Thursday, January 28, 2010

A start...

Starting out with Kloster blocks and one lonely fly stitch tree on a curtain-to-be...

Starting over when you loose it all must be devastating. One blog I like to peruse often is Freshly Picked, and she has a great idea for the crafty folk out there: sewing pillowcase dresses for Haitian girls. She has drop off info for Utah, but I wonder if there would be a way to make some wherever I (or you) live and send them with other donations? Or maybe getting them all to Susan to drop off at the quilt shop that is organizing and helping? For me, I like this idea because as a stay-at-home-mama, I don't have much leftover cash to help, but I have a sewing machine and can whip up some pillowcase dresses (I think). Susan has a tutorial on her blog too if you don't have access to the book her dresses were featured in (thanks Susan). I like thinking good things as I make an item for the recipient, hoping it brings good stuff into their life and I hope to score some pillowcases this weekend either in the linen closet upstairs or in the discount stores around town. Oh, and since I have a boy Wee One, it gives me a chance to make a girly something for a change. So many positives I can't see not doing this!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pity the trees with fungi...but no mercy on the bread...

So part of the reason I was gone for a bit was due to a misdiagnosis on my part. I thought I had ringworm and was freaked out and applying anti-fungal cream galore to legs, arms, back and yes, butt. I felt really low. Really low and gross and disgusting and scared. Scared I would give it to Wee One and/or Nature Boy. I love taking pics of fungi in the forest, on the ground and growing on trees. Do the trees feel yucky when the fungus grows on them, I wonder? I really wasn't enjoying its presence on me! Finally after 2 1/2 weeks, I caved and called a dermatologist and begged and got a same-day appointment. So I go in and I'm still scared and desperate for a cure. The doc takes one look and declares it is not ringworm, rather, a form of eczema. No meds needed, just some good moisturizer. I was so excited to hear this!

Apparently, hot showers, switching to a cheap-o vegan moisturizer, dry winter indoor air and breastfeeding (which depletes a gal of all moisture and makes one incredibly insatiably thirsty)combined to form the Perfect Storm of Dryness on my skin. So I have my BEST FRIEND back on my shelf again (this friend also may have had a hand in keeping the stretch marks at bay when I was prego and to think, I ditched him for some cheap replacement) and we are drinking lots of water and herbal teas.

Not that you want to eat after reading the gross details above, but if by some chance you are looking for some good breakfasty fare, here's a veganized recipe for English Muffin Bread. And yes, it does taste to me like English Muffins, which I haven't had for oh, 8 or 10 years now. It's not great sliced and plain, but toast it and slather on the Earth Balance or some jam.... delish!

English Muffin Bread **makes 2 loaves 400 degree oven

2 packets yeast
6 cups flour
1 Tbs cane sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups soy milk (rice or almond would work too)
1/2 cup water

Grease and flour two loaf pans, dust with cornmeal. Combine 3 cups flour,yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Heat the liquids (water and soy milk) until warm (120-130 deg. F); add to dry mixture and mix well. Still in remaining 3 cups of flour by hand, this will make a very stiff batter. Spoon into two loaf pans. Cover, let rise in warm place 45 minutes. Bake at 400 deg. F for 25 minutes. Remove immediately from pans, cool on rack. Slice and toast, then devour. No mercy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Boring Post

The neighbors to the northwest of Knitsburgh had a baby in October, which we were so excited about as that means a friend close in age for Wee One. I haven't seen them much since the fall, as we are stuck inside when it is cold and windy. The last conversation we really had struck me as she mentioned how bored she was all day being home with the baby when the baby was sleeping.
Bored? I've never been so far from bored in my life. And I owe it all to the crafts.

From designing a project or just looking up a pattern someone else far more clever than yourself has already written; from gathering supplies and envisioning color schemes; from the actual crafting of something with your own two hands and getting to that moment when you finish it and look at it, critically. You can laugh at it or cry at it. Either way, you made it and no part of it was boring.

I'm so glad I like to make things and have those stolen moments to keep crafting. It may not always be the prettiest, coolest stuff but it was made with thought and care and not on an assembly line. I'm happy I'm not bored with my life. I'm happy I get to stay home with my Wee One.

So here are a few projects I've been working on over the last few weeks. I hate when I've been absent from the blog for so long, but at least I have some things to show you to distract you (and me) from thinking about why:

First, the Wee One Red Sweater was finished!

If you want details, check out the info on Ravelry. I'm Knitsburgher there.

Next, some sewn flip flop slippers for my sisters' birthday (yeah, they are twins):

The flip flops were from a tutorial found HERE; they called for vinyl soles but I used some denim from some old jeans instead. I also used 100% cotton batting (2 layers) inside instead of poly batting. This is a great project for little scraps of fabrics you have laying around. They live in the south and really don't need warm knitted slippers.

I made some curtains for the kitchen:
I started some prep work for curtains for the dining room. I cut the linen and basted a rough seam on my sewing machine:

hand washed it in warm water with detergent to remove any crazy fabric additive stuff, rinsed it with cold water, then dyed it in some tea water (used 6 bags with the hottest tap water):
I just used regular old black tea but may try this with other teas in my cupboard too--I think green and reddish maroonish pink would be two other colors I could try using varieties I posess. I didn't leave it in the tea too long, just wanted to make it not-white. Purely white things just don't hold up well here at Knitsburgh. I rinsed it in cold, wrang it out, and pressed it semi-dry with the iron since it is linen and after wringing was mad-wrinkled.
I'm letting the panels air dry so it will be somewhat stiff for the Hardanger embroidery I will be working on it. You can read about and see some examples of Hardanger HERE. I've made some gifts in the past with Hardanger (a pillow, some wall hangings, a needlecase) but don't really have any for myself around here. Before we purchased the estate I bought the linen and threads for some curtains, then told myself I should wait 'til we bought a place before making fitted curtains with lots of embroidery on them, only to move and have them not fit the next place. So now I am finally getting around to making them. I think we've been here 4 years now and I hope it was worth the wait in the end. We shall see...

So on the knitting needles? Forest Floor Sock #2. On the embroidery frame? Hardanger Dining Curtains. On the craft scene? A project involving glue, old paper and some photo albums. On the night table? A biography of Catherine the Great. On the TV tonight? Psychic Kids and Paranormal State. I am so not bored.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Quickie...

...while the baby is napping.

Get your mind out of the gutter--I'm talking a quick blog post here!

Wanted to show some of the wonderful gifts that made their way to me, some by post, some in person.

This one came via post from one of my sweet sisters--a pewter bracelet in my birth month flower, the narcissus. Yeah, I got older again in December, hard to believe right? You can see a better pic here if you like.

Another gift from yet another sweet sis--recycled glass earrings! I love these but have to wait to wear until the Wee One is past his pulling/chewing of all things attached to mommy stage. This includes hair and noses, in case you were wondering.

Another gift via post from Hawaii! A very handsome handmade photo album from natural materials; can't wait to fill it with some Wee One at the Beach shots this summer!

My favorite gift of them all came from Nature Boy.

A beautiful deer and fawn necklace from Figs & Ginger. He told me the artist informed if needed, another fawn could be added at a later date; was that some sort of hint? My photos don't do this necklace justice, you can see a much better pic of it here. You can also read about how recylced silver is used, making this a green-friendly gift as well.

Ok, and then the Knitting Update. Here is the Red Sweater for Wee One:

Note front and back are completed and the sleeves are on the needles. Which I hope to mean a finished pic will soon grace this blog.

Status: Baby still napping. Which means time for....KNITTING! What did you think I meant?