Thursday, September 20, 2012

Around Home: Moved to France!

This will be a quick post, mostly to tell everyone that the posts will probably slow down a little bit this school year.  This is because my husband and I are staying in France from now (we've been here one week already) until the end of next May!  I'll try to stop by when I can with crafty news or photos from France.  For now, here's a couple photos from our first week here.

The very friendly local cat
The cathedral St. Pierre in Montpellier
The Esplanade

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spinning Projects: Spinning Wheel

This wheel is a saxony style.
I realized after my last post that I've neglected to properly introduce my newest crafting tool - a spinning wheel!  It has already appeared in several photos, posts, and even in the new header design, but I have yet to tell the story of how I came to have it.  Read on for the story...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Around Home: My Parents' Garden

Here's an update on my parents' garden!  It seems that every year at this point in the summer, the garden has started to look awful but continues to produce beautiful fruits and vegetables.  Have you experienced this too?  The squash leaves have all turned yellow and withered, the tomato plants look wilty and unruly, and the watermelon looks like it died (actually, it may have.  My mom stopped watering a few days ago because a rabbit had three babies in our melon patch!).  Not to mention that squash bugs and Mexican bean beetles have unfortunately moved in on the zucchini and green beans.  Nevertheless, the harvest I made on Thursday shows that things are still going strong.  I got a large bag of tomatoes, three cucumbers, four eggplants, some unchewed green beans, two green peppers, a handful of jalapeno peppers, a butternut squash, and a watermelon!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spinning Projects: Alpaca and Llama yarn

Hello again!  Sorry it's been a little while.  This past month has been really busy, but not with crafting projects.  I've been having a lot of fun coordinating an English camp for college students from Japan.  There has been one on-going craft project around here, though, which had to be a secret until last weekend.  I'm so excited to finally share about it here!

Last weekend, some good friends of ours got married in northern Michigan.  Months ago, when I discovered that their reception was to take place at Snow Moon Ranch, a llama and alpaca ranch near Glen Lake, I started scheming.  Since the bride is a knitter and crocheter with an appreciation for handmade things (making her own veil, flower arrangements, and boutonnieres for the wedding, for example!), I wanted to do something special as a wedding gift.  Read on for more details and photos!
Snow Moon Ranch, wedding tent and pastures

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Around Home: New Place

It has been quite an eventful few weeks!  We moved out of our townhouse about a week ago, and have come to live with my husband's grandmother for the rest of the summer.  It was physically and more-so emotionally challenging to pack up all of our things and move.  The home that we had "woven" together since we got married seemed to be unraveling in many ways.

I have been strongly reminded, however, that a home is not the physical surroundings of a place as much as it is the love that fills it.  I am comforted that although our location has changed, my home, my LIFE, is firmly rooted in my faith.  Home is wherever I'm with YOU, God!  Although I just can't seem to find our laundry hamper among the pile of boxes in the garage, I am still blessed to have the things I really need - my faith in God, my health, my husband, and my family and friends.  God's love and the love of our family and friends still comes with us and has filled this new living space too.  What a comfort it has been!

In the same way, the pillows and rugs, scarves and gifts that I have made do not have much value on their own - it is the love, time, thought, and creativity that I put into my projects that make the special.  I always hope that recipients of things I make can understand this.  I'm working on a few gift projects right now (posts to come once they've been given!), and it is such a joy to think about and pray for the recipient while I work.

This transitional period for us has its challenges, but all in all we feel very blessed to be so well provided for.  Here's just one photo to share - a photo of the beautiful new view I can enjoy while crafting.

