More Lip Balm and Jewelry Making


The lip balm I made last weekend was a hit at work.  I made some more this past weekend and handed it out to some more of my co-workers.  My next project is to make more lip balm with a different fragrant, make cuticle oil/cream, whipped body butter, and bath salts.  For what I paid for the ingredients to make lip balm, I can make at least 20 tubes a batch and that’s a lot of lip balm, so it is cheaper to make your own and sale what you don’t need.

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I had some time over the weekend to make this Black Agate Indian coil.  I used memory wire and created simple loops on each end to close and prevent the beads from falling.  I love this coil as I can wear it as a bracelet, wrap it around my neck or ankle doing the summer months.  It’s multi-faceted jewelry, yay!

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Some Decision-Making


I had off today and must admit that it feels good just to be around the apartment drinking coffee and catching up reading some of the books I purchased over the past couple of weeks.  I am still waiting for my yarn order from Knit Picks to get started on the cowl sweater I blogged about earlier in the week.  The order doesn’t arrive until the weekend which means I have to wait until Monday because the order is being delivered at my office.  I am not home during the week to receive the package, so having packages shipped to the office is the best way.

Last night before coming from work, I made a stop at Whole Foods to pick up some groceries and start shopping for Thanksgiving.  I brought some butter, flour, pie crust, and spices as a start.  I still have to plan a menu for turkey day, and thinking about making Brussels Sprouts with bacon and garlic.  My dad wants Collard Greens, but probably will make them next weekend and freeze them.  I have some decision-making to do.

I brought another book yesterday, “Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit – Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-create and redesign your Favorite Fashions”, I think the title is longer than the actual writing.  I am kidding, but why are titles so long these days?  I am will be reading this book over the weekend because along with knitting the cowl sweater, I would like to make a pair tweed trousers.  I love tweed, and was also thinking about a dress and skirt.

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I found this wool tweed on Trim Fabric’s website, and tweed seems to be the trend for the fall.  I think this tweed will coordinate well with the purple I chose the knit the cowl sweater. I also love knit and it’s probably the reason for me learning how to knit so that I can make something like this Jonny Rotten jacket from “Brave New Knits”.  Blue is my favorite, this is another reason why I like this jacket and buttons are just great.  With my luck, I probably will not find these buttons, but fabric covered buttons could work as well.

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I purchased the Interweave Crochet Accessories issue, and the crochet jewelry pique my interest.  I especially like the crochet belt because it would coordinate great with a tweed or charcoal dress.  The crochet wired bracelet is lovely as well.

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That’s all I have for the moment, ciao for now.

More About Yarn and No Unwanted Visitors


I am back!  Earlier today, I wrote a blog post about my experience with a spider and jewelry making project.  Trinilove asked me almost a couple of weeks ago about jewelry making, and with that in mind, I am going to write a post about it this week with some books on the subject and online jewelry supplies resources.  However, I promised to write about more yarn.  Some I have used and some new yarns on the scene.  Upon the last blog post, Lion Brand came out with a couple of new yarns and colors to its line.  Pam Allen, knitter, author, and former editor of Interweave Knits Magazine has a new line of yarn, and Berroco has a new yarn along with a pattern book in its expansive line of yarns.  I am going to talk about the dreaded arylic yarn that I use with some home decor projects.  Debbie Stoller partnership with Red Hearts and created the Stitch Nation yarn line.  I am going to attempt brevity when writing this post, but give you as much information as possible.

Quince and Co. – A new yarn company created by Pam Allen, Carrie Bostick, and Bob Rice.  Pam and Carrie are knitwear designers and an owner of a spinning mill with a bias toward natural fibers decided to create a company where create a line “thoughtfully conceived yarns spun from American wool or sourced from overseas suppliers who grow plants, raise animals, or manufacture a yarn in as earth- and labor-friendly a way as possible. We think we can have our yarn and knit it, too.”  The currently has three yarns and 37 colors.  The yarns are all named after birds, Chickadee is the dk weight yarn with 181 yards for $5.75 a skein, Lark is worsted weight with 134 yards for $5.50 a skein, and Osprey is an aran weight yard with 170 yards for $10.75 a skein.  Three three yarns are 100% wool.  I have not worked with this yarn because I only heard about it only a couple of weeks ago while reading Clara Parkes’ Knitter’s Review newsletter.

Red Heart – This yarn company has been around longer than I have been alive, and the yarn I used when I learned how to crochet when I was a kid.  Yes many of the yarns in the line is arylic, but it’s great for making afghans because although I love wool, it’s not economical or practical for knitting or crocheting a blanket or afghan or caring for it as washing either by hand is not idea either.  Red Heart has put on some new yarns in its line in the past couple of years such as its eco yarn line including the bamboo wool blend yarn that sells for $3.99 a skein, a 87 yard worsted weight yarn.  There is not a yarn in that line that cost over $6.00 a skein making it very affordable for creating afghans, pillows, potholders, and stuffed animals.  The newest line for the company is Stitch Nation, a collaboration with Debbie Stoller to create natural fiber yarns at an affordable price.  There are three yarns in the line, Full O’ Sheep 100% wool, and 155 yards, Bamboo Ewe, bamboo/wool blend, 177 yards, and Alpaca Love with a 80/20 mix of alpaca and wool, 132 yards.  All three yarns are worsted weight at a price of $4.99 a skein.  It is my hope that Red Heart will create fine and dk weight yarns to the line.

