Carol’s Craft Cave

Posted on

My crafty friend, Judi, loves to tell the story of how I showed up at my first scrapbook crop with all my paper crafting supplies in a grocery bag. I said something about how I wasn’t interested in getting all crazy into paper crafting. I just wanted to make my scrapbook. And now, six or so years later, Andy was forced from a sense of self preservation to turn this storage area…


…into this…



…so I would have some place (slightly bigger than a grocery bag) to keep all my paper crafting stuff. Of course, I don’t just play with paper crafts. There are fiber crafts (knitting, crochet, embroidery, crewel, spinning), and fabric crafts (sewing, quilting), and random crafts (a smidgen of wire work, bead work, clay, painting, carving, and who knows what else).

The room is still in progress. I need to find a day when I can sit up there, alone (HAHAHA), and ponder and contemplate how to organize things and where I want storage things and worky areas. Alas, most of the cool craft rooms I’ve seen online use storage stuff that won’t work here — in the land of Stink Bugs. I can’t use open bins or stack yarn or fabric or paper in open shelves. Everything needs to be closed, so that nests of these blechy beasts don’t contaminate with their smelliness. This is why my yarn is currently in here.


Andy has been a bit hyper about this space, mainly about getting my crafty stuff into it and out of the house. He is the one who put all that yarn away. He also built a set of folding screens to hide the elliptical machine along the back wall. He built the screens and then bid me decorate them “like that person did on pinterest.” (Can you believe ANDY uses pinterest now???)

The pinterest person used fabric scraps to cover her screen. Not having really all that much fabric but having enough patterned paper for the entire county, I finally found a use for a paper pack I bought years ago. (Loved the paper but it never really fit anything I made.) I found that the best way to do this project was to get the papers cut and laid out for one section.


Then I set them in order on the other section. One by one, I glued each piece down by applying mod podge to the back of the paper and smoothing it all down. After all the pieces were attached, I put two or three more coats of mod podge on top.


It’s a bit lumpy, but it’ll do!

Scratch Art Gift Tags

Posted on

Some of the folks in my crafty group did a gift tag swap again this last Christmas. I wanted to do something different, and at first I was thinking of crocheting snowflakes to decorate the tags. The idea of making all those leetle things with leetle threads and leetle hooks made me want to cry, though. Then Anya started bugging me about getting her some scratch art cards.

Do you remember scratch art? When I was in elementary school, we’d make our own by coloring with rainbowy colors on the paper and then covering the whole thing with a thick layer of black crayon. Then we’d scratch off the black crayon to make a design in the colors below.

I hunted around pinterest until I found a recipe for DIY scratch art that used paint instead of black crayon. I thought that would make a more finished surface. Using this method, you start the same way as we did as kids: color on paper with rainbowy colors. Then, you mix up a batch of black tempera paint with a few drops of dish soap and slather it on.

When I first tried this project, I cut my cardstock so I would be able to get two tags out of the piece. Then I colored the whole thing. Then I cut the tags using a nestable die cut thingy and my sizzix.


I quickly realized that I was coloring WAY more card than I needed to color. I also found that if I waited to cut the tags until after the painting the black on top, there was a white edge around the tag where the die cutter pushed the paint off. And I got paint on the die. SO, I cut all the tags before doing any coloring or painting.


For the black paint, I tried a foam brush, but it didn’t work so well. In the end, a small roller with a short nap worked best. The first coat of paint didn’t cover much and left neat ripples. Andy really liked this look, and perhaps something could be made with it in the future. Anyhow. I discovered that the easiest way to apply the paint was to roller over this way and that until all the tags were covered. Then I used a pointy tool to lift the tags up from where they were sitting and moved them to a clean/dry area of cardboard. When I left them where they were, they stuck to the cardboard.


It took four or five coats to get the results I wanted. After everything dried, the ripples/texture was gone and the surface was smooth.


To finish the tags, I cut dark red cardstock using a nestable die one or two sizes up, added a few dots with a metallic sharpy for a little details, and then adhesived the pieces together.


Here is my test tag. I found a pointy toothpick worked well to scratch out the design, but the tip needed to stay pointy. If it squished, the toothpick didn’t work very well. The weird squiggle thing was me trying to draw a pine tree. I think my scratch art penmenship may need a little practice.

