Archive | November, 2012

Snowflake Washcloth

29 Nov

For over a year I’ve had a ball of lime green cotton “Sugar ‘n Cream” yarn in my crochet bag.  This weekend I finally made use of it.  After searching online for a free pattern I stumbled upon this one, called the Cream Circle, but I think it looks like a bit like a snowflake of sorts when complete. (You will have to join Lion Brand Yarns site to be able to view this, but it is a free membership). This is designated an Easy Plus pattern and I would agree although somewhere around my third or fourth ripping out of stitches on Friday I might have disagreed with you. 🙂 ALWAYS keep a reference guide for crochet abbreviations handy.  When I went searching for my problem I discovered instead of stitching a new round in the space between stitches I had been stitching in the stitch itself.  Big Difference!  With that modification the remainder of the snowflake came together quickly. Here is the final project.  I think this project could be completed in well under an hour.

I think you could probably make three washcloths with one ball of yarn. At $1.99 regular price at Michaels (4 for $6.00 this week!) it makes a fairly inexpensive holiday gift.  To note- this pattern called for nine rounds, but I cut it back to six rounds plus the scalloped edge as I thought it was big enough and I don’t like unwieldy washcloths.

Don’t they look bright and festive on the fresh snow that covered the ground this past holiday weekend in Duluth?  They would be a perfect stocking stuffer when paired with a handmade soap or even some lovely smelling handsoap.

Christmas Sweater

27 Nov

If you’re looking for a quick hand-knit gift idea for the holiday season, check out this sweet little sweater ornament:

It’s s a great way to use up some scrap yarn – and you can use any weight yarn you want – it will just size the ornament up or down based on the weight.  It’s also easy to add stripes, ribbing, turtle neck, etc!

I used crafting wire to make the hanger. I’ve also shaped one out of a paper clip when I didn’t have anything else, but recommend crafting wire for the ease of use and a cleaner look.  I dare you to make one for someone else, and not want one for your own tree!

This free Pattern by Cheryl Niamath can be found on Ravelry:

And here are some other great free ornament patterns I’ve found on Ravelry (click on the image to take you there):


I’m thankful for my painted floor

21 Nov

I had high hopes that I could fill this space with a lovely Thanksgiving themed craft, but instead I give you the long dreamed scheme of a painted floor of my basement.  I am so thankful this project is nearly complete.  It is AMAZING how a coat of paint can clean and unify a space.

Backstory- nearly two years ago now, with the help of handy and generous parents I completed a small renovation of my basement that included new panels in a drop ceiling and laminate flooring throughout. Four months later I came home from a vacation to find that walking on said floor felt  and sounded a bit like walking on a waterbed. I eventually discovered that it was the water main leaking into my home. I had to pull everything out of the basement. I ripped out the insulation and sheetrock, the bathroom fixtures and the floor, subfloor and the 1 by 4 pieces and insulation underneath.  When the water line was replaced I was left with nasty bare concrete floor, stud walls and no insulation. Now the upsides: I had the entire basement sprayfoam insulated which in addition to making my home warmer, it also appears to have solved the mouse problem my 1924 house was having.  The walls have been repaired and resheetrocked and then I was left with this floor.

Do you see  those squiggly lines? They were made by an adhesive that had been used to glue down big pieces of foam insulation.  And the gaps in between filled by the orange arrows? They orange arrows are pointing to tiny little rusted nails that held 1 X4 boards to the cement. The nails broke off when the boards were plied off.  These boards and insulation board were underneath a layer of plywood that was meant to level out the floor.  Without that board, the floor no longer could host the laminate and I was left with a mess.   I, along with generous friends and family, spent hours scraping away at the glue which you can see below.

When we weren’t scraping at glue we were using a very large crow bar to work at breaking off the remainder of the rusty nails below the surface of the cement as seen below.

I’ve been chipping away at this bit by bit for the last year or so.  We finally arrived a point last week when we were ready to paint! We washed down the floor, allowed it to dry, and also allowed us to find a few more nails and adhesive we had missed! Here is the before of both the basement and the steps (which had previously had a nasty laminate on them!)

Here they are with a coat of primer (which we let fully dry for one full day before adding a coat of paint.  The steps need a full coat of paint yet, but even the primer has done wonderful things.  (Please ignore the walls of the steps. They are awaiting a skim coat!) Those that know me will find it amusing the color I chose was Gray Squirrel from the Martha Steward Living Collection.  I’ve had an ongoing battle with the fiesty bold squirrels in my backyard.  This is the only squirrel I am happy to live with!  We tinted Behr primer and paint made specifically for floors (both wood or cement).  The color came out beautifully I think!

