Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Have a safe New Year's Eve, whatever your plans. DH and I are staying home and reviewing the best of 2008 which tv has to offer.
Be safe and I will be back tomorrow with a tutorial on making Japanese knotted purses.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It makes sense that a scarf can be make like a moebius, and can be used as a head scarf, a neck scarf, or as a tie around the waist.
Cat Bordhi gives a free pattern to make a moebius cowl scarf at Cat's Website.
An even simpler explanation of making a multi yarned moebius can be found at Planet Shoup. This is the pattern I am following. Here is a picture of my moebius cowl in progress, using size 7, 16" length circular knitting needles and two different types of wool yarn:
Linda at Planet Shoup says:
How easy...how effective! It is easy and mindless to knit, and will add a bit of color to neutral based winter sweaters and jackets.
Here's a third method that's easy as pie - it's all flat, back and forth knitting. Approx. 150 to 200 g worsted yarn (5 1/2 to 7 1/2 oz) in however many colours you want, wool or wool blend preferred (like Fisherman's Wool or Wool-Ease)
Circular needle or pair of single points of suitable size for your yarn
Gauge: approx. 5 stitches per inch with worsted, though it's not critical
Choose a stitch pattern. It should be reversible, ideally one that looks the same on both sides. It should also be non curling (garter stitch works great). Cast on your desired number of stitches (50 or 60 work well in worsted for an adult scarf), using a suitable size needle. Note: If using more than one colour, you can change colours across each row, or every few rows, whichever you prefer. Just make sure your colour changes are well hidden - this scarf is basically reversible.
Work until the length of the piece is twice the length needed to fit over the wearer's head. Cast off.
Lay this strip horizontally in front of you. You're going to fold this strip in half and twist it. Bring the upper left corner of the fabric over and down to meet the lower right corner of your knitting , then, still holding this in place, flip up the (former) lower left corner to meet the upper right. Graft them together along their short edges (or sew) as neatly as possible. This creates the half twist that identifies this as a Moebius strip.
That's it - you're done!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Some of Wiggins' sculptures, often made from a fragment of a single grain of sand or a dust fragment plucked from the air, sell for $300,000. A hair plucked from the back of a housefly is used as a paintbrush. All his instruments were crafted by Wiggin.
Don't you love it that he inhaled Alice in Wonderland?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A new product (for me, at least...you probably have used this before in your decorated concoctions) which graced the top our plain sugar cookies was this: Wilton Color Mist Food Color Spray in a 1.5 oz. aerosol can.
This easy-to-use spray gives decorators the versatility and dazzling effects of an airbrush in a convenient can!And they turned out like this after I used the green color mist spray atop the unbaked cookies:
Creates a rainbow of excitement on so many desserts
Use it to transform a plain iced cake with sensational color, add splashes of holiday color to iced cookies and cupcakes
Great for party desserts--highlighting whipped topping or ice cream with color
No mess, taste-free formula; add a little color or a lot
Choose your colors (... 8 colors)
Monday, December 22, 2008
I made two scarves from this pattern, and then got a bit more ambitious, using the same pattern, but repeating the lace row four times across instead of twice, resulting in a 16" by 83" shawl.
(photo courtesy of Knit Picks)
This pattern is versatile; according to the number of lace repeats, the shawl can be knitted as either a scarf, or by using more repeats, a shawl can result.
While listening to Episode 74 on the Knit Picks Podcast, it was a learning moment to listen to author Kay Meadors discuss her new book "I Can't Believe I'm Lace Knitting". The book was on my Christmas wish list, and DH let me open up this present early.
Author Kay Meadors says her passion is lace knitting, and after looking through this new book published by Leisure Arts, one is convinced of her love of knitting lace. It is a good read, with 12 projects included in this paperback. Each project is given in order of difficulty. I can't wait to try one of her intermediate patterns in the book and find a new challenge.
Here is a picture of my finished Knit Picks 1-2-3 Shadow Scarf Pattern, incorporating a 4 repeat row shawl, made from a fiber 70% wool and 30% soy. I wore it to church yesterday, and liked the warmth and the fact that it felt like a comfy warmer around my neck and shoulders, and not like a blanket which many shawls can mimic.
You won't believe you are lace knitting when following the simple directions given in the pattern.
Maybe you might even want to start one of the more challenging project in Meadows' new book about lace knitting.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It spurred me on to get out a picture taken of my older daughter Julie back in 1973 with a Michigan mall Santa.
Isn't that picture priceless? It probably traumatized Julie for a lifetime. She does not see much humor in that picture now, but it has given me many smiles over the years.
