September 2009

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I dyed a cotton velour dress to replace the girl’s favorite pajamas that have just gotten too small. The old pajamas were scrunch dyed in shades of lavender with the same dragonfly in purple.

lavender scrunch dyed pajamas with purple dragonfly

I added the sage green to the shades of lavender and then stamped the dragonfly in a bottle green color. She had this same pettably soft velour dress from Dharma Trading in a yellow-orange colorway that wore incredibly well. I hope this dress will last her a good long while, maybe as a tunic with leggings when she gets taller. I wish they made this dress in my size.

lavender/purple/green tie dye cotton velour dress with dragonfly stamp

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I decided to try making some stitch markers out of polymer clay. These slide on to your needles to help you remember where you are in your pattern when you are knitting. I simply marbled two tones of clay together, ran it through the dedicated pasta machine and then cut out the leaf shapes with tiny canapé cutters. I sandwiched twisted wire loops between two clay leaves and then pinched the edges together and baked them. I’m using a set of fall colored ones on my current knitting project.

marbled green leaf polymer clay stitch markers for knitting or

This set of green leaves was sent to the treasure chest of the New England Textile Arts yahoo group.

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I think I had to go out at least once every day last week, no picnic for a hermit like me. But I made it through the “princess” a.k.a. Royal Banquet on the Greene birthday party yesterday. It was a little chilly but sunny. The girl and her brother and six little friends enjoyed croquet and crafting bejeweled felt crowns as well as munchies, chocolate cake and pink lemonade. The girl has been planning this party for months. She’s quite opinionated but I figure she’s only 4 once so I would try to accommodate. I think everyone had a good time. Even the boys. The stage was set with a borrowed canopy, an old jewel toned backdrop of a court jester, and a fabric draped throne.

Here she is, the princess holding court, in the dress I made from two colors of stretch pink velveteen I bought months ago from I ended up making my own pattern but the fabric turned out to be quite easy to sew once I finally started.

"princess" dress for a four year old, my own pattern

Her brother, wearing the felt crown he decorated for himself and choosing his croquet mallet with care. He takes this game very seriously.

boy wearing felt crown with stick on jewels

The cake. Three tiers of fluffy German chocolate cake baked in borrowed heart shaped pans. Too late I realized that I had never made any other frosting than chocolate! I am not much of a baker. So I just picked a recipe out of the Betty Crocker cookbook which I had to retrieve from a box in the basement despite the fact it’s been a year since we moved in. Pink frosting did not behave as I was used to! But it tasted fine.

three layer heart shaped pink icing chocolate cake with strawberries and blueberries

Face painting by my friend Jan. This was quite popular with the boys and the girls.

face painting at birthday party

Our sweet little neighbor.

toddler in ruffly skirt holding a pink crown

Opening presents. In the background is the banner I designed for a fund-raising party with a royal theme quite a few years ago. Thankfully I did not have to sew these 5′ x 8′ monsters myself. All I did was cut and iron on the gold lamé appliques which was quite a job in and of itself. There were actually several of them made and I kept them afterwards knowing that eventually another occasion for their use would present itself. Voila, a princess birthday party.

princess birthday party with jester banner in background

I’m pleased that by borrowing a few things, reusing things we already had and making the refreshments myself, I was able to create the royal party my daughter wanted without spending much actual cash. However, I may have to hire a maid to help me clean up the mess I made!

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Most of the time when I get out the polymer clay, I use it to make things for the kids or to help them make things, usually animals or creatures of some kind. A few months ago I made this little pink Cape Cod style house. I think the girl must have asked for a house and wanted it to be ALL pink. I thought that would be strange without any other color for definition so I used thick pieces for the simple windows and doors and used the knife to give a little texture without overwhelming the small size. It might be an inch tall or so. After I made it I really liked it.

tiny light pink polymer clay Cape Cod style house

Today I decided I wanted to try making a few more. A light yellow ranch and a light green Cape joined the pink house—the colors of buttermints in a candy tin at my Aunt Ruth’s house around the holidays. I’m sure we had them at home too but for some reason I associate those candies with her house. I also made a gingerbread colored house modeled after the house across the street for our sweet neighbor, E. The kids were excited to give it to her this evening.

light yellow polymer clay ranch house light green polymer clay house with chimney detail gingerbread or terra cotta polymer clay Cape Cod style house miniature

And a picture of the whole neighborhood.

miniature polymer clay houses

I like to think this bears a certain resemblance to our own neighborhood. Not in colors particularly but in the simplicity and neatness of the little houses on our street. And perhaps a bit of the storybook quality of knowing all your neighbors, young and old, and having the children in and out of each others houses. I think with a little cultivation our little street will continue to grow in friendship through the years. I hope yours will too.

