Friday, December 31, 2010

The Fastest Hats in the World - Free Knitting Pattern

Well at least The Fastest Hat I Have Ever Knitted!
These hats are finished in a little over an hour.
For me, that is perfect because somehow I have amassed a little stash of yarn again.
Last winter I sent bags and bags and organized bags of yarn to the Dominican Republic for the ladies there that were learning to knit and crochet and somehow similar to the loaves and the fishes, the stash has multiplied again.
(OK, I'll admit that I can't enter a yarn store or craft store
without helping that stash out a little)
So, with a panicked feeling that I can't knit fast enough to use it all up and knowing that I have fallen way behind in the hat, scarf and mitten donation plan this year, I came up with this idea:
Bigger knitting needles = less stitches.
More yarn = more room in the sewing room.
Faster knitting = more warm hats for little and not so little heads that need them.
So...
as in many of my schemes and plans I
CALL DAD!
Checking the prices of really big double pointed needles, I thought..
How hard would these be to make?
And of course, Dad came through and made these wonderful double pointed needles for me.
They are made from 1/2 " dowel rods and are wonderful.
Smooth and perfect.
If you don't have someone that can make them, I found them here.
And now that I have blathered on and on and you are here mainly for the knitting pattern
here goes.
Wait!
One little disclaimer.
I have never written a knitting pattern before so bear with me.
Without further adieu.
The Fastest Hats in My World
Knitting Pattern.
You will need:
Size 50 double pointed knitting needles
At least three balls of yarn.
I am trying to use one chunky, two worsted, or one chunky, a worsted and and a novelty.
Experiment.
It is fun to mix them and see what you come up with.
Youth hat directions are in parentheses.
Cast on 28 (24) stitches.
Divide onto 4 (3) needles and join.
Knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for about 2 inches or about 5 or 6 rounds.
Switch to all knit for about 5 or 6 inches.
Decrease round.
Knit 2, Knit 2 together.
Repeat around 7(6) times.
Knit next row
Knit 1, Knit 2 together
Repeat 7(6) times.
Knit one row.
Remaining stitches, knit 2 together one more row and cut yarn leaving about a 6"tail.
Because I didn't have a yarn needle big enough to hold three strands, I just used a crochet hook to pull the yarn through all the stitches and gather in the top.
Work the ends of the yarn in and you are ready to wear it and stay warm.
These are so fast to make, you might want to consider making some and donating them to your local homeless shelter, rescue mission, Salvation Army or even your local elementary school.
They are always welcome and are put to great use!





Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010


Where is my camera?
Where is my coffee cup?
Where is the coaster for under my coffee cup?
Where is the cord to my camera?
and
Why are my pictures not centered?
Christmas...the morning after!
These are some gifts that I could not post earlier.
Shelby and Ryan and Jenn and Chris did not have name boards.
So...not one to not take a hint.
They each got one for Christmas this year.








And Dad and Mom and John and I made these games for each family for Christmas. Well, really Dad and Mom did the most work on them. The SIL's were out in the driveway playing them yesterday.




And a couple of scarves that I made for the girls.
Christmas started yesterday at noon with this little princess.
Calm, orderly present unwrapping...see how she lays it in her lap and daintily opens it?
Christmas then went into it's normal overdriven, overstimulated blur of events. Baby Wyatt slept through a lot of it. I am sure he will do his part to add to the chaos next year.




At one point, it seemed quiet and upon some searching we found these three jumping on a bed. Kendall was right in there with them but got down before the picture...and yes, I did get the boys those pop guns and did get all the kids punch balls. And yes, once again, I did get blamed for much of the confusion!






There was tons of food and one of the hits of the day for me was John's homemade ginger ale.
He found a recipe for it online and cut up the fresh ginger and made a syrup with it and mixed it with club soda, mint and lime. So refreshing!
Christmas at Grandma's and Papa's.
A Time to Remember
Now where is my recliner and knitting needles?
And...do I really have to go back to work today?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowman Board Tutorial - Free Painting Directions

Supplies:
Decoart Americana paints
Cocoa
Milk Chocolate
Hauser Green Medium
Black
Antique Gold
Antique Maroon
Butter
Bleached Sand
Heritage Brick
Tangelo Orange
Evergreen
Country Red
Assorted brushes.
Star Stencil
Start by painting the center area of the board with Cocoa and shade with Milk Chocolate.
The outside edges are painted with Hauser Green Medium and shaded with Black.
Stencil stars in the corners with Antique Gold.
(I like to stencil using cosmetic sponge wedges)



Add some checkers with Antique Maroon using a 1/4" brush. The trick to these is thinning your paint, but not using a lot of paint on your brush. Too much paint will cause them to look rounded.

