Pondering purple paint: a post

I have a confession. It’s about my craft room/office space. I consider myself exceedingly lucky to have a whole room dedicated to this stuff, but then I go and treat it terribly. I am ashamed to even post this, but I will do it for the sake of SCIENCE crafting.

 

Brace yourselves.

 

OH DEAR LORD.

OH DEAR LORD.

I would get busy, things would be shoved haphazardly into the room, and sadness would ensue. (Although, to be fair to myself, I had just taken down two shelves and shoved a whole bunch of stuff into this corner.)

Anyways, I finally got sick of the dumping ground and declared war on my craft room. It started on Pinterest, because that’s how these things go these days. I got some great ideas for yarn storage, because that’s my biggest challenge:

This is an old photo. I actually added twice the shelving later.

This is an old photo. I actually added twice the shelving later.

As you can see, I may have a bit of a yarn stash problem (in the same way that Hunter S. Thompson had a bit of a drug problem).

 

Thing the first: Remove the yarn from the scene of the crime.

This was one of four giant boxes. I still ran out of room.

This was one of four giant boxes. I still ran out of room.

 

Thing the second: Paint. And not just any paint. This is the one room of the house where nobody can tell me what I can and can’t put on the walls.

The lady at the paint counter thought I was nuts.

The lady at the paint counter thought I was nuts.

It’s purple! So very purple! Blindingly so. At night you can probably see it from space.

or at least from my driveway

or at least from my driveway

Next: I organize, spend WAY too much time thinking about shelving, and attempt to find my dog in this disaster.

I know she's in there somewhere.

I know she’s in there somewhere.

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Overachievers

I took my daughter to a pottery painting place a little bit ago. I’m exceedingly lucky, because she inherited my artsy-craftsy-ness. Also, I had a Groupon!

Pottery Painting

All plastic-ed up and ready to go.

I was planning on taking adorable photos of her painting away, but I got distracted. I decided to paint a little round jar instead. Pretty soon, my daughter long done and complaining she was bored. “HOLD ON, MOMMY’S PAINTING,” I’d say. Then I let her play Fruit Ninja on my phone while I finished up.

In other news, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

Let's play "spot the overachiever!"

Let’s play “spot the overachiever!”

Eventually I did finish up and I rewarded my child’s patience with a pretzel. Then I took my little jar home and re-sealed it, because – and this is kind of sad – I have better sealant at home than they did at the pottery place.

 

Don't look too closely. Painting is not my forte.

Don’t look too closely. Painting is not my forte.

Anyways, my daughter loved the pottery place, I loved the pottery place, and we all won in the end. Next time maybe I’ll paint one of the exceedingly tacky things they have there; there was a breathtaking variety to choose from.

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Magic Water

I have a six-year-old daughter. As anyone who is a parent knows, you often need to get… creative with solutions to cranky or overwrought children. I thought I’d share this horrible lie I tell my child in order to calm her down. It works LIKE MAGIC!

 

Magic Water

 MAGIC WATER

This is a cherished family recipe. And by “family recipe” I mean “my somewhat desperate brother-in-law made it up when he was babysitting.”

INGREDIENTS

  • water
  • ice (optional)
  • a somewhat gullible child

DIRECTIONS

  1. Tell your child you are making her “magic” water and she’s not allowed to see you do it. That would break the magic.
  2. Fill a cup with water. Add ice, if you’re feeling generous.
  3. Give the water to your child. Note: if your child asks you what makes the water magic, tell her it’s a special ingredient called a “placebo.”
  4. Enjoy a few minutes of blessed silence.

I swear to God this works. Child having a crying spell because the dog stole her cookie? MAGIC WATER. Child has blown past “tired” and into “holy crap everything ever is the worst thing ever?” MAGIC WATER. My kid will often, between hugely dramatic sobs, choke out a request for magic water. That’s where it’s actually magic.

One day in the future, my child will figure this out. By then, I’m hoping she’ll be able to just deal with it when minor tragedy strikes.

…I’m also hoping that Daddy will be home, and not me.

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Sewing for iPad: a DIY hard case

A while back a good friend bought my iPad, and in turn I used the money to buy a better iPad. (Oh, those cruel masters at Apple…) I sent my beloved, discontinued iPad case off with my friend, because iPads just shouldn’t be naked.

Here’s the thing, though: when I want to buy a new case for my phone, or my iPad, or pretty much any accessory, I obsess over it. I spend hours on Google and Amazon and lots of other stores. It’s really sad. This time, I couldn’t find anything in my price range that I liked. However, the generic knockoff case I’d loved so much still existed, in a very pretty color.

 

iPad case

Robin’s egg blue! Very trendy.

This case, while not about to win any awards for attention to detail or premium materials, served me really well in its previous incarnation. And it was less than $10! (It’s available here on Amazon.) The only problem was the very blank, very snoozeworthy front. I decided that for $8 I could afford to go all Frankenstein on the thing.

