Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cascarones (Confetti Eggs)

When we lived in Texas, our elementary school sold Cascarones at the Spring Carnival as a fund raiser. You should have seen what the school ground looked like at carnival time, eggshells and paper everywhere. . . My kids LOVE these and they are easy to make, and cost almost nothing.

So, you start by blowing your eggs. Wash eggs in warm soapy water. Take a long needle and poke a small hole in one end and a larger one (can be dime or nickel sized in this case) at the other end. I use a rubber jar opener to hold my needle firmly while poking the holes. Stick needle inside to break the yolk and blow egg into a bowl or cup to use later. Wash and dry shells.

We dyed our eggs with easter egg dye, but you can leave them plain or paint them or decorate them any way you want (glitter pens are fun). I tend not to go to too much trouble since they are going to be crushed right away anyhow. . .

Make sure your holes are large enough to add the confetti. I take the back of a spoon and tap them a bit to enlarge the hole. Add confetti with a baby spoon.

Apply some glue around the hole.

Cover hole with tissue or crepe paper, the more colorful the better.

Let dry and get ready to smash. It's so easy a six year old can do it.

I'm making my kids wait until Easter. Generally, the kids break these ON each other's heads, but it you have small children, it's better to tell them to break the eggs between two hands OVER the person's head. It's supposed to be bring good luck to the smashee.

I promise I'm gone for vacation now, but I wanted to post this before I left. Have a great week, y'all.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Why the Grannies, Ripples?

Because I grew up with them, you see? That's me at Christmas, 1979. See the ripple afghan made by my grandmother? My mom made the Lanz nightie (plus matching ones for her and my sister).

I got the true story of the granny square vest from my mom last weekend. My grandmother bought the pattern and yarn to make it and made one square. She didn't like how it was coming out (Mom's not sure why), so she gave it to my mom to finish it. My sister wanted one with purple in it, so mom made hers purple, red and white.

She says that both of us wore them quite a bit. Tres stylish for 1973. . .

I love the idea of making the same thing as my mom and my grandmother, I'm irresistably drawn to these things.

Dogwoods from yesterday's nature walk/ant bullying session:

We're leaving for Orlando day after tomorrow. Basically, it's the same exact vacation we took last year, Nick Hotel, Discovery Cove, Sea World, Disney. . . I'm trying to decide what to work on in the car. I think granny squares and a sock, and maybe the ripple for the hotel room. (I just don't want a repeat of last year's losing the knitting bag, argh. . .)

I'll leave you with a couple of interesting links to explore while I'm gone next week. I saw This linked on another blog. Make sure to check out the fabric on this tote. Makes me want to start screen printing my own fabric. . . This is kinda fun too. I haven't watched any of the shows, I don't have a video Ipod and haven't had time to watch over the computer. However, I'm getting to the point that if I see one more tutorial on how to recycle a pair of jeans, I'm gonna stab myself with a seam ripper. . .

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Spring Stuff

My backyard is like a fairyland right now, with the cherry trees blooming.

Tiger is checking out the birds from my sewing room window. The petals are starting to fall like snow, so the show will be over soon.

I started the ripple afghan yesterday. Wow, the acrylic is so wonderful to work with -- I can't believe it! I've only been using cotton so far and I was thinking I was straining my hands because crochet is new to me, but the fiber really makes a difference. I could ripple all day.

I started seaming the granny squares for the bag today, but stopped when I made one of them backwards. I'm taking it as a sign.

Can anyone guess what these will be?


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Scrappy Afghan

Here is a scrappy afghan that my mom had just finished last week. It is made up of blocks from her guild's *block of the month* that they publish in their newsletter. I'm not sure how well you can see it in the picture (click on it to enlarge), but she used an alternating crochet slip stitch to join the blocks. That way you can butt the squares against each other (no seam allowances) and it makes a nice decorative effect. She demonstrated it for me and it looks really simple and pretty. I also found it in my Crochet Encyclopedia book.

