Monday, January 28, 2013

It has been too long.....

I must start today's post by apologizing for NOT posting anything in such a long time. The arthritis in my back makes it difficult to sit at the computer to get a post up, and other than a bit of crocheting, also makes it difficult to craft. So far we have not found a medication that helps, well...except to make me fall asleep or grow a beard!

So, enough info about my personal life that you probably didn't need, on to what's been going on for these many months! Where to begin? I know, at the thrift store, my favorite place!

I have managed to get my hands on 2 very large bags of yarn, from Goodwill, for about $30. Between the two bags, I ended up with about $75 worth of good usable yarn! From my favorite thrift store(EVERYTHING is a quarter unless otherwise marked)I have been able to find a lot of vintage sewing patterns, embroidery patterns and lovely books for both. The best find though is the 1960 McCall's Patterns Home Catalog...and that was free because its a magazine! So beautiful, the illustrations and the colors! I haven't had a chance yet to get some photographs, but I will hopefully be feeling up to it in the next few days.

Other than my thrift store finds, I have found many things just cruising around on garbage day. I know, I know, some of you are sitting there thinking, "gross! she goes through people's garbage Um...NO. I never go through actual bags of garbage. the things I find are usually out next to the bags, or visible in boxes. It is something I've always done, that most of my family has done for as long as I can remember. Essentially, people throw out things that have lots of life left in them, and I try to rescue these items to either refurbish or re-purpose. My finds to date: 4 PowerWheels ride-on toys(all work and needing minor repair or a new battery), about 12 bags of clothing/shoes, most of which was for children, don't fret, they were in clear or almost clear bags and it was obvious what was in them. Also, one of the homes that I picked them up from actually started labeling the bags so I could take the clothing. Most of it was girl stuff(I have a boy)so I sorted the usable from the rags and gave the clothing/shoes to a few families in need. I have found some very nice small furniture pieces. A couple of vacuum cleaners that work great(they just needed to be cleaned)and now I don't have to lug one up or down stairs when I clean. On one excursion I found a large bag of nearly unused fabric, as well as some very nice business type clothing that fits my sister who will be needing such attire for her upcoming intership.

There was also a find that makes me sad. In a box on one of my "picks", I found old family photos. And I mean old, many are from the 40s, including a wedding album from 1949. I'm not sure why these things were out for the trash, and I've tried to find the family who they belong to, but I just don't have the money to pay to find them and quite honestly, not knowing the circumstances surrounding why they were in the trash in the first place makes me hesitant to find them. I did notice that some photos seemed to have some water damage, and of course everything has a slight musty smell, so I'm guessing that they assumed nothing was salvageable. I have looked into a few ways to get rid of the mustiness so I'm pretty sure then can be fixed.

Although I don't know the family in the photographs, the photos are still quite beautiful and if I can not find the family, I'll probably display them somewhere in my home simply for the vintage-ness of them. What I find weird is that my mom suggested I sell them....what?!?! Who buys photos of people they don't know? So I got to searching about THAT. Turns out, people really do buy old or vintage photos of people they don't know. Who would have though? I have a rule though about the things I find....if I put money into it, as in refurbish, re-purpose or what have you, then I will sell it for what I've spent on it. Otherwise, I donate what I know I can't use or don't need.

So, I may not have been able to sit and craft as much as I'd like, but I have been busy with thrifting and picking! My hubby finally got the bookshelves built for me in the library/craft room and has been helping me with the heavy lifting to get everything cleaned up and organized.

I will be taking lots of photos in the next few days and getting them posted. Crafting and posting will be commencing again soon! I fully plan to show you how unorganized and messy my library/craft room is....and how it looks occasionally when I manage to keep it clean and put together!

Have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NOTHING is new....

I am so excited! My MIL, best in the world you know, gave me a big box full of "scrap-craft" magazines from the late 60s/early 70s, and then today at the local Goodwill, I happened to stumble across a 23 volume set of Craft Encyclopedias!! Of course, as usually happens when I find a set of anything, I'm missing a few volumes, 5 to be exact. But it really doesn't matter because they are amazing!! Oh, and did I mention from 1975?!?!

