Sunday, July 14, 2013

Customer Orders

After posting the wrist warmers on Facebook, I got a couple orders for them!  So I made some in black to sell.  One of my friends has really small hands, so I had to adjust the size so they'd fit her correctly (which is harder to do when you've never crocheted anything based on someone's measurements before and you don't have her close enough to make sure it fits).  Luckily, when I took them downstate to her, they fit perfect!  Here's one of the pairs I made, this one I made a little shorter, so it doesn't go as far up the arm.  By the way, I'm selling them for $7 a pair in any color.


Then, while I was downstate for my niece's 12th birthday party (I can't believe she's 12 already), my sister liked my blue shrug so much she asked for one.  She wanted the sleeves to be full length, and she wanted it in really soft black.  I found some really nice black yarn at Threadbender Yarn Shop down in Wyoming, MI (Grand Rapids area) the next weekend when John and I were visiting his parents.  It's 52% Silk and 48% Merino Wool and SO SOFT!  It was more expensive ($9.00 for 108 yards), but totally worth it.  It turned out great.  She'll have to hand wash it, but I think she'll love the softness.  Another of my friends liked it too, so I just have to find out what color she wants it and I can make one for her!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wrist Warmers

Another pattern I found thanks to Pinterest!  Here's a link to the pattern: Crochet Pattern: Wrist Warmers by Danyel Pink.  It's a great pattern and really easy to make.

I used a size I hook with some of the leftover yarn from the Three-Quarter Length Sleeve Shrug I made (worsted weight Red Heart yarn).  These only took me a couple hours to stitch up!  They'll be great in the winter when my hands are ALWAYS cold.  Now I just need to make a few more in other colors! :)

Three-Quarter Length Sleeve Shrug

This shrug was fantastically easy and quick to stitch up.  The pattern is from The Happy Hooker book called the "Knot Ugly Shrug".  I made the simple version (the deluxe version had ruffles on the edges and sleeves.)  I decided to make it in a light blue for a soft look (with Red Heart worsted weight yarn).  I used a size N hook (I need to find a size L and M hook since Wal-Mart doesn't have those two sizes), and I made it in the large size.  It only took me two afternoons and evenings to complete.  Mesh is great because it stitches up so quickly.  I really like the way this looks; it should be great over a lot of things, and I'll be able to use it on the cruise I'm taking in September!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pallet Coffee Table

My first pallet project was to make a coffee table for our living room.  To do that, I started with one of the nice pallets I got.  I pried off two 1"x1"s that were on the edges of the top of the pallet.  Then I used my hubby's belt sander and the 80 grit belt that was already on it to sand the top, sides, and even bottom a bit.  I mainly just got rid of any pieces sticking out.  We had some One Step Stain and Polyurethane in  "Golden Pecan".  I covered the top and sides with a total of 3 coats of that (sanding in between coats with 220 grit sandpaper).  Then, I covered just the top with a single coat of some Spar Urethane we had lying around.

For the legs, I had my hubby use the circular saw to cut off the ends of 2 of my other nicer pallets.  I screwed them together then to the top.  It was important to me to be able to move the table around easily in our living room (since it's really small with very limited space); so, I went to Home Depot and bought 2-2 packs of 2" wheel casters for about $12.  Using a 5/16" drill bit, I drilled a hole in each corner for the casters and screwed them in.

Here are some pictures of the process:

The pallet before anything was done to it.
 After being sanded...
 Finished with the final coat!
The pallet ends my hubby cut for me.
 Screwed in the legs...
And the finished product!
I must admit, I'm happy with how the coffee table turned out.  It fits quite well in the room, it's mobile, and we can use the ends as little shelves; oh, and it's not heavy. :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pallet Project Start-Up

I've been bitten by the pallet project bug!!  After seeing so many cool things made from shipping pallets (and pinning about a hundred of them), I've finally decided to give it a go for myself!

Step 1: find free pallets...CHECK...I found a couple places in town where I can get free shipping pallets on a regular basis (Sears even posted on Craigslist).

Step 2: decide which projects to try that will work with the pallets I table on casters for the living room, 2 chairs and a table for outside.

Step 3: get started!
I got 5 of these...they're in really good shape and look good!
These two are "not-so-great", but they should still be useable.
I dismantled one but am keeping the other one together to use as the main part of the table (you can see the pieces of the other one that I'll use to fill in the gaps).

