Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I HEART Pinterest

So I started on Pinterest, what? 2 months ago and I'm totally in love with the creativity and access to creativity that I find on there!  So, back to Handmade Holiday (I promise this ties in), I found a project on there that I just knew if I did, my kids would love, love, love!  Etsy seller and blogger Haddy-Grace (probably better known as RuthAnn Zimmerman) lives in Iowa which is apparently really cold in the winter so she made FLEECE fitted sheets for her kids!  Look at this picture of one of her girls on their bed:

Okay - it doesn't get that cold here in the mid-Atlantic to warrant fleece sheets but my kids don't like their comforters on their beds - they prefer to sleep with a throw blanket (can you see where I'm going with this?) and then complain that it's too small or that their feet poke out. Soooo - I took RuthAnn's design and made a fitted top sheet like I had for their toddler bed! I'm calling it a "stay-put blanket".

I made a matching pillow case too although it's really just so I can use it as wrapping...

So the features of this "Stay-Put Blanket", a fitted bottom portion of the sheet

and that 3" fold-over portion that I don't really understand the purpose of on regular sheets.

Also coming along, Pixiebell Elfinwear hats for my sisters and Tangled scarf for my mom

(the dark one is purple and yes, they are cast on to the same round needles - why read directions twice??)

Not that I need to add anything to my Handmade Holiday but I did - another Pinterest find (again, I <3 Pinterest - if you want to stick with my Handmade Holiday theme, you can screen print me a shirt that says that, wrap it up in what I'm about to tell you about and mail it to me) - cloth gift bags! Reusable, ecofriendly, fun!  How Does She talks about them here. The Christmas Bags seemed perfect - but I'm low on funds and don't have lots of Christmas-themed fabric just sitting around so I tore through my collection of fat quarters (okay, so this may be considered almost cheating but what really is cheating is that I left the selvage edge at the opening - also, most of my fat quarters are flowers and spring...). Wanna know what I learned? a) not all fat quarters are the same size; b) I don't use that many fat quarters and should probably stop buying them except they came in handy tonight.  Anyway, I put fabrics together and had a good time sewing up a bunch of wrapping bags. They don't look as good as the photos from the blog but for a quickie craft where I didn't have to buy anything that I didn't have already, they turned out great! here's my favorite - Owls on Orange. It fits a shoe box and notice the tag (it's the only right side up owl and it has chalkboard fabric on the back - that marker on the right is ChalkInk)?

Okay, the count down to Christmas is heating up - we're getting close!  Too bad I don't have an Advent Calendar - actually may have worked out by not putting too much pressure on us since someone in our house has been sick since the week before Thanksgiving, myself included.  Oh! We did finally get the tree up:

See the tree skirt I was talking about a couple of posts ago? I added the angel this year and will add shepherd next year (another Pinterest project pinned by Missy again - plain as plain tree skirt and fabric paint your kids handprints on each year).

And made melting snowmen cookies from another Pinterest pin.

What's new in my Etsy shop? Not much - I've been busy and not feeling well - but, new booties!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Handmade Holiday for the Religious Ed class

I volunteer-teach for one of my kid's Catholic religious education class (used to be called CCD but this is a politically progressive - although dogmatically conservative - church - Hippy Catholics if you will - so they renamed it to be more on target with what they do - and there are no tests or grades!). Anyway, back to what I was focused on - the Winter Holiday or since we're now in the religious ed zone Advent and CHRISTMAS!  We're celebrating by having a party in our classroom where the kids each bring something (including our kids) and watching a Veggie Tales Christmas movie. My co-teacher, assistant and I decided to give our students a couple of things in a gift bag like we did last year. My co-teacher picked up a couple of things from Oriental Trading (great, although not always accurate, selection of church crafts) and a Holy Card from the Catholic Shop, our assistant is bringing some candy and I'm bringing something fun and secular!

Snowman Melt and Reindeer Noses!!
I'm obsessed with Pinterest (<-- you can follow me here) these days and found the reindeer noses on there repinned by my friend Missy who always pins cool kid stuff! All they are is Whoppers and a red gum ball.

Snowman melt was the invention of another RE co-teacher although that's not what she called it - it's hot chocolate, marshmallows and a hershey's kiss in an adorable baggie I found at Dollar Tree by my house.
I've also added the little candy canes to use to stir as well in previous years although, not this time (true is that I couldn't find them at the one store I went to).  I found chocolate mint marshmallows to add this year!

My kids gave mixed reviews on the marshmallows but that's about what I expected from them and all kids in general. It at least give the kids some color in the package and a medium sized marshmallow to make a snowman with if they play with their food!

