Monday, August 30, 2010

A focus on the crafts of others: Stephen's homemade pickles!

Last month my husband decided to make pickles!  We tried to grow some cucumbers in the garden for pickles but all we ever got were a couple of sad little cucumbers.  They were even curved in little frowns...  Lucky for Stephen, he found the perfect little pickle sized cucumbers at the farmers market! 

First he whipped up a batch of pickling spice.  The recipe came from the book, Charcuterie, and it is full of all sorts of exciting stuff, or at least he thought so, because for weeks after he made them he'd come up to me like this once or twice a day:

What a goober...

Sorry honey, but I don't find your spices all that interesting...

Then he stuffed the cucumbers and spices in a couple of jars with some water and vinegar and other stuff and stuck them in the fridge.  Our fridge pickles would be ready in about 2 weeks.

All done!

Take a look at those lovely pickles! 

Now Stephen is such a happy boy!  He loves homemade pickles. In fact, he likes to tell me sometimes how one time he ate so many of his grandma's homemade pickles that he threw up.  Gross...

"Yay!  I love pickles!"

I, on the other hand, hate pickles. No, I don't hate pickles, I HATE pickles.  There are few things that I think are more disgusting than pickles. In fact, maybe there is nothing I think is more disgusting than pickles.  However, Stephen really wanted me to try one.  Since he is my husband, and I love him, I told him I'd try one bite, but he had to record my genuine reactions.  I like to keep this blog real you know.  So here's what happened...

You know, it wasn't the worst pickle I've ever had...

"Whatever!  More for me!!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Do you freecycle?

I do!  I haven't been super active in it, but freecycle is a great way to share your unneeded goods with your local community.  And they will share back with you of course.  I bet there's a freecycle group in your community! I sooooo wanted to freecycle my ugly green chairs, but I had already promised them to my sister so that would not have been nice...

Anyways, I haven't offered anything up on freecycle yet, but I did snag a bag of fabric pieces and sewing/crafting supplies!  Hooray for me!  Here's what I got!

A partially completed Christmas cross stitch

Some Pellon Wonder Under.  I've never had any of this before, but so many tutorials I've read call for it, so I'm pretty happy to have a little to play around with!

Some cute quilting weight fabric - I love the strawberries/rose bud fabric (I can't really decide what I think they are...)

Some velvety and some sort of satiny purple fabric that photographs grayish-blue

A decent sized piece of batting.  I can always use batting!

Some more purple/dark blue fabric.  I think this pile was fleece, but I've stashed it away somewhere so now I can't remember...

Some baby printed flannel

Some small scraps of canvas weight fabric.  Aren't the butterflies cute?  They might make fun patches for something.

A BUNCH of interfacing.  I've already made good use of this stuff!

And strangely enough some puffy paint.  I found it stuck in the bottom of the bag, doesn't really go with the rest of the stash does it?

Go ahead and check out freecycle!  You never know what you might find :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Craft room overhaul part one

I've been working on updating my craft room recently! Hooray!  One of the updates I've made is to install some "daylight" lightbulbs in the ceiling fan.

Why would you take a picture of that??

It was totally weird having these lightbulbs for the first few days, but now I am in love with them!  If I leave the lights on in the spare bedroom/craftroom Stephen and I find ourselves wondering "Are the windows open or are the lights on in there?" when we see the light pouring out of the open door into the hallway.  Awesome!  I think this has really made an improvement in my pictures taken in there (I'm still no professional though - sorry people).  Things actually look the right color! For example


Instead of this:
 (My walls are NOT yellow)

There are still plenty of shadows to contend with of course, but I feel like an improvement has been made.  At the very least, pictures are much easier to edit in Iphoto.   I'd love to be able to get enough natural sunlight in from the windows, but since the majority of time I spend in there is in the evenings, I've gotta work with what I've got.  More changes to come... :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Josie's Bunnies: Purl Bee Bunny Finger Puppets

Do you ever have those projects where you start off really excited about them, get to work on it, and then it fizzles out after a while?  Man it happens to me all the time!  This is one of those projects.  First of all how could you not get excited about this tutorial?  I found it over at the purl bee (which if you haven't checked it out, you should.  It's such a fantastic blog!)


