through each stitch on the dp needles.  Pull closed.  Then I tuck the tail ends of the yarn on the inside of the leg. Stuff!

Whipstitch the legs onto the body.

Using black embroidery thread, embroider on his (her?) little nose - I just did the tip.  You can also add button eyes, or embroider them on if you choose (I tried and failed at that, hence the buttons!)

I'd love love love to see pictures of your hedgies!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Christmas Stocking Tutorial

Well, after seeing my grandparents' ratty old stockings (their names are written on them in green sharpie, I think), I decided that they'd have prettier ones.  Since it wouldn't be half as fun to buy them, I decided to go with a quilted stocking.  No names on them, but I'm sure Santa will figure it out. ;)

Here's the end result:

 And since I had to make two, I decided that on the second one I'd do up a tutorial since Christmas is coming.

You need:

1/2 yard outer fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
matching thread for both
batting (the flat kind)
sewing machine (or you can by-hand it!)
a pattern

Holiday music of your choice.  This is vital as when you're ripping out something because you forgot to put in the hanging thing, you can belt along with Mariah singing about all you want for Christmas.  It helps.

I made my pattern out of butcher paper, tracing a stocking I had.

1. Cut two out of the outer fabric, lining fabric and batting. REMEMBER to allow 1/4-1/2 inch all around for the seam allowance! You'll also need a 3.5 x 6 (just eyeball it, really) rectangle of the lining fabric.

2. Iron all pieces.

3.  Take the outer fabric pieces and put them wrong side down onto the batting.

4. Now on to the quilting portion of today's fun!  Choose an angle that you like - it really doesn't matter, though try to keep it straight.  Sew a line!  Personally, I think a jaunty angle looks spiffy.

5. For the next line, I line up my previous stitch with the edge of the metal plate on my sewing machine.  I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but this works for me.  I can feel the edge underneath the fabric and I can make sure that the previously sewed line stays on the edge.  That way all my quilting lines are parallel.

6. Keep on sewing parallel lines.  Isn't this fun?  Possibly stop and grab a bit of hot chocolate (if it's cold enough).  A dollop of Bailey's might make the quilting go quicker (though your lines might not end up being straight.)  When you've finished doing it one side, it should look like this:

7. Now you're going to sew lines that are at an angle to the ones you've already done.  I chose a line and put my sewing foot right where it met the edge.  I then chose a spot where another line met the opposite edge.

8. Quilt!  When you're done, it should look like this:

9. Now, if you're Type A and anal retentive, you'll want to match up the quilted half with the half you haven't quilted yet.  You'll put a pin on the unquilted half where one of the lines reaches the edge on the quilted half.  You'll do the same for the other side of the stocking. If you went for the Bailey's in step 6, you probably won't care.  Regardless of your choice, quilt the other side, using the steps 4-8.

My choice was the Type A and anal retentive option:

10. Once you've got both sides quilted, trim the edges, so it goes from looking like this:

to this:

11. With right sides together, pin and sew around the edge of the stocking. For the rounded parts, feel free to go slow.  If you find yourself near to veering off the fabric stop sewing, put down the needle (I have a nifty little button that inserts the needle into the fabric for me), put up the foot and adjust the fabric.  With the needle down you won't pull on the thread or anything.  When you've got it where you want it, put down the foot and start sewing again.

12. Now you have two options: you can trim around the seam allowance so it won't be bulky when you turn it or you can cut little notches into the rounded parts. I choose the latter.  Just be careful not to snip into the seam!  It'll look funny, but it makes it easier to turn and look rounded.

13. Turn the outer portion of the stocking.

14. Take the little rectangle of lining fabric and press it in half, lengthwise.  Open it back up.  Take the edges of the fabric and press them into the crease.

Like so:

Do it for both sides:

Then press it in half again on the original crease, with the edges still tucked in.  (It'll be about a quarter as wide as it was.)

Sew it - I line it up with an edge on my foot.

15. With right sides together, pin the lining fabric together.  At the 'sole' of the foot, put two pins about 3-4 inches apart.  You won't sew between those pins.  Also, take the loop that you sewed in step 14 and pin it in place - probably 4 inches or so from the top of the stocking.  Make sure that the rough edges of the loop match up together and that they go a little beyond the rough edges of the lining itself:

Now sew!  See: I'm stopping at the pink pin: (I'd suggest locking the sewn bits down with a bit of backstitching.)

Now move the fabric to startup again at the NEXT pin. (Again, lock the sewing with a few backstitches.)  I'd suggest backstitching over the section with the loop.  You don't want the stocking to fall down if Santa is especially generous!

16. Trim the edge of the loop:

17. You will now insert the quilted section of the stocking into the lining.  Yes, it seems backwards.  Perhaps have another bit of Baileys and just go with me on this. ;)

Line up the seams and the top, so it looks like this:

18. Sew around the top of the stocking.  I'd suggest 1/2 inch or so seam allowance.

19. Through the hole you left in the lining, pull out the outer section of the stocking and continue until the right side of the lining is visible.  Make sure the toe and the heel are all rounded.  It should look a bit odd now, with both right sides of the fabrics showing.  That's okay.

20.  Now we need to sew up the hole we left in the lining.  Fold under the edges and sew along the opening.

21. Stuff the lining into the outer fabric.

22. Fold over the top until the loop to hold it up is where you want it.  Ouila!  A lovely quilted stocking! (Or two, as the case may be.)

I hope this was understandable and helpful!  I'd love to see any stockings you make! :)  C&C on both the stocking and the tute is more than welcome.  Happy (early) holidays!