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On My Hook

Baby blanket I am making for my son’s teacher, who is due back from maternity leave next month. I’m not sure how much bigger to make it – it’s about 32 inches square before blocking. Does anyone prewash their baby/cotton items in Woolite or Dreft? I’m also trying to figure out how to finish the edges, I don’t know if a picot or shell would be too much, considering it’s five colors, including the variegated.

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Kitchen Sink Soapmaking

I picked up a melt and pour soap kit at the thrift shop a while back; it’s been sitting on the floor of my bathroom closet waiting for me to become inspired. I made these while the kids were playing this morning after breakfast.

"clear" glycerine soap block

I popped some chunks of the clear glycerine base into a glass measuring cup and microwaved it in short, 10 second bursts until it was liquid. First up on the menu was the lemon bar. I’d had lemon extract sitting in my spice cabinet since I bought it by mistake 6 years ago. I think I’ve used it twice since then. Very strong, with a pungent lemon scent. (Not at all Pledge-like.) The few drops of yellow food color I added next were a bit too much in retrospect (my boys and I came to the conclusion that the foamy yellow liquid looked a little too familiar, if you know what I mean…) A little zested rind of a lemon added just the right touch of visual interest.

Cinnamon toast was next – starting with some vanilla extract and ending up with two bars – I added additional product because the brown got very dark and I wanted to be able to see the bits of sugar and cinnamon through the clear soap. These took the longest to dry and distorted the plastic molds a bit when I neglected to let the hot mixture cool a bit before pouring it.

There was still a bit of vanilla-y brown left over so I tried something similar, this time with “exfoliating” coffee grounds and a bit of A&W root beer ice cream topping, because, why not? It’s my 10 year old’s favorite.

Cinnamon Toast, Lemon Zest and Orange Lychee

I did a quick search for some internet soap recipes and found that you can add baking soda as a skin softener. That coupled with some red made a a nice muted pink; and I was thinking of pulling some rosewater out of the upstairs vanity when I found peach fragrance oil packaged with the kit. Unfortunately, the baking soda precipitated to the bottom and caused cracking when I de-molded the soap. (The root beer stuck as well – I’ll definitely use some type or release agent – Pam? – next time.)

Peach Fizz and Root Beer

By now I’m just about done and the natives are getting restless, so I finish up the last bit of pink with some OJ from the fridge (no pulp!) and raid the spice rack again to find an appropriate match for it. No cardamom, and orange-clove smells too much like autumn for me. I guess I could have tried ginger, but I love the look of the black lychee tea leaves suspended inside the orange bar.

I’m definitely going to try some of these again. One of the molds was hexagon shaped and begging to be turned into a milk-honey-almond bath bar. Making soap was a lot easier than I thought, and the kids were able to help a bit too. These will be nice to go along with hand-crocheted washcloths and spa items for gifts or craft shows.

For now though, I’ve got a sink full of dishes to wash. And these delicious smells are making me hungry!

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Halloween Craft Ideas for Kindergarteners

I agreed to do a craft for my youngest’s school party , and they were pretty much covered as far as juice boxes and munchkins (the theme is “Halloween Breakfast”.) It needs to be something quick and easy, plus not messy. So I dug through some supplies in my “studio” and found some large jingle bells.

I figure I can paint them orange at home and have the kids string them onto green or brown yarn/ribbon along with some felt or foam leaves. I probably need to do a test run with my 5 year old at home to see how easy it’s gonna be. Maybe they can crayon a face onto it if there’s time.

Idea two is to have them poke cloves into some clementines and make a nice “pumpkin face” sachet. I think it’s kinda cool because there’s a lot for the senses, the scent of oranges and having to manipulate the cloves. It’s all natural materials, which of course is a plus to me, but the messiness factor may be an ugh to the other moms.

It’s tomorrow morning – what would you do?

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[…] Mcdonalds the…

[…] Mcdonalds the kids had off from school today, I’m still working on Matthew Snake, I don’t If I will finish it tonight.
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If you’re thinking “that’s the nuttiest post title yet”, wait. I just blogged, from my phone, WITHOUT TYPING! I usually write these with a lot of editing, but there I was, at said restaurant, trying to get my phone to glom onto the wifi connection there and not having much success. I always have a portable project handy, and was just putting a few rounds on the neverending snake toy –

“..what are you making there, a sweater?..”

“um, no , it’s a toy. a snake. for my son.”

