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Monday, November 30, 2009

A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa - Spanish Recipes, Recipes from Spain, Iowa Local Foods: Week of Christmas Giveaway's - Aunt Else's Aebleskiver

Hey! Local bloggy mom Diana's got a giveaway for foodcrafters. Tis the season for fun giveaways. Check here Dec. 2 for my giveaway! Click below for Diana's giveaway:

A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa - Spanish Recipes, Recipes from Spain, Iowa Local Foods: Week of Christmas Giveaway's - Aunt Else's Aebleskiver

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pattern review for two towel toppers

I recently finished two different towel toppers. Towel toppers are usually crocheted to a towel to keep them from slipping off the handle of the oven door. Because I like having only TWO stitches to memorize, I searched for knitted towel toppers. Not as many patterns as for crochet, but I found two. I looked for two patterns because I had just purchased two bar towels and wanted them to be different from each other. I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream yarn (coupons for Michael's are the best). The color I chose is not listed, and I threw the ball band away. The yarn is white with colored flecks running through.

The first pattern I made was this one (pictured on the chair with the coral button) at Finding Salihah. The blog does not appear to be active anymore, but I thought the pattern looked clear enough to not need future support. There was an option to use velcro. I opted for a buttonhole. There was a buttonhole correction in the comment area, and after reading it, I decided to use it. And using a pattern from an inactive blogger was all right because it was quick to work up because it was all knit stitching and needed no clarification. I had no problems making this. I would probably add the phrase "Stitch loosely" to the backstitching instruction, but that is the only change.

The second pattern I used came from Lion Brand (pictured on a branch with the green button). There are actually two patterns located at this link, one for a woven towel and one for a terrycloth towel. I used the second, or terrycloth, pattern. I did not follow the pattern to a T and it turned out pretty well. My variations follow.

For starters, I did not use embroidery floss. I used the cotton yarn and made 30-something chain stitches. Not a big deal. Easy to adapt the pattern to fit. It definitely took longer than the backstitch required of Salihah's pattern, but she had me go through three layers of towel. Lion had me go through just one layer.

The biggest issue I had with this pattern was the buttonhole. It's HUGE. I had to buy a button to fit, and at 1 1/16" it is still a little small for the hole. Large buttons are hard to find at my local fabric stores. Or my gauge is too loose for this pattern.

I was also a little annoyed at the top hem being folded over like a flap behind my knitwork. Aesthetics, you know. It's in the back, but it is stiff along that hem. I also can't tell if the handle is long enough. It is shorter than the other topper. On the other hand, the topper looks like a basketweave, which _is_ nice to look at.

Here are the tops.

Comparison of Salihah and Lion

  • begins with a folded towel; hangs folded
  • backstitch through three layers of towel
  • correction in comments for buttonhole
  • pattern was easy to follow

  • begins with towel open along width; hangs with width "curled"
  • chain stitch through one layer of towel
  • large buttonhole
  • pattern was easy to follow and adapt
  • resulting flap isn't pretty to look at


Sunday, November 22, 2009

crafting this month

OK, the stars were done last month, but they look so stinkin' cute together.

The towel topper was a request from my mom. The topper prevents kitchen towels from sliding off the oven handle. I've made two towels from two different patterns. I'll give links and reviews later. Finding knitting patterns was hard. Many more crochet towel toppers patterns abound on the internet.

The last photo is G of GAIN making his birthday cake. After watching TV shows "Ace of Cakes" and "Cake Boss," he's all about fondant. We made buttercream fondant with this recipe and loved it. "I" of GAIN currently has the leftover fondant sculpted into little vegetables and fruits. They are drying inside a paper cornucopia.

Also, I made some scrapbook pages with lovely ladies Cathy and Nicole yesterday. Scrapbooking as a group just works better for me. "Lone Ranger scrapbooking" is bad. I guess that proves the idea that women NEED to talk more than men LOL.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drew's bag

November is the month of birthdays, which adds a lot of busy-ness to my life. In my scramble for a gift for this weekend's birthday party, I made a bag for Drew. Denim, of course. Gotta repurpose those jeans. All of my kids have made a comment about this bag and my youngest is now set on having one of her own. "Then I won't have to worry about going outside and getting it dirty."

In making this, I winged it. totally. Just my brain for a resource and a pile of denim on the floor. I'm sure there was an easier and better way to make a bag, but that's what I had to work with.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

blog roll updates

cosmetic changes in the next few days as i update my blogroll!

also, someone just had a baby. maybe the wonky house production will increase (at least thoughts of doing so will increase) so I can make a baby quilt.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rethinking ornaments

I make an ornament every year for my children (look here and here). My parents decided to give us children an ornament, and their parents did likewise for us, so that when we grew up and left the house, we would have our own meaningful collection of ornaments to use at Christmas. I've been told Mr. GAIN's siblings and in-laws that it's an excellent idea that they wished had happened for them.

I recently posted my ornament idea -- patchwork stars. I had previously decided that eggs would be our ornament, and I'll tell you why I switched.

It's the eggshells. Breaking a store-bought eggshell to make a nice opening is very easy. But they are very thin and break easily _everywhere_. Breaking a farm-bought eggshell is difficult. But they are strong and do not break easily which is great for storage. Dilemma: having a strong eggshell that easily, predictably breaks into a nice opening. I want both features in one egg, and haven't been able to do so. The three ornaments that I have made are darling, and I may try to get a fourth and fifth one (my four kids plus me) done, but I won't be making 20 (cousins).

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Looking back

We visited the Capitol yesterday, which reminded me of the beginning of my bloghood back in 2007. On a nice clear night almost three years ago, we visited the Capitol with Heather's family to welcome Scotty and Fiddy to Des Moines.

The west terrace was under construction, being transformed from the huge concrete parking lot into the greenspace that it is currently. We were able to walk up the steps of the building, too, and use the doors that were meant to be a main entrance. Ah, the good old days.
We had a tour guide show us the House and Senate, and I mentioned to Ella that she'd been to the Senate before. On the desk. "Scotty made me do it!"

Gabe considered a "jump shot" off a wall on the west side, similar to what we'd done three years ago, but thought it was too high. The steps were not enough challenge, but the wall was too much. What a great thing to witness the growth of my children and myself.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wonky houses

Earlier this month, I mentioned that I had my eye on some scrappy houses. My youngest and I tested the tutorial listed at Quiltville. You can see our work to the left. Hers has the teal sky. I made the other two -- the brown and pink skies.

Assessment: I think these houses might be great stash busters, but not great scrap busters. In fact, I'm pretty sure these three houses created more scraps than I began with. I didn't really have any scraps when we started these. (gasp -- I know LOL).

Wonky houses would be great if you had a lot of (coordinating) fabrics that needed a project. If you need to clear out some space, try these. They are fun to make, and are very similar to crazy quilt squares. But you need larger pieces for the sky fabric. I really don't have many large pieces, so I'll probably make a couple more houses, cobble them all together and call it good. Wall hanging, pillow, who knows. A bunch would make an extremely quaint or cute quilt, but I won't be making one, just because it doesn't suit my current inventory of stash.