Sunday, December 9, 2012

Extreme DERP!

So ... um ...
Sometimes you try something new and hey, it works really well.

Other times ...


Yeah, dying some silk today.  Decided to add some yarn to the bucket.  No problem.  Rinsed/washed the silk in the washing machine.  Again, no problem.  Did the yarn.  Without.  Thinking.  It.  Through.

Aaaannnndddd it wrapped around the agitator.  Like, completely.  Around.  The.  Agitator.

So somedays things go right.
And sometimes, not so much ...

* What's the DERP?! you ask?  Check out answer #5 and #7 for the closest approximation of what I mean here.

** And the silk by the way is GORGEOUS!  Can't post much more about it until after the holidays.  Can't be previewing gifts this early! ;)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Soapmaking Gets EPIC

What am I saying?! 
Soapmaking is ALWAYS epic!

It's that time of the year when a girl's thoughts turn to ... good clean fun!  (Yeah, I made "that" joke.  You should know better by now ... silly readers!)

So, I gathered some gals (and guys!) for another annual soapmaking event at the Community Crafts Studio.  Well, almost annual.  Last year it was just Suzanne and I in my kitchen at home.  But still fun!  This year we had a group of ten or so. 

Check out our workspace, all prepped and ready for class ...

I like to focus on pantry soaps, using herbs, honey, oats, essential oils -- many of which are found in your pantry!

AND I like to encourage the use of "repurposed" soap molds.  Any flexible plastic containers that end up in your recycling bin are great!  They can usually be used a few times before cracking and then can still end up in the recycling bin!  But sometimes I have to supplement with containers found at the Dollar Store.  Hey, they're still recyclable and can be used even longer than the others.

Using a glycerin, melt-and-pour soap base is super easy!  Especially with microwaves and glass measuring cups!

Please ignore my unhealthy (but oh so tasty) iced soft drink there in the background.  What can I say?  Vice!  Thy name is Dr. Pepper!

The above pic is kind of odd looking, I know.  But its what a partial 25 lb. block of soap looks like.  (Oh, I order in 25 lb. blocks, baby!  I like a LOT of good clean fun!)

I'm not going to run through all specifics and "how to"s here*.  You can find that all over the web and in crafty books.  But I can say this, I recommend high-quality soap bases and natural ingredients.  No synthetic fragrances here!  Essential oils and dried herbs, baby!  Better for you!

So here are some extra-nummy-goodness pictures of some of our finished soaps!  Lavender ... Lemon-Sage ... Honey & Oats ... Brown Sugar & Honey ... Cedarwood & Honey ... Green Tea ... mmm!

Lavender, still in a mold.

(What I believe to be) Lemon-Sage still in molds.

Lavendar (foreground), Peppermint (left, dark bar), various others in background.

A couple of us do have a few commercial molds (foreground.)
Don't they all look so pretty?!  Such variety of shapes, colors, smells!

Love, love, love!!! the fun shapes that come from single-serve fruit cups or applesauce!  Yogurt, too!

Mmm .... so pretty!

I love to do this.
I love to share the knowledge.
I love when it's over because it's 4 hours on my feet!

... and many Christmas gifts, DONE!

* I do have a handout available, but it isn't "everything" you need to know.  I mostly teach by doing.  Hands on learning is the best way.  BUT if you want a copy of the handout of handy tips and resources, leave a comment on this post or private message me at and I can email you a copy of the PDF.  Use at your own risk because I'm sure I left out some details!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crafting Custom Christmas Crayons

(Again, with the alliteration!  I can't help myself!)

This weekend, I'm participating in an online "craft-a-long" with Trish over at Genuine Mudpie!  She thought it would be fun to get together and "craft-a-long", however many of us are separated by some serious geography!  Did I mention she's in Canada and I'm in the Midwest U.S.  See?!  Serious geography.

So ... everyone, let's "craft-a-long"!

Awhile back I found this blog post about (re)making crayons!  I "pinned it" over on Pinterest thinking it would be a great Christmas project to make for any kiddos I know.  The original steps can be found on the above link, but I will give you a few additional tips.

First off, grab a craft knife -- it's the fastest way to get all those paper labels off of 96 crayons.  Seriously.  Beats peeling them off with your fingernail.  Just slice gently down the length of the wrapper, and they peel right off!  I used Coke cans instead of tin cans because someone here (not me*) drinks a lot of Coke.  We seldom use canned goods as we buy fresh produce and such.  HOWEVER, the aluminium cans present a few ... erm ... issues.  We'll discuss momentarily.

I sorted my crayons into like colors for mixing.  Then broke them up and melted them in batches, from lights to dark.  That way I could re-use cans!  Sneaky, eh?  So here are the light purples melting together.

Why do I have so many cans in the pot?  Aluminium cans float in water.  Like a lot.  And then they tip over.  In the water.  Like a lot.  The other cans are filler to keep them from tipping.  And I could melt multiple batches at one time.  Here's me pouring some melted crayons into a mold.

