Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pile of Scrap

Smells like scrap...Bullscrap!...Full of Scrap. I'll stop now. The puns are getting painful.

I'm nearing the end of a project started as a camp counselor several years back. I'm one of those old-fashioned never throw it away types, and in my tenure as the Craft Shed Lady at a Girl Scout Camp I had several bins just for things that everyone else would throw away. Rowdy children were roped in to picking up beads from the dirt out front, and I dutifully sorted their spoils back into the jars and bowls from whence they came. The box of paper scraps was shredded and pulped for home-grown recycling. Fabric bits and tiny yarn scraps were used for stuffing plushies. But if it was tie-able it became scrap yarn. Yes this was the exploitation of children as slave labor, we were building character.

Many a campfire I sat and crocheted strap after strip of lumpy uneven twine dotted with beads, knots, dried glue and pine needles. But few things brighten up a room like a riot of colors and textures strewn across a chair. I've worked back and forth in strips as I think that best highlights the beauty of the yarn. I made a large piece and decided that it was getting unwieldy, so I split the project in two. I completed the first half back as a counselor. I've been working from time to time on the second half since. I'm almost at the final strip, where I'll join the two pieces, it has long ago ceased to be a walk around project and so it waits for cold winter nights to be worked on.

I'm not the only one out there who can't stand to throw it away, here are some other etsians who are using every last bit!


I admit, this piece is a little classier than mine, all nice woolen yarns and no ends hanging out. A more subtle reuse I think, and it looks very warm and cozy!

I dare you not to awwwww! HappyKittyCrafts has raised the cuteness bag on this little scaled turtle. Light colors and sweet little circles I would give this to any child who needs gifting. It looks like a project suitable for all those left over balls and strands.

HandMeDowns little star is adorable! (Take note people who have me on their gift list) Super colors and a wonderful design I think it would make an amazing tree ornament that you wouldn't pack up after the holidays.

And here it is, a girl after my own heart, the inspiration for this post, a renewal in my faith for reuse. KnotOriginal's "Oh Scrap Scarf". Chunky, uneven, full of love! This of for people who are proud of their thrifty ways and want to spread the no waste gospel, amen brother, that's not bull scrap.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Apple Banana Zucchini Bread

That's what I had for breakfast! Are you jealous? You should be.
Oh but you too can own this delicious aroma, this moist and squishy yummyness. All you need is some really black gross icky banana's in your freezer. Got 'em? Ok leave them there for several months, make sure your boyfriend questions their edibility and your sanity a few times. Now mash them with a stick of butter. Delectable eh?
You needn't add very much sugar, the bananas are super sweet and the apples are a nice mix of sugar and tart.
Shred some zucchini, my favorite step. Does this look a little phallic...
Good, a large pile of vegetal matter, add flour and stuff, bake forever (See my Zucchini Bread Post) Just another variation on our favorite green Fruedian slip.

A super healthy and suitable delicious breakfast, but the win was to eat it right out of the oven, sublime!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scarf Love

Ah! We approach scarf season! Although yesterday was 77F here in Denver... Grrrr!!! Usually the scarf is the total beginner training pattern. Nice and simple, row after row, work on the bus or while watching the telly...

Here are a rainbow of scarves that are much more then just a back and forth. Bringing a little artistry to the game. DesignsbyVelvet made this lovely piece, a mobius scarf with bright red yarn in a lace pattern. Sassy!!

At first glance this is a standard straight down knit, but juliedaviscanter has added a bunch of lovely flowers strewn about it's length. Fancy and functional! I've often thought of making such a scarf complete with leaves and vines... but as of now my knit and crocheted flowers leave much to be desired. Unlike these well balanced, nicely placed little cuties!

For those of you who are pattern readers, you too can join the scarfs with flair club, like amillee. A nice vintage-y color I think really complements the style, and it would be a perfect accessory for a thrift store outfit! Nice scalloped edges look fluffy and great for tickling ones face. I imagine it is quite warm as well, despite the lacy appearance!