What else am I up to? Booties! I now have baby booties in my shop:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Count down begins... Handmade Holidays

Updates on my Handmade Holiday:
Thanksgiving cooking: I made twice baked potatoes (only one out of 13 exploded in the oven!) but forgot the sour cream at home (note to self: must find something to do with sour cream that I don't ever use) and homemade scalloped potatoes for Thanksgiving as well as the birthday cakes for the November Birthday Girls.

Advent calendar: ACK! I haven't done the advent calendar and there are TWO days until Dec 1 and technically, Advent has already begun!! Gotta get going on that!

Scarf for mom: I've ordered a cashmere silk blend that I'm going to dye to make my mom's scarf

Tree Skirt: This is totally from last year but I need to work on it. I just pulled it out - I have Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus stitched on and the angel tacked on but no shepherds or wisemen... I did redo my patterns and make a new felt board (the roll-up, stiffened felt version got smushed and now the characters don't stick so I backed some felt with the left-over peg-board instead). Here's the new felt board nativity:

Monday, November 14, 2011

I hope my mom doesn't read my blog

I've never asked her if she does or not and I don't promote my posts too often(having a blog where I link back to my shop is all I really want - go SEO!) but since I'm going to be posting about her Christmas present right now, I hope she doesn't!

So HANDMADE HOLIDAY - Mom's Christmas Present... I kind of made her a present last year for this year but I gave it to her for her birthday...

See, she bought a live flower arrangement last year for Christmas and commented that she'd like a silk flower version, so I kept my eye out for silk flower sales and went the first time I saw one so the arrangement was fresh in my mind. There's a candle that goes in the middle too.

So while we were visiting NYC and my sister,

she saw a lovely scarf that she liked on someone else that looks like leaves and it's long. I have a pattern for that! Anyway, I've never done the pattern but I'm going to attempt it... it starts with an iCord...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Handmade Holiday continued

Another part of a Handmade Holiday, let's all face it, is FOOD! I'd like to come out of the holidays skinnier than I went in. Thanksgiving usually isn't a problem since I don't really like the traditional foods so there's not a lot of over-consumption going on there. This year, my parents are between houses so Thanksgiving is being held at my sister's house. Now this sister was never the one to play house or Barbies or anything that involved "domestic engineering", so the deal is that she's a venue. I got assigned birthday cake for our November birthday girls (easy peasy - they want a Carvel cake - eh, handmade only goes so far!) and potatoes. I think I'm going to make a couple of varieties. There's been a request for Au Gratin potatoes and the second is up to me. Mashed potatoes are the go to but not my favorite so I'm testing out recipes on my family.

Test 1 (Nov 9): Hasselback Potatoes
Yeah, I never heard of them either but I'm expanding my horizons with Pinterest. Here's the gist: garlic baked potatoes. These are not my pictures (I kept cutting the ends off - mine were yummy - I had to pick the garlic bits out after cooking for my kids - but I'm not sure I can cut that many potatoes like that for potentially 10 adults and 4 kids)

So this weekend, I have to come up with test 2 (au gratins from scratch?? or just go with twice baked potatoes using muffin tins to keep them standing up?)...and get ready to RUN!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I know I've totally ignored this blog but it's time for HANDMADE HOLIDAYS again!

So, I'm trying to figure out what to do for Thanksgiving (there will be 2 this year) and then Christmas - WHOZZA - Advent starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving so this has to be a priority. Okay, Advent, Advent - what do you do crafty during Advent? Jesse Tree, Advent Calendar (this is such a misnomer - it's just a countdown during December, not the whole of Advent but since Advent isn't a standard number of days, there has to be some concessions made to make it reusable), Handcrafted Christmas...

I found a really fun advent calendar idea here, here, here and here - okay, those that clicked thru, the first 3 are the really similar and that last one was a blatant promo - seems I'm late to the party on this super simple, family-centered, activity-based advent calendar! Here's the deal - you come up with 24 things that you normally do during the Christmas Season, write them down and put them in your advent calendar (the calendar can be as simple as a candy dish with pieces of paper folded up and numbered, handmade with felt and glue or a fancy store-bought drawer set), then, ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, you have a fun advent calendar AND a holiday checklist! So for the hard part - coming up with 24 things that you do (or want to do) with your family during the Christmas Season! Yikes! the obvious - Head to Snickers Gap to get a tree (okay, to get a tree for my sister since I have no room for a real tree and have the best Charlie Brown artificial tree around and it's prelit! but going to a tree farm is a tradition and we always have fun!), Deck the Halls, Make cookies, Take family photo for Christmas card, Do the Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long (note to self: when numbering the to-do list, somethings are on their own schedule and need to be numbered accordingly - this is for Dec 4). Okay, 5 down, 19 more to go... gotta go back and read those blogs for some more ideas... I still don't think that my kids would go without the daily candy so this one looks fun too:

or I could go hybrid like this one

nah - it will either be glittery like the tins or fabric so it can be store easily - decisions, decisions... if I were betting on this, I'd go with fabric!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

V-A-C-A-TION in the summer sun!

