Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

To you and yours and be back soon with some photos (finally!) of all the Holiday crafting I can show you at last.

All the best, Carolyn

Monday, December 19, 2011

Felicity in Charcoal

This is probably the warmest hat I've ever made or had.  Charcoal wool alpaca from Rowan and wool Latte yum (Ravelry notes here)


I knew I didn't have enough brown for a whole hat and wanted the latte to be the lower border (don't even ask why, I have no idea) so I knit this from the top down, just reversing the m1 and k2tog directions.  Not only did I use up the Rowan, but that pom pom is the absolute last of the Latte too.

Lookie!  It goes with my warm warm cowl. Ready for snow.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Card Hanging Ball Decoration Tutorial

 My mom always made these when we were kids.  She hated to throw out the pretty cards, but there's no real reason to keep them, knowing you'll get a ton more next year.
So: some way to display them.
 I put all the cards we get in an envelope and pack them away with the decorations. The following year, get them out and get cutting.  

Using a jar lid or other round object about 5" across trace circles on the cards.  You will only really see the center of the circle, so if you are tracing around a photo, try to center the faces in the center of the circle.  

Cut them all out - you will need 20 circles for each ball.  
Smaller circles make smaller balls - but the smaller they are, the harder they are for small hands to fold and tape them together.

Fold each circle in from the edge three times to make a central triangle shape.  The corners of the triangle should be at the edge of the circle, and the triangle sides should be even lengths (that's called an equilateral triangle for you math geeks out there)  Here's a photo.  I eyeball the first one, then use that as a template for the rest.  They don't need to be perfect, because the finished shape has some wiggle room (sorry, Martha!)

If your kids haven't already been helping you trace, cut and fold, definitely call them over because this is the fun part.  Start taping the triangles together by the rounded edges.  I use a piece of tape over the rounded part (the outside of the ball) and a second piece taping the backs together on the inside.  Tape five together to form a circular domed piece, then keep going.  Everywhere points meet you need to have five together.  Eventually you'll get to the final two triangles to be stuck together all around to close up the ball. 
It sounds complicated but once you start it is magical how two-dimensional circles naturally want to make this geodesic sphere.

Figure out where you want the top of the ornament to be, then get a helper to hole-punch a hanger.  I hung mine up in the entry - just using tape at the ceiling
(they are paper after all and hardly weigh anything)  

This whole project was great with kids - cutting, folding, taping, and having to be careful of something fragile they were working on (tongues hanging out of mouths - adorable!!!) 

Of course you can make these balls out of anything - old coloring sheets, toddler custom-colored-on card stock, photos.  They don't store well (ask me how I know) but they sure are a great way to reuse last year's cards and bring people to mind as you write their cards this year.

  Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yarn Wreath for the Front Door

My super talented sister made this - AND sent it to me in time to put up this year!  See, I could have handled one of those things but not both.  Isn't it so pretty?  Not only did she wrap the wreath herself, she made the red and green flowers - how cool is that.  

As you can see, Virginia is waiting for snow, which makes driving easier but holiday cheer more difficult - unless you have a gorgeous new wreath to look at on your front door, that is.  Thanks, G!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mitred Crosses Blanket Done

  from this: 
to this.
I love it, and do you know they raised $18,000 for 
Mercy Corps in Japan?  Those crazy Mason Dixon knitty ladies. 

J loves it.  I think it really suits him.  And all from stash or free yarn.  My Ravelry notes here.
yes, it did take a ridiculously long time to actually sew it together - only because I organized it all in a bag then put the bag out of sight and forgot to work on it.  And I'll admit the sewing up seemed daunting.  But I used crochet and once I started it kind of flew by.  Cheered on by the recipient, who wouldn't crochet faster?  Still needs a wash but that can wait. 

Right now there are naps to be had and stories to be read snuggled up in it (it is warm warm warm!) 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Playset Reset

A new Fix-it Friday.
  From this - monkey bars are mom-heart-attack-inducing high, swing and rings not as much fun as climbing into the tower, which is difficult to say the least.
 To this.  Easy access to the tower, whether it be a pirate ship (arrr!) or princess castle.  
Almost instantly J had rigged up a bungy cord milk crate bouncer.  
Great plans are afoot for a snow slide.  All we need is the snow.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thumbprint Reindeer

Found this on Pinterest, made a Mommy, Poppa, and two little reindeer.  Well, actually there were a ton more reindeer - what child can stop stamping? - but these were the most representative. 
Have seen them made into cards and gift tags but I'm not sure what to do with this card yet. 
Thank you dollar store googly eyes!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Handmade Ornaments by kids

Well, you get the idea.  The kid made ones were really easy, great motor skills crafts, and kept everyone busy for at least 40 min.  AND look darling on the tree.  I cut card stock circles, made slits around the edge (embellished by J with the hole puncher) then let them wrap away.  J also made a tree out of punched holes which he laced himself.  I had a pile of embroidery floss from a lovely friend - what a great use for it.  There was a pile of felt too, so J and I made the star (I cut and helped him sew) and then there was a pretty plea for a princess ornament.  I'd seen a bunch of felt mushrooms on Pinterest lately so I made one of those too, with Sweet P helping place the dots and sitting on my lap while I sewed.  I'm not totally sure how the bunny I made a while back got in with the Christmas stuff, but she went up on the tree too and seems quite content. 