Berroco – I love this company more for its pattern books.  Norah Gaughan is the design director for Berroco, and has done a great job at creating designs for the company’s yarns.  The company was once known for its novelty yarn, but has spent several years with creating yarns with natural fibers.  Not to many yarn stores in my area sell Berroco, but it is a good thing that Webs exists for to purchase the yarn at reasonable prices.  When the company creates a new yarn, a pattern booklet is created showcasing the yarn.  I believe Ultra Alpaca is one of the more popular yarns with good yardage at $9.00 a skein for 215 yards worsted weight.

Aussi Wool – This is one of the first yarns I learned how to knit.  It is a nice heavy worsted yarn that comes in the many colors with 126 yards and priced at $6.00 a skein.  It is a hand wash yarn, and it a great yarn to use for felting projects.  It does pill after a while, but it’s the reason why someone created lint removers.  It is a soft yarn to use.

I have more yarns to talk about like Spud and Chloe that is a part of Alpaca Blue Sky, but will save that for another time, and write about my adventures in jewelry making well mostly beading in the next post.  Ciao for now!

Thin vs Thick, Yarn That Is


Yesterday, I borrowed a couple of books from the library, “Knit So Fine – Designs with Skinny Yarn” by Lisa R. Myers, Laura Grutzek and Carol Sulcoski, “Power Cables” by Lily Chin, and “ Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts – An A – Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration”.  I wanted to read Knit So Fine because it is one of the few knitting pattern books that specifically focus on knitting with lightweight yarns.

When I was in the process of learning how to knit, the conventional wisdom was knit with bulky inexpensive yarn, and large needles.  The reasoning is to get your fingers adapted to using knitting needle, and thicker yarn knits quickly.  I learned how to knit with a pair size needles and a worsted weight yarn.  In fact, I worked with worsted weight or larger for quite a few scarves until I started knitting with sock weight yarn to make a pair of socks.  I discovered that a lighter weight yarn did not take much longer to knit than a thicker weight yarn.  There is a good argument to be made for using a lightweight yarn, one being a better fit which you so not get with a bulky weight yarn because let’s face when wearing a heavier fabric everyone will look bigger than they are.  The feel of a sweater done in a lightweight yarn is just softer to me and it always means that you will perspire less because with a heavier weight the hotter you will feel and more incline to perspire.  Do not get me wrong, I like to see bulky weight yarns with certain items such as a car coat and a rug, but lightweight yarn knitted into a cardigan is a better feel to me and makes look thinner. 

There is also a price consideration, lightweight yarns can be more economical than a bulky weight and it also depends on if you buy cashmere, alpaca, angora etc. will also affect the price.  Elizabeth Zimmerman also expressed her opinion in the “Knitting Without Tears” (which every person who knits should have in their craft library) about making a sweater with a very fine wool in order to economize if you love to knit.

I think using a lightweight yarn for your sweaters and skirts is a good idea for a better and more flattering fit.  I am a size DD in bra size and 45 in hips, so knitting my garments in a bulky weight does not work for me.  I prefer to look like woman than the Pillsbury dough boy which is not a good look.  I am going to enjoy reading the patterns in “Knit So Fine” and have a couple of projects in mental queue (making quite a few copies for my project notebook).

I cannot end this blog post without writing a little about “Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts”, and one project in the book stood out for me and that’s the glittered eggs.  I love the glittered eggs and so much better than dyeing and they are great as a decorative touch for a dinner party.  I also like the glittered snowflakes and think it would a great idea for a winter white wedding with white, silver and blue glittered snowflakes handing in the reception space and perhaps glittered candles within the space as well.  I have to stop before I have a 10,000 word blog post with ideas.  I am going to end on that note and write Ciao for now.

 

Budget Monday – Fabric Shopping


On the first day of my staycation, and I finally had a chance to visit a fabric store in my neighborhood.  This revelation could be precarious for me with the consequence of having a huge fabric stash before I know it because the store sells fabric wholesale prices.  I purchased five yards this nice cotton black and white fabric for $3.00 a yard.  The store also has blue and white strip fabric for $3.00/per yd as well, and I doing everything in my power from not returning to the store again today because I am thinking PJs with that fabric.  I am thinking about a dress with this black and white print, and probably will have some left over to make something else.  I am not wasting any of this fabric.

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I also purchased three yards of gray fabric for a pair of trousers or a pencil skirt, and the fabric cost $4.00/per yd. 

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I watching the Martha Stewart today, and saw a segment on making your own craft table.  Martha has a partnership with Home Depot where you can buy Martha Stewart Living Alder 35.88 In. High x 24.13 In. Wide x 11.89 In. Deep Laminate Stackable 6 Cube Organizer for $44.97 each.  Martha demonstrated on the show that you can buy a hollow door for $25.00, paint or tack oilcloth and you can have a craft table for under $150.00 compared to the Pottery Barn craft table priced at over a $1,157.  However, I have to note that BP’s table is on sale for $959 (still too much money).  The great thing about the craft table on Martha Stewart is that you can make it portable if you are like me living in a one-bedroom apartment and space is valuable.  Use as storage and a table, great idea.

There is another project on Martha Stewart online for dyeing wooden beads for necklaces, and found a couple of websites where you can purchase beads.  One site is Craft Parts where beads can come in quite a few sizes.  You can also buy wooden craft buttons, and dowels should want to make a bag or your own knitting needles.  Another resource is American Wood Crafters Supply where beads are sold at a good price.  You can purchase the dye from Rit Dye, and instructions for dyeing beads are at Martha Stewart.  It’s time to get crafty, so I am going to end this blog and get ready a craft extravaganza at the library (I will not return to the fabric today).  Ciao for now!

Book Review and other Things


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Yes I did purchase the new Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts, and I am going write a review.  I brought this book this past Tuesday.  I did receive an invite from Purl Soho a couple of weeks ago attend a launch event for the book at the price of $20.00, but decided not to go.