Stuff I Made You Maybe Didn’t See

Posted on

Because, if you make something, and you don’t post it on the internet, what’s the point?

Though, I did post this on the internet, but it was on Ravelry, and not all of you three people who read this are Ravelry-ers, and I don’t want you to miss out on the awesomeness of these awesome things I made.

Awesome Thing Number 1: Baby Bear Sleepy Cocoon and Hat

Buying the yarn and pattern book for these was my only real act of nesting. I started working on the project the day before Kostya was born. I even took it to the hospital to work on because I thought maybe there would be some boredom while I waited for him to be born. Helpful tip: although knitting or crocheting are great distractions when in the car with a crazy driver, these crafts are not the best at distracting one from contractions. I was able to get back to work on this project in those early weeks when I was baby furniture, but by the time I finished it, the outfit did not fit. (Watch out ye who next procreates. You may be seeing this again.)


Awesome Thing Number 2: Squid Baby Booties

This was my last project before I popped. I saw these and just had to make them even though I knew the kid would probably never or hardly ever wear them what with babies and their joy in kicking off footwear. These booties were fun, fast, and pretty darn cute. I did have to go through several different yarns before I found one that seemed appropriately aquatic, but on the up side I now have some freaky green and white shag yarn. (Anyone know what to make with freaky green and white shag yarn?)


Awesome Thing Number 3: Hat

When my Mom was staying with us back in November, she was talking about wanting a light-weight hat to wear what with her being an old fart with hardly any hair. (I can say that because genetically speaking, it is quite likely one day I, too, will be an old fart with hardly any hair.) I found this pattern and poked around in my yarn stash and actually did swatches, which was good because the first two yarns were not right. The yarn I did end up using was purchased for me by my Mom at a yarn store in Tempe, Arizona, probably 8 years ago. At first I was worried about this hat because it looked very much like a bland sombrero, but in the end it got its act together. Mom says she likes it, but I haven’t seen her wear it yet. (Hint Hint!) I took this photo before I sent the hat out, and I was tired and cranky. (In other words, this is how I look most of the time right now.)


I haven’t made anything since the hat. I did start a pair of socks, but after about a month and a half I still haven’t even reached the heel of the first. I also began a market bag that currently resembles a slightly (slightly) over-sized coaster. Perhaps you’ll see these projects in finished format before summer?

Boring Mitten Post

Posted on

Back in early November, I knit up these basic mittens for the (big)kid. I’ve never knit mittens before, and I must admit they scared me a bit what with those thumbs and all. I searched around on Ravelry for a pattern that didn’t terrify me, and I found this: Lilley’s Maine Mittens (you have to scroll down a ways). What I really liked about it was this little blurb at the end of the pattern:

“There you have it, a plain, hard-working, easy to adapt, change, embellish, and knit pattern from a 30 year knitter, mom of four boys! This basic pattern is the same one my grandma and mom have used, and has kept 50 years of children’s fingers warm.”

Anya picked out a nice burgundy wool, I borrowed some needles from my buddy, and a few days later we had mittens.


Do you have any sparkly yarn?

Posted on

If you ever want to feel what it’s like to walk into a yarn shop and have every person inside stop their knitting and chatting to stare at you intensely, just ask, “Do you have any sparkly yarn?”

I don’t normally shop at yarn shops because Michael’s can meet my needs way cheaper, and I prefer the anonymity. At Michael’s I don’t have to tell anyone that I am making minion goggles while they are sitting there working on a multi-colored piece of intricate lace. I don’t have to try to justify that crochet is indeed an acceptable way to use yarn. I can walk around and look for what I need without having to remember the difference between worsted weight and sport weight and lace weight and heavy weight champion of the world. And I can use a coupon.

But I was having lunch right next door to the yarn store, and I had a need for some sparkly yarn, and I thought surely a Yarn Store would have more variety than Michael’s. So, leading up to my entrance, it made perfect sense to ask this question.

And then I asked my question.

And then the staring and the silence.

And then I realized sparkly yarn is more minion goggles and crochet and coupons than it is multi-colored intricate lace.

“Ha ha!” I chortled. “I mean, something with a little shimmer or shine, you know!”