And in the top row I must describe two important ornaments - a precious glass horn from Germany from Mr. Sycamore's childhood.  And a first for this blog - a Memaw Craft!  Mr. Sycamore's mother made half a dozen of these little sock children one year from a pattern in a magazine (and still she claims not to be able to sew on a button).  Thank you Memaw!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Little Quilted Tree Skirt

 But not for me... here are my squares for a collaborative project with my multi-talented sister to use some of Mom's stash to create a tree-skirt for the tree at Grammy and Gramp's house where we'll be for Christmas Eve.  We started with this pattern from Crazy Mom Quilts and I can't wait to see what we come up with!


Well, here it is!  Sister G did a FANTASTIC job putting it together, quilting, and binding it.  
Even the shelf elf approves.

Thank you G and thank you Crazy Mom Quilts!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Handmade Jellies

This weekend we went to our favorite Oak Shade Farm to cut a local Christmas tree (later we recycle them as chips for the garden).  In the barn were old time toys, baby bunnies to hold, cookies and cider, homegrown honey and candles, handwoven wraps and hand-hooked rugs, and these beautiful jams and jellies.

What bounty!

Friday, November 25, 2011


I did it!  Thank you heat and bond.

Now, I feel the need to make a turkey sandwich with the leftovers.  Thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry-Apricot Compote

As I sit down today to make this, I thought I'd repost it for the holiday.  It looks beautiful, tastes great, and takes about 20 min to make.  This year I used 2C of cranberries (a whole package) and port instead of red wine.  It is SO GOOD.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

(2010) From our local Cheesecake Farms Food Blog - very easy, very very yummy.

Here's my version, makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups of delish relish

1c packaged cranberries (about half a package)
1/4 c dried apricots, quartered
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c water
1/4 c red wine

*Wash and drain the cranberries, quarter the apricots
*put sugar, water and wine into a medium pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar
*add cranberries and apricots and cook about 5 min, until cranberries pop open
*remove fruit and set aside
*bring juices back to a simmering boil, stirring frequently, for about 10 min or until reduced by half - it will appear syrup-y when dripped off the spoon
*pour over the cooked fruit and stir gently to coat
*cool to room temperature (about 1 hour) then either refrigerate (in a covered container) or serve!

Will keep about a week if you can keep it that long. This makes about 1 1/2 cups.

I can't really tell you how delicious this was. Will definitely be adding it to our holiday staples and probably adapt it next summer to spoon on biscuits. Thank you Karla of Cheesecake Farms!
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Summer Flower Hat

 Well, there's been so much making here, and so much of it is hush hush, but I found these photos from the summer that somehow escaped posting but can elude me no longer.  This was a sweet bucket hat for a friend of ours who requested purple and blue.  The fabric is African hand tie dyed cloth, a kind of thick brocade so I didn't interface it. 
 Aside from the petal brim, it really just kind of needed ... something.  A gigantic flower, perhaps?
Now that I'm knitting hats to warm heads it is fun to look back at hats just meant to keep the sun off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lavender Leaf Vest - WIP

Find all my notes on Ravelry. This is really coming along - a row or two at night while the kids fall asleep and we talk about their days.. an inch or two in the car on the way to a camping weekend. From the Leaf and Picot Cardigan from Interweave Knits - just knit in the round and minus the sleeves. Which should make it take what, half the time? Why didn't I think of this before? Next sweater, I'm only knitting the back.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Wall Art and Coasters

Remember the weird plate covered hole in the chimney?  I had an hour in the sewing room last weekend (thanks Mr. Sycamore!) and created this quick hanging with fall colors from my scraps box and a little cut up left over sheet.  
The next step is to get the littles to help me cut out and glue down "THANKS" in cream colored wool.  But I couldn't wait to hang it up because who knows if that will even be this year!
With left overs I put together these quick coasters, backed with some black felt purchased a while back on sale. I love the pink bits with chocolate and yellow.  Yum.

Happy Fall everyone!  Hope you like the new apple-y banner.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Handmade Winter Scarf : Project 2

Of course! For a girl who loves pink. And big floppy flowers. Ravelry notes here. This was basically a made up pattern beginning with the "easy mistake stitch" scarf from Purlbee, but it turned out lovely.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yum. Yarn.

