Saturday, May 21, 2011

Yet Another Stashbuster Blanket

We've got a baby shower at work on Friday for a co-worker. Since I needed a gift and we know she's having a boy, I decided it was time to break out a little hat (not pictured because I just didn't feel like it) and another random-pattern stashbuster blanket in shades of blue.

After doing my lazy woman's blocking technique for a couple of days, this blanket measures 26" wide. I made it with the unknown sized bamboo crochet hook from Nicole.

Of all the yarn in this blanket (10 different colors and kinds of yarn), the only one I know for sure is 1 full skein of Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Collection--Serenity Sock Weight in Indigo (the variegated blue yarn, done in 4 rows each time). The rest of the yarns are eyelash, chenille, cotton, and a terry-cloth like texture.

Homemade Fabric Softener

I finally got off my butt last weekend when I ran out of fabric softener (let myself run out on purpose). I had been wanting to try making some form of homemade fabric softener for two reasons.

1. Wouldn't it be nice to make some, with stuff I already have in the house, and not spend a couple bucks on something I didn't really need?
2. I dig the idea of less chemicals and waste, but just because something is natural doesn't make it better, at least in my opinion. But at least I'm trying some new options.

After looking around on the Internet, I came across this recipe for homemade fabric softener. I have always loved the smell of fresh laundry, mostly because of the smell of store bought, commercially made softeners. And really, I think fabric softener of some kind is a must for towels and sheets, more so than any thing else.

--Baking soda
--Distilled white vinegar

I made a half batch because I didn't have a way to store a full batch and I wanted to see how well this worked before committing myself to a full batch anyway. I was really wondering how well that vinegar SMELL was going to work itself out of the laundry, even with a rinse cycle. Yeah, I'm a skeptic.

Oh man, let me tell you, THIS STUFF IS GREAT!

The laundry came out so soft and fresh smelling. It was just like a natural vinegar, no distinguishable smell of the laundry soap I use, just a neutral, fresh clean. I am a believer and will continue to make this for our laundry.

Next step, in a few days, I'll be making homemade dishwasher detergent. A friend of mine swears by her recipe for it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Catching Up on Birthdays , Part 2

Whoo hooooo! It's actually January 2, 2011 and I just finished my last two birthday crafts for Michelle yesterday!

I did these snowmen hotpads for my friend Michelle. They are supposed to be snowmen looking up at the night sky.

Normally, if I came up with a pattern, I'd post it here but I don't feel like I can do that with these. When I was looking online for snowmen crochet patterns for hotpads, I got a link to an Etsy store that was selling these patterns. Lately, I guess I'm still obsessed with patterns that can be charts, and I took one look at these and knew I could make them up as I went. So since I basically ripped off someone else's design, I'm not going to post my take on it here.

They are 8 1/2" tall by 9" wide and are actually double sided. I made them with an H sized hook. I used an F sized hook for the noses and eyes. The stars are white felt, hot glued on. They were what I actually had the hardest time doing. I tried embroidery but it looked like hell, and crocheted stars would have been too big. They are made out of random black and red yard (probably Red Heart), pumpkin (Red Heart Super Saver), white (Bernat Super Value), and dusty blue (Lion Brand Vanna's Choice).

Catching Up on Birthdays

Well, here I am, sitting at my computer, writing this entry on 12/23/10, just so I can get it off my mental blog list, just like the previous entry.

Today's entry is about part of Michelle's package for her birrthday gift. Michelle's talents truly lie in the kitchen. She makes a chicken salad that puts most restaurants' versions to shame. She doesn't enjoy crochet or knitting like Nicole and I, and yarn doesn't excite her. That's okay, but I like the variety in the likes and dislikes and hobbies of my friends. We are a varied bunch.

However, I couldn't let Michelle's disinterest in yarn keep me from embellishing her birthday gift. When I found out just today that her favorite flower is a white rose, I knew I could make a few of those for her. Using this pattern, I made three of them in a variety of sizes on a E sized hook. While I was out of white yarn at the time, I used the Premier Yarns Angel Shelf Shading in Peach Candy. It gives just a subtle hint of color change through out the yarn.

You really have to sew these roses up carefully and evenly from the bottom. But they fall open fairly easily to give that wide blown open rose look. I don't like the look of the smaller rose "bud," but it's alright. But with the right color yarn, this pattern could make a really cool crocheted lotus flower.

I also wanted to add something more to her package besides just the roses, so I worked up this killer pansy pattern. This is the best pansy pattern I've ever seen. With the right colors of yarn, especially one variegated yarn, this makes beautiful little flowers.

I couldn't get mine to lay as flat as Teresa's but that's okay. I did use the leaf pattern that was with the rose pattern, and I used the same sized hook as well. For the pansies, I used the purple boucle yarn from Nicole, as well as the Peach Candy yarn again (I had it in my purse at the time).

Like with the daffodils, I'm keeping some of the pansies for myself. I've got those flowers sitting in my china hutch in the dining room, waiting to strike me with inspiration as to what to do with them. The pansies with the darker outside edges and lighter insides are my favorites.

Now, it's time to do another yarn inventory to see about making some snowman-inspired potholders for Michelle. She loves snowmen and I think 1 or 2 of them might be kind of cute.