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Posts Tagged ‘handmade’

Two of my nieces have sinks in their bedrooms. They share a full bathroom with sinks, toilet and tub/shower combination, but they also have their own sink in each of their bedrooms.Curtains for my niece 007

One of them asked me to help her figure out what to do about curtains for the window in her bedroom. I told her that I could make some simple curtains. There was a curtain rod already in place so we talked about how to hang them. I talked about making curtains with tabs and her response was “why can’t you just make a pocket and slide the curtain rod through it?” Music to my ears. The simplest way, an easy pocket to put the curtain rod through. I can do that. I was thrilled, then off she ran into the other room and came back with some brushed bronze colored shower curtain hooks and asked if I could use those. Sure. No more pocket, but a simple hem, add some button holes to slip the shower curtain rods through (as I crossed my fingers in hopes that the button hole stuff still worked on my old dinosaur of a machine (love my old machine!)

Curtains for my niece 004

She thought is was a bit odd to have a sink in her bedroom so I asked her if she was interested in having a curtain hanging there also. That way she could tie it back or just open it when she wanted to use the sink and close it other times. She thought about that for a bit and decided it was a great idea. So, we talked about how to hang that curtain and the easiest solution was curtain(s) with a pocket and a tension rod.

There is also a bulletin board that runs the length of one wall, so we planned to find some fabric to color that.

She has always liked aqua, but when we talked about colors I learned that she now likes blue and green combinations and that led to a conversation about the wall color (they were going to paint the room.) There was a fabric store nearby, so we printed out a coupon (gotta love that 40% off coupon!) and headed out the door.

Curtains for my niece 005

We walked through the fabric area so I could get a feel for where the different types of fabrics where, then we started looking at specific sections and colors. My niece quickly picked out a blue fabric for the curtains on her window, so I tried to guide her to fabrics that would go well with that fabric. She ended up really liking a batik in a rainbow of colors. There was enough on one bolt to cover the bulletin board and we had to find another bolt of a slightly different color for the sink curtains. There wasn’t enough on that bolt for the sink curtains so we went and picked out a coordinating color (green) to use as a filler to get the length needed to hang in front of the sink. I really wanted to do the pocket plus a few inches of the green fabric at the top and have the rest of the green balance the curtain down at the bottom, but she really wanted all the green at the top. Her room, her choice and she loves how it turned out.

Right after our fabric shopping spree, I headed up to the lake for a few days. I decided to wash all the fabric while I was there (there is a dryer there!) so when I got home to Texas I could just start right in on the sewing part of it all.

I have mentioned in other posts that I am not a seamstress, but I can sew some pretty good straight lines. These curtains where right up my alley.  In the past, there has been one problem that I always run into when sewing seems that have many layers, and that is the bit bump that they create where your presser foot has a hard time getting over the top of the bump and my needle can get off course as I sew down the other side and the thread can bunch up.  Well, I learned a trick….. and I will share it with you! I use a point turner! In the photo you can see it has a two little cut out areas. From behind,  the side, or the front, you can slide it around your needle and help bridge the height different where the multi-layer seam is raised up much higher than the other part of the seem you are sewing.

It works like a dream, maintains consistence for the presser foot and keeps the thread consistent too.

The curtains where mailed off this past September, and my niece loves them. I am glad that I could be a part of the process and share this with her.

Sincerely, Emily

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I must admit that my little alphabet list was blank when I came to H until I took the photos of the hand-painted ornaments that my Great Aunt made. Over the years, my brother and I have to receive the most beautiful hand-painted and handmade gifts from her. When my mom and I were up in Wisconsin visiting my brother we all had a great time going through all the decoration boxes as we decorated his tree. There were so many wonderful decoration filled with memories. We talked about the memories as we each pulled out another ornament. It was a lot of fun.

Hand-painted ornaments

Hand-painted ornaments

At the same time, we cleared out some things that none of use wanted anymore; old decorations that were broken and un-fixable. There was a plastic garland that had small fruit on it that mom used to attach to the railing going down the stair with velvet bows – that had to go, it was all sticky and just couldn’t be saved. 041I have some of my Aunt’s things on my tree, but it was so much fun seeing the ornaments that were going on my brothers tree. The photos I took aren’t the greatest, but they will remind me of those ornaments when I look at them.

