Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mother's Day Mushrooms

My mom has had these canisters my whole life (if I recall correctly, they were a wedding present).

They're part of the Merry Mushroom line of kitchen items sold by Sears in the late 70's and early 80's, and she's picked up a number of the other items from the line over time. So, I decided to use them as inspiration for her Mother's Day present.

I made these potholders using this Mushroom Potholder pattern from Lion Brand Yarn (the pattern is free, but you have to sign up for an account on their website). The bell of the mushroom is worked in the round then flattened, and the stem is a doubled-over strip of single crochet. So, the end result is very thick. I didn't actually use these since they were a gift, but my guess is that they would work really well as practical items as well as decoration.

As you can see, they turned out different sizes due to varying tension leading to different gauges. To coordinate with the Merry Mushrooms colors, I used Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! in Burnt Sienna, Brown, and Woods Print.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Going Away Bracelets - Hers

As I mentioned in an earlier post, some good friends recently moved away, and I made them both bracelets to help them keep their old home close. This bracelet is the one I made for the inimitable lady and DVM of the house.

For the beads, I chose some irregular oval-shaped beads in a dark green variety of aventurine, some similarly irregular rectangles of garnet, and some faceted sterling silver cubes. All of them are randomly strung on beading wire and attached with a sterling multi-strand clasp. The clasp had a chain to adjust the fit, so I added a little garnet dangle to the end to tie it all together.

The recipient of this bracelet was thrilled with it, so I am too!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Hippy Hat

Since I started crocheting, I've seen lots of patterns for really cute slouchy hats. I decided to try making one for summer in a light, breathable yarn with a very open pattern of stitches to keep it from being hot.

I decided to use the Spider Web Slouchy Hat pattern from A Little Loopy, But I'm Hooked, which also has tons of other nice crochet patterns.

I used I Love This Cotton! in Purple to make it nice and light. The band around my face turned out a little looser than would have fit me perfectly, but it stays in place okay for just hanging out. Adding a little barrette or two somewhere makes it secure enough for getting out and doing stuff.

The instructions were easy to follow and the hat worked up quickly. As it turns out, I'm not crazy about how it looks with my hair tucked inside, which is how I was hoping to wear it. I actually don't wear hats all that often, so I'm still sort of trying to decide how it fits in my wardrobe. I always seem to have that problem with hats.

Do you have anything like that? Things that just seem to always end up cooler in concept than in practice?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Going Away Bracelets - His

I made this bracelet for the male half of a couple of dear friends who have moved far away. I also made his wife a bracelet that I'll show off in another post so that they'd each have a little something to remind them of friends back here. So far, their new adventures seem to be going well, and I couldn't be happier for them!

The large cube beads are several different varieties of jasper. They're strung on beading wire with round wood beads as spacers. The band of the bracelet is leather cord, doubled over and tied with an adjustable knot.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Don't Lose Your Marbles

One of my dad's hobbies is collectible marbles. As I now know, a run of a particular machine-made marble includes marbles with numerous swirl patterns, each with its own name and level of desirability. So, part of collecting these marbles is sorting and examining them. Toward that end, I decided to crochet some sorting bowls for my dad for Father's Day.

I made these using the Nested Birds Nests pattern from Think Crafty Thoughts. The pattern is available for free as a Ravlery download. You'll have to sign up for Ravelry to get it, but it's well worthwhile to sign up if you're looking for free patterns.

The nests come in three sizes, and I made three sets of nests. There's one in each size in each color. The yarns are all I Love This Cotton! from Hobby Lobby in Brown, Forest, and Woods Print. They worked up quickly and are SO cute. They would really make nice little organizers for paperclips and office stuff or jewelry or anything little you need to keep together.

I especially like how the final row curls in to create a little bit of a lip. I think this is more pronounced in my version than in some of the others people have posted on Ravelry because I used a fairly tight tension.

After finishing all my bowls, I decided he might also need something to take his marbles with him, so I made what I'm calling the Mobile Marble Bowl. It's basically a flat-bottomed bag that converts to a bowl when the sides are folded down. I'm planning to write up instructions and share them in a separate post, so this is just a little teaser for that project.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DIY Hand Cream

So, I've basically taken the month of June off from blogging because it's by far the busiest month of the year for me at work. Add to that a family reunion that also rekindled my interest in finishing up my game of Pokemon Black, and I've just been too swamped to talk about crafts online. Hopefully, this post will mark the beginning of my return to regular posting.

This hand cream is the last of the homemade body products that I made as Christmas gifts this past year. Like my body spray, I did a lot of research online and synthesized my own recipe. I would say that my final recipe owes the most to the Body Butter Bars from Green Experiments though it's not identical as I made mine softer in order to put it into a tin rather than molding it. I definitely recommend that post if you'd like a picture tutorial of the process of making something like this.

Here's my recipe, which produces about six ounces of hand cream:

1/3 c shea butter (slightly heaped)
1/8 c beeswax
1/4 c fractionated coconut oil
2 ml vitamin E oil
6 ml essential oil (optional - mainly for fragrance)

Melt the shea butter, beeswax, and fractionated coconut oil in a double boiler. Remove from heat and  add vitamin E oil and essential oil. Pour into containers and allow to cool. I used 2 oz. tins, so each batch produced three tins.

I used the same essential oil blends for this that I used for my body spray. The amounts are different, but the proportions are the same. The blends are:

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

Clary Sage Herbal - This one is very earthy and neutral.
2 ml Clary Sage
1.5 ml Anise
1.5 ml Basil
0.5 ml Lemongrass

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

I've really enjoyed using this lotion myself, and I've gotten good feedback about it from several people who received it as a gift. My only small complaint is that it feels a little oily when you first apply it. It absorbs pretty quickly and doesn't  leave that oily feeling behind, but I'd prefer if it were never there in the first place. I'm experimenting with other oils and proportions, so I'll continue to let you know how they turn out.

If you like this, you should also check out my body spray and lip balm.