Monday, December 17, 2007

Crafting with Chocolate

After a long hiatus from crafting due to one of my busiest semesters yet, I found a few things finally were off my plate and a crafty opportunity opened up! James and I spent our cold slushy Sunday in the kitchen, making mint-chocolate cookies for xmas presents for our east-coast friends. Man, we are an awesome crafty duo, because these cookies looked beautiful and tasted scrumptious! Here they are in the fridge, chilling so the melted chocolate would harden.

Next, we boxed them up in little white boxes lined with color-coordinated tissue paper, and custom-made tags and gorgeous ribbons that I had been drooling over for weeks.

It was so incredibly satisfying to see them all lined up on the refridgerator shelf, I almost wanted to keep them there just to look at! I'm such a paper-crafting freak!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Oh, Pretty Closet Door!

When I pulled my sewing machine out of its inner-desk hideaway, it was covered in black dust and kind of groggy. But after a quick wipedown with a q-tip and a tissue, it was ready to sew me a curtain!

I'd had this red and white fabric for several weeks, sitting next to my desk and bugging me to make this curtain for my closet (in place of a closet door which does not exist). I was just getting tired of seeing all the crap in my closet all the time. I bought a short curtain rod and then hemmed all 4 edges of the fabric. Being so sheer and lightweight, it was tough to sew a straight hem, but hopefully nobody will notice the curling and curvature of my curtain sides.

James was playing around with the new batteries in his camera, nerdily testing their stamina by snapping pictures of everything in my room. Luckily he's a pretty good photographer, but I don't necessarily appreciate all the pics of my rear end. Anyway, he also befriended this little guy, Mr. Tomato Head. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eek! A Mouse!

After spending a couple weekends at James's apartment in New Hampshire and listening to his roommate's cat meow incessantly out of boredom, I decided to whip up a quick mousie toy for him to play with. It's mostly full of regular stuffing, with a little pinch of catnip for added intrigue. Check out Mr. Mouse's first encounter with Easy the cat. :)

video

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Axel's Baby Blanket

I finally finished the blanket! Fortunately, I got to drop it off personally at Sanji and Michelle's house on Monday, and hang out with the little guy for a bit. Axel is 3 months old now, and can give a toothless smile and squirm around and put his little fist in his mouth. So adorable! I want to babysit!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Update: Purple Sock!

Hello all! The crafting continues, as classes have not started yet for the fall semester. I took my purple sock project to California with me, and got a little bit done on the plane and on the drive to Lake San Antonio. Now it looks more like a sock! From this point, it's being put on the back burner until I finish up little Axel's baby blanket, and then until I finish the present for Amy's upcoming baby. Which will probably be a cable-crocheted hat. Which will require me to visit the yarn store. Yay!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Handmade Wooden Signs for "Orchard"

Wow, I'm sorry it's been so long that I've posted here, but I have still been crafting! My latest project was to create some custom-made signs to label my parents' fruit trees in their backyard orchard. James and I designed and created them out of a redwood plank. First we put a coat of polyurethane on the front side of the plank and cut it to the right size for each word that we would write. Then we printed each word in a nice big font on pieces of paper, and traced each one on the wood with pencils or ballpoint pens, making indentations in the wood.
Then we carved out each name with a dremel and a carving tip - here's James in action. This was the most time-consuming step - each word took 15 minutes on average to carve.
Here's an example of how they come out after carving. Nice!

Then we used a dark wood stain (color: Red Mahogany) to darken the areas we carved out , wiping excess of the polyurethaned area with a spare cloth. We didn't get to it, but the next step would be to put a final coat of polyurethane to weatherproof the whole sign, and drill holes in the bottom to insert a peg so each sign could be staked in the ground next to each tree.Possibly related to my pickyness, it took us a while to decide on the actual method we would use to make each sign. Some of our trials/errors are displayed below, including painting inside the letters, using a wood burner tool, and carving outside rather than inside the letters.

Alas, we had to fly back to Boston before seeing the signs installed in the backyard, but I'm hoping my mom will send me pics of them all set up!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Green Side of the Family

While they may do some of the work themselves, plants are almost a work of art. I nourish them with water and sunshine to produce a beautiful green sculpture of nature for all to admire. First, check out my orchid. This was originally a gift from my advisor when I got my Master's, and then all the original stems and leaves died... but luckily new ones appeared, and now there are at least 3 stems competing for the first flower! I can't wait! Next to the orchid is Arnold, James's plant, which has followed him here from California. Arnold never seems too happy, but he's still hanging in there.

This lovely I-forget-what-kind-it-is was purchased from an MIT craft fair in Lobby 10, and at the time it had lots of little pink flowers. Two years later, I have not been able to coax it to flower again. For a while it had these crazy-long stems that hung down before going up, probably trying to grow taller to get more sun. I finally snipped all those stems off and all these lovelies have regrown on my sunny windowsill! Crossing my fingers for a bloom!
In this pot lie my newly-acquired basil seeds! They sort of look like baby mouse poos. I got a packet of the seeds at the Earthfest concert in Boston last weekend - woohoo! Homegrown cooking ingredients! Although there are no sprouts yet... maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
And this is our prized money tree! This guy has sprouted at least 5 new stems off the main stalk, each with larger, shinier leaves than the last. If only our actual financial situation reflected this guy's growth status!


