Buttoned Neck Warmer

I recently discovered my yarn impediment skipped a generation.  I bravely gave my daughter a knitting book and a skein of yarn for Christmas.  I fully expected it to go into a storage box, never to be seen again.  But then something magical happened.  She dug out the knitting needles and, barely glancing at the book, started on a scarf.  I keep expecting it to disappear, but she kept at it.  She started carrying it out of the house with her and telling me stories of teaching a friend to knit too.  They visited craft stores and a local yarn shop together.  She finished that scarf and has barely left the house without wearing it since…

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Knitting Knobby Necklace

If you’re not familiar with what a knitting knobby is, maybe you know it by another name, such as corking, Bizzy Lizzy, spool knitter, knitting mushroom, Knitting Nancy or French Knitting.  If none of those ring a bell, I might be sounding a little crazy by now.  But this is a craft that has been around for a very long time, and if you didn’t try it as a kid, it’s never too late…

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Friday Favorites–Easter

One Easter, when my kids were little, I had a stroke of genius.  While they were sleeping I closed a bit of white cotton in the front door and when they got up I told them the Easter bunny caught his tail in the door on his way out.  Cute, huh?  Turns out, finding an amputated piece of bunny tail stuck in their house scared the jelly beans out of them.  Go figure.

Maybe I should have went with something more like these Carrots in Dirt from Our Dish.  Nobody cries when they get a cookie.  Unless it’s covered in dirt.  Well, once you’ve convinced them it’s tasty, edible dirt everything will be okay.

Carrots 13_1

I could just have just skipped the whole bunny idea completely and went with chickens and lambs instead.  Especially when they’re as cute as these two from Toastie Studio.


Who am I kidding?  There still has to be bunnies too.  How about a Sock Bunny from My Paper Crane?


Where there’s a bunny, there’s an egg.  How does that happen?  Anyway, check out this adorable Egg Tee from iCandy Handmade.


Speaking of eggs, it looks like if I want any dyed this year I have to do it myself, since my kids have decided they’re too old.  We’ll see who’s too old when I pull out the Kool-Aid to make these Kool Eggs from Hey Jen Renee.


Or maybe I’ll just color them after they’re out of the shell, like these Easter Eggs from Foodjimoto.


I actually tried making fabric eggs one year, similar to these from Retro Mama, but mine did not turn out in a nice egg shape like these.  I need to try again because I want these.


These bunny accessories from Etsy seller jennmcmillan are so sweet and completely still attached to the bunny.


I love Sun Scholars Edible Easter Spring Globes and I know that bunny is still sporting a tail back there.


Who am I kidding?  Bunny-less Bunny Ear Teething Ring from Etsy seller alskarbaby.  Love.  Enough said.


Happy Easter!

Friday Favorites–Harry Potter

Today is the end of an era for me.  Ten years ago, when the first Harry Potter movie came out, I started reading the books aloud to my two kids.  They were 7 and 5 at the time.  We all wanted to read it before we saw the movie, so we sat together for hours on the couch, pronouncing Hermione wrong the entire time, until we reached the end.  After that we watched the DVD, which had been sitting next to the t.v. waiting for us to finish.  Naturally, we were hooked and immediately started on book two.

We went through several books until, somewhere around The Order of the Phoenix, we caught up to J.K. Rowling.  We had to wait for the books to come out like everyone else.  By the time the last one was published, the kids were 14 and 12 and I was certain they’d want to read it themselves instead of sitting there listening to me.  I was picturing arguments over who would get it first, and almost had myself talked into buying two copies.    Imagine my surprise when I asked them if they wanted me to read it to them and they both looked at me like I was crazy…because of course they wanted me to read it.  We started this together, we would finish it together. 

codi and tucker 2003

Circa 2003.  Yes, I made their costumes.  I think bits of them are still floating around here somewhere.

We haven’t been as faithful about watching the movies together.  We’ve seen them all just not necessarily as a group.  My daughter attended the midnight premier last night.  This was never about the movies, though, it was about that precious time I got to spend with my babies sitting on each side of me, even after I had to look up at them.  Those 4100 pages will always be one of my favorite memories and for that I’m forever grateful to Harry Potter.

One of the interesting aspects of the Harry Potter world is the way they treat the various illnesses and maladies that befall the characters.  How many times have I wished I could wave a wand and fix an injury?  This Fever Fudge from Instructables user starshipminivan gives us a little taste of what magical medicine is like.


Simple Simon & Co shares a couple of Harry Potter party ideas here, but my favorite is this t-shirt.

shirt pic

I think my son’s main reason for wanting to be Harry for Halloween years ago was so that he could carry a wand.  Learn how to make your own, using paper and hot glue, from Instructables user KaptinScarlet.


Design Dazzle has a round-up of several great Harry Potter ideas, but I really love this car photo prop from Flickr user ACPL.

Who hasn’t read or watched Harry Potter and wished they could play Quidditch?  I say crochet this Golden Snitch from Pane, Amore e Creatività and give it a try…you’ve already got a broom, right?


