Instead of Finishing What I Started

I have a confession to make... I crocheted today...and I liked it. It is scary for me because it seems much easier to end up with some unfortunate blob. My first every foray into the world of the hooking, behold it's wavey and holey glory.

Since I originally envisioned this as a knitting blog (hah, that plan went out the window pretty quickly!) I feel like I am cheating on my knitting. There are so many unfinished projects that I haven't touched in weeks. Or like I've switched parties. It's a funny thing, you see crochet edging on knitwear, but do you ever see knitting on crochet wear? (crochet wear...is that even a real term?) Is that like being a card-carrying conservative that's also pro-choice? It seems that we tend to one allegiance or the other. There are knitters and there are crocheters. Which am I, the swing voter? Mark me undecided.

I am learning from a Japanese pattern book, and it seems to be working (does it look like real crochet?), which is pretty good for not grasping Japanese. But the sad truth of crochet is that there is counting involved and it requires that same attention span issues like knitting. Since I can't keep track of what I did on the previous stitch, much less which row I am on, this may be my downfall.

My plan for my first crochet project is to fake my own pattern as I go along until it's the right size and shape for what I am attempting to make. I'll reveal more if it goes the way I hope. (Not likely but I can dream...)


Sew Buttons On Your Underwear

I went to an estate sale...actually I went to the same sale twice, there was just too much stuff to take it all in at once. It was fabric, patterns, sewing machines, notions and more. I got a couple of yards of fabric and some silver leather scraps, but the buttons, that's what did me in. Here I am jumping on the button bandwagon it appears. I gave you a taste in my Pretty Buttons post yesterday.

I tried to get them to sell me the whole box of buttons on the cards but no chance, so I picked out about 50 cards of buttons, but there were many hundreds more. So many have carved looking designs, and there are some real mother-of-pearl ones, and the colors are lovely. And I had to grab about 15 wooden spools of thread. I really just want them because I love wooden spools but I always need more thread colors. There were two big cardboard boxes of spools.

I may go back to the sale again today. This little picture was about $8 worth, including the fabric, and it doesn't do justice to the lovely buttons. My two year old loves playing with the button cards, and I now have some for almost any outfit.


Pretty Buttons

A few pictures of some lovely little buttons. Don't they look like tasty candies that you just want to bite into? Enjoy!


Eat Muffins

My 4 year old thinks that I can make anything. Anything that she wants or can think of, such as a halloween costume, a layer cake, a sweater, origami, lollipops, a pinata, bagels, ice cream, yarn, felted slippers... Do you think it's the fact that she's seen me make these and more that perpetuates this conception? Ok, so I am partially to blame. She asked me the other day, "Mamma, when are you going to make cotton candy for me?" Well, that I can't do, but I can make some tasty zucchini muffins with my two little helpers. The linked recipe is not the one I made, because I kinda made it up as I went along/didn't write it down. Mmmm, tasty!

My new goal in life is to invest in several track suits so that when I pass out in my clothes each night right after the kids go to bed, at least I won't wake up at 4am constricted by my bra and jeans. I can feel your envy but this glamorous life is all mine.


Thrift Score

I have had on my mind the Speedball Deluxe SilkScreen kit, at the art supply store for $65. It would be fun to try silkscreening again but I don't want to spend a bunch on gear right now. I want to make T-shirts, fabric designs, prints and cards.

I used to have some gear about a decade ago. I do remember making photo emulsion screens, but what I printed I can't really say. It was messy and I didn't have many successful prints. I gave some gear to my sister and her boyfriend (at the time) and he made some great band T-shirts by hand painting onto the screens (which is known as the screen filler method, you paint everywhere you don't want the image to be, blocking out the negative space.)

Today I found myself with an unexpected morning without the kids, and instead of cleaning or working on a project (anyone else have trouble getting started when you aren't fighting for a few spare minutes to yourself to cut something out without one kid or the other wanting to help you?) here I am goofing off.

So I went thrift shopping and found this unused circa 1990 Speedball Screen Printing Kit! It is complete and was only 14.99, heehee! Can you tell how excited I am? It's so worth the price for just the screen. Ok, so the cover graphics are really uninspiring (they include the art for the duffel bag and other pictured projects so you too can make one, wheee!) but I will come up with something fun to screen. Elephants maybe? I really have cute elephants on the brain.

And yes, this picture is crap, I don't want to go outside to take one. There is an almost-swarm of confused yellow jackets that have been living in my roof and just got dosed by pest control with somewhat natural (but toxic to them) spray.


Off the (Rick)Rack

Once (a couple of decades ago) a little girl and her best friend decided to make skirts for themselves. It is noteworthy that they managed to pull this off, as they had almost no sewing skills. (In fact, the best friend’s mother berated the little girl for her inability to thread a bobbin.) The completed drab beige skirts included an elastic waist, itself beyond comprehension considering that they had only before sewn stuffed animals. There was also the copious application of red rickrack.

The girls planned to show off their handiwork at the upcoming school field trip to the museum. As you might predict, the best friend did not show up at said field trip in her home-fashioned skirt. (Undoubtedly, the best friend’s mother, a model of understated fashion and good taste, forbid the best friend from leaving the house in the god-awful creation.)

