Posted by: rachelbarnes | January 23, 2010

Falling back in love with knitting

When we put our house up for sale last fall, I had to make a decision on which craft I would keep out to do during the selling process.  I decided to keep out my knitting supplies.  I felt it was the most portable and took up the lease amount of space.

I’ll take a step back to share that for the last five years or so my crafting time have consisted of scrapbooking for six months of the year and then a mixture of sewing and knitting for the remaining 6 months (sometime sprinkling in rubber stamp making, polymer clay experimenting, etc.).  Obviously when you share your time with different crafts, you’re not going to get as much done on one craft but spread yourself out among many.

Jumping back to the present, I’ve been knitting constantly for the past six months and loving it!  I’d say I’ve really fallen back in love with knitting.  I love how portable it is, that you can take it anywhere with you.  I love how well it mixes to do while connecting with friends or while watching a movie.  I love how you can personalize gifts through knitting.

If you don’t know how to knit, you should check out ravelry.com.  It’s an awesome resource for free patterns and ideas.  I’d definitely say that my joining ravelry in 2008 has really refreshed my passion for knitting.

I learned a tip through yarn craft’s podcast with Lily Chin that it helps when making a garment to hang up your gauge swatch to measure it.  I am working on my first garment, a knitted tunic, and tried a hung gauge swatch as shown here.

I’ve been wanting to do something with my recent gauge swatches.

I started labeling the number of rows and stitches per 2″ with little white price tags so I can keep the gauges in mind for the future.  I’m trying to think of ways to display or use my knitting swatches.  I was thinking about stringing them together and hanging them up on my wall.

Do you have any tips on ways you’ve repurposed or decorated with your gauge swatches?  Have you been thinking of learning how to knit but haven’t yet jumped in?

Posted by: rachelbarnes | January 18, 2010

A New year, 2010

It’s been too long since I’ve last posted.  Nothing like a movie like Julie and Julia to get me back into posting on the blog again.  I’ve been very reflective, as most people tend to enjoy doing, at the beginning of the new year.  I loved this 2010 goals pic made by Benign Object, here’s a link.

For this year, I’m excited about creating more things myself out of inspiration that I see in the world around me.  I tend to get like Alice when I get on the internet and get sucked down the rabbit hole when I start looking at blogs.  Hours later I’ve ran out of time to craft and mostly have looked at other blogs and things people are sharing.

My words I wrote on the leaves (in the Benign object download) for 2010 goals are:

Creating, using what I have, knitting, design knitting projects, sewing, gardening, simple scrapping, expressing God through art, scripture, living.

Speaking of making things, I thought the Craft Hope project is pretty awesome.  People making crafts for 100% of the proceeds to go towards the Doctors without Borders efforts in Haiti.  Check it out!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | September 21, 2009

Update, success with acrylic fabric stamping

It’s been too long since I’ve last posted.  Oddly enough I’ve been too busy creating things and enjoying life to take time to write on my blog (I’m going to work on finding a better schedule to regularly share updates instead of just fitting it in).

I have great news, referencing the last post I had with fabric stamping that was a mini-disaster (when the paint washed out after the first time in the washing machine).  I recently tried fabric painting again and it worked out well!!

I decided to try painting a onesee as a baby gift for an upcoming baby shower.  I first washed the onesee to get the sizing out of it and to pre-shrink it.

I had this stamp I bought on clearance from Hobby Lobby.  For this project you could use one of your own linolium block stamps that you’ve carved (which I plan to try in the future).

I decided to paint the flower purple, so I mixed half of the liquitex fabric medium with half of some purple acrylic paint I had in my stash (any acrylic paint will do).  The total amount mixed was probably the size of a nickel.  Once I mixed the two together, I used a brayer and rolled the paint onto the stamp.

Here is the painted onesee before washing (sorry it’s a little blurry).

Now the MOMENT of TRUTH, I followed the directions on the liquitex website (I waited 4 days before washing, washed the onesee inside out and let air dry).

Here is the onesee after washing, it looks the same as before I washed it!  Before I washed the onesee, I added a leaf and stem and I touched up the flower.

I was pretty excited about this.  Especially since I can use acrylic paints for more then just painting on paper.  If you’ve never tried this before yourself, check it out, it’s a LOT of fun!

I recently just checked out a book at the library, Amy Karol’s Bend the Rules with Fabric.  It’s really cool, it encourages you to experiment with different techniques to manipulate fabric.  I’m excited to do some experimenting with it, check it out!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | August 5, 2009

Baby white pumpkins, steevia, lavender, and other herbs

I have a garden update to share with you.  My little pumpkin patch is taking off!  I planted three of the blue pumpkin plants and one of the baby white pumpkin plants.  Here’s a picture of the patch.  The white pumpkin plant is exploding!