Which brings me to the title of today's post. Nothing is new. Seriously, nothing. At least not so far as I've been able to tell in the craft world. I have developed quite an obsession with cruising Pinterest, Craftgawker and StumbleUpon lately, and I have come across some pretty cool crafts...some of them even have tutorials! After looking through the mags my MIL gave me and the new set of books I purchased today, I noticed that literally, over half of the things I'm seeing on the above mentioned websites have already been done!! I'm not saying its a bad thing...I'm just sayin'. 

Pretty much the only things that have changed are the tools, supplies and scrap materials we have to work with. Some examples: paper/fabric flowers, artwork created by using nails, lampshades/pendant lights created from plastic cups, paper beads, the list just goes on!! I know some of you are sitting there thinking, "um...duh! how could you not have known all that?". Well, I can tell ya how I wouldn't have known...many of the people who post how-tos for some of these things don't acknowledge that the original idea is decades old. 

I have many craft books, all of them older than me, some older than my husband and even a couple older than my mom!! I can't wait to get started on some of the projects that I've already gone through and bookmarked, but I have to finish some crochet projects first. *insert pout and foot stomping here because I want to do other crafts* 

I kind of wish they made Clorox bottles the way they used to, so I could make some of the crafts in that little book(up front in the first pic). I didn't get any pics of the other few craft books, but my MIL also gave me a few that were published for Aleene's!! I honestly didn't know that glue had been around so long!! 

Happy Crafting!! Maybe I'll be able to try some of the things in this book soon and get some pics up!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A little footnote for The Giraffe Hat...

I must apologize for not having been here for a bit. I recently found out that the back problems I have been experiencing are not cause by a herniated disk, as previously thought, but by a combination of severe arthritis and degenerative disk disease. So, sitting to type, or even craft has been a rather painful endeavor and I have not been able to get on here as I would have like.

Now then, enough personal information, I'm sure if you are here, it is not to hear about my pains but rather to get your craft on!!

This post is to add some information to the Giraffe Hat pattern that was previously posted, as well as to address a small problem that also added to my absence. Ah, the problem....that being the attempted filching of my pattern by someone who left a comment stating that they had been searching for just such a pattern and two days later, actually posted it as their own on the same online community that I had posted it on(back in December). Needless to say, the issue was resolved to my satisfaction, but I am now fairly timid about every sharing my original patterns again.

I do believe that in the future, I will have a "give-away" of sorts for those honest folk who would like to help me test my patterns, if/when I ever write another. 

On then, to the pattern additions, or suggestions provided to me by the original tester, my friend Pam G. who was kind enough to allow me to post her suggestions/changes here on ye old blog!!

What Pam had to say:
December 20, 2011
  • Ok, here goes...
    Since I had issues with the size when I first tried it, I went up one hook size on each, so I used a K and G hook. The hat worked fine, but has to stretch to get on a two-year olds head. That, I'm sure, is a result of my tight crocheting. One thing is (and maybe you have done this) that you should mention Color A or Color B. When I started the horns, not paying attn I started them in yellow. After a few tries and getting it going, I realized I should have done brown and not yellow. LOL Silly me, I know but I was so excited it was actually working out to that point that I guess I wasn't really paying attn. If I were you I would try and work the horns in a way that you can get a count at the end of each round. That was hard for me because I wasn't sure if I was doing it right or not until it started to take shape. I did not stuff the horns or ears, I think they held up good on their own. (and I didn't have anything to stuff them with LOL) Now, the EARS!! The first one I worked came out perfect. Not quite as curvy as yours but still with good shape I thought. Then the second one was lopsided. So, I unraveled that one and started over using that same yarn. What I noticed when I got to about Round 7 or 8 (when it starts to look like a little sombrero) was that one side of the 'bill', where I was joining rounds, was bigger than the other side. I think I was adding stitches towards the end of the round because when I was done with the 2nd try ear there was about a handful of yarn left over. So, (got sidetracked there, sorry) I went back and started again at Round 6...but this time I counted stitches. You will have to work up to the end of round 5 to use this but I figured this would be a start to help get those ears right each time. :) These counts DO NOT include the (ch 1, sc in same stitch) and, I think there was one round I had to skip over one stitch to keep my count right. Here are the counts at the end of my Rounds:
    Round 6 - 15
    Round 7 - 21
    Round 8 - 33
    Round 9, 10, 11 - 33
    Round 12 - 22
    Round 13 - 22
    Round 14 - 16
    Round 15 - 16
    Round 16 - 11*
    Round 17 - 11

    * on this round I ended on a sc but going by the pattern should have ended on a sc2tog. I was OK with it because it turned out fine in the end.
    Let me know if this helps you and I will happily try out any other patterns you may need tested!

