I'm going to try my hand at hooking

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Yes, you heard me right. After picking up a copy of Debbie Stoller's "The Happy Hooker" last night, I've decided to teach myself how to crochet. I am going to temporarily trade in my knitting needles for a hook and see how I do.

Debbie Stoller, the author, is downright amazing. She has a Ph.D. from Yale in the psychology of women, she co-founded and is the current editor of BUST magazine, and she has written one of my favorite knitting guides - "Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook."

By no means am I an expert knitter but I can hold my own and "Stitch 'N Bitch" made it so easy for me to follow along and teach myself. I am hoping the same can be said of "The Happy Hooker." My brother and sister-in-law are expecting twin boys this fall and I'm ready to dive in and make them some seriously cute goodies. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Wish me luck.

If you don't have the time or the patience to learn to crochet, have no fear. I have picked some of my very favorite crocheted items from some amazingly talented artisans on Etsy to share with you. Enjoy!

Crocheted Mary Janes by Curly Birdie

Crocheted Wrist Cuffs by Well of Creations

Crocheted Fried Chicken by Fair Trade Family

Crocheted Bunny by berry sprite

Newborn Beanie and Diaper Cover Set by Polka Dot Posh

Happy Mother's Day

Sunday, May 9, 2010
I hope all of you mamas out there have a wonderful and relaxing celebration today!

We celebrated Mother's Day yesterday with a day trip up to Sedona. Sedona is one of my all time favorite places. So beautiful, peaceful, and cool (a great way to beat the Phoenix heat).

We headed up the canyon to cool off in Oak Creek.


And ended the day with some shopping at Tlaquepaque. Thanks to the little cars we bought the boys, we were able to enjoy a nice dinner and a somewhat quiet car ride home :)

Mustache Applique Tutorial

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Here it is friends...my first ever tutorial! I've been dying to make a mustache t-shirt for my guys so I thought I'd document the process as I go along. If you've never appliqued before, you have to try it. Trust me, you'll be hooked. You can add so much character to a basic little shirt or hoodie and appliqueing is perfect for covering a stained but otherwise great t-shirt. This particular pattern is great for the beginner. It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish - if this is your first time, give yourself about an hour.

What you'll need for this project:
  • A plain t-shirt
  • Black felt or black fabric (if you use felt, I recommend a high quality felt such as Eco-fi or wool blend felt. Avoid regular craft felt as it won't hold up in the wash).
  • Fusible webbing (Heat n bond, Steam a Seam, etc. I use Heat n Bond but whatever you can find at your local craft store will work)
  • Black embroidery floss
  • Pencil
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • You can draw your own mustache or use the template below. Just click and save it to your computer.

Since I use Heat n Bond, my instructions will follow Heat n Bond's instructions. If you are using a different fusible web, simply change out my instructions with the instructions on the package. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me and I can help you.

The first thing you'll want to do is take your mustache template and place it under a sheet of your fusible webbing. Take your pencil and trace your mustache on to the webbing so it looks something like this:

Next you'll want to iron your mustached webbing onto your felt or fabric. For Heat n Bond, set it on the "wool" setting (NO STEAM). Iron the design onto the felt or fabric for about 3 or so seconds so it looks like this:

Then cut the mustache out.

Take the mustache and peel off the wax paper layer of the fusible webbing.

Place the mustache exactly where you want it on the t-shirt with the glossy/fusible webbing side face down on the t-shirt. Iron the mustache on to the t-shirt pressing for about 10 seconds. Again be sure to use the wool setting with no steam. Check to be sure that the applique is firmly adhered to the shirt.

Now that the mustache is attached to the t-shirt, you're ready to start the applique process. You can do this with a machine or by hand. I'm a hand stitcher  - I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. To stitch by hand, cut about 3-4 feet of your black embroidery thread. Your skein of thread will have six strands. Separate two of the strands from the piece you've cut and thread them through your needle.

For this t-shirt, I use a straight stitch. It's a basic stitch and great for a beginner. You basically bring the needle up through the t-shirt and back down making straight little stitches about a 2-3 cm in from the edge of your mustache. A great video tutorial for the straight stitch is available here. The nice thing about sewing black thread on black felt or fabric is that it's hard to see so it's very forgiving if you're a beginning stitcher. You can see what my stitches look like on the inside of the t-shirt:

Once you've finished stitching the t-shirt, you are done! 

The sky is the limit now. Take the same principles and create a whole new wardrobe for your little one with numbers, initials, animals, etc!

Major Mother's Day Giveaway!

Monday, May 3, 2010
Laura of Laura Winslow Photography is going to be hosting a {HUGE} giveaway on her blog for Mother's Day. Seventeen amazing, handcrafted items will go to the lucky winner including one of my little hats.  Below is a teaser of some of the crazy cute items up for grabs.

The giveaway will be posted on Laura's blog within the next day or two. You can also check her Facebook page for details and the announcement of when the giveaway is open to enter. It's going to be major so don't miss out!

ETA: There are now 20 items going to one lucky winner in this amazing giveaway!

ETA x 2: Giveaway is now open until this Friday. 25 amazing prizes to one lucky winner! Enter here.

My girls are growing up!

Sunday, May 2, 2010
Time for a chicken update. (I warned you I like to talk about them a lot.) My sweet little girls are coming up on 3 months old! I absolutely can't believe how big they've grown in that time and how much I've enjoyed having my own little backyard flock. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on the patio and watching them scratch and peck and listening to their soft clucks.

The past couple of months we've really gotten to know their personalities. Each one of my girls is so unique. I hate to do this, but I have to admit I have a favorite. While she may not be the prettiest chicken I have, I am absolutely smitten with Effie. She is friendly, curious, and super goofy with her fluffy cheeks.  Just last night while we ate dinner outside, she hopped up on the table and sat with us. My boys love her and she loves their attention.

Ramona is another friendly and sweet girl. She is beautiful and I have a feeling she'll be my best layer. We won't know for a few months since they're not old enough to start laying for us yet.

While Flo isn't quite as comfortable around us as Effie and Ramona, I think she is very striking with her black and white feathers and her personality is very sweet.

Lastly, we have Lucy. Although I love her, she is my least favorite of the four. (I know it's horrible to play favorites, but you know you'd do it to.) Lucy does not like people and tries to avoid contact with us as often as possible. Somehow, she is still Finley's favorite chicken. And she really is a pretty girl.

Caring for the chickens has been easier than I thought. Way easier than having dogs. My biggest challenge is all of the chicken poop (seriously, they poop a lot!) and ensuring that my dogs don't try to eat them. We're looking forward to seeing how much bigger they get in the next couple of months and best of all, we're looking forward to their yummy and gorgeous eggs! *Another warning, when we have our first egg, I will be ridiculously excited and will likely have a whole post on just one egg.

If you are in the Phoenix area and considering a backyard flock of your own, I highly suggest you look into the Phoenix Permaculture Guild. They have been an invaluable resource for me with their discussion boards, chicken classes, and the Tour de Coops.