Category: Handmade


January 6th, 2012

January 6th, 2012 — 11:51am

Happy New Year!

I really need to do a quick wrap-up of the end of December so that Future Kara can remember all the stuff that happened. Let’s see… I finished making Dan’s “Discipline” hooked rug on Christmas morning before he woke up. He loves it. In fact, he loves it so much he doesn’t want to walk on it, so we’re going to hang it on his office wall. Henry loves his cozy warm robot quilt. I love my tangerine-orange KitchenAid stand mixer and the wonderful stack of books that everyone gave me, and my jigsaw puzzle, and the amazing huge framed Link to the Past map!

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Henry and I had a bit of an adventure when we bought the Christmas tree, a new variety called a Grand Fir, which was beautiful, inexpensive, long-lasting, and smelled amazing. I hope we can get a Grand Fir next year too. Anyway, after we bought the tree we discovered that Henry’s learner’s permit was missing. We retraced our steps and asked the tree guys to look for it, but it was just gone. And Henry was scheduled for his driver’s test a few days later, so it was a real problem! Next day we went to the DMV and got a new permit, and then immediately found his old one in the car. Hilarious. Problem solved. :) And he passed his test! He can now drive himself to and from kung fu, and even run errands for us. Excellent.

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I printed out my Christmas Village at 50% and built it and it’s so tiny and cute! (Make your own: http://www.archive.org/details/SantasChristmasVillage)

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One more thing — here’s the frog I knit for Elli:
(Ravelry page http://ravel.me/kayray/tf)
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5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Here I am again

October 5th, 2011 — 12:32pm

Boy, I really got out of the habit of blogging regularly. Sorry about that, life has been hard for the last few months. Now I have about a million things to say but I will just have to choose a few and space them out.

First — Happy 16th birthday (a little late) to my dear Henry! You’re really fun to hang out with and I am so proud of you!

We went to the zoo together on a cool cloudy Sunday for photography fun:

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Here’s another nice thing I want to share. Dan gave me a tiny rug-hooking kit for my birthday and I had such fun learning this new skill! Very soon I want to make something bigger. It seems like a great craft for using up the small amounts of leftover yarn that I end up with, and all I will need to buy is a bit of burlap for the foundation!

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And I’m working on a beautiful yellow lace shawl. The pattern is “Hartfield”. Details on Ravelry: http://ravel.me/kayray/h1

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4 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Mosaic Headband Pattern

June 14th, 2011 — 11:04am

I designed a sweet little headband using Barbara Walker’s “mosaic” technique, and I wrote up the pattern, made a PDF, and posted it to the Ravelry store. You can download the pattern PDF here: Mosaic Headband

The Ravelry pattern page is here:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mosaic-headband (no login required)

And now, photos!

I made the first one with green and white Risata:
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After I posted it on Rav, I got a lot of compliments and even a few requests that I’d write up a pattern, so I did. And then I knit a blue and white one with Palette while following my own pattern so I could check for mistakes and confusion:

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I’ve always been intimidated by mosaic knitting. The descriptions are always so wordy and I couldn’t quite believe that it would work. But when I decided to be brave and try it out on this little project, I discovered how fun and easy it is! To sum up: you follow a chart of dark and light squares. You knit across and back with only one color of yarn, then drop that color and knit back and forth with the other color. While knitting with color A, you slip any stitches which are color B on the chart. Both directions. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. Just try it!

2 comments » | Blog, Free Patterns, Handmade

new knitting projects

April 19th, 2011 — 8:33pm

I’m working on two main knitting projects for the fair this year. The delivery deadline is May 25th, so it’s time to get cracking!

Thing One is another striped Chroma vest like the one I designed and made for Mom, but with a few refinements to the pattern and some adjustments to fit me. I reached the underarms today, which means it’s time to plan out the steeks and the whole thing gets much narrower and moves along even faster, so I’m well over halfway finished with the main knitting. After that it’s just steeks and ribbing. Woohoo!

Ravelry page here (no login required): http://ravel.me/kayray/cv2

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(Actual green is more mossy, less minty. Actual red is less orange, more a dull tomato red)

Thing Two is a “Nerderdel” lace tired skirt. Just started it today as a reward for making such great progress on the vest. The yarn is knitpicks “cotlin” (cotton/linen blend).