    I'd love for everyone to visit Pam at:'s quite the crafter herself!!

    Hopefully that will help anyone who is having trouble with the ears!! And again, I apologize for not being available lately to answer questions or respond to comments.

    Before I go, I did actually start the slippers...but the pattern is written like one big run-on sentence so they aren't going very well!! :0( Well, that and my crafting ADD kicked in and I've been working with paper for 2 days!!

    Hope you all have a lovely afternoon and a pleasant week!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crafter's Attention Span....shorter than the average chihuahua's

Let's see....where was I? Oh, yes, that's right. I was planning on making some slippers from a vintage pattern I found amongst my great-grandmother's things. I fully intend to do so, it is just that.....well, I've gotten distracted!
You see, most of the crochet hooks that I own belonged to my great-grandmother and she was using this old, tube thing that if I were to hazard a guess, used to house a small embroidery kit. It just has not been working for me, as I continually knock the silly thing over and spill the hooks and tapestry needles onto the carpet....which by the way is a thick awful mess that seems to swallow anything small. The only way to find things is to step on them and do the "hopping-on-one-foot-curse-real-loud-boogie". But I digress. Back to the dilemma of what to do with my crochet hook collection. 

After finally feeling strong enough to clean my closet(I herniated a disk in my lower back...but that is another story altogether), I came across a long lost travel wipes case, empty of course. I honestly don't think I've seen that thing since early February when I began watching my nephew regularly and how it ended up buried under a pile of stuff in my closet I will never know. Next to the case, I unearthed a storage tote, another item I had forgotten about, that was filled with some old tablecloths and random fabrics that I had purchased at a thrift store some time during the summer. I must have stared at the stuff in that tote for an hour, and I STILL don't have a clue as to why I needed those things, or what the sam-hill-of-beans I had intended to make with any of it. 

That is when the little light sparked, flared and burnt out in my head. I decided to make myself a little "clutch" to put my hooks and such in! I suppose I didn't do to bad of a job, and in my defense I couldn't sleep and had just taken my pain medication. Did I mention it was 1 A.M.? I get these crafty urges at the strangest times....I'm just lucky my husband sleeps like a rock and I have a room dedicated to my hobbies! So I grabbed some fabric, the spray adhesive, some felt, some yarn and that little case and set to work!

Now, as I said, it was 1 AM and I had just taken my pain medication, so it didn't occur to me that I might want to take a photo of the "before". The original plan was to hot glue the crochet inserts into the case, but they stay pretty well without having done so, and I like that I will be able to change them if I really want to! It is a little rough around the edges, but it is working out beautifully! :0)

But, wait! That's not all! I also got distracted by the small crochet hooks that belonged to my great-grandmother....and I mean small. I had no idea that there was such a small hook, size 14! I also found some handkerchiefs with hand-tatted and crocheted edges in great-grandmother's things. I got to wondering what I might be able to make with such small hooks and I had no idea what to use for "yarn". Then I remembered that along with all the yarn my mother-in-law gave me, she also gave me a small tub of embroidery floss, so I gave it a whirl, and this is what I came up with!!

The pattern for the flower can be found here:

The tiny butterfly was made using the same pattern as the flower, except I made the second and third "petal" by using a DC in place of the Half-Treble and then stopping with the fourth "petal". I used only 2 strands of embroidery floss for the smaller items, and 4 or more for the bigger ones and then put them together for a 3D effect. Just a quick note....the button in the photo is just an extra large one, I'm not that talented to make such small things and I don't think I have the eyesight for it either!! 

So, hopefully I will be able to get to those slippers....if I can keep from getting distracted anymore!! :0)

Friday, December 9, 2011

As Promised...