I read some of the reviews on Amazon dot com about the book, and a couple them were not so glowing.  I think some people who write reviews had more in mind that the book intended.  Here is my assessment of Martha Stewart’s new book.  As the title suggested is an encyclopedia of sewing and fabric crafts, in other words a reference book.  The question becomes is it a good or bad reference book, I think it’s a good reference book particularly for beginners or people returning to sewing as is intended.  The book gives basic techniques for sewing, appliqué, embroidery, quilting, dyeing, and printing.  The books also has 150 inspired projects that one can create and make it his or her own.  The book includes a CD of project patterns and templates in PDF format to use.

The couple of reviews I read suggested that the book was not exciting, but dull and boring, but the reviewers really did not understand the concept of books for novices or people who have not sewn in years.  Did they read words like basics or novice in the introduction?  I think not.  I purchased the book to learn more about appliqué, dyeing, hand embroidery, and printing on fabric.  In addition, there is something to be said about learning the basics and your creativity will follow.  You can create anything you want when you have learned the basics, and the book fulfills the basics requirement.

I will keep this book among my other reference books on the shelf, and refer to do.  I will also make a couple of projects in the book for practice, so I make new creation.  Ciao for now!

 

A Relaxing Sunday and Book Reviews


Today was a day of just relaxing and reviewing a couple of books I purchased this past week.  They are books about my two hobbies jewelry making and knitting.  These are books that I will consistently use as my reference guides. 

Before reviewing and blogging, I took a shower with my latest purchase from Pampered by Adrienne.  I brought the lemongrass body scrub and soap, and found it refreshing and relaxing (I was in the state of relaxing).  I will be purchasing the products as often as I can, and will burn the Georgia Peach candles on those days coming home from work when I need to escape for a moment.

The first book review is a book on jewelry-making titled, “Bead Jewelry 101” by Karen Mitchell and Ann Mitchell.  The book describes the skills and techniques of bead jewelry with the first project being a pair of basic drop earrings.  The book teaching using headpins to make earrings, working with eyepins, jump rings, beading cable, wire, chains, memory wire, filigrees, and using other stranding materials such as silk threads to string pearls.  It is a comprehensive book on the subject and like having a workshop in your home or my case a one-bedroom apartment. 

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The next review is a knitting book titled, “Knitwear Design Workshop – A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits” by Shirley Paden.  Paden is the owner and founder of Shirley Paden Custom Knits.  Her knits and articles have appeared in Interweave Knits, Knitters, and Vogue Knitting.  The purpose of the book is to explore various techniques in designing well-fitted garments.  It is for handknitters at any level who want to free themselves of commercial patterns and design their own.  The only prerequisites are to be able to add, subtract,, multiply, and divide.  The books has step by step process of the initial idea to taking measurements, selecting a pattern stitch, drawing a sketch and schematic, writing knitting instructions, and finishing a garment professionally.  This is not a pattern, but Paden added about four projects in the book like a cabled coat with cape collar.  I love this book

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Saturday Musings and Some Photos


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We are having wonderful today in New Jersey, it is in the upper 40s and a sky blue sunny day.  I decided to take advantage of the sun and take some photos of my first jewelry project outside of my jewelry making class.  The classes are free at the library including the components to make jewelry, but thought I should get my own materials to make it at home.  I purchased the March issue of Bead Style as I wanted to make a necklace that had a spring feel.  The photo above is the project from the magazine.  I went to four bead store and did not get the materials recommended in the magazine because they were not available and needed to improvise while still keeping with the spring theme, so the photo below is what I purchased.

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I could not find the leaf beads or the focal component, so I got the jade tear drop beads, and this crystal leaf from Swarovski-Crystallized.  the pendant cost is equal to the rest of the necklace, but cost about under $25.00 to make.  The jade does cost $17.00, but I only eight out of the 45 beads on the strand.  I see a bracelet with the rest of the jade as a companion piece with the necklace.  The only component I am missing to make this necklace is a bail to attach to the pendant to help it lay flat.

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I purchased this magazines this week, and subscribed to Bead Style.  I like both magazines, but Stringing Magazine is my favorite with more projects and list the name of the company where you can purchase the materials if want to make the project in the magazine.  Bead Style is a great reference guide for the beginner

Saturday Coffee 026 I also have other photos that give me inspiration in what I can create.  I purchased Nick Epstein’s “Crochet Flowers and Knitted Flowers” as reference guides to create embellishments for accessories like bags and necklaces.

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Another Nick Epstein book “Knitting in Tuscany”, where there are some beautiful things to knit like the Tuscan sun shawl gracing the cover, and the Bella bride’s dress which is stunning, modern yet timeless.

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I got the latest issue of Inside Crochet because the project on the cover called a Floating Wrap designed by Robyn Chachula.  I read her Crochet by Faye blog and see her on the show Knit and Crochet Today.  Robyn has a sweepstakes of yarns, you can enter by purchasing one of her patterns from March 1 to 31.

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The last thing I am going to mention is Pampered by Adrienne by Adrienne Nixon.  She sells handcrafted soy candles, soaps, body scrubs, and embroidered hand towels.  She has great stuff, so go to her website and check it out and do not forget to sign up for her newsletter.  Well, that’s it for now.  Ciao!

New Tools for Another Hobby


I have been to a couple of jewelry making classes at my local library, and a new hobby transformed.  The extent of this hobby is mostly stringing, but enjoy creating a piece of jewelry that is mine and enjoy wearing.  I probably will not earrings for myself because my ears are not pierced due keloid scarring as a child, and my mother followed the physician’s advice of allowing the holes to close.  However, it does not stop me from making earrings for other people.

