Tuesday, August 31, 2010

DIY week recap

Whoops! I feel like I didn't provide a nicely fitted bookend or commencement to DIY week. Immediately the following day my fall semester began; now I'm up to my elbows in books that have horrible titles like The Program Evaluation Standards: a Guide for Evaluators and Evaluation Users, Utilization-focused Evaluation, and Process Evaluation for Public Health Interventions and Research. Aah!

Well, speaking of interventions and evaluations, I thought I would stop in here for a bit of sanity and a little evaluation of sorts.

How did your craft week end up?

I have two finished objects to share from DIY week.

First, I was really feeling a bit cheap because I never lined my blue suede skirt. (If you're wondering--what blue suede skirt. Please see here).

Materials used: An old, cotton, button down, cast off from S's closest. It feels nice and soft on the toosh. I hope it will end up being a good long-term choice.

Second, I picked up a sweater at a thrift store in Northern MN last summer thinking I could frog it for the yarn. Turns out it was produced row by row with separate strands of yarn--not really worth the time. Unfortunately I didn't take a before picture. The basic structure of the sweater looked something like this number.

Except, of course, it is orange, has long sleeves, and lace edging. The lower front of the sweater had a pattern that looked something like this.

Overall, the sweater was too long for me, the bust line was, um, too high and I wasn't interested in the lace pattern covering my stomach and then some. Anyway, it was on it's way out the door until DIY week inspired me to take another look. I thought about it for a while and realized. Aha! I can unravel the front bottom half of this sweater, take off several inches in the back and convert it into a cardigan. And, wallah!

The lace edging on the lower half of the sweater was originally attached along the hemline. As a final touch I sewed this edging on to keep with the pattern structure on top. If you notice there is a different texture on the bottom portion of the sweater because the yarn is recycled and I broke a knitting rule. Yikes, I tied the yarn strands together in knots. Yep, I know, send me to the dog house now. Frankly, I like the subtle differences in texture.

With leftover yarn to spare, I made an I-cord and branded my sweater with a wooden button from Charlottesville. It's nice to have the option to wear it open or closed.

The basic construction of the sweater was already done. With my simple conversion this turned into a perfect project for DIY week. The question remains, is it worthy of posting on ravelry since I didn't make all of it? What do you think?

ps Please note: I'm still wearing my six items underneath. Today is the last day. I'm excited to wear different clothes tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I don't think I mentioned that I recently spent some time in Charlottesville, Virginia visiting QuiteContrary. It was a fun week and I have a few things to share. But, I think my sharing will have to be in bits and pieces.

Charlottesville is loaded with quaint little shops. So, we did some browsing and some purchasing. I don't have much of a button collection, but I'm thinking of starting one. And, I came home with a good start of a collection. Here's what I found at a little vintage store.

While we're talking buttons. I thought I might also share some buttons that I crocheted over. I finished my mustard cardi a while ago. Someday soon I'll have the big reveal. We just need to do a little photo shoot. It's the first sweater pattern I've ever designed! Anyway, I thought that it would be nice to have the buttons in the same color as the yarn.

It goes with the style of the sweater I tell you, just you wait and see...

Monday, August 23, 2010

In the News...

I thought I should share that on Friday I submitted this photo to the aksuperstation to be shown on the ten o'clock news. Aksuperstation is one of our local news sources broadcasting on ABC. Everyday Steve the weatherman posts one photo that someone has submitted and on Friday they chose mine!

This was kind of exciting for me because a) I've never done anything like that before and b) after I took these ladies photos I was feeling bad that I hadn't asked for their contact info to send them a copy of the photo. So, here's hoping one of them or someone who knows them saw their photo on the ten o'clock news. I should also note that S is the one who encouraged me to submit the photo, I never would have thought to do so if not for him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Research and Reading

Yesterday was a bit of research and supply gathering day. On quilting day I realized that I didn't have the right background fabric for my quilt. So, S and I spent most of yesterday wandering around the Anchorage trail system and making our way to the quilt store. When we got there, much to our surprise a fantastic sale was going on and the store was loaded with folks gathering fabric. While I picked out a basic bone colored fabric, (I use the descriptive word bone because that was really the name of the fabric) S picked out some yarn for a project.

