Thursday, July 03, 2014

Sneaking Up On The Fourth of July

I don't have much to brag about at the moment. The hot weather here kills my productivity. I'm definitely not a desert person. This is about the 5th or 6th day of triple digit weather. It is 100 degrees right now at 3:30 PM. Last time I was in Apple Valley it was 109.

I'm not up to having some hot knitting sprawled all over me, but I did think I would be okay with one square. This little square will turn into a bunny.

I thought my boyfriend said there would be a craft fair down in Lucerne today but I can't find any mention of it on the local community pages. I'm debating whether I want to go out there in this heat on the off chance that it is happening. The truck doesn't have air conditioning. I know there are fireworks tonight but that's a lot of hours to sit in the heat until the sun goes down. That reminds me I should take my own chair. A swing band is playing at 7:30. That might be fun. Tomorrow morning there is a parade. I couldn't find out what time that starts either. While the local pages did mention they've had a parade for 40 years, there was no mention of the start time or the route. Seems you are just supposed to magically know that from having lived here for a decade or so.
Making a bunny from a square.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Challenges at the Shoebox Ranch

I've been completely overwhelmed trying to clean my house in case the landlady follows through with her plans to sell it. So I've had little time for crafting or designing or blogging. But I can't stay healthy without creating things so I spent an entire day in a mall crocheting, people watching, and forgetting my problems. That was last Saturday. This Saturday I stayed home to clean since we are running out of time, but I still plan to get back to that crochet project today. I haven't even touched it since I left the mall!

To make matters worse my boyfriend is sick too, but has to work anyway since his job offers no paid sick leave. It is basically sink or swim (or swim until you sink).

On the positive side, my hypnosis has been paying off. I have 3 hypnosis clients that have paid me for sessions, so I can at least pay a few bills and keep gas in the truck.

Spring is here and the birds are serenading me. I have a new roadrunner lurking in the yard as well. And the chipmunks are out of hibernation and running all over the place eating the peanuts and almonds and corn from the critter feed mix I get at Winco.

So I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we don't lose our home and that the universe smiles upon us. Think good thoughts for us.
Free form spiral medallion for the back of a vest or jacket.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Paddy's Day Hat & More

Knitty Gritty Knits Book

I've been crafting up a storm so I thought I better take a breather and catch you guys up. I was making a triangle hat from the Knitty Gritty knitting book, and before I even had that one completely done, I thought it would be sweet to have a hat like that, only in shades of green, for St. Paddy's Day.
My first triangle hat work-in-progress
So I began making the 26 triangles for a green version. I finished the last triangle at about 2 AM. So far so good.
Making a chicken coop out of used pallets.

We are also in the middle of building a chicken coop that's taken the better part of the last 3 days. I'll write more about that in my Country Living blog. My hands are so sore from pulling out nails and staples so we can use re-purposed pallet wood. It's a challenge for sure. The chickens were supposed to be delivered yesterday but the man got sick so no chickens until next Monday.  But that's okay, because the coop isn't nearly done yet.

Last night I was going to do beadwork, but by the time I got everything laid out and finished helping with the coop, the sun was going down. And it's windy today so if I do beadwork, I'll have to find somewhere inside to do it. Either inside the container or inside the house. But I have so many dishes to do before company comes, that I may not get to that either. So much to do, so little free time.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Knitting in green for St. Patrick's Day

Friday, February 28, 2014

How I Made a Fascinator

What is a hair fascinator? It is a hair doodad that you wear instead of a hat. They are often trimmed with tulle and feathers. Remember you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
  1. First I gathered all the parts together that I thought I might need. I rinsed out and dried a 2 Liter soda bottle to make the support for the fascinator.
    From left to right: Soda bottle, fabric, pink tulle, square buttons, gray felt, contact paper pattern, feathers, and pearl trim.
    2. I cut an oval out of the contact paper. I picked this so it would be flexible. I held it against the bottle and traced around it with a Sharpie marker. Then I cut out my oval. This goes inside the fascinator and since it has a curve it fits the shape of your head. I saved the pattern to cut out the fabric and the lining. When I cut the fabric, I allowed 1/4" seam allowance. On the future ones I'll add 1/2". 
    Save the pattern for the plastic, the fabric, and the felt lining.

    Hold the pattern to the bottle and trace around it.
    Carefully cut out the oval and clean up the edges a bit.

    3. Now think of it as a sandwich. You are going to have 3 layers: Fabric, plastic center, & felt lining. Got it? I placed the fabric on top of the plastic and used a sharp needle to tack it through the plastic at both ends with a needle and thread to line it up. I recommend using a thimble. Then I ran a running stitch along the edge to get it to fold around the plastic.  Then I sewed the gold pearl and chain trim around the perimeter.

    I only sewed through the plastic when I had to. When I sewed the pearl trim on, it is 'couched' onto the green fabric; not through the plastic.

