Monthly Archives: October 2013

National Blog Posting Month

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As you can see by the nifty badge on my sidebar, I have decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this month. I am not organized (or confident) enough to do NaNoWriMo, but I know I can do the blog posting.  I spent a considerable amount of time today trying to clean up some of the categories on this blog–consolidating, adding categories to some of my posts imported from my old blogs, and generally trying to make my blog look presentable. The daily posts officially start tomorrow, but I started a bit early, and this is my third day posting in a row. I thought about skipping today, but I don’t want to lose my momentum, :).

Like the last time I did this, I am not making any hard and fast posting rules other than doing it once each day, but I anticipate Making Things will be a key component of the month, since that is what is taking a lot of my energy these days. I am excited to get started!

Is anyone else doing either NaBloPoMo or NaNoWriMo?

October MADE IT challenge – GET THOSE VOTING FINGERS OUT, IT’S TIME!

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I have been thinking about entering this made it challenge for months now, and this month I finally did it. I entered twice, with my Blue Waves blanket and with my finished pottery pieces. There are so many beautiful things in this challenge, go take a look! If you want to vote for me, that would be nice, too, ;).

woolhogs

♥      ♥

And just like that the October Made It challenge draws to a close and the VOTING door is flung wide open!

What a sensational month it’s been! Lots of lovely newcomers, and FIFTY FOUR, *record breaking wooohooooo high five* awesome, crazily creative projects – thank you EVERYONE!!!

In the mix this month you’ll find a wonderfully colourful array of

Blankets, warm & cuddly

Throws, natural & rustic

Scarves, trendy & chic

Cushions, bright bold & beautiful

Headbands, fashionable & pretty

Shawls, elegant & soft

Christmas snowflakes/angels/ghosts, happy & dapper

Ceramic decor, shiny & different

Mandalas, hip ‘n happening

Beanies, adorable & addictive

A spring wreath, beautifully floral

Cell phone pouch, rainbow coloured

Toys, fun & AMAZEBALLS!

Mitts, fingerless & funky

Cardi/Sweaters, too cute for words

Crochet food, yummy…

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Menu Plan, Week of 10/27

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Are you a baseball fan? I am, and what’s more, I am a Cardinals fan, and this World Series is killing me. The Cards have been so great all season, this series is not going the way it should! Of course, the Red Sox are pretty good, too, and these are hard fought games, so I can’t get too upset, I guess.

All of this baseball is cutting into my cooking and planning time. I guess the benefit of posting my menus late is that I know at least some of it is absolutely right. We usually eat pretty much what is on the menu, although we switch nights a lot, but sometimes things just change. It is still good to plan, though–it keeps me in the mindset of eating at home.

Sunday: Dinner at my dad’s (burgers with tomatoes, onions, avocado, broccoli)

Monday: At a friend’s house to watch the game

Tuesday: Beef and eggplant skillet

Wednesday: Bratwurst, buttered broccoli and cauliflower, sauteed kale with mushrooms and bacon

Thursday: Slow cooker pork roast (without the carrots, with cabbage), spaghetti squash with garlic butter

Friday: Salmon casserole with cauliflower and green beans

Saturday: leftovers

As always, lots more ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com

Making Things: Shaving Scrub

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I know I am not the only one who has approximately one billion projects on various Pinterest boards, but no where near one billion finished projects. I do okay on the crochet projects–I still have way more pins than projects, but I have actually done several projects from my various crochet boards.

I have lots of other ideas pinned, though, from the arts and crafts on my Making Stuff board to the more basic stuff of Health and Beauty DIY and DIY Around the House. Some of those are so simple, but I never seem to get around to them. A couple of weeks ago, I decided I had to just pick a project and do it.

I went with an easy one, to get the momentum up: DIY Exfoliant/Shave Scrub

supplies

Projects don’t get much easier than this: gather a mason jar, a spoon, some sugar, and coconut oil. Put roughly equal amounts of the oil and sugar into the jar, use the spoon to stir.

first mix

Extraneous sugar all of the table not strictly necessary...

