Category: Crafty Fabulousness

Viking Crafts

While we were visiting my parents up at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area this summer, we came across a catalog for the North House Folk School in Grand Marais.  I saw courses for Viking knitting and Nålbindning. I had to try them both out at soon as I got home.

I started out with the Viking knitting. This was a little bit weird to me because you are not really knitting at all. More bending wire around a rod, in my case, a crochet hook.

IMAG0508 IMAG0519

My first attempt is the one in blue wire. This was, for the most part, successful. I got it knit and pulled through to lengthen. I don’t have the official board that one uses for this, so I used my socket set from the basement. I was not happy that the blue scraped off. The next one I did with silver wire and added beads…why? Because I can’t do anything the easy way, that’s why. I don’t have a picture of the actual finished bracelet. I made a treble clef looking clasp for it before giving it to my friend Collette.

Here is the Nålbindning. I just used some leftover wool that I had from working up some legwarmers for a former co-worker. Not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made, but I am ready to try again now that I know how to keep the tension even. Also, I thought that it would be really big considering that you use your thumb as the hook, but the weave is pretty tight.  I did not like that you can only work with short amounts of yarn at a time. I was only able to manage about a 3 foot length.  Since I was not able to get the hang of their way of getting the ends to join (I lacked the patience is more like it), I ended up with knots all over the place.



Not to shabby for a couple of evenings. So I should have been knitting the little sweater for the boyfriend’s niece.  It will get done.


Amigurumi Addictions

I am new to crocheting and am not confident enough to tackle any big projects. However, this little darling pod was soooo cute and perfect for my “twin,” Amy, whose nickname is Peas. I will add the website where I found the pattern as soon as I can get my old laptop to cooperate. It’s one of my bookmarks there. I decided to sew the pod out of felt instead of crocheting it. Some it was for the sake of time, some just because I thought it would look cuter.

My niece, Brynhilde, was born in October and, being the doting aunt that I am, I couldn’t wait to make things for her. My mom usually takes care of that sort of thing, but I saw this hat and couldn’t resist. I can’t add a link to the pattern at the moment because I can’t remember if I bought it or just downloaded it. The pattern was created by Tricia Roberts at

I am fairly new to crocheting, so I waited until the knitting retreat* (It’s really the doing anything with yarn retreat) so that I had sources of help if I got confused or frustrated. This happens A LOT when it comes to following patterns.

The hat on the left was the first one that I crocheted. I didn’t pay close enough attention to the pattern to see that it is supposed to be crocheted with 2 strands and I only used one. Oops!  I think that I actually like it better than the second one. I might have missed a row of the brim and so it is shorter.

I donated the first one as my service project for the retreat. Here is a photo of my cutie patootie niece in the hat.

*The knitting retreat is held in the fall and spring at Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer, MN.

Silly me bought Leah another two American Girl Dolls. She wasn’t playing with hers much by itself, so I found some on eBay that were inexpensive*. I was going to get one for myself to use as a model so that I didn’t have to borrow the oldest niece’s doll all the time. Seeing them on there for between $12 and $20 made it easy to get more than one. The only problem with this fantastic idea is that now instead of one outfit, I needed to make three! Good thing I enjoy making them 🙂









Fairies (I will make a post in the future with how I made the costumes):





*Just a tip for buying things like this on eBay. I change the list option to “ending soonest” so that I don’t get all excited about something that isn’t going to be finished being bid on for a couple days. I try to catch one that is ending the same day if possible.



My boyfriend’s youngest niece, Leah, loves American Girl Dolls. I think that the prices that they charge for the little outfits is ridiculous so I set out to make some myself. Now, you need to understand that I do not sew. I quilt, which is different because it is straight lines and the edges always match up. To make my life easier, I found a couple of books on Amazon. My favorite, and the one that I use the most, is Sew the Contemporary Wardrobe for 18 inch Dolls. I love this pattern book because it was written for mothers to sew with their children (I’m open to boys sewing and having dolls). The directions are very simple and most of the patterns have very few pieces.

Here are the little outfits that I put together for Leah’s doll:












These two were made from a Simplicity pattern by Aly, the oldest niece:




Happy Leah!







