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Archive for December, 2007

This is the center of a granny square I did recently for a ROAK on Crochetville.  The pattern is the Multi Stitch Granny available free from Dayna’s Crochet.  I really like her crochet square pattern selection.   There are slightly altered grannys, pretty lacy squares and solid textured designs.  Also, she has nice pictures of the samples.     

I’m not sure the purple flower petals were meant to overlap.  In the picture from Dayna’s Crochet site the petals are arranged next to each other but my flower won’t lay like that.  I like the effect though.  By overlapping the petals it adds an inconspicuous three dimensional texture. 

In other news, it’s time to announce my Pay It Forward blog.  I signed up for my PIF handmade gift at A Mess Put Together Nicely from Melissa.  She sounds very nice and when I left an error in my name on Crochetville she had to hunt me down.  (Sorry about that Melissa!)  I believe she has one more spot available so if there are already three comments here try snagging a spot on her PIF entry.  Below are the ‘official’ PIF rules: 

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

When you leave a comment on my blog for the PIF please leave your name on Crochetville, Craftster or Ravelry.  If you prefer you can e-mail me at thekidneybean@gmail.com or just leave me some way to contact you.

– Edit –  One PIF spot left!

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Yum.  Boxing Day sugar cookies.  The dough was made in preparation for Christmas festivities.  (Oops.)  Since X-mas was over I decided not to decorate in classic Santa and mistletoe mode. 

I used the Bella Bistro Mini Cookie Cutter Kit by Toysmith.  These cookie cutters are tiny, measuring two inches or less.  See the star cookie below with the mini chocolate chip?  That’s just the middle size.  I really couldn’t bring myself to frost a smaller sugar cookie than that.  It’s just silly. 

Well, I was really proud that none of them got burned to a crisp.  I can mix ingredients with confidence but getting the timing right for actually baking cookies is not my strong point.  I usually wait just long enough that the bottom is lightly charcoaled. 

One batch of cookies I made last Christmas was completely forgotten.  I put the last cookie tray in and after checking once I turned off the oven, fully intending to catch them at the perfect moment.  I got distracted and they slowly cooked for half an hour.  Since the oven had turned off they didn’t go up in smoke (thankfully) but just came out a really deep brown.  They made great tree ornaments though!

Speaking of brown, I made cinnamon flavored frosting for one-third of the cookies.  I just halved the normal recipe and added one tablespoon cinnamon and the tiniest touch of ground ginger and cloves.  I got the idea from Hannah on her blog, Bittersweet.  Very tasty and the cinnamon adds a bit of sprinkle to the frosting.  My family was skeptical of cinnamon flavor frosting at first, but after a final tally received an ‘okay’ vote.  Not a big hit, but I personally think chocolate and cinnamon are perfect together.

 *That’s cool* a random fact

Shirley Temple was considered for the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, but studio contracts prevented her from getting the part. 

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Good tidings

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I made these sequin ornaments as a teenager one Christmas eve.  They’re not hanging on the tree because I never quite figured out how to attach a ribbon or metal hook to hang, so they’ve been sequestered to the big purple candle. 

My problem here and now is the foam.  It doesn’t really hold the pins very well.  See the missing pin on the bottom of the bell above?  Also there’s a whole sequin missing from the green and red egg behind it.  Maybe in the last couple of years they’ve come up with a more dense foam.  Not sure.   

On the plus side these ornaments are so easy to make and kid friendly.  You get those white or green colored foam shapes.  Then you pick out sequins, pins and maybe some seed beads or ribbon.  In a half hour you have a cute little be-sequined foam shape. 

This project reminds me of another Christmas craft project: pushing cloves into oranges.  Orange and clove pomanders smell so delicious.

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Look how dark the landscape is!  This was around ten in the morning and the water was almost black.  The sun is hiding somewhere behind that big gray cloud.   The horizon isn’t level, but considering I was on the car deck of a very rocky ferry boat I’ll consider it a win.   Wow, was this boat rocky!  Usually there’s just a slight sway or nothing at all but this ferry ride caught every wave.  Bleh. 

So I went off island to visit my grandma in Salem with my mom.  We had some business to take care of regarding my late uncle.  (Thanks for the comments everybody.) 

Below is her tomato pincushion complete with pointy needles.  She is an excellent quilter currently working on an applique project.  I felt the need to picture this veggie in it’s natural habitat.  See the purple plant in the background?

   

My grandma is an African violet aficionado.  She has over twenty blooming in her room of all different colors.  They are all lined up on the window sill, soaking in the few light rays Oregon has to offer.  Her secret technique is watering them from the bottom with hot water.   

In first grade I got a little chive seedling from Mc Donald’s.  Weird, huh?  I wonder if they’ll ever bring the gardening theme back to Happy Meals. 

Anyway, I grew it with my mom on the dining room window sill.  When it outgrew its tiny pot the chive plant went live on my grandparent’s farm in Yamhill.  My grandma planted it in her garden and kept it alive for about ten years.  Nothing says ‘I love you’ like fostering a Mc Donald’s chive plant for a decade.   