Corpseknit has been one of my favorite sellers for some time. Nice understated pieces that are elegant yet perennially functional. This seller has a knitting machine, but that's no put-down! The use of those devices constitutes a skill in and of it's self, and these are all meticulous and neat. I love the two-sided aspect, and this definitely would guard against much winter's chill. And look at that picture!! Class. Just plain class.

Cable knits always make me think of small Irish seaside villages. Nothing wrong with that mind you. Tinateee Has taken the style to a hip fashionable place, with lovely heavy yarns and bright colors these are also in the function and form category. This shade of blue has always seemed quite winter-y to me, and a bold piece it would be worn with black or white!

Last, but my no means least is this light airy piece. fray has created a very modern lovely piece! A truly awesome use of a variegated yarn, showcasing all the shades alone. This seller has this design in many colors, and it looks amazing in all of them. Not a super warm piece perhaps, but such an accessory you wouldn't take it off when you come inside from the chill!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Emo Sewing (Darkness Around Me...)

I'm sick, and sore, and taking care of a sicker boyfriend. Woe and misery. (Really it's not the bad, I just like to be melodramatic.)

So I spent the day cutting...

I just received a box of de-stash from Etsy seller PegasusMaiden, and a box of randomness from a garage sale. And so I sat down to play the cut and paste game, refilling my "leaf" bag and trying some new shapes and ideas. A while back when I started making tree bags, I had a selfish breakthrough. We crafters must occasionally keep stuff for our selves now and then.
I began planning a tree quilt, like a tree bag, but much much bigger. I've been saving one leaf from each fabric I use, and here they are laid out to ensure singularity ("There can be only one...").

Who knows when I'll get around to that project, perhaps when I'm no longer in a closet...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why We (Heart) Colorado

When I woke up this morning, it was snowing so hard I could not see the parking lot from my fourth floor apartment. It's now 35F and the snow is totally gone, it had snowed like an inch when it finally stopped. Now it's all gone. I'm totally ready to go snowboarding and enjoy the snow, and Nature, you keep teasing me!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stuffed Squash to Stuff Your Face With

I could have put this with the list of "101 things to do with a Zucchini", but at the store yesterday a beautiful little acorn squash looked up in to my eyes and said in a cute little amigarumi voice "Pick me! pick me!". So naturally I bought it and brought it home to cut, steam, mash and bake. Not quite like a puppy.

My head spun with possibilities. Soup, dip, cassarole, pie... but I settled on the one most likely to be eaten by my veggie averse boyfriend. You will need a hard shelled curcubit of any variety, a selection of veggies and some bread product.

First and foremost we need to slaughter and clean the beast! Cut it in half, scoop out the guts, being sure to reserve the seeds. Place cut side down in a pan with a half inch or so of water and bake in the oven at a fairly hot temp (350-400 F). It will need to sit until it's spoon soft so we shall move on to the rest of it.
Now take your bread scraps... a heel and a bagel for me. They aren't super stale to a cubed them and put them in the oven with the squash until they brown a little.

I opted for a mostly standard mix of stuffing veggies- onion, garlic, celery, carrot, apple and a harvest special, green tomatoes. Chop them small and sauté. Onions first then other crisp veggies (garlic, carrot, green tomatoes). Add herbs and spices as you please, I'm making this part a little salty as the squash is a little sweet. When things are getting limp and a little brown we add the soft veggies (celery, apple) and turn off the stove. Add water to make the broth for softening bread chunks.

At this point the bread is toasted and the squash is moving along. I dropped the bread in a large bowl and added the veggie/broth stuff. Stir it and adjust the liquid as you like.

Now this part is totally optional but if you're throwing out the squash seeds you're wasting a really good treat! I'm going to toast the seeds in a pan instead of the oven, uses a little more oil but I burn less this way. Toss 'em in a lightly oiled pan with some salt and other spices ( I like paprika) and roast them slowly. A medium skillet is usually good to brown without burning. All these seeds came out of that little squash!! You could just mix them in the stuffing, I'm going to put some on top of the squash as a garnish and snack on the rest as I blog.