We also have another little plant whose picture I didn't take, because he's ugly. Haha.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ripple Baby Blanket!

Never one to finish a project before starting another one, I have put my crocheted socks on hold in order to start crocheting a baby blanket for my cousin Sanji's newest addition, due to arrive in 2 weeks! He and his wife don't like to find out if it's a boy or girl beforehand, so I'm stuck with white yarn again, but I'm banking on the fact that there's no possible way I will finish this blanket before their baby is born, and when that occurs I can hastily throw in some pink or blue ripples! Wee! In the meantime, I still have a lot of crocheting to do... I'm using Bernat Softee Baby yarn, with a "ridged chevron" pattern I found in my Harmony Guide to Crochet Stiches book. What a great resource that book is. It's like 100 blanket patterns listed as different stitches, so you have so many possibilities if you apply your creativity to the basics they provide. Supah.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Purple Socks, Finally!

I got this beautiful sock yarn at Building 19 1/2 like two years ago, because it was well-priced and lovely. But unfortunately there are precious few patterns for crocheted socks, so these pretty skeins sat under my bed for quite a while.

To my delight, the latest issue of crochetme.com has a crocheted sock pattern! I was so excited, and within two days I started making the first sock, below, with an E hook. So far it is looking more like a closed tube than a sock, but I'm getting close to the heel part, so I hope it will grow into its sock character soon! I know it's not that practical to start making socks right when the Boston weather is starting to feel like spring (at last!!), but I really couldn't resist. This is also my first experience with stitch markers (I'm using paper clips), and so far it's pretty convenient. I never realized how great it is not to have to physically count your stitches in the round. Wee! I can't wait till one is finished!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

More Squares for Afghan

While I have been updating this craft blog only sporadically, my actual crocheting progress has been slow but steady! Check out some of the squares I've made recently for my 63-square afghan. I got a few of them done on our spring break road trip to Cincinnati (14 hours of driving each way!). For some reason, the last few squares came out like diamonds. I think I've been following the same convention as before, but several rows together give a slanty edge. I've been trying to pay more attention to guage for the squares, ever since I read that you can't block with acrylic yarn, and that's exactly what these are made of. My first ~10 squares are all different sizes, but maybe I'll just add wider borders to the smaller ones to even them out. I'm still hoping to make some attempt at blocking if not to just flatten them all out!

I always thought these flowers looked kind of old-lady-ish, but I really like the way this square came out!

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Breezy

I am probably the worst seamstress in the entire world, somehow screwing up a simple straight line of a pillow seam. But luckily the required precision of a living-room toss pillow is very hand-wavy, and I sucessfully recovered a pillow! It was previously a forest green pillow, clashing entirely with our current nautically-themed decor. Plus the palm trees of this new fabric can help remind us of more tropical places. :) This simple pillow design was somewhat inspired by Amy Butler's pillows, which are gorgeous and beyond my price range. Being crafty myself, I am less inclined to purchase something that I think I could re-create in my craft room. Of course, that rarely happens in reality, but the thought of my being able to make it always deters me from buying the real thing. Anyway, I like the way this pillow came out!

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

What This Girl Wants

In my recent disdain for scientific research, I have come upon several amazing and inspiring crafty and artsy websites which I would like to share with the world!

Cotton Monsters: These are the coolest creatures ever. If only I could sew that well.

Jen Stark: I don't know how she makes these creations out of paper, but they are awe-inspiring!

Posie Gets Cozy: This lady seems to share most or all of my crafting interests, namely crochet, sewing, embroidery. I especially love how there is a cat in every picture that includes yarn. :)

Superbuzzy: Hmm, I want everything on this site.

Amy Butler's In Stitches: And I would give my left kidney to have this book! ...On second thought, I guess it's not quite that expensive.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back In Business

Well I went on a kind of crafting hiatus during the month of January, as I devoted every brain cell to thinking about fluid flow and heat transfer. Happily, I passed my exams, and I am actively working to forget all that info I taught myself during those long hours of studying. And what better way to do that than to craft? I've started working again on my good old 64-square afghan, of which I have completed maybe a third of the required squares. Here are a few of my latest:I'm making more of an effort to pay attention to gauge, as many of my previous squares are varying sizes. But sometimes you don't realize the shrinkiness of your square until you're almost done, and by that time I don't have the patience to rip it all out and start again with a different hook. I'll make it all work in the end...

My latest sewing project was to make a curtain for the kitchen! It turned out pretty well, since I stuck with the tried and true (rectangle), but the lovely fabric brings a needed splash of color to our cold kitchen. I also made a matching potholder, which is a little crooked but still super awesome.