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No two alike

I’ve never made crochet snowflakes before.  To be sure, crochet snowflakes are on my to do list, but they’ll have to wait for another year or so before I actually tackle them.  I have the hooks and a little white thread but all the blocking and such seems too involved.  These were dug out of the family ornament box.  We’ve got lots of snowflakes in that box but most of them are plastic or metal. 

I like this crochet one with the flower in center.  But shhh, it’s store bought.     

These two snowflakes below have survived a handful of Christmases and a move.  The stiffener has loosened a little but I think it gives them character.  If ever needed, a little starch and TLC will restore them to tip top shape. 

They were handmade a few years back by a family friend when my maternal grandfather died.  She made a bunch of snowflakes and gave them to each family member.  I’ll always be thankful for her sweet gesture. 

My uncle died a few days ago and it seems fitting that I was preparing to blog about them.  They are tokens of remembrance for a life that has passed. 

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I made a bunch of these headbands for quick Christmas presents.  The purple one is the Elizabeth headband from Nadia’s Crochet free elegant crochet headbands web page.  I used stash yarn for this but I’m pretty sure it is Red Heart Super Saver.  The headband was really quick project with worsted weight yarn.  Weaving in the ends probably took as much time as the actual project.  Plus, the wrong side has a bobble look to it that I like. 

The pink headband was from Family Circle Easy Crochet Spring 2007.  I used left over yarn from my Through Any Window Baby Blanket.  This one took about three times as much crocheting since it calls for a size F crochet hook and DK weight yarn.  However, the shells were a repeating pattern and it was pretty easy to memorize.

Now I’m off to frantically crochet more Christmas gifts.  I am seriously behind!

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I dug this out of the family ornament collection looking for a handmade skate ornament I commented about on My Tangled Threads.  (No luck yet.)  I did come across some crochet snowflakes and a couple cross stitch ornaments, though.   

I’ve been so busy with crochet lately I put the joy of cross stitch to the back of my mind.  It really is a shame you can’t cuddle up to a cross stitch piece of card board.   Considering how much time I put into this little guy as a high school-er I probably could have crocheted a nice hat or a long, fluffy scarf.

I really do enjoy those little dollar cross stitch kits though.  It seems these days that they avoid including the nice metal frames you see in vintage kits.  Instead they have red plastic frames or worse, they package it as an ornament.  No accessory needed.  I suspect this coinsided with the descent of Cracker Jack prizes.  The little plastic clothes hanger is the cross stitch kit equivalent to a Cracker Jack mini-baseball card. 

Here’s your blog prize: a photograph of the back for kicks and giggles.  Look ma’, no knots!

*That’s cool* a random fact

Early Native American tribes in New England preserved corn by coating it with heated maple syrup.

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I learned something about the nighttime setting on my camera – hold still.  The setting must have a really long exposure time, but I didn’t really pay attention to the results until it was too late.  All my picture were super blurry.  On the upside I got a nifty shot above of the local Christmas tree in all its glory.  The effect reminds me of those swirly star pictures of the sky.  

I was at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the local park to get this shot.  Tons of people were there.  Okay, not Times Square on New Years Eve ‘tons’.   ‘Tons’ as in more than I see at the Island Market on a Sunday afternoon.   

Santa Clause and the missus even managed to show up.  They visited with the kids while the band played Christmas music. 

I got some yummy mexican wedding cakes and piping hot apple cider with real cloves.  The latter was greatly appreciated since it was C-O-L-D and I wore flip flops.  (In my defense I did have a crocheted hat and scarf.)

This little boy was in my line of sight while I waited, freezing cold, in line for my provisions.  He was so enthralled with the music tent.  He stood very still with these wide eyes.  I was actually impressed with how long he could stand still. 

 

I guess I could chock it up to the holiday season and his inevitable meeting with Mr and Mrs. Claus.  Kids seem to become oddly well behaved for short spurts when they are reminded their Christmas present turnout is in the balance.

*That’s cool* a random fact

Thirty-six apples will produce one gallon of cider and a single apple needs the energy from fifty leaves to grow.

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As promised, here are some more Soley Granny Squares Hats by Crafty Christina.  Can you believe that I’m working on two more?  These are the two best from the second batch.  You’ll see that the others were less thought out and I was running out of good color combos in my yarn stash.  For the yellow one I went with a bumblebee feel.  The green one was inspired by Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers.   

I went a little crazy with these but after a few projects that demanded constant attention and frogging the granny squares were a pleasant side note.  The process is quick to start and, as a result, very addictive. 

First of all, you just repeat the granny motif a bunch of times and before you know it there are five little squares ready to be joined.  You see this neat little stack of grannys and feel an enormous sense of accomplishment.  The pieces are made and you’re practically done.  But wait!  You have to weave in all those ends. 

This is where I went downhill.  Instead of weaving in the ends and joining the squares I decided to make three more sets of granny squares since it is much more fun to dive through a stash and pick out colors than dig out a yarn needle.  

They piled up in my yarn basket very quickly and then I had 20 granny squares and even more ends.  This is where I decided to stop at six hats total.  I could have made more granny squares, but I couldn’t imagine subjecting myself to more ends.  I’ll post the other two Soley Granny Squares Hats after, you guessed it, I weave in the remaining ends. 

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