i make things

Some crazy number of years ago I started this blog. It was mostly craft stuff, because that’s what I did.

Then I made a couple of babies, and now that’s pretty much what I do. Babies and toddlers are less compatible with crafting than I originally thought, mostly because of the pins and needles and grabby hands.

Except babies really are great to make stuff for. So sometimes I still manage it during naptimes, after bedtime, in stolen moments where I should be vacuuming the living room.

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Like this little “lovey” quilt. I finished it during today’s double nap. It’s just a tiny thing, basically just big enough to teach myself to quilt, which is also just big enough for Ellie to play with.

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I just used a pack of pre-cuts I got from the fabric store, but I’m going to (hopefully, probably) do another, bigger quilt, with fabric I picked out aaaall by myself, like a real quilter.

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I think she likes it.

Spring

Last week was the Vernal Equinox, a balance of day and night, and the first day of Spring. This Sunday is Easter Sunday. It’s also snowy and cold as balls where I live.

But nevermind that, it’s time to think about spring and warm weather and all of the outside things coming back to life.  At this time of year, as a symbol of the fertility of the earth and all the sprouting, growing, baby things, we have the humble egg, which we dye pretty colors. Then we hide them from children, and make them go look for them in fancy clothes, and there’s ham dinner. And I buy a half-dozen Reester Bunnies at the store, and instead of savoring them over a few weeks  (or even days) like a regular person, I shame-eat all of them standing in the kitchen while the baby is napping (because babies can’t have peanut butter! I’m being a good mom!) also I hide the wrappers in the big trash so my husband doesn’t know.

Or, you know, that’s how we do it at my house. Some people go to church.

Anyhoodle, kittens, I made me an Easter egg. Since hard boiled eggs are: a) gross and b) perishable we do not hold with such nonsense in House Barrow. I use blown out eggs. That means I poke a hole in each end with a pin, and use that to empty out the contents. So it’s an empty egg shell. You can’t give this to little kids to hunt, but I have a baby, and she doesn’t know that things still exist when you hide them, so it’s no problem for me.

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But it’s way cute. I might make another.

ambitious

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If you’ve ever made a quilt, please look at the above photo. Those are 1″ and 2″ squares. I’m not a quilter by any means, and I fear I’ve gotten far too ambitious with this project.

It’s not for me, so I can’t divulge too much, but let’s just say it’s intricate, and that I may have lost my mind thinking this is the sort of thing that I can tackle. Heck, I have a sweater from December 2011 that still needs sleeves.

I guess what I’m getting at is this question: is there a patron saint of people who get in over their heads?

12 days of knitmas

12 days left, and we’re in the Christmas home stretch. I am just now getting into my gift knitting. Done this week: a pair of socks modeled by Miss Wiggles.
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I have more in progress, but I don’t want to give too much away. Just a sneak peek:
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I think one of my gift recipients might be able to guess which is hers by the color. But she doesn’t know what it is!

How about you? What are you making for the holidays? And how far do you have left to go?

pumpkin

Halloween is my favorite holiday, and my favorite part of Halloween is carving a pumpkin. I like them elaborate and awesome. Last year my pumpkin carving took a total of probably 8-10 hours. This year, I had nothing even vaguely resembling that kind of free time, so I’m just going to share last year’s pumpkin:

It is seriously one of my favorite things I’ve made. I’m thinking of just posting a picture of it every year, because I love it, and was a lot of hard work.

Pumpkin Carving Tips:

1. Think 3-dimensionally. Start with your design, and select a pumpkin with a shape and surface that will work for what you are trying to do. Pumpkins come in different colors, (including white for your ghosts and skeletons and such) textures, and shapes.

2. Use creative tools. You will probably have a pretty tough time trying to create a multi-layered look, or fine detail with nothing but a big kitchen knife. The specialized pumpkin tools you buy at your local box-mart along with a set of patterns are helpful for punching through the pumpkin, because they’re small and serrated. To create any significant depth–like you see in the eyes and background above–you need some type of scraping tool. And for details you’ll want a small, very sharp knife. Ideally, go to your local craft or art supply store for sculptor’s tools, those work best for me.

3. Preserve. Sometimes you don’t have a huge chunk of time to work on a pumpkin. Or you do, but not the day of your Halloween party. To preserve an already cut pumpkin to complete or display later, take wet paper towels and fit it down in any cut areas (including the top cut-out). Really soak them, and try to make sure there’s no air between any of the cut areas and your towels. Then cover the lot with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. It will keep the pumpkin from drying out too much and add a day or two to the life of your Jack-o-lantern. Just a couple of days, though, so do not carve any sooner than you have to.

4. Display. You can always go with your typical tea light candle, but if you do, make sure to cut a notch or hole completely through the top of the pumpkin. Because the front is not cut all the way through, if you don’t take this step the candle will be suffocated and will die after just a minute or two. You can also buy tap lights, battery powered lights, or flameless fake candle lights (check the Halloween section of your favorite store) instead. If you’re using these, you don’t have to worry about the candle suffocating and/or blowing out, but I don’t think it looks quite as cool as a flickering candle.
Happy Halloween everyone!!!

organization

I’m working on the craft room again today. The current task is pretty daunting, because right now the craft room is pretty empty, but my spare room looks like this:
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After the move, and shuffling around of boxes, any lingering organizational structure has been obliterated. During naptime this afternoon I managed to get one box of books put away, and a few items from a basket of yarn sorted. It made no discernible difference in the mess. This weekend, though, I’m thinking about ducking out of mommy duty for a couple of solid hours on Sunday and getting this mess cleaned up. Once that happens, maybe I’ll be able to find enough of my supplies to actually finish a project. Check back Monday for updates, and in the meantime wish me luck!

murphy

We’ve been in our house for about five months now, and it has taken that whole time for me to even begin working on what I’ve been calling my “craft room.”

My craft room is actually a closet upstairs, next to our bedroom. It’s about six feet wide, and about twice as deep. It’s not much of a room–there is no window or anything–but it’s enough for a couple of shelves and a sewing table.

Until last week, however, it looked like this:

Which is not really conducive to, well, anything. It was a mess. So I took a couple of hours two Saturdays ago and emptied it out.


I set up the bookshelves, moved my sewing table and machine, and went to plug it in…

You know what most home manufacturers don’t bother to do in closets? Install outlets.

Yeah, it’s always something.