Black / Red Hat & Scarf Set

IMG_2944While organizing my craft room, I recently came across some left over yarn from one of the scarves I posted about last year.  Many of the scarves I have made were done to use up yarn that has been in my craft room for years.  Since I really don’t need any more scarves, this past year I have been putting together matching winter wear sets to donate.

Having found a small bit of the black boa yarn, I looked on-line to see if I could find the red that I had used when making the scarf last February.  I was fortunate to find some on eBay.  With shipping, it was less than $5 for the skein that I needed.  So, I ordered the yarn and made a hat to match the scarf.  I will be adding a pair of black waterproof gloves to the set before I donate them.

IMG_2943Since the yarn had lots of texture, these were easy to make – simply just knit stitches. If you want to make a set for your self, I would suggest knitting the hat first.  This will minimize the amount of yarn left over. Because the yarn is very slippery, I would recommend plastic needles rather than metal.  In my experience, the metal needles allow the stitches to slip off the needle too easily.

Materials
1 skein black boa yarn
3 skeins red yarn
Size 9 circular knitting needles (24” length)
Blunt-end Tapestry needle

Gauge:  14 sts and 17 rows = 4”

Hat:

Using black yarn, cast on 76 stitches and knit 17 rows. Switch to red yarn and knit one row. At the end of the row, making sure that the black section is not twisted, continue knitting in a circular fashion. Knit a total of 45 rows with the red yarn. Cast off, leaving a long tail of yarn. Using the tapestry needle, thread the yarn through each of the cast off stitches.  Gather up the knitting to form the crown of the hat and tie off. Using the black yarn tail at the beginning of the knitting, join the edges of the black band.

Scarf (approximately 72″):

Using a full skein of the red yarn, cast on 250 stitches. Working in circular fashion, knit until the entire skein is used. Switch to the black yarn left over from knitting the hat and knit until that skein is used up. Switch to the other full skein of red yarn and knit until about 250 inches of yarn remains. Cast off.  Weave in all ends of the yarn.

If you do make a hat and/or scarf with the pattern, please post a picture of your results in the comments – I would love to see what you make.

Fractured Tree

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“Fractured Tree” wall hanging.

I enjoy reading historical fiction books. When reading, I like to look up information about the events happening at the specific time in history.  This helps me understand the book’s story line better.

I enjoy these books even more when there is a reference to the art of the era.  Having recently I read the latest book by Jennifer Chiaverini, I did some additional reading about the history of quilting.

One of the sources talked about Depression Era quilts.  Many of these quilts were string quilts made of small fabric scraps stitched together to make a piece of fabric large enough to cut a pattern piece. These larger pieces were stitched together to make a quilt block. The quilt blocks were put together to make a quilt top. This method was used during hard times when money and fabric were scarce.  Scraps of all sizes were utilized.

 

Over the past decade, this method has also made a resurgence within the art quilt community.

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There were several pictures of a string quilts that have caught my attention.

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One of the quilters that I really liked was Ursula Kern.  Her string quilts are breathtaking.  The illusion of movement and shape that she creates is absolutely amazing.

 

 

 

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I decided that I wanted to try to make a string quilt wall hanging for my sewing room.  With wall space limited, the only spot I had left to hang something was adjacent to my four seasons landscape quilt.  So, in keeping the the landscape theme, I thought a tree might fit the area well.

 

Looking at tree clipart images, I selected one, traced it out on pellon, and then divided the pellon into a 7×11 grid. Each section of the grid (2″ x 3.75″)  was used as one block of the string quilting.

Since I have a lot a scraps from various other quilts, and not wanting to purchase more fabric right now, I pulled out my scraps, sorted them by color and started creating each of the blocks.

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Pieced, but not quilted.

 

The seventy seven blocks were sewn together (with numerous changes to match my design better). The illusion is somewhat like a stained glass window – I really like it!

For the quilting, I used one layer of Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting.  To create texture for the tree and shrubs, I placed pieces of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting in these areas between the cotton batting and the pieced top.  The background sky was quilted with straight lines and the tree was loosely quilted to allow the depth of the batting to show.

 

Snow-capped Mountains

Happy New Year to each of you!

Now that Christmas is over, I can share posts about some of the gifts I made this year.

I really enjoy making gifts to give to friends and family.  There is a sense of accomplishment when I can make something unique to give away.

Several of my sons enjoy skiing and snow boarding, so the mountains are a place they like to go in the winter. Hiking and taking photos is another draw of the mountains for them. So, for  each of my sons, I made a set of wooden bookends to look like snow capped mountains.

I had seen something similar in a magazine.  However, that photo showed only a single mountain on each side supporting the books.  My original thought when I saw this was that a 2″ thick hardwood board would not hold up books very well.  So, after some thought, I came up with a design for making some more useful bookends.

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Unfortunately, I did not have any wood the right size stored in our basement, so I made a trip to Menard to purchase some oak.