As most middle schools do, we had Spirit Week this past fall.  Since we don’t really do a Homecoming, the week leading up to Halloween was chosen for the festivities. I don’t have pics for every day. I didn’t dress up for nerd day because I forgot over the weekend and showed up at school looking all “teachery”.

Tuesday, Twin Day

 We did realize that Twin Day did not necessarily mean wearing Minnesota Twins jerseys, but it was what we all had in common. Technically, Jenny on the far right was my “twin.” I went to the local thrift store and found some black, rectangle shaped sunglasses and popped out the lenses to match hers since she doesn’t have contacts. I also used the hair curling idea so that my hair was wavy like hers.

Wednesday, Hero/Idol Day

I’m not sure which player Joe  (on the left) had on his jersey, but he was dressed as a Minnesota Wild hockey player. I am dressed up as Troy Polamalu from the Pittsburgh Steelers (GO STEELER NATION!). Can I just tell you how hard it was to find a wig that would give me hair like his? Impossible. I found an 80’s rocker wig that got me close. I call this Troy’s Head and Shoulders hair because it is smoother and less poofy than his actual hair. Josh (on the right) is dressed as Carl Sagon.

Thursday, Culture/Heritage Day

I also forgot to take pictures on culture day. A few of the teachers on my floor decided that we needed to represent a culture other than our ethnic one.  It was agreed upon that we would be the hunting culture, so we all wore various degrees of hunters’ orange/red, tan/camouflage pants, hiking boots and hunting vests.

Friday, Costume Day

For this day, I dressed as a zombie. My outfit itself was not overly impressive. I figured people become zombies in whatever clothes they are wearing when they get bitten, so that detail shouldn’t be too important. I used a You Tube video on doing Edward Scissorhands make-up to learn how to do my face.

The sores started out just on my arm above my watch. I did bring my supplies to school because I was afraid I would need to refresh the make-up from time to time. The neck and hand lesions were added at school because the kids were so intrigued. I did the neck one in the bathroom during my prep, but the one on my hand, I did so they could watch.

I had to reapply the lipstick often. I put the bright red on first and then black over the top. I think that next time, I would get a red lip stain so that I just had to refresh the black.

This was amazingly simple to do. By putting on multiple layers of the liquid latex on. Then, once it is dry, I tore holes in it. This reminded me of when I was a kid and would put a layer of school glue on my hand and then peel it off once it dried. ANYWAY…Once the latex was ripped, I used the red lipstick and colored in the holes. Then I finished it off with some grey eye shadow around the edges to make the skin appear to be rotting.

Monday, Halloween

While not really being a part of Spirit Week, it was Halloween, so I wore my Black Widow costume. I love this one because I get to use Ed, my severed head handbag. He’s been around for quite a few years now, but I never get tired of using him. I bought him at Spencers in the Mall of America. The chains were already on the head, which is what gave me the idea to use him as a handbag. Once I got him home, I used a box cutter to make a slit in the top of his head. Finally, I pulled out some of the stuffing to make room for my lipstick and a small wallet.

My dress is the one from my Guinevere dress post. The only difference is less make-up and my dress isn’t pulled down as close to the corset. Didn’t figure that would be good for school. lol

My favorite accessory for this outfit is my new spider ring. I used to have a phenomenal ring that was a spider named Esmerelda, but I can’t figure out which “logical” place I put her in, so I had to find another one. I was lucky enough to find this one on Etsy from Damngood Designs.

For the middle niece’s birthday, to do tie-dying. I was all too happy to oblige and we gave her the supplies. Her mother looked at me when Becky opened the kit and asked if we were going to do this at my house. Of course!

First off, I made sure that my table was covered with plastic. There is no way that this was going to be a non-messy activity. We tried out all kinds of different techniques for dying. We tried to avoid the traditional bullseye and anything that screamed 60’s and 70’s.  That was more my aversion than hers. lol

The front one is Becky’s. We folded up the shirts and used the spray paint dye. After each color, we untied and re-tied so that the paint would be in a different spot. If we had kept doing, it was supposed to end up looking something similar to rocker camouflage.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the effect. I was even less impressed with the fading of the dye. I haven’t seen hers lately, but mine has seriously faded. Not too big a deal since I just used my junk men’s undershirt that I wear when I’m just bumming around the house.