Today during lunch, I went to four different bead stores to pick up some jewelry making supplies and beads.  One bead store specializes in selling pearls and semi-precious stones, and I brought mostly beads from that store.  Store also had a clearance rack where I picked up a strand for fresh water potato shaped pearls for $11.50, and will have some fun figuring out what to do with them.  I went to the store to do a beginner’s project in March’s issue of BeadStyle, but could not find all of the components like the 40mm dyed quartz pendant.  To solve this problem, I purchased a crystal leaf pendant Swarovski Crystallized in NYC.  Swarovski Crystallized is a great place where you can purchased ready to wear pieces, or making your own.  You can even go to the back where there is a cafe and you can make your jewelry there.  I was a first time shopper at the store and received a free gift, a crystal piece that I can attach to a handbag and signed up for a membership.  I think I will be a frequent shopper at Swarovski Crystallized.

It is getting late and I need some sleep before work in the morning.  Ciao for now!

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Early to Rise


It is the first day of my vacation and I woke up at 5:30 this morning. Now for the life of me, I do not understand why because it was my intention to sleep late. However, I lied down for a couple of hours before getting up for the day. I made some tea because I am still out of half and half for coffee.

I managed to finish knitting the scarf for the felted foliage scarf Saturday and now with the process of cutting out the felted leaves to sew unto the scarf. That will be one project down. I really like the projects from Sewing Green and plan on doing a few more in the book. In an effort for me to save some money, I am going to make a lunch tote, reusable sandwich wraps, and napkins. There are also patterns for a single and double BYOB water-bottle sling which I think is great to carry water or that bottle of wine to a restaurant that does not have a liquor license, or that romantic picnic.

I am turning green and taking the plunge by buying organic cotton fabric. I watched a new series on the Sundance Channel called Eco Trip with David de Rothschild (yes he is of the Rothschild family). The premise of the show is to see how the products that we are made and see whether or not they are doing damage to the environment. The host made a trip to see the production of cotton from harvest to the finish product. After seeing that, I am not purchashing another conventional t-shirt again. First the cotton crops are sprayed with herbicides and pesticides, then the cotton is picked and gone through the mill, it is collected in bails where it goes to be spun into threads and yarns. Before I continue, the seeds are collected and used for the production of cottonseed oil and foodstuff for cows (this would be a good reason to drink organic milk). Since cotton is not a food, it is not regulated by the FDA. The cotton is treated with more chemicals by spraying formamide in the final finishing, and formamide can not be washed out of your clothes. I had a discussion with a person about the episode, and she told me that I watched too much TV. However, if the told me that I read too much if I read it as an article. Oh well, it is catch 22 situation and people always like facts because it changes their world as they know it. If you have the Sundance Channel, I recommend the series. It airs Tuesday night at 9 est.

I think I am going call it an evening. Until next time, enjoy crafting and creating.

Friday and other Happenings


It is just one of those weeks where it is busy and things does not always go as they planned. The weather has not been the best with a big rainfall on Monday into the night, so I just came home from work and continue to knit my scraf until the skein end (don’t you wish skens of yarn could last until you finish your entire project). I have another skein to finish my scarf and tonight will unwind and roll the skein into a ball. Although, I realized that I probably will purchase another skein because three of them can make two 6″ w & 60″ l scarves. I am using Casade 220 superwash which knits into a nice soft fabric, and think it would be also good to make a knitted apron which I have had in my back of mind to knit for a couple of years.

I printed out an Amy Bulter pattern from her website today for a snow mum pillow, but probably will not do a pillow. I am thinking of using the mum pattern to add onto a totebag or perhaps make a smaller version of the mum to sew onto a skirt. I am thinking of doing some kind of whimsical scarf that will include yellow, green, and orange, but want to also try some felting. Unfortunately, I do not have the space, washer or dryer to try felting. However, felting was done prior to the invention of the washing machine and there is probably way to felt without one.

There are some other knitting techniques I want to learn and enter into my expanding knitting knowledge. I am beyond the beginner knitter with knitting a quite a few hats and scraves, and there is my first Lion Brand cardigan. I still have another cardigan on my needles and probably will start the crochet cardigan project with the Lion Brand cotton/bamboo yarn. Lion Brand also has a nice microspun yarn that I am thinking purchasing next week using its free pattern of a fitted knitted top. It is sleevless, but thinking about adding short sleeves (it is something to think about).

My niece is graduating for high school in June and will head off to college in the fall. I am going to attend her last high school dance school next week as I will be on vacation for a week. I remember taking her to Disney World when she was not quite five, and her first day at catholic school when she thought Father James was God (she was four) because she did not see him at church, and now she is 17 and graduating for high school. Time certainly does go by quickly.

Is it Possible to Make Money from my Hobby?


Some people take a while with finding their passion and I am not an exception.  As you know one my of biggest hobbies is knitting and crochet along with being a beginner sewer.  I have often thought about having a side business because it is a way of keeping myself occupied and possibly making some extra money on the side.  I thinking more and more about taking my hobby combining with the idea of simplicity.  I want to make unique things for people to buy, yet functional, practical, and aesthetically pleasing.  I also want to make, but price my products that are affordable.  I am thinking along the lines handcrafted items with a Target perspective.  If am not willing to pay $150.0o for a baby sweater than I do not think the average consumer will want to do the same.