S says he is going to make me something! This makes me very happy. The rest of my afternoon was spent in the knitting & crocheting section of Barnes and Noble.

Today, I'm going to switch gears a bit. It feels like a reading day to me. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is calling to me and I can't ignore her anymore.

Friday, August 20, 2010


My sister came to visit us the first week of August. It was such a treat to have her here with us. One of our many activities while she was here included making earrings. Neither of us had really made earrings before and, while they aren't perfect, I'm happy with how mine turned out.

My sister made some great earrings too. I wish I had taken pictures of hers to share. Today, I decided to try making another pair of earrings. Here is how they turned out.

I rather like these stones because they were one of the few items that my Dad gave to me. He was a collector of many things and a frequenter of antique and thrift stores. Sometimes he would come home with jewelry for my mom, sister or myself. These agates are from a necklace he gave me when I was probably in seventh grade. I never really wore the necklace but I've always loved the stones. I'm glad that I finally figured out a way to wear them.

Tonight in the kitchen, S has dough going for homemade pizza. Our standard Friday night meal. And, there's a growler cooling off in the fridge. It's going to be a lovely evening. Happy Friday night everyone.

Interrupting Craft Week

to say it is GORGEOUS out! Bring your craft outside!

I asked these ladies if I could take their picture. They were having too much fun. I hope where ever you may be you're having as much fun too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day Two: Quilting Time

One of my first memories from childhood involves me playing under or around my mom’s sewing machine while she was frantically peddling her singer with various commissioned work. While my brother and sister headed off to school, I was the youngest child stuck at home trying to find ways to entertain myself in my mom’s sewing closet. It seems both fitting and frightening to me that my life is still filled with textiles, fibers and dreams of creating something with these materials.

My mom received her college degree in Home Economics, which I believe is now called Textile Arts. And, for as long as I’ve been around she’s used her degree to bring in a supplemental income. For a while she made aprons with stencil work and sold them at a local, dare I say, boutique shop (Country Roads), when Cabbage Patch kids were all the rage my mom made the dolls and the clothes and sold them at craft fairs, then for a while she worked for an interior designer. Out of all her aspirations and hard laboring jobs my personal favorite was the years that she restored antique quilts for a quilt dealer. This dealer would come rolling up our driveway, open up his car trunk and carry loads of black garbage bags into our home. It was kind of scary actually to be in a room full of garbage bags, until he started opening up them up and showing off the pre civil war quilts, crazy quilts, postage stamp quilts and the cigar box quilts. The patterns, the fabric and the intricate stitches were loaded with stories and a history of women working together to make something beautiful.

So, on day number two I’m pulling out fabric I’ve been hanging onto for sometime to make myself a quilt. One of my roommates in college made a baby blanket with the cathedral window quilt pattern, and ever since I’ve wanted to make one too. Today I found a great tutorial here. I imagine I’ll be working on this quilt for sometime but it’s just exciting to get it out and start working on it.

A little note on the fabric I’m using: When S and I got married I decided to buy fat quarters from Joanne fabrics to use as napkins at our reception. I knew that one day I would want to put together a quilt with fabric from our day.

Also I have a lot of old embroidered tea towels and worn out pillowcases with embroidered edging that I would like to incorporate into this quilt too.

Happy crafting…

Clarifications of Craft Week

It has come to my attention that perhaps this week should be called DIY (Do It Yourself) week rather than craft week. As some have mentioned the word craft can at times bring up associations of paint by number. That's not really what I had in mind, but if that's what you're into go for it. On the other hand this also reminds me of the old discussion from an aesthetics class on the topic of craft vs art. I'll have to ponder these ideas and definitions today while I proceed into craft/DIY/art day number two.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the Kitchen--Granola

(Again, please forgive the bad lighting.) My friends Abby and Philip always make their granola in bulk. (At least whenever they've made granola and I've been around it's always been stored in a big bulk container.) It seems obvious to me if you are going to make granola to double or triple your recipe. I just never have. But, tonight I decided to do it up and I threw in all the oats I had--15 cups worth.