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The before: one $.99 stretchy plastic coil keychain bracelet thingy and a random assortment of double pointed knitting needles threatening to get out of control.

stretchy plastic coil bracelet assortment of double pointed knitting needles

The after: organization. Simple and inexpensive. Can you believe they sell these things 3 for $5 in knitting stores? From one $.99 bracelet I cut 8 little coils which will each securely hold 4-5 double pointed needles size 2 through 8. Pretty versatile for a $.12 DIY thingamajig, yes? Works on straights and probably other things I haven’t thought of.

DIY plastic coils holding together double point knitting needles dpns

PS. I forgot to take a picture of the blue one before I cut it up. The rainbow colored one belongs to one of the kids.

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cream of broccoli and cauliflower soup

I love making soup. Too bad neither of my kids will eat soup of any kind. I have no idea why. Soup is so comfortable. I also find it to be a wonderful creative cooking outlet. I enjoy the layering of flavors, choosing the consistency, deciding on simple accompaniments. And I love that I can make a satisfying soup regardless of what is in my fridge or pantry.

Tonight I made cream of cauliflower and broccoli with swiss cheese and cream cheese, a little garlic salt, a spoonful of sour cream and a few dices of red and green bell pepper for garnish. Can you tell I just watched Disney/Pixar’s movie, Ratatouille, with my kids again?

I offered to barter my tie dye for knitting needles on a Ravelry forum and a kind knitter responded with an offer of her extra needles in a great selection of different sizes (all small sizes) and materials. Clockwise from top: two sets of long metal dpns, faux tortoise shell casein (milk protein), bamboo, nearly clear nylon circulars and birch in the middle. This will be great for trying out the feel of different needles with different yarns!

assortment of narrow gauge double pointed knitting needles dpns

And in return I sent several tie dye outfits for her granddaughter. One long sleeve onesie stamped with little flowers, a sleeveless romper with hand colored butterflies and a skirted onesie with a watermelon green stripe. I sewed the gathered skirt on before I dyed the onesie. I think it turned out pretty cute and it wasn’t hard to do thanks to the serger.

pink tie dye baby outfits with socks embellished with rubber stamps

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I realize that I haven’t blogged much lately. It’s not that I haven’t made anything. I think the transition to school schedule has been harder on the girl and me than it has on the boy. I am not liking that 8am bus every day. This past week was easier than the first. Meanwhile I’ve been tie-dyeing, making assorted polymer clay stuff for the kids and some other things I’ve apparently neglected to take pictures of. Still working on my office make-over. Spun some merino/tencel – saving my pennies for some acid dyes.

But I have to show off these two polymer clay creatures made by the boy. He did nearly all of it himself except for my help in glueing in the clear filament on the second one. The first is an alien with three feet. Cute, huh? But the second one is even better—it’s a storm cloud with little dangly rain drops! His name is Guji (goo-jee) and if you are lucky he will sing a little song for you. I am so proud of my boy. He likes to make things but he wants them to be perfect and sometimes that prevents him from just getting into it and doing it. (Poor kid gets that from me of course.)

polymer clay alien polymer clay storm cloud with dangling rain drops

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knit and crochet  pink ballet slippers

The girl loves to dance and is especially enamored with all things ballet and pink. So we’ve signed her up for a dance class at the Maine State Ballet School, just down the road. She was a bit shy at first about the going to the open house last week but she and the boy both sat entranced watching a class of teenagers warm up. Her class starts next week and all she wants to do is wear her leotards and ballet shoes, all day, every day.

So I made up these slippers for her to wear in the house, hoping to save the real thing for class. I’ll let you know how that works out, ha! I crocheted the sole out of cotton to mimic the stiffness of the leather sole shape on real ballet shoes. The upper is knit from some unknown pink soft stuff I picked out of the remnant bin at my LYS. I picked up the stitches in such a way as to make a contrast line of pink on the sole that looks like sewn stitches. Both yarns about sock weight. The reason I mixed crochet and knit is because I wanted a stable sole but a stretchy upper. I think it worked out pretty well and I managed to make them both about the same size despite not writing anything down as I went along. I think I’ll make a pair for me. The weather has turned and it’s getting too cold to go barefoot all the time.

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Who wants tie dye?

blank white baby onesie purple tie dye dress embellished with rubber stamp butterflies

Since I have some requests for tie-dye, I’m open to doing a batch if there is enough interest. So if you want something get the word out! Leave your comment here or convo me through my Etsy shop: randomcharm. Purchase details, colorways, available blanks/sizes, etc. at randomcharm on Etsy.

ETA: for my personal notes:
Mel: VLSD6 and LEL6 √
Nik: CH032 times 2 in seaglass frogs √
Mar: PINK 6mo onesie, 12mo ruffled onesie, 12mo dress √
Kel: 18mo froggie onesie √

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pink tie dye shirt with scattered daisies

Please excuse the silly look on my face. Rich told me I looked too serious. An old white shirt freshened up with pink on pink tie dye and then embellished across one shoulder with a little daisy rubber stamp using fabric inks. And a little frog hiding in the daisies at the hip.

rubber stamp with fabric ink on tie dye shirt rubber stamped frog and daisies embellish tie dye shirt

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