I started on these with the intention of them being an Easter gift for my niece Josie.  That didn't exactly pan out, so I thought I would just send them as a surprise Josie present in my sister's birthday present box in May.  If you recall, I think I mentioned in an earlier post that this didn't exactly pan out either.  They did eventually get to Josie sometime in July and I hear they are a big hit!

I know I can't do any better than the tutorial over at the purl bee, so I'm just going to direct you there. As for my blog, please just enjoy the pretty pictures :)

 I just noticed this!  The tutorial took their bunny photos on a green back drop, and 
I took mine on my ugly old green chairs - great minds think alike!

I did make some minor changes from the tutorial.  I didn't use the recommended spring felt bundle, which I'm sure is just amazing!  I have limited selection here, so I just went for run of the mill Hobby Lobby felt squares.  I went ahead and picked up all the neon colors.

Also instead of stitching them with white thread, I used colored embroidery thread to match the felt.  I was pretty impressed at how closely I got them to match.  Go me!  I sort of followed the order the tutorial told me to sew them in. I don't actually remember now, but I know I didn't do it exactly the same.  I'd say, just do what works for you! Oh and instead of sewing the tail on, I just hot glued it.  I was just sick of embroidery thread by then!

Anxiously awaiting their tails

Anyways,  I hope you enjoyed my bunnies!  I did have a great time making them once I set my mind to it.  And I think they are just about the most adorable things ever!  Don't you?

 Off to Josie's house we go!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thread Project #1: The cop out super-easy thread in a vase project

Raise your hand if you didn't do any writing for your blog this weekend.  Yeah me neither.  I ended up only being home long enough to watch one TV show about fancy cakes, watch one movie with friends, and sleep.  I did manage to dig something up for the Monday post though :)

Remember all that thread I got from my grandma's house?  I posted about it here if you don't. Did you wonder what in the world I was going to do with all of them, especially since they are so old and brittle, that they aren't actually useful for sewing?  Well, I sent a gob of them to my sister, and she reported that my niece is now using them for blocks, but since I don't have a little girl (or boy) of my own, I had to think of something else.  For my house, I wanted to throw together a quick and easy project to display some of the spools.  I don't know if you can even really call it a project actually.  I'll let you be the judge.

Here is what I "made":

Hey! It's thread spools in a vase!  I think it's a really cute way to show off some of my threads.  I only used colors that I only had multiple spools of for this project, and they wouldn't even all fit in there so I had to try and weed out some of the more "blah" colors.

Here's what it looks like from the other side:

This side is ok, but I really like the bright yellow spool front and center on the other side - don't you?

So, if you find yourself with an overabundance of thread spools, here's a possible way to display them.  I still have tons more, so I promise the next thread project will be a little more exciting, if only slightly :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm behind!! Oh dear...

Happy Friday the 13th!  It looks as if I've gotten behind in writing blog posts...  oops!  I try to do all my writing on the weekends when I've got some free time, and write up enough for a weeks worth of posts (or 2 weeks worth if I'm feeling ambitious!). However, I've had house guests recently for a couple of weekends, so didn't get a chance to get ahead in my writing.  No big deal since real life takes precedence over the blog you know.  But then last weekend I didn't do any writing, just because I was being lazy and I wanted to loaf around instead. And I've been doing so good keeping up with my M-W-F updates too... Sorry everyone. I'll try to do some real blog work this weekend :)

So no crafts for today, but here are a few things worth mentioning I think!

Earlier this week I was checking the mail, and turned around to say something to Stephen, and leaned on the screen door and OW! My arm started hurting!  Well I looked at the door and there was a wasp on it!  I got stung by a wasp!

