I do still make things, I swear!

So I was looking over my blog, cleaning up links, etc, and I realized I haven't really posted anything I've made since my little lunchbag. I made tons of Christmas presents but didn't snap any photos of them, probably due to my need to get them done and wrapped at the last minute, as always. And I've been crocheting a lot since I moved into my new place, but lots of the projects need little finishing touches before I'd feel proud to put them on my blog. In the works I have 2 scarves, 2 hats, and an amigurumi sheep. I've got pieces of fabric cut out and ready to be made into something, but I haven't sewn since we got here. I think part of the problem was the lighting; my sewing table is on the opposite side of the room from the overhead light. But that was remedied as of yesterday. I also know that my machine is in serious need of some maintenance, but I lack sufficient funds for it at this moment in time.

Excuses, excuses, I know. Anywho, I'm posting this picture, taken yesterday, of Michael wearing the scarf I made for him as proof that I do finish projects from time to time (excluding awesome home projects, of course). It's made from ArtFibers Yarn, Cheesecake number 13. Michael's not usually a fan of scarves, but I knew if I used this yarn it would win him over. It's an amazingly soft and supple blend of silk and wool, one of the best yarns we have for masculine scarves in my opinion  I made one exactly like it out of Cheesecake number 18 for my dad for Christmas and I think he really liked his as well. Here's the very simple pattern:

Michael's Scarf
Worked entirely in half-double crochet.

125 grams of ArtFibers Cheesecake #13 (or similar semi-chunky yarn)
Size P crochet hook
4 rows x 4 stitches = 2 inches
Finished Measurements:
8 inches wide by aprox. 5 ft. long.

First, chain 18 loosely.
Row 1 and all subsequent rows: *Hdc in each stitch across, chain 2, turn*. Work until you run out of yarn!


I Love Lamp!

First of all, this is my 100th post which is some sort of milestone, so yay! And secondly, I've got another tutorial for a parasol light fixture to share! Today Michael and I were working on getting some light fixtures put up, which has been on my to-do list for a rediculously long time now. Endless gratitude for Michael making me get my butt in gear! So he helped me hang this nifty lotus flower-shaped lamp from Ikea over my sewing table. (I've always wanted one!) I finally have enough light to see what I'm doing, so maybe I'll actually start making things again!

So anywho, on to the tutroial...
Remember my idea for turning a parasol into a light fixture? Well with Michael's help I finally did it! We had a lot of technical issues to work out, so hopefully if anyone out there wants to make one this tutorial should save you a lot of time.
As far as materials, you only need a hacksaw, a parasol, and some wire.
Start by cutting the handle off of the parasol about 2 inches below the stopper. Be careful not to cut the end of the stopper off or it will loose its springyness. If you're worried about it, do a test cut 3 inches from the stopper and you'll be able to look up the inside of the handle shaft to see how much more you can cut off.

Now head inside and take the glass shade off of your ceiling mounted light fixture. There should be a little washer-like piece of metal left on the post, leave it there for now because it will become the support for the wire hook you hang the parasol from.
Okay, now you have to wrap a long piece of wire around the base of the parasol handle, twisting it many times to make it stronger, and then form it into a loop.
Now wrap a different piece of wire around your finger a couple times, and form the end into a hook, twisting it around itself again for strength. Unscrew the metal washer from the lamp's post, don't loose it! Now slide the hook you made onto the post, and put the washer back on to hold it in place. You need to screw the washer high up onto the post. (Notice I changed the light bulbs, those CFLs are much more energy efficient and put out hardly any heat.)
Now comes the fun part,you have to put the loop you made on the parasol onto the hook of the light. And it helps a lot to turn the light on, you can see through the parasol easily.
You may notice the parasol is hanging a little lopsided, so to remedy this you need to screw the metal washer and hook as high as you can on the post, until the end of the parasol's handle is braced against the ceiling, then you can adjust it to the correct angle and bend the wire hook upwards to make it extra tight.
For fun, I took the tassles off of the handle's end and put them on the "finnial", I think it's cute!
Now stand back and admire the glow... ^_^

P.S. If any part of this tutorial doesn't make sense, plese leave me a comment and I'll try my best to clarify! Hope you like it!

If you have found this or any of my other free patterns useful and would like to help me keep creating them I accept PayPal donations!


Chalk it up... Okay, that was a bad joke...

