My Poor, Poor Fingers!

18 Mar

If you ask my doctor I’ll be 35 weeks pregnant next week.  If you ask my sister’s doctor (who counts differently), I’ll be 36 weeks pregnant next week.  Either way, my belly is swollen, my shoes don’t fit, and my poor little fingers haven’t been able to tolerate more than ten or so minutes worth of hookery lately.  Boo.

I miss you, yarn!

Solution?  Some non-yarny crafts!  I know, I know – they’re not nearly as awesome (or as dragony) as I’d like, but until my fingers stop looking like hot dogs it’s the best I can do.

So.  Check this out:  An old, ugly cork board I inherited from my brother when he went away to college (in 1998), a pillow case that didn’t fit any of the pillows in my house, and various & sundry craft supplies!

ok, so there's a little bit of yarn.  *grin*

The only logical thing to do was to use my crafting superpowers to somehow turn this pile of crap…err… craft supplies… into a useful item: one of those quilted picture board thingies that all the frou-frou Cornflake Girls like to make.

Step Two: slit the seams of the old pillow case, cover the batting & pull it tight around the edges, then hot glue gun it to the back of the cork board. Try not to hot glue your fingers to the cork board (also difficult).

Step Three: do some measuring & string some -gasp- yarn evenly to create a quilty pattern. I'd tell you my measurements, but unless my cork board is the exact same size as yours it really won't help. Just make sure it's even.

I’m pretty sure the frou-frou crafty Cornflake Girls would have used some sort of fabulous ribbon for the stringing, but, well.  I never was a Cornflake Girl, so… black hemp yarn it is!  If you look closely you’ll also see that I actually drove tiny nails the entire way through the cork board to mark each cross-over.  I could do that because it was soft cork, and I recommend it if you use a pillow case with any sort of straight line pattern (like mine).  I *did* drive the nails the entire way through the cork, and here’s why:

Because Nina! Yay!

Uhh, I mean… because of the buttons.

Step Four: Sew a button over each cross-over on the board, making sure your yarn (or thread) goes the entire way through the cork board and contains both sides of the yarn you've already strung. In other words, don't just sew the button to the top of the pillow case or it won't work.

If you do the sewing right you’re going to either need a thimble or some serious finger first-aid.  I recommend the thimble.  Finished product:

It's my boy!

I sacrificed my vanity to make room for a bassinet in Husband & I’s bedroom, so the trade-off is this new creation… a cool place to display the pictures and whatnots that used to be attached to the sides of my vanity mirror!  Hooray!

Two quick notes:

1: I couldn’t just toss the pillow case because my moM made it for me.  When I went away to college she made me a t-shirt quilt with all the shirts I’d acquired from various musicals, plays, and other high school events.  The back of the quilt is made of the two fabrics you see in the picture – a dark blue with glitter and the little rain squares.  FUN!  I used the pillow & quilt the whole way through college, and still use the quilt to snuggle up in when I’m feeling sick.  The pillow part of the pillow wore out, but I couldn’t just throw the case away now, could I?

2: You’re going to love what I did to the vanity mirror… stay tuned for a new post soon!

I’m Clean!

7 Mar

…AND I’m writing a post that has nothing to do with dragons!  Aren’t you proud of me?  *grin*

 

Husband and I decided to learn how to make our own soap.  It seemed like an integral part of our Zombiepocalypse plan, plus Husband got a really cool how-to book for Christmas we were just itching to try out.

Step One: Put on the apron, pour a scotch, and read the instructions.

 

We’re not talking about craft-store soap-making, either (ie: it was a bit more complicated than buying a brick of soap, melting it in the microwave, and then pouring it into tiny molds).  We made what’s called Cold Process Soap, which you too can make with a few simple household ingredients!

Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, & Olive Oil

We also needed some Lye (which we found quite easily in the plumbing section of our local hardware store), some turmeric, these little guys:

and some basic kitchen & safety gear.

glass containers, a kitchen scale, immersion blender, measuring cups & spatulas, OH MY!

 

Basic Safety Gear: goggles, face mask, gloves, long sleeves, &, of course, scotch.

 

Because there’s a tiny person in my belly I got to do all of the not-fun stuff and none of the fun stuff (ie: I had to wear all my safety gear, but wasn’t allowed near the lye during the chemical reactions.  Boo).  I actually got relegated to the kitchen & had to utilize the zoom feature on my camera to its fullest extent.

Measure ALL THE THINGS!

Essentially, Husband got to measure & mix the different oils & lye while I stood in the kitchen looking up possibly lethal chemical reactions on my iPad (Husband even made us open every window in the house just to be sure I wouldn’t actually inhale anything noxious… isn’t he sweet?).

A slight panic ensued when we forgot to check that the immersion blender was made of stainless steel instead of aluminum. Thankfully, the blender was steel & we didn't accidentally release any toxic chemicals.

 

The lye-and-oil reaction takes a full 24 hours to complete, so the most annoying part of the process was that I couldn’t touch any of the tools we used (or clean anything up, eesh!) until the next day.

Almost ready for the molds!

 

In the mold! (We added some turmeric to give the soap a more yellow color).

 

The next step involved letting the soap cure for a few days, then popping it out of the mold & stacking it to “age” for about a month.  When you’re waiting for your first ever batch of handmade, homemade, zombie-friendly Lemongrass & Turmeric soap, a month feels like FOREVER.

The good news: We put these bad boys on top of a bookshelf right by the front door, so we were greeted with the delicious scent of Lemongrass every time we came home!