Sketch in your snowman face and hat and letters with chalk.
Then base in the face using Milk Chocolate in the darkest areas, Cocoa for the medium and a brush mix of Butter and Bleached Sand for the lightest areas.
Blend and dry brush with the Bleached Sand.









Repaint the start with Antique Gold and shade with Milk Chocolate.
Highlight with Butter and dry brush with Bleached Sand.



Lay in the dark areas of the hat with Evergreen.
Add a little Black in the darkest areas.
Hauser Green Medium for the light areas.






While this is still wet, use a worn out brush to pat blend the colors to make the hat look fuzzy.






The scarf, ball on the hat and brim of the hat are painted in the same manner as the body of the hat using Antique Maroon with Heritage Brick and Country Red for the lightest red.
Base the nose with a mix of Heritage Brick and Tangelo Orange.



Paint the letters with Evergreen and highlight with Hauser Green Medium.
Line the left and bottom of the letters and stars with Black.
Shade the bottom of the nose with Antique Maroon and highlight the top with a dry brush of Tangelo Orange.
Add stripes on the hat brim and scarf with Evergreen and Country Red.
Highlight the red stripes with Tangelo Orange.

Paint in the eyes and coal for mouth with Black and highlight with Bleached Sand.

Add highlight dots with Bleached Sand.


Shade under the bottom and left of the eyes, nose and mouth with Milk Chocolate.

Dry brush here and there with Bleached Sand.
With a liner brush and thinned Black paint, add vines around the edges between the background colors.
Speckle with Bleached Sand.



This is my own design.
You are free to paint this and sell it, however I would ask that you not copy the directions to your blog or reproduce them for sale.
Feel free to place a link to this on your blog though...
and....
If you paint this, I would love to see it!

Steps to a snowman face, Part 1.

Sketch in the face. Use chalk (I like welder's chalk) and don't be afraid. After all, it is a snowman and they are all different so you can't get it wrong.
Paint the face white or light gray or light blue. Just get a base on it and let that dry.

Then, and you have to work sort of fast to do this part, lay in three values of color.
This one is a medium country blue, a lighter blue and white.
I also frequently use Milk Chocolate, Cocoa and an Off-White.
Experiment, you might find a better combination.

Then Blend, Blend, Blend.
I use the largest brush that I can fit in the area.
Keep a paper towel folded in your hand and keep wiping your brush.
Do not dip it back into the water at this point.
Blend between the dark and medium, wipe your brush,
blend between the medium and light.





Nice soft blend between the values.




And then, wipe your brush again and pick up white and drybrush more white in the lightest area. I like to drybrush a little white in the dark areas also.
I think it makes the snowman look a little more frosty.




And now you are ready for the nose and eyes.
Stay tuned.













Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas, delayed!

Our Christmas with our family was to be today.
And then....
John is sick, nasty cold that still may need checked.
My Mom is sick with the flu,
My Dad has pneumonia,
Marilyn had dialysis.
And so...
We postponed.
Christmas has officially been moved to December 29 this year.
And so on my day off I painted.
This Santa was inspired by one of the stacks of Christmas cards that I have kept for inspiration.
Fun to paint. We did pass out of few of the hand-made gifts and now I can post pics of them.
This was made for my MIL for Christmas.
We filled it with all kinds of purse things.
This was for Shelby and Ryan's bathroom.
The letters are their initials.
After looking at this pic for awhile, I lightened up the block in the bottom left corner.
Forgot to retake the pic.



And this...another repeat of the snowmen heads.
Jenn really liked this and kept telling me and I took the hint.

And so, the presents are still wrapped, the food is in the fridge and freezer and everything is on hold waiting for people to get healthy.




Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!Here's hoping that everyone has a wonderful, restful Christmas season!