Ok, I have to give a big thanks to my friend Pam G., who has been working on her Giraffe Hat amidst all of her other duties. I know how hard it must be for her to test a pattern written by a newbie, run a daycare, go to school, keep track of her own kids AND complete her own craft projects! So thank you Pam! :0)

That being said, I hope I will be forgiven, not only by her, but also by what few(if any)readers I have, because I am posting the pattern today before it has been fully tested. Why, you ask?!? Well, because...the more the merrier!! The more people testing out this pattern, the sooner I can learn from my mistakes and start coming up with more patterns! 

Before I post The Giraffe Hat Pattern, let's get the formalities out of the way:

Copyright: Please respect my copyright for this pattern. DO NOT rewrite, post, sell, or otherwise take credit for this pattern. It took me 2 days of pure hell to figure out and that kind of misery deserves well as an expensive bottle of wine and a steak dinner. As per copyright, what you make is yours...sell it, gift it, eat it, set it on doesn't matter to me, I can only claim ownership of the pattern not the finished product. Do credit the pattern back to me if you sell the item, as that is just good manners.  Please do not use my the event that you just can't help yourself, again be respectful and give me the credit for my work.

Now then, I hope my pattern writing abilities are not so atrocious as to cause the crocheters of the world to see fit to skewer me on my hook. :0) 

The Giraffe Hat

I used and F hook for both the ears and the "horns". I used a J hook for the hat and held 2 pieces of yarn together so that the hat would be bulky enough to hold the ears/horns.

sc-single crochet
dc-double crochet
sl st-slip stitch
dc2tog-double crochet 2 together
( )-repeat

HAT: make "magic ring", ch 2 and DC 7 into magic ring, join with sl st

Round 1- (ch 2, dc into same stitch), 2 dc in each stitch around, join with sl st
Round 2- ( ), *dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 3-( ), *dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 4-8-( ), dc in each stitch around, change color at the end of round 7 if desired, complete round 8, finish and fasten off.

Don't forget to weave in those ends!!

HORNS (make 2): ch 2, 6 sc in first ch, pull tight join with sl st
Round 1-(ch 1, sc in same st), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 2-( ), *sc in next st, 2 sc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 3-( ), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 4-( ), *sc in next st, sc2tog*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 5- Repeat round 4, change color at end of this round
Lightly stuff the top of the horn and continue to lightly stuff as you finish the last 4 rounds
Round 6-9-( ), sc in each st around, join each round with sl st. Fasten off leaving a tail about 6 inches or more in length to attach to the hat
Leave the ends of the horns open(do not sew them closed)so they will keep their round shape when attached to the hat.

EARS (make 2): make "magic ring", 4 sc into magic ring, pull tight join with sl st

Round 1-(ch 1, sc in same st), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 2-( ), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 3-( ), *sc in next st, 2 sc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 4-6-( ), sc in each st around, remember to join at the end of each round
Round 7-8- Repeat Round 3
Round 9-11- Repeat Round 4-6
Round 12-( ), *sc in next st, sc2tog*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 13-( ), sc in each st around, join
Round 14- Repeat Round 12
Round 15- Repeat Round 13
Round 16- Repeat Round 12
Round 17- Repeat Round 13, finish and fasten off leaving a tail about 6 inches or more for attaching to hat

You will need to flatten the ears to get the shape that they are supposed to be, just watch to make sure the seam is at the back of the ear.

For the "spots" I just made a "magic ring", single crocheted a random number of stitches into the ring, leave enough for a long tail for sewing, then pulled tight and joined w/sl st. Then I did one round of 2 sc in each st before joining and fastening off(weave in the end from where you fasten off and use the tail from the magic loop to sew the "spots" on the hat)

To find the right places to attach the ears and horns, I just flattened the hat out, with the "seam" in the center of the back of the hat. It will not lay completely flat, but will make nice edges on the sides to figure out ear placement. To attach the horns, reshape the hat so it sits open and pin them to the top in the place you want them.

It occurs to me, after comparing the yellow hat and the pink one, that I may have used an E hook for the ears the first time around(yellow hat)....but because I didn't write it down the first time, I have no idea!! Also, I may be having problems because I didn't count the stitches either....I just kind of put the ears together based on the shape I wanted. I will try to answer questions if you have any trouble with the pattern, but even though I wrote it....I might not be much help because I'm still figuring it out too!! LOL

As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, and comments. Please let me know what issues or problems there are with the pattern so that I can make necessary corrections. As with any pattern, use whatever hook and yarn that you like to achieve the look you prefer. 