The beautiful thing about the aluminium cans?  You can squeeze them to make a bit of a spout!  Helpful!  And yes, this is actually me pouring.  Aluminium cools to the touch fairly quickly.  I did have Chris' assistance plucking them from the hot water.  I'm a bit delicate (i.e. whiny) and he has asbestos hands from working in the kitchen all day.  He helped with this a lot more than I intended.  He's nice like that.  (I love it when he gets all crafty with me!)

Anyway, a bit of an aside ... did you know candy molds are CHEAP?!  Like less than $2 each!!!  I got a little crazy with the shapes.  I have 3 - 4 more molds that you won't see today.  BUT you will see soon.  I need to make more crayons before Christmas.  Didn't really get as many as I wanted from the box of 96 crayons.

There are leaves.



And toy soldiers!

I will also warn you that the crayons are much lighter when they're in liquid form than when they dry.  Like quite a bit.  So I'll be making more crayons.  I need more anyway, but I want to shoot for some lighter colors to mix in with these.  Some of them were darker than I intended.

Here are some additional shots of the crayons ... just for fun!

I really wish you could see the dark blues and purples.  There were some metallic crayons mixed in the original box and they turned out really cool in the darker colors.  They just didn't photograph real well.

But this was not a difficult project.  Would make a great way to re-make all those broken crayons kids seem to accumulate.  You know, the ones they don't want to use anymore because they're not "new" and don't look pretty anymore?  Oh wait.  Maybe that was just me ...

Anyway, thanks to Trish for bringing all of us together to share a craft ... even from miles and miles (and miles!) away.

* Oops!  Forgot about my footnote ... I don't drink Coke.  I'm a Dr. Pepper girl, just FYI.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Technicolor Dreamin'

What do you do when your little buddy Mr. Ian asks you what could be used to make a technicolor dreamcoat for Halloween?

Well, you offer to make it for him!

Oh, and of course you line it in gold lame.
Why, because it's supposed to be lined in gold.  Duh!

Am I a good Auntie-not-a-real-Auntie, or what?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Genetically Speaking

Do you come from a line of crafty people?
Is art in your blood?
What about just "making stuff"?

It seems I'm one of those people ... people who can't help but "make stuff" because, well, I'm genetically predispositioned to do it!  I've got artists & poets, sewists* & quilters, crocheters & knitters going back at least a couple of generations.

For example ...

...take this giant granny square blanket!  Started by my maternal great aunt, Eleanor, who passed away many years ago.  Isn't it funny how trends ebb and flow?  Giant grannies granny square blankets are HOT right now!  (That sentence almost took a turn in the wrong direction...)

I digress ...
My cousin Pat handed this off to me.  She knows I'll finish it.  She also knows that the pinks, reds and whites will work with my bedroom decor.

I'm trying to think of  a creative way to mark the last stitch she made.  Kind of a historical "passing off of the yarn" to me.  I don't have that all worked out yet.  Right now, it's just tied with a piece of yarn so I can find it again.

Took a couple of hook sizes to get gauge closer to hers.  I suspect she was a looser hooker crocheter than I.  (I have GOT to stop writing posts when I'm tired.  These sentences keep taking on a mind of their own...)  Had to move up to a J hook to get close.  It's still a little tighter, but close enough!

Now, being a gal who spends LOTS of time at the yarn shop, I do have access to many wonderful and luxurious fibers like alpaca & camel, mercerized cotton & soy silk, mohair & even mink!  Fibers like this were not readily available -- if at all!!! -- 20 or 30 years ago.  BUT you could get the lastest and greatest in ...

... ORLON!!!
Hey, it was QUITE the thing!
Unlike readily available sheep's wool, you could toss it in the washer and dryer.  That was quite a first!  (You probably can't see it very well, but the yarn on the left was bought for 77 cents on sale!  I WISH I could find yarn for 77 cents!  (We don't need to discuss my yarn stash.  I don't want to know what it's worth ... I'm in denial, okay?!)

Anyway, tonight, I picked up where she left off.
I feel the need to see this to completion.  Stay tuned!

* Sewist is a relatively new term.  Why, you ask?  Let's take a look ...

There's this word:  sewer.  Meaning one who sews.
Then there's THIS word:  sewer.  Meaning an underground pipe filled with sewage.

In the middle of a written sentence, if you misread one for the other (since they're spelled EXACTLY the same), you can TOTALLY misunderstand what's going on.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


  Presenting ...

My craft fair display! *
Clever, eh? 
Take one rolling garment rack, add some pegboard secured with zip ties and voila!  Pretty quick, portable and affordable display!

Here are some additional shots of the merchandise:


Above a few small clutches with a seamed edge, reverse-applique.

These are some large clutches featuring a certain space-based movie franchise.  I'm sure you can hear the theme music in your head.