I can't believe it!  I don't know why but a few weeks ago I had decided for some reason that I probably wasn't ever going to get stung by a bee or wasp again in my life. I know that this is a weird conclusion to come to.  But I did. I guess I figured I wasn't dumb enough to upset a wasp anymore, and only kids get stung.  Haha - good one me...

Next, have you ever tried Swagbucks?  I've been using it for the past couple of months and LOVE it!  It is a site that rewards you for searching like you normally would! You just have to use their search engine (which I believe draws from google and  I've earned myself a couple great prizes already :)  You can also take surveys and sign up for special offers to earn points, but really all you have to do is search.

Search & Win

My main goal is to save up enough money to buy a few Christmas presents for free!  So far so good!!  Anyways, if you haven't tried it yet, I'd love it if you'd sign up using my referral link ( because then I get matching swagbucks for any you earn from searches.  It's good for both of us really!  Trust me - this site is totally for real! 

Finally, you may or may not have noticed that I added an email subscription option on the sidebar!  If you are interested in keeping up with my posts but don't want to have to come out and check what's new, or don't have a reader to tell you when there is something new, go ahead and sign up :)  No pressure!  I decided to add it because the other day I kind of cornered a friend at work about why he wasn't reading my blog.  His excuse was that his reader was so full that he couldn't keep up with it but if I had an email subscription he could know when to come read.  Now I know this was just an excuse to get me off his back, I am aware that my blog probably doesn't have a lot of appeal to men ;)  However, I thought this might be a valid excuse for some people, so now you have a new subscription option!   You're welcome!

Thanks for suffering through my ramblings for the day, and I hope to be back to our regularly scheduled craft updates next week!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Grandma Stash Part 3: Tools and such

Here we are at the last "Grandma Stash" post.  This post will consist of all the tools/other stuff that came in my bag of wonderful goodies!

I've been telling people for ages "I need some pinking shears!" hoping that someone would buy me some out of the goodness of their heart.  My mom did offer to give me hers once I think, maybe just to get me to stop asking for some, but as a crafter I felt I could not take such a useful tool away from her.  So when she went to clean out my grandma's house she found these for me!  They seem to still be in pretty good condition too!  Great!!

Did you ever wish you could cut your hair with pinking shears and end up with perfect zig zag ends? 
I know I did...

This is "The Perfect Fit" pattern maker book thingy. I haven't looked at it too much, but it appears to be for altering patterns.  Seems pretty neat to me!  I find that my patterns never fit me quite right.  Do you have that problem too?  Maybe you don't since you already know how to alter patterns...

I think I'm going to try and make that outfit on the far left...

I also got a Singer Circular Stitcher.  This seems kind of cool.  I don't have a singer machine though so I don't know if I'll ever be able to use it...  Still, it's kind of fun to have around, if just for the vintageness.

Next is an old box of pins.  Another cool vintagey thing if you ask me. And I can always use pins!

Next is this mysterious black box labeled "sewing kit." Actually, it's not mysterious at all, it's just a sewing kit.  But it is jam packed with all kinds of goodies.

Inside is this US Navy Sewing Kit. My grandpa was in the navy so I'm guessing this was his.  Did the sailors all have to learn how to sew on their buttons?  And if they could do it, why can't my husband?

Looking inside the sewing kit, it's pretty much just a needle book now...

The big box also contained a number of spools of thread.  I tried sewing a button for my husband with some of this but it's all pretty brittle now, it just snapped off any time I tried to pull it tight.

In the bottom of the box is a great assortment of safety pins and buttons.  I have used some of these already!

There are also a bunch of little scissors and other various tools in the box.  And a thimble! I never had one before now!

One of the tools in there is this thing below.  Does anyone know what this is because I have no idea!

Mystery tool...

I kind of like the idea of keeping my grandma's sewing kit in tact, so I'm not going to try and put a lot of this into my sewing stash.  I do pull out the buttons and safety pins now and again though.

I hope you enjoyed reading about all my new toys!  I know I'm excited to have it :)