Here are some close up pictures of the baby white pumpkins.

This is my first time growing pumpkins. I’ve been so excited that they’re actually growing.  One thing I learned in growing them is that they need a lot of water.  I would typically water my plants every other day, but I’m finding that my pumpkins need water every day.  When I’ve not watered them, the flowers will shrivel up instead of staying open to pollinate.  As far as directing the plants, I’ve not gotten into pruning, but I have been moving the vines to grow where I want them to grow (growing up the fence), which has been very convenient.  I haven’t seen any blue pumpkins sprouting yet, only the baby white ones.

This my second year for the lavender plant.  I’m growing Provence lavender which has such a lovely scent!  I really don’t do anything special to the plant.  I’ve been cutting the lavender stems as they bloom to dry and keep for further crafting adventures in the future.  I’ve read that the Provence lavender has one of the stronger scents so that was really the only reason why I picked it to grow.

I’m trying steevia this year.  The plant is really taking off as well!  It’s the tall green stalk pictured below.  A friend of mine has grown it, she shared that she lets it grow all season, cuts off the stem, lets the leaves dry, and then harvests the leaves.  She recommended to grind the leaves in a coffee grinder (so it’s somewhat powdery), and then use as a sugar alternative.  I’m really excited for the season to be done so I can harvest it.  I’m interested to see what the leaves taste like in my tea drinking times this winter.

I’m also growing some chamomeal, thyme, and bergamont (not pictured).  That’s my garden update so far.  I tried the upside down tomatoes in my own 5 gallon buckets, but they didn’t make it.  If you have any good herb recipes, please share!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | July 27, 2009

Gauge tip on the go, knitting update, leather scraps

Knitting has been my craft of choice through the process of putting our house up for sale.  I’ve been doing some traveling lately and I found myself in the car with a knitted swatch without measuring tape.  I wanted to share this tip I came up with that helped me measure the gauge swatch without a ruler.  We had a piece of printer paper in the car.  I took the width of the sheet and folded it in half and half again.  So what was originally 8.5″ became 2.125 or 2 1/8″.  I kept in mind the paper was barely over 2″ to measure my gauge.

Here’s a picture for reference (not the best of pictures, but it gives you a visual).

Do you have any tips like this for knitting on the go, improv. tools you’ve found in your car, purse, etc.?  If you do, please share!

I’ve not knitted much with cotton, but I’ve now fell in love with Cotton-Ease. It’s really nice to knit with.  Summer, of course, has put me in the mood for cotton things instead of wool.  Here is a picture of a baby bib I did on a car trip the other day.  I found the pattern on ravelry.

Here’s the link to my project on ravelry, with a link to the pattern.

I’m also working on a kick sack for a friend of mine that just had a baby.  It’s going pretty quick.  It’s a fun alternative to a baby blanket (trying to help prevent SIDS).  The picture shows the top of the sack (which is an easy cable rib).  The rest of the kicksack is stockinette stitched.  It’s like a baby sleeping bag.

Here’s a link to my project on ravelry, with a link to the project.

My ravelry name is knittinluv.  If you’re on ravelry, feel free to add me as a friend.

Here’s a picture of a find, we found a leather shop in a our recent travels that sold scrap leather for a steal!  I packed the leather away in a moving box, but  I hope to explore sewing leather in the future for some change purses, maybe a purse with a vintage sewing machine I inherited.  If you’ve worked with sewing leather for crafts or have any tips, let me know.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | July 4, 2009

Iced coffee and tea latte recipes, baby tutu

We are in the process of putting our house up for sale.  My crafting supplies are slowly being packed, but I’m holding on to my knitting and some sewing supplies for some crafting for my sanity in the transition of the sale/move.

I wanted to share today some yummy summer recipes I’ve discovered and am enjoying quite regularly these days.  The first is a recipe for iced coffee.

Iced coffee

Brew double the strength of coffee for the same amount of water.  So if you have a 12 cup coffee maker, brew twice the amount of coffee granules.  An exception to this is with a french press you can let the coffee brew longer to get stronger coffee without exactly twice the amount of coffee.

For a mug of iced coffee

1/3 cup double strong coffee

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup milk

Approx. 3-4 ice cubes

Pour the strong coffee in your mug.  Pour the sugar in the mug while the coffee is hot to dissolve the sugar.  We’ve tried the raw sugar with our iced coffee and it’s AWESOME.  Be careful if you use raw sugar as you don’t need as much since it’s much sweeter then regular sugar.  Pour in the milk and the ice cubes.