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Supplies:
2″ x 4″ x 6′ red oak   $28.59
1/2″ x 4″ x 4′ red oak $4.69
Various shades of stain, White Acrylic Paint
Polyurethane sealer – these I already had, but can be purchased at any craft or hardware store for about $3.00 each

Total cost was about $9 per set of bookends.

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Using a circular saw, I cut six triangles out of the oak boards for each pair of bookends.

  • two 4″ x 8″
  • two 4″ x 6″
  • two 3″ x 5″

 

 

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The cut boards were then sanded smooth with an electric detail sander.  Wood glue was spread between the boards and they were assembled with the smallest triangle placed between the other two sized.  Being careful to make sure the bottoms and backs of the boards all lined up even, the boards clamped together and the glue was allowed to dry overnight.

A coat of stain was applied to the entire surface of each bookend.  I used four different shades of stain to make each set of bookends unique. Three coats of white paint were used to create the snow caps, and the entire project was sealed with polyurethane. Rubber anti-skid 1/2″ cushions was added to the bottom of each bookend and the projects were complete.

I hope my boys enjoy using these in their various apartments.

 

Christmas Treats – a village, some trees, and a whole lot of Grinches.

With Christmas just a few days away, I decided to show some holiday treats I have recently shared with my staff.

Christmas Village

For our December Saturday clinic, the staff enjoyed an eatable village that included:

Pound cake houses (each staff member could have their own house):

  • Pound Cake (recipe found here)
  • Cookie glazing frosting (recipe found here)
  • Mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, colored sugar, almond slivers, Andes candies, lemon wafers, green frosting, and sugar flakes.

Spritz cookie Trees (recipe found here, peppermint extract used instead of fiori di sicilia)

Marshmallow cereal trees (recipe found here, shaped into trees rather than wreaths)

Cream wafer cookies (recipe found here) – these are really good!!

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Meat and Cheese Tree

On another day, a demonstration of a new piece of equipment we are considering, was held over our lunch break. So, I brought in some meat and cheese for the staff to eat.  Keeping with the holiday spirit, these were put together in a decorative fashion.

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Grinch Poppers

After seeing the idea in an ADA Morning Huddle email, I also made a tray of fun fruit treats.  These Grinch Poppers (original idea posted here) were enjoyed by everyone.

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Merry Christmas to everyone who reads my blog!!

Holiday Baking 2018

Taking a few days off of work gave me some time to start my holiday baking.  With a son who is on a low sugar and low gluten diet (not for any medical reasons, it’s just healthier), I worked out a few new recipes.

Having read somewhere that Stevia can be substituted for half of the sugar when baking, I decided to try to make cookies with a lower sugar content.  Using the traditional Tollhouse Cookie recipe as the base, I made some mint flavored cookies. You really couldn’t tell that there was less sugar in them than the normal recipe.

Mint Chip CookiesIMG_2834
Makes 4 dozen
2  1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
3/4 cup Stevia
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Green food coloring
1/2 cup  Mint Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and coloring until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Heat dark chocolate in microwave until starting to melt.  Fold in shortening and mix until creamy. Drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Yummy!!

IMG_2835Next, I decided to try making a new recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but modified to use Gluten-free Flour (King Arthur Measure for Measure).  The first batch I made tasted great but was extremely crumbly.  For the second batch, I added an egg to the mix.  This gave the dough enough binder to hold the cookies together.

Cherry-Walnut Balls (modified)IMG_2832
Makes 4 dozen
1/4 cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup  Gluten Free Flour (KAF)
3/4 cup Chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain the maraschino cherries on paper towels.  Beat butter on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugars, egg and flavorings and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in nuts and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar to coat and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Lastly, I planned to make my personal favorite – Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies. However, when I looked into my pantry, I realized that I had some lemon wafers that needed to be used up. So, I decided to try to alter the recipe and make a lemon-lime flavored version.

Lemon-Lime Thumbprint CookiesIMG_2833
Makes 5 dozen
1 cup butter
1 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Green Food Coloring
1/2  teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice powder (KAF)
2 1/2 cups flour
Lemon melting wafers (KAF)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stir in egg, coloring and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients and stir into butter-sugar mix. Shape into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top with melting wafer. Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Hat and Scarf Sets

Each year, my dental office works with a local charity to collect and donate items to children in need.  Whether it be “Toys for Tots” or “Hats and Mittens”, our doctors, staff and patient families actively participate.

This year, I decided to combine my love for crafts with this donation opportunity.  Having knit and crocheted several scarves earlier in the year, I decided to make some hats to go with the scarves. I have tried making mittens and gloves but without much success.  So, I purchased a pair of waterproof gloves to go with each set.

Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf, Crochet hat

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Variegated Yarn Infinity Scarf and Headband

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Lace Knit Infinity Scarf and Hat

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Islet Crochet Scarf and Rib Knit Hat

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Swirl Knit Scarf and Crocheted Hat

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Ripple Crochet Scarf and Wavy Knit Hat

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I hope these are enjoyed by the person who receives them.