“What are you making?” the helper asked.

“Um, an aviator hat? It’s crocheted. I like coupons.”

“Hmm…perhaps I have something in the clearance section.”

In the end, I did walk away with some shimmery (NOT sparkly) yarn for my project, but I remembered pretty vividly why I don’t usually go to yarn shops. Everyone really was nice and polite and helpful, but I just don’t think I am a yarn shop sort of gal.

Here are a few things I’ve been working on lately. As much as I love to squoosh the nice, pricey yarn, it’s really overkill for Hello Kitty hats and diaper covers.



Fair Remorse

Posted on

The county fair was a few weeks ago, and after last year’s big hurrah, I found myself feeling rather inadequate. I’m not sure if I’ve said it before here, but it took me until probably the end of spring this year to feel crafty again after that experience. I rode in cars and watched tv and went to appointments and watched Anya at storytime for months without bringing any knitting along. Sometimes I wondered if I’d ever want to do much of anything crafty again.

Don’t worry. I’m all better now. But when the fair came along this fall, and when I started to go through the list of categories (oh, remember the days when I had that list memorized?), I could only come up with four things to enter. Four. I did, however, write down probably another half dozen that I felt convinced I could come up with if I just got real busy and focused. Then I realized that was crazy, and I helped Anya find some things to enter, and I figured if I added both her stuff and my stuff together that would sort of count as stuff I entered because I made her, right?


Anya, however, didn’t seem to agree with that and made sure everyone knew that SHE won $15 at the fair and her mother only won $10. Fine, kid. I see how that works. I’m storing this away for later use.

So, what did I enter? There’s an owly crewel piece:


And the aviator hat I crocheted:


And Anya’s sweater and one of the baby hats I knitted:


Enough of that stuff. Tiny as it was, there was more to the fair than the crafts. There were games,


and chances for Daddy to look silly,


and lots and lots and lots of corn.


Then it rained.

Whatcha Doin’?

Posted on

School started a few days ago, and it’s been pretty cRaZY around here, but things are finally calming down. The first day of school was so action packed, I didn’t get the traditional first day picture of the kid. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone or my scrapbook group will revoke my membership.) I have managed to get some crafty time in. Two weeks before school began, I felt an overwhelming need to make Anya the place mat she needed for lunch time, so I pulled out a pattern I used last year for The Great Fair Adventure and whipped up this:


Nothing fancy, but still nifty. I mean, it is destined to be coated in peanut butter and squished grapes. The yarn I used is leftover from Anya’s sweater and from a Fair project. (I think I will be using the sweater yarn for a LONG time. I sort of overbought. By about 5 skeins I think.)

After the place mat, I blazed through Anya’s second sock (no pictures…it looks like the first one). My latest project is making gifts for all the folks at school who have been / are going to have babies. I found the pattern, Flower Power, on Ravelry (which rocks if you knit or crochet). I’m planning to make several, but so far I’ve only finished the one. I’m not sure if any of the baby mamas or papas reads my blog, but I’m going to guess not. If they are, um, hi! You’ll be getting one of these in the near future!


Do you recognize any of that yarn? Yup, more sweater yarn. And a wee bit of the purple Fair/place mat yarn. The yellow and black are from a scarf I started a while back but didn’t finish due to lack of yarn. Riiiiiiiiip! The other two colors were from my early knitting days when I bought yarn by the pound.

I’m also working on a crocheted froggie blanket, but no pictures yet. I definitely have my fiber groove back on.

A Modest Proposal

Posted on

This weekend I went to a scrapbook convention with some fellow crafters. The whole weekend, I couldn’t help myself from pondering ideas to make the convention better. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Buy one pass, get one free. Bring an enabler friend! It’s a proven fact (based on my two days of uber-scientific research) that crafters buy more when they are with a friend. “Oooo! Look at these turtle stickers, Jane! Haven’t you always wanted a turtle? Maybe you’ll get one someday, and then you can scrap it and use these great stickers!” I personally recommend if you bring a friend, you bring a friend who has more spending money than you do. Then you can live vicariously through that person and then borrow that friend’s neato dealieboppers later.
  • IMG_1789