    4. The pink tulle came from a costume I bought to rip apart last Oct. I tacked that to one end, followed by the feathers and then a gold 'knot' button to cover up the ends. 
    You can still see the plastic inside the fascinator. This will be covered by the gray felt lining.

I am amused that the fabric I picked has an illustration of a woman wearing a fascinator.

Love these square buttons. I used 3 on the fascinator. They'll look great on the dance floor.

Polka dotted guinea hen feathers.
I sewed the buttons through the plastic.
5. After you sew on everything you are going to add, it's time to sew on the felt lining. Line it up carefully, tuck the cover fabric under it and sew the edges together with a whip stitch as neatly as possible. Most people would then attach it to an Alice band, but those are too small and pinchy. So I usually sew mine to 1/8" black elastic or stretch cording. If you have light colored hair you can use white or beige elastic.
Attaching the lining.

6. You can do some of the steps with hot melt glue. I live in the desert and I don't feel secure using glue. But if you needed to make a bunch in a hurry for a dance recital and they'd only be worn a few times, hot melt should be a lot faster. You can also use it to keep things from shifting before you sew them. I like hand sewing, so I sewed it all together.

Hair Fascinator by Fayme Harper from Pigglewiggins

For the photos I just used bobby pins. Now I just need someone to invite me to a cocktail party or the Kentucky Derby.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hair Fascintor With Feathers and Pink Tulle Made Out of a Soda Bottle

I'm busy making a hair fascinator, photos to follow. I'm just about to sew on the polka dotted feathers.

Here it is: Fascinator

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sand Candle From Repurposed Wax Part Two

I was so excited to dig up the candle this morning.

  1. Untie the wick from the stick. Use the stick to loosen the wet sand from around the candle. It's like digging up treasure.
  2. Brush excess sand off of candle.
  3. Now I could have either let it dry and then brushed more sand off, or rinsed it off with a hose. I used the hose and it only took a few minutes.
    I can't wait to see what it looks like!

    Loosen the sand around the candle.

    Brush off the excess sand.
    4. Trim the wick
    After rinsing with a hose.

    5. Eventually I'll make the candle level by sitting the candle in a old warm skillet and carefully adjusting the legs.
    6. If you want to remove more of the sand, you can dip the candle in a pot of simmering water. But I like my sand candles sandy. It reminds me of the beach.

Shell detail. See the layers of pink and brown?
This is a demo photo for the blog. I'd never burn a candle this close to books.
Finished Sand Candle
When I level it, it will look like this.
    If you make one I'd love to see it. Put a link in the comments.  
    TIP: I collect old pots and pans for candle making and keep them in a box for that purpose. Probably best not to use your candle making pots and  pans for making food. Thrift stores and yard sales are a great place to look for old pots and pans. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Making a Sand Candle Out of Recycled Wax Part 1

I got tired of talking about making candles and decided to just do it. I learned how to make sand candles in the 70's, and I made them again once in the 80's. So here I am again. When life gives you sand, make sand candles.

Getting the Mold Ready
Fill bucket with sifted sand.
Close up of wick placement and holes in sand made with my fingers.
  1. I filled a bucket with sifted sand. Sift it through whatever screen you have on hand. I used a bicycle basket with fine holes. 
  2. Get the sand damp. We're talking 'sandcastle' and not 'mud pie'
  3. Dig out a scoop with your hand to put the wax in. Then I poked my fingers in to give my candle 'legs'. 
  4. I took a seashell and pressed it into the side, with the part I want to show facing into the sand.
  5. Place a wick. I used a stick to loop it over so it will stay where I want it.
Wick placement.
Melting the Wax
  1. I melted my wax in a 'double boiler' set up using an old thrifted tea pot and a metal can. I should have bent the can to make a pour spout but oh well.
    Melting wax for a sand candle.
    Almost melted. Use an old fork to remove debris like old wicks or paper bits.
  2. Heat the water in the teapot over medium with the can of wax sitting in it. The tea kettle is about 1/3 full of water. Never leave wax unattended. It is flammable. So keep the heat down and keep an eye on it.
  3. I used old candle wax, two warped tapers, a few crayons, and a chunk of beeswax so the can would be almost full. As the wax melted I stirred it with an old fork. Then I fished out the old wicks and debris with the fork.
  4. I turned off the heat and let the steam settle down. Then I put a lid over it and carried it outside with a potholder.
    Carefully carrying hot wax outside.
  5. I very carefully picked up the can with tongs and poured it into the mold. Wax shrinks in the center when it cools so I knew I'd have to pour a 2nd layer.
    So far so good. You can see the seashell poking up a bit. The second pour will cover it.

    The hardest thing about making candles is having to wait to see the end result.
  6. I melted another 1/2 can of wax. Most of it was beeswax and a few crayon pieces. 
  7. I probably should have waited about 2 hours before the 2nd  pour, but I just wanted to get on with it.
    After the 2nd pour. Just the right level of wax.
Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow to see how it turns out!