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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Up next

Well, I'm considering more crazy quilt squares. I found the box of leftover scraps from my crazy quilt. My stash drawers are fairly organized, and I'm not currently quilting. I could have some Christmas gifts in there!

The most important craft project I'm doing now is getting G of GAIN's comforter finished. We are tying it -- me threading the yarn and G tying it. The fact that it is tied makes it a comforter. I had planned a quilt with a cool quilting pattern, but it didn't work out.

G also cuts the yarn to length. His procedure is to cut 10" of yarn, then double it and cut the length in half. I don't know how he came up with that way of cutting, but it works, and we're both happy with it. We're about half done with the tying, and I can only do so much at one time. My thumb hurts from threading the needle, not pushing it through the fabric. Maybe by the end of the week it'll be on his bed.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Birthday Card

While I was searching for something else, I somehow ended up in the papercraft aisle at Jo-Ann Fabrics. How did that happen?! I took a tear-off idea sheet, thinking of my mother-in-law's birthday party later that evening. Here's what I came up with.

Getting rid of scrap paper feels good. I did not need to buy a thing in order to make this card. I already had envelopes and stamps, ink and pens, plenty of paper and cardstock, and my tiny ribbon collection was sufficient. I used my Xyron (1 1/2" width) a lot and had fun doodling. That little sticker-maker has been one of the best tools I ever purchased.

I'd read some about doodling for scrapbooks, but this was my first try. I doodled the cupcake and it went pretty well. My guess is that freehand doodling is harder when you are used to having an eraser to fall back on.

Card making may be a larger part of my future after this success. I've never been great at card making, but I can see how elements from a scrapbook page apply. "Mini-scrapbooks" instead of "cards" might be a better way for me to think.


Friday, July 17, 2009


I finished a few projects today and I feel great about it. Being done relieves me.

The first was a quickie -- cloth napkins. I had some time after mixing the pizza dough (recipe from _Animal, Vegetable, Miracle_), and I had been going through my fabric stash earlier because I was organizing (shocking, I know). I found a thin flannel that "N" of GAIN had chosen about seven years ago for PJ shorts. Unfortunately, there was not enough to make his size. This fabric has been hanging around for-ever. I measured a gifted napkin from my thoughtful sister at 16" x 16" and figured out that I have enough fabric to make two napkins, leaving a nice size remnant behind. I already had the blue thread out, and the lines on the flannel made cutting super easy.... We used them this evening with our pizza.

I also finished my woven wastebasket. I was really held up without supplies. I needed a full sheet of newspaper (a double spread). I found a Sunday paper in my in-law's garage -- score! I now have a finished wastebasket, completed with spray varnish. I feel fairly clever.

I now have one project left, and again, the lack of supplies are holding up progress. I need a sturdy, very thin cord to make a wrist strap for "A" of GAIN's telephone. I did not realize that this project was on my list of things to do until yesterday, but that's OK. "G" of GAIN's quilt has been on the list for months now.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

life this week

Let's go backwards to review the week so far. My brother and I surveyed the burr oak restoration project. He'll need to create a name for the project. Having a place name would be helpful, but we don't have one. We did, however name the Tree, Burrt.

We found a may apple fruit, which I'll post to my geocaching blog. We also found a patch of blackberries (they didn't have any razz) and a lot of gooseberries. The most surprising find for me was a discovery of his, a trillium. I had never seen one until May of this year during a flower walk at the Saylorville Visitor Center. If I hadn't seen trillium there, I would not have been able to identify the one spotted yesterday. It was not in bloom.

I have also had my thoughts on making an address book craft with my daughters and nieces for three weeks. Here is the prototype. I hope to have them all over for crafting today. I got the idea from Future Craft Collective, which was introduced to me via Craft Corps. I couldn't find enough of the twine I had hoped to use, so I settled for dental floss. Not quite the look I was going for, but the floss will probably hold better with its waxy goodness.

Lastly, I made a card with the help of my partner Cathy. I had a funeral for a high school classmate's father. The funeral and the card were not foreseen, and I felt rather out of sorts that morning. I don't think I could have gone shopping for a card, and I didn't want to use the funeral home card. I really wanted something handmade, so I leaned heavily on Cathy to help me get it done.

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Monday, July 13, 2009


My vegetable garden is growing at an OK pace this year. What odd weather we're having!

While I don't have many choices for plot location, I did manage to find homes for eight tomato plants. I have Roma tomatoes in the photo. I'm also growing cherry tomatoes. I thought two of my plants may have blight, but I think only one has it. The blight is not severe

My garlic looks fabulous. When I checked it a week and a half ago, it was not ready to harvest. My onions also look great. I'm not sure what is going on with the squash. The one isolated zucchini is very productive. The two plants on the other side of the house are not. I'm wondering if the bees just do not wander over to the other side because the other one is so easy to reach.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

crafts and yogurt

progress on the wastebasket: very good. this is a promising project. dh Mr. TellBlast gave approval to its looks this morning.

progress on current prayer shawl: poor. I've knitted only once or twice this week.

progress on G's jean quilt: still at a standstill. My wonderful partner brought her walking foot over. The quilt is too thick to fit. The crazy quilt came together so easily with the batting and backing with the same foot. Denim is too thick. I'll probably sew little spots like a button, or duvet instead. I'll make decisions about how to place them. And I had such a cool quilting pattern in my mind.

yogurt: it's great. I am crazy serious about my love for crockpot yogurt. My third batch is just as thick as the second, but I let it sit for 3, not 5, hours. I am wondering if the culture being in (unflavored whole milk yogurt) vs. (vanilla 2% milk yogurt) makes the difference. Everything else I use is exactly the same -- Heartland whole milk in the glass bottle, crockpot, and the culture (yogurt).