Whenever I decide to see the last movie, I might have to make these Harry Potter cupcakes from Sift in celebration.  I guess the big question is whether I’ll be eating them on my couch watching the DVD or sneaking them into the theater in my purse.

Harry potter cupcakes

When I made the costumes for my kids, I cheated on the scarves.  I sewed pieces of fleece together to make the Gryffindor stripes.  This yarn version from Tangled is much more authentic. 


I’ve heard of the big Harry Potter fan site known as The Leaky Cauldron, but I just found out they have a large section devoted to craftsMad-Eye Moody’s Eye, shown here, is just one of the many projects available.


I’m not usually much into dolls, but I can’t even tell you how much I love this felt Harry Potter doll from My Paper Crane


This is how I know I could survive at Hogwarts – it seems like almost everything they eat contains sugar.  I am absolutely, positively going to make this Homemade Butterbeer from Bakingdom.  There are lots of recipes for it floating around, but this blogger tasted it at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter park and imitated it at home.  Now I’m really leaning toward waiting for the DVD, so I can drink this while I watch the last movie.


I have a sudden urge to go read…

Friday Favorites–Bunnies

Easter is really close to the end of the month this year, making it much easier for me to stay on top of it.  Since I can see it on the calendar for over three weeks, it isn’t going to sneak up on me.  Not like last year.

To kick things off, today I want to share with you some cute bunny crafts I’ve found recently.  I’d just like to point out, not a single one of these bunnies is made from chocolate.  Or felt.

I love paper chains and this is a great technique from 4 Crazy Kings.


These Marshmallow Bunnies from Cute Food for Kids would be fun to make out of some of those giant marshmallows that have been in the grocery store lately.

Country Living explains how to make these Play It By Ear headbands using bias tape.


Great Amigurumi has a link to the pattern for these Linguine Bunnybuns, originally posted on Craftster.


Everything I’ve ever seen on Allsorts has been cute and this Fluffy Stuffy Bunny is no exception.


So, maybe you want to cut down on the kids’ Easter candy consumption?  Busy Bee Kids Crafts has a healthier alternative– Fruit Bunnies.

These Bunny Sachets from Craft Passion would be a great addition to the Easter baskets.


I originally noticed Made by Joel because he shares my husband’s name.  He has tons of easy-to-make kids’ toys, like these Tumble Bunnies.


These Bunny Pancakes from Muffin Tin Mom are way too cute to eat.


I might make one of these Bunny Easter Buckets from Sun Scholars just to set in the middle of the table.


Come back for more Easter features next Friday!

Knitted Neck Warmer Fail

If you’ve read more than about two of my posts, you know I admire yarn crafts from afar.  Usually.  I do own a set of knitting looms, which I occasionally get brave enough to use.  I’ve made a few scarves and one sad little dishcloth.  When I get in the mood to try yarn, it keeps me from wasting a skein or two on a mess of a project.  Again, usually.

Before the last of the winter weather has passed here, I need to tell you about my attempt at a neck warmer.  I’ve seen these everywhere and loved them.  It seemed simple enough, especially with a loom.  Knit a circle.  How hard could that be?  This is what I was going for, without the pom-poms (pattern from the LionBrand yarn website):

Neckwarmer 1

This is what I ended up with.  Pom-poms would be an improvement.

Neckwarmer 2

You may be looking at this and thinking “That’s not so bad!”  First of all, thank you.  Second, this is just what it looks like laying down.  Here it is bunched up a little like it would be around a neck.

Neckwarmer 3

Again, not terrible, except for that little yarn end on the right.  One of the many things I don’t understand about knitting is what to do with the ends.  Anyway, I love the yarn and the color pattern, but that top edge is as big as it gets.  It will not stretch.  At all.  If my head were the same size as my neck I’d be all set...like my dog, Max.

Neckwarmer 4

Don’t feel too sorry for his humiliation here.  Because my neck warmer failed, I decided to make a regular scarf out of the same yarn.  Max saw the “ball” sitting on the arm of the couch and decided he needed to play with it.  He managed to unravel the scarf and string the whole mess ALL over our house.

If you have any experience with knitting looms, I’d love to know how you knit the thing off without restricting the stretchiness of that last row.  I can actually get this over my head if I try really hard, but then it looks like I’m wearing a funnel.  Now you know why there’s no photo here of me wearing it.  I had to maintain a little dignity.

If I were to try this again, I’d go with a version like this one from Loop Knits - a flat piece that buttons together in the front.

Neckwarmer 5

I know, Max.  I’m sad about it too.

Neckwarmer 6

Friday Favorites–Bracelets

I love bracelets.  That’s probably obvious, considering I’ve covered paracord, recycled T-shirt and braided leather versions and included a couple of them in my Quick and Easy Gifts on Friday Favorites .  I don’t usually wear them much this time of year because I’m completely cold-blooded and can’t even think about short sleeves until at least May.  But there are so many cute ones out there, and we need time to get them made, right? 

I love the simplicity of this Button Bracelet from Little Miss Momma.  I could make this without even going to the store.  That’s always a good thing.


