Friday, January 30, 2009

Have a good time...........

Yes, it’s Super Bowl time……again. Finally my Sundays and Mondays will no longer be dominated by the sound of crashing helmets, chicken wings and that infamous Monday Night Football music. Every year when the Super Bowl rolls around it reminds me of my wonderful Grandpa. He passed away just about four years ago on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday. I remember that Super Bowl Sunday was one of his favourite days of the year. I can recall watching it with him several times in the heyday of the 49ers.

I miss him so very much. He was like a father to me. I remember driving around in the car with him listening to KGO Radio (Sports) and A’s or Giants Baseball. He always had sunflower seeds and a handkerchief close at hand. He was a true gentleman and I’m proud that Max carries his name. I wish that Max could have known him better, I can’t imagine that Max remembers him. More than anything, I am happy knowing that my Grandpa was able to meet Max and that we have pictures of them together. After four long years I don’t think that I’ve truly mourned his passing. The best that I can do right now is to remember him with a smile and watch the game that he loved. :)

On a lighter note, I’m nearly finished with my five mushrooms for the mushroom swap. I’ve got one left to go and then I’ll post some pics. Because they’re ‘gifts’ I tried to make them a little more detailed than usual. I tried the new shape that I had found online and they just did not work out well so I went back to my own shape. I don’t use a pattern, I just eyeball it, they all turn out different. Love the mushrooms so I’m excited to see how other people make them. I am wrapping up my handmade swap item and will be sending it out in the next couple of days. I'll keep my fingers crossed. x

Yippee! It's almost the weekend!

Max's stack 'o rocks

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More to do's

I finished my Handmade Swap item last night. For my first try, I am quite pleased. Not sure when I am supposed to send it off........... I'll email my partner. This swap was organized through My swap partner did a great 100 list on her blog, very funny, sad, introspective, made me smile. I'm sure that if we all did one we'd have much more in common than we thought.

Mushrooms, I need to make mushrooms. That will be my next project. I think I'll stick with wool felt but may change the shape of my mushrooms. This will be a good opportunity for me to switch it up and try something new, again.
Another to do. Now that I have started a blog I need to figure out html and how to add links, just make the blog more diverse. I'll do that after I finish the dishes, sew up a mushroom, fold the laundry.........yada, yada, yada.

Once upon a time we lived 2 minutes from the Pacific Ocean,

I really miss this.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lots to do

A new week begins. Max had the day off yesterday. For his friend's 8th Birthday a group of us went ice skating in San Francisco. I held the side most of the time, I am not an ice, roller or in-line skater. I can ski, other than that please do not attach things to my feet that roll or slide. It was Max's first time, he did really well and eventually let go of the wall. Although he had several bum numbing falls he wants to go again, it's great to have a new activity that he enjoys.

There were a lot of falls...............

But there were many more smiles!

So, I just signed up for another swap, this one through It is a mushroom swap, which is great since I love mushrooms. I have to make 5 so I'll start on that soon. I have almost finished my Buy Handmade swap item. I don't want to post pics of it until I send it off to my swap partner, I want it to be a surprise. This was my first time sewing this particular item so I hope that she likes it. There's that age old nervousness of is it good enough? will she like it? For me , I'm excited to receive a surprise in the mail. Here is a hint of what I am working on.

Just like most of the public (even private) schools all over the country our school is cringing at the current lack of funds, especially looking at future budgets. What to do? My hope is that we can band together as a school, as a community, as a county, as a state and as a country and make a great education available to our kids. We are very blessed in our community. Our one school offers 4 different programs, Open Classroom, Waldorf-Inspired (using CA State Credentialed and fully trained Waldorf Teachers), Montessori and Middle School. Does it get better than this? In these crazy times, thank goodness for my crafts - they keep me sane and give me an outlet to relax.
HOPE, is my word of the year and my new mantra.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ta Da!

We tried our hand at using natural dyes last evening and it went great. For our first try we were very pleased with our end product! I used Turmeric, Paprika and Cinnamon all with excellent results. Sorry the pics are a bit funky, when I used the flash on my camera the colours were not accurate at all.

So here are the four skeins that we have dyed so far. I need to brush up on my yarn gathering skills, yes they do look a bit messy.

The skein on the left was dyed using Paprika. Once fully rinsed it came out a very nice muted pink/peach colour. On the right is the Turmeric. This skein was dyed in the second Turmeric dye bath so it came out a light yellow.

On the left I used Cinnamon. This was my favorite.It turned out a light brown that almost has a purplish tint to it. The right was the first dye bath of Turmeric. Because this was the first one the yellow came out more gold and was a lot more bold than the second.

We have two more skeins left to dye. I think we will try using artichokes and berries. The problem with using natural dyes it that you love the colours so much that rather than use them, you just want to sit and admire them.

So, I have joined my first swap. It is a Save Handmade Swap and was organized through the blog I already have my partner and am very excited to get started. Tomorrow Max has the day off and we're going ice skating at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. This is his first time and I have the weakest ankles on earth, I think I'll bring some Charmin and Ibuprofen!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Experiment..............