So, I went to JoAnn's yesterday, to get some tomato red fabric for this project:

See why I need to learn how to join squares? I'm planning a bag (another teacher's gift) and I want to use the Amy Butler print for the lining. I think the granny squares need some bright color behind them to make them pop. I've never constructed a bag like this, so I've got to figure out how to put it together. I might make this one a shoulder bag with a long single crochet strap.

Of course I only went shopping for one piece of fabric and came out with some lime green striped linen for a pair of capris and possibly a skirt, and some spring green interlock and rib for a t shirt and tank top.

Next I went to the yarn department and got all this:

It's a bunch of Caron Simply Soft for a ripple afghan for ds. I am usually a bit of a fiber snob, but I think for a kid's blanket, ACK!crylic will be fine. It's cheap and it's really soft, y'all. His favorite color is green, but his room is blue and red, so I tried to combine them all, with heavy emphasis on green. And I sent an email to join the Ripple Along. Can we say *too many projects?*

I am stalled on the Dollar and a Half cardigan. I keep messing up the lace pattern on the armhole decreases and I put it in time out for a bit. I need to sit down with it when I am fresh and alone and just buzz through that part. The pattern designer has a tutorial at her blog, so I'm going to go over there and try to absorb it all. Doing it my way isn't working. . .

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Irish Lace

My mom crocheted this tablecloth in the mid 1970s. She had a lot of time to work on it because she had broken her leg and had to have surgery on it, which resulted in several weeks of bedrest.

She said it came from a Woman's Day magazine article about making a blouse from Irish lace. She didn't want to make a blouse, but wanted to try out the pattern and ended up making a tablecloth. She used to send my sister uptown on her bike to buy more thread when she ran out.

(Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge it.)

All I remember about that time is that I learned how to use the washer/dryer, how to make Campbell's soup on the stove, and I got to go grocery shopping on my bike and pick up the mail at the P.O. every day. Looks like Mom managed to make some lemonade from lemons too. Good times, y'all.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


So I'm back from the Girl Scout trip. The girls kept themselves busy in the car with some finger knitting. Now I'm going to have to buy some bags of potholder loops, they're all hooked on it.

I drove the scouts but didn't chaperone the trip, so I was free to go visit my parents. I took photos of some of my mom's projects (blog fodder for the week). Here is a log cabin afghan she made last year.

If you have the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, it has some great photos and instructions on log cabin knitting. My mom cobbled this together from scraps. I have a similar project on my *someday* list.

Spring is gone and summer is here today -- it's nearly 90 degrees already and this is what my kids are doing this afternoon.

Dh turned on the pool heater for the first time ever, wonder how much our gas bill will be???

Thursday, March 22, 2007

White Flowers

I got my purse feet in the mail yesterday, so the bag is finished! It has a few wonky spots (I kept trimming the top edge of the lining down, so that the pockets ended up to high and there's no room for a snap), but next time I'll get it right. Also, I realized that I need to make the pockets less deep to better accomodate a cell phone.

If you are into bag making, go check out U-Handblog. She has great tutorials and photos of her projects and of people who use her supplies. (I will add her to my sidebar the next time I redo it.)

From my walk this morning (cherries or crabapples maybe?).

Happy Spring!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Where am I? Wednesday

I've been posting on all my Alongs but neglecting y'all over here.

I joined the Granny Along and if you go over there, you can see a hilarious photo of me wearing a granny square vest.

For the Granny Along, I'm making a throw for my bed, using dishcloth cotton. I'm going to alternate patterned squares with solids, since I have a lot more of the light brown yarn than the other two colors.

Monday night I cut the tip of my left index finger while I was slicing some fruit, so the crochet/knitting is a little slow and painful right now. Basically I'm still plugging along but with extra bandaids applied. I'm trying to make one granny square a day and do a little bit on the sweater too.