Vanilla Yogurt Recipe

1/2 c. crockpot yogurt
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. white sugar

I hesitate to use vanilla because of the thickness issue. (Same with honey. And we're on our last jar, which I blame on A's grandpa.) For yogurt with fruit, we frequently go without vanilla extract. It enhances the flavor, but is difficult for my 8 yo (actually all of us) to measure in that amount. We usually just drop the fruit in a cup, cover it with a little sugar to make it weep a bit, then spoon a bunch of yogurt over the top. Mmmm.

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Friday, July 10, 2009


Before I got my supplies ready for a scrapbooking crop tonight, I thought I'd get a project started -- a wastebasket. As I searched for a new wastebasket to go in our bedroom, I remembered some things for inspiration (besides the idea of not spending any money).

First, a very large basket at the State Fair, made entirely of newspaper. I've never seen another one. Uber-leet. (That's "very elite," or "extremely cool," in pre-teen gamer talk.)

Second, a book that I'd gotten years ago, after my pine needle basket phase and before my ultra-short telephone wire basket phase. Mr. TellBlast had found a fantastic price and it has been a good reference book. I have read it intensely at times. It gives details on a few weaving and finishing techniques. Our willow baskets were inspired by this book.

Third, this basket (the tag read, "Floppy Storage") at a store. It's made of wide felt strips and trimmed out with small buttons. Definitely not the right shape or size for what I want -- it looks a lot like a paper grocery sack. Not that I've haven't used a paper grocery sack as a wastebasket in the past, but I'm hoping for something different. And sturdier.

Fourth, these nested bowls. I saw a blog about crafted pencil cans, little boxes, change/key tray, etc. that someone made out of magazine pages. I tried and tried and tried, but I cannot do this satisfactorily. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. I'm unable to find the original blog, but you can go here to see the same thing. Check out the price that I found.

So we'll see how my wastebasket progresses. I am also working on a magazine rack for myself -- progress is much slower since there is no deadline like Christmas looming big over my head. It's taken three months and is one third cut out. My business partner loves it. I think she wants to join in the holiday smelting (our word for crafting. Do a search for "Victoria Jackson/Paul Simon SNL Christmas skit" and ypu'll understand.).


Sweetener Giveaway

Maybe you read Diana's recent dmJuice bit this week. Go sign up for her giveaway. I find it pretty exciting since I'm constantly trying to increase my food consciousness. She also contributes to the Simply Food blog. You can see it in the list of blogs in my sidebar.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This and That

Kitchen crafting today. Yummmmm. Five Minute a Day Bread as Sticky Pecan Rolls. I first heard a friend talk about this recipe in 2008. I wish I hadn't waited so long to make these! They are wonderful. The basic boule recipe is just revolutionary for me -- it's consistently good and relatively time efficient. I used hickories instead of pecans since that is what I had on hand. You might remember that our family did a lot of hunting for hickories last October. It's been quite handy to have a hickory stash in the freezer. I love free and yummy.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is -- snakes. How did I ever pass a Fourth of July with my kids and never buy them a pack of snakes to burn? I spoke to dh Mr. TellBlast and N of GAIN about finding only sparklers and confetti poppers at the store, no snakes or morning glories. My youngest asked what snakes were! None of my kids knew what they were. So I found a pack of 36 snakes. The boys went crazy with them after dinner. I managed to save 12 snakes for the girls this weekend ("A" of GAIN is on mission this week). Only boys would plan a "hydra formation" and other craziness. They purposely used the cinder block by the rain barrels for their snakes. It was dry, and close to water should anything go amiss. They were planning! I think boys are underestimated sometimes. Or, if you watched "Bedtime Stories," you might say "underdemiciated." They did a great job cleaning their mess, too. Now, for the dangerous part of this post. You can make your own snakes at home! Look at this.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Prayer Shawl and a Chair

The prayer shawl. Remnants of Lion Brand Homespun here, in three colorways -- Colonial (blue), a small stripe of Antique (red), and mainly Sierra (tan with earth tones). Knitting keeps me busy while sitting on the couch with Mr. GAIN during TV time. Without knitting, I'd be in another room, which bothers me. I'd like to spend my time with my spouse. I love spending time with him, that's why we married.

Since our new recycling bin came to our garage, we've been pressed for space. We moved an old rocking chair out to the garage just before the recycling bin came. This chair has been in Matt's family since he was young. He's repaired it a couple times. In order to dispose of it, we decided to have the boys tear it down for the garbage bin. Fun day for them.