  • Free bra sizings. I’m not sure what it is, but there seem to be a large number of scrapbook ladies in need of a bosom boosting bra. (I blame this observation on being forced to watch “What Not to Wear” in the hotel room.)
  • Better concessions. There was not one single place in that convention hall selling Krispy Kreme donuts OR cotton candy. What the heck? You want me to stick around on the vendor floor longer? I need better snacks. Or better yet, how about a bunch of hot, topless dudes walking around with free drinks, M&Ms, and Stickles?
  • Wider selection of classes. I’m not interested in sitting with a bunch of other people and putting together a page kit. What about “101 Ways to Distract Your Kids So You Can Scrap,” or “Scrapbook Yoga (so you are limber enough to reach waaaaaaaaay back into your craft closet for that gadget you REALLY need to finish your project),” or “What the Bleep Do I Do With All These Chipboard Mini-Albums?”
  • IMG_1793

  • Support groups. Scrapping is not all Jolies and glitter. It’s time we join together and let ourselves be free from the guilt of being ten years behind on our books! It’s time we shout out to the world that these are OUR books, and we don’t have to put photos of mean relatives in them anymore! It’s time that we shrug off the weight of struggling for color-coordinated, camera friendly outfits on family vacations! Together, we can break these shackles and head out onto the vendor floor unburdened by all but the ten pounds of patterned paper we couldn’t live without!
  • I’m still working on the list. When I’m done, I’ll send it off to the event organizers and report back to you.


Ready to Fly?

Posted on

After finishing the sock and Anya’s sweater, I had sad hands. I hadn’t brought any other knitty projects! What was I thinking? Luckily, my mom has yarn and needles and hooks and wee tiny little scissors that fold up all cute and tidy. With tools in hand, I picked an easy hat pattern I’d found on pinterest and got started.

I haven’t crocheted many things, so when the hat started to look like an upside down basket instead, I began to have doubts about my skill. My Dad showed me I was wrong; it wasn’t a basket…it was a puppet! (Not that this made me more confident in my crochet skills, but it did make me feel better because, hey, PUPPET!)


The puppet really needed some facial features. Alas, we were out of the house and I’d cleaned my purse recently and I didn’t have any other yarn or buttons or puffballs or tiny bits of crayon or shiny bug carcasses. Still, we are a resourceful group and managed to scrounge up a few things. My Dad tapped into his creative side.


And TADA! Mr. Hat Puppet Dude!


The puppet started talking some smack about my crafty skills, though, and I pulled out his eyes, mouth, and antennae. I sure showed him! Then to make sure Mr. Hat Puppet Dude could not be resurrected, I finished the hat. Once all the parts were assembled, all basketyness and puppetyness went away, so the hatness could shine through. Yay!


On a hat-related note, I thought of a really excellent idea today. I am going to make a whole bunch of baby hats and keep at least a few on me at all times. When I am at the grocery store or wherever and see a baby in a shopping cart whose parent has wandered off, I will put a hat on the baby! When the parent returns they’ll be all, “WHA? Why is my baby wearing a hat?” The parent might get a little miffed at first, but when they see how awesome that hat is, they’ll get over it. On the other hand, I suppose this could have a negative side effect by encouraging more parents to leave their babies in shopping carts in the store for a few minutes in hopes they will get hatted. I guess I’ll have to think this through a bit more before implementing.

The 7 Year Sock

Posted on

It only took me seven years, but I finally did it. I knit a sock! (I can’t knit the other until I get home because I left the other ball of yarn there. Oops.)


I bought the yarn seven years ago during a bad day at work. I escaped to the yarn store for an extended lunch break. I’m not sure how many times I started the sock before it began to look like a sock, but it was many. Unfortunately, my measurements were quite a bit off, and I was ending up with a sock that would fit Andre the Giant. I ripped it back and began again. Things were going well until it all screeched to a halt when a cat munched one of my needles. The yarn languished in the craft cabinet until last Christmas. My parents gave me an awesome set of nickel-plated dpn needles.

Since last December, I have been through several more versions of the sock. One fell off the needles and unraveled in my purse; one switched from knit to purl right in the middle of the leg for a few rows for no good reason; one had a gauge change mid-sock and made me rip it all the way back.

Finally, finally, I seem to have this sock thing figured out.