Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Poke-Mon Hat

When I started crocheting, I was (pleasantly) surprised to find out how many Pokemon crochet patterns there are out there! My brother Andy first got me into Pokemon through the trading card game, which led me to the cartoons, then the Nintendo DS games, then the old GameBoy games...and on and on. So, after making his son an Oshawott and a Yoda hat, I decided it was time to make Andy something.

I made this Pokeball hat using this free pattern by Bonnie Jacobs. Andy said the visible crochet stitches made it look sort of Rasta, so we dubbed it the Poke-Mon hat. I used I Love This Yarn! from Hobby Lobby in Red, White, and Black. You can also find this project on Ravelry if you'd like more information.

So, I will leave you with a picture of the recipient of this project wearing his hat!

I think I'll need to make hats for his family of three (and one impending) by this winter!

Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY Body Spray

As I mentioned in my previous post, I started making homemade body products this winter. While I didn't love it quite as much as some of my other experiments, I still think this body spray has its place in the line up.

I pulled from several recipes and tutorials to come up with the final recipe that I used, but I think my favorite was this one by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole. That said, I ended up with a slightly different blend. My final recipe is:

Body Spray
0.5 oz (1 tbsp) Sweet Almond Oil
2.5 oz Vodka (1/4 c + 1 tbsp)
About 3 ml Essential Oils
Distilled Water

I put the first three ingredients in a 4 oz bottle and let it sit for about a week, shaking it every now and then. At the end of that, I filled the bottle the rest of the way with the distilled water.

I made three different scent blends. The amounts of essential oils were:

Fir Needle Orange - I love this one, but it smells "wintery" to me for some reason.
1.5 ml of each

Clary Sage Herbal - This one is very earthy and neutral.
1 ml Clary Sage
0.75 ml Anise
0.75 ml Basil

0.5 ml Lemongrass

Cedarwood Rose - The rose geranium is very strong, so the rose note is most prominent in this mix.
1 ml Cedarwood
1 ml Hungarian Lavender
0.5 Rose Geranium
0.5 Bergamot

This recipe produces a light fragrance that fades pretty quickly. It's nice for a little pick me up, particularly when it's hot, but it doesn't stick around long enough for me to consider it a stand alone fragrance. In the future, I'm going to experiment with making a perfume oil that will wear longer.

I'm also interested in developing some new fragrance blends. What kind of scents would you like in a perfume oil?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Little Sister Owl

As I've mentioned before, one of the best ways to get the products of my craftiness is to be a fan of it. So, when Sonya saw some patterns on Ravelry for owl-themed things and mentioned that her younger sister loves owls, I grabbed some left-over yarn and whipped something up.

This little purse (more of a change purse or wallet really) was made using the Owl Purse pattern by Brenda K. B. Anderson, which is available for free on Stitch Nation.

The pattern calls for crocheting in wool and felting the finished product. Instead, I decided to crochet in acrylic with a smaller hook and fore-go the felting. I used Caron Simply Soft Solids in Blue Mint and Black and Red Heart Shimmer in Hot Pink. I used a size G (4.0 mm) hook for everything. The beak is embroidered on.

I really like making things that can be used or worn regularly, and I'm told that the recipient of this purse was really happy with it. What are some of your favorite practical objects to make?

Monday, May 14, 2012

All Natural Lipbalm

When I was looking for handmade Christmas gift ideas this past winter, I ran across a number of recipes for homemade, all natural body products. I decided to give them a try, and I'm a total convert. Eric and I are using my homemade lotion exclusively now, and I want to learn how to make my own soap as well. So, this is the first of (definitely) several and hopefully (many) more posts about my own "line" of bath and body products.

Not wanting to get too adventurous my first time out, I made this lip balm using this recipe I found on A Sonoma Garden. I made two changes to the original recipe. First, I substituted sweet almond oil for the olive oil. Also, I added two milliliters of essential oils to each batch to add a little scent and flavor. The resulting lip balm is pleasantly light and slick. It's definitely great for keeping your lips hydrated. To recap, the final recipe I used is:

1 1/2 tsp beeswax
1 7/8 tsp coconut oil
1 1/8 tsp cocoa butter
1 tbsp sweet almond oil
1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) vitamin E oil
2 ml essential oils

I melted the first four ingredients in an improvised double boiler, then removed it from the heat and added the vitamin E and essential oils. The essential oil blends I used were:

Minty Fresh - 1 ml spearmint, 1/2 ml peppermint (1st distillation), 1/2 ml peppermint (2nd distillation)
Citrus Spritzer - 1 ml bergamot, 1/2 ml orange, 1/2 lemongrass

Finally, I poured it into the tubes using a tiny funnel. I could fill six or seven tubes, depending on spillage. Tip: I found that rubber-banding  the tubes together helped them stand up and made it easier to go from tube to tube without spilling. After it cooled, I scraped up the spills off the dish and put it in a tub to apply with my finger. No waste!

While this recipe is great for everyday maintenance, I did find that it didn't work as well as I'd like for the extremely dry, chapped lips I sometimes get in cold weather. For next winter, I want to experiment with making a heavier lip balm using some additional wax and maybe another moisturizing butter of some kind.

I gave these as gifts with body spray and hand cream.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fiesta Shawl

In the past, I've thought of crocheted shawls as sort of little old lady-ish. Once I started crocheting, I realized there were so many patterns and so many ways to make a shawl or wrap that it didn't have to be that way. Nevertheless, my first shawl is a little old fashioned on purpose.

I made this shawl using the Morning Has Broken pattern, which is available free on Ravelry (you'll have to sign up for an account). In fact, I liked how it looked in the photos from the pattern, that I used the same yarn, Lion Brand Homespun in Fiesta. The yarn is bulky weight and I used a size L hook, so the shawl worked up very quickly. I love the colors in this variegated yarn, which is also very soft and warm. So warm, that it offsets the open stitching to make the shawl very warm. It's definitely something I'll wear mostly in winter.

I'd like to make myself a wrap or two for spring and summer as well - maybe something I could wear in the evening over sleeveless shirts. Does anyone have any favorite patterns or materials for spring/summer?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mythical Goddess Tiara

I made this tiara for myself as part of a Halloween costume as a Greek goddess. I bought the costume on clearance because it's head piece was missing, then whipped this one up for myself.

Artistic angled shot? Nope, just wonky photography.
I used gold colored craft wire for the branches over a brass wire base. In the past, I used brass wire for the branches of gold colored crowns, but I found it too hard to work. This tiara turned out very light, to the point that I almost forgot I was wearing it.

Backlit much?
I like these branch shapes a lot, and I could see making a few alterations to make this work for a lot of different costumes. It's simpler than my other tiara designs, so it opens up different uses for them.