(silence)

“see, look at it’s eyes”

So, you know that feeling you get when you suddenly realize you’re the biggest dork in the place? Yeah, that was me. Need more? OK, try and picture someone speaking a blog post into a cell phone, but trying to play it off like they were actually talking to another human. Now you’re with me.

workflow diagramI love the idea of JOTT. Sign up free on their service and you can call their 800 number and leave yourself a message, which gets translated to text by magical elves. Or something. They have a whole system of lists and folders so you can use it as a GTD style planning system, which originally drew me in. Not great for remembering dentist’s appointments, but it gelled for me when I found out it could link to things like blogger, wordpress, yahoo groups and livejournal. Holy crap! No more typing. (the above message was “low confidence”, meaning I allowed garbled messages to post as-is, without okaying them first.)

multiple increasesSo that I’m excited about, definitely. I’ve been playing with yoke construction making dresses and accessories for my neices’ dolls, teddies, (and pigs!); made a hat for my son out of lion brand suede using a rag bowl pattern from “Cozy Crochet”; frogged my whole ripple and started over; and gotten really into self-striping yarns and hyperbolic crochet.

Oh did I mention I have 15 teabags brewing to extract tannic acid to use as a mordant to fix the color on the oneskein scarf I made with some cruddy purple cotton chenille (cough -eBay- cough) after I overdyed it with red cabbage water because it was horribly faded, and it actually smelled like grape juice when it first got wet? Night-mare. Swatching and washing are not my strong suits, obviously. I am very good, however, at blogging at 2 am. Go figure.

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Bunny Links Multiplied

On the heels of my “Stripes the Long-Earred Bunny” post, I’ve noticed that I have been lucky enough to be the landing strip for a lot of searches for a crocheted bunny pattern. Unluckily, however, for anyone else, I didn’t have any patterns posted. So, seeing dozens across the net of late, I now present a compilation of “hare” raising pattern links for you floppy, loppy bun lovers.

bunnynaidasmolly.jpg Naida’s Crochet has a PDF for “Molly” on Etsy

donationbunnies.jpgbunlavenderbrowncraftster.jpg

Several versions of the Lavender Bunny on craftster are based on this one, available for free from Sara Binns

bunlionbrand.jpg Lion Brand has a free Best Bunny on their website

bunfluffywibit.jpg Craftster’s Wibit posted a free super-cute fluffy bunny

bunny_smallaikokats.gif Katcrochet has a free PDF for a bunny named Aiko

bunflopsyepatterns.jpg “Flopsy” and friends for sale on E-Patterns Central

bundarncatetsy.jpg Darncat also has an Etsy pattern (amigurumi style)


Thank you for flying Bunway Airlines.

bunway.gif

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Left-Handers Day

With all apologies to A Lefty Crochets, I should change the name of this blog to “Sinister Crochet” , muhahahha.

Because of course, I always have an evil plan brewing (kidding!) I’ve always been a lefty and always crocheted left handed. I was just a kid in the mid seventies when southpaws got their “official” holiday. My Grandma, who seemed to constantly travel, hit the motherlode in those days when it came to bringing home gift-shop items. No more giant pencils or vinyl coin purses for me. Didja know that the slogans on coffee mugs and pens were designed to be read while holding them in your right hand? I wore my lefty tee-shirts with pride. (“If the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, then LEFTIES are the only ones in their RIGHT minds!”) – that was a gym class favorite. (If I didn’t stand out enough being freakishly tall with giant glasses in sixth grade – a bright yellow shirt announcing another reason I didn’t fit the norm was just the icing on the pop-tart of adolescence.)


Some notable freaks (dexterous fellows?) we’re in company with include Ringo Starr and Kurt Cobain, Tom Cruise and Benny Hill, Picasso, DaVinci, Julius Caesar, Bill Clinton and the POTUS GHW Bush. Not to mention Ned Flanders of Simpson’s fame, and a host of sports figures too numerous to mention, none of whom crochet, to my knowledge. I know Rosie Grier did needlepoint but I don’t know which hand he used and I refuse to dig any deeper on the subject. Unless you want to note that there aren’t shovels designed for left-handed people, but there is a football pass called the “left hand shovel”.

/digress.

When I first copied my mother’s hand movements when learning to crochet, and we figured out I wouldn’t be able to do it righty, I sat across from her. Then we tried instruction books balanced with a hand mirror. Somehow, with repetition and just being able to watch how she moved the yarn with her fingers and the hook, I was able to grasp the basic technique. Must be one of those left-handed spatial ability things. Yet, I still can’t wrap my head around basic garment construction. Go figure.

I leave with a video of an attempted plastic-bag coaster-cum-hotpad some time before I realized that even crocheted plastic will melt if you try to grab a 325 degree cookie tray with it. It’s being punched and spun by my (look for it) right-handed child.

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