Furry stars
Dec 30th, 2008 by Dawn

These are made from a kit with Styrofoam forms, sequins, and a furry pipe cleaner that goes around the edge. The kit came with the blue sequins and beads but after making several of those I rummaged around and picked out some red sequins and green beads for the last one to mix it up. These were pretty ornaments but the star forms were hard to work with as the edges tended to crumble.

Red Sox toilet paper cover
Dec 25th, 2008 by Dawn

When Steve first asked for a toilet paper cover (you know, that covers the spare roll that sits on the back of the toilet?), I didn’t take him very seriously. I did start one, thinking it would be a funny surprise. He had specified a “manly” cover, as though there’s such a thing as a manly way to cover your toilet paper, so I decided to crochet the body out of crochet thread and then cross stitch a Boston Red Sox logo on it. Unfortunately, it turned out that even with such fine crochet it didn’t make for a very fine cross stitch canvas. I couldn’t fit the logo on in sufficient detail for it to look nice. So I forgot about the project.

Then, shortly before Christmas, it came up again. I realized he was really hoping and expecting to get this toilet paper roll cover. So I packed up my crochet materials for my trip to Maryland to visit my family and worked like mad while I was down there. I re-created the body of the cover, getting a little closer to the exactly correct dimensions, and then cast about for a way to decorate it.

Thinking it might be possible to buy a Red Sox appliqué, my mother and I visited a sports store and a craft store on Christmas Eve. The sports store didn’t even have a Red Sox hat (it was Maryland) and the crafts store didn’t have sports logos, but we bought a bunch of letters and stars and what sports motif appliqués we could find and all collaborated on the best layout so that Steve could have a merry Christmas with his toilet paper cover.

I’m happy to say that he really liked it. Here are front and back views.

Now he wants a Caribbean themed one for the guest bathroom. Oh so manly.

Two sets of booties for Jamie
Nov 30th, 2008 by Dawn

Jamie’s having two showers so I made two sets of booties. These are both from Precious Baby Booties which has patterns that look good, use sport weight yarn, and work up quickly. This is my favorite bootie book.

Painting ornaments with the girls
Nov 29th, 2008 by Dawn

Tara, Jamie, and I painted some Christmas ornaments. Unfortunately the details are a little hard to see on some of the more sparkly ones, especially the beautiful heart ornament Jamie made for me, but they all came out beautifully. These are some of the ones Jamie and Tara made:

And here are some I made:

Doggie booties
Nov 10th, 2008 by Dawn

These are for the granddaughter of a co-worker and are from a little booklet I got somewhere. The booklet must have been written for a UK audience originally because the first time I tried to make a pair of booties from it they came out ginormous. It took a while to figure out that TC meant DC and DC meant SC and so on. Now I’ve written it into the instructions so I’ll remember. I wonder how, when, and why the UK and US got to using different terms for the same stitches.

Bathroom rug
Nov 1st, 2008 by Dawn

Does it look familiar? It’s the same pattern as the afghan I made for Steve below but in different colors and a cotton yarn. My old bathroom rug had faded to the point where it was basically white, although it started out in colors similar to these. As it faded, it also became very thin, which was a positive. My bathroom door doesn’t have a lot of clearance and my bathroom is very tiny (as you can see), so the rug has to be thin enough to fit under the door.

Well, I made a little mistake finishing this off. I wove the ends in good and hard, figuring it was going to be see some abuse, and the result was that the ends of the afghan gained width (because basically there was a double amount of yarn running through there), giving the rug a flared hourglass shape. Even after adding several rounds of a border, I couldn’t get it to lie square. The asymmetrical shape caused rippling and the rippling caused not-fitting-under-the-door-ness.

Luckily Steve had the idea of starching it. So I ironed and starched the life out of the thing which made it a little more square and a lot less rippled and the door’s been opening and closing pretty well since then. I figure over time it’ll only get thinner, just as the last one did, but I may need to re-iron occasionally until then.

Dignified (and big) Afghan for Steve
Jun 4th, 2008 by Dawn

This is my fourth or fifth afghan from Afghans by the Alphabet which has really nice patterns. Steve picked this one out because he thought it was “dignified”. It is kind of manly. This is bigger than the book called for because Steve wanted something long enough so his toes didn’t come out and wide enough to snuggle two. So it’s almost more of a blanket than an afghan.