Well, I got some really nice pallets that will be turned into the coffee table and outside chairs, and I got a couple pallets that aren't that great, but they'll work just fine for an outside table.  Today I managed to get one of the "not-so-great" pallets broken down using a sawzall and pry bar (so I have some extra wood to add to the other "not-so-great" pallet to make the table.)  I also managed to get one of the nice pallets sanded and stained (I used a stain and poly in one) for the coffee table.  I think I'm off to a pretty good start.  I have to figure out what to do for legs for the coffee table, and I'm planning to get casters so it will move easily in our little living room.

If it's not raining tomorrow, I'll see how the coffee table pallet looks.  I may add another coat of the stain/poly.  Then I'll head to Home Depot to find some casters!  This shouldn't take very long to finish up.

Black Bolero

Last week I decided to make a bolero from a pattern in The Happy Hooker called "Short 'N Sweet".  Theirs is done in a dark red 100% mercerized cotton; I used some black 100% acrylic Red Heart yarn I had on hand.  The pattern was pretty fun to stitch up (I'd never done around the post crocheting before).  I wasn't sure exactly which size I should make, but I figured a little bigger would be better than too small.  So, I went with the large size.  It is a little big, but I still like how it turned out.  I think the pattern would have shown up better with a lighter colored yarn.  If I make this again, I'll find some of the mercerized cotton in a light color.  I do like it though; it's pretty warm, so it should work great on cool nights (or in air conditioned building) over anything from a T-shirt to a dress (great for bonfires, parties, and anything outside from Spring through Autumn).  On to the next shrug!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Boat Cleaning

Last year, we bought a tri-hull boat off Craigslist that was pretty cheap.  John and I took it apart to replace the floor and ended up replacing the whole bottom (minus the fiberglass hull).  It turned out really good, though it did take some time and money (it helps that John is incredibly handy with just about EVERYTHING).  Here are some photos of what it looked like, torn apart.  We replaced the balsa wood on the bottom, made new fiberglass stringers, put in a new floor, and redid the stern where the motor is mounted.
Here it is, all put back together.
Well, while it was apart, we had the top part of the boat hanging from a limb of one of our pine trees (we used a come-along and rope to hold up the heaviest part, then we were able to maneuver the rest into place).  Anyway, we didn't keep it covered with anything, so it ended up with pitch all over it.  I really should have tried getting rid of it last year, but I didn't.

Here's are some photos of all the pitch on the bow of the boat...not pretty.

So, I finally decided to look up ways to get rid of pine pitch from boats and several methods came up: paint thinner, lacquer thinner (which is much more expensive than paint thinner), and isopropyl alcohol.  I decided to start with one of the cheaper options...paint thinner.  We happen to have about 5 containers of it (I have no idea why), so I figured it would be a good place to start.

When we first got the boat out of storage, I had cleaned it up a bit using a paste of baking soda and water with a scrubbie (which worked nicely to make the top look white again).  Using the same scrubbie, I dumped some paint thinner on it and got to work on the pitch.  It took some scrubbing, but it softened it up enough I was able to get it off.  Just for fun, I decided to also try isopropyl alcohol (I used 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol), and what do you know, it worked even better!  So I finished up by using the alcohol.  I was surprised how much better it worked, but I won't argue with results!  I found that if I poured a little on the pitch and let it sit for about 30 seconds, it took almost zero scrubbing to get it off!  If anyone ever needs to get pine pitch off a fiberglass boat, USE ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL!!!  That made me feel accomplished. :)

And here's how it looks now...note: NO PITCH!  Now the boat will look nice when we go out on the lake. :)

I still have to make some cushions for the bow (the previous owner had replaced the front cushions with wood and a seat for fishing).  I bought the foam last year, now I just have to find some suitable marine vinyl.  But, we're not in a big hurry on that since it's surprisingly pretty comfortable without cushions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hook Organizer

I found a free pattern on Ravelry for a Hook Organizer after following several links from Pinterest (you know how that goes).  I whipped this up this afternoon using some leftover Red Heart worsted weight yarn I had...White for the ribbon, Pumpkin for the edging and tie, and Zebra for the mat.  The pattern called for using the same yarn for the tie as the ribbon, but I thought using the orange for the edging and tie would look nice (and I really like the pop of orange). :)  Here's a link to the pattern: Crochet Hook Organizer

