Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Christmas Menagerie

I have some important little people in my life: two nephews, a soon-to-be niece and soon-to-be niece/nephew (due any day now!) I wanted to make them something special for Christmas. In blogging about such somethings, I risk spoiling the surprise to their parents, but hopefully their little ones won't see this. I won't be telling who gets what, although they may figure it out.

I present this year's Christmas menagerie: a teddy bear, duckling, flamingo and monkey. 

I did them all within a week-week and a half. I used up some stash yarn, was given some and bought a little. I love using the black safety eyes and I filled them all with basic fiberfill. This was the first time I'd used "Fun Fur" (see the flamingo) and it was kind of, dare I say it, fun!

Here are some individual shots to get a better look at the fab four:

For the bear, flamingo and monkey, I found the patterns on Such a great site to find cute patterns. The duckling, I found him from Kyuuto Japanese Crafts Amigurumi by Tomoko Takamori.

If anyone has questions or comments, let me know! I'll also take advice and suggestions on how to make these guys even cuter. Need a present for a little tyke in your life? Maybe a crocheted stuffed animal is the answer.

Thanks for visiting & happy handmade holidays!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miss April 2012

Last year, I was fortunate to be involved in the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education's calendar fundraiser. Being the low man of the totem pole, I designed the back cover of the calendar. I am happy to say that I am the designer of April for the 2012 calendar! 
I tried to think of "Spring-y" things to print, but I was having a hard time. I decided in the end to do something totally different; print Henrietta the Chicken. Henrietta was the chicken that lived on the farm that I worked at this past summer. She was a Golden Polish Crested hen. She wasn't the most friendly thing, and stopped laying eggs for us, but she was nice to look at. I was also thinking of something to give my fellow farm interns as a memento. I took some pictures of Henrietta, bought a linoleum block and started carving. 

I used a good 'ol charcoal transfer to get my image on the block.
The first color- gray
We have a silhouette!

Cutting out a little more...
Second color- golden yellow
She has legs!

Cutting a little more...
Last color- black.

Here she is, your Miss April 2012!
I did one additional run on the press to print "Henrietta the Chicken." There's a better picture of the print on FeltandWire
If you would like to purchase a calendar, you can go to They make wonderful Christmas gifts!

I will say that, if you are in my family or are a good friend, you may be getting a print for Christmas. I'm not cheap, I'm crafty.
Let's make this Christmas meaningful & handmade. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

sorry Dunkin

Every Autumn, I can't wait for Robb's cider and doughnuts. I don't know what it is about the combination, but the crisp taste of the cider mixed with the sweet sugary doughnut is heaven. The past few years I've made it a point to make the tasty treats myself and I think it's a must!
For my first batch of the season, I opted for the raised doughnuts as opposed to cake doughnuts. Both are fried, but the raised variety uses yeast and takes a few hours more. (I like the taste and texture better.)

First, I warmed up the kitchen by making chocolate chip cookies & waited for the dough to rise.
Everyone waiting to be fried.

It smelled like the fair in the kitchen; it was great.
Even the little guys were fried up.
I used paper bags to help soak up the extra oil.
Some were thrown in a bag with cinnamon & sugar.
...and some were dipped in glaze. 
I think part of my reasoning in wanting to make the doughnuts from scratch is that I don't feel as bad eating them. I did all the mixing, kneading, cutting and frying. I worked for them. I earned a doughnut hole or two... or three.
*I recommend making the doughnuts at a family or friend's house because if you say they can have some, they may volunteer to do the dishes.
Happy Autumn & happy baking!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

life is like a quart of cherry tomatoes

Here is a sampling of what some of our cherry tomatoes at the farm look like. We have (from left to right) wild cherry, black cherry and sun gold varities right now. I can't get over the colors! 

Keep it fresh and local and be thankful for the farmers who help make it possible.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

bag lady

I'm not much of shopper these days. I wouldn't say that I'm real trendy, so I have been toting around the same big bag since I bought it three years ago. It was made in Turkey and has a beautiful, hand sewn pattern on it. Of course the curse with having a big bag is I can never find anything. Once something is put into the abyss, it's gone. I thought that I would make myself a smaller bag, one that would hopefully minimize my bag lady tendencies.
For Christmas last year, one of my friends gave me the awesome gift of a one year subscription to Crochet! Magazine. A couple months ago there was a bag pattern called the "Firecracker Bag." It features blue, red and yellow yarn with a gold clasp and wooden handles. I wasn't a big fan of the colors, but I thought that I could use up some yarn that I'd had for a while. (Side note: Using up scrap yarn is great, but just make sure you have enough of it to make your project. Yeah, with most yarn you can go to the store and by more, but then you have more of the yarn you were trying to use up. Also, if it's older yarn, there's a good chance that you won't find a match.)
Something that happened with my bag is I had to turn it funny because my nice stitches ended up on the inside, so my stripes go the wrong way according to the pattern. Another thing, is that I had to make the flap narrower to accommodate the wooden handles I used. I didn't have a ring and clasp, so I made a button hole in the flap and sewed on a button.

Ok, enough of me pointing out my mistakes. Here was my result:

Firecracker Bag from Crochet! Magazine
My half and half Firecracker bag
My Mom found the wooden handles for 99 cents and I stained them to match.
The pattern calls for many color changes which are easy to do because you carry all three colors throughout the bag and drop the yarn you don't use.  When I ran out of brown, I just kept going with the golden rod and pink.
I had never done the decorative chain stitch before and I loved it! It's really easy to do. It's like you're drawing on your work. You can spell out or draw any shapes with the stitch.  I think it makes a nice accent on this bag.  
I am thinking about lining this bag. I've never done that before. A friend said that it's pretty easy, so I may give it a try. I don't think this bag will stretch much, but having it lined would help keep its shape.
Happy crafting and keep being creative!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

farm fresh

Interning on a farm can be pretty busy and picture taking is something that I've wanted to do, but remembering to or having time for it is another thing.
Last week I remembered to take some pictures and have been wanting to share them with you all. I hope you enjoy the vibrant colors and remember to buy & eat locally.