I'm off to continue making some Christmas items for my son's teachers and classmates, as well as some fun things for making some hair clips with my friend's daughter when she and her brother visit next week. :0)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crocheting Like Mad....

Since rekindling my romance with crochet a few months ago, I decided to take the plunge....and try writing my very own pattern! Why write my own pattern so early in the relationship? Well, because two of my photographer friends needed photo props for their newborn/infant/toddler photo-shoots, and they asked me to make them. Of all the little hats that were requested, only one remained just beyond my reach....The Giraffe Hat.

Now, the patterns that I found for all the other hats are free and as I do not have the finances to purchase even the cheapest pattern, I had given up hope of being able to provide said friends with the little hat they seemed to want the most. I thought about giving up, but decided that they would have The Giraffe Hat come hell or high water! What did I do, you ask? Well, I did what any creative person and self admitted craft addict in dire straits would do...I experimented!!

After viewing many photographs of the mythical Giraffe Hat, I came to the conclusion that to achieve the desired outcome, I would have to play with the few stitches and knowledge of increase/decrease that I possess and hope like hell it worked out. The results took two days to come in, and I rather think that I did a swell job of it at that!

Why two days? Simply because I didn't write anything down when I started constructing the first ear and then could not for the life of me figure out what I had done to get it in the first place! I know, many of you are asking in your most incredulous voice, "Why didn't you just go back and count the rows/stitches?". And I answer, "Because, I worked the silly thing in the round and kept losing my place! Also, I have a five year old who is so excited about his ability to count to 100 that he likes to count with me...except he starts with one when I'm already on twelve!"

I have a photo of the first Giraffe Hat, fashioned in the rather predictable colors of yellow and brown, as well as a photo of one made after I learned how to count properly and wrote the pattern down. The second was fashioned in the highly improbable colors of pink/purple. Currently, I am working on yet another Giraffe Hat, as my son has requested I make him and my 1 year old nephew matching hats in the very comical color of frog green! A good friend and fellow craft addict offered to test the pattern for me and the results from that test should be in soon...please remain patient as the lab can get backed up this time of year!

When all tests have been performed and the pattern is given a clean bill of health, I will be posting it for all to enjoy...for now, I leave you with only the images of my little experiment. Please let me know what you think of it...but be nice.

My sewing skills are still a bit wonky, but as with many things in life, it will improve with time. The little yellow/brown beanie seen under the original Giraffe Hat was made first, but after completing the ears/horns, I felt that it would not be sturdy enough to hold up, so I went back and made a second beanie using 2 pieces of yarn held together...I like it much better!

I do appreciate any constructive criticisms that anyone has to offer. Please note: I will delete any comment that I deem to be inappropriate, vulgar, or simply rude and uncalled for.

Next project: crochet slippers from an old pattern I found in my Great-Grandmother's things!! 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

My first gentle

I've never written a blog before, so the next paragraph may hurt a little! The reason I wanted to start this blog, this adventure if you will, is because recently at a thrift store, I came across an entire set of craft books. Make It Yourself, published in the 1970s, and full of how-to instructions on everything from knitting to decoupage. I managed to snag the 20 volume set at my favorite thrift store on a "bag day", for only $2! The best part, aside from the price, is that the complete, UNUSED patterns for the set were with it!

The plan then, is to complete the projects in the books, in order as much as possible. All the items made will eventually be for sale as I can not possibly keep everything, neither can I wear any of it except for perhaps a hat or scarf(most of these things were made to fit petite, shorter women). Of course, first I have to learn how to knit and sew, the two things in the book that I don't know how to do....yet!

The only thing really standing in the way of my starting this fascinating experiment, is amigurumi! I am so enamored with this little craft that I have been doing for weeks! I even managed to come up with a creation of my own, although I didn't write anything down and wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. My Silly Thing came out pretty well, and when time permits I will post a picture. 

Before signing off, I must say THANK YOU, to my mother-in-law(one of the best in the world)for gifting me her entire stash of yarn...over 100 skeins, all but a few of which were brand new! And all so I could craft to my heart's content!

If anyone has any helpful tips or pointers on how I can become a better blogger, or perhaps a crafty project to share, please leave me a comment. I can't wait to hear from you!