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11  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Crocheted flower brooch for Christmas on: December 04, 2013 12:33:50 PM
My mother in law is coming for Christmas, so not only do we need to buy her a Christmas pressie she can use (her request), but also as we have stockings full of little bits & pieces, she must have something too: which is kind of hard when she says I don't want lots of pointless bits and pieces I'll only throw away.

Anyway, amongst other things, more or less practical, I've crocheted her a brooch. It's pretty much the only pattern I can crochet yet. It is supposed to have 3 layers of petals, but I gave up after 2.

I used a highly textured blue wool which I'd previously knitted a square for a blanket from, I'd decided that I was never going to knit with it again, but I thought I might try crochet and see if it was better. No. It wasn't. However I did use that ball up, so now I know, I won't buy it again, nor anything like it either. Also it was the perfect colour for my mother in law.

So. at the point of no more wool, I'd done 1 round of petals and it looked pretty pathetic. So I had a rummage through my stash and found the perfect colour to go with the blue: a very pale cream, but I only had a tiny amount in super chunky or a weird flat woven ribbon, which I liked, but I didn't think my mother in law would. Thinking outside the box, I split the super chunky, so I now had twice as much and of a more suitable weight to continue with. I crocheted one petal of the next layer, decided I really really liked the combination, but sadly I didn't have enough to finish all 6 petals. I relucantly took the flat yarn and started on the next petal, I wasn't very keen on that, but I persevered and made that round of petals out of alternating yarns. I hated it right up until the point where I'd finished all 6 petals. But once I'd looked at it, it began to grow on me considerably. I tried some green to represent leaves, because I was once again out of yarn, but that really looked dreadful and so I unpicked that pretty promptly.

Anyway, here is my mother in law's brooch. I hope you like and I hope she will as well.

12  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Knitted necklace on: March 17, 2013 08:28:55 AM
I had this tiny bit of baby wool left over, I didn't like it, but then I didn't choose it for me. I didn't want to waste it however, and I had a pattern for a beaded necklace I wanted to try that only needed a wee bit of wool. I have more beads than I can shake a medium sized stick at, so that was a no-brainer.

Do you know, I still don't like this necklace and I'm debating frogging it Undecided, but I did learn a lot about beaded knitting.

A It works best with the same sized beads.
B Don't use big heavy beads unless you have big heavy wool.
C Metal beads rough up the wool something chronic.
D Beads that have a right and a wrong way up need some thoughtful handling
E Using a little PVA on the end of the yarn really works well as an impromptu needle for beading.

oh, and F don't try to photograph anything on a glass table. Wink
13  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / A vase? or a Votive holder? on: March 14, 2013 02:49:02 AM
I really can't decide. It will be beautiful as a vase, especially when my garden starts producing flowers for it!
But I tested it as a candle holder and the light is so pretty coming through the sticks.

Anyway, it's made from a jam jar, a bunch of prunings from my garden, and the ribbon off a pair of garden gloves I was given.

I first of all decided on a length of stick, cut the straightest pieces I could find and kept them all the same way up. I then stuck some double sided sticky tape around the top of the flat bit of the jar and placed 2 or 3 sticks to work out the spacing. Then I started with the hot glue around the bottom of the flat bit, half way through I took off the first sticks (that weren't hot glued) and carried on round until the whole way round was done. Then I hot glued the ribbon over the place where the double sided tape was, but that wasn't really necessary.

It was a really off the cuff, unplanned project, but I love it. Smiley
14  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / My local shops stopped stocking my washing powder. on: March 13, 2013 04:14:12 AM
So, what else do I do? I make my own Cheesy

I used this tutorial http://snottydog.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/eco-friendly-washing-tabs/

Now-of course- it never runs smoothly does it? Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

The size of the soap bars isn't given in the recipe, so, having only small bars on hand, I used 3 x 100g bars. Either the soap in the USA isn't the same as the soap in the UK or I picked a particularly dense sort of soap. The dissolving took an age.  Roll Eyes

Eventually, I gave up using a spoon and just whisked the mixture, to at least get an even distribution of lumps. By the time (about an hour & a half  Angry) I'd got all the soap in, it didn't look like soap soup at all, but was a sort of paste running around the bottom of my pan.  Shocked
Yikes! I gave in Lips sealed and added another 3/4 of a pint of water to make it fluid again, even if it was very viscous. Undecided

I didn't dare take it off the heat at that stage- it would set if I didn't give it my best Paddington Bear stare all the time.

I very quickly made up the washing soda solution (generous name to give that- at the bottom it was a bit like a cup of coffee where someone has put sugar in- when you don't take sugar Sad- but decided not to stir it, so you don't notice until you've drunk too much to complain  Embarrassed) and poured that in too. Another good whisk round- not too fast, so I didn't make bubbles- but getting into every corner and it was finally thin enough to risk taking the heat off. Undecided

Of course, then I discovered that I didn't have the ice cube trays I'd intended to use: they'd been put to a more normal use!
Bah Humbug! Wink
So I covered the base of 2 roasting dishes with cling film and poured the stuff into those and set them outside for half an hour whilst I calmed down with a cup of tea. Smiley
The cling film didn't melt, the roasting trays remained clean and the stuff set beautifully. Cool Cool Cool Even with the extra 3/4 of a pint of water the stuff has set soft enough to cut and hard enough to keep it's shape and not stick excessively together. Grin

Of course I rushed the pouring, so I didn't get even layers in the dishes and my cutting isn't perfect so my tabs are all different sizes. Undecided So now I'm discovering just how many I need in a load. 5 little ones for a big load is good Grin, 2 big ones for a half load is good Grin. 2 little ones for a half load is rubbish Sad.

