Sunday, July 31, 2011

Odd Balls Flower Pot

This post is coming from my picture archives.  Back in March, my friend Stephanie and I wanted to make something special for our friend Cathy for her birthday.   Some background: we are on a bowling team with Vince and we call ourselves the Odd Balls.  Her birthday was falling on a bowling night, so we had to do something special.

Stephanie came up with the idea of doing a potted plant.  But we just can't buy a plant and say, "Here."  So we decided to take a plain terracotta planter and paint it.  For this we bought kids paint, sponges and brushes.  Stephanie had yellow paint already for a home decor project that did not go well (for the record, none of her rooms are this color yellow!).

Stephanie painted the pot with with few coats before we got together, so we would not have to sit and watch paint dry.  When we got together, we made "stamps" out of the sponges.  This was done by printing out an outline of a pin onto paper and cutting it out.  Then we traced the outlines of the bowling pin and drew a circle for the ball on a sponge.  Once they were traced on the sponges, we cut out the surrounding sponge so the pin and ball were raised from the sponge.  Very clever thinking!

Pin Sponge Stamp

We used paper plates as the paint tray but found out that if we paint the paint onto the sponge, we would get a more even coat.

Blue Bowling Ball Stamp

Once we got the kinks out of our painting technique, we were off and painting.  She did the bowling balls and I did the white pins.

Pins Are On!

Here is another view:

Balls Are On!

Cathy's bowling ball is like a Star Trek ball where it is a dark blue swirl with a hint of glitter, like the galaxy.  So, to add that special touch, while the blue paint was still wet, Stephanie took a gift bag that had glitter on it and scrapped it onto a plate and blew the glitter onto the ball.  It stuck!  She did well!

Around the rim we painted Odd Balls, Cathy, 2011.

Lettering Is Complete

We let the artwork (and it was a piece of art, let me tell you) dry overnight.  Stephanie sprayed it with a sealant so it can withstand the weather and not chip.  She also went out and bought a few different plants and flowers and planted a small container garden in the pot.  We brought it to bowling the following day with balloons on fishing weights and buried them in the soil.  We celebrated with cheesecake!


We were pleased as punch that it came out so well.  Happy Birthday (again), Cathy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fix It - Turban Hair Wrap

This is something that I have been meaning to do for-ev-a.  I have two microfiber turban-style hair wraps.  You would use these rather than a towel to dry your hair from the shower.

Hair Wraps A Go-Go

The top part has a button on the outside and the bottom, skinnier part has an elastic loop.  You use this by flipping your head over with your hair hanging down, place the turban with the button end by the nape of your neck.  Take the body of the wrap and gather it around your hair and twist.  Then lift your head and bring the twisted part with your hair in it to the back of your head and secure in place with the elastic loop around the button.  Ingenious!  My friend, Nicole in Mass, has these and I used them for the first time at her place.  When I got home I searched for them and bought these through Avon.  Unfortunately, Avon does not sell them anymore, but I have seen them at drugstores and other places.  I have not seen another microfiber one, only terry material.  I'm partial to the microfiber.

Anyway, since I use these all the time, the elastic loops have stretched out and they are barely holding on.  I have a ton of extra elastic hair here goes.

No Elastic Left

Here is a close-up of how stretched out they are:

Streeeeetched Out

The hair elastics I chose to use are too small and I don't use because they do not go around my hair enough times.  For example, they can't go around 3 times, but 2 times is too loose.  So, these would be perfect to use and are just waiting to be repurposed.

Putting Them To Good Use

I cut off the old elastic loops and took a needle and thread and went to work.  I used lime green thread rather than black.  I did not want the thread to be seen from the outside of the turban.  Not like it really matters, but I had the green, so why not use it?  I pretty much sewed the elastic loops on the turban like I did when I made the camera cozy.  I just looped the thread around the elastic, not sewn through the elastic, like how it was originally. (It was sewn into the seam).

Wrapping The Thread

That was pretty much it.  I did this to both turban hair wraps and they are done.  I love easy projects!