I've got Connie Francis on my mind b/c, well, I'm headed out on vacation shortly but I thought that I'd leave you with a challenge before I go - I'm talking a Special Olympics challenge!

Each year, the Special Olympics USA organizers ask crafters and hobbiests to knit and crochet scarves for the athletes. Here's the official scarf project website and it's sorted by state. Basically, make a scarf (6 inches wide, 54-60 inches long) out of Red Heart yarn in Cherry Red/Really Red and Soft Navy (has to include both colors) and send it to your state's scarf program by the due date (VA is Jan 16, 2012 so we've got time but get on this)

So, my gift in this challenge is that I will walk you thru my planning for the scarf I'm going to make and include a knitting pattern for the year.

So my friend Leigh puts a link on Facebook about this scarves for the Special Olympics program for 2011 but they're due in 2 weeks and I'm already swamped. So I don't do it but I keep it in my mind for the next year. Leigh posts again when 2012 colors are posted - I head to JoAnn's. I get the last SuperSaver of Soft Navy (I also get a supersaver of cherry red but there's plenty of these in stock). I run into Leigh - guess she's going to start after me when more soft navy comes in.

I have a million ideas for different scarves (mostly crochet since I do it up faster) but really think that it'd be nice to put the date on the scarf so I remember Kris Patay's knitting blog where she has washcloth patterns (love me a mystery KAL) including a 2010 1/2 sized cloth! PERFECT! I'll do a 2012 one in similar style. I've modified other people's charted patterns before and written in my stockinette knitting (almost done with my cousin's wedding present - knitted their names, a shamrock - they were married in Ireland, and the date). So I find a graph paper template on the internet and I'm off!

First I draw out my numbers

Then I write out the pattern (Kris reverses hers but I always go wrong)

I used #4 needles and several stitch markers
This ended up measuring 4.5 inches tall and 9.5 inches long before blocking

co 39 stitches

R1-4: seed stitch (K1P1 across) really, this can be done for a wider border - 6 rows would probably be better - but I was worried about keeping with the 6" width. turns out, not a problem

R5: seed stitch first 4 stitches (I think it's K1P1K1P1 but might be P1K1P1K1), place first stitch marker, P32, place next stitch marker, seed stitch last 4 stitches (K1P1K1P1)

R6 and all evens to row 30): seed first 4 stitches, knit across, slipping stitch markers onto other needle as you go, to last 4 stitches, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R7: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P32, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R9: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P2, add stitch marker, K6, P1 add stitch marker, P2, K2, P3 add stitch marker, K6, P1 add stitch marker, K6, P2, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R11: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P2, K6, P2, K4, P2, K6, P1, K6, P2, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R13: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P2, K2, P5, K2, P2, K2, P3, K2, P3, K2, P6, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R15: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P3, K2, P4, K2, P2, K2, P3, K2, P4, K2, P5, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R17: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P4, K2, P3, K2, P2, K2, P3, K2, P5, K2, P4, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R19: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P5, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P3, K2, P6, K2, P3, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R21: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P6, K2, P1, K2, P2, K2, P3, K2, P7, K2, P2, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R23: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P2, K2, P2, K2, P1, K2, P2, K2, P1, K4, P3, K2, P2, K2, P2, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R25: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P3, K4, P3, K4, P3, K3, P4, K4, P3, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R27: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P4, K2, P5, K2, P5, K2, P5, K2, P4, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R29: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P32, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R31: seed stitch first 4 stitches, P32, seed stitch last 4 stitchesseed stitch first 4 stitches, P32, seed stitch last 4 stitches

R32-35: Seed stitch across

Cast off in pattern I personally don't like how it seed stitch cast off looks so I just cast off the way I'm most comfortable

Now I'm going to use the Soft Navy (and a really big crochet hook) to crochet the rest of the scarf - this piece inset on one side and a cell phone/camera pocket on the other side.

Have fun and send me links to your scarf projects! Link a hosted picture in the comments, tag me or post on my wall on facebook, or send me a message on Ravelry (I'm Hamburke) but most importantly - SPREAD THE WORD!

<3, Karin

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Has it really been that long?