But I now (after 2 weeks of washing) have still got 2 1/2 tubs left, I don't think that's bad really for 2 1/2 hours work and 1 of ingredients.
15  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Making paper in the kitchen. on: December 14, 2012 09:33:47 AM
I am so absurdly proud of this. 9 signatures of handmade paper, that's my handmade paper, made by my own hands over the summer this year. Every hot sunny day (and there weren't many of them in the UK this year) I was outside with my hands in cold water. Due to the drying time required and the equipment I have, I could do a maximum of 4 sheets in a day. I've learned an awful lot doing it, and will be making paper again next year Smiley. The book is coptic bound as the recipient loves all thing egyptian, tenuous connection I know, but I had to decide somehow!

All pages are made with recycled paper: I took the pile of recycling, chose from the non glossy stuff and just placed it in colour matched piles. The stronger the colours in the chosen paper, the stronger the colours come out when dry. I tore the paper into bits, mixed with water and blended it to get the pulp. Sometimes I then added bits: threads, flower petals, herbs, glitter e.t.c.

Things I learned:
  • Blending the pulp in warm water makes it pulp down quicker
  • Wallpaper, even when torn into little fingernail size pieces doesn't pulp down
  • Flower petals, contrary to reasonable expectations, even when massively fragile, also don't shred in the blender
  • There is such a thing as too much glitter in the mix
  • All your neighbours will come and ask what you're doing
  • Threads look better when they are longer, but it makes it much more of a pain to get an even coating on your deckle.
16  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Do you have someone you'd like to strangle at Christmas? on: December 14, 2012 09:11:55 AM
This is for my brother-almost-in-law

He's no Scrooge, nor yet a Marley's Ghost, but does do a lot of roleplaying and should enjoy it for a reference to one of his ongoing games.

This is for my mother-in-law

She'll love the soft creamy wool next to her skin and the thick-thin yarn should go with many of her coats. It's the first time I tried a knitted button cover.

They're both made from remnants from other projects and were knitted up mostly at break in work.

Disclaimer: I love them both, I'd never want to strangle them for real.
17  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Marley's Chains on: November 04, 2012 03:30:48 PM
As the weather gets colder we all need a wee bit of warmth. But the men amongst us don't always want to seem soft. What can be better that carrying the chains of the world around your neck, whilst also giving that  wee bit of warmth, all hidden.

This is a pattern from knitty: http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter05/PATTmarleysghost.html

I've knitted it twice now, the first time I felted it, but the acrylic mix yarn really didn't like it very much. It felted OK, but the end result was ugly. I suppose that's what I get for using the spare yarn from my stash, rather than the one specified in the pattern! However I like the look of the scarf without felting, so I present to you my second attempt.

First a close up of the links

And the whole thing
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / What? All that from one ball of yarn! on: November 03, 2012 12:38:38 PM
So I got given a whole load of odd balls of wool when I first started knitting, there were some real stunners in there along with the inevitable acrylic.

I've just felt qualified enough to start using some of the stunners! This is my first piece of lace knitting (OK, the first piece that is all lace) it was a fairly simple pattern and there are only (as I recall) 2 mistakes in it, and after blocking, I can't find them, so I guess that's all right. It's the Blossom Silk-SeaCell shawl from the luxury yarn one skein wonders book.

I just love the way the colours stream out from the centre, and that the background is actually dark brown not black. It's gorgeous, but I've decided to give it away: it'll go to my longest friend.
19  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Paper wreath on: October 09, 2012 02:48:03 PM
I got a load of books only fit for dismantling by dint of asking my local library for some. Wink

I've been trying some new things with them. This one I ripped the covers off, stewed in a pot of tea and had at it with a glue stick. A little later on I burned myself with the hot glue gun for the first time, but I'm sure not the last.

My real a-ha moment here was the idea of getting out my hubby's low temperature plastic stuff: you drop some in a mug (or other water container of hot water) and it becomes soft & pliable until it cools to room temperature again. Well, once I'd got a cone size I liked, I used the plastic to make a template for the other cones. It worked brilliantly  Grin, loads of quick, uniform cones. I must remember to use it for more templates!

Anyway, it's pretty and I like it.
20  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / I hate moths. The ones that eat my clothes only. on: October 08, 2012 01:49:20 PM
This autumn I have noticed several clothes moths in my house Angry, I don't want them to eat my lovely jumpers. I don't want them to eat my lovely carpet that I saved for ages for Cry.

But, I don't want to squish them or poison them either. So looking through my book of old wives tales I find that conkers (horse chestnuts) are supposed to discourage moths, and I love conkers Grin. Maybe that's why there were no clothes moths in my old house?

So I went a-conkering and came home with a big bagful. I got my drill out (how I love playing with power tools! Wink) and set to work.

My cashmere jumper newly protected

Hanging in my wardrobe

A beautiful bundle ready for anything that needs extra care.

I've also tossed a few into my knitting stash.
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