A few tips: as you can see there are plenty of cracks and divots in this floor. To get even coverage we used a paintbrush to hit the divots and cracks and edges before and while we rolled on the paint (with a broom handle extension).  Fred rolled and I filled in divots with the paint brush in tandem and it saved us a lot of getting up and  down to fill in the cracks this way.

My Gray Squirrel floor is hopefully a temporary solution. In the long run we hope to level the floor and put in actually flooring- maybe carpet tiles.   In the meantime, a plethora of rugs I own will help warm the space and make it more livable.

I am also planning to stencil the steps with a great stencil Fred and I bought at the Frank Lloyd Wright Studio and Museum this summer in Chicago.  It will be a great reminder of our first trip together and will incorporate Fred’s love of architecture into the home we’ll soon share.  Look for a blog post on that in the future.  In the meantime,  do you have any suggestions for stencil color?

Button Hat

19 Nov

I recently offered up a custom knit hat for a charity auction.  The winning bidder picked this cute pattern that I’ve had in my stack of must-knit-someday patterns.  She wanted to incorporate the colors in her scarf into the hat, so I took her scarf and went hunting for some yarn to match.   I found two options that would work for the pattern and I thought went pretty well with her scarf.

She picked the Rowan yarn on the left, which would have been my first pick as well. I knit it up, and found a fun 2 inch button for the final touch.

Hometown peeps and friends in the Duluth area: I’m knitting a second edition of this hat for Stephanie Rambo’s benefit in Duluth on December 8th.  Go support Stephanie and bid on this hat (and lots of other things too)!!  Check out the details here:

Anniversary Ornament

16 Nov

I know, I know, posting holiday ornaments in the middle of November doesn’t seem quite right, but this is actually a Happy Anniversary Ornament!  My dear friend J married B a year ago.  Their first anniversary was just last week so this is a Happy Anniversary gift for them.  I’ve had their wedding invitation hanging around for a while knowing I wanted to do something for them with it. This example of an ornament I found on pinterest had me digging in my craft supplies for the glass bulbs I knew I still had from a failed ornament project of long ago!

Joayne and Ben’s invites were a bright burst of color.

I pulled them apart and cut out their names, wedding location and other important details that were all included in the wedding invite.  I then cut the paper into pieces that would easily fit into the clear glass globe I had left over from another project. I was using card stock which wouldn’t curl easily like the Pinterest example above, so I left it in straight small pieces.

I soon realized that the pieces of color were too big and weren’t highlighting the special words I cut out of their invitation to show.  So I cut the colored pieces into confetti.

And this seemed to do the trick. Here is the final product. Happy Anniversary J & B!

Meeting my Blog Idols

15 Nov

Tomorrow, I promise a blog post on crafts – a holiday ornament in fact! Today I recount the FOUR HOURS I stood in line to get a chance to meet John and Sherry Petersik of the blog Young House Love.  What a line it was: Delicious cookies and hot chocolate from the local Common Roots cafe, and lots of Young House Love crafty fans!  The folks in line were 95% female with a few men thrown into the mix.  The majority were there to support wives/girlfriends (like patient Fred who accompanied me), but ahead of me was an unsuspecting gentleman who stood in line for his sister because she really wanted the book.  I don’t think he, or any one of us who arrived at 5:30 for a 6:00 event, thought we’d stand in line that long, but once we committed we weren’t willing to walk away!  Here we are at about 7:45 pm. I originally stepped into line on the opposite side of the building of this photo. Two hours into the wait we could at least see the West Elm sign!

Sherry and John took time to talk to each of us and take photos and personally put a message in the book.  Quite the experience.  They were down to earth and friendly even after three and a half hours of talking to strangers and being nice. Here is my long awaited photo! Thanks for visiting us in Minneapolis John and Sherry!

Sweater Pillow

13 Nov

A couple weeks ago, I made some napkin pillows for my living room.  This week, I’m trying out another pillow option by re-purposing a sweater.  I’ve had a knit pillow on my knitting to-do list for ages, but figured this would be a quicker solution in the mean time.  I picked up this Men’s XXL cable sweater at a thrift store for $3.00.

I had picked up a lumbar pillow form from Ikea a while ago for a few bucks.  When I placed it on top of the sweater, the width of the pillow fit the width of the sweater perfectly, which meant I could use the existing side sweater seams for my pillow cover.

I used my rotary cutter to cut the sweater just below the sleeve line.  I decided to keep the finished bottom of the sweater and would figure out how I would close this side – maybe buttons, pins, or even a zipper.

Now all I had to do was sew the top seam.

I then inserted my pillow.  I’m going to play around with how I want to close the bottom of the pillow, but have left it as is for now.  Let me know if you have any ideas!

Here’s the finished pillow.