"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Our Attempt at Kanzashi Flowers

I got the idea to make kanzashi (that's Japanese for hairpin) using napkins from the filth wizardry blog. I folded two kanzashi flowers, one for each kid, because I knew that their attention wouldn't span across any more than that. Then I put several drops of food coloring into different plastic cups that I'd filled about 1/4 of the way up with water.

Then I sent the troops outside to go nuts. They decided that the kanzashi flowers looked more like lilypads than actual flowers. So they painted them in blues and greens in the spirit of frogs and water.

Meanwhile....the baby attacked a cartoon icon that dared to crash it's plane onto his crib comforter. (I took the toy away and replaced it with a more age appropriate teether after taking this picture).

The resulting kanzashi "lilypads" turned out pretty nice. Traditionally they would have a bead or a button in the center and be fashioned in some way to be put in a woman's hair....BUT, my kids decided to abandon the idea of a beaded center. They (my son especially) would have no part in using them for their hair. Instead they decide to decorate their playhouse with them.

All in all, it was a good, inexpensive, easy way to entertain the kids for about an hour.

Of Bee Stings and Spaghetti Sauce

Since school started a couple of days ago, I've made it a habit to sit outside on our swing to wait for my daughter's bus home. I typically hold the baby and watch my 3 year old play in the sandbox and just relax for a few minutes until she arrives, all smiles, from kindergarten. But today, well today I was assaulted. That's right, assaulted. I was the innocent victim of a vicious bee attack. I felt a slight tickle on my forehead and simply went to brush at it with the back of my hand when...WHAM! The culprit, a digger bee, stung me right on my knuckle.
Fortunately for me, the sting from a digger bee is usually much more mild than that from a honeybee and the resulting wheal and redness were gone completely in about an hour. It's still a little sore if I touch it, but not terrible otherwise. I'm pretty sure I'll live.

On a happier note...today was spaghetti sauce making day. My 6 year old daughter took charge of her own genovese basil plant last March and as you can see from the picture above, it's gotten quite large. It's probably about time to be slimmed down and repotted. Genovese basil is typically used for pesto sauce but I love it for spaghetti sauce because of it's pungent aroma and strong flavor.

I typically cook my spaghetti sauce low and slow for several hours (about 5 total) to cut the acidity and allow the flavors to mesh together. My spaghetti sauce is pretty simple. It's just 1 large mason jar of home grown tomato juice, 1 medium mason jar of homegrown tomato paste, about 2 tsp (give or take) of fresh chopped basil, 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil, two pinches of salt, a pinch or two of pepper (you can tell I'm really precise when I make this), a few chopped oregano leaves, one chopped white onion and viola! you have spaghetti sauce

More Pictures

Here is another hooded sweater picture as promised :)


I've started making the kids sweaters for fall and winter. This is the first one I've finished. It's a cute little crochet hoodie sweater that I made for the baby. It was fairly simple, done almost entirely in single crochet. I used Bernat Baby Boucle yarn. It has a convienent zipper front (well a "would've been convienent if I bought the right kind of zipper" front. BUT, flaky little me didn't read the label and I picked up a partial zipper instead). And a cute little tie at the waist. The pattern isn't mine, and to be honest I don't remember where I found it anymore, so I can't post it here...sorry, but you know, copyright protection and all that.

The picture above really kind of stinks. I'll post more later on tonight if possible.

Putting Up Corn

We spent pretty much the entire day today putting up corn (aka freezing corn) for winter. We worked just over 20 dozen ears. That may seem like a lot to many people, but the reality is we did much less this year than we did last year. Last year we froze more than 40 dozen ears.

Still it takes awhile even at 20 dozen. We had to shuck, clean, boil, shock, cut, scrape, mix, and bag 240 ears of corn for a grand total of 6 hours. Fortunately we had help. My mother-in-law, father-in-law, and brother-in-law all pitched in. My daughter even lent us a helping hand for the first time this year. She was our scraper and bagger extraordinaire.

I had the intention of taking pictures of the whole process but realized at the last minute that my camera's batteries are dead. So instead of documenting the experience for posterity, my camera was sitting idly in it's charger. BUT, this probably won't be the last day we put up corn so hopefully I'll get another chance at pictures in a couple of days.

What is Craftivism?

So by now many may be wondering what is craftivism? Simply put, craftivism is activism using crafts. Kind of a broad definition isn't it? Well, that's because craftivism, like activism, doesn't have strict rules about what it can and cannot be. It can be political, it can be social, it can even be both. It can be individual, it can be collective.

For example, suppose I have a neighbor down the road who is a craftivist. He/she uses craftivism strictly to promote a political message or support a political candidate.

Personally, I use craftivism for more social types of activism. For me craftivism is about donating my crafts or proceeds from the sale of my crafts to benefit social programs that I feel make a positive difference in the world, programs that provide food, shelter, or comfort to those in need. For me, it's also about gaining a certain amount of personal freedom. I'm no longer completely dependent on items that are often over priced and of poor quality produced by giant corporations that then take my money and use it to perpetuate things that I may not agree with like pushing a political agenda I don't agree with, the use of sweat shops, money laundering, or bilking investors out of their entire life savings. I'm more independent and therefore more free and hopefully I can inspire others who are interested in craftivism in some way.

