Monday, December 21, 2009

Ta Da!!

New format & layout for SoSaje!! Hooray!

Thanks ReLoved for the inspiration to go and pimp out my site just a little bit.  :-)  And check out her lovely blog as well!

Free design elements available at Shabby Blogs ... but I don't think they're very shabby, not one bit!

♦ D'oh! ♦ Wrong shout out above. :-) It was Regina's blog that tipped me off to the Shabby source. Got my R's crossed ... it happens sometimes!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Self-Diagnosed Craftitis

So, I'm starting to think there's nothing wrong with my to do list, per se, other than the fact that I keep putting things ON it! To wit, here I am 10 days before Christmas, weighing the implications of my new-found obsession with plarn ... the ultimate way to merge recycling and crochet!

You start with plastic bags, lots and lots of plastic bags. And through a nifty little process described HERE you can turn the bulk of the bag into a plastic yarn (hence "plarn"), and from there you're only limited by your imagination! My first goal is to make a mesh-style tote bag out of old plastic bags, and maybe just maybe actually have it finished in time for next summer's farmer's market.

Until then I'm going to keep using the Envirosax reusable bags that I already own and LOVE, and will faithfully mutilate any stray plastics that happen to wander into my house. It's fun shredding them at any rate, and yarn doesn't go bad. Plarn either, I'm guessing. :-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Little Scrap Fabric Will Cover a LOT of Toys!

We are swimming in stuffed animals. They come from everywhere, and it's really hard - for me! - to purge and toss something so sweet, fuzzy and squeezable. But that's not to say I'm not T.I.R.E.D. of seeing them all over the floor in the playroom and everywhere I look throughout the house!

Exhibit A: Playroom BEFORE

Granted, the 70 lb dog doesn't really add to the clutter problem (no wait, she does!), but you get the idea. There were too many toys, and they didn't have a home ... at the end of the day, if we're actually going to clean - and have it make a difference! - they need somewhere to GO. But what to do with a heap of soft, squishy stuffed animals? ...

Exhibit B: Playroom AFTER, with Sophia sitting on top of the spoils!

Make a chair out of them! Specifically a denim and fleece zippered bean bag chair. :-) All but a very select few stuffed critters now get crammed in the bag at night (zipper is on the bottom, in the center panel), and the resulting lumpy cushion is surprisingly pleasing to crash on. Good times for all! In fact, this turned out so well, I'm mid-way through attempting an all-denim version made from upcycled blue jeans ... wish me luck!

(P.S. No, the dog was not stuffed inside the bag! She had the good sense to wander off when I went looking.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Can Really Crochet, Part II

The little brother just turned 30, and to mark the occasion I made him a "plant." :-) Can't take creative credit though, as I was following a pattern. But I did do all the work! And if I'd known at the beginning how many hours it was going to take me to reach the end ... I may very well have gotten him something different. Of course, I didn't, so now I am pleased to present to you the Super Mario Piranha Plant, Crochet Edition. :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Fluttering Fairy Mobile!

What does one do with a house full of fairies? Set them to tending the flowers and butterflies, of course!

This (temporary) art installation/chandelier is a grouping of five mobiles hanging off our dining room light, that my daughter and her friends assembled during the birthday party. And I came up with this craft all on my own-some! :-) It started simply with finding some pre-cut butterfly and flower foam shapes on clearance. Add some stickers, yarn from the stash, and you're pretty much done.

The clever bit was how I mangled the coat hangers to become the 3D foundation for these mobiles-in-the-round. To duplicate: pull the bottom bar of the hanger up toward the top and get them as close together/parallel as possible; curve the two "arms" around toward each other, creating an arc shape that can be as tight or open as you like; to set, flip the bottom bar OVER the hook so there is now a twist of the hanger wire within each arm. This keeps the shape from falling out, especially if you were using heavier objects in your mobile. (For the foam it probably didn't matter, but I liked the twist effect.) I then wrapped the hanger in a bit of blue tulle to evoke a "sky" feeling. Ta-da!!

The girls enjoyed it. The moms were not overly burdened with clunky, heavy things to lug home. Win-win all round. Hooray!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This was not a craft, per se, but it was a good bit of procrastinatory fun! I was looking at the Disney Fairies website for fun activities for the Tinkerbell-themed birthday party I'll soon be hosting for my three-year-old. Oh, I found some cute things ... and then got sucked into their design-your-own Fairy application. Ridiculous waste of time! But quite absorbing finding just the right style of wings. :-) So that's me, as a fairy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Glue, by any other name, is just as sticky.

I can't take credit for this idea, but it's such a good one I wanted to share it! At a recent crafting event, the glue for the kid's project was set out in individual "servings" via bottle tops and Q-tips. The containers really set a cap (ha!) on the potential mess factor, since each child no longer had access to an entire bottle of glue. And the provided tool made it a lot easier for my 3-yr old to make precise applications. (No more giant glops that will never, ever dry no matter how long you wait!)

And maybe my favorite bit? This finally gives me a useful way to recycle all the milk gallon and other bottle tops that the recycling place won't take, even though they take the bottles. Hooray!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Instant Art Gallery!

