Friday, November 28, 2008

more thrifting

I left the house in a hurry Friday morning and subsequently forgot my dress blouse for the concert shift. I was wearing a company polo shirt, but we're not allowed to wear those for concert shifts. Bummer. And I didn't realize it until I was already to the Grand Station on the Metro; way too late to go back and get my shirt or to call C and have him help me out since he had to be to work 1/2 hour before me.

Good thing I had some $ in my pocket with my ID and MetroPass. Thrift Plus had a 50% off everything but furniture sale today. I picked up a great dark blue silk dress blouse and a burgundy polyester one as well as several more sweaters for felting. I'm debating keeping the grey cashmere one for myself or felting it and making matching warm, fuzzy hats for my newly re-found elementary school best friend and her 1 year old daughter.

C apparently found a terrific package deal on a new digital camera and that is my holiday gift from him this year. The battery is charging right now, but you can be certain I will be posting lots more pics of things from here on out. Yay! I think the first post containing pics with the new camera will be a tutorial for handmade lotion bars. They're solid bars of lotion-y goodness that melt at skin temperature and help keep my eczema-prone skin happy all year. I used the last of a lotion bar I had purchased at a craft fair a while back and my skin has been upset with me over it ever since. I'll be stopping by Cheryl's Herbs just down the road from the spice shop later today after I get out of work to pick up some beeswax, a little more cocoa (or maybe shea butter), and maybe some other things.

my craft-related wishlist

I'm going to be participating in the Craftster Ongoing Wish Swap #41 in December. So here is my Wish List! I'll be adding and editing as the swap progresses throughout the month.

bolded items are really big wishes!

Crafted Items
- cardboard, paper, or natural cotton shredder/preener toys for my medium-small size parrots (similar to anything on this site just without dyes as I think one of my fids is allergic to something in certain dyes, makes him really sick and pukey :( )
- cute ruffle apron (like from here) in warm earth tones
clothespins with crows or some other bird on them similar to this
- handmade hot pads/potholders
- fabric shopping bags in manly-type fabrics (for my boyfriend to keep in his car for when he randomly decides it's time to go grocery shopping on the way home from work)
- knitted size XL (US women's 18-20) shrug so I can wear some sleeveless lovelies to work, prefer black/charcoal/grey/etc. for color
- fabric roll container thing for my crochet hooks (I keep them in a hard plastic pencil container right now, but that's also where I keep my needles and threads for small embroidery and sewing projects that I travel with)
- thread catcher to use with my new sewing machine
- thumb pincushion, natural fiber fabric preferable
- clothespin bag for the clothesline outside
- fabric napkins to pack in lunches, bright colors preferred
- knit legwarmers (I have large calves, so a size XL I think maybe?)
- all natural body powder, would love something in rose, bergamot, ylang-ylang, or a combination thereof
- handmade dryer balls (to reduce static without using chemicals I'm allergic to)
- basket to help organize WIPs (boyfriend is annoyed with the embroidery in the living room, crochet in the bedroom, sewing on the kitchen table, etc. all the time) any medium you like
- handcrafted brooch, any medium
- sturdy fabric wallet (I've been carrying my ID and such around in my pockets and frequently misplacing them for the last year since I completely wore out my duct tape one)
- recycled bottlecap fridge magnets

- wool or cashmere sweaters for felted crafts
- cotton or linen bias tape
- rotary cutter or mat
- yarns appropriate for simple crochet projects (so far I'm pretty good at blankets, hats and scarves :D)
- old jeans (for squares for a quilt I have been working on slowly for a couple years)
- rickrack or lace
- darning foot for my sewing machine (Bernette 66)
- 2 inch squares of cotton fabric for another quilt I'm working on, any color/pattern
- stuffie patterns (sewn)
- pinking shears

- postcard from your area
- sachets for clothes drawers (lavender, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, cedar, etc. would all be wonderful)
- heirloom vegetable seeds
- marigold and/or zinnia seeds, any variety
- I would absolutely LOVE any old Foxfire or Mother Earth News you find or do not want
- a favorite recipe or two

Thursday, November 27, 2008

woohoo safety gear!