The squash is now tender and scoopable. I use a small spoon to make small chunks of squash and scoop them into a bowl. You needn't scrape every bit out, and in fact you want to be careful to not break the shell! Mix the squash with about an equal portion of the stuffing mix and press it back into the shell. You may garnish with cheese or such if you like.

Not so hard now was it? The joy of this dish, I'm going to do the final baking later tonight. I could wrap them and put them in the fridge for a few days, or even freeze them. Convienence food for the gormand.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bag Team!

I am told when I was six or so I dressed up as a bag lady for halloween. The homeless crazy kind. Perhaps this was a sign of things to come! (And no, I'm not talking about me being crazy)

I just joined Carried Away, the etsy bag makers team. Let's hope for much coolness, go check out their blog, and hopefully I figure out how to put the cool gif action up on my page (tech support?)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yeah Cold Weather!

Can I just say I love November. I love the harvest foodstuffs. I love the changing trees. I really love a cold cloudy day to make a cup of tea and make warm fuzzy things. I've been browsing the yarn offerings on etsy and I totally wish I had the time to make such lovely woolens! Fuzzies like these at SeeJaneKnit.

I'm also super excited that it's now sweater weather. I started this sweat as a "fall" piece in august of 2004... so much for that idea. It's now finished and I've been waiting for chances to show it off. I've been modeling my fall stuff in it and I'm tempted to make even more fall stuff just to take more pictures!

Every one else is looking at Christmas already, but I'm not ready to say goodbye to Autumn yet!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lace and I...

Now I've been Knitting for several years now, officially I learned at the age of 6 or so but I can't say I had much patience for it. I never however learned to read patterns, I go with the fly-by-the-seat- of-your-pants theory.

But one night I picked up a knitting magazine, and what did it have, but the most beautiful lace I think I've ever seen! Here came the sadness, I couldn't make heads nor tales of the pattern. Several trips to Craft Night at Fancy Tiger solved that... not to mention lots of patience on the behalf of all the knowledgeable knitters in the crew I figured it out.

Still not satisfied (I am a sucker for punishment) I decided I wanted a triangle shawl, not a rectangle. So began the task of changing the pattern to make that work...

Here it is, still not done but nearly there. The yarn is super cool, stripes like a Noro yarn, but in truth it's a wool/synthetic blend from Joanns... It was a gift from last Christmas so I'm trying to finish up by this Christmas. A gift to myself!

Here's the hip tip out of all of this - To make reading the stupid little scratch marks in tiny squares more manageable. First I highlighted alternating lines in a rainbow of colors, helps to keep on the same line. Then I took it to the copyshop and had it blown up and laminated. Now my old-lady eyes can follow it easily, and see the paper clips? I use those to mark which line I'm on and where I'm increasing. So even when I set it down for a week I can tell where I left off.
I can't be the first to figure this out, but I highly recommend it! The pattern is copyright of the magazine blah blah blah...don't sue me.

I have plans for matching cuffs with some kind of cable... I may even use a pattern ^.^

Saturday, November 1, 2008


If more people were crafty Halloween would have better costumes!

Not surprisingly this year had a strong batman theme, but we knew better then to feed the joker mania... so my Boyfriend opted for Two-Face. An easy costume, but very classy. This decision was made at the 11th hour so quick and easy reconstruction was the way to go!

I dug around in my piles of dumpster dived clothes to find two full suits that would fit. I found 'em, but the fit was a little small, good thing it's only for one night!!

Both were really well made suits, it's great fun to rip out a well made garment and see all the little features. Extra linings sewn to the fabric edge in the crotch to cover-up if you have a butt blow-out, triple stitched zippers, a zillion layers in the waist-band- all tacked down and pressed. The little things that make an item well made make it hard to pull apart!!!

I considered frankenstien-ing a tie as well, but a survey of my tie collection brought up this split colored piece, just perfect! Good thing too, as I realized a tie with a seam down the middle would be a huge pain to tie nicely.
Turns out I'm not the only seamstress in our circle of friends, and Jet had a twin at the party...Ooops? Best looking thrown-together-in a few hours costume I've ever seen!