Ravelry page here (no login required): http://ravel.me/kayray/nlts

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I might also enter a striped scarf that I’m making, which is pretty and would be fun to show off, but it’s not very special. Also it’s SO BORING and SLOW to knit and it’s only half-done…

Ravelry page here (no login required): http://ravel.me/kayray/cs

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2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

The vest is finished!

April 8th, 2011 — 7:27am

I designed and made this vest for Mom’s 66th birthday, which was in January, but she’s used to getting late handmade presents. Yesterday it was officially finished, and I gave it to her and took photos:

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So cute! Both vest and Mom :) (more photos on flickr)

It’s made of Knitpicks’ “Chroma” and “Wool of the Andes” yarn. I worked it bottom-up and steeked the armholes so the stripes would be consistent. Crocheted steeks are MUCH more fun than sewn ones!

You can read all about its construction and see more photos on its Ravelry page (no login required):
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kayray/chroma-vest

I took it along to the North Coast Knitters Guild Knit-at-Night on Wednesday and it was much admired! I love love love the Knit-at-Night. Everyone is so friendly and encouraging and warm. I really look forward to going every month.

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1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

Catalina

March 26th, 2011 — 11:51am

First: let’s keep helping Japan to recover and rebuild. Here’s a great way to double your donation: http://www.crowdrise.com/handsforjapan/

The Ogawa Family, together with the Red Cross, is challenging donors to donate for Japan disaster relief. Every tax deductible dollar you donate, the Ogawa family will match equally in contributions to the Red Cross up to $500,000. Together we can donate One Million Dollars to the Red Cross.

They were only at 14% of the goal when we donated on Monday, and now they’re almost halfway there with 17 more days remaining. Please give what you can!

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.

Henry just spent a week on Santa Catalina Island doing a marine biology camping program with some of his schoolmates. Last Sunday afternoon (the 20th) Henry and I drove to Long Beach (it’s about 2.5 hours away, depending on traffic) in a terrible rainstorm and spent the night in a very nice hotel that Dan chose for us so that we could get Henry to the dock by 8:30 the next morning without the stress of leaving home at 5:30am and still being nearly late like we were last year. We got some dinner at Ruby’s and then had a relaxing time in our hotel and watched season 7 of Peep Show together while I knit a warm hat for him. (To quote Super Hans, I was knitting like an electric Nan.)

Here’s a view of the storm from our 4th floor hotel room. A HUGE eucalyptus branch blew down into that intersection a little while later!

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Got Henry to the dock on time the next morning and he got on the ferry boat and sailed away.

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And then I drove up to Long Beach yesterday (Friday) to fetch him. I left at 11am, though I didn’t need to be there until 2:45, because last year I left at noon and was an hour late because of traffic. But traffic was easy yesterday and I got there at 1pm, so I found a free parking lot and knitted while I waited. It was so wonderful to see him again! We never go a whole day without talking or emailing or texting, so five days felt like an eternity to me :) While we drove, he told me about all the fun stuff he did all week — nighttime snorkeling, a 15-mile hike, a visit to an old mine, kayaking, etc. I’m so glad he had such a great time! What a wonderful opportunity!

Here’s the Birthday Vest for Mom that I’ve been working on:

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Still need to add pockets but then it’s done! You can read about it on the Ravelry page (no log-in required): http://ravel.me/kayray/cv

Comment » | Blog, Handmade

Mom’s Chroma Vest

March 4th, 2011 — 9:34am

I wanted to knit Mom something very special for her birthday (it was in January, heheh) so together we planned a vest. It’ll be long, v-neck, button up, and striped.

I’m using Knitpicks’ gorgeous new Chroma Worsted in the “Midwinter” colorway, with stripes of black Wool of the Andes. The Chroma is SOFT. Soft, soft, soft. And beautiful! But it seems very delicate; although it does have 20% nylon mixed in for strength, it has almost no twist at all, so it’s almost like knitting with a strand of unspun fleece. I wouldn’t recommend it for socks, but for anything else worn next to the skin it would be perfect.

The color here is fairly accurate:

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I’m inventing the pattern of course, and working bottom-up for a change because I wanted to establish the stripes before I had to deal with armholes and neck shaping. I’m working from all three balls of Chroma at once (two rows from each, then six rows of black), having first evened them out so that they were all at the same point in the color transitions.