As we talked and looked and decorated we realized that there are five generations of ornaments on my brothers tree. My Great-Grandmother, 2-Grandmothers, my mom, me/my brother, and his two girls. There is a lot of history there and a lot of great memories.

H is a lot of things; Happiness, handmade, hand-painted, holiday, history, and more

Do you have some treasured ornaments that are filled with memories?

Sincerely, Emily

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Grams yarn hangersI am taking a chance and posting this before Christmas, hoping that my nieces are not reading! This is all about Gram’s hangers. Now, I know my Gram wasn’t the only person out there making these, but she was the only person out there making them for me when I was younger… hence, Gram’s hangars.

When I got a bit older (I’m guessing 10 or 12 years old), she taught me how to make them. I searched all of our closets looking for one of Grams hanger. Do you think I found one? NO!  I just wanted to look at it and work out how I was going to make them. Do you think I remembered how to do them?  Yes, and no! I worked it out rather quickly, but I knew mine are a bit different. In fact, when I took the hangars I finished to MN this past fall to wrap them up and stash them away for my nieces, my mom came in to see what I was doing and then started pulling hanger after hanger out of her closest. All Gram’s hangars! She has all of them! I couldn’t help but laugh.

Started at the base of the hookWhat I love about using these hangars is that my clothes don’t slip off the hangar (and I made them by recycling old wire hangars and gave them a new purpose in life)

You start with two metal dry cleaner hangers that are of equal shape and size.  Tape them together in a few spots so you are fighting to keep the hangars together as you are working your yarn around them. You need two balls of yarn. They can be the same color or different colors, that is completely up to you, but the yarn does need to be in balls (not skeins). I could not remember how much yarn it took to make a hanger, so I bought two skeins of blue (for one niece) and two skeins of pink( for the other niece) and started wrapping them into balls. Make your yarn balls a manageable size so you can handle it easily enough and not be fighting with it to get it through the triangle form of the hanger at each pass. I made two hangers for each niece and have TONS of yarn left over. I could probably make them two more hangers each year for several years and still not run out (and hope they still like the colors I have!)

Make a loop

Make a loop

I started at the bottom of the neck where the hanger branches out and the worked my way around the hanger ending up back at the neck and then worked my way up to the top of the hook and back down to the neck. I know working my yarn over the hook and back gave it a bit of extra bulk, but I didn’t want to end at the top of the hook and have loos ends and knots up there where it gets most of its wear as it is put on your clothes rod and taken off over and over.

pass you yarn over the hanger and through the loop

pass you yarn over the hanger and through the loop

Tie both balls of yarn onto the bottom of the neck of the hangers leaving about a 6″ tail to work with later.  You want to keep one ball of yarn on one side of you and the other ball of yarn on the other side of you. I hold the hangar between my legs so that my hands are free to work with the yarn balls. I will mention that the chair that I sit on in our living room is an old swan neck rocker. It has open arm rests which isn’t the best situation because there isn’t much room on either side of my body to rest the yarn balls without them falling through the arms rest, off the chair, and unrolling out on the floor.

Pull tight

Pull tight

To make a “stitch” make a loop with your yarn and then pass your ball of yarn over the hangar and through the loop. Now pull it tight. The tighter you pull the more loops you will need to make to cover your hangar. The loosen your “stitches” the lass yarn. I made mine rather tight. From time to time you can also push your “stitches” so they are tighter together also. There are no rules here, do what ever you are comfortable with.

You can do one “stitch” with each color yarn or more. I did one hangar with single “stitches” and the other with two “stitches” with each ball of yarn before working the other side.

used single stitches on left and double stitches on right

used single stitches on left and double stitches on right

I finished by knotting my ends together and leaving about a 6″ tail on each end. I added pom poms that I made out of the same yarn and used the tail ends to attach them to the hangers.

Crossing my fingers that my nieces will love them.

Have you ever made yarn hangers?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Are you inspired by all the great handmade gifts our writers have been making? We like to cook things for the ones we love as well! Here’s some handmade recipes for holiday giving!

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Of course, sweets are the mainstay of homemade holidays, but this year I decided to go savory. Every year I grow tomatillos, make pints and pints of salsa verde, and then it sits on the shelf because no one eats it. Naturally, this year I decided I’ll make it in half-pint sizes, and then use it for gifts. I made 20 half-pints. When I went to check for this photo, I was down to 11; I think my husband has been eating it because of the nice small sizes. I used Rick Bayless’ wonderful recipe, and grew everything myself except the limes. By the way, this stuff is great on pizza!Salsa

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Well, Xan has me drooling over her salsa verde.