I took this photo on Monday and now I'm 5 or 6 inches further along, about to start the armhole shaping. That makes me feel better since I'm about caught up with where I was when I realized I was making the wrong size.

Looks like I won't be sewing much for the next couple of weeks. I'm a driver for a Girl Scout trip this weekend and the following weekend we leave for spring break, and then it's Easter. I'll just have to work all the harder on my knitting/crochet projects.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ottobre Top

This is the wrap top, No. 6 from Ottobre Woman. I used a poly knit with a crepe finish that I bought in a coop several years ago. I made a size 48, again with no modifications. The drape of the fabric is fantastic, I can tell I'll be wearing it a lot. I used the coverhemmer quite a bit on all of the bindings, straps and hems. I don't have a binder attachment for my machine, but still managed it. There are a few wonky areas, I won't lie, but the print is busy enough to hide a lot of mistakes.

Here are a couple of shots of it on.

If you want to see it on a smaller figure, take a look at Teri's Striped Top. I think that shows just how great a pattern it is, it works for more than one figure type.

I got the waistband on the capris, they needed a little more shaping, so I smooshed a dart in at center back.

The waistband could have taken two more little darts, but I never wear my tops tucked in and they stay up, so who cares?

The denim I used is really lightweight and thin, they'll be great for hot weather.

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Ottobre Capris

I made up the plus size version of these (No. 15) in size 48. See the girl sitting down. The only alteration was to shorten them three inches.

I haven't put the waistband on them yet, but wow, the fit is so great. I like that instead of just grading up the regular sized pattern, (and therefore assuming your bone structure grows as you get fatter) the plus pattern is completely different, based on a plus sized block.

Here is the fabric I used for the pocket lining. (BTW, the pockets are really shallow.) I'm also using it for the waistband facing.

Back pocket detail. The embroidery design is a built-in from my Brother PE-150.

My topstitching skills are a bit rusty, but it comes back to you. The worst thing was on the fly front, I kept sewing the fly guard to the front. I used the Ottobre instructions instead of my usual Kwik Sew (too lazy to hunt them) so that threw me off a little bit. The reason the waistband isn't done is that I cut the front pieces wrong for the underlap. I need to go and cut a new one.

I traced all of the Tshirt variations, so I'll try to get another one of those made today. Oh, the possibilities.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Crochet Crazy

I am hooked (you saw that coming from a mile away, right?).

I've been spending a lot of time here and here. I'm *just looking*. . . I admit, I've never had the urge to make anything as large as a blanket, because it makes me tired just looking at them. But, I could make a few granny squares or ripples and sew them up into a bag or a pillow. I don't HAVE to make a bed sized blanket. See how I'm selling it to myself?

I vow this weekend to cast on again in a smaller size for the Dollar and a Half cardigan. That will save me the psychic pain of ripping out what I've done, and who knows, maybe I will decide that bigger is better if the smaller size comes out too small. All is not lost.

It's raining here (Yay, I don't have to go anywhere!) so I'll probably trace a pattern or two from the new Ottobre Woman. I need to take my time fondling stash and choosing fabrics.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Blue Flowers

These are some periwinkles already blooming in my backyard.

Here's one on my new T shirt. I'm not sure if I'll keep it, I'm not really big on appliques on my garments. It looks a little too precious or something.

The top is from the latest Ottobre Woman.

I think I need to shape the side seams a little bit, but I'm going to wash it a couple of times to see if shrinks first. I made a similar Tshirt last year. Actually, I think they are identical.

I made a size 48 with no modifications. It has an eased bust dart which really helps with the fit. This one has a woven bias strip facing on the outside of the neckline, which is a nice detail.

I love the real models they use in Ottobre Woman. Everything about it works, the styles, the sizes, the ease of construction. I think I'll try something a little less safe for the next project, capris maybe?

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Some Knitting, Crochet

I've been making some progress on the Dollar and a Half sweater. I'm up to the armholes on the back and it's too big.