I Am So Done!

I will model one of the turbans from behind:


I imagine that one could make a hair turban wrap out of an old beach towel or bath towel.  All you need is the towel, a button and an elastic hair tie.  I've even seen them where the button is, there is a smaller elastic and the twisted end just goes through the elastic.  Maybe I'll try making one out of a towel someday.  Hmmmm.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sissy Socks

It has been a long time since I had a guest blogger and I'm happy to say my sister has finally been convinced to write one!  Yeah!  Here is her post:


Once Nanc heard I was on my 4th pair of socks, she asked me to be a guest blogger.  I was a little apprehensive, since my brother, who lives in New Mexico, had to talk me through downloading the pictures over the phone.  I wasn't sure how successful this would be, so here goes...

I started knitting socks 3 years ago.  I bought this great book, 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

You use 1 pair of 40" circular needles, using the Magic Loop method, you knit 2 socks at once.  The author talks about second sock syndrome, and although I had never made socks before, I could totally picture myself having a pile of socks that were missing their mates; only because I would dread making them.  My first attempt was a pair of socks for my husband.  It took me almost a month, but I did it and he wears them proudly.  Even though it was tricky, in the beginning, to learn the two at a time method, once I learned it, I will never make socks any other way.  Now I am a little faster and it takes maybe 1-2 weeks to make a pair.

This past Christmas, Nanc bought me a knitting book.  Ironically enough, it was the 2-at-a-time Socks book.  Since I already had it, I exchanged it for another book.  I ended up choosing Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson.  Great book!  Highly Recommend it!

The patterns are easy to read and can be adapted to whichever knit method you choose to use (I, of course, use the Magic Loop two at a time method).  This book also gives you a great formula on how to make a sock for any size foot.  Genius!  The toe up method is great, since you don't have to worry about running out of yarn when you get to the toe.  If you start running low on yarn you can make your cuff and be done!

So, to get to my project...I am knitting a basic sock with a slip stitch heel.  I used Berroco Sox yarn on size 2, 40" long circular needles.  This gave me a gauge of 8 stitches/inch (the pattern actually called for a size 0 knitting needle but I had to go up in size since I tend to knit on the tighter side).  I was a good girl and actually knitted a gauge swatch, which I never have the patience to do (for those that know me, I know this shocks you).  The pic below is of the toe.  I used the Turkish cast-on for these socks but the book details 4 or 5 different cast-on methods you can choose from.

Step 1: The Toe

Through trial and error, I figured out how to cast-on and started knitting my socks from the toe up.  After the initial cast-on, you knit a round and increase on the next round, repeating these 2 rows until you get the desired number of stitches.

Step 2: Finish Toes

Once you have your magic number of stitches, you knit every round until you are 3" shy of the length of the sock.

Step 3: Foot Length

You are ready to increase for the gusset.  Once you have increased for the gusset, you then turn the heel.  Turning and slip stitching the heel is done one sock at a time.

Step 4: Turning the Heel

I know this sounds silly, but the heel and the gusset make the sock!  You don't really feel like you have made progress until you get the heel and gusset finished.

Step 5: Finishing the Heel

The heel is the hard part. Once you have completed the heel on both socks, you knit every round until whatever length you desire.  I stopped 1" shy of the total length of the leg of the sock for the cuff.  I did a k2, p2 ribbing for 1".

Step 5: Cuff

Loosely bind off and WAH LA!  You have a brand new pair of hand knit socks!


I have to appologize for the darknss of the last 2 pics.  Once I downloaded the pics, I realized they were wicked dark, but didn't have the patience to take them over and re-download them (did I mention earlier my brother had to talk me through downloading the pics?).  So, I'm lucky I even have pictures to show

So that was my project!  I want to thank Nanc for letting be her guest and I hope I didn't bore anyone.  Enjoy and keep knitting and hail to the Sisterhood of the Clicking Sticks!