After a meeting at school the other day Max's wonderful handwork teacher unveiled the skeins of wool that she and the children had dyed. The range of colours was amazing. This has inspired Max and I to try our hand at dyeing wool using all natural dyes. I went by the local Indian food store and bought a 7 oz packet of Turmeric (only $1.99, what a steal) and then we went by Dharma Trading Co. and picked up a large 50% Merino 50% Wool skein. I looked up instructions on the net and the pot is almost ready for the wool. I'll let you know how it goes!

Here are some pics of Max and his classmates.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Max's little guys.......

Rumpelstiltskin, Rumpelstiltskin, Rumpelstiltskin

I made this little felt monkey for Max. I found the pattern in "The Cute Book" by Aranzi Aronzo.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Valentine's Bunnies

So, yesterday I mentioned the wool felt bunnies that I have been making. I found the pattern at She has some great patterns that are really fun and cute. Here are some pics of the bunnies that I have made so far.

I tend to craft during meetings at my son's school (it keeps me balanced). My friend who was sitting next to me loved the one that I was working on (the yellow heart bunny). Anyhow, she wants one for her friend who is having a baby. It makes me happy when people appreciate the work that I do, all of the items that I make, I love. I have another meeting after school today, what shall I make?

This past weekend my sister tried to teach me how to knit. For some reason I just have not caught on. My 8 year old son is a whizz at knitting so I though that it would be no problem. Was I wrong or what?! We were just sitting quietly on Sunday night, Max was clicking away knitting goodness knows what, and there I was quietly cursing and restarting over and over again. I suppose practice makes perfect. I think that I will go to Dharma Trading Co. this weekend. They do a free class/circle for all levels and I really need the help. If I can master basic knitting that would be great. For now, I'll just keep listening to Max tell me how easy knitting is :)

Sending Max to a Waldorf Program has been great not just for Max but also for our family. But I'll save that for another post.................

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beautiful Days...................

What an incredible weekend it was in the Bay Area! The air was clear, the days were bright. Saturday we had a family day at the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. We went to celebrate one a Max’s best buddies’ 8th Birthday.
This is my lovely Max holding a T-Rex tooth

I love that they have these bins at the Academy. It was amazing to see how many adults were struggling with knowing which bin(s) to use, but kids knew exactly what to do!

A picture of the Living Roof from below in the Rainforest

Yesterday was MLK, another great day and do I need to even say what today is? My son calls it Obama Day. Unfortunately Max was late to school because we had to sit and watch the entire Inauguration Ceremony. I know that Obama is not the answer to all of the world’s problems but the feeling of Hope that he has inspired in so many can never be a bad thing. Yippee! At least Max was not the only late one to school, when I dropped him off there were a few stragglers behind us.

I made a resolution to myself that this year I would work very hard to make handmade gifts whenever possible. So, for Valentine’s Day I have been making little bunnies out of wool felt. Each one has a little heart stitched onto the chest. I have made three so far. When I find something that I like to make I tend to focus on that one item for about a week. I can become a bit neurotic and I make tons of one thing. It works out though because if I have too many, I keep them as gifts for another day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My favourites so far......

My very favourite items that I have made so far are my wool felt mushrooms. I was cruising around online looking for inspiration and saw a picture with a felt mushroom in the background. Aha! I had to make one and at midnight I was finally done, it wasn’t perfect but it was mine. I was so excited I ran into the bedroom and woke up my husband insisting that he had to admire my new creation. Needless to say he thought that I was nuts.

For my original wool felt mushroom I did not use a pattern and I still don’t, they all end up just a bit different. I was inspired by one blogger (can’t remember who, but I’ll see if I can find out) who sewed grass on the stalk so I do that to some of the ones that I make. When I reluctantly sold some of my mushrooms at a school craft booth they were the first to sell, I was very proud and pleased that others loved them too.

I did buy a Simplicity pattern at the craft store the other day for a felt mushroom pincushion. I'll give it a try and see if I like it better than my own.

Here is a picture of some of the other fun stuff that I have worked on recently.I love the gnomes, my son does too! The ones on the far left and right are great but the cutting took forever. I am not sure if I'll let my little guy keep them for play or if we'll keep them for our nature table.
It's hard for Max to watch me make things that he loves, he always wants to keep what I make even when it's a gift for someone else. I guess that's life when you are a 2nd grader and a spoiled only child!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New to all of this!

Okay, so about a year ago we moved from far Northern California to Marin County near San Francisco. My son started at this great public Waldorf-Inspired Program and the crafting began!

I have always enjoyed getting into crafty projects but have never really carried them with me. As a young girl my grandmother bought me a turtle needlepoint, it was great, I finished it in no time and she had it made into a pillow which we still have. I learned to needlefelt with my sisters, I have always sewn the goodie bags for my sons parties etc., but I have never really explored wide the world of crafting.

Wow! I am awed by all of the amazing crafts and crafters that are out there! What people are able to do with some fabric, thread and buttons is truly amazing!

So far, my medium is wool, roving and felt. I try to find 100% wool felt locally and online, it is so expensive. Recently I found cream 100% wool felt on sale at a local craft store for $4.50yd, I nearly jumped up and down! I need to go back and get more...................

Anyhow, as a beginner I thought that I might start a blog to get ideas and feedback from other crafters. It is great to get advice from others on how to make new things and/or improve on old ones. I have roamed around a lot on the internet and have found several blogs that I have found useful and inspiring. Hopefully one day I can inspire someone out there.