The rest of the story.... It started with a trip to Richmond ...

I couldn't resist the Yarn Lounge (I usually can't). I came away with this fabulously soft Rowan Alpaca Cotton - charcoal brown and grey - for a cowl for me. All the kids are wearing them, right?

Update: After completion, this cowl was too big. Even too big to photograph. But since it only took an hour or two I frogged it completely and started over with a contrasting color - and half the stitches.

I love it. Deliciously warm and cosy, and by redoing the cowl I have enough Rowan left for a hat to match. Yum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Crafts Wrap Up 2011

1. Halloween food,Whipped cream ghost in a jar of orange jello (this was a big hit - as much fun to make with toddlers as to eat). Marshmallow skull cupcake topper with chocolate chip eyes. Jack-o-Lantern Clementine.
2. Halloween food prep, To make the whipped cream ghost in a jar (via Modern Parents Messy Kids), tape a wide straw onto spray whipped cream. Put the straw end all the way down near a side of the jar and spray. Push chocolate chips into place with a drinking straw. For the skull (via Martha Stewart) cut a large marshmallow in half with scissors. Pinch part to make a jaw, then cut with a knife to make mouth opening. Push chocolate chips in as eyes. Stick the cut back of the marshmallow to a cookie or cupcake. For clementine jack-o-lantern (via Household 6 Diva) draw on face with a sharpie. All these foods were super easy and big kid hits in our house.
3. Halloween Paper Plate Spider,
4. Halloween paper plate jack-o-lantern,
5. Halloween skeletons, Print out skeletons, then cut out and punch holes to attach limbs with paper fasteners. This was an easy craft and we needed to use our big "Human Body" book to make sure we put the joints in the right order. Fun.
6. Halloween Milk Jug Skeleton for Outdoors, Via Craptastic Crafts
Save 6 white milk jugs, then cut them up for head, chest, hips, shoulders, and limbs. Jugs cut well with craft scissors and sturdy knife. Poked holes with skewers to attach and used fishing twine. sssspooky! NB this is not really a toddler craft, except to help direct you to put it together, since it requires a sharp knife and tough work with the scissors.
7. Halloween Q-tip Skeleton picture, via Crafts for All Seasons This was mommy's version, the toddlers got bored. I think in future I'd draw the skeleton in glue then let them pick cut-up q-tip pieces to complete the man as they liked. But hey, I enjoyed it!
8. Halloween Many-eyed Ghost, I drew the picture and expected the toddlers to glue on two googly eyes ($1 store purchase). When I turned around - voila. VERY scary :)
9. Halloween Scuba Jack, 10. Halloween Pirate Jack, 11. Halloween Many Eyed Ghost, 12. Halloween Jack-o-lantern Treat Bag My very first blog post and still going strong.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Numbers Match Game

I realized that both my kids are good at counting but were having trouble remembering which written number went with which. I saw similar games on blogs using clothespins for toddler spelling and thought why not?

It was super easy to put together. I cut cardstock into cards, but you could use index cards, playing cards, etc. Permanent marker on the clothespins. So far we've played that each toddler chooses a card, counts out the dots on the back, then flips it over and finds the clothespin that matches. When we finished matching all the cards we put them in order from 0 to 10.

I think our next numbers matching game will be with postit notes..

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Arrrr, Matey. Wanna Scuba?

This pumpkin is part pirate. Handmade fleece hat with iron on skull and cross bones - hopefully J will still want to be a pirate for Halloween in two weeks.

Or will he want to be a diver for buried treasure? When I came home yesterday, there had been a transformation. That kid cracks me up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Little Weaver at the Fall Fiber Festival

As with last year, J was intrigued in the weaving tent. We all loved the fair - seeing the sheep dog trials, eating yummy lamb sausage sandwiches, and browsing the tents of wool and yarn.

I came away with this lace weight baby alpaca/silk in sky blue, destined for a shawl (still working out the details on ravelry)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Grammy Crafts: Alphabet Wall Hanging

A friend gave my mom this panel a while back and with the help of a quilting friend (mostly for the lattice hanger on the back) it is now done! And up on the wall in their room! And BEAUTIFUL. Thanks Grammy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Winter is Coming - Scarf Edition

A while back we went to the Discovery Museum in Winchester, VA - I can highly recommend it for tiring out toddlers - and after ice cream, and crawling on cannons, we were on our way out of town when I spied a yarn shop. Never Enough Yarn, in fact. The kids said we should go check it out - and each chose a yarn for new scarves. Must get around to posting on Ravelry - I modified the Mistake Stitch Scarf (from Purl, of course) to toddler dimensions and as they say, voi - la!

One down, three to go.
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