Premie Hats and Baby-Ghan

Blogged under Finished Projects by Tammy on Tuesday 30 October 2012 at 1:38 pm

I just finished making a few premie-sized baby hats a a baby afghan for a friend of mine whose new grandson came early, as in too early. He is now up to four pounds and headed home, but she asked me for some hats because the ones from the hospital were too large.

I already had the baby afghan in the works for him (it was going to be a surprise), and so it was no big deal to whip up a few little hats. And they are just so tiny! Every time I make premie items it freaks me out a little to think even a baby can be that small.

I used mainly Bernat Baby Softee yarn, which I had plenty of in my stash. The baby afghan is primarily alternating rows of double crochet and treble crochet with a single crochet and then half-double crochet border.

Extreme Origami Book Review

Blogged under CFEs/Contests,Good Books by Tammy on Monday 29 October 2012 at 5:54 am

Quayside Publishing Group sent me a copy of a new book published in October 2012 called Extreme Origami: Transforming Dollar Bills into Priceless Works of Art by Won Park. This is a hard cover book with 144 pages and over 1,000 illustrations. It retails for $25 US; $28 CAN; and L16.99 UK. I think the word “extreme” describes this book perfectly because this is not for your casual paper crafter in any way.

The projects are fairly involved though all of them are basically built around the idea of folding US paper money into amazing shapes using various folding techniques. The author suggests that you first try with larger pieces of paper that are the same scale as the money because it is easier to learn the folds that way, and there are a few important folds you need to master before jumping into the projects as well. Along with written instructions, there are illustrations to go with each one. For example, the butterfly requires a total of 27 steps. From pigs to tanks to toilets, you can fold paper money into just about any form it seems.

This is one of a number of books I’ve received recently to review, and I had a feeling my husband would find it interesting. I was right. He is fascinated with the intricate folding techniques used in the book. I also appreciate them, of course, but he is determined now to attempt some of them. Maybe it is a “guy” thing, but he loves this book. Take note for anyone looking for a guy-friendly craft-related gift.

Is this a book for your library or the perfect gift for a friend? To help you determine that, the publisher has let me load up some sample pages from Extreme Origami. Feel free to download them and enjoy.

A Few Craft Links for You

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 28 October 2012 at 5:01 am

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a chance to score yourself a copy of the new book Extreme Origami, tutorials on how to paint a pumpkin and bell pepper and draw skeleton hands and feet, and a recipe for a “Corpse Reviver Cocktail.”

How about a needlepoint witch hat? June has the instructions just waiting for you!

Dr. Who Toile Chair Makeover
Cherie uses Dr. Who toile fabric to remake old kitchen chairs.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Eileen used chain maille started by her mother over 50 years ago in this sterling silver Two Generations of Hope bracelet design.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has had the opportunity to review some amazing new fabric and quilting books recently!

Hand-Spun Yarn Prize Arrives!

Blogged under CFEs/Contests,Crafty Products by Tammy on Saturday 27 October 2012 at 3:31 pm

A swishy, soft bundle arrived in the mail on Friday, this gorgeous hand-spun yarn that I won from the Knitty Natter Podcast. It is 168 yards and made of 40% Shetland, 40% Merino, and 20% silk. I love the colors (which are not really showing up that great in the photo) as well as the texture. I am not sure what I will make with it yet, but it will be something for me for a change!

CFP & Photographs for Literary Journal

Blogged under CFEs/Contests,writing by Tammy on Saturday 27 October 2012 at 11:07 am

The Indian River Review is currently soliciting submissions for its second issue slated for publication in late spring/summer 2013. The theme for this issue is “Memory.” The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2012. Genres include short fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, critical essays, black and white photography, and book reviews. See formatting and submission instructions below.

Submission and Formatting Guidelines

All work is peer reviewed. The journal accepts only electronic submission, no hard copies. Do not send simultaneous submissions. Please follow the requirements listed below for all submissions:

Text files must be sent as .doc, .docx, or .rtf email attachments.
Photography files must be sent as .tiff or .jpg email attachments.
Send short fiction attachments to
Send poetry attachments to
Send creative non-fiction and photography attachments to
Send critical essays and book review attachments to
Text-based submissions must use 12 point font and correct MLA format.
Short fiction, creative non-fiction, and critical essays are limited to 4,000 words.
Book reviews are limited to 1,000 words.
In your email, make sure to include your full name, phone number, address, institutional affiliation (if you have one), and the title(s) of the work you submit.
In your email, include a 50 to 100 word author biographical paragraph.
Send no more than 5 submissions for poetry.
Send no more than 10 submissions for photographic pieces.

Please make sure to spend time proofing and editing your text submissions before sending them. Authors may even want to consider asking a friend to read the work first to help make sure an error free submission is sent. Submissions with incorrect grammar or misspellings may be automatically excluded from the review process. Those submissions that are accepted must be open to receiving minor editorial corrections. Also see the journal’s Agreement between Publisher, Editor, and Contributor.