The point is, that whether a craftivist is more like my hypothetical neighbor, more like myself, or somewhere in between, they are still a craftivist. Craftivism can be liberal or conservative, young or old, Christian or athiest, and as a result it is none of those things alone. It is simply activism, one way or the other, with crafts :)

It's My Birthday!

lolcats funny cat pictures
Ok, so my birthday isn't actually today, it's Monday. However, my husband is working Monday and so he decided to give me my birthday wishes and gifts today. And I L*O*V*E what he got me. He shopped around for weeks to get me a brand new sewing machine because mine actually died about a month ago. (I know, he's so sweet) I'm totally excited to start sewing again!

I'm still a little bummed that he won't be home on my actual birthday but I'm glad that we were able to spend today together.

Normally I don't really think much about my birthdays. To be completely honest, I usually forget about them all together until the day before (sometimes even the day of) when someone says something about it. I'm not a big party person and since my daughter's birthday is so close to mine, I'm usually thinking about her birthday. This year is different in a way though. I'm inching closer to a whole new decade in my life and that has me thinking about getting older and perhaps, if I'm lucky, a little wiser. And in that spirit, I've found some quotes to share about aging, wisdom, and life in general.

"The soul is born old and grows young. That is the comedy of life. The body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy." -Oscar Wilde.

"Life is a process. We are a process. The universe is a process." -Annie Wilson Schaef

"Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself."- Kahlil Gibran

Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere...

I was going through my bathroom cupboard this morning and realized we were very nearly out of soap. So, I spent most of this afternoon dragging out all of my soap making supplies and figuring out what to make, how much to make, and so on. I ultimately decided on 10 or so bars of lavender and rosemary which I will start on first thing in the morning.

I use a glycerine based soap because it eliminates the need for lye. Now you may be wondering what I have against lye. The truth of the matter is that I don't have some fundamental hatred of lye. However, I do have three young kids and two dogs who eat anything and everything (the dogs, not the kids) and so I'm not incredibly comfortable with having lye around since it is very caustic and can even be fatal if it's swallowed. When my kids are older and I have a larger workshop (a new workshop is in my navigational beakers), I just may broaden my horizons.

Until then, here's how I make my glycerine soap....

I use 2 cups glycerine soap base

A few lavender and rosemary leaves

2tsps of lavender oil

1 tsp of rosemary oil

A couple of drops of purple soap dye

I melt the soap base in a double boiler. Mix in the oil, the dye and the leaves and pour the mixture into the molds. Then just leave them sit for a few hours until they harden.

The picture I've included in this post is a lovely picture I found on flickr. You can see some of the other ways to dress up glycerin soap right here.

Warm Up America Square

Well here it is. My first square of the year for Warm Up America. I did the simple "alternating half double" stitch found on the Warm Up America website. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. These are a nice project because they work up quickly. This one only took me about 4 hours and that's with the constant interruptions from a baby, two young children, two dogs and one husband.

It's just around the corner

It seems to me that this summer has gone by much faster than last summer. Maybe it's because the weather in my part of the world was extremely pleasant this spring and summer. We had very few days above 80 degrees. No extremely hot days that seem to just drag on forever.

It's already a full week into August. August is always a busy month for us, but especially this August. Coming up we have the fair, my birthday, my daughter's birthday, my father's birthday, my daughters kindergarten open house and a few days later, her first day of school. This is also the time of year when I begin making 7x9in squares for Warm Up America. As soon as I'm finished with the first square I'll post it on here.

If you're interested in crocheting some yourself, you can check out some of the patterns and stitch guides right here: http://www.warmupamerica.org/patterns.html

The Afghan from Hell.

I've been crafting since childhood, but only crocheting for about 3 years (give or take). So it came as quite a surprise when my wonderful husband, Joe, came to me with an afghan request. He had an afghan he'd wanted made since he was a kid but no one had ever made it for him. It turns out no one had made it because they couldn't figure out HOW to make it. His Grandmother, who had been crocheting for around 60 years, couldn't figure out how to make it. His aunt also crocheting for over a decade, couldn't figure out how to make it. And now, here he was, standing in front of me with puppy dog eyes thrusting this pattern labeled *extra challenging* (Afghan Extravaganza 1995, Challenger pg. 124) onto my lap. I thought he must be joking, but I tried the pattern on a test run anyways, convinced that I wouldn't get past row 2. Well, I actually did get past row 2 and managed to figure out the pattern entirely. That was my undoing. My husband began searching the local craft stores for the yarn he wanted the very next day. He then decided that the blanket would be just too small if I followed the pattern exactly. So he made it almost twice as wide, which then meant I had to make it even longer, "so it would remain proportional" he argued. As a result, I've been working on this afghan for 2 1/2 months....and I just finished row 13 of 56. That's not including the border. This afghan hates me. But hear this! I will not be defeated! I will finish this afghan and I will do it in time for my hubby's birthday in Sept.! (Maybe).


I'm a 27 year old wife and mother. I love funny movies and I hate laundry. I'm also just one woman among many who has a passion for creating. I craft for fun and profit. I craft in an effort to make a positive difference in the world.
Thus begins my foray into the world of blogging. I hope to share my love of crafts, my insight in crafting professionally, and most of all my take on craftivism with anyone who is willing to listen.