One of my brother John's favorite irreverant films about Christmas is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I love this scene:
Friday, December 19, 2008
A Christmas card came this week from John Linko, and it was so gorgeous that I framed it and displayed it with other icons of Madonna and Child on an entry way table for the holiday season. The artist is Gentile de Fabriano (1385-1427) and is entitled Adoration of the Magi.
The entire panel is 300 x 282 cm and is housed at the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy. I was fortunate enough to see this painting (tempera on wood) last year. It is breathtaking.
Go over to Kelli's House to partake of a feast for the eyes. Many bloggers have posted their favorite holiday items there, and it is a treat to see.
This is a fun website, JibJab, where you can make an e-card, or buy a subscription and make videos with faces you know and love. They have a bunch of cards and videos to preview, but be prepared; it can be a real time sucker.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Here are pictures of some of the completed earrings made with paper beads, glass, spacers and wires.
These are some of the earrings now sold at the Wooden Horse Gift Shop
Proceeds from sales of gift items go to St. Mary's Hospital. They are priced at $10 a pair.
...managed by the St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary, the Wooden Horse Gift shop features a variety of "get well" gifts including flowers, cards, stuffed animals, and novelty items. The gift shop is located on the hospital main floor across from the Columbine Cafe.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The instructables website gives written directions on paper bead making. This source says to use archival paste for making the beads, which sent me on another search of how to make archival paste. I found a good source here at handboundbook paste. So I gave making the paste a try, cutting down the ingredients to 1 Tbsp. of wheat flour sprinkled atop 1/3 cup of water, whisked it together until the lumps were gone, and then cooked it for about 10 minutes until it had a glue-like consistency.
But you know what? This glue was not as good as Elmer's white glue which has been around for generations, and was what I ended up using instead of the flaky archival wheat glue. So much for that little experiment in making glue. I'm sticking with Elmer's.
Another website for making paper jewelry can be found here at Craftside.
And just in case you need to make a wrapped loop for holding the paper bead, michondesign.com will give you a quick tutorial on using wire or a T-pin for a wrapped loop.
Altered Paper Jewelry: Artful Adornments from Beautiful Papers (Paperback) by Jenn Mason (Author) is a book on my wish list. She has lots of good ideas in that little gem of a book. So check it out if you want to go further into paper embellishments.
Here are a couple of pictures of some of the beads I made, both with archival glue from the directions given at handboundbook paste, and with using Elmer's white glue. The more uniform colored green beads were rolled from patterned wrapping paper, and the rest were made from colored magazine photos.
The last step in the finishing process will be to cut the beads at both ends to make consistent sizes for each pair of beads, and then spray them with an acrylic finishing spray. Tomorrow's post will show pictures of the finished beads made into earrings, complete with glass beading.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Mrs. Moore, in a recent email, asked me to create a similar work of an embroidered crown as a visual aid to be used when she provides a testimonial and speaks about her experiences as companion to Corrie ten Boom. (Mrs. Moore as a companion and care giver to Corrie ten Boom during the last seven years of ten Boom's life.)
Tante Corrie used the visual aid (of an embroidered crown to great effect ... it is not a tapestry, but a soft pliable, able-to-be-folded embroidery.
I am sending to you ... small pictures which depict the crown embroidery which Corrie used at the end of her speaking days. She had travelled all over the world for more than three decades and this was not the only crown used. She wore the embroideries out, I am sure!
The back of the crown, as you will see on the picture, is a muddle of threads, made even more muddled by Corrie who when she received the crown from whoever had undertaken to embroider one for her, would add extra threads to make the visual picture as confusing as possible … so that the upper side was given the more clarity. Corrie turned the embroidery several times from upper to underside as she quoted the poem “My life is but a weaving…”Here is the original wording of the poem, supplied by Moore:
My Life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the underside.
Not 'til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who choose to walk with Him. (Grant Colfax Tullar)
1) The project starting with an antique, hand made, crocheted, heirloom doily with cream color tatting. I only wish I could give credit to the creator of this fine piece of handwork, but it came to me through a friend who did not know its origin;
2) And then adding a few supplies of yarns, threads, buttons, beads, threads and other embellishments and needlework, the work began;
3) I completed an embroidered crown, complete with beading and shiny glass embellishments on the top side of the visual aid, along with a tangled web of gold and silver threads on the underside, symbolic of the poem and God's unrevealed plan for those who choose to walk with Him.
This finished visual aid shown below will be sent to Pam Rosewell Moore.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Here is a thought on this type arrangement from Holiday-guide regarding tradition and whimsy:
This is a grouping of my display of The Madonna and Child icons, displayed under a large mirror in our entryway. These icons were collected from Mexico, Israel, Rome, Italy, Spain and Norway:
A little green, a little red, something sparkly, a few lights --is that your holiday decor plan? Time to go hunting for heirlooms in your china cabinet, add some ... handicrafts and make your home personal and memorable for the holidays.... focus on three elements -- personality, iconic theme and interesting colour combinations -- when ... conjuring up holiday decor ideas. "I recommend starting with your traditional favourites and adding an unconventional twist."