Thanks Kathy for having the patience to write this blog post!  No, that is not us knitting back in 1950!  She gave me a coaster tile with the Clicking Sticks Sisterhood on it and I love it.  

Reading this post, I may try a pair of socks...someday!  It looks intimidating  at first because the needles are as thin as a toothpick, so I assume you are knitting for a million years.  My sissy is a fast knitter and crocheter, so her 2 weeks is like my 2 months.  Sad but true, for me.

Now that I have had 2 guest I have any other takers?  I would love to show off what my readers have been doing. 

Hail to the Siterhood of the Clicking Sticks, Ladies!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Books - Second Quarter - Part 2

My summer reading continues.  So far I have read a total of 11 books to date at the end of this post.  So, according to my Craftolutions, I only need six more to go.  That is about one book a month.  I have a ton of books on my book shelf that I have not read and I can't help but buy more when I go to book sales.  How can you pass up a hardcover book for a buck or a paperback for a quarter?  I can't! 

I only have two books to add to the Second Quarter reading list.  I read these while on vacation at the end of June.  I will continue the numbering, as before:

10.  This book I bought specifically for a beach read.  It is a chic-lit book that takes place in Hawaii.  Perfect!  A woman, Keeley, from the states (a mainlander) moves to Hawaii to study volcanos.  She meets a Hawaiian tour guide, Kam, and they get married.  They have a son (not necessarily in that order) and enjoy life for 5 years.  Keeley found out that Kam was cheating and she has served him divorce papers on the fourth of July.  Independence Day.  Kam is planning on moving to Fiji with the new girlfriend and wants sole custody of the son.  Meanwhile, there are funny lines and slightly outrageous situations that  Keeley finds herself in.  The volcano that Keeley is studying is supposed to be dead, but she finds that something is brewing inside it that she must warn the people of Hawaii about.  She meets someone that claims he know Davey Jones from the Monkeys and that gets her interested in him.  Through the bad-timing scenarios and misunderstandings, she is confused on whether divorcing Kam is the right thing to do.  This is a cute book, worth reading on the beach, but hard to take serious (can you ever take chic-lit serious?).  I give it 3 thumbs up.

11. This book I have been wanting to read for awhile.  This book takes place in a small town in Dublin, Ireland.  Three children about 12 years old go and play in the woods behind their town.  They play in these woods everyday, so this day should not be any different.  But then they don't come home that night and a search party goes out to look for them.  They find one of the children in the woods alone with blood in his sneakers.  He cannot remember what happened that night.  Twenty years later, he has changed his name and is now a detective investigating murders in Dublin and still cannot remember what happened to the other two children.  A case comes up involving another young child, a girl, in the very woods where his friends disappeared.  They give him and his partner the case, not knowing the connection he had with the area.  Does the lone survivor/detective ever figure out what happened 20 years ago in the woods?  Can he solve this case knowing details of the old case?  This book is a who-done-it suspense that will keep your attention.  It is a very dark story in which there are no light parts that make you laugh or smile, but it was very good modern day detective novel.  I rate it 3 thumbs up.

After that last book, I think I need some time off from reading.  I read that book in less than a week due to traveling, so I felt its weight on me and it put me in a funk.  My next one will be have to be a light-hearted and easy read to get me back into the swing of things.

Tell me, what is on your summer reading list?

Monday, July 4, 2011


Aloha!  Happy 4th of July!  Did anyone miss me while I was gone?  I took a break and went on vacation to Hawaii with my family (the Florida fam).  I just got back on Friday and I am still reeling with jet lag.  Hawaii is a six hour time difference and it was a little hard acclimating when we got there but 10 times as bad now that we are home.

The thought of me actually writing a blog post about crafting today makes me want to go back to sleep, so instead, I will share just a few photos (these are only eight pics of literally a thousand we took) so you can see what I've been up to.

First we flew into Honolulu, Ohau.  What a busy city!  For an island state, I did not think it would be so bustling! 

