Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Contest with Heart

I really enjoy reading Kkhymn's blog. She's having her first contest; a wonderful idea encouraging her readers to knit or crochet items for charity and then leave a comment as to what they've done.

I love her idea but didn't know how to act on it until today. While browsing the bookstore shelves I found some inspiration.

A whole book full of ideas, Knitting for Peace names specific charities that welcome donations and offers easy patterns to complete the mission. From helping people to shelter animals, close to home and abroad, this book gives specific information on a variety of organizations and their needs.

Also listed in the book are several online resources.
Last updated September 2008, this site has an extensive list of organizations.
Provides a search option to help you select a charity, and a list of most frequently requested item patterns.
This site looks like it hasn't been updated in a while, but it does list specific organizations by state.

Now the dilemma. With so many wonderful organizations and super patterns, which one to choose?!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Double Delight

Two luminous white pearls, separated by silver discs, ending in a darling dangle. These earrings are one of my new designs for spring.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No Shrinking Violet

The 'Big Ivy Scarf' pattern knits up into one hefty scarf. It was the cover pattern for the Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene and I loved it the moment I saw it.

I've been wanting to knit something with stranded colorwork and this pattern was perfect, small sections of colorwork interspersed with an open meshwork pattern. I had so much fun knitting this I was actually a little sorry when I finished it.

I couldn't find the Asian Trends yarn specified in the pattern. So, I substituted Berroco's Ultra Alpaca. The main color is actually a brighter gold shade. I just couldn't get the colors to photograph well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hearts of Fire

I love, love top quality gemstones.
I also adore top quality hand made 'gems'. Chris makes one-of-a-kind fused and dichroic glass items including gorgeous heart pendants. I bought this one and I'm pondering what to do with it. I'm thinking something simple and fun. Any thoughts?

I also bought one of these. Beautiful and practical, this bottle stopper would be a great hostess gift. Note to self for the next holiday season.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just for Fun

Lollipop Mitts

I knit these fingerless gloves without a pattern. Just for fun. Just to see if I could do it.
I have never knit anything without a pattern.

Those of you who routinely knit your own designs know knitting mitts without a pattern is no big deal. For me, this was a big step. I have wanted to be more fearless in my knitting. To loosen the white-knuckle grip I've had on published patterns. To free-fall into knitting from my my own creative thoughts.
Yikes, I hope I have some - creative thoughts!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Too Much

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, as in too many beads.
In designing brangles and bangles, I initially thread the beads onto a relatively straight piece of wire. I love using lots of beads in different sizes, shapes and colors. For me, this is the fun part of designing, but in order to get the right shape the wire must be curved.

And now the dilemma, the beads that looked so perfect and fit so nicely are too crowded, impeding the final shaping of the brangle.

Some beads need to be removed. This will create the space I need in order to curve the bracelet properly.

This is what I faced with this brangle. I don't know if you can see from the photos, but in the first photo the brangle has two more blue beads than the final photo.
I removed those two little blue ceramic beads so I could get a smooth oval shape; just perfect for gliding easily along the wrist.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Not- So-Sloppy Goodness

While watching part of Oprah's webcast last Monday, I heard Bob Greene mention he had a recipe for Sloppy Joes. I love Sloppy Joes and haven't had one in ages, so I looked up the recipe and here's the result.

Of course, not one to leave a good recipe alone, I made a few changes.

I don't like to use beef so I subbed Lightlife 'Gimme Lean' for the ground beef. I thought cooked lentils would give a better look and texture to the recipe; so I substituted canned lentils for the kidney beans and mashed them ever so lightly. I left out the red pepper but used all of the spices.
I don't measure spices when I cook, I guess-timate. This may be why I'm not sure I liked the flavor of the cloves. I love cloves in cookies but the flavor seemed a little out of place in the Sloppy Joes. It could be that I just used too much.

I love to use cocoa powder in my chili and thought it would be good in this recipe. I added about 2 to 3 tablespoons.

The bread is from Panera. It's their Whole Grain loaf. Lightly toasted, it worked great and the whole sandwich stayed together well. Thus, the 'Not-So-Sloppy' title.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In Pieces

Is it a bangle? Is it a bracelet? No, it's a brangle,! This unique type of wrist adornment combines the smooth look of a bangle and the fluidity of a bracelet.

In this particular piece I used lampwork beads that remind me of the bright blue skies and golden sun-kissed lands of the Mediterranean (well, the photos I've seen of the bright blue skies and golden sun-kissed lands of the Mediterranean). I've combined the lampwork with silver beads, colorful ceramic spacers and hand-coiled sterling silver.

I can see this brangle being a playful addition to the workday wardrobe. I'll be adding it soon to my etsy shop.

Want to make your own brangle? Connie Fox has a great tutorial.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

That White Stuff

What's all that white stuff - Bambi

While I've watched Bambi more times than I care to admit, I almost never get tired of snow.
This is our first real snow the season, several inches worth.

We get many gray, snow-sparse winters here. I grew up where we got feet and feet and feet of snow. So for me, it's not real winter without some tall mountains of the frosty delight

Friday, January 9, 2009


Actually 'Unglued' would have been a more appropriate title. That's what I became trying to teach myself this chain maille design. It's the '4-in-1' design. Sounds easy. It wasn't. Sounds like a beginning design. It isn't. Not according to the Urban Maille website, which is where I should have gone before attempting to make this design.

I did eventually figure it out on my own, but I highly recommend visiting the Urban Maille site. I've purchase a few of their kits and they've been well worth the price.

I do like how this pair of earrings turned out. I like how the sparkle of the jet black Swarovski crystal and luminosity of the white pearl contrast with the stark elegance of the chain maille.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chaos to Calm

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. When I want to make a change, I do it. No matter what the date.
But this year I've been on a mission. Since the first days of '09 I've been clearing the clutter. I'm not sure why I'm suddenly so motivated, but I'm not questioning it. It's something I've been thinking about doing for a long time.
The trouble is when I start cleaning I make a big mess, as you can see in the first photo.
But I have made some progress.

If only my whole house would look this neat and tidy! I'm still working on it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Firey Glam

This stunning necklace and earring set is just one of the gorgeous creations you will find at Roseworksjewelry. Created as part of a theme challenge based on the Firefly/Serenity TV show/movie, it sparkles with color and imagination.

Not just beautiful, her pieces are also very affordable.

Her blog is just as colorful as her jewelry with stunning photos and fun posts. Take a look!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

One Down

My first effort at stranded colorwork. It wasn't nearly as hard as I anticipated. Fortunately, several months ago I decided, just for fun, to teach myself to knit holding the yarn in my left hand. Turns out it works great for colorwork; hold one working color in the right hand and the other in the left.
I just have to repeat this pattern seven more times and I'll have a finished object!

I hope you've had a great January 1st.
One down and 364 more days to go. I wish you the very best for 2009!