elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finished the baby hat for my niece and mailed it to her. I was so sure I took a picture of the finished hat but now I can't find it! Argh! Please believe it turned out super cute.

With some leftover yarn I agreed to make a hat for F's Lottie doll. it is by far the smallest and cutest thing I have ever knitted.

tiny hat (2)

tiny hat (1)

It was fun to make a small hat for a newborn baby and then follow it up with a miniature hat for a tiny doll!

I've been making a few other things here and there but nothing else got photographed. Trying to work on men's clothes the past month has been an utter fail. I am going to have to set my HB's projects aside for Costume Con prep. I feel massively guilty about this, but at least it feels better to be working on Girl stuff. I'm not being selfish if it's still for someone else, right? Just not the same someone else.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This morning we decorated the tree, and I figured it was time to finish stuffing all the balls I knit last month. So I spent an hour in front of a sappy movie with the fam tonight and stuffed these. I got tired of making crochet chains for the hanging loops so I just used a plain strand of yarn. If it breaks, oh well. I am noticing now that I did a few upside down, but only a knitter would notice. ;)

I was overcome by greed and fell in love with each one a little more than the last. It will be hard deciding which ones to keep and which to give away!

Pattern #14, "Xs and Os version 1"

ball patt 14 x and o v1

#3 "Snowflakes"

balls patt 3 snowflakes

#17 "Selbu"

balls patt 17 selbu

wanna see lots of my balls? )

All the patterns are from the book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne and Carlos and my Ravelry page for this project is here.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I finished knitting these slippers for my HB. There are 4 pieces to make two double-layered slippers. Next step is to felt them.


The thing about fulling/felting knitted things is that you have to start out with a thing that is loose and floopy and huge. Here they are with my hand for some scale.


I have another pair of slippers to knit and felt, so I am going to set these ones aside until later, when I can throw them all in the washing machine together.

The pattern is trim clogs from The Knitted Slipper Book. My Ravelry project for these with yarn info, etc is here.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Well I am so glad you guys are also snickering about the use of the word balls. It's good to know I am not the only 10-year-old at heart.

So here's my second ball. Made this up yesterday.

ball 002

This one is pattern #12. I noticed the chart differs slightly from the photo in the book. There is an extra pattern stitch in the middle of the vertical bar. I followed the chart, not the photo, and I like the extra stitch.

I have edited my Ravelry page for these guys to keep the project open for however many I knit. That's easier than making a separate project for each one.

I am digging the red & white but I might get a skein of black or blue to mix with the white also. I actually wanted blue the other day but they didn't have the right one; just navy and turquoise.

I have started the third one, from pattern #1 in the book, another snowflake. I just can't get enough balls!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I was recently given the book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne & Carlos. A friend of mine was moving and downsizing her bookshelf so it was my lucky day!

First of all, it's hilarious to say "balls" and I just cannot stop myself. Second, I love All Things Scandinavian and these are no exception. They are so adorable!

And finally, I have always loved the look of Fair Isle and other stranded colorwork knitting, but I have been intimidated. The small scale of these projects is ideal to learn on.

So, yesterday I went to The Yarnery and got some yarn, wound it up, cast on, and finished half of the ball by bedtime, then knit the other half this morning. It was addictive!

Here's my ball:

balls 002

I am amazed the color pattern doesn't look lame and sloppy. I have read that beginners often have a problem with pulling the floats in too tightly, but I am such a loose knitter I was worried about gaps instead. But I am very pleased with how this looks!

I only knit right-handed, "throwing" style, so it was tricky deciphering the increase directions in the book, which were illustrated in the left-hand "picking" style with just pictures and no words. As for the two yarns I ended up just wrapping them both around my pinky in my usual way and using my index finger to pick up the one I needed. I am sure there is a better way, but whatever. This worked and my speed was hardly any slower than normal. For some areas with very long floats I twisted the yarns together.

I used polyfil to stuff it instead of the wool batting specified because a.) wool is hella expensive, and b.) I don't have any right now and I really needed to finish this ball!

Yarn info, etc is at my Ravelry.

I really want to just keep making these and then I will have a bunch for my tree as well as some nice gifts.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last winter, The Girl started trying some needlepoint on plastic canvas. At first I didn't want to be too prescriptive; I just gave her some pieces of canvas and some string and let her play. But once she got the feel of it we decided to start a project, and chose a coaster from the Kristin Nicholas book Kids Embroidery (recommend!)

She started slow, and I helped her with each stitch, and wove in her ends and threaded her needles. We let it languish for a few months when more exciting stuff was happening, but a couple weeks ago picked it back up again. She really got the hang of it, and the other day she finished. Here it is!