I'm really happy with how this turned out!  And now I have a great place to keep my hooks and yarn needles! :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Crochet Patterns from Pinterest: Round 1

After pinning a ton of cute crochet patterns on Pinterest, I decided to try some of them out.  I started with a simple shrug.  I used 2 (125 yard) spools of Scarlet size 3 Crochet Thread.  Turned out pretty cute, huh?  I like red, but I think I'll make another in white.  Here's a link to the pattern: Spring Shrug Pattern

Then I found a bun cover pattern I though would be cool for my nieces, since they dance and wear their hair in buns all the time.  I used white with metallic size 5 Red Heart Crochet Thread (you can't see the metallic thread in the photo, but it's there) and 6mm white double satin ribbon for the close.  Here's the pattern link: All Too Perfect Crocheted Bun Cover

Finally, I made a hair spiral with some left over Spring Green Red Heart worsted weight yarn using this pattern by Danyel Pink: Crochet Pattern Hair Spirals  I think I'll make a few of these for my nieces. :)

So, what patterns am I going to try next?  I have my eye on a few simple ones, a couple bags, a roll for my crochet hooks, a pin cushion, a needle case, and a pretty shawl.  Stay tuned for new rounds! :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Macque Choux (really yummy corn dish)

When my husband was in Louisiana for a Powerlifting meet, he had a version of this side dish and asked me to find a recipe so I could make it.  So, I scoured the internet for recipes and found one that sounded similar to what he had eaten...and I've been fixing it ever since!  It is fantastic!  It's got a little bit of a kick, which we both like, and it's even good as a leftover.  So, here's the recipe:

Macque Choux

2 1/2 cups corn
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter with the oil.  Add corn, onion, sugar, garlic, and cayenne pepper.  Cook until corn is almost tender and starts to form a crust on bottom of pan*.  Gradually stir in broth, scraping up bits on bottom of pan.  Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the cream.  Cook until almost all the liquid evaporates; stir frequently.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add beaten egg; stir one minute or until egg is cooked.

Note: Feel free to substitute the small onion for dried minced onion (I use about 1/4 cup) or even onion powder (about 2 teaspoons), whatever you have on hand.

*The crust is only likely to occur if you use a cast iron skillet.  If you use a non-stick or stainless steel skillet (like I do), you won't get a crust on the bottom.  Don't worry, it's just as good without it! :)

I make this every year for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and just about any other time we want corn, and we aren't using corn-on-the-cob.  I hope you enjoy this as much as my husband and I!!  Let me know how it turns out for you.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Current Traditional and Digital Artwork

For traditional artwork, I use just about anything.  I like charcoal, colored pencils, oil pastels, oil paint, and watercolors.  Here are a few of my pieces. :)

"Penguins" watercolor

"Mt. St. Michel" watercolor based off a photo I took of it when in France.

"Spring Flower" colored pencil and oil pastel

"Snow Drop" colored pencil and oil pastel

"Rich Autumn Color" colored pencil and oil pastel

"Artist Life" graphite pencil and charcoal

As far as digital art goes, I really started doing more abstract work when I was getting my Residential Planning Diploma online at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.  I find it a good way to express my emotional state.  The first one is called "Peace and Tranquility", while the second one is called "Solar Glare".  Enjoy!

Crocheted Jewelry

I love making jewelry (in case you didn't already know that).  Anyway, I'm trying some new techniques that I've discovered I really like, such as crocheted wire necklaces and bracelets.  The plan is to also get back into using seed beads.  Everything is for sale.  (I'm thinking of starting an Etsy store to sell my items...any thoughts on that?)

Finished Crochet Projects

Last summer I started crocheting, using books to teach myself the techniques.  Here are the pieces I've made so far. I know how to single crochet, double crochet, triple crochet, V-stich, Granny Squares, and I can crochet in rounds.  I also know how to make the shell stitch and flowers now too.  I even made gifts for my nieces for Christmas.  I really enjoy crocheting; I find it rather relaxing.


As I complete crochet projects, I'll post pictures of them. If I develop any unique patterns, I may consider making them available on here as well (just depends how creative I get). If anyone is interested in purchasing anything I make, just let me know. If anyone would like to request something crocheted, just ask! I charge reasonable prices for commissioned work.