Blessings in all your projects and home-weaving!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spinning Projects: 8oz Merino Wool

So, I've definitely been totally caught up in this new project of spinning yarn!  I have learned SO much since I began back in January.  I've taken on lots of new projects since my past spinning post, but I'll limit this post to just one of those projects.  And believe me, it was a big project!
Read on for more...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Around home: My parents' garden

Keeping with the gardening theme from the last post, I wanted to show off my parents' garden. We convinced them to start a kitchen garden last summer as an experiment, and this year they've really run away with it! Last year the garden amounted to their neighbor tilling up some sod, planting some things, and putting a rough metal fence around it. Of course, the squash and weeds took over. In an attempt to keep things more orderly and accessible this year, my parents put in raised beds, simultaneously making it more permanent, beautiful, and organized! They daily receive accusations disguised as compliments about the "best looking garden in the neighborhood." Who knew they'd entered some sort of unspoken small-town contest? Anyway, the garden has really flourished in our hot weather. Check out the photos!

The garden on June 19.  Looking orderly and hopeful.
The garden on July 1. Looking like the squash are already taking over!
More photos below...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Around Home: Patio Gardening

Things are starting to pick up here as we approach mid-summer. We will be moving in less than two weeks, staying with Grandma for the rest of the summer. Before our big move, I wanted to document what's going on in our humble little patio garden. Enjoy!

The whole patio crew. Rosemary, basil from seed, basil from starters
(we got impatient!), spinach , cilantro, lemon thyme,  super sweet 100
 cherry tomato, angora cherry tomato, and rutgers tomato.
More photos below...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jewelry-making: Earrings and necklace

Some turquoise earrings - just one large bead for each.
Here's another new craft I've recently picked up.  My neighbor happens to know a lot about jewelry-making, something I've always been too intimidated to try.  After she boosted my confidence by helping me make a simple pair of earrings, I bought a couple simple tools, some wire, and off I went!  First, I made a few more pairs of earrings, then a necklace for my mom for Mother's Day.  Of course I forgot to take some photos of that before I gave it to her, but here's a few photos of some other projects I've done since then.

flat-nosed pliers (chain plyers)
round-nosed pliers
small wire-cutter
20 gauge wire
earring hooks

For some basic jewelry-making techniques, my friend taught me most of what I needed.  Browsing through YouTube videos also helps.  Any questions, let me know!
More photos below...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Craft: Drop-spindle Spinning

Recently I've picked up a new craft - spinning yarn using a drop spindle. After learning what a drop spindle is from a blog I follow, last Christmas I asked for and received a kit to start spinning.  There's a lot to learn - both in technique and in terminology - but it's been so interesting to tackle a new project.

I started with a top-whorl spindle, some commercially-prepared roving (dyed wool that has been combed into a long thick strand, ready for spinning), and this YouTube video.

Since then I have been learning a lot, and my mom has joined this adventure too, so we've had a lot of fun learning together.  I'll share more later about what else I'm working on with spinning, but for now here are some photos of my first skein of yarn!

If you're thinking of endeavoring into this craft, feel free to ask any questions and perhaps I'll be able to offer some advice from the little knowledge I've gained so far.

 More photos below...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Card-making Projects: Colored Pencil greeting cards

Here's a quick project that I was working on a week or so ago.  I picked up some scrap paper and my colored pencils one night and came up with these little cards.  I sketched the design lightly in pencil, then almost entirely erased the marks so they were just visible, then I went over them with a colored pencil, adding some shading here and there.  I've never been great at drawing things free hand, but I think these turned out alright!  Look below for more photos.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sewing Projects: Cloth Napkins

 In an effort to use less disposable paper products, I set out to the thrift store to find an old tablecloth.  The plan was to cut them into cloth napkins.  Luckily, I came across a set of four cloth napkins, already finished and in a nice cream color.  All I did was embroider a couple running stitches in blue across each napkin to add a little character.  Enjoy a couple more photos below!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Around Home: My Parents' House

In the fall of 2009, my parents sold their 21-year-old house and moved into a 175-year-old house, fulfilling a long-time dream of theirs to fix up and live in a historic home.  The house, a Dutch colonial style built in 1835, was originally a general store and was converted to a house a few years after it was built.  My parents have been working one room at a time to restore it.  Here are just a couple photos from the main floor entryway and living room.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sewing Projects: Sweater Vest Pillow