Or, What I used to do for a job. I'd say what I used to do for a living, but it really didn't pay well. I got to wear nifty safety gear, though, and that was fun. The puking and diarrhea after accidentally splashing the chemical neutralizer in my mouth was not fun at all, however.

results of thrifting a couple weeks ago

All sweaters have now been felted with the exception of the cardigan and they are all quite lovely. The green one is super thick and yummy; I think I'll make potholders out of it. And I think the multi-colored one is still destined to be mittens, possibly for a lucky Craftster member in one of the Ongoing Wish Swaps. Who knows. Pics of felted goodness forthcoming. :)

my apologies

It has been a heck of a week here. No time at all for blogging. A week ago this morning my little Crash-inator had a heart attack. She squeaked with everyone else when I came out into the living room in the morning and then when I opened the window shade she started flapping and screaming frantically as only a dying lovebird can. Poor little thing. :( I miss her a lot, but not nearly as much as Bird. He's heartbroken once again in life. He blames me for the fact that Crash went away and hasn't come back.

These were both taken about 2 years ago when C and I were living in Mt P, MI. She never really liked socializing with me much; she'd rather hang out with C while he was gaming. She sure liked playing in my hair. though.

Bye Little Squeaks. We miss you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

embroidery update

I'm working at the spice shop all day today. No time for anything related to the internet or blogging or crafting. Here is a pictorial update on some of the embroidering I've been working on. I also went thrifting for wool and new to me clothes at the Salvation Army last night after work. Pics of soon-to-be-felted goodness forthcoming.

Mosaic for Monday

1. The Red Door
2. Color Me Red ! ~ Free Burma
3. Red Flower for Fabio
4. One Red Egret Feather

6. Red and colorful parrot
7. red hands sewing
8. Red Riding Hood bunny
The Big Red Button

kitty hat

It seems that I have been making the same mistake repeatedly for the last few days. Clicking the "SAVE NOW" button does not, as a point in fact, publish your blog posts so that others can see them. Oops! Sorry about that. Four new posts today because I have been internet-stupid and not reading the things I have been clicking for my blog posts.

It's cold here again. Always happens this time of year, but it seems to have happened more abruptly than normal this year. As a result, C did not have his winter hats or scarves washed up and ready to go soon enough. So he got out this little number I made up for him last year.

Polyester faux fur, cotton/poly lining, satin ear lining. All fabrics were salvaged or leftover from previous projects. The satin came from an absolutely gigantic butt bow from a 1980s-era prom dress, the faux fur from pieces leftover after making my warlock's minion Halloween costume a few years ago.

sweater recycling

I went to Thrift plus across the road from the box office today looking for sweaters. I was initially looking for a great cardigan to add to my winter wardrobe. I did, in fact, find a terrific charcoal colored cardigan with real shell buttons that fit me just like I wanted. I have since removed all of the buttons except the extra one sewn into the side seam and the one at the very top since I never plan to have it all buttoned up.

While shopping at thrift stores for new to you clothes is indeed one way of recycling unwanted clothing that would otherwise just take up space in a landfill, another way is to use those nice finds that you absolutely love but would never wear or fit into.

Among the rows and rows of sweaters brought out for the season, I found the sweetest little 100% lambswool sweater in black and almost neon oranges, yellows and greens. It is a child's size large, so it would never fit me. And even if it did, the pattern and colors would keep me from actually wearing it very often, if at all. It is very soft, though, and I imagine that it will felt up quite nicely in the washer and dryer since it is already partly felted. I plan to make a hat and child's mittens lined with flannel as well as some smaller stuffed animals. Maybe a felted sweater elephant! Or some acornaments (hehe!) like the ones I featured in the mosaic on Monday.