There are patterns that look really complicated but are straightforward to crochet and then there are patterns that look straightforward but turn out to be excruciatingly complex. The trick is to do the former, which luckily this was one of. When I first saw what he’d selected I looked at all the color changes and what seemed like different stitches on different rows and I groaned. But actually, every row is the same (allowing for color changes and which stitch you start with). So it was a very pleasant project to work on.

Now let’s get to the snuggling.

UltraSteve Snack Bars
Apr 8th, 2008 by Dawn

This was a birthday project I embarked on that turned out to be a little more complex than I’d anticipated. My boyfriend (aka Pretty Boy aka Spiderman aka UltraSteve) has been eating vegan for the last six months or so. Because of all the running he does, he needs a lot of calories, which is tough on a vegan diet. He’s developed a bad habit of snacking on energy bars throughout the day, so I decided to make him some homemade bars full of vegan goodness. Then I got the idea of packaging them like real snack bars.

I made four different recipes. I wrapped each bar in wax paper and tin foil, added a custom label, and put them in decorated boxes. Each type of bar has a different bar label and a different box label. The box labels have meaningful quotes or tidbits. The bar labels feature poems I wrote for him, mostly involving inside jokes based on his various nicknames (it helps to know that an ultra is very, very long trail race). The bar labels wrap around the bar so you see the name of the snack bar on top and the poem is underneath.

This is the box for the Double Chocolate Chip bars which are rather cake-like with chocolate chips

(The Official Snack Bar of Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman)

These are the labels, which say:

There once was a climber named Steve
Whose beauty was hard to believe
But it’s tough to belay
And take three showers a day,
So Grade IV he could never achieve

This is the box for the Peanut Butter Protein bars which came out most bar-like in terms consistency and cohesiveness. I thought they tasted very strongly of honey but Steve likes them.

(I have met my hero and he is me.)

These are the labels, which say:

Smile, warrior, strike the pose.
Lift up your arms to the sun; set your feet wide.
Breathe, balance, extend.
Strong and supple, you flow.

This is the box for the Blueberry Blast bars which are better described as a handful of granola than a bar. They’re also overcooked because when they came out the first time and wouldn’t stick together I tried to see if cooking them longer would fix that. It didn’t. I had increased the amount of blueberries the recipe called for (so they’d live up to their name) and I think I needed to increase the honey correspondingly.

(To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.)

These are the labels, which say:

The hills are ugly, long and steep
But I have victories to reap
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep

This is the box for the Traveling Trail Mix bars. These were the hardest to make. The base is dried fruit which is turned into a kind of a paste in a food processor. I didn’t have a food processor so I tried to use my blender, which shortly started smoking. A friend lent me her food processor and I was able to make the paste. Then came the blending. I had to knead the paste into the dry ingredients.

My hands were completely covered in goo and it was impossible to achieve an even paste/dry mix. It was only after I gave up on the kneading that I had the brilliant idea of coating my hands in oil. My oil-coated hands made forming the mix into bars much easier. I wish I’d thought of it before. Anyway, Steve likes these and a friend has got a food processor that almost works right that I can have, so I’ll probably get a chance to try again.

(UltraSteve, n: a Pretty Boy powered by veggies who climbs like Spiderman and runs like the Energizer Bunny)

These are the labels, which have my favorite poem of all:

Ultras are hard, ultras are scary.
So is Steve, but he’s also hairy.

What took more time than I expected was individually wrapping each bar and applying the label to it. I hadn’t planned for that. Most of the bars were easy enough to make. All together it was a worthwhile project and the results were enjoyed.

Hat and scarf for Steve
Feb 15th, 2008 by Dawn

Here’s my baby in the hat and scarf I made for him. He’s very proud of the hat and wears it everywhere, but he says the scarf is too short. I told him if it were any longer it’d brush his knees when he unwraps it.

Crystal star ornaments
Jan 30th, 2008 by Dawn

Every year at the beginning of the year I swear that I’m going to get started early on Christmas ornaments for the next year. This year I actually did it. Too bad I didn’t continue past January, but I did make enough of these to almost go around so the usual December rush is not so frantic this year.

These came from a kit and included a couple of different patterns, which is just a matter of mixing up which crstyals are blue and which are clear. I like the brightness of the one on the right.

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