Thursday, August 28, 2014

little fingerprints

we made fingerprint gifts for Nana's birthday.  the boys just love painting, so I didn't need to twist their arms or bribe them to help me make these.  they do have their limit on how long they'll let me paint their fingers and press them onto things before they try to take over, though!
we painted a cute ceramic mug I found at Target with Martha Stewart opaque glass paint and then baked it in the oven.  I bought extra mugs just in case, and I'm glad I did!  I thought a grey mug with mostly white prints and some color here and there would be cute, but for some reason the white did not work well at all :\  so I went with just the color paints on the white mug and they worked great.
while we had momentum going we did a picture frame with regular acrylic paints.  I'm hoping to get a good picture of the boys at my sister-in-law's wedding this weekend to put in the frame!
I was going to have the boys make a card, but decided to decorate a plain white bag that doubles as a birthday card instead.  this was a two day project...
but I really love the balloons :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

corner to corner triangle shawl

I crocheted this shawl for a friend of mine using the corner to corner afghan tutorial from The Crochet Crowd, with 4 skeins of Caron Simply Soft yarn, and a 6mm hook.
I've made scarves with this pattern in the past, but this is the first time I've used a solid color yarn.  with variegated yarn the focus is the patchwork of color, so I never noticed before the cool texture it makes!
instead of a rectangle or a square, I did a triangle.  I just increased like the pattern says to, and when I thought it was long enough I simply didn't decrease back down to the other corner.  I did a scallop around the two straight edges to match the "unfinished" long edge, but this is totally optional and I think I'd skip it if I did this one again.

if watching a video isn't your thing, here's a link to a written pattern provided by Artiamus Imura: Corner to Corner Triangle Shawl

Thursday, August 14, 2014

crochet slippers

yeah... it's WAY too hot for slippers right now, but I've been thinking about fall to take myself to a cooler place this summer, so I made these slippers for my mom (surprise, mom!).  I think they came out pretty cute for just kinda winging it :)  I took inspiration from these slippers on Etsy from daisychain - I love the big buttons and contrasting colors she uses.
here is a basic slipper pattern from 2 create in color.  I did mine in single crochet and I did rounds instead of a going in a spiral around the toe, but the shape and construction is the same as all other basic crochet slippers.  I used Red Heart Soft in Sea Foam, with a 4.25 mm hook which gives it a more dense feeling.

make a magic ring
round 1:  ch 2, 9 dc into magic ring, sl st to join, pull ring tight - 10 sts
round 2:  ch 1, 2 sc into each st around, sl st to join - 20 sts
round 3:  ch 1, sc increase into every other st around, sl st. to join - 30 sts
(make more increase rounds to accommodate the width of your foot.)
round 4:  ch 1, sc into each st around, sl st to join - 30 sts (or maintain the amount of sts you have after you finish the increase rounds)
repeat round 4 until you have the toe of your slipper as long as you want minus 1/2" for the edging.

sides and sole:
row 1:  ch 1, sc into each st across, leaving the last sts un-worked for the opening across the top of the foot (I left about 2"), ch 1 and turn.
row 2:  sc into each st across, ch 1 and turn.
repeat row 2 until you reach your heel - you will want this to be a little snug so it doesn't slip off your heel, but not pulled so tight it cramps your toes.
sl st the heel closed and turn right side out.

round 1:  attach yarn at the center of the top of the foot, ch 1, sc around the edge, sl st to join.
round 2:  ch 1, sc until you reach the side of the slipper, then sc2tog every other st until you reach the toe again, then sc to the end and sl st to join.

toe strap:
while standing, measure from the ground at the ball of your foot to where you want your button to go on the top and make a chain that length.
row 1:  ch 2, hdc into each st across, hdc 4 more times into the last ch, and hdc down the other side of the ch, ch 2 and turn.
row 2:  hdc into each st, and 2 hdc into each of the 5 sts on the center of the curve, then hdc into each st back down the other side, ch 1 and turn.
row 3:  sc into each st, and 2 sc into each of the 6 sts on the center of the curve, then sc unto each st back down the other side.
row 4:  change colors (optional), ch 1, sc into each st around.
attach strap to the slipper and sew on button.  this is easiest to measure while the slipper is on.

I felt like the large button was a very important element, so I had to give the illusion of a bigger button by making a crochet circle to frame the smaller buttons I had.  this was done the same as the very beginning of the slipper, but I squeezed 13 double crochets into the ring instead of only 10 to make a little crochet disc that I could nest the buttons into.
only 3 hot months left before it's time to cover up chilly feet.... yes, you have plenty of time to make yourself a pair ;)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

cotton candy fails

I saw some videos on youtube of people making cotton candy (which I love) and thought it looked fun and easy.  Groupon sent me a $10 off of $20 coupon, and they just happen to have a cotton candy machine, so I gave it a go.
regular sugar worked up to be fluffy, but it wasn't as soft and fluffy as regular cotton candy - sort of had a stiff glassy texture.  it also has a flavor that tasted like it was starting to burn.  but the boys liked it.
I added some watermelon Kool-aid to regular sugar and that was kinda hit and miss - mostly miss.  it was a crunchy tube most of the time.  but the boys still liked that, too.
I tried grinding up some candy canes and peppermints in the coffee grinder, which gave mixed results.
I had chocolate peppermint candy canes which probably worked the best texture-wise.  this one was the most like regular cotton candy.
the regular peppermint candy cane had that glassy texture, and wouldn't stick to the stick after it got to a certain size - probably the biggest fail.
crushed mints                                                                                                                 whole mints
I tried peppermints ground up and just by themselves, and I think I like keeping the candy whole rather than grinding it up, but it still got to a point that it let loose of the stick and I couldn't turn it around to gather the floss anymore.
I don't like peppermints, but this was a more enjoyable way to eat them because it was light and the flavor wasn't as strong.  the boys liked these mint ones at first, but when I offered them more they declined, and Jack actually handed it back to me.  maybe this is more of a peppermint-lover or adult kinda cotton candy.
I got some Jolly Ranchers and used two whole candies at a time like with the peppermints.  I wanted to try them because I'd seen other people have success with them in their machines, but my machine temp must be different because it just never really worked right :(  I tried crushing the candy to see if that helped and it wasn't any better.  tasted great, but it was more like batten insulation than cotton candy - it clung to the stick and became dense the more that was wound on the stick, so the center was crispy by the time it was finished.
I think I'll try finding some other hard candies and see what happens with those.  I'm also wondering if a larger bowl would help... or maybe this machine just isn't so great.  I dunno - we'll see if I come back to it!  I might be more inspired as the weather gets cooler to try and mess with it again.