Tuesday, August 2, 2011

creation nation has moved!

i have started a new website at www.livscreationnation.wordpress.com. all posts from this blog have been added to the new website, and this website will no longer be updated. thanks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

a jumper for flopper...

...and a blankie, too!

one of my best friends, stacy is expecting a little bundle of joy with her husband in september. i don't know anyone who would appreciate homemade gifts more than these two, so i was excited to crochet some things for little flopper (their nickname for the baby). :)

i made a baby blanket using a basic v-stitch pattern from handcrafting with love - alternating v-stitch afghan #2. this is one of my favorite patterns for an afghan because it is really easy and repetitive - so easy to do mindlessly while watching tv - yet it looks pretty and complex. i added a basic half-double crochet border.

for some reason i couldn't get a non-blurry picture, so this is the best i could do of the entire thing stretched out.

here is a closer look at the pattern. i crocheted this blanket with two strands of pound of love yarn in a light green and ivory color. hopefully, being crochet with two strands will a) keep flopper warm on those cold minnesota nights and b) withstand lots of rambunctious little boy energy! my grandma made me a crochet blankie that i dragged with me everywhere i went for years. it was pretty ragged by the time i was in third or fourth grade!

another photo to showcase the pattern and the colors

and this is my first crochet baby sweater! i searched and searched for a pattern that was relatively easy but not totally basic, and wasn't as boxy as a lot of patterns. i used the sweater pattern from the coats and clark newborn layette pattern. the adjustments that i made were with the colors (i hate switching colors so i didn't do the stripes) and the sleeves. the pattern calls for decreasing stitches at the armpit and down the bottom of the sleeve, but it seemed to me that this would make the sleeves go upward...and most babies i know have arms that naturally point downward, not upward! so i did the decrease at the top of the shoulder and along the top of the sleeve, and i'm pleased with the result. it doesn't make a huge difference, but i think it will make the sleeves fit a little more naturally.

i love the football buttons!

Monday, July 11, 2011

felted cloche

i got some wool yarn on clearance at joann fabric awhile back, and it took me ages to decide what to make with it. i decided on a felted cloche, since i am enamored with all things felted these days. and for the purists out there, yes...i know it is technically fulled. but that just sounds weird. :)

anyway, the top photo is the before photo of the first one i made. i regret adding the band, because it isn't perfectly straight so it drives me nuts. i decided to make another one without the band, and that is the after photo. i had one skein of the wool left (about 100 yards) so i made a set of 4 basic round coasters and they are felting as we speak.

the pattern is the beacon street cloche by eleanor howe, and i got it on ravelry here. the pattern was sized very well, except mine didn't flare nearly as much as hers. i adapted the pattern the second time to make it a bit bigger and to flare more, but it still didn't make much of a difference. i wonder if there is a secret to blocking a cloche to get the nice roll at the bottom of the hat? mine hardly seemed to get any bigger so i folded it up to dry.

mine didn't get the nice felted look of hers - some stitches are still visible - but i didn't want it to get any smaller. i think maybe a felting brush would do the trick on future projects?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

i walked into a burning ring of fire

a few days ago, a friend posted on facebook that she and her husband had about 80 edging bricks to give away to whomever wanted them. ever my mother's daughter, i jumped at the opportunity. we bought a $50 fire pit from walmart, took half of the bricks, and built a fire pit in the backyard! it looks great - if only the rest of our backyard wasn't so ugly! it's pretty much all dirt and weeds - not a blade of grass to be found. at least this will help us get some more use out of it! first up - 4th of july bbq this weekend!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

i'll admit, this is a bit of a stretch for this blog...

...but i am just so proud of myself that i have to post this photo! i decided to try my hand at gardening this summer, even though i don't have much room with which to work. we have two containers in the front and one on the side of the front porch, and a spacious backyard. however, due to the abundance and placement of trees in our yard and our neighbors' yards, we don't actually get much sunlight at all. i bought an over-the-rail container for the front porch and a hanging plant, and between all of that, here is what i have planted:

carrots, red bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, zucchini, and a couple of perennial flowers that the gal who lived here previously planted last year. we also have some nice shrub/bush things and a plant that looks a bit like a hosta but isn't.

the zucchini is in the back and there simply isn't enough sun; nothing seems to be happening with those. i also don't have much hope for the strawberries, as it's just not enough space. the carrots have sprouted but seem to be taking much longer to grow than they are supposed to. i think i waited too long to thin them, and still probably haven't thinned them enough. i just can't bear pulling out these plants i have miraculously grown!

the tomato and red bell peppers were purchased as small plants, while the others all started from seed. both seem to be doing well; the peppers have little itsy-bitsy buds starting, and finally, the reason for the post...

an eeny-weeny little itty bitty tomato is growing!!! yay!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

a new one for the repertoire

so, we're going to start with a little bit of background. when i worked at the group home in college, we had this great recipe for shrimp and sausage paella using chorizo sausage. the whole time we lived in cleveland, i could never find it at our regular grocery store and always meant to make a trip to a nicer store to look for it...three years later, i moved to lansing without having done so. for the last year, i have done the same thing. then, at our normal grocery store one day, i see this little side case i've never noticed with a bunch of sausage. lo and behold! i excitedly told mike, whose response was "yeah, i know...didn't you know that was there?" he thought he had told me about it because he knew of my never-ending quest to find chorizo sausage, but never did (trust me, i would have remembered).

so, i bought some yesterday and made the dish for the first time in four years. as delicious as i remembered, even if i was too much of a cheapskate to buy the $15 saffron the recipe calls for. however, i only used half the chorizo so i wanted to find another recipe to use the rest. i also have a red bell pepper that has been patiently waiting to be cooked. i got an idea for some baked mac and cheese using both, and turned to the interwebs for a recipe. however, i didn't find any that called for both or sounded quite right, so i did a little improvising. i found a basic recipe for baked mac and cheese that didn't have any extras and just used that for the white sauce recipe. i added the red bell pepper, chorizo, and some bread crumbs and voila! it was absolutely delicious. i am so excited to have found a new dish that both mike and i love! this will definitely become a "regular".

as a sidenote, please observe the period outside the quotations on the previous sentence. i just read an article on slate about whether the period should be inside or outside the quotation marks; for someone who is a bit of a punctuation/grammar fiend (even if i don't always use it properly on this blog), i have always struggled with that one. turns out, it is the british style to put the period outside and the american style to put it inside; however, even in american style, you put other punctuation, like question marks, outside the quotations. that's probably why i could never keep it straight. anyway, i studied abroad in england for a year so i will be adopting the british style and that will be my excuse if anyone gives me a hard time about it. :)

the finished product

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

i finally got it!

i have tried tunisian crochet, or the afghan stitch, several times and for some reason i have never been able to get it right. i decided to give it another shot, and i figured out what i was doing wrong! on the return pass, i was starting by coming through two loops, which is what you do across - but first, you just bring a loop through one loop. i was missing that step, so my pieces were always turning out diagonal.

once i got it, i realized just how much i love the look of this stitch! i had a random skein of green yarn that i haven't had anything to make, so i decided to use it for a tunisian scarf. and i decided to add some fringe, even though i'm not usually a fan. i like it!

close up of the stitch

the final product - sorry it's a bit blurry