Last night I knit through the waist section and started bust increases and neck decreases! (color here is wildly inaccurate):

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You can get more details on the Ravelry page, no log-in required: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kayray/chroma-vest

I’m planning to steek the armholes, if I can get up the courage and if I’m POSITIVE the fit is correct.

1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern

November 3rd, 2010 — 10:57am

Just finished up a lovely new pair of socks for Dan. They’re the “Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern” from Nancy Bush’s “Knitting Vintage Socks“. Great book.

Yarn: Lang Jawoll Superwash
Needles: size 000

I knit the cuffs on 72 stitches and the rest of the sock on 70. I used the cuff pattern and the nifty “lozenge” pattern, and did my own favorite heel and toe. This is a great pattern if you don’t like to count rows! The purl stripe comes every tenth row in the cuff and the lozenge pattern is very easy to memorize and you can just work as many repeats as you need by just counting diamonds.

These socks are here on Ravelry:
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kayray/gentlemans-sock-with-lozenge-pattern (no log-in necessary)

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I’ve already started another pair in dark green.

7 comments » | Blog, Handmade

a post!

August 20th, 2010 — 9:13am

The longer I go without writing a real post, the harder it is to get started again. So I just thought I’d write a little something this morning to get myself going.

Today I’ll take Henry in for a checkup, and then I hope we get to hang out with Celia and Chloe a bit in the afternoon, and then in the evening it’s possible that Bob and Chloe might come over to watch “Hud” with us, which just arrived from Netflix yesterday and is one of my favorite movies.

I’m reading my very first Edith Wharton novel, “The House of Mirth”, and it’s fantastic. I’m almost glad I waited this long to discover her,’cause now I have a whole lot of wonderful books to look forward to, if “The House of Mirth” is any indication. I also re-read “The Three MIss Margarets” and “The Hills at Home” last week. Both were as good as I remembered from reading them years and years ago. I’d like to read the two books that everyone is talking about — “The Hunger Games” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — so I ordered them from my library but it’s “wait time unknown” heh. But I don’t usually like to buy fiction unless I’ve read it once and know I’ll want to read it again.

Knitting — I’m working on a top-down cotton tank top which I’d like to extend down into a little dress-thing if I have enough yarn. Well, even if I don’t I can get a few more balls of Knitpicks’ Simply Cotton in a coordinating color and just keep working till it’s long enough. It’s actually a lot further along than this photo shows. I’m working the body in a sort of seed stitch rib, which is k9, then a panel of k1p1 seed stitch for three stitches, then k9 again.

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Also making a pair of Aargh! gyle Socks for a certain boy’s 15th birthday. These are also further along than the photo shows. Hmm, time to take some more photos.

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2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Even more striped socks

June 17th, 2010 — 1:48pm

Just finished that pair of beautiful striped socks for Dan:

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The yarn is leftover scraps of light and dark blue Knitpicks’ Risata, and a bit of Regia Bamboo. I split all three balls of yarn exactly in half (yay for Dan’s gram scale) so I could make sure the socks matched exactly. I really didn’t think I had enough yarn, and thought I’d have to finish the feet in yet another color, but I had enough and a little to spare of all three yarns.

They’re worked on 60 stitches on size 0 needles, knit firmly. They are quite snug on Dan’s feet; he says they are fine, but next time I would work them on 64 stitches for just a little more room. I worked in the tails at the color changes as I went, thanks to the Techknitter’s marvelous “overcast” method: http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/07/overcast-method-part-3-of-tails-and.html, so I didn’t have to do any tedious finishing. The stripes are six rows of light blue, three of dark blue, three of bamboo, three of dark blue, repeat.

I wasn’t sure they’d fit Dan, and I must confess I wouldn’t have minded taking such a lovely pair of socks for myself :) But I’m glad they fit because he really needs more thin socks for summer.

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4 comments » | Blog, Handmade

The fair!

June 12th, 2010 — 11:47am

The fair started yesterday! Henry and Chloe and I got there about 5pm and stayed till 9 and had a wonderful time! We ate some fair food (real food, no Deep-Fried Butter for us, though Henry did try a Deep-Fried Twinkie, gag), and of course the wonderful Squeezers fresh lemonade. We walked through a couple of the commercial buildings, saw some of the kids’ hobbies and art, and spent a long time up in the Home and Hobby exhibits. A really nice Fair lady helped us find all our entries. Chloe got a third place ribbon for her mittens, and that was her very first fair entry ever! I’m so proud of her!

