Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Posted by Average Jane Crafter at 1:21 PM
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
We've been watching the Brian Greene, Fabric of the Cosmos, series on NOVA lately and have been completely fascinated. It's mind-blowing in the best way, and I want to watch episodes over and over again just to soak it all in. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend checking out the PBS web site to watch online.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Over the years, I've built up a nice stash of vintage craft books and magazines. I have a very hard time resisting them when I find them at garage sales and estate sales. I also have a severe weakness for vintage embroidery, crewel and cross-stitch kits and pieces. I've been meaning to share them here on the blog, and was even more motivated after a visit from Diane and Kristin a couple of weeks ago. Having a great stash of vintage craft magazines is fun and all, but it's fun times ten when you get to sit with some of you best crafty pals and read through them together.
Diane already posted about some of the needlework magazines, so I thought I'd share a couple of posts about a particularly awesome book of embroidery transfers I picked up at an estate sale, as well as some other vintage needlework magazines and some of the vintage stationery I've collected as well. Let's kick it off with the embroidery book, shall we?
My daughter actually found this book for me while we were at an estate sale recently. Initially, I almost didn't even thumb through it. It's a thick book of embroidery transfers, but the cover was a little too country kitchen for my taste, and I figured everything inside would be the same. I'm so glad I decided to actually look through it, because while there is a healthy dose of country geese inside, there are also dozens of kooky and cool designs.
The book is called the Keepsake Transfer Collection and boasts more than 1,000 iron on designs. And they aren't kidding - there are loads of great, unique images in this book - not just repeats of things that are slightly modified. You can find it on Amazon used here.
Here are some of my favorites from the book. You can see more over on my Flickr set.
There's a whole lot of win on this page. Giraffe on roller skates? Yes, please! I also love the wacky guy who serves as the test transfer.
Some designs are highly complex, while others are charmingly simple. I love this little popsicle dude.
The book is from the mid-80s (wait, can it still classify as "vintage?") so you know there are unicorns.
Friday, October 28, 2011
A Yuri Gagarin Space-O-Lantern (I call him, Gagarkin) by me, Rachel Hobson.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Last week, my son had a school assignment to decorate a pumpkin as his favorite character from a book. Of course, the book he picked was a Pokemon one, and the character he chose was Pikachu. Despite both of my kids having been Pokemon fanatics for a couple of years now, I still haven't quite gotten all the lingo, characters and story lines sorted out, but I do think this yellow "electric type" is a cutie and was excited to see him transformed into a pumpkin.
My son was adamant that he had to do "ALL THE WORK," and for the most part he did. Shortly after starting, we both realized that Pikachu was turning out to be pretty awesome so we decided we'd share the process here with you. It's pretty straightforward, but hopefully you'll see how easy it is to transform a pumpkin into a Pikachu and will want to jump in before Halloween.
We used a small round pumpkin, and since the kids weren't allowed to carve the designs (gooey pumpkin guts on the display in the library would be ... not so awesome) we knew paint was the perfect medium.
- 1 small round pumpkin
- Acrylic paint in bright yellow, red, white and black
- 1 fine line black paint pen (a Sharpie might work as well, but we happened to have a paint pen on hand)
- Assorted sponge brushes (I found an assorted pack of brushes at Hobby Lobby for around $5-6. It included many sizes of rectangular brushes, as well as some round brushes that were perfect for making Pikachu's eyes and cheeks)
- A pencil with a new, unused eraser
- Cardstock or Mat Board
- Hot Glue Gun
- Assorted small plastic bowls (recycled applesauce containers are great!)
For the eyes and cheeks, we used the round sponge brushes. Put a small amount of paint into one of the small plastic bowls. Dip the brush in the bowl, then dab it against the side of the bowl to remove the excess paint and give it a light, even coating.
I helped my son with the nose and mouth, because the lines are so fine. Matching the lines in your reference drawing (or stuffed animal) draw the small nose and wavy mouth.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I've been on a bit of a cooking kick lately, which is really really strange for me. I've never been very in to cooking (baking, maaaaybe, but not even that much) and I fell even further away from cooking once I had kids. Yeah, yeah - horrible, I know. But nothing is worse than spending loads of time making a nice meal only to have the kids turn up their noses at it. What can I say? Other things were more fun and rewarding than cooking, so I just let it slide and got by as minimally as I could.
And then Pinterest came along. And darn if something didn't just click for me. I guess it's all the gorgeous and easy recipes that get pinned. I started a food board and before I knew it, I was eager to make meal plans and grocery shop. Baffling, right?
It's been going strong for about a month now, and I have to say it's been very nice. I've gotten in to a routine of sending the kids to the showers while I make dinner (and sometimes even listen to my own music, it's amazing!) and I've grown to enjoy that time in the kitchen. Most importantly, though, is that the kids are actually eating what I make and like it. I have no idea where this is coming from, but I'll take it. Our dinners have taken on an honest-to-goodness sit-down-and-chat-about-your-day quality at least 4-5 times a week. That's huge for us.
tweeted about it and had several friends ask for the recipe. It was kind of a mash up between Pioneer Woman's Chili Frito Pie and the recipe on the back of a pack of Lawry's chili seasoning. I read several chili recipes online while I was prepping my grocery list and somehow got these two recipes mixed up. I came home with the wrong ingredients. I ended up just kind of winging it between the two of them, and it worked out in my favor.
I know that's the worst picture of food ever, but I didn't realize how good this was going to be until I started serving it. I'm no Pioneer Woman. I don't have gorgeously focused pictures of the cooking process. Forgive me. But I promise, it's still worth making. Enjoy!