I need it to be at least 45" around so I'm making the 47" size. I was hoping my gauge would be a little too big, so I could make the next size down (42" I think), but it was spot on, so I sized up, and now the back alone measures 25". So it will be at least a 50" sweater, sigh. . . Even though I swatched twice (and washed and dried them) I still can't get it right. I'm in sweater hell. I can't bring myself to rip it out just yet, I have to take some time to let a fact like that sink in.

So, in the meantime, while postponing the inevitable, I've been practicing crochet.

See how it curves? Because on the more recent rows my gauge is starting to loosen up. I'm using dishcloth cotton, but the fabric is too stiff for a dishcloth--I think it will become a potholder. It's interesting how thick and sturdy the crocheted fabric is. This is single crochet. I'm planning to work swatches of all the stitches and then start making some little animals and things, as soon as I learn to increase and decrease.

This week has been busy with lots of Girl Scout stuff, plus some crazy school volunteering. You know how you sign up in August to help with things that happen in March or April or May, just because you feel guilty about not signing up for Room Mom? (Because at our school you have to provide a resume to get the job of Room Mom and therefore, I'm not touching that job.) And then you forget all about the stuff you signed up for in August, because that was six months ago. . . That kind of stuff.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Call Mr. McGregor

There's a bunny in my garden.

I told you I would be using that wool felt soon. . .

There is a tutorial Here. (Make sure you check out her cupcake pincushions too. Cute!) I couldn't get the PDF of the pattern to print (probably some idiocy on my part) so I drafted my own. Their bottoms are a little high and flattened, but I could fit them onto my yardage better that way. . .

The back sides. These were going to go into their Easter baskets but the kids saw me working on them, so I went ahead and gave them to them. I had done some embroidery on the green one, but took it out because it looked too fussy. Sometimes simple is better.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Saturday's Expo

I skipped it. I got caught up working on the Amy Butler bag and didn't feel like fighting the traffic.

The good news is that the bag stands up pretty well. Still, I am waiting for the bag feet I ordered. I wound up putting water bottle pockets on the ends. I cut the original side pieces too short, so I put a longer piece behind it and *voila,* a pocket.

I made this flower, using my new wool felt and some techniques from the embroidery class. It's too busy to go on the bag I think. A white silk flower would be much better. I think I'll pin this one to my jeans jacket instead.

I just need to tack on the loops for the handles and sew the lining and outer together along the top edge. (After I apply the feet and a magnetic snap.)

One thing I forgot to mention about the expo was seeing Jan Bones there. I inspected her garments at her booth. They were beautiful and everything was sewn on the machine rather than a serger (just like Anne St. Clair's work). Using a medium/narrow zig zag gives the seams almost no bulk at all -- you really don't need any special equipment to sew lingerie.

Also, I saw someone from the handweavers' guild doing some tablet or card weaving. Very interesting.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Today's Report

Today's class was lots of

I took *Embroidery for Knitters* from Fiona Ellis. My big question going in was how to mark a design on a handknit? Obviously you can't use a light box or window to trace, etc. There really wasn't a good answer except for basting with a running stitch and pulling it out later, or using a quilter's marking pen. Her initial reply was to let the knitted design be your guide, but I am typically embellishing a blank surface rather than a design per se.

All in all, it was worth the price of admission to fondle her swatches. Amazingly creative, beautiful stuff. A lot of the things she showed us were from her ethnic/folk book (must look it up) and had lots of tiny mirrors and bells and jingly things that appealed to the magpie in me.

I did a bit more shopping today.

Hand dyed sock yarn from Creatively Dyed. I got to meet the lady who does the hand-dyeing, very nice.

Holly Hobbie sewing caddy. I know, shut up. I LOVE HOLLY HOBBIE AND ALWAYS WILL. So there.

Hand dyed fabrics (I want to make some quilts or bags with the kids' artwork on it) and a few marking tools, etc.

Overall a great day. Just think how much trouble I could get into if I didn't have to leave by 1:00 pm every day. . .
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