Waikiki Beach from Diamond Head

On Ohau, we stayed on Waikiki Beach; during the days we explored the island by car and in the evenings by foot.  We went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation and got lost in the world's largest hedge maze.  We ate so much pineapple...even pineapple ice cream.  We also hiked Diamond Head State Monument, which is where the above and below pics were taken from.  We visited Pearl Harbor, Aloha Stadium Flea Market, Hanauma Bay nature preserve, hiked Manoa Falls, went on a dinner cruise, and got plenty of Hawaiian sunshine on the beaches.

View from Diamond Head

As I mentioned above, we went to Hanauma Bay nature preserve where we snorkeled.  It was awesome!

Hanauma Bay reefs

The gray colored parts in the water are reefs that are only about 2-3 feet below the water level, so snorkeling was so cool.  We saw the state fish which is named Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.  Yup try saying that three times fast!  It is also called the Picaso trigger fish.  They are protected so forget putting this in your fish tank.  But they are all over when you go snorkeling.


We walked to dinner each night and popped into some of the fun stores that lined the coastal streets.  One was Teddy Bear World and it was so fun!  Who wouldn't love bears that are just as tall as yourself?

Hula Teddies, anyone?

The next island we visited was Kaua'i.  This is a much more relaxed island.  There is no need to rush on this island because there is only one major road that goes around the coast of the island and it doesn't even do a compete circle.  Only about 80% of the island's circumference is accessible by the main road.  The rest is mountainous so I guess it is too treacherous for the average car.  Some roads are not even allowed to be driven on by the rental car companies.  Off-roading with the rental car was out of the question, then!

Puddle jumper

Above is the plane we took to get to Kaua'i.  A bit unnerving, but it turned out fine.  On Kaua'i, we were just as busy.  We did more snorkeling on Ke'e Beach and Anini Beach, visited a botanical garden, hiked Nounou Mountain Trail (aka Sleeping Giant) and Waimea Canyon State Park.  We did a few side stops into the Kaua'i Coffee Company, Hanapepe Swinging Bridge and had dinner at more local restaurants / cafes.  The big thing we did on the island was a luau.  Very entertaining!

I am not really a hiker, but we brought our sneakers and went anyway.  For the most part, they were easy trails, only about one to one and a half miles round trip.  The one that kicked our butts was the trail at Waimea Canyon.  There were a few different trails in the canyon, so we chose the five mile loop.  Holy Moly!  First, some background on this canyon.  They call it the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.  It is a canyon, so we drove to about 2500 ft elevation and then hiked down to the water.  Going down took us about two hours, but coming back up, it took two and a half hours!  We were completely exhausted!  There were several areas where it didn't even seem like we were on a trail, but we found water and thought, "This is it?  A stream?  Where are the waterfalls?"  No waterfalls on this hike...but we did see wild goats.  Very funny when you are in the woods and you hear the "maah" of goats.

I have to say that I ate a lot on this trip.  There was so much good food!

Stuffing my face!

Another thing that was so funny is that there were wild roosters everywhere!  They are on the side of the road, in the woods, and even on the beach.  Crazy!  The Hawaiians blame the Filipinos for the roosters but the Portuguese for the goats.  Ha, glad we could help!

On our last day in Hawaii, we relaxed by the beach at the hotel, but we also figured that we had gotten enough sun, so we just chilled under a tree.  Very relaxing.

Last day in Paradise

Even though I did a lot of eating, we did do plenty of exercise on this trip, in addition to reading and knitting.  I had brought a knit project on the plane with me (no, not the glace shrug - more on that another day) and did not pull it out again until the last day.  Next week you will see what I worked on.

I would like to end with a little lesson in Hawaiian:

Aloha: Hello and Goodbye
Mahalo: Thank you
Hoaloha: Friend
Ohana: Family
Pupu: Appetizer; small snack (seen on every menu)
Wahine: Woman; lady (seen on every bathroom)
Kane: Man (again, seen on every bathroom)

Aloha, hoaloha!  Mahalo for reading!