F needlepoint 001

She was very proud! And couldn't wait to start another, this time in checkerboard-ish multicolored squares in a random order. It's going to be a christmas gift for her auntie. (Shh... don't tell!) Now she is threading her own needles, turning the corners herself, and weaving in her own ends. I only help if she isn't sure exactly where a stitch needs to go. Otherwise she is doing amazingly on her own.

I love her focus!

F needlepoint 007

It's a perfect activity for hanging out on the couch, though personally I wouldn't choose this angle.

F needlepoint 029

F needlepoint 030
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
For my sister's b-day last Friday I made her a dress. This is another Colette Moneta, the ultra-streamlined version with no pockets, no sleeves, no collar, and no neckband. The neck and armhole edges are simply hemmed. I shortened the skirt (my sister's preference) and scooped the neck into a U. It's cotton jersey in a taupe-y color she loves (for reasons I cannot understand).

ang moneta (1)

ang moneta (8)

I made TWO birthday cakes, because we each needed our own. For her I made the same cake as for F's last b-day: sour cream chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting and strawberries. Yum! I also made her a fancy birthday dinner; she requested Karelian rice pasties with egg butter (everyone in my family now loves these) and I made mustard and feta salmon and almond green beans with cauliflower. And champagne of course. We had another couple over to join us and it was a blast.

For my own birthday on Sunday I wanted ice cream cake, even though it is subzero temperatures here. I wanted something different so we didn't all get too caked out. I used the vanilla custard ice cream recipe I made here, oreo-ish cookies, caramel sauce, and homemade maple glazed pecans. OMG. This was amazing. The egg-custard ice cream was perfect because it doesn't freeze super-hard and that made cutting easier.

I also did this easy craft project. I got a new bookshelf/board game cabinet for a sort-of birthday present for myself. It's an Ikea Borgsjo. The crafty part was "papering" the back panel with fabric. I got this bookshelf print cotton about a year ago at work and it turned out to be perfect for this. I used spray adhesive; messy but effective. I didn't get the lines quite straight, but I am trying to let that go. I love the way it looks!

elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The day of our solstice party I finished this yarn wreath.

yarn wreath

I used this one for inspiration, and read a few tutorials which I've now lost. I love the way it turned out. Maybe the ribbon could be wider but I liked this velvet one with gold dots. But making this was SO tedious. Just wrapping yarn around the wreath form for hours. And then again. Forever. And a third time. Until I just gave up and lived with the remaining gaps. Then I spent 5 blissful minutes hot gluing the decorations on.

For our party I made these Linzer Sandwich cookies from Martha Stewart's recipe. They turned out pretty and delicious. It's extra work but you get such wonderful flavor from freshly toasting nuts.


I also made this highly addictive caramel matzo again, and everybody loved it. Thankfully I made a double batch and stashed it in the freezer. This is one thing I have to keep a close eye on, though, because I will seriously eat myself sick with it.

One last craft I made is this paper bow. I've been wanting to try some paper bows after seeing gorgeous ones online, so today I cut up a plant catalog and tried. Not exactly thrilling, but it was fun and it dresses up the gift a little.


Now I just need to finish wrapping gifts - crafty time is over! For a while anyway.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This weekend we got the tree up and the rest of the decorations; the outside lights are all up and I got some new lights for the fabric garland. Here's the tree this year. Those of you with kids will understand why the bottom half looks like it does.


I would love to make some more ornaments but I think I am out of time. I still have several gifts to make: jammies, some dolls, an apron. I have one last house decoration in progress, a yarn wreath, and I'm determined to finish it, even though wrapping the yarn is so tedious it makes me want to scream.

I am enjoying the sewing break. I'm funneling the creative energy into lots of crafts and house stuff. As much as I love costume sewing I know I would burn out really quickly if I didn't enforce breaks like this. I'll get serious again in January.

I've also been practicing some christmas songs* on the piano. I've been learning Deck the Hall since August, and finally it's sounding okay. Yesterday I decided I would try the Twelve Days of Christmas (a very easy version!). I know my sister is dying to have a corny family singalong. So hopefully I can pull this together by the time she gets here. We will also be singing Home on the Range, even though it's not a christmas song, because it's the only other singalong song I know how to play. And because we are goofy.

*secular only, obvy, since we are godless heathens.


Dec. 9th, 2014 03:05 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I was chatting about this the other day but of course it's not a proper post without pictures!

Here are the latest couple ornaments made around here:

holiday crafts 009

Can I even tell you how much I love this? I used the idea/directions here. I didn't have glitter Mod Podge so I just stirred some gold glitter glue in.

I think she is right when she says you really need to use the cling wrap. I don't tend to keep plastic wrap in the house, so I skipped it, and I got the webby bits all over my twine ball:

holiday crafts 007

Yuck. So this happened:

holiday crafts 008

But hey it worked and I love it. I kind of want to make a few more.

