Tuesday, December 17, 2019

GBBO Spa Set - Macaron Soaps & Vanilla Sugar Scrub

I have a problem.  Whenever I watch the Great British Bake Off, I want baked goods.  During cake week I want cake.  During biscuit week I check the pantry in case cookie faeries came while I was out and left me something delicious.  During bread week I resort to making cinnamon toast while watching the show.  So when I joined the Great British Bake Off Swap, I just assumed I'd be sending my partner some sort of tasty treat, either homemade or a purchased extra.  Then I got partnered with the amazing PerfectlyBohemian, who is on a keto diet right now.  So I decided to try to make her all those carb-filled baked goods, in other ways...

The result was a set of spa goodies.  French Macaron Soaps were the first decision.  I purchased a silicone mold from Amazon.  It makes 6 soaps per batch.  (If I was going to do more of them, I'd consider getting a second mold to do more at a time.) I picked up some melt & pour goat's milk soap from Joann's.  Most of the scents were in my stash already.   

I ended up making 4 different scents, Lychee Red Tea (pink), Lemon Chiffon (yellow), Butter Mint (green), and Vanilla Latte (tan w/brown flecks).  I tinted the pink, yellow and green with soap colorant, and the tan was achieved by adding a bit of cocoa powder.  The flecks are coffee grounds, which not only resemble vanilla bean flecks, but also work as an exfoliant.  :)

Out of a 2lb block of soap I think I got about 39 macarons, and one larger lump of leftover soap that had been already tinted and scented.  (I forgot to put aside 1/4 for 'filling', and had too much 'cookie'.  :D)  I packed them up in little treat boxes, with mini-cupcake papers, both also found at Joann's, and tied the boxes with baker's twine.

I decided to make a vanilla sugar scrub to go with them, because I ran into the cutest little jar that says 'home made'.  It was too cute not to buy.  Since my partner listed loving the scent and flavor of vanilla, I used my homemade vanilla extract as the scent, and voila.  Vanilla Sugar Scrub!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Hermione's Beaded Handbag

I made this little ornament for Audania1 in the HP Holiday Ornament & Stocking Stuffer Swap.  The very last HP Swap to be hosted here on Craftster!   :'(  But don't worry, I'm sure I'll host a lovely new HP Swap in our new home, as soon as we have one to settle into.  ;)

I knew when I started the swap that I wanted to come up with an object or scene from the books that I hadn't seen done as an ornament before.  It took me a few days of pondering, but I suddenly remembered Hermione's bag of holding pretty little beaded handbag that also served as a mobile library while hunting Horcruxes and on the run from Death Eaters.  It is crocheted from 2 yarns held together, Caron Simply Soft in plum, and Lion Brand BonBons in purple sparkle.  I didn't use a pattern, just winged it based on the many other bags I've done in the past.  I believe I started with 6 sc, and expanded up to 24 in your average crochet circle, then the sides were done in hdc, because sc was proving too stiff for the shape of the bag I wanted.  I just hooked until I liked the height to the point of a drawstring, then did a row of hdc, ch 1, sk 1 st, all the way around, then finished with a round of hdc and a final row of sc.  I crocheted the drawstring and made the tassel out of the BonBons sparkle, then I dug through my embroidery thread stash, and bead stash, to find stuff to embellish the little bag with.

I hid a second ornament inside: Slytherin's Locket!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Calypso Wrap

I recently whipped this up for a friend who is going through a rough time.  I had hoped the bright colors, reminiscent of the sunrise, might help brighten a dark time, and help her know that a new day is always on the horizon.  The pattern is the Calypso Shawl, and the yarn is Darn Good Yarn's Ombre Recycled Silk in Orange, Blue, and Purple.  The yarn is made from silk waste, that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Rainbow Reading Wrap

This was an attempt at writing my own pattern, and it had its successes and its failures.  I started by going for a basic rectangle wrap, with Lion Brand Heartland in the soft grey shade, until I had the desired length. 
I did some rows in double crochet and half double crochet, before switching to the linen stitch for the rainbow section.  For that I used mainly Caron Simply Soft, which while also a worsted weight, is a pinch thinner than the Heartland.  The difference in yarn thickness, coupled with the tighter linen stitch, resulted in the wrap losing some of its length. 
For the cloud border, I used Buttercream Luxe Craft, which is a smaller 'bulky' size. This added to effect of widening the grey outer edges, while the rainbow continued to pull in a bit.  I was able to block it to *nearly* rectangular, with blocking boards and an iron set to a low heat.
While I'm not entirely happy with the results, I am glad that I learned a few things, and know what I'd do differently next time.  And I'm hoping that the friend it is going to will enjoy it anyways, as she cuddles up in it to read. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Cozy Silk Slippers & Mitts to fit with Apple Watch