Payment upon publication will include one copy of The Indian River Review.

See the journal’s weblog for more information:

What to Knit When Your’e Expecting Book Review

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Thursday 25 October 2012 at 5:37 pm

A few weeks ago, I received a review copy from Running Press of a new knitting book out called What to Knit When You’re Expecting: Simple Mittens, Blankets, Hats & Sweaters for Baby. The book retails for $20 US/ $23 Canadian. It is written by Nikki Van De Car who explains in the introduction that she developed many of the designs while she was expecting her daughter, and then later, she developed more as friends and family members also had babies. The 30 patterns in the book are items the author feels are wearable, pieces that you will pull out over and over again for your baby to wear and for you both to enjoy. This does not necessarily mean there are only practical designs in the book. For example, one project includes an adorable little tutu-style skirt.

In fact, that word…”adorable”….pretty much describes every single project in this book! Of course, what is not to love when it comes to tiny sweaters, baby bloomers, and little booties? The projects are organized by trimester so that projects that take more time (like baby afghans) can be started early on and finished in plenty of time for the baby. The second trimester section has more gender specific patterns (like the tutu mentioned) because by then you might know if you are having a boy or girl. Finally, the third trimester section has the smaller and simpler project in it.

I have really enjoyed browsing through the patterns, mainly because the photographs are so nice. Each pattern has at least one photograph of the entire finished piece (sometimes more than one) as well as close ups so you can see details, such as the lace-like trim on a pair of bloomers. While there are a few challenging projects in the book, there are also plenty of burp clothes, hats, and afghans that are a little less involved as far as knitting skills.

The front matter of the book does have some basics on knitting, but I would not expect anyone to learn how to knit using just these few pages, even though they do have instructions and illustrations. However, there is a handy size chart and some other general information that is helpful. One note on the yarn – she does not use any acrylic. Now some will cheer at this and some will gasp, but her reasoning is that for her the washing isn’t that big of a deal (she explains how she does it for her baby’s hand-knits), and she gets the benefit or working with yarn that feels great and also feels good on her baby’s skin. Of course, for those who want super easy wash and wear, I see no reason why all of these patterns could not be made with acrylic.

Before I end, I have to do the math as usual. Okay, so a $20 book (which of course is cheaper on Amazon if you check out my links above) and 30 projects means .67 a project. If you enjoy knitting baby items or if you have wanted to start, this is a bargain book with very wearable and cute (even adorable) patterns that I can’t see any knitter not enjoying and using regularly.

Cause for Creativity at Sanat Monica Museum of Art

Blogged under Charity Crafting by Tammy on Tuesday 23 October 2012 at 5:57 am

MEDIA CONTACTS: Beth Laski, 818.986.1105,
FOR IMAGES: Elizabeth Pezza, 310.586.6488 x112,
Cause for Creativity: What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs

SANTA MONICA, CA—Santa Monica Museum of Art presents its fourth annual
Cause for Creativity: What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs—a three-part
community-engagement initiative that includes a donation drive, an art workshop,
and a Thanksgiving donation delivery benefiting women residents at Ocean Park
Community Center (OPCC), the Westside’s largest and most comprehensive
provider of housing and services to low-income and homeless people.

The program kicks off October 24 with a 12-day donation drive for new and
unused essential goods for women: socks, undergarments, shampoo, soap,
toothpaste, notebooks, feminine hygiene products, make-up, bus passes, and
umbrellas will be accepted at SMMoA. All donors will receive a complimentary
ticket to participate in the Museum’s subsequent Cause for Creativity community
art workshop on Sunday, November 4 from 3 pm to 5 pm.

At the art workshop, local designers and artists will teach participants to create reusable
bags from recycled T-shirts. Designs will include a shopping bag as well as a
smaller produce bag—the perfect companions for the region’s many farmers’

These one-of-a-kind T-shirt bags—sewn, appliquéd, and silkscreened by
participants—will subsequently be used to carry the donations for delivery to
OPCC. Participants are encouraged to bring clean unwanted shirts and are
welcome to create additional bags for themselves, friends, and family. The museum
will provide music and food, fostering a workshop atmosphere of community and

The week following the Cause for Creativity workshop, SMMoA staff will deliver
the care packages to the women at OPCC during their annual Thanksgiving
holiday lunch. Each OPCC female resident will receive her own re-usable bag filled
with all the essential goods SMMoA and the community participants have donated
and packed for her.

“With today’s uncertain times, unemployment, and other challenging factors,
OPCC serves as a refuge for so many women and families,” said Asuka Hisa,
Cause for Creativity creator and director of education and public programs at
SMMoA. “This program provides the public with the opportunity to make art and
make a difference by recognizing those in need within our community.”

Cause for Creativity: What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs is recommended for
ages 5 to adult. Admission to the workshop is $8, but free with the donation of an
essential good and for SMMoA members. Donations will be accepted during
regular museum hours Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm, and at the
Cause for Creativity workshop on Sunday, November 4.