I have a business idea of creating custom items and some ready made.  It would be a great idea people who like to do something in advance such a baby blanket for baby shower gift, creating organic baby t-shirts and diapers kits, or just handmade gift for other special occasions such as graduations (such as knitting a sweater as a present for my niece), bridal showers, and weddings such as hankerchiefs, approns, tea towels, etc.  I guess it would be a custom gift-giving business. I am still hatching out the idea.  There are a few things I have to do to make this work.  One, is horning in on my craft because it is important to be good at what I do and take pride in it and this mean taking a some classes, second, do some research and create a business plan (I am a left-side and right-side thinker), and third is craving out time to make this happen (time management and organizational planning).  I already have a name for my side venture, Henna’s Place which I think it’s catchy.  What do you think?

What’s in your Dream Bubble?


Like every morning, I entered into the elevator to reach my office.  While I am waiting to get to the 7thfloor, I look at the little screen for news information, weather, and sports score.  The screen is called Captivate Network, and it is certainly is captivating to say the least.  Yesterday, I noticed the ad for the Mega Millions for Friday and there is a picture of a bubble with a caption inside reading “What’s in your dream bubble?”  Yes, it is had ad to entice you purchase lottery tickets in hopes that you will win millions of dollars to filfull that dream.  Now the chances of winning such a lottery is one in a million, but can you still have a dream bubble?  Do you need millions of dollars to make your dreams come true.  I do not deny winning $78 million dollars would make my financial life easier and would not complain if I did win, but I still have dreams.

On my way home from work, I do have a tendency to have several thoughts flooding into my brain to the point that I may not even hear you call my name while walking down the street.  I am in as some may say another state of mind and yesterday afternoon was not different.  Thoughts will really do come flooding in while I am doing something else like figuring out a Ken-Ken puzzle.  I often think about owning a business of something I enjoy doing and may incorporate traveling.  I think of ideas like having shops around the country serving customers withproviding their needs (I am being vague about the idea).  I do not think about being super rich, but creating a life that give me financial freedom to pursue my interests.  I also had another thought this morning about creating a space with a Moroccan theme because I love the blues, greens, and golds with the lambs, pottery and rugs.  It could be a bedroom, den, or sewing nook.  I have other things in my dream bubble such as the garden I want do, a trip to Argentina, Spain, Italy, Kenya, etc.  Writing is my dream bubble being a better writer as I do not have most perfect grammar in the world.

This is gives me an idea to write down all the things in my dream bubble and turn into realities.  On a side note, I received my fabric.com order today and it makes me a happy camper.  The sweater knit is soft and has a nice drape.  I also purchased the Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing and has some nice ideas on low sew projects.  It’s always nice to make some embellishments to your current wardrobe or sew a plain skirt or dress.

A Leisure Sunday


It is a beautiful day, but I am going to take it easy today. I started the process of working on my felted foilage scarf from the Sewing Green book. I have enough project supplies to create two scarves which means the cost is under $25.00 for each scarf. I think it is a good deal, and even less if you old wool sweaters around the house to create the scarf.

I do not even have to cook today after going to Whole Foods yesterday to pick up ingredients to make meatballs and spaghetti which just good old comfort food, and enough to have for lunch on Monday. I probablly will go back to Whole Foods for ingredients to make a few vegetarian dishes as I am trying to incorporate to eat meatless meals a few days out of the week. There is a recipe for making own vegan cheese in the April issue of Vegetarian Times, an it is amazing how easy it is to make and requires no special tools. The recipes may be posted on the Vegetarian Times (www.vegetariantimes.com) website. There also recipes using coconut milk and I like making thai curry dishes at home. There is also a recipe for making coconut rice.

If the weather continues to be nice tomorrow, I might the trip to the Lion Brand yarn studio to pick up the yarn for my crochet favorite cardi sweater. I think is time for to the opportunity of this leisure Sunday to create a book to keep track of my projects. Write down of the type of fabrics and yarns I use in the event of using them again as I do forget and have a habit throwing the label. I also need to get into the habit of creating swatching for my knitting projects particularly for apparels like sweaters.

Well, it is time for get started on my project book before I think of something else to do. Enjoy your Sunday.

Has anyone ever heard of Alpha Inventions or Condron?

What’s New?


It is Wednesday and I am looking at another cloudy day with the chance of rain by this evening as reported by the news this morning.  I was catching up on blog reading this morning, and found out that Vogue has posted new patterns onto its website.  I took a peak and saw some that I would like to purchase.  I am still in the learning stages of sewing, so I go for the very easy or easy patterns.  I posted the ones I like and thinking about adding to my pattern stash (I have a collection of patterns).

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I really the dresses in the location particularly the dress with the bow-tie in the back, and the flouncy skirt that I like as well.  I have to thank Michelle Obama for making cool to wear dresses.  I know women were slowly getting back into wearing dresses as I can see from the various blogs I read, but maybe Mrs. Obama will influence more women to wear them.  I do not have a problem with wearing pants, but it’s nice to wear down the street in a nice dress.  I am thinking about making a maxi dress.  Mimi Goodwin  made one over a week ago in a tutorial of how to make one for yourself.  I need to have thicker strips as I have the girls to think about, and perhaps putting a band along.  I am still mulling over the idea.

I walked over to Purl Soho today to their fabric shop to check out their felt fabric because I am going to do the scraf from “Sewing Green” book.  I like the because it’s whimsical, adds textual and interest to my accessories.  I think if I purchase three or four 18×24 cuts and purchase some yarn to knit a garter stitch scarf.  I am going to try my hand at felting the scraf.  Another idea comes to mind of knitting a hat and cut the felted leaves and sew onto the hat, and a border of leaves at the bottom of a skirt or coat.  I may go felting crazy.  I am going to purchase some yarn from Lion Brand and haven’t decided on the color for the scarf.  I have it down to these colors.  I am lending towards the first swatch, but probably will make up mind by tomorrow.