Ah necessity, the mother of invention! :-)

My daughter is at the age where "ART" features prominently in her life - be it crayon, stickers, packing peanuts dipped in water and pressed on to poster board - you name it! I was starting to feel awash in her various creations, and growing increasingly tired of protecting her art from the exploratory nibblings of her 10 month old sister.

So today during the "something different" that used to be her nap time, we created an art gallery for the playroom. Voila!

I grabbed some stick-up hooks from the garage, a box of brightly colored binder clips from the desk, and a stretch of yarn from the sewing stash, and that was it. We threaded the clips on at regular intervals (about 14 inches apart), and I simply tied them off on loops to keep them from sliding around. I tied off two more loops at the ends to stretch between the hooks.

Super simple! Delighted child! No new slew of nail holes in the walls! So simple, and best of all - very nearly free! :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Product Development Does Not Produce Pretty Pictures

My major problem these days isn't a lack of ideas for projects to work on. It's that when I've finally scrounged enough little scraps of time together to start working on one project, I have ideas for three others - all of which will require prototypes and tweaking before they can be finalized, and during which I will think of yet nine more things to make or do! I have to keep reminding myself that I don't actually have a deadline for any of these things, other than my own desire to be productive and generate a little income.

Ultimately I'd love for the shop to be successful enough that when the girls are both in school, the shop can be my job. But for that to happen I need to have popular and profitable products, and for that to happen I eventually need to finish a whole bunch more of these "proof of concept" projects and figure out which to pursue and which to abandon.

Right now my three main areas of focus are crochet, flannel baby items, and recycled/upcycled/eco bags. I'm in the middle of too many projects to count ... and have very little by way of tangible evidence to show for it! :-) But I keep scribbling in my notebook, and working up samples, refining my ideas, and hoping and praying that by God's grace I'll be able to transform this enterprise into a Proverbs 31 kind of thing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First (Real) Hat - 3rd try is the charm!

So I did finally manage to make a real hat using an actual crochet stitch! Of course, it took me three tries, but I got there eventually. Fortunately crochet is easy to rip out, and then you can just keep re-doing it until it's right. :-) The above hat is the result - made with a single crochet stitch in a spiral pattern, and using yarn by Vanna White. (Who knew?! But it's good to see that she's diversifying her portfolio.)

I'd originally intended it to be a hat for my hubby, but the sizing never quite worked out (and he thought the hearts were somewhat girly, I suppose), so I finished it in a scalloped edge for myself. It's a little snug, and a little long, but it covers the head. Success! And evidently, it's also quite tasty. :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And they said it couldn't be done!

I've been teaching myself to crochet. So far I know three stitches: single, double, and half-double. And that's plenty, evidently! You can make a lot of things with just three stitches, so I've been having some fun.

I started the grand crochet experiment with a skein of yarn that my mom left at my house after doing some crafts with the girls. It seemed such a waste to let the yarn just sit there, and crochet only takes one hook - how hard could it be, I figured.

I started, where I start most things, on Google. :-) Found a page that described how to do the most basic of all crochet, the single crochet stitch, and I was off and running. At my local supermart I found a free (yay!) pattern for a hat using the single crochet stitch, and I was good to go! Figured I'd use the yarn I had on hand and the one crochet hook I purchased to make my brother a handcrafted hat and scarf set for Christmas.

So there I was, happily crocheting away ... except the further and further along I got, the more and more it was plainly evident that my creation did not look anything like the picture. But it did look vaguely hatish, so I kept doggedly on. (The scarf I'd already given up as a bad job and renamed it "scarflette" so it would sound intentional.) Finally I finished, tied the ends off, wrapped and shipped it. Merry Christmas!

Remarkably macho brother models the impossible hat and scarf. Um, scarflette!

So it serves the general "hat" function, in that it covers the head and whatnot, but it's not what I was thinking of making ... well, not exactly.

Come to find out, I'd not actually been doing crochet at all! The entire hat and scarf were constructed completely through the use of the slipstich. (D'oh!) And how did I figure this out? I was looking at an actual crochet book which helped me discern my error (and also why the hat didn't look right when finished). But what got me was their description of the slipstich, with the explanation that it cannot be used to create fabric. Ha! Guess I showed them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Did you crochet a coozie for the flashlight?"

me -- "Um, yes."

him -- "Why?"

me -- "Well, clearly because I could!"

"Let this be a light to you, when all other lights go out, even though you are trying to read, while your husband is trying to sleep!"

So welcome to the world of crochet! I've only been doing it for a couple months, but already obsessed. :-) I love that it can be very portable (unlike the sewing machine), and can also spawn lots of other projects. My mind is just spinning with ideas of things to make, patterns to create, and lots of new bags and goodies to sew to store them all in!

The last few months have not been super-productive, crafting-wise, but I'm hoping to get back in gear. Tons of flannel to whip up into baby sets for the shop: wraps, burp cloths, toys and the marvelous X-bag (post to come soon). Several things I'm working on with crochet that I want to list as well - mostly baby items. And a spattering of beaded baubles to toss in just to liven things up. I need to unload the fabric (and now yarn!) hordes ... so I can justify shopping for more things. :-)