The green lidded container in the picture is the large batch of double strength coffee I keep now in our fridge for future iced coffees.  We like to go ahead and sweeten the batch of the stronger coffee batch while it’s hot so it’s already sweetened out of the fridge.

Hot Tea latte

2 bags of tea (I like vanilla caramel black tea)

1/2 cup boiling water

2 cup hot milk

Honey or flavored syrups to sweeten (I’m using almond and  hazelnut syrup we’ve had on hand)

Brew boiling water and pour 1/2 cup in your mug.  Steep the 2 bags of tea in the 1/2 cup boiling water.  When it’s brewed as strong as you like it, remove the tea bags and add hot milk (I heat our milk in the microwave to approx. 140 degrees F, 2 min. or so).  Add as much honey or syrup as you like for flavor.  You can make cold tea lattes in a similar way as the iced coffee recipe calls for (make a large batch of the stronger tea and save it in the refrigerator for future servings). *Be careful with both recipes using hot liquids.

I made the following tutu for a friend of mine’s little girl, Chloe.  She is so adorable, she really makes the picture.

I found the instructions in this awesome book.  I modified the instructions a little bit.  I started out cutting strips of tulle (I bought 4 yds of tulle at Jo Anne’s) at 20″ x 1.5″ but it was taking FOREVER, so I modified the pattern to use 20″ x 4″ strips.  I made the waist band out of elastic and sewed on velcrow so hopefully Chloe can enjoy this tutu in years to come.

Posted by: rachelbarnes | June 16, 2009

Jewelry ideas

So I’ve been on a little bit of a jewelry kick lately.  I love the concept that you can double the options of your wardrobe without purchasing any new clothing (changing the look of your outfits with jewelry).

First I made this necklace.  I saw the idea for it on an picture up on the wall at Michael’s.  I basically used the beads shown as well as a antique nickel looking chain and some jump rings to connect the beads to the chain.  I liked the dis symmetry of it, and the fact that there is only one of the shiny oblong looking bead at the bottom of the necklace.

I went to a local specialty bead store that we have in town.  I was amazed that I could spend a small amount on two beads and use existing wire I have to get a pair of earrings!

To make the earring hooks, I used a Thing-a-ma-jig.  Here is the pattern for earring hooks.  There are TONS of ideas on that website how to make jewelry objects with the wire jig.  I bought one a long time ago and I wanted an excuse to actually use it.  I’m trying to get better at using what I already have.  For the earrings shown below I used 18 gauge wire.  The wire is plated, not solid sterling silver.  I really liked the flower beads, they go with everything.

The next earrings were also made with beads I got at the specialty bead store.  I used solid sterling silver 26 gauge wire for this pair.  I liked how the beads look like rough cut glass.

And finally another necklace.  I bought the chain at Hobby Lobby and the beads and flower closure at the specialty bead store.  To connect the beads to the necklace, I used straight stainless steel wire with a tiny ball on the end.

Last but not least I made a bird’s nest ring.  I made this earlier in the spring this year, I was craving something to make that was spring-like.  I used 16 gauge wire for the ring.  To make the ring, I went to Hobby Lobby and fit one of my existing rings onto a dowel rod.  I found a dowel rod that was an exact fit to my ring and now use it to wrap wire or other material around to make a ring that fits my finger.  I wrapped the beads on top of the ring and then wrapped 28 gauge wire around many, many times until I thought it looked enough like a bird’s nest.

I bought some beads 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby so I hope to make some more jewelry in the near future to share with you.  If you’ve found any good tips on making jewelry, please share!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | May 25, 2009

Washing acrylic stamped fabric and other

If you recall from this past post of mine, I promised to give an update to washing my acrylic stamped fabric.

Here is a picture of the results.

It didn’t turn out too well.  I think the reason for this is because most of the ink on the fabric ended up being the black speedball ink that remained on my brayer instead of the blue acrylic paint.  If you recall, I didn’t think to clean off my brayer before I rolled the acrylic paint and fixative onto the stamp.

I will try stamping fabric again with a clean brayer and use acrylic paint with fixative and share the results with you.

Other news, I got a nose ring.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, so I thought I’d try it (knowing if I didn’t like it, I can always take it out and let the hole close up).  It’s tiny (which I love) and I’m really glad I did it.  I enjoyed Donna Downey’s post about her nose ring experience.  I’m taking Vitamin E and I’m surprised how well and how quickly the piercing is healing in only 4 days.