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 I was thinking of the ways I could make some extra money.  I have a habit of downplaying my knitting, but it could be a way for me to make some money by making some small things like hats and scarves.  Someone noticed my hat with the button on the side and loved it, and I wondered if people would be willing to purchase such items.  Who wants a plain hat, when they have it embellished with buttons, ribbons, beads, and felted leaves?  Something for me to think about.  Enjoy your day!

A Sewing Book Review, Nice Finds and What’s Wrong with Repurposing


It’s a beatiful day and the only unfortunate part of it is that I suffer from allegries during this time of year.  I am allegry to just about everything such as grass and tree pollen, dust mites, roaches, ragweed, horses, dogs, cats, feathers, and a few others things I do not even remember anymore.  However, let us just say that from the months from March to November can sometimes give me some difficulty.  I also have a weird allery to rice, mustard, and green peas which means I can not eat these particular foods very often, and grains like quinoa, amanath, wheatberries, and barley have become my new staples.

Well that is my little side note before getting to real purpose of what I want to write about today.  A couple of blog entries ago, I mentioned that I purchased a book called “Sewing Green” by Betz White.  The book has 25 projects made with repurposed and organic materials along with tips and resources for earth-friendly stitching.  Betz gives very useful and old-fashioned advice on repurposing materials as way not only to save money, but be kinder to the environment.  If you or I thought about it, our parents and grandparents would constantly tell us about the importance philosophy of waste not want not.  We can refashion a skirt by adding embellishments to give it a second life.  I will tell you a little secret, I do not have a problem with going into a thrift shop and finding a good quality coat or jacket and creating something new from it.  Is that not the point of being crafty and creative?  We do not always have to create something new, but create something different as well.  In addition, I do have scraps of fabric and yarn that can be used for other projects.  There is one project in the book where you can make a auto sunshade from empty drink pouches such Capri Sun or Kool-Aid Juicers.  Actually, I think that is a very good idea if you have children who drink those juices, just save them and make the sunshade.  This way you have less trash and your carseat can remain cool, it’s a two-fold solution.  Betz also recycled pillow cases by making them into either skirts for women, or sundresses for little girls.  If you have an old denim skirt, you can create a shopping bag as people are beginning to bring their own shopping bags to supermarkets.  I do not know if anyone knows this, but Whole Foods Market will deduct 15 cents from your grocery bill if you bring your own bag.  I think Sewing Green is a good reference book to have for those who like or want to recycle and reuse.  I have a question, does anyone reuse, buy secondhand, and recycling clothes?  If so, how do you do it?

I have a couple of nice finds today.  Last week, during my weekly knitting club at work (there are some crafty people at my job and we meet on Thursdays afternoon to knit or crochet for an hour) one of my co-workers went to Rhinbeck, NY a few months back and purchased some yarn from Brooks Farm Yarn.  It’s called Four Play which is 50/50 blend of fine wool and silk (it is so soft), approximately 270 yd/4oz. worsted weight (7-9 US needles).  It is $18.00 a skein, but less than $100, you could knit a nice sweater, or just brought two skiens for a scraf or cowl.  Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Sew News to read the article about sew green ideas.  There were a couple of articles, one on sewing with bamboo, and what does green mean.  Sewing with bamboo gives the basic on how to sew with bamboo with choosing fabrics, benefits of using bamboo, and some resources of where to find bamboo fabrics.  One website I like is The Bamboo Fabric Store which had a selection of knit, knit with loop, and flat woven fabrics, and if you like working with hemp fabric, there is The Hemp Fabric Store with a selection of hemp fabrics.  Another website for bamboo fabrics is the Bamboo Textile Store which as a selection of fabrics as well. 

Here is some information about bamboo and hemp fabrics:

Bamboo fiber is softer than the softest cotton and has a natural sheen to the surface and feels similar to silk or cashmere.  It has a very high soil release value and is so durable that you can throw it in the washer and dryer.  Bamboo is breathable, comfortable and thermal, so it can keep you cool and dry.  It absorbs and evaporates perspiration faster than any other fabric.  Bamboo is anti-bacterial and order free which prevents cultivation of yeasts, molds, and fungus on your clothes.  That remains me, I am allegric to mold.  With people who have allegries like me, it’s hypoallergenic meaning it’s non-irritating to the skin (I have asthma and eczema), and something I did not know bamboo fabric protects you from UV rays (who knew).  In addition, it’s environmental safe as it does not require pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers, and it’s biodegradable.  Bamboo fabric does cost more, but it is a very durable fabric so it lasts for a long time which is a long-term savings.

I am going to end on this note.  Considering that I do have some medical issues, it may behoove me to check out different types of plant based fabrics such as corn, soy, lyocell, and tencel.  I am not fabric or yarn snob, but I think it is a good thing to check out other fabric options and work with them.  I will do some more research on the plant-based fabrics and write them in future blog posts.  This also means that I should stop writing because my entry is getting a little long again, and if you are like me you have more blogs to read with subscribing to goole reader.  Enjoy the day!

Is it Spring Yet?


I woke up 6 this morning and turned on my radio to listen to NPR with a discovery that it was 31 degrees outside.  I know it is spring, but 40 degrees are not yet behind us in New Jersey.  I write to mention that I visited the Lionbrand Yarn Studio to pick up some yarn.  SinceI was going to the studio, co-worker asked me to pick up some yarn for her as well.  Lionbrand just put out a line of yarns within the past three months called the LB Collection.  One of the reasons for liking Lionbrand Yarns is the price factor, the company manages produce yarns that does not break your budget and still has quality of nice stitch definition.  In my blog about fabric and yarn snobbery, I am not a snob just as long as it is good quality.  In fact, Lionbrand has this mircospun yarn that I like because it creates a nice stretchy fabric.