With the successful zucchini growing season this fall, I (Sincerely, Emily) knew exactly what some people were going to be getting this year for gifts! Zucchini Relish!  I started making this recipe back in the fall of 2009 with a few zucchini from my garden (before the nasty borer got to it!) and more from the farmers market. Now I am thrilled I can use all of my own, homegrown zucchini for the recipe. I have not harvested my horseradish yet, or I would have used that too!) I found the recipe over at Homesteading in Maine and I also have the zucchini relish recipe posted (with permission) over at my blog too.

Zucchini Relish 2We love this relish on sandwiches in place of mayo.

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While reading Xan’s post yesterday about the benefits of being frugal, I started to think about how different a lot of our Christmas decorations are compared to most other people we know.  While we have purchased a few things, a majority of our holiday decor is inherited, hand made, bought on clearance at the end of the season, or a “treasure” taken from trash that belonged to someone else!  I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you.

It’s big, and I’ve not seen anything like it,  but it’s one of my absolute favorite Christmas decorations.  We inherited this beauty from the husband’s Nanny several years ago…

Another decoration high on my favorites list is my grandma’s nativity set.  While I would prefer a Willow Tree nativity (as far as looks go, it’s much more my style), this one holds a great deal of sentimental value.  There are definitely a  few chips and nicks on these figures, and one of the wise men is missing a hand.  We just say it adds character!

We have received many handmade gifts and decorations over the years, but one of my favorites is this set of stockings.  A very kind lady from church made these as a wedding gift for us.  What a thoughtful gift.

Now, here is the disclaimer for the rest of this post…. the husband has some decorating favorites of his own!  He is all about the cheese factor.  He has been an avid Coca Cola memorabilia collector for as long as I’ve known him.  Several of “his” decorations have literally been saved from the trash.  We have a few of these grocery store cardboard “Santa Coke” advertisements scattered throughout the house.


While I was off on maternity leave with #2 (during the holiday season), the husband picked up a job cleaning a few banks in the area.  He found this “treasure” in the trash… new and in the box!  It was several years old, but had never been taken out of the box.   So of course it came home with him.

This sign is proudly displayed next to his full size leg lamp from “A Christmas Story” every year.  I will spare you that picture!  Another image I will leave to your imagination is the massive amount of garland he has strung all over the place.  It was all bought for pennies on the dollar at after Christmas clearance sales.

While we obviously have two distinctly different styles in decorating our home for the holidays, we make it work with a little compromise here and there (I decorate part of the house, he decorates the other).  The boys love it, and will always have great memories to share as they get older.  Best of all we spent little to no $$$ on any of it (except the leg lamp)!

How do you decorate your home for the holidays?

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As I was getting the beds ready for our guests a few weeks ago, I was looking, specifically, for a few more of my Gram’s embroidered pillowcases. I love using them in general, but really wanted to have them out for my mom and my niece.

“A crust that’s shared is finer food that a banquet served in solitude”

I enjoy the things that I have from my parents and my grandparents. I enjoy things that I have picked up at estate sales and yard sales. Things from the “past.”  Some of these things have stories to tell, others have memories attached.

When I was 10 years old, we moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota and my Gram moved with us and lived with us for several years. After Gram moved out and I got older I spent more time with her and learned to crochet and tat and knit.

I remember my Gram always had some sort of handwork she was doing. Whether it was knitting, crocheting, tatting. sewing, quilting or embroidery, there was always something to work on in the evening after the dinner was served. After the dishes were washed.  After we were in bed.

As I went into the drawers in search of more pillowcases I found other beautifully made items from Gram and my other grandmother. I also came across things they had collected over the years. I already have a number of linens out and on top of dressers and tables, but I decided to change a few of them so I could enjoy more of the beautifully handwork.

I am always amazed at the quality and beauty of each piece as I look at them. They make me think of my Gram, Grandma and the other people that made them. I wish I could turn back the clock to questions about each item, but I can’t. There are so many varying styles, I just don’t know who made what.