 My school is the Aerospace magnet, so I was going for the red, white and blue explosion look. I got the shirt wet and just squirted dye from a bottle where I wanted it to go. I started with the blue and then the red. In hind sight, I wish that I had only gotten the area I wanted to dye wet. I have since learned that if it is wet, it will bleed into that area. Dang! Consequently, the streaks went much farther than I planned and the red bled onto the white so most of the white has a sort of pink tinge to it. Live and learn I guess. I still like it and wear it quite often.


This one is my favorite. It was the most work, I think, but has the best color. We each made one of these. First, we got the shirt wet and then we scrunched up the shirt in random places and put the rubber bands on. Then we put a few bands around it so it stayed together.

Here is Becky demonstrating the scrunching and binding process.

We then submerged the entire shirt in a bucket with Rit dye. The colors we used were a violet and blue. Becky also used a pink.

We  took the rubber bands off and re-scrunched between colors. We left the shirts in the dye for roughly 20 minutes each color.


The instant gratification people that we are were denied. The directions said to cover the shirts with plastic wrap and let them sit until they dried. This took DAYS. Once they were finally ready, I washed them with a whole bunch of Shout’s color catchers because I was paranoid that the colors would bleed. The final products actually looked like they did when we first dyed them. I was quite impressed.

So the middle niece told me that she wanted to paint a wall in her room orange. Her mother was not buying the idea, so I asked if we could accessorize while I was there helping supervise the young ladies while their parents were on vacation. All three nieces were able to tye-die or bleach and dye, sheets that we then sewed into duvet covers. Just because I can’t do things “normal,” and it was disgustingly hot outside, I decided that we should try doing it with ice and powdered dye. We used a variety of tying techniques to get different effects.

We started by “tying” the sheets. In actuality, we used rubber bands.

sheets and pillowcases tied up

We then placed them on cooling racks for baking. This let the color bleed through the fabric and not get pooled underneath where the fabric would have been sitting on the ground. Then we used the hose to get the sheets wet. The idea of waiting until the projects were already tied was only the wet areas should dye. Good theory…..mostly true.

Next, the girls loaded on the ice and sprinkled on the powder dye. We then left all of projects sitting in the sun and headed back into the nice air conditioned house while we waited for the ice to melt (It took about an hour and a half). After the ice had melted, we unfolded the sheets and spread them out in the sun to dry. I am going to show the pictures of the dying sheet and then it’s finished product rather than play by play. I will however, give the technique for each one with the pictures.

Becky did a traditional swirl pattern and used iDye in Sun Yellow, Fire Red, and Deep Orange


Aly tried a new technique for me. We laid the sheet out on the living room floor and folded it back and forth so that each fold was about 5 inches wide. We then put the rubber bands on and swirled the long tube so that it would fit on the drying rack. She used iDye in Brilliant Blue, Kelly Green,  and Purple. This was AMAZING!


I think that Becky was using one of the mixed dyes on her pillowcase (squeeze bottle in left picture). I think this is the yellow, blue and purple one. The one in the upper left of the rack is yellow, red and purple.

Because Leah is so much younger, I was worried about her using the dyes. Her favorite color is red, so I bought a red sheet for her. We swirled it in a traditional bullseye and I had her spray it with a bleach and water solution that I put in a spray bottle. Then she decided to use one of the mixed dye bottles to add some blue.

Here are some of the random pillowcases that we played with.

We let all of the projects sit in the sun until they were thoroughly dry. Here is where I would change what we did. With the clothes dying that Becky and I did earlier that spring, we let the fabric sit for days before we rinsed it out. The colors were very vibrant and pretty much stayed that way. We took these up to my house to wash right after they were dry. I washed them by color scheme and I also threw about 5 of the Shout Color Catcher sheets in with each project so we wouldn’t have accidental bleeding.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the finished projects. I helped them sew and then was forced to drive home because I  had to work in the morning 😦  Here is a pic of the older girls sewing though. I’m so proud of them for doing this whole project with minimal help from me. Just some supervising/advising. OH! Special note though. We used velcro that was sticky on one side. BAD deal! It gummed up the needles something fierce and even broke a few. I’ve since learned to pin the velcro on or use a little bit of glue stick. Or more importantly, read the packaging! I bought the kind that you can use an iron to set instead of sewing.