This project, a pillow made out of a sweater vest and some plaid wool fabric, was a Christmas gift for my dad, and I finally got around to photographing it while I stayed at their house last weekend.  I came across this 100% shetland wool vest at a thrift store while on the hunt for a wool sweater to make my brother-in-law's mittens.  I didn't yet have a project in mind for the vest, but with the charming argyle pattern, I couldn't pass it up.  Read on for more details and photos.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Home Decor Projects: Old Window Picture Frame

This one has been up in our house for quite some time, but I still wanted to share it with all of you.  We bought this window frame from an antique market for $6, then filled each pane with a photograph from our wedding.  The panes happened to fit 8x10 photos, with an inch of margin around each one.  The idea was for the photos to look like they are floating within each frame.  We thought of buying a separate pane of glass to go behind each photo and "sandwich" the photo into place.  However, we ended up going a much cheaper and simpler route by tacking each corner into place with a small square of Scotch tape!  If you look closely, you can see about 1/8" of tape sticking out from each corner, but for simplicity's sake we were willing to compromise.  The entire frame is hung with some nails and wire in the back, with a heavy duty hook.  We get lots of compliments on this!

More pictures below...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Card-making Projects: Pennant Greeting Cards

Here's just a little inspiration for those who like to make homemade greeting cards.  This is a newer hobby of mine, which I started after a particularly stressful time picking out a last-minute card at the store.  It was heartbreaking to me to buy a $4 piece of cardstock that only partially fit the person I was buying it for.  Card-buying has always been a stressor for me, so I've started leisurely making cards during my free time.  That way, I always have some on hand for simple thank you notes, etc.  I also try to make birthday cards ahead of time, tailored more specifically to the recipient.  This has drastically improved the card-giving experience for me, as these are usually well-received, AND I can feel great about investing more time and creativity than money in something that's ultimately more appropriate anyway.

And so, in some free time the other day I made these pennant cards, blank on the inside and ready to have a "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations" written on the front.  Each was made using white cardstock folded in half.  Then I took some scrapbook paper and cut tiny triangles (to make this easier, cut a strip 1/2" wide, then cut at angles all the way across).  Then I used a thick black pen to draw a sloping line, then used a gluestick to stick on the triangles.  Have fun with different paper patterns!
More photos below...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sewing Projects: Fabric Book Holder

Last month, my husband and I were blessed with another beautiful niece!  Along with all the excitement of a new baby in the family, I also had a chance to make some cute things for the new little one.  Just before her baby shower, my sister-in-law mentioned these fabric book holders that she had seen online.  I had seen them too, and offered to make them for her as a gift.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crochet Projects: More Glittens, and Lining tutorial

This has perhaps been my most popular crochet project!  I first blogged about it here, and have made 8 pairs of these mittens now!  I made a pair for my mother-in-law for her birthday in December, this time adding a flannel lining.  This helped to keep out the wind and it made the inside much softer (the wool can tend to be a bit scratchy).  When I showed off this pair at work, I received three orders from coworkers!  Here are some photos of those, plus a brief explanation of how I did the lining (sorry no photos of that).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sewing Projects: Owls

Here's a fairly easy sewing project, inspired by this photo I found on Pinterest.  My niece happens to love owls, and her mother happened to throw a woodland-themed 2nd birthday for her, so these owls were a perfect present!  Here's a tutorial on how they were made:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Knitting Project: Leg Warmers and Headband

Hey Everyone,
So sorry to have been so long in posting!  Indeed I have been very busy crafting - too busy to post!  With the holidays came hand-made gifts for just about everyone in the family.  A crocheted shrug for Mom, felted wool pillow for Dad, sewn linen cowl for my SIL, a paper-to-wood photo for my in-laws, upcycled sweater hat and mittens for my niece, and THESE knitted leg warmers for my sister.  Unfortunately, I missed photographing most of these projects, as they were usually immediately wrapped after I finished them.

I did get a chance to photograph my sister wearing her new leg warmers, as she wore them over to our house the other day!  By Christmas, I only had one done, so she waited patiently until last week for the other one.  To make it up to her, I also made her a warm headband out of the extra wool :-).