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Day with the Rotties

And at the Mall, no less!
John likens these little boys to a couple of Rottweilers.
Pretty graphic for as adorable as they look here, right?
Well, Mom and Dad were getting them this puppy for Christmas this year, so I decided that I would take them for the day.
We would shop.
It is time that they picked out gifts for their Mom and Dad on their own, right?
We would go to the mall and maybe I could even get a little of my last minute shopping done.
Where do I get these true moments of insanity?
Should I be checked for senility?
Now I know that any public outing with children five years old and under should involve at least a 2 to 1 ratio. Two adults for every child five and under.
Did I suddenly think that I was superwoman?
Well, we shopped.
I am sure that there is some psychology involved here that when they picked something out for Mom it came from the KITCHEN department and when they picked out something for Dad that it came from the TOY department, but I am sure that most of you "get" the subtle, subconscious ramifications of those choices.
In the interest of maintaining family harmony at the holidays,
I won't elaborate any farther on that subject.
To his credit, Tyler did tell me that I was a really good driver.
Sucking up, I am sure.
Considering his love for amusement park rides,
well, not going any farther on that one either.
Immediately following that comment though, he did tell me at least 53 incidents of when a child should call 9-1-1.
They started with the usual,
If a house is on fire,
If your parent or grandparent has fallen and can't take care of you,
and rapidly proceeded to
if your car wrecks into that big truck, if your car wrecks into that Subway store, if your car wrecks into the big wall, if your car wrecks into that house, if your car wrecks into that tree, if your car.....
Get the picture?
So much for confidence in my driving.
We had some mall firsts for the boys.
Their first Flash Mob.
Oh, you say how amazing to hear Handel's Hallelujah Chorus?
Not exactly.
In their joy of finding the perfects gifts for Daddy,
the two of them broke into a very off-tune, very LOUD version of
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Seriously.
Fortunately, the people waiting on line a Sears were good-tempered and found the same humor in it as the check-out clerks, who were laughing so hard that they quit working and just stopped to listen to them.
We also had our first shop-lifting experience.
Logan managed to pick out what he thought was a bag of M&M's and carry it halfway through the mall before I realized that he had it.
It was actually a t-shirt bundled to look like M&M's.
I don't know if he was more embarrassed to have to apologize when we took it back...or disappointed that it wasn't M&M's.
That reminds me...add M&M's to the list for their stockings today.
All in all, I guess it wasn't that bad.
But then I read a comment in a book yesterday that pretty much sums it up.

Comedy is
Tragedy plus Time.
How true!
Tyler took this picture last night while we were waiting for Mom and Dad and Bernie the puppy to arrive.
The wooden spoon in front of the nativity set?
Anyone else seeing a pattern here?


And one final painted order.

John decided on Wednesday night that he wanted this painted for one of our really good customers.
He wanted to take it to them on Thursday.
Sleep?
Overrated.

I have a list today...it is really do or die now.
The list is a little overwhelming.
Please, Santa, could you make time stand still for just a few hours.
Is that too much to ask?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Great Candy Cane Rescue

Disclaimer:
Pay no attention to the dirt, junk, mess, etc. in the background of any of these pictures.
It has been a hectic Christmas season...well the whole year has been crazy.
As told by the candy canes themselves.
So, here we are, we have been abandoned. You bought us all shiny and new at your local discount store.
You brought us home, so proudly displayed us in your yard.
We were shiny.
We lined your walkway and held up little lights.
Then,
You got tired of us, we didn't shine any longer,
we even FROZE in the ground and some of us broke!
And then...
You sold us at a yard sale!
or donated us to Goodwill..
or the even worse fate...
YOU THREW US IN THE DUMPSTER!!!
But thanks to some enterprising, kind-hearted crafters,
we have been saved.
They take this nice, warm cotton fabric and wrap us up nice and cozy.

The glue gun hurts a little,


But then we get decorated with some lovely reds and greens.






Ouch!
They seal up our ends.

But then a nice cozy wrap.
Spinning, spinning, spinning.



And here we are,
ready to be decorated.

At this point some of the lovely crafters give us a nice shower of coffee and vanilla.
Yum, it is delicious.
Some ripped homespun.

A little more glue.


And some wild spinning later.


Here we are ready for some embellishments.


A little more glue and some wire.

And then a little bit of white paint and a lovely sprinkling of Diamond Dust.
And we are saved!

We owe this all to some enterprising crafters.
Won't you join in and save a candy cane today!