After a lot of searching, we found my four entries. The quilt got a 1st, the lace nightie a 2nd, the purple cardigan a 3rd, and the mittens got a 1st and fancy “Best of Division” ribbon, which means they were judged to be the best hand-knitted item in the whole competition :) I’ll take my good camera next time and get photos of my stuff on display.

We also had fun looking at the collections, and we asked the nice Fair lady lots of questions about our idea for a display of Grandpa’s color photos of the Lustron, and she seemed to think it was a great idea, so I think next year we’ll try to work up an interesting exhibit. We were very taken with a collection of food items made entirely of LEGO. We all gave that collection our votes for “People’s Choice” or whatever it is.

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I can’t wait to go back to the fair!

9 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Knitted stuff

May 31st, 2010 — 9:50pm

Jeeze, when’s the last time I wrote a real post? Well, anyway, I hope you’re enjoying the podcasts. Here are a bunch of things I’ve knitted recently. For more details, click the “Ravelry” button above each photo.

Slippers for Dan (he wears them constantly!)

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Heavily modified “Girl Friday” cardi for me (top-down, no seams, elbow sleeves)

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Self-stripe socks for Mom’s friend

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Striped socks for Dan, in progress

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Next time I’ll tell you about the new flower bed that Dan dug for me, and the veggies growing in my backyard garden bed.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

A few photos

May 15th, 2010 — 10:15am

On Wednesday we all (Susan, Sally, Henry, and me) went to Tango del Rey for the Rockola show and had the best time! Besides listening and singing along in the audience, we got to perform a little bit! I got to do the “Me and Julio” whistling solo, Henry and I did handclaps on “Stuck in the Middle”, Henry played guitar for “Wish You Were Here” and… something else, I forget what. So much FUN!

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On Thursday evening, Bob, Chloe, and Susan all came over to watch Survivor, which was a riot. Dan got a few nice photos; here’s my favorite, but there are a few more on my flickr:

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Also I’m knitting a pair of socks for Mom’s friend. Mom chose Felici Sport self-striping sock yarn in the “Ecology” colorway. They’re turning out really nice:


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I’m knitting them both at once on one circ. That way they’ll turn out identical and I don’t have to count rows :)

1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

Hap Blanket, done!

April 2nd, 2010 — 9:44am

I finished the Hap Blanket for pthree’s baby a couple days ago and blocked it. Yesterday I took photos, and today I will ship it off. You can read all about it on the ravelry page, even if you don’t have a ravelry log-in!!

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kayray/hap-blanket

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It turned out about 3′ square, so just right for a receiving blanket. And very soft and cuddly.

9 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Hap Blanket

March 27th, 2010 — 10:18am

I’m knitting a Hap Blanket for a friend who’s having a baby in May. Such a simple, pretty pattern! I’m using Knitpicks’ Simply Cotton, which is a great yarn. Soft and nice to work with, and I haven’t found a single knot or flaw. I bought 4 skeins of Malted Milk (off-white) and 2 in Envy Heather (dark green).

My gauge with worsted weight yarn on size 5 needles is 3.5st/inch, so I’m modding the pattern somewhat:

CO 80 using provisional cast-on (the pattern doesn’t say to use a provisional cast-on, but it will turn out much nicer if you do). I prefer to counter garter ridges rather than rows. Double the numbers if you count rows.

Knit 8 ridges in MC, then 1 in CC, 15 MC, 1 CC, 15MC, 1 CC, 15 MC, 1 CC, 15MC, 1 CC, 8 MC (in other words, 15 ridges for the fat stripes and 8 ridges for the end stripes)

This gives you 81 ridges, so when you pick up for the edge, pick up 85 on each side (pick up a few extra, evenly spaced, to make up the difference). The edge pattern is a 12-st repeat (plus one st at each corner) so this will work out perfectly and you won’t even have to think about the extra pattern repeats.

Obviously, you don’t cast-off when you’re finished with the garter-stitch square. Just keep going after your last row and commence picking up edge stitches. Now you will be glad about that provisional cast-on because you can just slide the loops onto the other end of your circ and knit them as you come to them. Don’t forget that you need to end up with 85 st per side, with a marker at each corner.