I know that the card table cloth in this last photo was made by Gram. As I look at each of the fabric circles I wonder where they came from. An old dress, an old shirt, my dad’s pajamas? I am sure if she was sitting right her, I could hear the stories.

Going through these linens from time to time always gives me a glimpse into the past and makes me smile. I had hoped when my mom and niece were her that we would have had time to sit down and look at them all together and talk about some of them so that my niece would have a glimpse into the past also, but there just didn’t ever seem to be enough time. We will get to it one day.

Do you have linens that cherish from the past? Do you use them?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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Let me preface this by saying i am an artist. Not everyone is, but i don’t think that should stop folks from making things from scratch. Making things by hand is often cheaper but most importantly: can be totally customized! I can’t stand standing at a card display searching “for that perfect card” when i could just whip up something myself. That doesn’t mean i NEVER buy cards, but i usually don’t.

I recently made my sister’s baby shower invitations. I drew and scanned the artwork, designed the cards and envelopes on my computer and printed onto blank cards and envelopes. I also added something very special: blank fabric flags for the guests to fill in their best wishes for my sister and her new baby. You can read all about the invitations and blessing banner at my three part series that i recently finished over at Pocket Pause.

I plan on making all my Christmas presents again this year: knit hats, mittens, soaps and other crafty Miranda things. It’s nice to reach out and give handmade things all year long, however. People love receiving something that you made just for them. Handmade is from the heart. You just can’t beat it!

What’s your favorite handmade item to give as a special gift?

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Yes, i spin yarn. No, my wheel is not an antique and neither are the robust group of friends i’ve made here in Oregon who are part of the even more robust fiber community. My wheel i picked up used at a great price and my friends i picked up from fiber stores and a local farmer’s market, and all of them already priceless to me. Isn’t “Clementine” spiffy? She’s a Clemes & Clemes Modern Wheel. (Please forgive the repulsive state of my kitchen. It’s a tiny apartment and it’s never clean.)

I am often asked “why would you spin yarn when you could just buy it in the store?” or “why would you want to knit a hat when you could just buy one in the store?” I believe those people are missing the point. I do still buy cotton yarn and lust after other folks’ gorgeous handspun occasionally. I don’t think everyone in the world needs to make everything from scratch, but in case you too are wondering why i’m crazy enough to spend hours holding balls of fluff in my hands and treadling my foot up and down, this is why i do it:

Some of my very first handspun, totally uneven, but super soft!

Spinning is an ancient art that is so simple yet so complex. By carefully holding the fiber of animals or plants in one hand, rotating it using a spindle or spinning wheel, and gently tugging it forward and back, you can create yarn: something beautiful and strong that can be used to make functional and long lasting garments. What’s better than that? I am also a sailer, or was in my younger days, and spinning is a bit like sailing in that you’re grasping just a few simple elements and harnessing them to do what you want. Wind and water make you go, fluff and twist make beautiful yarn.

Ultimately, I will be raising many of the animals who will contribute the fiber that i spin. I’m thinking of raising Icelandic sheep for their fiber and their meat, pygora goats for their cashmere-like fiber and friendship, and a few fluffy rabbits from which the softest of fiber comes. To raise an animal, sheer it, wash and prepare its fiber, spin it into yarn and create a sweater to be worn for the rest of your life: now THAT’S the reason that i spin. Spinning is relaxing, rewarding, and reconnects me to a time before the hussle and bussle of this century – and i get to wear or clothe my loved ones with the fruits of my labors!

What do you think of my very first knit hat? I’m an absolute beginner knitter, and it’s kind of atrocious. At least the yarn i spun for it is warm, if a bit uneven! I think the hubs likes it, even if it is “The hat of many mistakes.”  Read more about my spinning and knitting attempts and see how much nicer they’re both starting to look at An Austin Homestead. -Miranda

Are you a spinner? I know there are more of us out there than some may think… Why do YOU spin?

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Is this really true?  Pinch me? Am I really writing here with all these other wonderful contributors? What an honor.

My husband and I have been living north of San Antonio on the edge of the Hill Country for almost four years. When I arrived here I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do. When we left Palm Springs, CA I had a business beading and selling jewelry. I did a market every Thursday night in downtown Palm Springs and on weekends would travel around doing other shows usually in the LA and San Diego areas, but I would go as far as Tucson and San Francisco at times. Initially, I thought I would continue along the path of beading. Beading definitely took a back seat once the garden was in and my perspective on things was changing fast.

