Friday, October 31, 2008


In my crafting these days I'm considering how I can use the materials I already own in new ways. For wrappings, I make little fabric bags to gift things in. For some free diaper covers, I'm using a felted wool blanket cast off from another project (details for another day). And this bag was made using yarn I got from ripping out an old knitted sweater that I didn't fancy anymore. And yes, this is one yarn, can you imagine it as a sweater? Not a very pretty sight.

How are you using materials in new ways to fuel your craft addiction?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Small is Beautiful

I received this beautiful pincushion (plus lots of other goodies) from PoMoGoLightly in the Ravelry pincushion swap. It is such a fun group, all the members so talented and kind; I get very inspired! The pincushions are fun because they are a miniature canvas on which to try new techniques. My first attempts at pincushions for this swap have a long way to go regarding craftsmanship, but I look forward to trying new things in the future. Check out the group on Flickr and be amazed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another One...

This is the second BSJ, because the first was pink. So I think this one will work for either a boy or girl. If it's a girl, then I'm going to make a cute little red dress to wear underneath, and if it's a boy, he's going to get some red pants. Hard to tell from the picture, but the stripes are teal and light blue (not white).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mini Book Ornaments

These (not the best picture) are some miniature book ornaments all packaged up for a swap I'm in. As you can see from my Etsy shop, books are my thing, so I thought it only appropriate to make some minis and turn them into ornaments. They are kind of like my Booklet Brooches, but larger, with blank inside pages. I am hoping that people will get creative and write Christmas memories, draw pictures, add small photographs, or collage in the pages to make them personal tp their family. At least that's what I would have wanted to do with such an ornament as a child! Maybe, if I really get motivated there will be some for sale in the shop soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Handmade Christmas

Almost every year for Christmas my brother receives a well-intentioned, but unfinished, knitted present from me. Two years ago it was a half-knit scarf; last year, I gave him a store-bought sleek Banana Republic scarf to make up for it. So this year, good intentions aside, I HAD to finish a project that I started for him; and not just finish, but in time for Christmas. To make up for previous years, it had to be something big and substantial, and since he would probably rather die than wear a hand-knit sweater, I decided on an afghan. My first ever. With cables. And eyelets. And lots of pattern repeats.

This does have a happy ending though, because I finished the afghan on Saturday with two yards of yarn left! I am so happy. And hopefully he will be too with a real finished present on Christmas Day.

And since he doesn't even know about my blog, I can disclose what gives me so much satisfaction about this project: it only cost $15! I consider that a triumph! The pattern was a free leaflet at Joann's, and each of the five balls of yarn cost only $3. It's value has been very much increased though with the love and prayers I've knit into it for him.

This reminds me of a wonderful blog I came across last night: Taste the Goode Life. Evidently this lady had a cooking show on the BBC for many years which was very popular. Now she writes this blog everyday, and has so many good ideas for frugal cooking and a frugal Christmas. I'm excited to be more financially mindful this Christmas, because I know it will (it already has; witness the $15 afghan) increase my enjoyment of the season as I savor what it really important. Check out her blog for yourself. She is quite an entertaining writer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

February Baby Set

This little set is for a baby girl coming in February. It is my for my partner in the Ravelry Oh My Baby! swap, who just found out she's having a girl. And...if I end up having a girl, there will be more where this came from. These two patterns are from my best-loved baby pattern book, Simple Knits for Cherished Babies, by Erika Knight. Her patterns are simple and practical, and can easily be dressed up with a few embellishments, or not, as desired. Hers are the only baby booties I knit; I don't think they can be beat!

And, on another note, I finally figured out how to insert hyperlinks into my text (I know, I know, pretty basic!)!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I was spoiled...

These are the beautiful gifts I received from The Great Knitted Purse Swap, my first swap, on Ravelry. Look at the gorgeous color and design of this purse knit by carolannb! And she so sweetly packaged everything and filled my bag with all kinds of goodies, including something for January Baby. You spoiled me, carolannb!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hot Drinks for Hot Mamas Apron Swap

This is the apron I sent to my swap partner Tammy for the favorite hot drinks swap. She loves coffee, and I found this neat coffee bean print fabric and geared my complementary fabrics to a mocha/cappicino-like color. I also sent her some coffee cup cozies, and one of my handbound books with a vintage food print on the covers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More with Less...

This is the title of a new cookbook I've been gifted, and my new focus for meal planning these days. I received it from my mom who is trying to help along my endeavor to save money on groceries and still cook wholesome meals. The book came out in the 1970's when there was a lot of attention given to fears of over-population and future scarcity of food resources. Put together my Mennonites, it tries to encourage the mindful use of food in our cooking, which sounds good to me! We have recently cut back on our meat consumption, and I can now stretch one package (what used to be one meals worth), to several meals.

This picture is of the first recipe I made from the book, Wheat Germ Balls, which turned out O.K., but they really need to be slathered with peanut butter to make them really delicious! Which is totally acceptable if you want a sweet, high-protein snack. DH is just very suspicious of anything with "wheat germ" in the name, so I had to make chocolate chip cookies the next day:)

I think you can buy this book on Amazon, it has lots of good nutritional information, and I look forward to trying some more casseroles to stock the freezer for Baby's arrival. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Destash: Scrap Fabric Wreath

In an effort to continue cleaning out my stash of craft supplies, I made this festive wreath for the basement door. I pulled all my red, pink, and green colored fabrics, and used them up to make a new decoration!

First, I cut the fabric into strips that are about 1 1/2" x 6"; any size really will work, just make sure you can tie the strips in a knot.

Then, with your purchased wire wreath frame, start tying the strips onto the frame, packing them pretty tightly to cover all the space.

Continue in this way until you've covered the frame and the wreath is pleasing to you. I finished it by tying a pretty ribbon on one side to use as a hanger.

Easy! And now you have an (almost) free new holiday, or anyday, decoration!

Peach Gobbler

This is the peach cobbler (or gobbler!) I made with those beautiful fruit farm peaches a couple of weeks ago. I used the Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe formula, and it was worth the extra effort. My beef with Cook's recipes are that they use so. many. dishes. So my goal, whenever using their recipes, is to reduce the amount of dishes, preferably to one bowl or pan. Maybe it's the artist in me, but I don't mind missing ingredients and usually just try to substitute something similar:) I'm not sure that would make the Cook's people proud!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

To Market

I've started utilizing re-usable grocery bags when doing my shopping, and I love eliminating the clutter of plastic bags, as well as helping the environment. I still haven't found a solution to the plastic produce bags, but this little market bag above is a first attempt at creating something re-usable, practical, and pretty (of course!) for holding fruits and vegetables. I modified a wonderful pattern from, making shorter handles, and held two strands of linen yarn together to make it really strong. Now, I think it's just about perfect for carrying those heavy fruits and vegetables. This one in the picture is destined for a new friend, so I have to get busy making more for myself!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And the winner is....

Kelli...who's favorite Audrey movie is Breakfast at Tffany's! Kelli, if you would send me your snail mail address to, I will pop your present in the mail.

Thanks to all who entered, it was fun hearing all the different movie favorites, and I appreciate your participation. And stay tuned for another giveaway soon!