I keep trying to get my daughter to make one of these Soda Can Tab Bracelets like the one shown here from CraftyPanda.  Another user on the message board suggests a product for painting the tabs.  Go look…they did red, my favorite!


I have to try these Yarn Bangles from Keely’s Korner.  A few basic bangles and some cute yarn and I could have them to match everything I own, including a few scarves.  My kind of jewelry.


How about a gift of money and jewelry at the same time?  Sounds extravagant, doesn’t it?  This Money Bracelet from Under the Table and Dreaming makes the idea a little more accessible.


You know I’m a sucker for repurposing old jeans.  This Denim Bracelet from Mich L. in L.A. makes me want to go tear a pair up.


This is cute.  It just is.  Find the instructions for this Fun Circles Wrist Cuff at Crochet Spot.

I want to try making a Chain Maille Bracelet like this one from Ellifolks.  I just need to get together all those rings.  And I need them to be in colors.  No problem, right?

I love these Fabric Cuff Bracelets from Etsy seller Ponder and Stitch.  Check out the ones with embroidery.  So pretty.


I’m sure this zipper fad is winding down, but I still like them.  I’ve had my eye on this Zipper Bracelet from Cut Out and Keep for way too long.


This last bracelet, called Lederschleifenarmband, is from a German blog called Maikitten.  Of course you can translate it, but there’s really no need.  The photos tell the whole story.


I have a new tutorial I’m excited to share with you next week.  This post might give you a hint as to what it is!

Our Handmade Christmas

I didn’t plan it, but many of our Christmas gifts were handmade this year.  Not all by me, but handmade none the less.

It started in September when my daughter and I made our annual Dill Garlic for our friends and family.  We’re up to about five dozen jars.


Next was my grandma’s birthday and I made her gift, too.

Grandma's Bday 2010

Seven of my Ninja Monkey Purses went to good homes with my sisters and nieces.


I made my little nephews Hot Wheels bags, which I managed to avoid getting any photos of.  I also made them a Velcro Catch Catch Ball Game from Craft.  No photos of that either.  I know, I did get a shiny, new camera for Christmas.

My two bigger nephews got Devil Sticks, which I learned how to make from Randomdude.  No word on whether they’ve mastered them yet.

Devil Sticks

My dad and daughter each got a coffee cup sleeve.  My husband made a wooden planter box for some friends.

I also ordered a couple of things from Etsy sellers.  My mom loves working with yarn, so she got this yarn bowl from AngelaIngram.

yarn bowl

We gave our son money to buy a new bicycle, so I bought this bike keychain from BicycleGifts to hold his rolled-up “gift certificate.”

Bike keyring

The only sad part of all this, besides the appalling lack of photos,  is I didn’t have time to finish sewing the kids’ Christmas Eve pj pants.  Oh well, January is a good time for new pajamas, too.

Friday Favorites - Yarn

I have three reasons for dedicating today’s Friday Favorites to yarn. 

1.  Did you see that skeleton last week???

2.  My dog ate my knitting.  That’s not an excuse to get out of it, he seriously unraveled it all over my house, chewed on the yarn and destroyed my Knifty Knitter.  I’ve mentioned once or twice that yarn is not my friend, so this is a major setback. 

3.  It’s usually cold around here by now, and I love a warm, knitted anything I can wrap around or pull onto some part of my body.


I am not usually a big fan of cake.  However, I ate some cupcakes in San Francisco this summer that suddenly seemed like a bargain at almost $5 each.  You can count on a future Friday Favorites featuring nothing but cupcakes.  This cute bunch was crocheted by Fowl Single File.  No calories here!


These little crocheted egg characters by Amieggs are so sweet they make my teeth hurt.  In a good way.


I love fingerless gloves for both their functionality and pure awesomeness.  These Knucks from Knitty, with their embroidered design and lettering,  take it to another level. 


This Etsy shop, Moonlight Dreams, caught my attention a while ago, and I’ve been thinking about buying something from it ever since.  This morning I made the leap and bought this hat.  I can’t wait to see it in person.


Kid outfits with ears are just cute.  The paw print on the inside of these gloves makes the whole thing.  This pattern is available for download at Vogue Knitting.


Have you heard of yarn bombing?  It’s sort of like graffiti, only with yarn.  I’ll bet people complain about it a lot less.  The Yarnbombing website has lots of examples, but this is one of my favorites.

It’s a little more difficult to find things made out of yarn for boys.  This dragon from Virka Mera fits the bill, although I wouldn’t mind having him sitting around myself.


Everything about Twinkie Chan is adorable.  She’s her own model, for good reason, and her website is unique and fun.  I’m pretty sure this is one coffee cup sleeve I would never accidentally throw away.


This is so clever.  I agree with Carolyn’s Homework…pom poms don’t get the respect they deserve.

These seem to be called several different things…pedicure socks, toeless socks, flip flop socks.  Six Degrees Arts calls them yoga-pilates socks.  I always see girls wearing flip flops in the winter around here.  Around here being Oregon, where it’s cold in the winter.  It’s probably good I’m not a knitter.  I’d be running around handing these out like they were Halloween candy.