Lionbrand is getting on the green bandwagon and has in its collection organic wool, recyclable cotton, and bamboo.  It is all about sustainability and reusing old materials to create something new.  I have an old wool sweater that has a hole in it and resusing to make either a bag.  Let us face it, we have to make our dollars stretch as much as a possible.  I think the recession has taught us an important lesson that it is not wise to waste anything and we need to not only saving money, but reuse.  My grandmother use to recycle old jars, and I am doing that now with reusing them as containers for buttons, ribbons, and grains that I purchased in plastic bags that I need to store.

I am digressing a bit, but let me get back to my visit at Lionbrand.  I purchased five skeins of the LB collection of cotton bamboo yarn.  Initially, I was going to crochet a shell that the company created to use for the bamboo cotton yarn, but I changed my mind about the pattern.  I have a pattern in mind and just think about it until I purchased the yarn with thinking about it over the weekend.  The Favorable Cardi from the September/October issue of Crochet Today.  I like the shape of the cardigan and probably can wear it for three out of the four seasons and think the cotton bamboo yarn from LB will be great to use for this project.  This will be my first crochet cardigan project, and crochet a sample gauge last night to see how it will look.  Since, I only purchased five skeins, I have to go back and get the contrasting color.  I purchased the hyacinth which is a dusty blue color, but probably get four more skeins, one more of the dusty blue, and three to four skeins of the snapdragon or spring green yarn.  I am not going to do three colors.  I think two colors are enough for the cardi, and just use contrasting color for the buttons.  I think if can if this project, I can wear with the nice blue cotton fabric I purchase for the Michelle Obama dress and just use a contrasting color for the ribbon on the dress.  If you do not mind, I am actually thinking out loud and writing into the entry.  There are times while I am writing, I am also editing, but this is not one of those moments.  Lion Brand’s LB collection includes, LB 1878, LB Collection Cashmere, LB Collection Organic Wool, LB Collection Superwash Merino, and LB Wool Stainless Steel.  You can go onto www.lionbrand.com to see their yarn collection, and www.crochettoday.com for more information about the magazine and its projects.


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Of course the week could not go by without visiting the bookstore.  I purchased two books one entitled “Sewing Green” and other “Simple Style”.  I knew that first book was going on sales a couple of months ago, and decided it may be a good book to have because I do want to re-work some of the pieces in my wardrobe.  I also wanted to experience with working with organic fabrics such as bamboo.  Adrienne from Real Life: Live & Unscripted http://adrienneslittleworld.typepad.com/ and she used bamboo fabric to make tunic dress.  She told me that it was nice and soft.  I have a confession to make, I like knit fabric because of its drape, easy to care for, and you can dress it up or down.  Back to Sewing Green, I looked through the book and like some of the projects.  There is a lunch bag and sandwich wraps that I would like to make for myself as I need to save money.  Working in New York City, you can spend as much as $15.00 for lunch.  That is a lot of money and I can take that lunch money to purchase other items such as fabric and yarn (lol).  I really like  the project on the cover.  I have some leftover yarn that I can knit into a simple scarf, find some felt fabric from Joann’s, and a nice whimscal scarf.

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The other book I purchased is a knitting book from Interweave Publishers and part of the style series.  There is Wrap Style, Color Style, Scraf Style, etc.  Simple Style is based on patterns that are simple to knit and even have a couple of skirt patterns.  There is a wrap project that I would love to knit from the book, but there is a cardigan that I thought would be good to have my closet.  I really need to just go to the library and borrow these knitting pattern books, then I can just make copies of the patterns I would like to knit and save my money to purchase yarn to knit the project (yes I am thinking aloud again).

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I was going to write about some current knitting and sewing magazine with a green theme, but I think I am on the verge of writing more than thousand words on this post again and you the reader my be a little tired of reading at this point because I am getting tired of typing.  I am going to write a blog about green sewing and knitting by the end of this week as this will give me enough to do so more research, reading, and find resources in case you may want to green your world.  Enjoy the rest of your day.

Wednesday and It’s Still Cloudy


This is the third day and it’s still cloudy in my area, but at least it is not cold.  I made a realization yesterday as a knitter that I have been knitting from the back loop ever since I started knitting.  I think it’s because I am southpaw or left-handed person and just completely saw it differently, but I can say that my projects turned out fine.  However, I person in my knitting circle could have told me, lol.  She just left telling me she noticed a while ago, but I am not bitter.  Some of you may know that I crochet as well, and read from one of the message boards I subscribe wrote a post about prejudice against crocheting.  I have everyone know that I am an equal opportunity needle crafts person I like knitting and crocheting and it really depends on the project I like to do.  This hating must stop!  I am being facetious. 

I made a trip to Barnes and Noble Tuesday evening after work and discovered a new craft book  entitled “The Perfect Apron”.  I know that there are a few books published devoted to making aprons with “A is for Apron” the most current prior to the aforementioned.  However, I did not like those books because they just not capture my attention, but “The Perfect Apron” somehow did it for me.  It may toes curled and wiggled my nose.  Well that is not entirely true, but the book pique my interest to purchase it.  I love the apron featured in the book and probably will be inclined to make a few of them including the Japanese inspired apron shown below.  A silk apron?  Why not.

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I was also glad to know that the spring issue of Burda Verena Knitting magazine is out, and found some interested projects to knit.  I probably will end up choosing one of the projects to knit, and Verena website has the yarn recommended to knit these projects for people to purchase at the site.