 

After the eternal month of waitingness ended, I took out my trusty vegetable peeler & prettified these little bars of soap.  I had a cup of shavings left over that I was *supposed* to put in a crock pot, melt down, and remold.  I instead tried to microwave them a-la the easy craft store soap-making technique.  I ended up with a cup full of fail.  Lesson learned!  If it was okay to microwave, the instructions would have told me to microwave!

Oops.

 

The end result:  A pretty little batch of these guys, which we shared with family and friends:

Perfect!

 

(We saved 3 bars for ourselves, and MAN are they awesome – lovely lather, deliciously hydrating, and they smell AH-MAZING!  I can’t wait to make the next batch!)

 

Here’s the book we used:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=opi5rx2XRc0C

And here’s some cool info about Cold Process Soap:

http://www.soap-making-resource.com/cold-process-soap-making.html

 

I swear it’s still a healthy interest!

29 Feb

I think about other things, really I do!  Like… what new and fun material I can stuff this DRAGON with!!!

You thought it was going to be something other than a dragon, didn't you?

 

I whipped up this little guy as part of Husband’s Valentine’s Day gift, but instead of boring old poly-fil, I stuffed him with un-popped popcorn.  Now he’s a super cute, stress relieving bean bag dragon!  Yay!

Fierce.

 

I made up this pattern as I went, and I liked it so much I’m featuring not only the finished toy, but the pattern itself over at A Happy Little Shop!  He’s super soft, easy to make, and not too scary!  Hooray for G-rated dragon friends!

I can haz snuggles?

 

He's sad because he wants you to bring him home and snuggle him... Poor, sad little dragon. Head on over to A Happy Little Shop to adopt him today!

Even MOAR dragonses!

25 Feb

I’m not obsessed yet.  I’m not obsessed yet.  I’m not obsessed yet…

 

It occurs to me that once the baby gets here Husband’s coffee intake is going to increase exponentially. Moar coffee = Moar of those little cardboard coffee cozy things that are always falling off (and that I *hate*).  Solution?  MOAR DRAGONS!!!

 

This little guy is made of washable, unbleached cotton (of course), and ended up with just the right amount of stretch.  Groovy.

I wish I had a fancier travel mug model...

 

Want your own eco-friendly dragon cozy?  Stop by A Happy Little Shop & order one today!

 

What if it’s rainy AND cold?

22 Feb

Why, then, Baby Boy will have to wear this sweater now, won’t he?

I think I might be growing a Hobbit baby...

 

This was my first attempt at making an actual piece of clothing rather than an accessory, and I was surprised at how easy it was!  The most difficult part was lining up the button holes (and that’s not rocket science, friends).

I’m *trying* not to be stressed about the sizing; I made the biggest size the pattern included, so hopefully by the time the weather turns it will fit my little hobbity son (who is currently practicing his roundhouse kicks on my bladder. Neat).  If it doesn’t fit, well, no worries – It only took me about a day and a half to work up, so I’ll just make another one!

I can't make a sweater without a tiny dragon on it, now can I?

 

So… I’m now off to create more dragony things for the boy (with my feet up and a big glass of water next to me, of course).  Hooray!

Another Welcome to Earth Blanket? Why, Yes!

20 Feb

Remember how Chibi’s baby is due fifteen minutes after mine?  Well, Nephew4 needs a Welcome to Earth Blanket just as badly as his cousins (and friends) do, but little old me has been getting rather bored with traditional baby colored things.

Light pink?  SNORE.

Pale, pale blue?  ICK.

Creamy, barely there yellow?  MEH.

Solution?  A big, bold Welcome to Earth Blanket in three awesome primary colors:

I used the same color orange as I did to make Hobbes, which I hear will be helping decorate the nursery over in Chibiland, so I’m *hoping* this awesome blankie will match Nephew4’s decor.

non-traditional tradition?

You may also notice that I went for the uber-traditional granny square (or in this case, granny rectangle) pattern to offset my non-trad color choices (plus, there’s only so much crazy stitching a gal can do).  Think it’ll work?  Think Chibi’s baby will want to snuggle in this blankie?

Since Chibi & I’s joint baby shower is eco-friendly (ie: no tree-killing wrapping paper), some yarny ribbon is the best it’s going to get.

heyyy... where did those Adoraboots come from? Ssshhh! Don't tell Chibi - she doesn't know she's getting them!

And, since said baby shower isn’t until the end of the month (the *very* last weekend I’m allowed to travel – no sense staying home until I have to), Chibi’s going to have to wait until then to see her gift in person.

Welcome to Earth, Nephew4!

Blame it on the Rain

14 Feb

Once I finished Baby’s Adoraboots I discovered it was physically impossible not to also make him a rain hat.  Because honestly.  What newborn doesn’t need rain gear?

I again used the green & gold hand-dyed yarn from Gnomespun (which is almost gone now… sad).  Look how disgustingly cute this hat is!

Gangsta Mowse can haz rain gearz.

 

Husband tried on the hat but refused to let me take a picture of him (it’s like he knew it would end up on the interwebs), so you’ll have to settle for Gangsta Mowse’s modeling skillz, yo.

 

This is some full-on, in your face CUTE, people.  I can’t wait for baby to be born so he can try this stuff on!

 

The pattern I found was for a one-sized “child’s” hat, but I messed with the yarn size and gauge until I got it to be baby-sized.  I’m going to work one up with my new favorite (cotton/hemp blend) yarn & see how it turns out.  Hopefully you’ll be seeing this awesome hat as one of my new Etsy listings soon!  And in the meanwhile, D’awwwwww… aren’t tiny things cute?