Extraneous sugar all over the table not strictly necessary…

My daughter has used this a few times, and she is suitably impressed with the softness of her legs. She did say it is hard to see where she has and hasn’t shaved with this scrub. I think this is easily overcome by being careful, but what do I know? I put off shaving my legs until I can’t stand it any longer, so I always have longer hairs to see.

I have to admit I did feel a bit of a sense of accomplishment with this project, even though it took me around 5 minutes and was probably the literal definition of the least I could do and still be claiming to have made something. I decided to make something, and I did make something! That’s progress, right?

Some Finished Pottery Pieces

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The pottery classes I have been taking include unlimited studio time during the class for building pieces, and plenty of time after the class is over to finish glazing and firing pieces. I have been concentrating on building things during the class time with the plan of underglazing, glazing and firing objects after the class is complete, but a couple of weeks ago, I decided to get a couple of test pieces done so I could see how they would turn out.

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The first piece I did was an underglazed Christmas tree. I actually painted this one day while I was working in the studio, waiting for a slab of clay to dry out a bit to make it easier to finish. I had a picture of this on my last pottery post:

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

Coil tree with underglaze in leaf green, dragon red and ivory

This was completely unfired, with just the build done and underglaze painted on. Since then, it went through an initial firing, then I dunked it in a clear glaze and had it fired again. The colors are very different than the pre-firing colors, but they did turn out very close to what I pictured when I was envisioning the finished project.

tree

I also glazed one of my little plates, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Because of the stamped pattern, I was thinking that I would need to underglaze the plates in order to ensure that the color got down into the grooves. I made a ton of these plates, though, so I decided to try the regular glazing on one and see what would happen.

chrysanthemum plate

As you can see, awesomeness happened, ;). I am still going to underglaze a few plates–I have at least 30 of these things–but I will be doing more like this as well. This plate has celadon as a first dip, then it is topped with lime green. I love the way it turned out!

The coaster shows me why it is good to do a test glaze. I used deep purple topped with celadon here, and how a dark purple topped with a pale green yields such a blue coaster, I don’t know. I kind of like it, though.

coaster

So, that’s all I have for finished pottery for now. What do you think? I will be making many more trees and plates, and probably some more coasters, along with a few other things. I am probably nearly finished with building for this Christmas, but I will have more things coming, too, as I still have about 45 pounds of clay to use. Any suggestions for a not-terribly skilled hand building potter?

Making Things: Blue Waves Blanket

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I have had my eye on the Neat Ripple Blanket by Lucy at Attic 24 for some time now. I always have a lot of projects going, though, so I was putting it off until I had a few things finished.

Last month, I was making good progress on my Christmas projects, and I decided this would be the perfect pattern for a blanket for one of my giftees. It is so much fun to do, too! I would pick this up in the evening, thinking I would just do a few rows, and find myself unable to stop stitching. It came together really quickly, too–I finished it in under 4 weeks, even though I was working on other projects at the same time (I simply cannot work on only one project at a time!).

Blue waves

Blue waves 2

I am particularly pleased at how squared off the folded blanket is–I am not always that consistent with my stitches. I often start out a bit too loose, and the first few rows are a bit wider than the rest of the blanket. I knew I could improve, though, because the rest of my blankets are usually fairly consistent after those first few loose rows. I guess all the blankets I have been making lately are actually paying off in increased skill, :).

Ravelled here.

Menu, Week of 10/13

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We are getting to my favorite weather of the year–still a bit warm mid-day, but crisp, and cool at night. I can crochet big blankets without contorting them in strange ways to keep the heat off of me. Warm, cozy cardigan sweaters come out and feel like a nice hug through the day, but are easy to take off when it is warm for a few hours mid-afternoon. It’s perfect stew and chili weather!

Sunday: Pork tenderloin, green beans, saladstew

Monday: Curried beef stew

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Chili, pasta for the kids

Thursday: Bratwurst, buttered broccoli and cauliflower

Friday: Fish almondine, green beans sauteed with bacon

Saturday: Sausage and eggplant stew

As always, many more ideas can be found at orgjunkie.com