The little girl feared mocking for her thrift store and hand-me-down wardrobe and she took care not to draw undue attention to herself. Thus, it was noteworthy that she braved waving yards rickrack as fodder for elementary school ridicule. Predictably, her fifth grade classmates mercilessly teased her for her ugly and obviously homemade concoction. And she felt especially betrayed by her best friend. The little girl would not wear anything handmade for many years and still has doubts about her sewing skills.

These dear two girls have no such aversion, and both proudly wear their new skirts, yes, almost matching, but with different lengths, and yes, the rickrack does make an appearance.

One thrifted pillow case (or, as they say in some parts, pillow slip), baby rickrack, elastic, no pattern required.

Also pictured, two 60s Tupperware toys, the very sort that the little girl once played with.


Elephant Stampede

I made another rubber stamp tonight. This elephant was loosely inspired by a vintage decal design. The background fabric is a thrifted pillowcase (not very vintage but cute roses!) that may become a toddler skirt.

Speedball Speed Stamp carving set, stamp size about 3" x 4"


Why He Keeps Me Around After 7 Years

I had the most lovely day yesterday, silly entertainment, sumptuous food (vanilla scented oil, chilled wine, peppery cheese...) a sweet and darling gift, the pleasure of my favorite adult company, what more could a girl ask for?

Today, however, we came outside to find this. Our bumper hanging down into the street.

The sort of thing that requires a police report, a deductible and proving how handy I am with bungie cord. Sigh.


Dude (number 2)

To the big scary crazy (and possibly drunk) dude that came pounding on my door holding something you ripped out of my garden (something I was admiring earlier that day in fact), asking can you have it. Well, it looks like you already helped yourself, so what am I supposed to say? Take it and get the hell off my property.


This skirt picture, from a Japanese crafting book, is an A-line bias cut linen skirt with embroidered circles down the front. Pictured above is the skirt that I just started working on in blue linen with blue and chocolate brown embroidery. I love the concentric circles, each one down larger than the last. My circles are a little different and less perfect than this example.


One Little Acorn

I know, it's been about a week since I posted any actual crafting. I did my best to distract you with other fun things, but here's a little something.

It's another onesie for a friend that is expecting. I can't say if my applique is durable (probably not) but it was fun coming up with the method. It's not stellar embroidery, but I kinda like the rustic charm of it, and there is something about a jaunty oak leaf that makes me smile.

Assorted fabric scraps, pattern making material, Steam-to-Seam (way better results than Wonder Under), Carter Onesie size 3 months, cotton embroidery thread, inspired by an illustration in Babybug magazine.


Happy Chois!

What's this we have in the mail? A package from Japan!

From fabulous swapper Jenn, there are candy treats. The flavors? Azuki bean, green tea, and umeboshi delights! I was raised Macrobiotic, so those are like comfort flavors to me, yum!

Coincidentally, Giant Jeans Parlor just reviewed this shaved-ice-matcha-azuki-flavor Kit Kat a few days ago and I was thinking it sounded delicious so imagine my surprise when I received some today!

Note the Casual Ceram platter (I never have enough platters) and diamond pattern fabric, these were thrift store finds today.

But wait, there's more! Fabrics with cute characters!
Ducks that say "Piyo Piyo!"
Bunnies and cats looking out of bus windows! ("We are best friends-go on a school excursion")
I'm not sure what "Happy Chois" is about, but that one is my favorite.
I can't wait to trim some toddler clothes with the unbearable cuteness!

Thanks so much Jenn, you rock!! I hope you enjoy your package as much as I like mine.

More info on International Swapping can be found in my Gimme post and at the Gimme Your Stuff blog.


My secret ingredient

Did you know if you are really dead tired you might just mistake the dish soap bottle for the olive oil? They are both stored on the counter and the bottles are roughly the same size. You might just grab a bottle and keep squirting and squirting until, well, your chicken is marinating in bubbly goodness. No one really notices if you serve it up with lots of mustard dressing and bacon.

And to think people rave about my cooking,


Turning On Me

Steamed some milk for my coffee today and it came out chunky, mmm.

Crime Scene: two little ones are making mischief of one kind (diaper cream)

or another (fingerprints)



Here are applique onesies for a neighbor with a new baby girl. Originally I planned on leaving the raw edges, but the Wonder Under refused to stick effectively, so I used rayon thread to machine embroider the edges. I am somewhat happy with the result because I love the Japanese fabrics, and patches are always cool, it just didn't come out quite as I had intended. I need a more sticky fusible product for applique.

In other news, a lovely weekend was had by us and family and friends on an island, complete with wild turkey sightings and eating Dungeness crab which we caught with a much-too-heavy crab pot (I even did much of the rowing and handling of the pot, but now the live crabs, yikes, that's where I chicken out!)

There was also a fair amount of embroidery completed, and once I finish up a bit of sewing I hope to post pictures.

Onesies Specs
Wonder Under, rayon embroidery thread, Japanese fabric scraps, Carter size 3 months onesies