Mash-Up Chili Frito Pie
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1.5 tsp minced garlic (I keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge & use it in almost every meal)
- 1 can of RO*TEL diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 packet of Lawry's Chili Seasoning
- 1 can of Ranch Style Pinto Beans - drained and rinsed well
- 1/4 cup masa (I used the tamale version of this brand 'cause it's what PW used)
- 1/2 cup warm water (plus a little extra - see steps below)
- salt to taste
- Fritos corn chips - I could only find the giant Scoops kind, but that ended up being perfect. We could have used them as spoons for the chili!)
- shredded cheddar cheese
- diced onion (optional)
- Drain if needed
- Pour in can of RO*TEL (not drained) and the 8oz can of tomato sauce
- Fill the tomato sauce can about 1/4 full of warm water and add that
- Add the drained and rinsed pinto beans
- Add the packet of Lawry's chili seasoning (I also added a smidge more ground oregano)
- Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and let simmer anywhere from 20 min to an hour or so (I was waiting for my husband to finish work, so it ended up simmering for more than an hour)
About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, mix the masa and warm water in a separate bowl. Add it to the chili and stir well and simmer for 10-15 additional minutes.
Fill the bottom of a wide bowl with Fritos and scoop chili on top, sprinkle cheese and onions (if desired) on top of that. It's especially good with Guinness on a cold night. I made cornbread as well, because my husband loves having cornbread with chili, but the corn chips suffice.
Hopefully that makes sense! I'll share links and recipes that we find and love as I can.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Saori weaving from Pam of Gingerbread Snowflakes (Diane's mom). Pam and Diane have become dear friends over the last few years, and serve as a surrogate crafty family for me. I love 'em! Pam and Diane have done all kinds of cool weaving projects, and I was delighted to receive this one from Pam in the mail recently.
When I asked Diane if she knew your favorite color so I could make you a saori, she suggested I make one to represent the "colors" in space.
I have done my best! See if you can fnd the sparkly Milky Way in a veil of clouds; deep space filled with colorful galaxies; nebulae rising into the space about the weaving and a mock spectrograph or two.It is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received and got me a little misty-eyed. Thank you, Pam!
posted on CRAFT about this awesome needle felted Kermit the Frog from Rad Megan. Aside from being a gal after my own heart with the "rad" in her name (my first screen name from waaaaaaay back when - AOL when - also started with "rad") she also adores the Muppets. I feel in love with her Kermit and was excited when she mentioned she was working on more needle felted Muppets, including everyone's favorite frantic scientist, Beaker.
The next thing I knew, Megan was asking for my address and her awesome little Beaker arrived on my doorstep! I couldn't believe it! Such a generous treat. Thank you, Megan! You are - for sure - RAD.
Soon to come: the ups and downs of renovating & living in an older home, adventures in estate sales, excursions around Houston and visits from crafty BFFs.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
One of my favorite things to do is stitch random, fun projects for friends. There is great pleasure and satisfaction in creating something for someone for almost no reason other than you think they are awesome and you love to stitch. Here are a few things I've stitched for friends lately. Enjoy!
For Millie Motts - The Button Girl
Millie Motts was one of the fist blogs I started visiting years ago. She posts a wide variety of delicious mid-century ephemera, and I've never left her blog not feeling complete inspired or happy. She and I started corresponding a while back, and it was wonderful to see that she's as generous and kind as her posts are charming. She once posted a series of cool 40s button ads that just about left me breathless. Aside from being beautiful, the graceful line drawings begged to be stitched. So I did just that. I stitched one of the profile images right on to an 8X10 canvas and attached a few darling glass buttons at the neckline.
For Lish - Lishigan
My CRAFT blogging co-hort, Lish, is one of the most awesome folks I've ever met. We hit it off instantly when we first met in person a couple of years ago when she was in Austin for SXSW, and bonded over Swatch watches, Converse and crafting. Lish's trademarks are her glasses and her undying love for her home state of Michigan. Her emails often open with "Hello from the Mitten State" and I always picture her on a map, jumping and waving over the state of Michigan. I decided to stitch a little pick-me-up present after a hard week for Lish a while back, and immediately knew what I wanted to make: a Lishigan stitchery. How better to celebrate Lish's style and enthusiasm than with a Lish-Branded Michigan map? The Upper Peninsula is included for accuracy and because Lish's beau, Nick, stressed its importance to true Michigan folks.
One of my former Stitch Lab pals and stitchy friends, Niku, recently moved into a new apartment. As part of her "nesting" in the new place, she asked a group of friends if we would be willing to stitch a small, simple piece to hang as part of a needlework collection in her new home. It was a perfect quick-and-easy project, made more fun by the fact it was for a friend. I went a bit willy nilly with it and just dove into my embroidery pattern stash and scraps of fabric (used more of the mumu that was first spotted on my daughter's tooth fairy pillow here) I used Sublime Stitching's rad Epic alphabet and just started picking out letters I thought looked like they would be fun to stitch. I settled on the word "nice" though later, I realized there were a million other words I could have come up with. Ah well, that's the beauty and the downfall of a quickie project - it's fun to dive right in, but you can't have regrets later over quickly-made decisions.
I have an ongoing list of more projects to stitch for friends, and look forward to tackling them after I get through a big book project I'm working on this fall (no, not a book of my own - just contributing a chapter to a friend's book ;) What have you stitched up for friends lately? Tomorrow, I'll be back with some lovely things friends have made for me.