The Crafting Bug

December 29, 2012

in DIY & Crafts

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope Santa’s been good to you this year.

Now where have I been? I’ve been bit by a fiber-crafting bug! Let me count the ways:

1. I have been totally and utterly absorbed in learning how to… sew with the sewing machine my wonderful mother-in-law gave as an early Christmas gift! This is just so, so exciting.

Sewing is totally architecture – in a way. So far I have replaced a zipper on my husband’s leather coat (no more zipper ladies with their fees and indeterminate project timelines!), as well as sewn ten cloth napkins, two tutu skirts (one of them blaze orange for reasons I can’t quite explain), a young child’s apron, and I’m now plotting my first (child-sized) quilt, inspired by a super-cute pattern in a quilting magazine Santa brought me.

I have really enjoyed each and every project!

Except, course, they all seem simple and quick and they all turn out to be anything but for this beginner seamstress.

Plus, I am way cool to actually use patterns, having made my own so far instead.

Guess what a hunter uses for making sewing patterns - freezer paper!! Sturdy yet flexible and super cheap! Check out the circle skirt pattern.

Using freezer paper! Best pattern-making material ever – and always on hand in this hunting family! This one is for a future circle skirt for my girl.

Princess dress in the making. Hopefully won't turn out like crap!

This one was going to be a “princess” skirt with three layers – starting with satin and culminating in some sparkly tulle. By now, the layers one and two have been completed.

Do you think I use enough pins?

2. I also have been teaching myself how to knit. Well, my mom has shown me the basic way to cast on and knit when I was little, but my best friend the You-tube and the rest of the internet showed me how to purl, bind off, and block. Granted, I haven’t gotten into intimidating things like cable-knit yet, but I have knitted a scarf for each of my older children. In fact, the scarf I made for my older girl turned out so well that she’s now wearing it to school every day and loving it. I think it makes her really happy that I made her something to wear, plus it’s super-soft and doesn’t look half-bad. Next, I’d like to crochet her a skirt to wear this winter (crocheting it in a circle like a doily will guarantee the beautiful twirly circle-skirt effect), and knit another “go-to-town” scarf for her with some cool multicolored yarn I got.

For the record, I have been somewhat of an expert crocheter since I was fairly little, but knitting is something that always seemed much harder, so I have not began to master it in earnest until the ripe age of 32.

Supermom in action. That's a first.

3. Dress-up-hungry little kids are a great motivator, so I also hand-sewn each of my kids these felt crowns, having designed the pattern and the rest of it with my daugther and son. Would you be interested in a tutorial?

Here’s another look:

Mother of the year, I. I actually made 2!!

Every single bit is hand-sewn – no glue!

4. I’ve also taught myself how to needle felt and created a necklace for my oldest out of these felted balls (made through a combination of needle- and wet-felting techniques):

A necklace in the making (for Josie) - I needle- and wet-felted everything.

The picture above shows how I laid it out, but I have since completed it (the heart pendant has been needle-felted).

In other news:

5. I now make my own lip-balm! Only took me until now. It’s just a combination of 1 part beeswax, 2 parts cooking oil, melted in a microwave and then allowed to set into a solid again (a nice person since suggested to add a drop of honey to it). It’s really wonderful! I tried it with coconut oil too, but found that variation downright disgusting in both the consistency (oily! Ick!!!), color (looks like lard!), and smell. I could have added some essential oil to mine, but I love the pure, sweet, vanilla-y smell of the beeswax. Obviously you can use any number of high-brow, cosmetic-suited oils too, but I prefer to use what I can find in my cupboard.

6. Lastly, a friend recently lent me her beautiful, cast-aluminum clear toy (hard-candy) molds, and here’s what I’ve been making with them:

A friend came over today and lent me some of her amazing sucker molds and lo!! I am 6 years old again. Hard candy is extremely easy to make!!

If you grew up in the Soviet Union, you are probably having an emotional reaction right now!

Maple clear toy!

This one’s been made with maple syrup. The kids went bonkers for these! I love candy-making, man.

No time to blog, right?


1 anexactinglife December 30, 2012 at 11:40 am

We have clear toys in east coast Canada, too :)
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2 katie January 4, 2013 at 10:38 am

yep! i remember granny making candy in ukraine, it had the same amber color as yours. no fancy shapes though:) ive been knitting too, had to start over a million times on one scarf. i guess winter time calls for making lip balms and knitting! your not the only one! :)

3 Vera May 12, 2013 at 8:35 am

Could you tell me how you make the candy please? I would love to make some for my kids, just never made candy before.

4 Sofya May 12, 2013 at 11:56 am

All you got to do is google “how to make hard candy” and they will explain everything! It’s simple but very hot, so you have to be careful. Maple snow taffy is another fun one to try. You can either use a mold you’d have to buy, or just pour the hot syrup reduced to hard-ball stage onto a cookie sheet with sides, coated with pam or something, and let set, then crack into pieces. The ingredients are just water, corn syrup, and sugar + food dye.

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