Friday, January 25, 2013

Crocheted shawl

This shawl worked up very quickly.  

It's for a friend who is facing lots of challenges right now (health and otherwise).  I wish I could do something that would actually make her healthy and ease her burdens, but I hope this shawl will at least bring some comfort.

The pattern for this prayer shawl is free on the Lion Brand Yarns website. (Here, if the link works.  You might have to have an account with them to access their patterns.) Like all prayer shawls, it's a simple pattern:  chain 43, then work in hdc (American terminology) until you get the length you want.  They recommend working this up in their organic cotton, but I wanted something cozy for winter, so I used their Superwash Merino Cashmere yarn instead, in the color parchment, and an N hook.  The N hook is huge for a worsted weight yarn, and the shawl turned out kind of stretchy, but I think it will hold up well.  And it is indeed cozy!  Even with that open lacy fabric, it wards off the chill.  I ended up using 8 skeins of yarn at 87 yards a skein.  

It can also be folded in half length-wise and used as a scarf!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sparkle Snow

It's been very cold here this week.  I know cold is a relative term, so I'll be specific:  on Tuesday, the high was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.  That translates to -15 Celsius.  We had snow on Monday, so all week the predawn light has been a gorgeous icy blue, and this morning the snow had that sparkling effect that I love so much.  Snow doesn't always sparkle. It feels magical when it does.  If you look at the photo, the sparkles are especially obvious in the upper left quadrant.  Imagine the whole world sparkling like that when you look out the window.  Winter has a glory all its own.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crocheted Baby Booties

I am still making things for my great niece!  Baby things are so fun to make.  Baby sweaters, quilts, and booties are tiny, so both the time and the material investment is affordable.  Plus, baby things are just so stinking cute!

These are the double strap booties by Hook Candy.  Pattern available here.

Sitting side by side like this, they look like they are two different sizes, but when I mash them up to each other, the dimensions match.  I am a bit worried they will be too tight around the ankle, but we'll see.  In any case, they were fun to make!

I have several projects underway right now.  I am knitting a simple little scarf for myself and crocheting a shawl as a gift, plus I am just about to complete one cross stitch project, and I have my next cross stitch project started already.  What are you working on?

Monday, January 7, 2013

beauty products from the kitchen

My niece made all of the women in our family sugar-coconut oil scrub for Christmas.  Isn't her packaging so cute?  She had a jute bow tied around it with a handmade "Merry Christmas" tag attached, but I didn't think to photograph that.  I love that she is into making handmade things.

I had heard of sugar scrubs, but never tried one until my niece gave me this.  It's amazing!  Truly amazing!  I suffer from chapped hands all winter long, but since I've been using this on my hands once a day, there has been no chapping.  The scrub does leave an oily residue, so I follow a scrub with a quick wash with soap, and my hands feel so soft and clean afterwards.  I am loving it!  The softness lasts for quite awhile, too.

I don't know what recipe she used, other than that it has just two ingredients: white sugar and coconut oil.  I did find some recipes online (here and here) that call for one part of oil to two parts of sugar.  My niece says she uses this on her hands, and she puts it in her coffee! (I don't drink coffee, so I can't comment on how that tastes.)

Now that I know how great sugar scrubs are, they will be part of my regular from-the-kitchen beauty products.  There are two others that I use with excellent results.  A few years ago I blogged about trying a homemade yogurt-oatmeal face mask.  I have been using that pretty regularly ever since, and I love it.  LOVE IT.  I use one tablespoon of plain yogurt, one tablespoon of colloidal oatmeal, and a drop of honey.  Smear on face, leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash off (in the kitchen sink) with warm water and a washcloth, followed by a splash of cold water.  Ah, dewy fresh!    You can buy packets of colloidal oatmeal, or you can make your own by pulverizing oats in a food processor.  I buy the packets.  One box of packets lasts forever.

My final beauty product from the kitchen is apple cider vinegar hair rinse.  I've been doing this for over 20 years.  Mix a solution of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 4 cups of warm water.  Hang your head over your sink and pour the rinse slowly and carefully so every part of your scalp gets wet.  Be careful not to let it run into your eyes; the vinegar makes it sting.  Wash your hair.  Voila!  I use this whenever I feel like my hair is getting dull and needs something to liven it up.  I don't know if this would be recommended for dyed hair.  I've never colored or highlighted my hair, so it's safe for me.

I am not a "nature girl" by any stretch.  I use drugstore lotion, make-up, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and deodorant, but at the same time I like having these homemade remedies in my routine, too.  Do you use any skin care, hair care, or beauty products that you make at home?  I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

End of year finishes

Now that Christmas is over and gifts have been given, I can share some photos.

For my daughter: Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  Pattern by Weelittlestiches.

She loved it!

New babies mean new dollies in pockets.  These are so fun and satisfying to make.  This one went to the baby sister of the girl who received this dolly in a pocket.

And of course I had to make one for my great niece:

Doll embroidery patterns by Annie Oakleaves.  Pillow pattern by Crafty Carnival.

Finally, I managed to complete two of these on December 23, one for myself, one for my friend:
The pattern is available free here.  I did mine without the beading.

I also completed my 2012 year-in-pictures on Flickr.  Yay!  I actually began a 365 project in June 2011, and when I completed that in June of 2012 I decided to keep on going to complete the year of 2012, so that explains why the photos are numbered the way they are in my set. I will do a YIP for 2013, but I'm not going to worry about taking a photo every day.  I have to admit, it's been kind of nice not worrying about my pic-of-the day these past two days!

I did get a fancy new camera for Christmas, but I haven't spent much time with it yet.  My husband had the week between Christmas and New Year off, so we've either been driving all over the state visiting relatives, or we've been working on house projects, or we've been watching movies (something he never does, but he wanted to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy at home before going to see The Hobbit in the theater, and those four movies right there was nearly 12 hours of viewing).  Now I am putting my energy into storing away all the Christmas decorations, but soon, soon, I will acquaint myself with the camera.  Something new to learn for the new year!  I like to keep challenging myself.