Been feeling a little under the weather lately, and a friend pointed out that I should try to be good to myself, and rest up.  So I put aside my monster afghan crochet project, and whipped up a cuddly pair of silk slippers just for me.  The pattern is called Silk Mer-Slippers by Miranda Nippert.  It was originally designed for Darn Good Yarn's Silk Roving Worsted Yarn in a colorway reminiscent of mermaids, and utilizes a shell stitch, hence the name Mer-Slippers.  I used the same yarn in Crimson Fire instead, because I had 5 skeins of it on hand.  This project busted nearly 2 skeins of it from my stash!  The pattern is very quick; I did the first slipper Thursday night while watching tv, and the second on Friday afternoon, while curled up with some GBBO on Netflix. Since I'm still feeling tired, I plan to spend the afternoon on the couch again, and might make a pair of fingerless gloves to match it.  Or I might nap.   :D

I just finished up a pair of mitts to match my new slippers!  I love fingerless gloves and mitts, but they are always problematic with my Apple watch.  I created a little window in the left mitt, so I can still access my watch screen while I wear them. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Talisman Necklace & Asymmetrical Earrings

This was made for Powerhouseofthecell in the recent Fiber/Mixed Media Jewelry Swap.  While I do make a lot of jewelry, this was way outside my wheelhouse.  I loved that the swap forced me outside my comfort zone.  (Thanks [member]sheepBlue[/member]!)  I also really enjoyed getting to use crochet in jewelry. 

There was no pattern that I followed.  I used a beading needle to string most of a small box of 'bead soup' onto it before I started, then I simply began crocheting.  I believe I chained 16, then started doing single crochet in both sizes of the chain, for a total of 30 stitched per row.  I didn't join at the end of each row, just continued in a spiral around to create the pouch.  The yarn is Premier Wool Free Sock Yarn, in the color Rainforest.  The beads came from a mix called Butter Tart I bumped into at Joanns.  I did a few rounds without beads to establish the base of the pouch, then I alternated doing a row of beads and a row without.  I tried alternating my beads with 2 small in a row, then 1 bigger, then 2 small again, so that when they are all piled together, the bigger ones have a bit more room to shine, with the smaller often hiding behind/under/beside them.

I also only beaded 1 side, so that it would be soft and smooth against either skin or clothing.  At the top I stopped doing single crochet for a stretch, and filled in chain stitches, then restarted single crochet, and went around again, up and over the sc stitches, so that I had a natural loop to close over the button I planned as a closure.  I did several rounds without beads to provide a flat surface to sew the button to.  The button was a Czech glass treasure that I received in a swap many years ago.  (Possibly from [member]rackycoo[/member]?)  I have been hoarding since, waiting for the perfect project to use it on, and this was clearly it.

Once I had completed the pouch, instead of finishing off, I started chaining stitches, to create the necklace portion.  I think I did 2 chains, then a bead, then two more chains.  Once that was done, I cut the yarn, and started a new piece of necklace chain, without beads.  I made that piece the same length, before attaching it beside the first strand, then slip stitching over to the other side, and creating more chain, so that I would have 3 individual strands, that could be braided together.  I braided them loosely, then attached them on the other end, and added a few beads to each end, which you can see below.

After all that, I added a bit of fringe to the bottom, and filled the pouch with a few bits and bobs to protect Powerhouseofthecell on her journeys; a piece of seaglass (also a swap extra, from [member]calluna[/member]!), an antique key, and a stamped lucky penny.  As I was packing up my swap package, I included the remaining beads, so Powerhouse could use them if she wanted to make a matching item.  I was literally writing that in her card, when I stopped, and dashed back over to my jewelry making area, to create a set of asymmetrical earrings for her to match the necklace. 

It was SO HARD to force myself to make a pair that were not identical!  Seriously, what should have been a 5 minute pair of earrings took more like 20, to get my right brain to get on board with my left brain. 

Sari Silk Wrapped Bangles

These were made for Powerhouseofthecell in the recent Fiber/Mixed Media Jewelry Swap.  Powerhouse mentioned liking bangle bracelets, which I've never really dabbled in before.  These were the result of some inspiration from her Pinterest, and my stash of recycled sari silk ribbon and yarn. 

The blue and the pink were each made from recycled silk cloth, and the green is from recycled silk yarn.  The cloth ones were also wrapped in wire, and have some Swarovski crystal beads sprinkled along them.  They felt a bit unfinished to me, so I called on [member]sheepBlue[/member] & [member]PerfectlyBohemian[/member] for advice.  The recommended a few charms to finish them off.  Incidentally, I believe the dinosaur charms actually came from sheep herself!