Support for SMMoA’s education and outreach is generously provided by The
James Irvine Foundation; Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley; City of
Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission; and Sony Pictures
Entertainment. Special thanks to Writers Boot Camp and Whole Foods Santa
Monica for their in-kind support.

On view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art through December 22, 2012 is
Michael Queenland: Rudy’s Ramp of Remainders in the Main Gallery and Agnes
Denes: Body Prints, Philosophical Drawings, and Map Projections, 1969 – 1978
in Project Room 2. Also on view through November 28, 2012 is Kianja Strobert:
Nothing to Do but Keep Going in Project Room 1.

Crafting Blog Links

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 21 October 2012 at 10:16 am

Clear Glass Sculpture With Teal Solar Light
Cherie uses glass pieces, a solar light, and some teal beads to create a garden sculpture.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside we have a double giveaway filled with Mod Podge, Martha Stewart glass paints and books along with a fun recycled Halloween lamp tutorial and a recipe for a dreamsicle shake.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Eileen restores and upgrades a badly damaged charm bracelet.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi has figured out how to finish off her sequined quilt and is majorly relieved about it!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
See how to make a recycled book page coffin Halloween garland

Finished! Crochet Socks

Blogged under Finished Projects by Tammy on Saturday 20 October 2012 at 10:10 am

Sock number 2 is now done! I have to say that making these socks was a challenging project for me, and I am in no way a sock making covert; however, it feels good to complete a project that (for me at least) was pretty difficult to make. The actual stitches (mainly single crochet) were not hard to do, but figuring out the pattern was not easy. Plus, this is not an immediate gratification project to say the least. It took me 19 days from start to finish, and while I did not only work on these or even work on them every day, I did give them a fair amount of attention.

These socks fit me, which is nice. I’m not sure if I’m in love with making socks now and certainly am not sure about this particular pattern (which comes from Learn to Crochet Socks for the Family). The pattern has you do a few things when it comes to finishing that I think are kind of odd. The finished socks are also full of texture, so when you walk in them you can feel it. For me, they are not necessarily uncomfortable but might be if I was wearing them with shoes. If I were to make these again, I would probably make sure I used super soft yarn rather than the scratchy JoAnn’s Sensations Sole and More that I used for these.

Since crochet items tend to work up much faster than knitted items (even for more experienced knitters than myself), I’m pretty surprised that sock knitting is so popular. It has to be very time consuming, but of course, if I were the type to wear socks more, maybe it would be worth it. Without a doubt, though, the sock making bug did not bite me!

Received My Namaste Order…Kind of a Saga

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Tuesday 16 October 2012 at 5:49 pm

I have been reading on the Ravelry forums for awhile now about the bags from Most people rave about them, and I happen to be a kind of bag-o-holic. Thus, I have been stalking their products for awhile. My main reason for holding back (until recently) was because I felt many of the project type bags were overpriced considering they are not made of leather. For example, The Monroe bag, which is a super huge bag that looks like you could carry your life in, retails for $89. Even shopping around at discounted places, the cheapest I’ve seen it for sale is $60. I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a vinyl bag.

However…I recently caught a Facebook post from Namaste about a deal the company has going on for the month of October. With any purchase of at least $25, you can get a free set of its Oh Snap pouches. You have to put in the code OHSNAP when you check out. So here was a great deal and a way for me to test out a few of its small, less expensive but still functional products. I popped over to the web site, filled up my shopping cart with an assortment of small items that totaled $26, but before I checked out, I noticed that the cost for shipping was going to be almost $15. Ack! That is crazy!

Needless to say, I did not finish checking out. In addition, I went over and posted on the Namaste Facebook page about it. A few minutes later, I received a reply from someone there that I could email the company and ask if it is possible to get an alternative shipping option that would be less expensive. I did, and it was, less than $5!

So now, here’s what I purchased.

Two small pouches ($5.75 each) and a measuring tape ($4). These are a nice size, though they are not lined. The tape will be handy for my crafting. I may keep these or stash away for possible holiday gifts.

This is called a “Cozy,” and it is in the eggplant color. I’m not exactly sure what happened here. I thought I had ordered the smaller size used for crochet hooks, but somehow I ended up with the size used for knitting needles. Both are the same price. I’m honestly not sure if I made the mistake or if they did. This was $10.50, and one reason I purchased it, other than the fact I was thinking I could transport crochet hooks in it, was because I wanted to see what the vinyl was like that they use for the larger bags. It is okay. The item is well-made for what it is, but I’m not overly impressed with the quality of the vinyl. It is pretty much like most vinyl, not better or worse.

Then these are the “free” set of snap bags, which even comes in a plastic bag that also has a snap on it. I’m using the larger one already to store items in my book bag. I pretty much use my book bag as a purse when I go to school, but it can be a pain to find small items like a wallet inside of it. Now I have all those smaller items in one of these, and then put that in my book bag.

I still think the larger bags are overpriced, but I think the smaller accessories they carry seem to be priced well and made well, at least that’s my call from the purchase I made.

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