Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fire Starters

I got to make some stuff with my mom over the break -- we made fire starters for an upcoming older girl camp out.

Here's the result:

Here's what one looks like before testing it.

It is:

  • Take a toilet paper tube, cut in half, then cut fringes into it.   Press the fringes back to make it look like a flower.
  • Crumple up a 1/4 sheet of newspaper (we stayed away from the glossier circulars and stuck with newsprint-y ads.)
  • Melt a block of parrafin wax in a double boiler (that is OK to not use again!).  We used a stainless steel bowl over a regular pot.  
  • The foil trays were lined with newspaper and the tubes with newspaper were arranged loosely on the paper.  
  • Once the parrafin was starting to melt, I used a plastic serving spoon that I don't feel strongly about to ladle the melted wax into/onto the newspaper, getting it pretty thoroughly, but leaving the fringes cardboard. 
  • I set the trays outside to cool/dry and then cut apart the starters that were stuck to the newspaper - the wax runs through somewhat.  
  • Once you're done with the project, either let the leftover wax cool where it is, if the pan is now dedicated to parafin OR move the leftover wax someplace like a foil pie pan so you can reheat it from there.  

Here's the collection.  The large one is the bottom of a half-and-half carton.  Mom says they used to use the orange juice cartons from our elementary school to make these.

When I tested it, I got a pretty hot and tall flame and it burned for 12 minutes.

foil pan or cardboard/newspaper lined old cookie sheet
old newspapers
TP tubes, small milk cartons, small paper cups, etc.
double boiler that is OK to not use for cooking anymore
ladle that is OK to not use for cooking anymore
parrafin wax
someplace to put leftover parrafin wax.  We used a foil pie pan.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Handmade Gifts

Now that everyone is back into the swing of real life....let me show you the Christmas presents I made.  Actually, I was really just the editor/art directory.  The real credit goes to my daughters.  At least one of them is still at a point where she's bringing home a lot of art work from school, some of it seasonal.

I've been scanning them into a PDF at the best resolution I could find.  Then around Thanksgiving, I opened them in GIMP (other photo software that can go between PDF and bitmap formats would work) and saved them out as JPG files.

From there, I uploaded them to one of the many photo printing/photo gift sites and made them into a calendar, using one of their templates.

We sent these to people who did not already have a supply of youthful art coming directly in to the house (e.g. grandparents, great aunts/uncles, etc.)  along with a gift to their local food bank.

The girls enjoyed looking through the finished product and I had them review the work before I sent it to print - after all, the work is their intellectual property, and at ages 7 and 12, they are old enough to have an opinion about what work they're proud of and what they want to see in the world representing them.  We had to switch out October - the artist wasn't happy with it.  We found another suitable October piece that was by the same person and had been shown in an area art show and was hanging on my bedroom door.

Handmade Gifts

I've set aside some December papers to scan and start the project over again for next year.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A quick hat - sometimes I just want to see if it works

I made another hat from my friend Cambria Washington's Missionary Hat pattern.  Again, I probably didn't follow it to the letter.  It's on 80 stitches and has 4x4 rib at the start.

I had the turquoise and yellow-green kicking around near each other and every time I saw them together I liked how they looked - and thought they'd make great stripes.  I think, actually, their values are too close for the transition bands and they would actually work better as stripes.  Then I needed a third color and got some opinions.  The architects in the room all picked orange.  I went ahead and tried it because undo would not be too difficult.  I like how it turned out.

Do you ever notice how your environment influences your color choices?  The blue and green match my daughter's sneakers almost exactly.  The three colors together are very citrusy, and hence, you see them here together a lot.

Missionary hat

Here are the details:
Yarn:  Ella Rae Superwash (blue) and Cascade 220 Superwash (quatro and regular)
Needles:  Size 7.
Pattern:  The Missionary Hat
Mods:  CO 80, knit 4x4 ribbing
For:  charity stash

Monday, January 05, 2015

Holiday Sewing - Onstage Tutu Skirt

I didn't do much holiday sewing this year.  In fact, this is the only holiday sewing I did.

Onstage Tutu

We have a 5 year old friend who is always in princess dresses.  I think most people my age have a kid who lives in costume in their lives.

The other side of the story is that I follow Liesel Gibson on Pinterest.  I started to see "styling ideas" for this skirt.  The free pattern is here - the Onstage Tutu.  The pattern is clever and simple (as simple as it needs to be and no more), just like all of her patterns.

A match made in heaven, right?  Princess Dress Girl + Onstage Tutu Pattern.

The skirt itself is kind of a voile or really thin/fine cotton.  I was afraid only one layer would be too sheer and not really have enough body, so I doubled it, by basically making a really long hem.  I think that if there is a place where it might fray and fall apart it is at the waistband-hem.

Onstage Tutu

The other issue I ran into that made it kind of tricky was that the - wait two issues - one is that the sheer fabric was about the same width (or narrower) than the skirt layer, so the gathering was not really a thing.  The second issue was that it was not tulle or lace.  It was more of a chiffon that needed a hem to keep from fraying.  I think I cut it with pinking shears and just turned it up once, but I don't really remember for sure.