The Girl and I also worked together on this one.

holiday crafts 006

Ours is of course messier and lumpier, but I still love it. Again, made just with stuff we already had in the house. The Girl loved threading all the beads onto the wire, even the tiny ones. I love to see her focus on crafty stuff like this.

Not sure what is next, but I do want to keep up holiday stuff. In January I have a ballgown to make but until then I am keeping historic sewing on hold.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
It hasn't been all cooking and goofing off around here. (Well, okay, it's mostly been cooking and gooifng off. And cleaning.) It's December now, which means I am going into (nearly) full-time Secular Christmas Mode.

This is me rambling about my beliefs )

Still with me? Great! Now that's out the way, let's talk decorations.

I used a pattern from the book Netted Beadwork, which I've had for ages. I haven't done any beadwork in forever, but I still had all the crap for it and remembered some basics pretty quickly (like peyote stitch). I got obsessive about beading for a couple days and made this:

netted ornament (1)

I liked this pattern fairly well, but it wasn't perfect. The netting didn't fit my 2.5" ornament as suggested, so I had to go out and find a 2" one. Of course, I had to buy a box of 18 when I only wanted one. it was only $5 and I might make more, but still. I also wasn't crazy about filling in the bottom with solid peyote stitch:

netted ornament (2)

I'd have preferred to make the netting continue around the bottom somehow. I might try another one but I have such a long craft list this year. Also, I wonder if I can paint the plastic ornaments before I put the beads on? Silver is okay but I want more color!

I am also thinking about adapting this simple netting pattern for a reticule or handbag. The way it's worked, your first (vertical) row sets up the length, and then you just keep working up and down to build the width.

netting process

The netting works up fairly quickly and then I'd just need to sew a lining. I haven't seen historical examples of this but then again I haven't looked very thoroughly. Still, I might not mind it being kind of costumey because it would still be pretty and an improvement on my current plain tiny black silk reticule.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I put off sewing this for quite a while. I had a purse that sort-of worked, and other projects kept getting bumped in front of this one. But now it's done!

purse 004

It's made from two cotton/linen blend prints, at least one of which is an Echino fabric, and lined with solid unbleached/undyed linen. The outside pieces are interfaced with Decor Bond, a really heavy craft fusible.

I made up the pattern but relied heavily on techniques in The Bag Making Bible, a really great handbag reference. The author also has a blog and shop at U-handbag.

more details! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The birthday weekend was a bit of a whirl. I forgot to post about it because I've been recovering! But here we are.

I wanted to do party favors this year, so F and I made some ribbon wands.

I read a few tutorials for these, and my favorite idea to attach the ribbons was to use an eye-screw. So I cut the dowels into 12" pieces, screwed an eye-screw into each, then we painted them with some metallic gold craft paint that I just happened to find in the basement. It was a little old and clumpy, but we stirred it up and it worked.

Flora 5th birthday (2)

For each wand, I cut two 2-yd lengths of ribbon, folded them in half, and tied them onto the eye-screw with a larks head knot. A little blob of hot glue kept them in place. Done!

Flora 5th birthday (13)

Flora 5th birthday (15)

All the kids loved them. So did I!


For cake I made chocolate with white chocolate frosting and strawberries, as requested. Holy crap was it good.

Flora 5th birthday (21)

And we played in the backyard, just keeping it mellow. Pretty nice. Cake, sunshine, and beer (or lemonade) is all you really need.

Flora 5th birthday (22)

Flora 5th birthday (30)


And now my girl is FIVE!! What happened?

Flora 5th birthday (35)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Lots of progress is happening around here, but I'm not getting a lot of chances to take photos. Still, progress!

I finished knitting the sweater for my HB. YAY! I started this over four years ago (!!!) and it's finally done. I actually started and completed 2 different sweaters for him during that time, but this one just hibernated. It's boxed up now and just needs to be wrapped.

Two new dolls for The Girl are complete. One is the Little Red Riding Hood featured on the cover of We Make Dolls, and the other is the Red Matryoshka from the same book. Of course I can't just follow a pattern as it is because that is boring, so I did make a few changes to make them more unique. Alas, the only opportunity I've had to take photos is after bedtime (because they are surprises!) and the lighting is so bad I just give up.

Also, we have been doing some wooden star and snowflake cutouts with paint and glitter. We painted first and let it dry, then applied loose glitter on top of Mod Podge. This has been slow going because one side needs to dry before we can flip it and do the other, so that makes it a slightly more advanced craft for my 4yo, which is great. She loves sprinkling the glitter, but oddly, hates getting her hands messy.

And finally, there are 2 different kinds of homemade cookie dough in my fridge, just waiting to be baked. And I'm doing a third tomorrow.

Still a few things left on my craft & gift list, but it's getting smaller!


Dec. 13th, 2013 03:05 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)

More Christmas crafts! (I did warn you.)