The traditional part of the display would be the icons, and the whimsical part includes paper doilies covering miniature lights which I previously researched in this blog about doilies and lights. So inadvertently, the suggestions from Holiday-guide regarding whimsy and tradition were followed.
This beautiful icon of the Madonna & Child was created by Richard G. Cannuli O.S.A., picture courtesy of The Augustinian Press:
The theme of the Madonna and Child is among the most ancient and widespread in Christian iconography and has the greatest number of variations because--beyond its symbolic religious functions--it allows one to analyze the relationship between mother and child in its many aspects.
Reviewing the history of Madonna and Child art was an interesting morning in blog land. Other sources you might like to look at are:
Stencils and Pages for Reproduction and history-madonna-and-child and History of the Black Madonna and Child
Go to Kelli's House for lovely show-and-tell Christmas displays. Your eyes will have a virtual feast!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
For more information about children and prayer, go to Teaching Children to Pray.
By praying, ourselves, we fulfill the desire we have as human beings to know the God in whose image we are made. Something in us wants to know God. “Our hearts are restless,” Saint Augustine says, “until they rest in you.”
By praying, we rest in God. As our children learn to communicate with God, they too find this special place of rest.
Music by Selah from the album "Rose of Bethlehem" and image sync by my new friend in Ireland, Lynda Jones
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Faith and Values spoken by Harold Myra (click on this video link)
The above link is a video from Faith Streams which I saw this morning on the website 30 Good Minutes. It is about facing fear in uncertain times, and how we are called to "face fear with loyalty and courage, and above all, our love for one another."
Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.It is a different take on the Christmas story. The video is well worth a thoughtful look and listen.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This is Irina Akimova's rendition of a poinsetta. You can buy it from her Etsy shop for only $6. She says it is an original and signed; a bargain of a price!
Other handmade poinsettia items can be found at the Etsy Poinsettia Place. Take a virtual visit and see the lovely items for sale at reasonable prices.
If you need help in caring for a living poinsettia plant, go here for a link.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Let me share what the email said, and you might want to start your own recipe exchange, using or modifying this wording:
Here are some of the recipes I received:
You have been invited to be a part of a recipe exchange. Please send a recipe to the (2 emails you list) 2 people whose names are listed below (even if you don't know the person in the first space, I do...) and it should preferably be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is one you know in your head and can type out and send right now.Then, copy this letter into a new e-mail, move my name to the number 1 position and put your name in the number 2 position. Only my name and your name should show when you send your email. Send to 20 friends. Seldom does anyone drop out because we can all use new recipes.
The turnaround is fast because only 2 names are on the list. THANKS!
Stir 1 1/2 cups boiling water into 2 packages (3 oz. size) Orange Jell-O gelatin in large bowl until completely dissolved. Add enough ice cubes to 1 cups cold orange or cranberry juice to make 2 cups. Add to gelatin, stirring until partially melted. Blend mixture in blender on medium speed for 30 seconds. Spoon 1 can (11 or 15oz. dole mandarin oranges, drained) into large glass bowl or 10 dessert glasses. Slowly pour blended gelatin mixture on top of fruit. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until set. The mixture sets with a frothy layer on top and a clear layer on bottom. Makes 10 servings. Can be made up to 1 day ahead.
This was a fun way to share quick recipes. Thanks, Ronda!
1 LG. PKG. CREAM CHEESE (AT ROOM TEMP): BEAT WITH ELECTRIC MIXER..SLOWLY ADD 1/2 CUP MILK - CONTINUE BEATING, SLOWLY ADDING ANOTHER 2 1/2 CUP MILK - BEAT UNTIL ALL LUMPS ARE GONE. ADD 1 LARGE INSTANT VANILLA PUDDING, BEAT UNTIL THICKENED. POUR INTO BAKED GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST. TOP WITH CANNED CHERRY PIE FILLING.
Carolina Barbecue (From my South Carolina Son-in-Law)
Take a good hunk'a pork like a butt er' a shoulder.
Rub it with salt brown sugar papriker and black pepper
Stick it in the oven at about 250 degrees for a good long time, 'bout 5 hours.
Make a sauce outta 'bout a half cup o' mustard, about that much ketchup, too , brown sugar bout half cup o that, clove a' garlic an' a cup a' vinegar.