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baroque socks

March 26th, 2010 — 10:56am

I finished the Baroque Socks, finally! Now, I have nothing against the pattern. It’s well-written and certainly very pretty. And the finished socks are lovely. But oh my, they were not actually that much fun to knit. Terribly fiddly, so no good for casual tv-knitting, and I couldn’t seem to memorize the chart. If I hadn’t promised them to Mom for her birthday, I would have ripped out the first one when I was halfway through. :)


Needles: size 0
Yarn: Knitpicks’ Risata

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2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Arden Bag, finished!

January 7th, 2010 — 11:54pm

I love my new purse! It’s the Arden Bag kit from knitpicks. I over-felted mine by accident so it’s a bit lumpy but oh well. Just finished sewing the lining in last night and used it all day and I just love it. I wove the straps on my inkle loom. Here are pictures! And a Ravelry link.

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I sewed a special iPhone pocket into the lining so my phone will never sink to the bottom and make me panic. There’s also a larger pocket for keys, pens, pocket knife, etc.

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Inside-out to show lining and pockets:

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It’s not huge but it’s bigger than my old purse, so I’ll more easily be able to carry along my camera, mouse, laptop power cable, or even a sock-in-progress.

3 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Henry’s Argyle-ish Vest

January 3rd, 2010 — 10:24am

Finally got a photo of Henry in the vest I made him for Christmas. He seems to like it a lot, wears it all the time and even to bed in our chilly house.

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Here’s what it looked like blocking and before the buttons were on:

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So hard to photograph reds — it’s a lovely dark red, not orange or pink at all. The argyle panel continues over the shoulder and down the back.

Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, Cranberry, 6 skeins. Needles size 4 (3 for ribbing). Quick pattern notes:

Starting with 75 stitches CO at neck (provisional)
divide in 3rds
4 sets of shortrows each side, every 5 st
argyle pattern on one side, 4 plain, 17 for pattern, 4 plain (obviously, add on st to left side of pattern to balance)
46 rows (at armhole edge) down back, then pick up fronts.
same short rows.
inc at neck edge until 29+29 then add 5 each side (68 total, remaining 7 will be button bands later)
(Add some stitches at underarm when joining in round, forgot to note this info)
vest is a total of 120 rows (near armhole, more down center back).
24 rows of k2p2 ribbing on size 3 needles
pick up 2 out of 3 stitches for front bands and collar
(inc 2 stitches at front collar corners every other round)
pick up 3 out of 4 stitches for armhole ribbing
8 rows ribbing for bands

More pics on my flickr or the project page at ravelry.

1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

pies

November 28th, 2009 — 9:04am

Today (Saturday) is our family Thanksgiving get-together, yay! I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. Yesterday I made a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake, two apple pies, and a big casserole dish of stuffing (we have a tiny oven so can’t bake anything but turkey today). Today I’ll make the turkey, mashed potatoes, grilled onions and asparagus, and cranberry sauce. Mom is bringing a Big Salad. I only have one actual pie-dish so the apple pies are made in cake pans:

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After all that baking I was totally worn out, so I played a little WoW and then watched the entire BBC “Wives and Daughters” miniseries while knitting. It’s so good, just so good.

Oh, forgot to say — a couple of days ago I finished my slinky knitted summer nightie:

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The pattern is invented and the yarn is the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece from my old “I Do” shrug, split into 2-ply. It fits perfectly and will be wonderful next summer when it gets hot again. No, you can’t see a picture of me modeling it, it’s far too naughty ;-) The project is here on Ravelry if you want more details: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kayray/lace-nightie.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

fruit bowl

November 14th, 2009 — 8:26pm

Dan let me use his fancy digital SLR to take pictures of my new fruit bowl today:

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I got tired of using one of my two mixing bowls to store fruit and then having to dump the fruit out when I needed to mix something, so I made a papier mache fruit bowl. I used a basic papier mache goop: 1 part flour/ 2 parts water/ a glug of white glue and a good big shake of salt. I had to buy a newspaper. It’s kind of hilarious that I only buy a newspaper when I need a lot of cheap paper for a project…

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When the basic bowl was dry I gave it two coats of white acrylic paint. Next time I will be smart and use white printer paper for the last layer of papier mache. Then I used Mod Podge to apply a layer of yellow tissue paper to the outside of the bowl and then some orange and red flowers. The inside is just white with a coating of Mod Podge.

Hooray for making something very useful and decorative out of almost nothing!

5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

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