Finished these yesterday. From left to right, The Girl's, The Man's, and mine. I thought about embroidering names but I was just not in the mood to make it that involved. So just felt and ribbons.

We don't have a fireplace, so the staircase seemed the logical place to hang them.

stockings 001

detail shots )

And here's the tree just for fun!

tree (1)

Felt fruit

Dec. 9th, 2013 02:20 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I made F some felt fruit for a gift this year. She asked for more soft toy food. I used McCall's 6572 and the wool/rayon felt from Treadle.

felt fruit (1)

I loved the way each orange half looks alone, but they were supposed to stick together into a whole orange, and that totally didn't work. They look like 2 donuts stacked up.

oranges )

But, separately, they still look okay, so I'm gonna go with it. And I love the way the banana and strawberries came out!

I thought I was done with felt food for a while (because every one I make will just add to the mess in the living room) but I think I might do a couple fried eggs. We'll see.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I don't think it's a secret that I love fabric garlands. So when I saw all the charming winter fabric prints at work, I knew I needed a seasonal, wintery, christmassy one!

I admit that, however great my love for fabric garlands, I have not figured out how to effectively photograph them. Anyway. This long one hangs from the living/dining room divide. I love those classic bungalow built-ins - so handy!


I used my rotary pinking blade to cut 5" squares, then stitched them into a folded length of cotton twill tape. Easy peasy! And The Girl really got to feel like she was helping - she did all the layout with me.

I can't believe the artistry of some of these fabrics. My favorites are the two bird prints, both from the Winter's Lane collection from Kate & Birdie Paper Co. for Moda.



For the other room, I wanted a quieter, more elegant one, so I just used the cool tones and skipped the brighter, more whimsical ones. Same theme, different look.


elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This is my dollhouse.


Or it was my dollhouse.

I've had it in my basement for years, and I decided I would take it out and fix it up for my little girl. Her 4th birthday is in two weeks, so I did this as a sort of early birthday gift.

Here’s the story.

Where I get wordy and sentimental )

Here’s the next part: what I did.

There are a bajillion photos )

Frankly, she would have been happy with it old and dirty and moldy, or with a cardboard box, but I am so glad I did this, for me. It’s still rough, and definitely not Pinterest-worthy, but it’s mine and it’s my daughter’s and I love it.

I could have bought her a nice new dollhouse – it would have been nicer and cleaner and less work – but I’m so glad we have something that has a little connection to the past.
elizabeth_mn: (blue silk back)
I decided I needed to make a doll for my friend's housewarming.  She just bought a condo in a very modern, industrial loft space, and it's beautiful and awesome but really needs a few things to warm it up and make it softer and more organic.  (At least that's my opinion!)

So, a wool felt dolly was absolutely required.

dolly! 019

More! Back view and dolly nudity )

This pattern is the Tag-Along Doll from Wee Wonderfuls; the pattern comes with an apron with an open pocket you can tuck her into.  The dress I totally made up on my own.  It took some trial and error, especially the armhole curve; since she doesn't really have shoulders, it was a lot of guesswork.

F helped me sew this.  I still have some doubt about mommy/daughter sewing projects.  It's fun and she REALLY gets into it and wants to do everything with me, and I really want to be supportive and encourage her with sewing and also have a nice togetherness activity, but I also feel slightly uncomfortable with the invasion of my sacred sewing place.  But we did pretty well this time, although she's getting a little big to be sitting on my lap at the sewing machine, because I can't see over her head anymore.

Plus F had some questionable creative input (normal for a 3-year-old).  The pattern had the 2 pigtails on the sides, but she insisted they go on top of her head.  Her hair had to be red (ginger was the best I could do), her dress had to be green, and it also had to include fabrics from our fabric garland (which went up for about a week in the house for my b-day a couple weeks ago).

I was also afraid F would have a hard time letting her go, but since the doll was for Lainey, our babysitter and surrogate auntie and F's total BFF, it was fine.  She was so excited to give it to her!

I had so much fun making this that I want to get back to making more toys.  I really need to make all my costume-sewing deadlines FIRST, but if I do, it would be nice to have the diversion. 
elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I used to have a tryptich of old poster art cut out from a calender hanging here, in these same frames; I had it for years, then one day I got so sick of it I just took it down and the wall spent about 3 more years totally bare.

I finally bought some Echino prints at work and put them up.  In fact, I bought them yesterday and they are on my wall today.  Amazing.  The fabric is cotton/linen and there are birds!

It doesn't look as crazy-awesomesauce as I had hoped, but it's cute and definitely an improvement on having nothing.  And my walls are really not quite that barf color in real life.

To mount them, I cut foam core board to size and sewed the fabric pieces over it as I would for a piece of embroidery, then I left the glass out of the frames when I put them in.

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