Saturday, December 20, 2008

Craft Therapy

This afternoon, we had family craft time. My husband had been saving empty toilet paper rolls for weeks, insisting that he was going to make something out of them. The original plan was an angel choir, but I didn't really think I would want to live with something like that in my house. Never mind the fact that we have very little horizontal surface that isn't decorated already.

So, I got out the paint and glitter and covered the table. I summoned both husband and daughter, and we started painting

We painted both the inside and the outside.

After the paint was dry, the cuts were made. First, I followed the line of one of the seams.

Then, I cut again every half inch or so.

The cuts were made to about 1/4" from the top.

After cutting, I made a slight crease at the top of each spiral, parallel to the top of the tube, to make them curl back in towards the center.

It was at this point that the glitter and sequins were added to most of the ornaments - this one was glittered before cutting. Two holes were pushed through the top of the tubes, a thread was drawn through, and they were ready to hang.

Well, at least it kept us off the street for a couple of hours.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beating One's Head Against the Wall

Yesterday was a day of failed attempts. A day of not quites. One of those days where one must spend the creative energy that is building under the surface, yet every creative enterprise leaves one wanting.

So, I started the day making a batch of cookie press cookie dough. Standard Christmas cookie recipe, and it needs to be refrigerated so I thought I'd just make the dough and my daughter and I would cook them later. So far, so good.

Then I decided to make a cookie from Gourmet's site. They have the most popular cookie for every year since 1940, and there were some that looked interesting, so I wanted to try. The cookie of choice was the Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies. Here's their picture.

I think you can see why I wanted to make them.

Here's what mine looked like:

Ahem. Not quite.
Well, the recipe has to be chilled for 2 hours, so I spent lots of time goofing around with them, and then I wasn't happy with the result.
Why wasn't I happy? Well, the dough is so crumbly, and you have to chill it and then slice it, but those are whole pistachios and cranberries in the dough. Not very easy to slice with crunchy, chewing stuff in there. So it was a total mess. Those two cookies up there are probably the only ones that looked like that. The rest are not very pretty at all.
I realized, too late, that the problem was that I substituted shortening for the butter. I also substitued equal for the sugar, but I don't think that made the dough much different.

Moving on...

While the cookies were baking, I attempted a paper craft.
I have this picture on my desktop currently:

And I've been looking at these star lanterns thinking I could probably figure out how to make one. I had a failed attempt two days ago that left me better educated and more determined. Then I found a pattern online, and after running out and buying more red paper, I made a template and tried again.

Sure, it looks pretty good here. But it's not.

It's in the gluing of this last spoke that things are coming apart at the seams. Literally, I have a tear somewhere in there.

And then there's this little bubble.

Sheesh! Can't I have one thing I attempt work out?

So, by now it's nearing 3:00. I haven't showered yet, let alone brushed my teeth. So I took a break from the creative stuff and when I came back, I decided dinner was going to be the thing that worked out.

Ratatouille's Ratatouille worked out just wonderfully, even though I cheated on the recipe. Instead of all the rigamarole with the tomato sauce, I just used some traditional Prego with some red wine and balsamic vinegar added.

And it was delish.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The First Photo

My darling friend, Akiko, sent me this picture of her very Christmassy and very cute potholders that she made from my tutorial.
Aren't they wonderful? She really went to town with the piecing on the first one! Way to go, Akiko, and thank for the pic!

Christmas Spoiler Alert












Well, I finished a project today. Obviously a Christmas present for my daughter. I got the pattern here, but I couldn't find grey eyelash yarn without going all over the island to look for it. Instead, I found some really soft light grey kid mohair yarn, which I doubled up with some dark grey wool and cotton yarn I already had. It's not as fuzzy as the original, but after I brushed it I discovered that it's quite soft. I also decided I did not like the way the original feet and wings were done, so I adapted my own ideas.

I also had to make him a snack. It's a long time until Christmas for a little penguin, although he has the appearance of one who doesn't need to worry about getting enough to eat. That's the least of his worries.

So here are the feet I made. I changed the pattern to make 2 distinct feet with 3 toes each.

Here is a top view. His beak isn't always bent like that.

And here's the final shot of the potholders before I wrapped them.

My daughter is carrying the first pair to her piano lesson this afternoon.

Please Share

Since so many people have written to say they will be making the potholders, I wanted to encourage them and you to please send pictures of your finished product so I can share them here on the blog.

Also, please let me know if there's any questions about assembly that I didn't address in the tutorial.

Have a very merry Christmas!