You can also recycle sweaters by unraveling them to have yarn of your own to play and craft with. A very nice tutorial for this can be found here. There were lots of other nice wool, wool blend and cashmere sweaters I was practically drooling over. I think when I finish with the one I brought home I will snag a few more and turn them into pretty, soft, crafty wonderfulness also.

holiday gift

One half of a holiday gift for a very close friend. There is a matching hat as well, I just haven't seamed it up yet. Both items need the yarn tails woven in before being wrapped up.

The individual meant to receive this gift has since decided to get married, obligating me to make him something much larger for a gift. I think he will be getting his crocheted afghan, in shades of blues, shortly after the holiday season.

Hard to see in this pic, but there are 2 different oranges used; one dark reddish and the other just rather orange. There are flecks of the orange colors as well as reds and greens in the blue I used as well. Yarns came from C's sis-in-law's yarn stash; which C gave me when his bro and sis-in-law moved overseas this summer.

Friday, November 7, 2008


That was the greeting C got when he came home from work the other night. I decided I wanted something sweet and chocolaty to eat at about 10pm and set about searching the tubes for a one particular egg-less, butter-less chocolate cake recipe I found about a month ago. The cake it made was oh, so moist and rich and delicious and contained a seemingly sinful amount of dark cocoa. Too bad I forgot to bookmark the recipe or copy it down in any way at all. After several minutes of fruitless search engine queries, I gave up and searched for what looked like a good brownie recipe instead.

This is what I found. I followed the recipe as it was written for the first batch*, with the exception of adding 1teaspoon of minced, dried lemon peel and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. (More on fun times with lemon extract later in this blog.) Those ones were pretty good, but C and I both agree that the cocoa with the lemon didn't work really well with this recipe even though it's a combination I usually love. They were still brownies and yummy nonetheless, but the second recipe was what elicited my zombie-like "ohmigawdbrownies!" response to C walking in the door saying "Hi, how's it goin'? You're up later than usual."

I doubled the initial recipe outright, omitting the cocoa powder altogether. I added an extra tablespoon of Mexican vanilla extract (arguably my favorite item at the spice shop), 1 rounded teaspoon instant coffee granules (I think I have Folgers, but I don't believe it would make a difference one way or another with this one), and 1/2 teaspoon espresso-grind Cafe Bustelo (seems to be about the only kind of coffee C and I can both agree on) as well as... drumroll, please! Approximately 1/2 cup of cacao nibs I bought from Whole Foods about 3 years ago.

I didn't bother measuring or anything, just dumped the bag in there and mixed it in with everything else. OMG they are good. You should totally make them. Or something similar since, you know, I know that not everyone has a half eaten bag of cacao nibs sitting around the kitchen and I'm a proponent of using what you have. I think they would be just as delicious with coarsely chopped extra dark chocolate mixed in. Or maybe even coarsely ground coffee beans if you're really into getting a caffeine fix with your dessert-like foods that probably shouldn't count as breakfast but do every once in a while when you're not feeling like actually cooking something in the morning.

*Please note that I did not, however, make the icing/frosting for either of the batches.

Today's agenda:
ticket wench (but only for 8 hours today)
more embroidery (seems to be my default activity lately)
more granny square making (if I get my yarns and completed squares out of C's car before work)
hang out with the birds some
tear out the tomatoes and figure out what to do with all those green ones out there
WoW it up with C and our friend D and the new guild

my apologies

About a week ago, I set myself the goal of posting here almost every day. It's been a couple days since I have had time to come here and share though; lots of hours working at the spice shop. Hopefully all these hours will add up to being able to rent a car so I can go to my sister's wedding next month.

Here's what I made the towel yarn into:

It's a bath rug for in front of our shower/tub. I got tired of slipping all over on the linoleum flooring in there every time I stepped out of the tub. One of the towels I used didn't stand up to being washed and dried very well once it was cut up. I still have some more old towels to be used up though, so I can easily mend what went wrong.

On the agenda for today:
work at the spice shop
more embroidery
buying a shovel (if I manage to get to a hardware store before it closes today) to manage the compost pile out back; it needs to be dug up, turned and partially buried again

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

some post election-day fun

I haven't gotten pics of any WIPs or finished items. C and I went to Sam's Club to stock up on more kitchen staples yesterday we found a pretty decent digital camera for something like $120. I really want to get my Etsy off the ground soon, but it'll have to wait until I have a way to take decent pics of my items. That will have to wait until I can justify spending $120 or so on something that is not food staples or other items necessary for a properly operating household.