Mooakite Necklace

I laugh as I think of all the changes I have gone through to get to where I am now. I was a high school exchange student in Tasmania. I went to college and have a degree in Art and Interior Design. I worked in that field for a while. I then started taking flying lessons. At the same time I started working part-time at the flight school as a receptionist and secretary. That soon turned into a full-time job and I continued on with flight lessons working my way up to holding my commercial license and also flight instructing. I met my husband at that airport. He was flying and maintaining vintage airplanes at the air museum next door. My husband and I then moved to Kenya for a year. He flew tourists around Mt Kenya in an open cockpit bi-plane (think Out of Africa, complete with leather headset playing the music from the movie, leather jacket and white silk scarf) and I helped run the business from the ground and occasionally flew for fun. When we returned to the states we headed out to Palm Springs, CA for ten years, and now we find ourselves in Texas.

Within the first year in Texas, we put in a large vegetable garden with raised beds and my mom showed me how to make no-knead bread. That was one of the turning points for so many things for me.

Cheddar Cheese

I realize that nothing happens overnight, although there are times I wish it did. There are also set backs along this path and I realize that I can change some of those things, but others are in the hands of Mother Nature. As I look back on the past few years I see that I really have accomplished a lot. We have 1300 gallons of rain water collection set up and after this year of drought I realize I really need to increase that by A LOT if I want to continue to grow more of the food we eat. I have increased the amount of vegetable growing space and increased other flower and herb gardens with plans to do more. I have learned many new things from making soap and pasta to making hard cheese and I look forward to learning more things like making lotions.  Recently I have taken a few classes to be able to read knitting and crochet patterns and have take some sewing classes to brush up on reading those patterns too. Right now I am in the middle of a personal challenge to knit scarves for the 2012 Special Olympics Scarf Project.  I love herbs. I love growing them, cooking with them and learning about them.

Dill

I can remember when I was a little girl and making gifts. I am sure there was a macaroni necklace in there somewhere, but I have progressed a bit from that. Even though I am not beading full-time anymore, I still find time for some beading and other creative and crafting things like sewing, making cards, crafting, knitting; some of which I will share during REAL Holidays at NDiN as I make my holiday gifts this year. I always seem to have a long list of things to do or try. I look forward to sharing some of those things with you as I learn along the way. The holidays will be here before we know it.

I am very excited to be here at Not Dabbling in Normal. I will be posting here every other Saturday, and if you have the time, stop by my blog Sincerely, Emily to see what else I am up to.

Sincerely, Emily

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One can give only so many scarves as holiday gifts. One gets tired of knitting scarves over and over again…

crafting

So this year I’ve created knitted jewelery for the ladies in my life. It’s been a really fun project and I thought I’d share it here with you first. (It will also be available on Ravelry later today if you like to keep track of your projects there.) Hemp cording was used in place of yarn, but I’m also using jewelery wire and embroidery floss to create some more delicate looking pieces.

floss

Enjoy!

owl

Needles and Yarn: Choose your needle size and “yarn” gauge according to how tightly you’d like the finish project knit. A larger needle will result in larger holes between stitches. I used hemp jewelery cording; the black was knit with a size 3 needle, the tan with a size 7.

Slip on clasp for closure as you would beads.

Co2 leaving plenty of lead for jewel or charm.

row 1: k1, M1, M1, k1

row 2 :K1, yo, k2, yo, k1

rows 3,4,5 : k1, yo, knit to last stitch, yo, k1

row 6 : k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1

row 7,8 : k2tog, yo, knit to last 2, yo, k2tog

row 9 : k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1

row 10 : make stitches to continue row to the back of neck. Make last stitch extra loose to make closure for the necklace.

row 11: knit across, binding off in process. When you come to the end of the pattern, make the same number of stitches as you did on the right side. Allow closure clasp to remain on last stitch before continuing down to next row.

row 12 : (this row will bring you back down to row 11) k1, binding  off until you come to end of row.  Bind off last stitch by sewing through one stitch of original pattern.

Wrap extra CO lead to tie onto charm and pull through to make a knot. Add a dab of glue if you think it’s necessary.

tan hemp

Et Voila! A simple and pretty necklace great for any gift-giving opportunity.

Jennifer can be found over at Unearthing this Life where she blargs about living life in the slow lane.

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