MacKenzie Makes: NECCO-inspired Newspaper Bunting!

I approached one of my good friends, Mackenzie, about a guest spot for Valentine’s Day inspired craft projects.Whenever I go to her apartment, she always has these adorable projects and wall hangings; and of course, she had indeed done a similar bunting for the hearty love holiday. In what I hope will be a regular feature, to be called “Mackenzie Makes…” (she better agree to it), on her loverly crafting endeavors, I present you with “Valentine’s Conversation Heart Newspaper Bunting”. It’s pretty awesome…

I found this Newspaper Heart Bunting project on a favorite crafty blog last Valentine’s Day, and I just had to make it for the large doorway between my apartment’s living room and dining room.

Rather than paint the newspaper hearts with a red wash and “I Love You” message, as on the original blog, I painted mine with pastel acrylic paint and wrote messages with a red Sharpie oil paint pen.

The phrases are from actual NECCO Sweethearts (better known as “conversation hearts” or “candies that taste like chalk”), and I picked some that I found most entertaining.  “Fax Me” and “Let’s Read” are so romantic, no?

And don’t forget: the yellow, green, orange, and white hearts are tasty, but the pink and purple will kill you.

For a complete how-to on newspaper heart bunting, please see the lovely maya*made blog here.  It’s a fun, relatively quick project that’s easy to spread out on the floor while watching a favorite TV show.

Customize your paper hearts however you like, and save and reuse them next year. Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day darlings!

Reader Request: Scenes from my small kitchen.

A reader recently emailed me and asked if I would take some snaps of my kitchen.

And in an effort to give the readers what they want, I will now feature a new series, “Reader Requests”. Most of the requests I’ve received lately are inspired–so, I’ll give it a go.

If you have any request of humble blogger, you can email me anytime.

So, without further a go go, I give you “Scenes from my Kitchen”, which isn’t really all that exciting.

Jars of Coffee, Flour, Sugar, the New York Times Sunday Travel Section and Magazine, and a French Press.

An antique bowl my Mum gifted me, bananas (a diet staple!), Valentine’s Message Hearts, Big House The Slammer Red Wine, Syrup dispenser (I love diners).

A ceramic pig toothpick holder, which sits atop my stove. I love pigs. And kitsch. Its useful, sometimes.

Stovetop Espresso Percolator. I love coffee.

Double Fail?

Recently I completed two cowls–neither of which I totally fell in love with….on me!

They looked so stunning in Ravelry, I had to knit them up immediately. Then when they were finally done blocking and I was able to wear them, I decided they looked blah on me and thought I might gift them out.

The one pictured above is a Marian by Jane Richmond. Jane’s looks so much more exciting than mine. Perhaps its my yarn choice; I used one skein of Cascade Magnum in a yellow colorway–it seemed a suitable substitute. What’s more, mine has a huge twist in it, more so than what appears in the pattern, even though I did as directed.

The second fail is the Tuesday Night Cowl by Susan Lawrence. While its not as fail-worthy as my Marian, I still don’t know if the Lamb’s Pride Bulky I chose is a perfect match for this pattern. Susan’s Tuesday Night comes with brilliant directions for adapting with all kinds of yarn–you can make this cowl using Bulky weight, Aran weight, and Worsted Weight yarns, which is GENIUS really.

But Susan’s cowl is so much more drapey and relaxed, it makes mine look so tight it… here’s where I will refrain from any crass jokes.

What do you think? Any takers of my two fails?

You can check out more snaps of each cowl at their Flickr sets, respectively. Here for the Marian and here for the Tuesday Night.

Scenes from my knitting class…

Top Left to Right: The makings of straight knit and grafted leg warmers; the self-described “Starry Starry Night” scarf in progress. Bottom Left to Right: Practicing the knit stitch; a student’s first completed project, the “Pom Pom Beanie with Seed Stitch”.

My little knitters are doing swimmingly! With just weeks to go in Term II, my middle schoolers are knitting pros! Creating scarfs, hats, working lace charts and knitting in the round, I think I might have a few life-long knitters budding in time for spring!

I love how daring this age group is; they’ll  work–and wear–colors I’d be afraid to take a chance on; and they actively seek out new skills they want to learn, like knitting with more than one color and diagonal rib stitch. What’s more, they are more forgiving of their mistakes than I can be of mine. I’ve been known to throw a knitting project, stamp my feet, declare it “ugly”, and never return to the project, unlike my students. They politely interrupt me at work asking if I can help them find their mistake and “fix it”.

File under: how mature.

Cold weather cakes…

With the impending snow, might I suggest whipping up some kind of coffee cake for evening coffee or tea. Trust me, it will make the snow hauling that much easier.

The other week, my Mum and I got together and baked a blueberry sour cream coffee cake with a brown sugar pecan topping. One word: incredible. One phrase: party in thy mouth.

You can find lots of delicious coffee cake recipes on the internet; some with blueberries, too.

Be sure to use those little baby Maine blueberries–they are the best, and brilliantly, they are available in your grocery freezer case most often during those cold winter months. Remember! Fold them in gently so they don’t get smushed in the batter.

Footie Fail…? At least they look pretty.

Last week, I finally hunkered down and finished a few random projects that I wasn’t entirely happy with but just wanted to be done dammit.

Enter the Cable Footies from One Skein.

Despite having made these once before and having to rip the entire thing back, going down a weight in yarn and 3 whole needle sizes didn’t do much to help make these babies fit my feet a little better. Sure, I have tiny feet…but these were so roomy even for a slipper sock that it felt foolish around the toe. Everything else looked splendid.

Chock this up to another gift out somewhere. At least they look pretty, and are entirely functional…just not on my feet. What’s new, really.

As always, you can see more snaps of the Cable Footies at its Flickr set.

Bugging out over this one…

How badly do I desire a skein of the Sanguine Gryphon’s Bugga! Sock Yarn. Um, delish?

But, unfortunately for me, it’s all sold out. It’s this loverly, tempting combination of superwash merino, cashmere, and nylon.

And while I have a startlingly similar yarn with my recently purchased String Theory Hand Dyed Caper Sock Yarn in Citronella, I can’t help but wish there would be more available of the desirable Bugga! soon.

Fingers, crossed.

Noros for your neck!

I have been working hard to actually accomplish a lot in knitting this winter.

The latest in endeavors is a free pattern available for the gobbling over at my Designer Ravelry Page.

I created the Neck Noro last week because I had two skeins of this gorgeous Noro Kochoron laying around and didn’t know what to do with it. Alas! The Neck Noro was born. It’s so simple, really, its shameful. Just a lengthwise knit scarf that’s super long and it can wrap a whole bunch of ways.

So go buy some Noro Kochoron and download my Ravelry pattern. You’ll knit this one up in no time!

As always, snaps of the Neck Noro at its Flickr set.


Labeled, Packaged, Shipped!

You may recall one of the items I donated to the Hearts for Haiti shop was purchased last Sunday by a lovely Etsy patron!

After feverishy knitting up the Buttoned Up Neck Bone in a new version (olive green!), it shipped out last week and should arrive shortly to its new owner (who I hope likes it).

Here is a snap of the Neck Bone, labeled up, and ready for shipment. I also included a special free gift– a tweed knitted heart which I marked “Haiti”, for the purchasers generous support to the cause. You can see the heart here, as well as another snap of the Neck Bone.

Remember! My Lace Waist is still available in the Hearts for Haiti shop, so donate away! All proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders.

Many many thanks to everyone who supports handmade nation and good causes like Relief in Haiti.