I guess it has... I did the same thing to my diary in junior high - wrote in it sporadically. Oh well!

Anyway, among this heat wave, the fall fashion season is upon us...

yeah, that's what I said! I just figured out the hot pink crab and I haven't even listed it yet! Maybe it will be a Beach-For-Christmas instead of a Christmas-in-July thing...

I mean, I get that Back-To-School is approaching (much faster in some parts of the country then here where we start after Labor Day).

And immediately following that is Halloween and Thanksgiving...

but who the heck is going to buy a ski hat when the heat index 128 degrees Fahrenheit? Hopefully one of my lovely readers, of course! Gotta favorite color scheme?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Internet Sales and Taxes

Okay, today, I'm not writing a fluffy craft piece (b/c we all know that I'm so good about writing those regularly). Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day and I'm writing something a bit more - um - political - yeah, that's a good word for it.

The internet is a great marketplace - you can find what you want at the best price and have it shipped to you without getting out of your PJ's or at 2 AM! But with our government in financial distress (National debt ceiling will be reached Aug 2), they are looking for ways to boost revenues through manipulation of various tax laws. This isn't just happening on the National front. Take for example, state sales tax. Now I know that the whole Boston Tea Party thingy was about the stamp tax on tea so sales tax has been around for a LONG time and it sort of makes rational sense (although I can see it as also taxing money twice since that money was taxed as income already).

So with that thought, how do you get around paying sales tax? Buy something from a merchant that does not have a physical presence within your state. uh... well, that's not all together true - you aren't subject to sales tax upon payment but you actually ARE supposed to pay a tax on those items. It's called Use Tax. It is only very recently that I have figured out what it is when TurboTax asks me about it. Basically, this varies state to state a little bit but you should keep track of everything you buy out of state - whether online or while traveling and record any taxes you pay on those purchases. If you did not pay taxes on an item, you are responsible for paying use tax (which is generally equal to sales tax) to your state on your annual tax return. If you did pay sales tax on an item, you owe your state the difference if your state charges more tax than where you bought it. However, this tax isn't well-enforced and most people just plain don't know about it. More info and some tax remittance forms are available on GoTo's blog

Here's the kicker now - Some states want to apply sales tax to internet purchases made out of state to in-state businesses. California is the most vocal about pushing it through but they aren't alone in exploring this. Will this help increase revenues? I'm sure it will. Is this a good solution? Is it fair? I'm not sure about that.

There is another movement called Streamlined Sales Tax Project that seeks to unify tax rules and definitions across the states. This seems a bit like Canada's HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) which Canadian Etsy sellers say is fairly easy to do. Hmmm... much to think about! Now, to keep track of my online purchases so I can comply with Use Taxes...

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer product - Cozy!

Okay, I have no idea how to spell it and the more I search for a standard, the more I realize that there isn't one - maybe it's regional or maybe not - anyway, here's a picture of my latest product only available this summer - water bottle koozie kozy koozy coozie cozie cozy sleeve:

Also, I have hot pink, bright blue and neon green "sleeves" available - I'm working on getting flowers and bows to match these colors (yay! a trip to JoAnn's!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Fabric Flowers (b/c I don't have enough variety)

My sister is getting married! Yay! and I even like my soon-to-be brother-in-law, popped collar, colored jeans and all (yes, he's much more fashion-y than I am)! So while the bride-to-be (henceforth: B2B) was studying for final exams for her LAST semester of grad school (congrats to the Wagner grad!!), my other sister, my mom and I went to a local bridal show. Somehow B2B got a year subscription to Brides magazine (hehe). So yesterday, I get a notecard in the mail from NYC with a page from the May 2011 magazine enclosed (I know you're thinking, "You get real mail?" yup!

Woohoo! Boutonnieres! and I can make most of them!

So here's the tutorial:
First, cut out 5 squares of fabric. Heat up iron and get out the starch!

Next, spray the squares with starch and press in half.

Fold up the tips to form a smaller square.

Open the triangles and press them out.

Tuck the tips in.

Fold the triangles back into the center to re-make the square.

Fold the square in half.

Stick needle thru the tip - make sure to get all the layers!

Repeat and add to the same needle

Stick a second needle and thread thru the bottom of the flower.

Pull both threads snug and (separately) knot tightly (I use a surgeon's knot).

Turn the creation around, shape, fluff and VOILA!

I haven't figured out how to mount the above to the clips so they look nice but these here are now available in my Etsy Shop.

oh, and don't let your kids do you manicure the day before you take pictures for a tutorial. It's so -yeah- that even the camera didn't want to focus on it!