After it finished off-gassing (and boy, did it stink) I went to town with a couple fat quarters. First, some hand-stitched applique:

Applique bird

I’m not going to win any awards for attention to detail, either.

Then, some measuring, re-measuring, sewing, re-sewing, et cetera.

iPad cover in progress

mmmm, flowery.

Then: glue! I used spray adhesive, which was apparently the wrong sort. While the fabric stayed in place okay, the edges could peel right off.  Clearly I needed some overkill in the form of Aleene’s Super Fabric Adhesive. This holds like a rock but is not ideal – I’ll get into that later!

Here’s the finished product:

iPad cover: front

Yes, I put a bird on it.

iPad cover: back

I love the two-color look I got!

The biggest side benefit to this cover: People are much less likely to steal it because at first glance it looks like a notebook!

A few weeks later, my husband hopped on the iPad bandwagon as well. His iPad has been going around naked, which just drove me nuts. Fortunately, this case comes in a ton of colors. Time to stitch again!

Monogrammed iPad cover

This time with MONOGRAM!

For this case I used a warm tan linen and embroidered a monogram. I am not entirely satisfied with said monogram, but that’s okay.

This is where I had problems with the Super Fabric Adhesive. I outlined the case with glue and used a brayer to stick the fabric down, but since the linen is a looser weave, the glue seeped through in some places. Fortunately it’s not too visible now that it’s dry, but if you look under the “L” in the monogram you can see a dirty-looking spot where it happened. Booo!!

The other problem I had with this second case was that it was a slightly different design than the first case – the cover is more substantial on the back. It looks fine, but I discovered the way it hinges is different than my first case, and so the fabric isn’t stuck all the way down! D: It is only noticeable when you put the case up like a stand (as seen on the left in the image at the top of this post). Fortunately it doesn’t seem to make a difference to my husband, especially because he doesn’t usually use the case as a stand.

So, dear readers: are you ready to DIY the crap out of your various cases? Because I’m about to COVER EVERYTHING. Each of these projects cost less than $20 and I get a TON of compliments. Go forth and glue!

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Karbonz: terrible spelling, fantastic needles

When I was packing for the Knitting Pipeline retreat, I discovered a severe lack of proper size 2 circular needles. This is not surprising, because my 2s tend to wander off with a sock on them at any given moment. It doesn’t help that my craft room is completely torn apart at the moment while I whip it into something resembling order.

After poking around a while, I threw up my hands and declared that surely I would be able to buy another pair at the retreat. And I did! One of the vendors (Ewe-nique Yarns) was selling Knitter’s Pride Karbonz. They were moderately pricey – about $16 – but they were the only game in town at the moment.

Now, dear readers, I have a confession to make. I was intrigued by the idea of carbon fiber needles, but I hate hate HATE the cutesy misspelled name “Karbonz.” It’s a pet peeve for this anal-retentive grammarian. But I have to get off my high horse, I suppose, because these needles are AMAZING. Here’s my rundown.

Karbonz needles

Karbonz size 3 fixed circs, Spud & Chlöe Fine yarn

  • Tips: 4/5 Nickel-plated brass, similar to KnitPicks’ metal needles. I am a fan of this material over straight brass (like Addi) because I bend and dent brass. They’re pointy, too. I’d say somewhere pointier than Addi Turbos, but not as pointy as Addi Turbo Lace or Knitpicks. I would like them a little sharper, but they’re okay the way they are.
  • Join: 5/5 They’re using some kind of witchcraft here because these joins are unreal. I have had zero problems with them. I’d have to try ‘em out with laceweight to be sure, though.
  • Cables: 4/5 They seem thinner to me than other needles, but they’re still hearty enough to stand up to knitting and they don’t hold a curl. Yay!
  • Labeling: 5/5 This is a big one for me. Circulars are a tricky beast to label, I know, but I really like to be able to identify a needle without finding a gauge. These needles are labeled on the carbon fiber body in US and mm, and in US in nice big printing on the nickel-plated join. Very nice!
  • Carbon Fiber: 5/5 Here we get to the main selling point. The carbon fiber needle body is in fact a “warm” feeling material (like wood or bamboo)  but slick like a metal needle. I’ve always preferred cool-touch needles for my sweaty hands but this is nice! They  claim carbon fiber is flexible, but I really can’t bend them at all. I’d imagine they’d bend more at smaller sizes – their DPNs go down to 000! – and that would be pretty handy. Me, I’m just glad I won’t dent or break them like I do with every other needle ever.

My verdict: If I have the cash and I can get a hold of them, I would definitely buy these before anything else. In fact, after swatching I did end up needing a set of 3s and oh-so-grudgingly (not really) snapped up a pair.

Just don’t be surprised if you catch me in your LYS with a Sharpie, correcting the spelling on all the packages.

Just say no to things spelled with a Z.

I’m not joking.

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