Here's some various large totes.  Some cotton twill/cotton or linen/cotton.

A couple of smaller totes with fun flowers.

  Here's that bag again that I love so much.  Looks like I get to keep that one.  Yea!!!!

  And here are some quilted coasters.  Fun!

Anyway...we had fun!  Think it was worth-while for us three crafters.  Hope to do it again...maybe in the Spring!

* Had some issues with my digital camera, it seems.  Had to use a couple of camera phone pics to round out this post.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm a "Frayed"

Why am I a "Frayed"?
Because of this awesomeness of this little Raw Edge Denim and Red Bag!
(Oh, you should've seen the pun coming by now.  I'm full of  'em.)

Check out this little goodie - Raw Edge Denim & Red Bag

She's got lovely little frayed edge, denim handles.
(Get it?  I'm a "frayed"???)
I also heavily quilted the handles to provide some stability & strength.
Oh, and to make 'em prettier.

Here's a close up of the quilting detail.

The bag also has cute little double pleats on both sides.

I didn't show the interior lining, but it's solid red.

Oh, and did I mention?  This bag could be yours.
Find out how here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The World's {smallest} Craft Fair

Hey you.
Yeah, you.

If you live in the St. Louis area, you may be interested in THIS:


Saturday, October 6
10am - 2pm

We're having the world's smallest craft fair.

Three artists.
All local.
All awesome.

Did I mention yours truly will be there?
If you'd like your very own, personal invitation (which will include all the details, including the address) shoot me an email:

I'll make sure you get the details to this exclusive, first-time ever event.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Oh yeah, baby.
I'm making some changes.

... to my blog.  Have you noticed?

In my quest to become more professional, I've been doing some things here behind the scenes.  "Like what?" you may ask.  Well, here's a list of things:

  • Do a craft show (upcoming!)
  • Find better, faster ways to make things (Done! ... and ongoing)
  • Get an official logo - DONE!!!!!!!!!

Check THAT out! 

Isn't it awesome?!  You can also see it as my current Blogger profile pic.  I'm still working on other ways to incorporate it into the blog.  (Still learning the ins-and-outs of Blogger's layout and format.)

My new logo was brought to fruition by Kimberly (I can call her Kimmy) Brooks over at Kimberly Brooks Photography.   I had a temporary logo I had been using for a bit, but it needed to be better.  I sent her what I had and what I liked/disliked about it, she applied her magic and VOILA!  A new logo was created!

I knew I wanted something simple and graphic that would translate easily to labels, tags, stamps and such.  She knew I liked the combo of blocky letters with a scripted font.  And BAM!  A logo! 

Don't you love that wonky D?! 
And that sexy tail on the S?! 
Oh, that S just begs you to follow her little tail.
... minx.

Can I just say Kimmy and I must share a wavelength or something???  (I won't discuss the juvenile jokes that made us giggle like five-year olds -- for that would be juvenile!)  But SRSLY.  She totally "got me" and seemed to read my mind.  She rocks! 

Can you believe that the logo thing and web stuff isn't even her FAVORITE thing to do?!  She's a photographer at heart.  I've linked her website above - you should go check it out.  She's good, y'all.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I'm a Slacker


It's true.
I ain't done nuthin' lately. 
It's not that I didn't WANT to do things.

I just haven't been uber-motivated.  We've had weather that's been all over the board lately.  And the constant changes in air pressure really screw with my sinuses and allergies. 

Oh.  And I've had tendonitis or something.  Written off to -- and I quote the doctor -- "overuse and abuse."  I'm just telling people I've been kicking too much ass and I over did it. 

But wait! 
I did something today!

Isn't this denim clutch FANTASTIC!?!?!
It's all ... ORANGE and stuff!

Ooo...and it has a magnetic snap closure.
Love those.

A little close up of the couching.
Oh, yes. 
I made the cording myself.
THEN I couched it onto the denim.

It's all orange and scribble-y.
I love making cords.
I need to make more.

And attach 'em to stuff.
It's pretty.

I didn't get a good shot of the side seams of the clutch.  You can see the orange lining fabric along the edge.  It's really cool.  Oh, well.  You'll just have to take my word for it!

I made this for someone's birthday (she knows who she is!)

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Swear There's a Quarter in There!

There IS a quarter in this picture.

Can you find it?

I'm working on a G-I-A-N-T Doily Rug for the yarn shop. 
I'm writing the pattern as I go -- maybe to go on sale on Ravelry.

This is made with some lovely, lovely alpaca/llama fiber.  It is SOOOO soft!  The shop owner picked it up at a fiber workshop on the East Coast.  The picture (taken from my "eh" cell phone camera) doesn't do justice to the color.  It's got blues, purples, greys ... just really pretty.

I can't wait to see what I come up with ...

By the way, check out that hook!!!  Size P Tunisian.