Did I mention that Angela is the most awesome roommate in the world? And do you know why? Because she had a giant green chalkboard for us to hang in our living room! This has been up for quite a while, and as you can see we encourage people to draw on it as much as they like. And when it filled up we snapped this pic and erased it to start over. We always have a lot of fun with it, right now we're working on our friend's anagrams, making a family tree-style chart with all of them, eh, you'll just have to see it when it's full again. I recently went to see my friend Jill's art show at the college, she's so cool! And every time I go to an art show it makes me want to work on my art, so I've been doing just that. I have some new drawings and a collage piece in progress, who knows when they'll be done though. Anywho, come visit me and you can draw on my living room wall, ha!


Tour of the Hayward Fault

So I know this post has nothing to do with crafting, but I just wanted to share the adventure I went on today with my friend Michael. I took a Geology class a few quarters ago at CSUEB and one of the main focuses was on the big ol' Hayward fault, which is due for a big ol' earthquake in the not-too-distant-future. Today I took Michael around and showed him all of the evidence of fault movement scattered throughout the old downtown. (Man, we are such big tourists!)
My personal favorite is a curb on the corner of Rose and Prospect streets. This curb is world famous because it is the largest measured displacement of a man made object by a fault line. All the other curbs at this intersection are new, but when this curb was due to be replaced geologists from all over the world banded together to save it. The line drawn in 2006 already shows the smallest amount of movement, but in relative terms it's quite a bit.
After the famous curb we went to check out the old city hall. It looks pretty good from the outside, but it's condemned and the reasons are very apparent when you peek through the windows:
The place is riddled with giant cracks at all the corners of doors and windows, there's a huge dip in the floor, and the staircases are pulling away from the walls. They can't tear it down because its an historical site. And around the back there was some creepieness, broken windows and drawings from someone's child and a 1982 calendar just left there, it really creeped me out.
Lastly we went around and checked out all the walls that are being warped by the fault. It goes directly underneath a big swath of downtown, and the warped walls and off-kilter buildings make it very unsettling to be down there. (This little guy looks ready to split in half...)
(That wall pic is taken looking straight on, the far end is NOT supposed to be curved out like that!) Anywho, just thought you might like to see what fun I have on my weekends muahaha!


Almond-Cinnamon Cookies

This past weekend I had my coworker Brittany over for a crochet lesson, a cup of tea, and fresh baked cookies. Angela came home as the cookies were baking and I gave her a crochet lesson as well (Man, I should start charging for this, lol!), and they both picked it up really quickly. Angela's about halfway through a wide bright yellow and green scarf made from Sugar and Cream cotton yarns. Brittany's been practicing swatches in hopes of making her boyfriend a scarf from some ArtFibers yarn we've lovingly dubbed Pirates vs. Ninjas. It's actually called Marble Cheesecake #5, but if you take a look at it you can see why it conjures up images of pirates and ninjas. Anywho, I made the cookies totally on the fly, improvising a recipe and hoping for the best, and I think they came out very well. I unfortunately don't have a pic because they're long gone, the darn cat even managed to eat one while we weren't looking! They're very soft and cakey, almost more like a muffin top than a cookie, but they hold up well in a cup of milk, my favorite! And the recipe makes a lot of them too. If anyone tries the recipe please let me know what you think, it's the first time I've ever made a cookie recipe appear out of thin air!

Almond-Cinnamon Cookies
3 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
1 2/3 plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
12 oz. package slivered almonds
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 scant cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, and cinnamon.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating it with adding the milk.
5. Fold in the package of slivered almonds and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
6. Scoop generous spoonfulls of cookie dough onto the parchment lined sheets, mine were about 1-2 tbsp. Give cookies at least 3 inches of space from one another on the cookie sheet, they will spread out!
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden around the edges only. If you like you can sprinkle them with a pinch of sanding sugar when they first come out of the oven, it gives them a nice crunch to contrast with the cakey texture. Hope you like them!


Ooooh, Pretty!

Why are close-ups of everyday objects so lovely? I have a bunch of these on my computer in my "inspiration file" along with lots of pictures of purses, jewelry, and other ideas I've found all over the net. I wonder if these will ever come in handy... Even if they don't I love looking at them. The lovely food coloring pic is from Liquid Paper, see her flickr here. And I unfortunately can't figure out where I got the pencil pic, if anyone has seen it before please let me know!