Creating other accessories for their rooms while we waited for the ice to melt. Aly was gluing pictures of their recently deceased rottweiler, Zeus, onto a large cardboard Z that I got at JoAnn. Becky and Leah were decorating picture frames with buttons, colored duct tape, and glitter glue.

Needless to say, the bedrooms were accessorized in the girls’ favorite colors and no walls were harmed in the decorating 🙂

Guinevere Dress

I saw on Pinterest that I could make a dress from one piece of fabric that is just folded over.  I am NOT really a seamstress, so any time I can make a sewing project easier, I’m in!

I started with 3 1/2 yards of a shiny fabric that attracted my magpie eye at JoAnn (thank you Mom for figuring out how much I needed).  With my coupon and a sale, I managed to make this whole dress for about $30. Not too shabby!  The most challenging part of the process to start with was keeping my dogs off the fabric while I was cutting and pinning.

 This is the dress laid out on my living room floor.

I folded the piece of material in half with about 6 inches extra on the back so that it had a bit of a train when I finished.

Then I cut from the corners up to about where I wanted my arm pit to be.  Then I sewed up the skirt and sleeves where I had cut.

The next trick was to cut the neck hole. Yeah….that was easier said than done. I ended up with a HUGE hole.


I had a slight freak out and then decided that elastic could make it all better. There was an added bonus to the overly large hole in that I now had a dress that was dual function. I could wear it lower, or pulled up, for different audiences. Either way, I added the new wig and, as always, my severed head hand bag named Ed.

Adult version

The Boy Wants Owls

lovely plush mini owl, choose any color
Original Owls
I have the pleasure of watching my nephew, Gabriel, while we wait for his sister to be born today. Since I do all sorts of craft projects with my nieces, I thought that it would be fitting to do at least one with him. While we were surfing boards for the breakfast recipe I wanted, he saw the owls I pinned and started hooting. I figured this would be an easy project to do “with” him.
mini frittatas -- egg base, fill with whatever you you want (bacon, sausage, peppers, cheese).
Breakfast Frittatas
We did make the breakfast first, which turned out to be very good. I liked that I could make a different one for each of us. I wound up putting ham, cheese and broccoli in the adult frittatas and just ham and cheese for Gabriel. The other great thing about these is that I can freeze them and eat them for breakfast this next week.
On to the owls!
I looked through my stash of fabric for fat quarters that were bright and slightly obnoxious. Here’s what I did.
3 fat quarters of fun fabric
thread to match or coordinate with the fat quarters
1 sheet of felt (or big scraps) in each color: white, black and orange
fiber fill
nylon fill beads (optional)
 First I found some bowls that were about the size that I wanted the owls to be and traced them onto printer paper.
 Then I cut out 2 of each size for each owl.

I used my salt shaker to trace the whites of the eyes and guessed (and got lucky) with cutting the blacks.

The beaks I cut by folding a rectangle in half and cut the corners off of the open side.

I sewed the whites on, then the blacks. I added the beaks.

Next, I sewed the fronts and backs together with right sides together. I almost forgot to leave a space so that I could turn it back right-side-out.

I turned them right side out, using the point of my large crafting scissors to make sure the ears were entirely turned. I used the large scissors because I didn’t want my points to poke through the fabric.

I filled the top half of the owls with fiber fill, taking care to shove some up into the ears. Then, I used a funnel to fill the rest of the owl with the nylon beads. I made sure not to fill them too full.

Here are the finished owls.

Gabriel with his owls. Hoot! Hoot!

The next time that I make some of these (and I most definitely will), I will probably add some rick-rack or maybe some ribbons coming out of the ears. I might even add some of the fun new stones with the cool bedazzler tool I got for my birthday.

For dinner tonight: brown sugar and balsamic glazed pork loin that I’m cooking in the crock pot. Another fabulous find on