There was a fun little meme over at Cheap Like Me yesterday. Some fun things are on the list so I figured I'd give it a go this morning.

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Mark any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (sounds less appealing than whole insects, but I managed those just fine)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (not as bad as some people say it is, as long as it's properly gutted and cleaned; tastes like any other white fish actually)
9. Borscht (I absolutely love beets, but somehow I've managed not to have eaten this yummy-sounding item as yet)
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho (ridiculously yummy, my favorite item at the local Vietnamese place)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (Purple Cherokees are quite delicious, which is really saying something for someone who despises tomatoes in general)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (thinking this probably isn't my cuppa)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese (boiled brains weren't bad, but this concept isn't really appealing at all)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (are you kidding?)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (not so good raw, they tasted like I was drinking Jewell Lake back home. ICK)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut (I love just about anything cababge)
35. Root beer float (I agree with Cheap, even yummier with vanilla vodka)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (those crickets were pretty darned tasty, actually)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (don't think that's something I'll be trying)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (yay Coffee Concerts at the SLSO)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (not so good, really)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (sounds great to me, just like normal mashed taters, only fried instead of boiled)
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads (would never try this)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (looked like alien fetus and made my friend's apartment smell like a litterbox)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (I'd rather not)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (count me out for this one)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe (delicious)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (when the mailman hits a deer at the end of your driveway in northern Michigan in the middle December you don't question that it's roadkill, by all counts it's freshly killed venison and you clean and freeze it just like you would had someone actually hunted it)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (there are so many kinds of edible flowerswith so many different flavors)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish (not a big fan, but it's considered comfort food where I come from)
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta (great just about any way it's prepared)
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (Not opposed at all to eating it, just that it's not something one usually goes hunting for. That and the roadkilled ones aren't generally salvagable as far as eating them goes. Fishing bait, on the other hand, is a great use for roadkilled snakes.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

towel yarn

Made from old towels cut into long strips. That's my handy dandy size Q hook there in my hand. Can you guess what I'm making in that pic?

I'm busybusy with all the crocheting and embroidering going on lately, but an update with the finished project will be coming soon. There will also be an update on some of the embroidery that I have finished for my sister's quilt.

Current WIPs:
embroidery (and lots of it!) for Sister's quilt
49 blue-colored granny squares for gift for H's upcoming wedding
4 bridesmaids' dresses for Sister's upcoming wedding
cleaning and organizing the bedroom and back room (so I can turn the back room into a crafting room and be out of C's hair whenever I have sewing and embroidering things covering whatever area I had chosen for a temporary workspace)
4 white, fluffy faux fur boleros to go with the bridesmaids' dresses (surprise for sis and all involved since it's going to be December in Michigan and it's usually COLD)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

love monster

I call her the love monster. I made her up back in June of this year for C's birthday and he hasn't given her a name yet. I don't think he plans to. She is crafted from very soft, white faux fur with a really, really long one way nap and soft, but not quite as soft as the white, black faux fur. My own pattern. All hand stitched and hand embroidered. Ear tassels made of black, white and red embroidery floss. Eyebrows and dots all along tail are tri-colored french knots. Boy, did those take some time. She is stuffed with polyfil that I dumped a bunch of my rose perfume oil all over so she smells like me. C said she's one of the nicest things he's gotten as a gift in a while.

Ooh! I just realized that you can see some of the copper gelatin molds hanging above the stove. I love those things. So pretty by themselves what with the copper and all. And they make lovely jello things. Hm, I wonder if I could bake in those...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

texture love

I just found this blog by potter Joy Tanner. These pics are from her blog. I am totally in love with her use of texture. And the soda fire makes her work even more attractive to me.

Wow. So nice. Be sure to check out her Etsy!
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