When yer pork comes out, shred it off the bone with forks or meat cleavers. Put on about half the sauce save the rest for adding later if'n ye want. Let it marinate couple 'a hours. Reheat by the serving in the micro, serve on buns with slaw on the bun and hushpuppies.
Dangerous Chocolate Mug Cake
In a coffee mug mix:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 T baking cocoa
3 T milk
3 T oil
3 T chocolate chips
a splash of vanilla
Mix well and place in microwave. Cook 3 minutes on high. Cake will rise over top of mug, so don't be alarmed. Allow to cool. Eat, serves two or three if you want to share.
Easy Chocolate Pie
1 Large Hershey bar + 1 smaller Hershey bar
1/2 cup milk
Heat the above in a double boiler or in the microwave until melted. Mix and let cool,
Then add 1 cup whipped cream (I use whipped topping.) Fold in the whipped cream or topping and pile into a baked crust. Top with whipped cream and shave chocolate over the top. Refrigerate.
Cranberry Nut Bread
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons shortening
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 1 loaf.
Ultimate Party Meatballs
1 - 16 oz can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 - 12 oz bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1 - 2 pound bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs (Beef or Turkey)
Place meatballs in a Crock-Pot slow cooker. Combine sauces and pour over meatballs. Cover and cook 4 hours on HIGH. Makes 30 appetizer servings.
Tip: For additional spice, add 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter (can be saved and mixed with 2 TBSP. flour in last 60 min. to thicken the liquid)
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 14 oz can of chicken broth
1 onion, finely diced OR Onion Powder
Celery, 2 stalks, whole or diced, if desired
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces
Salt and Pepper, poultry seasoning or paprika, to taste
Vegetables can be added in last hour if you’d like, frozen or canned; drained
Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 90 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Push down into liquid so the tops get cooked too. (OR, roll the biscuit dough out and cut into strips) Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Why did I not think of making them myself? When I did not find any readily available through my usual grocery and online sources, I found a website that explained how to make the chocolate spoons. It was quick and easy, and will be fun to give with the gifts.
12 ounce package of chocolate chips. You may use semi-sweet, white chocolate, raspberry flavored, or any other kind of baking chip of your choice.
40 heavy plastic spoons
Deep glass measuring cup
Colored cellophane or Saran Wrap
Pour the chips into a heatproof container, such as a measuring cup. A deep cup is the best for this project.
Microwave the cup of chips at half power for one minute. Stir. Repeat in 30 second bursts until chocolate is smooth and fully melted, but do NOT over cook.
Add to the melted chocolate one teaspoon of shortening for each cup of chips. Stir lightly until just blended.
Dip plastic spoons into the chocolate to coat the bowl and about one inch of the handle. If the chocolate starts to harden, microwave 30 seconds at half power.
Lay spoons on wax paper to set. When chocolate spoons have set, put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. This makes them easier to handle when you start to wrap them.
Take squares of colored cellophane and wrap the coated spoons. Tie with a pretty ribbon.
Once you have mastered the basic technique, you can experiment! Try drizzling streaks of white chocolate over dipped spoons to create a design. Sprinkle colored sugar on chocolate before it sets for a holiday look.
A bundle of chocolate spoons set in a coffee mug makes a nice gift.
Tie a few spoons to a bag of gourmet coffee beans for a coffee loving friend.
Keep spoons on hand during the holidays to use when serving drinks to your visitors.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
In total, I have made about 20 of these sparkly ornaments, all in different sizes. Not being able to track down the original source, a Google search came up with directions on how to make these decorative balls. The only difference I found in the directions provided by Thrifty Fun and the explanations in the older, previous version was that my steps included:
1) spraying the Styrofoam with acrylic paint (silver or gold being the preferred color for Christmas, ensuring a base of color which will show behind the sequins);
2) after the paint was not quite dry on the Styrofoam, I generously sprinkled silver or translucent glitter on the ball;
3) various sized Styrofoam balls make for a pleasing effect when grouped together
So here are the basic supply needs and further instructions given at the website for making these ornaments. This is from Thrifty Fun. Go there to read step by step instructions and see photographic illustrations for each step in the process.
Here are a few of the sparkling sequin and bead balls which we display each holiday season:
2 1/2 inches foam balls
8 mm sized sequins
3/4 inch sequin pins
Beads with a hole big enough to fit on the pin and small enough that it won't slide past the head of the pin (size 9)
Ribbon, optional for hanging
Remember to individually wrap and carefully store them away, and the balls look fine year after year.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Now she has gone to work as a certified Therapy Dog and this is Libby's Video, complete with the background song "Shiftwork", made popular by Kenny Chesney. Libby is shown at St. Mary's Hospital and The Grand Junction Regional Center in this video. She and mom also visit with hospice patients.
Click here to see a working dog: Libby's Work Day.