Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News and Updates

Posts have been few and far between lately - and you can be assured that means real life has gotten in the way of blogging!  Unfortunately, what's been going on in real life has not been pleasant, but we manage.  Hopefully, I will be able to resume posting more frequently soon.

The first bit of news is in regards to my Squidoo articles, where I had published a number of how-to's and printable instructions.

Squidoo has now been shifted over to Hubpages, and my articles are now there.  As I understand it, the old links will still work, but will just be diverted to the new site.

I have yet to go over my articles to see how they translated in the shift, to see if I need to do any modifications.  Please feel free to visit my new Hubpages profile, check out the articles, and let me know if you have seen any problems. 

The other news is in regards to my classes.  I am still teaching one day a week.  There are old classes dropped and new classes added.  Unfortunately, with what's been doing on at our home, certain people have taken things beyond that level and I have found myself and my family stalked in public.  For my safety and theirs, I am not going to post my class schedule on the blog anymore, nor will I post about any vendor sales I might be involved in.  Thank you for understanding.

Meanwhile, I have been working on my inventory and do have photos ready to share; just need to find the time to write posts about them!

For those who have kept up visiting my blog while I've been on hiatus, thank you.  It's nice to see the hits still coming, even when I haven't been able to post often.  Much appreciated!

Until I get a chance to post more, here are some photos to follow up on my last post, a Tunisian stitch tablet cover that is one of the new class projects.

The above photo is the tablet cover after the seams have been sewn, but the ends have not yet been finished.

As you can see, it looks pretty floppy and loose.

 What the side seem looks like from the outside; I just whip stitched it.

 A closer look at the side seam, with a bit of a view of how the inside looks.

This is how the project itself ends.  Once the yarn ends are sewn in, it would be considered finished.

I modified the length of the project to fit my own tablet.  As you can see, even with the tablet inside, it looks loose and floppy.

Because it is very loose and floppy. 

So I added a couple of rounds of single crochet to tighten up the top edge, then slip stitched into the bottoms of those rows to add some stability.

No more rolling, no more flopping, and the single crochet and slip stitches tighten up the opening, making it a bit more snug.

The additional rows made it fit more snugly to the tablet itself as it was put in.

It also added a bit of length, giving the tablet a bit more protection.

My daughter pointed out that the colour changes made a pattern that looks a bit like the Batman logo! *L*

I have photos somewhere, though not in my computer, of another modification I made.  I crocheted a strip in Tunisian simple stitch, bordered with single crochet, and with a button hole at one end.  I sewed it in the middle of what is now the back of the tablet cover.  On the front, I sewed on a button (my daughter pickets a yellow button with a smiley face on it!).  This way, there's no chance of the tablet accidentally sliding out.

The body of the tablet cover is still a lot looser than I would have preferred, despite the fabric panel being exactly the same width of the tablet before the side seams were closed up.

If I were to make another one for my tablet, I would probably make it about an inch narrower than the actual size of the table.  The Tunisian stitched fabric seems to have a lot more give to it than I expected.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

In Progress

Working on a sample for one of my new classes;  the Tunisian crochet tablet cover, modified slightly for gauge. 

I love how the colours aligned themselves.

Sent by mobile.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Clay Oil Lamps, printable how-to

I've got a step-by-step for two versions of the clay oil lamp I'd posted about earlier, for different skill levels, available now.  The instructions can be printed out, together with the material and tool lists.

If you make some of these with your kids, do come back and let me know how they turned out! :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More food!

Yes, another recipe to share!

This one is for something I like to make as a quick snack.  It's so easy to make, and very satisfying.

Chickpea Salad with Black Olives and Feta.

Includes printable recipe.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Here's another recipe I wanted to share; Baked Le Pleine Lune with Mushrooms and Walnuts.  Click on the link for both a printable recipe and a printable step-by-step.

Though the recipe is Baked Le Pleine Lune with Mushroom and Walnuts, it includes suggestions for substitute cheeses if you can't find Le Pleine Lune.

Also includes suggestions for wine or beer pairings. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

They work!

While waiting for my first clay oil lamp to dry, I made a second one.

I wasn't happy with it. 

The goal is for even very small children to be able to make one, with as little muss and fuss as possible.  With that in mind, I took the clay from the second lamp and, using only half of the amount, made an even simpler and smaller version than the first.

That one, I'm very happy with.

Today, I tested them both out.

They work just fine!

The fuel is olive oil, which is what these lamps would have burned as fuel thousands of years ago.  For a wick, I used a strand of cotton yarn.

I'm not sure how much oil either of them holds; at most, a quarter cup between the two of them, possibly less.

The lamp on the right (the first one I made) has a much shallower usable reservoir; the opening to hold the wick is rather low, so any more would leak through there.  The one on the left has more of an incline for the wick, so more oil can be added.

The shallow lamp burned for about 2 hours before using up the oil.  The deeper one lasted perhaps half an hour longer.

When I have the time to spend on the computer, I will post a how-to on my Squidoo pages.  I'll post a link to there when that's done.

I think these will work rather well for VBS!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In the works: clay oil lamp

I've volunteered to work the crafting station of our church's Vacation Bible School this summer.  We're in the early planning stages.

One of the things we've decided to do is *not* buy the craft kits from the US.  Instead, we'll be coming up with themed crafts of our own.

The challenge?  Registration is just started, and the age range for registrants is 5-12.  That's a HUGE difference in abilities and interest!

So I've been trying to brainstorm various craft ideas that can be as simple or as complex as the abilities of the crafter, that is also thematic.  Time is limited, as groups will be coming through the stations on a rotation (I've never done one of these before, so I have no idea what it's really like; just how it's planned).  Things have to be quick, relatively easy, not very messy, and if they require drying time, won't take up much space.

Also, the themes are related to water and the sea (Jesus walking on water, calming the storm, instructing the fishermen to throw their nets one more time, etc.).

I've decided to test out an idea.  Air dry clay oil lamps, shaped like fish.  I've picked up some terra cotta modeling clay and some light vinyl - the sheet can be cut into sections for each individual quite easily.  I found using the small sheet also made it easier to move my clay shape around as needed.

I deliberately kept things simple, without attempting to go into too much detail, nor to attempt any sort of "perfection."  I wanted to see if this was something a 5 yr old could do.

This is what I've got so far, after drying over night.  The clay needs 24 hours to dry, which could be an issue, but after about a third of the time, it was dry enough that I could remove it from the sheet without breaking anything, yet still soft enough that I could smooth out a few rough spots I couldn't reach while it was still fully damp.

The tail is meant to double as a handle.  The body will hold olive oil.  The wick holder was shaped using a pencil, which was also used to mark designs on the sides and tail.

Including time to knead the clay (which would be done in advance, I think, so wouldn't be part of the crafting time), it took me less than half an hour to make this.  Now that I have an idea of what I'm doing and no longer have to pause to get things I didn't think of ahead of time, I think I could probably make one in about 10 minutes.

After it's completely dry, I will test light it.  I need to make sure the wick is held properly.

Or, someone could "cheat" and just put a tea light inside the bowl, instead.

I will likely make at least one more before our first planning meeting on Friday.

What do you think?  Older kids would easily go all out with this, if they wanted.  I think the shape is basic enough that younger children can manage it, but it's been a long time since I've done crafts with children so young.  I don't even know if we'll get kids that young!

Is there anyone who has done camp crafts that can give me some feedback and suggestions?