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I purchased this book a few months ago (I think it’s time to see the public library) because it was interesting to crochet with different fibers such as jute, hemp, and leather.  It’s really a great book by Julie Armstrong Holetz of http://skamama.blogspot.com/.  I find the designs really hip and modern.  I am a little upset that I could not find the handle she used for one of her bags, the company no longer has it in stock ugh!

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I purchased another crochet book a few months ago as well entitled “Blueprint Crochet” which also have some very cool projects with plenty schematics to follow.  There is one project I do have mind my for me niece because it fits her personality and style.  It’s called the Rachel Swing Jacket which is a `60s inspired swing jacket.  The jacket is worked in the round from the top down.  This jacket will be in my project queue to crochet.

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Wednesday may be cloudy, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from finding some ray of sunshine with the promise of creating fresh and bright to create a little happiness every now and again.

Fabric Store and Other Things


 A couple of weeks ago, I arrived home from look and found the Spring/Summer issue of Burda Plus in my mailbox.  There are a few things I would like to make from the issue.  Yesterday, I went to Paron Fabrics in New York City and purchased some lightweight beige demin which I think will be nice for this skirt. 

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I brought a lightweight wool fabric to make these wide-leg pants to wear in at least two seasons.  I like have some pieces of wardrobe that you can wear all season.  I probably will purchase twill fabric to make another pair, but have decided on a color.  These pants would like great in a nice dark denim.  There are quite a few possibilities for this pattern.

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Yesterday, I made another trip to a fabric store which is a five minute walk from my job and purchased fabric to make the asymmetrical fold skirt from Interweave Stitch Magazine.  I decided to use one of Amy Bulter’s print for the contrasting fabric, and a moss green for the main color.  I also purchased more fabric to make another skirt in a lighter green, one could enough asymmetrical skirts and for under $25.00 each.

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I’ve been debating on making these pants from Burda Plus Spring/Summer 09 issue.  They look comfortable and fairly easy to make, but wondering  if I should go with a smaller print.  Perhaps a black and white print  like in the Michelle Obama dress she wore on the view with a solid black strip at the bottom of the pants, and there is also the dress which Simplicity 2703 which for some reason I am unable to copy the photo.  I do want to make a print dress, but thought about doing a solid color with a contrasting ribbon.  I like the moss green fabric so much that I was thinking about making the Simplicity dress with perhaps orange ribbon which my cousin posted a comment on facebook to say yuck (she wore a green suit to an interview to symbolize success), or robin egg blue ribbon.  I am still mulling over that one in my mind. 

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On another note, my niece has been accepted to Seton Hall University a couple of weeks ago.  The school is located in New Jersey, where we live, but she will stay on campus.  She wanted to attend Spelman College, but her parents did not want her to go so far.  She has chosen to major in biology and wants to become a pediatrician.  She is looking at going to John Hopkins for medical school after college, she has goals, and I am proud of her.

A New Year


Happy New Year everyone!  It’s been a while since I last made an blog entry.  My computer is down and probably need a new power supply, so off to the Apple store to get a replacement.  However, I did want to start writing entries on my blog again as I do miss the activity.

I am still working on a few knitting projects such as my cardigan sweater knitted from the top down, and it’s my hope to finish the sweater in the next few weeks.  It’s possible that I am moving to a new apartment in February and that means purging and packing.  Of course, the process of moving does retard my knitting and any other projects for the next month.

It’s my intention with the new year to make some changes and learn new things.  Of course, I am going to learn some new techniques in crocheting, knitting, and sewing.  A couple of people have asked me to knit a hat or a dog sweater which could mean making some money from my hobby.  With the new year also means some new projects I am thinking of doing.  Interweave Crochet just published it’s Winter 2009 issue with some really great things to crochet. 

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This is on the cover of the magazine, and thought it’s a great sweater to crochet, and a good beginner project.  It’s crochet one piece, even the bow.  Some people have complained about the bow, but I like it and the instructions mention that you do not have make the bow as a long.  It’s a flexible pattern.

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I am typically not into ruffles, but I like this pattern and it’s another easy project to crochet.

Since, I am moving to a new place, I will probably be working on some home projects and like to have some floor pillows and found this pattern in Crochet Today from the October 2008 Fall issue.

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I do not know about doing the pillow in purple, but brown and green could work for me.  I have to find a sewing projects for curtains.  I might be in the mood to knit or crochet a rug for the bathroom and bedroom.

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Knitty uploaded its Winter issue online a few weeks ago, and there are some very things to knit.  I love this bobble sweater with a wrap.  It’s my goal to try new knitting stitches and what’s more fun than this project.  The instructions are free on www.knitty.com.

I did purchase a couple of pattern books over the holidays.  Stephanie Japel’s Glam Knits which has some great patterns, and Sew it Seams by Ann Marie Horner which has some great home sewing projects.  I  purchased a crochet book called Uncommon Crochet by Julie Armstrong Holetz which is a great book and even have projects using  jute and hemp twine, and a crochet leather basket.  Another knitting book that has been out for a while called Alt Fiberby Shannon Okey which has projects knitting green with bamboo, hemp, soy, and other organic fibers.

I managed to purchase a couple of magazines as well such as Sew Hip, an English publication, and Interweave’s special magazine call Stitch and it’s another good magazine for sewers.

My ultimate goal to do in 2009 is a sweater from a Mission Falls pattern book I brought over the holidays is the Natalia sweater.  I love this sweater as you can knit it from the top down, no seams hooray!  I hope I get these projects done including a few knitted lace scarves.  Wish me luck!

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