Stupid Storm and Fancy Fabric

So right now I'm sitting in a Starbucks across town using their internet because ours has been down since yesterday, probably because of the storm. And I didn't want to be a booger and dissapear again without any explanation until after the fact, so I forked over ten bucks to sit here and get my orders copied down and do a little post I had planned for today. I wanted to show off my lovely collection of fabric, all organized like I've always wanted, like something out of a magazine:

I've always wanted to have an appartment that looks like it's ready for a shoot with Better Homes and Gardens or something, and it's getting pretty close, lol! Isn't it cool! I'm so proud of myself. (Truth be told, that's not even all of my fabric, just the prettiest ones that I could fit on the shelf. I have 2 little plastic containers with thin cottons in solid colors and lots of silks and satins that don't fold easily. So why don't I sew more? Laziness...) I spent the first month in our new apartment folding my fabrics around a cardboard template I made from the side of a box. I was inspired by another person on the net who used a large quilting ruler and wrapped all her fabric around it in the same way. I unfortunately have lost the link... If anyone has it can you post it in a comment please? I'd like to give credit where credit is due. So Angela and I spent most of our free time working on this before the housewarming party and I'm finally putting it on here! That bookshelf is about 9 feet tall and really wide, to give you an idea of how much fabric is crammed on there. On the other side you can see a couple shelves entirely filled with craft books, and I got a bunch more for christmas too! I hope someday to have a really impressively complete collection since everyone's always getting them for me. As far as my other projects go, I haven't been able to finish sanding and painting any of the furniture for my bedroom because it's been so wet and cold and dark. But come spring I should have some real furniture in there and I can put up pictures. Next on my list of things to do is a parasol light fixture for my room, for which I will post a tutorial. Maybe I'll get up the gumption to do it today, but I'm really enjoying sitting here with Angela, drinking a latte by the fireplace (yup, we got the coveted fireplace seat). Maybe, just maybe I'll get it done.... Oh, that reminds me: on top of the net being out, my new camera has been acting funny. It seems like the battery doesn't stay charged for very long, I hope it'll be better when I get home. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!


Stormy Weather

Well I was planning on working today but the roads were deemed too dangerous to drive today by my awesome boss so we didn't have to go in today! It's really coming down outside, pouring rain and really strong winds. This is the view from our living room window:
That's the clock tower at Mills College across the street. You can see it from all of our front windows and we basically have a 360 degree view of green trees thru all of our windows, it's really nice... Even in the rain I guess. I wasn't expecting to have some extra time today, I don't know what I'm going to do with my time! Probably goof off and get nothing productive done, but I'll try not to. If you're home and bored today I suggest you check out some of my favorite stuff on the net, go to youtube and search for Flight of the Conchords and listen to "If that's what you're into" and "Business Time" Or watch the original human tetris or the japanese gameshow version. Ooh, and try searching for "matrix pingpong". And lastly, look up "tales of mere existence" and watch all of Lev's videos, so funny! And if you're still bored you can go to www.wordsmith.org/anagram and find funny anagrams for your name and people you know. My favorite for mine is Llama taco checker. I really want to make a shirt with a little name tag that says "Hello, my name is Llama taco checker". LOL! I don't know why it's so funny but it is. We did Angela's name and came out with anal ear clog!!! We laughed till we cried at most of them, fun fun! Well I guess I know what I'm doing with my day, lol. Hope everyone stays dry!


Ideas Buzzing!

Check out the gauntlets I spied in an old MSL magazine! The pic's actually really small, but I can definately see how easy those will be to make thanks to my new camera. If I actually do it I will post the pattern on here so everyone else can make some too. Something about them is so cool, probably the Kill Bill-esque color scheme. I've been gathering a bunch of new ideas and putting them up on the wall of inspiration, I figure I can do a new wall for every season and mabe take pics of my favorite things to post on here. It's going to be later though; I'm working every day instead of every other day this week and then it's back to school on monday. Ho boy. I don't know how ready I am - I took a quarter off because of the move, so I haven't had class since last spring. Wish me luck!


Happy New Year!

Lots of new little things have been going on around here for the new year. I got to go out to SF with a few friends to watch the fireworks over the bay and we got a couple drinks and played pool at a bar called the Elephant and Castle. It was so nice to finally be old enough to really celebrate the holiday. As far as hopes for the new year, I'm hoping for better luck with most everything - money, boys, etsy, etc. My new years resolution is to stick with blogging and listing on etsy more because for a few months there I all but disappeared for various personal reasons including the breakup, the move, and personal stuff I'd rather not get into. But it's beginning to feel like the bad stuff is behind me now. I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face - something that didn't happen often before. When I wake up in my new home it feels so right; I adore my squishy bed and my soft polka-dotted sheets, they're so soft that it's hard to get out of bed in the morning. But then I stare up at the giant bulletin board above my bed and all those images remind me of all the things waiting to be created, and all the ideas buzzing around in my head. Always a good motivation for getting out of bed. I love the squeak of the hardwood floors under my feet, and I think to myself that these are my floors, glorious in their honey colored squeakieness. It's the little things in life that make me most happy. Happy new year everyone!