I got from a friend (as an early Christmas present) an Aero Garden.  I was skeptical about them before, but I’m really enjoying it.  I’m growing herbs as my first plant project.

I’ve been shocked at how quickly they’re growing.  I’ve had the seed pods planted for 3 days and am already seeing little plants growing.

I’m also enjoying drinking a cup of tea on this Memorial Day afternoon.  I hope you get to enjoy the holiday.  Tonight will be pizza, knitting, and watching a movie with my husband, yeah!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | May 18, 2009

Life update May 17 09

I have some randomness today for you.  I do have some current craft projects I’m working on but they are for multiple birthday and baby gifts.  I don’t want to share them here on my blog until I give them to the receivers.  So, here’s my life lately.

My lovely hubby and I went camping a couple of weeks ago and I LOVED it!  I want to go camping more often.  There was something about getting out into nature for more then an afternoon and enjoying breathing in deeply the fresh air.  I also felt so inspired by all of the green around me.  I really think spring is my favorite season.

Something I LOVED finding when I was a girl was 4-leaf clovers.  My husband teases me for not seeing big things that we would walk by but I would find the tiniest detail as a 4-leaf clover.  I hit the jackpot at this clover patch.  There were at least five 4-leaf clovers (I only picked two).  I think I’ll use them in a scrapbook page of our camping trip.

I also want to share some pictures of my dogs.  They did NOT want to get up this morning.  They look so human to me with their revolt of getting out of bed.  They get a treat to sleep with us over the weekends.  During the week they sleep on the floor together.

So I apologize for the lack of crafty pics today.  I am going to push through and get my gifts done and sent off so I can share them with you via blog world.  Have a lovely Sunday!!

Posted by: rachelbarnes | April 26, 2009

Ravelry merged into my craft space

Organization at home does not always come naturally to me. I think  I really enjoy being unstructured and free in my crafting time and in my crafting space. These are great things (being unstructured and free) but I have found that I have WAY TOO MANY craft supplies that I keep buying for new projects and not using up (and a little more organization would do me some good).

Here are some pictures of my craft supply armoire:

The clear bins below are egg bins I got for free that I use for my organization.

The top drawer of the armoire contains future gifts I’m going to give, items I’ve bought ahead of time for someone as a gift or items I’ve made for a future gift (I don’t do as good of a job remembering what I have, so I’m hoping my craft list can be a part of writing down what I have and for whom).

The bottom drawer contains craft supplies I’ve saved to use for future projects.

I’d also like to share some pictures of my craft space.  It’s messy, but here it is:

My button storage.  I’ve been organizing my buttons into jars, and just recently added a jar for button sets.  The button sets are now ready for finished knitted or sewing projects.

The license plate in this picture is from my first car.  I’m excited to find a fun project to use it.

This is a basket I keep out for knitting projects I have in progress.  I’ve learned keeping my knitting out, I’ll pick it up more often and work on my projects.

This is my yarn stash.  I’m happy to say I’ve been making large dents in my stash by using up the yarn for projects or giving yarn away.

I recently added hooks to the back of my closet doors for added storage.  The grass bag was made by a New Zealand gal I met through a Christmas craft swap last year.

This is my sewing/scrapbook storage in my closet.

These are my inspiration boards on my closet doors.  I made them with foam core boards covered with paper.  The paper is Martha Stewart brand paper from Michael’s.

This is my IKEA inspiration board near my desk.  You can never have too many spaces for inspiration.

On a related note, I’ve fallen in love with the knitting craftspace, ravelry.  I love the community aspect, seeing what other people are knitting and getting tips from them on things they’ve learned or changed in patterns and sharing my experiences as well.

I’m merging these two topics to share an idea I came up with.  Since I’ve loved ravelry so much, I though I’d incorporate the yarn stash concept into my craft supplies and craft project queue.

I’m really amazed at how many craft supplies I’ve accumulated over the years.  I’ve found a new creative challenge in my crafting life to work backwards on crafts.  Instead of seeing a new project idea and then buying the supplies I need for that project, I’m exploring first seeing the craft supplies I already own, and using those to create a new project.

I’ve posted a picture of examples of this idea.  I used Microsoft excel.  I used both numbers and letters for a general order as to when I’d like to do certain projects before other ones.

I also added a sheet showing a craft project list I’ve started.

I must say, since I’ve put this together, it’s really helped me get more done then before.  I’ve had some misc. craft projects laying around that I finally completed and can enjoy.  I’ll share some pictures of my projects in a future post.

Please feel free to use these ideas (if you’d like) for your own craft organization.  If you’ve found other tips and ways to semi-organize your crafting life, please share in a comment.

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