I always use my Mom's granola recipe as a rough guide when making granola:

Combine and heat this mixture:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup molasses ( or molasses and maple syrup, or just maple syrup)
1/3 cup honey
after you have done that-
Add 2 Tblsps. oil (Grapeseed) and pour over:

4 cups thick oatmeal
1/4 or more cups shredded coconut
1/2 c. nuts, any kind
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c. pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt.
Stir all together and spread on a big jelly roll (cookie sheet)
Bake at 325 degrees, 35 minutes, stir every 10 min. or so.
When done you can add dried fruit.

I've got round three in the oven now. Tonight I used walnuts and sunflower seeds and used up all of the shredded coconut that I had ~2 1/2 cups. Tonight I cooked part of the granola in a roasting pan which also worked out well. Now we'll be set with breakfast for a while.

What I'm wearing--in six items or less.

When the NY times Thursday styles did a feature on the six items or less project, I decided to join in for the month of August. What is it? Basically you vow to wear only six items out of your wardrobe for the whole month. This of course excludes uniforms, sleeping wear, active gear and outerwear. Why are people doing it? From what I gather the reasons vary. Quite Contrary is also doing it with me and her top reason for doing so was because, “it will force me to be thoughtful about how blessed I am to have more than 6 pieces of clothing.” I would have to say that my reason for doing so was also along those same lines.

This experiment has also made me focus on altering clothes to fit my body shape. Since I’m making the point to only wear six items I wanted to make sure they fit properly and were comfortable in both professional and relaxed environments. I think I may have missed the mark on a few of my alterations but I’ve been learning through this process that it's all just part of the experiment.

So what did I chose and what did I alter? Well, here goes… (Please excuse the poorly lit photos.)

Blue cotton sleeveless button down—thrifted. First, this shirt was too big for me so I took in the shoulder seams and hemmed the bottom. Second, the armholes were lined with a ruffle edging which I cut off and sewed the ruffles onto the buttonhole edge.

Gray knit long sleeve wrap—Ross. No alterations. But, I will say that yep, I’m a Ross junkie when I’m in the lower 48. I’m not always sure what to think about it, though I do feel good about buying items that would likely be thrown out however maybe they shouldn’t have been produced in mass to begin with…

Purple dear t-shirt—thrifted. No alterations. This felt more like active wear at times.

Gray short sleeve sparkley sweater—garage sale. Took in at the shoulders and created a little gathering at the sleeves.

Black halter-top dress—Patagonia. Talk about a well-made dress--definitely worth the money! I did hem it several inches.

Levi capri jeans—Costco. Ha! I took the capri out of the jeans but they were still a little too high on my ankles. I look a little silly in them but no ones stopping me from wearing ‘em.

I’m now three weeks in and surprisingly I’m not sick of my clothes just yet. So, how does this relate to craft weak? Well, today I found myself picking out and altering six items for September. And, drum roll, I’ve decided to try the six items experiment for the rest of the year! I’ll plan to share my September six on September six.

Declaration of Craft Week, August 18-26

Hi Everyone!

It looks like I'm ready to knit in a tree again. What a horribly long absence from sincere blogging! Well, I'm back and ready to get back in the swing... And, to start off I'm declaring it craft week starting today and going until Thursday August 26. Won't you come and join me?

If you get a chance in the next week, take some time to pull out your favorite medium and start creating. It doesn't have to be knitting related, I'm likely going to steer away from knitting myself as I hope to focus on a few other projects that I've been neglecting.

And, if you feel inspired to share what you're doing, please don't hesitate to send me an email with pictures, comment below, or update your own blog. And, I'll try to keep you updated on my progress on here too.

If I'm lucky I may even inspire S to join me in this pursuit. I look forward to hearing what is keeping you busy.