Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oilcloth apron

Here's a last-minute oilcloth apron, a child-size version of Martha's gardener's apron. My favorite oilcloth was the boat blueprint pattern, but I bought the wild and bright orange floral. It will make a lovely apron.

Merry Christmas! I will post again in the new year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gingerbread ideas

I'm pretty sure this is poor Thomas Becket being led off by the king's knights, not a very Christmas-y scene. These small terracotta medallions remind me of creative and historical gingerbread. The kind that comes out of wooden molds. I need to find a great gingerbread recipe that will work with molds and not taste like a Marie Claire Idees cardboard craft. On a tour of Hampton Court, I learned that Queen Elizabeth had an entire kitchen dedicated to gingerbread.

Next Christmas I intend to focus on gingerbread. Imagine gingerbread mittens and a gingerbread sweater with red beads and the tiniest bit of silky white icord. I could take one of those St. Nicholaus molds and make ceramic medallions that look like little cookies with a nibble out of the corner and have everyone wear them around their necks on December 6 on red silk cord. I'm going to have to go google medieval gingerbread now.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holiday playlist

We've been pulling out all the holiday cds and making iTunes playlists for the holidays. It's funny the songs that make it on the list. This year two versions of Run Rabbit Run head the list - one from the 1940s and a Bluegrass version. I like it when a song makes it into a playlist because it reminds us of something, not necessarily because the song has anything to do with Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crochet ideas

Here's an idea I'm simmering for my leftover bits of yarn - crochet pillows. On the left is a page from Practical Modern Crochet by Vibeke Lind. The magazine page on the right is pitching throw pillows from Tara Handknits. I like her colors, and I like the wobbly spin of Vibeke's design.

I'm still meditating on the Marie Claire Idees cardboard crafts section. These branches would be wonderful around the diningroom light.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Rainy cookie baking weather

The almond paste cookies need to "set" for a while before baking. It just makes them more lovely. I gave the bath bombs another go. I made peace with the awful bias tape edging on the little dog coat. I accepted the slightly crispy texture on the iron-on dishtowel project. In the dim light of a rainy December afternoon, everything looks better.

My home lacks a fireplace, but this page of Marie Claire Idees makes me think I should have one in every room! I have a large jar in which I like to coil a string of fire fly lights - it would be lovely in a "carton" fireplace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Marie Claire Idees Decembre

So many great ideas in the new Marie Claire Idees! I love these painted cardboard birds flying across the door. I am going to throw this picture and a book of Early American embroidery designs that includes some wonderful birds into the runcible bin with a cardboard box and see what happens.

Last night I was sewing some last minute fur leg warmers and "otter pelt" neck warmers for my nineteenth century Ft. Ross dwellers. The fake fur department is lovely. What about a wonderful muff, like this red one? You have to have the right coat or sweater for a muff, a backdrop really.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Crosspatch progress

I'm a just a few rows short of finishing the back of the Crosspatch vest. The small dog coat, Aunt Elaine, did not go well today. Bias tape trim is my enemy. The fancy retro dishtowels, did not go well today. Inkjet iron-on papers are my enemy. There is a bad craft vibe all across the diningroom and kitchen. I'm going into the livingroom to knit with Johnny Cash.

Friday, December 14, 2007


You cannot step into a Carol Field cookbook and come out with just one cookie. Yesterday's almond eyes were followed by tozetti - the original energy bar. There are pages and pages of holiday and end of semester to-do lists around here. I need a craft triage strategy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Glue pen

Well I wish I had had this glue pen the first time I tried putting glitter on postcards! It's called Quickie Glue Pinpoint roller and it draws the thinnest lines - perfect for my fancy schmancy glitter. Eleni, I haven't found any white glitter yet, but I'm saving one of the cards for a snow scene.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Feast of St. Lucy

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Lucy - so I've hauled out the Carol Field cookbooks today. Since I haven't been soaking wheat berries for 3 days, Cuccia is out. I guess we'll go with an eye-shaped cookie. I'm looking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fabric store bonanza

What luck today - netting for hostess aprons, teddy bear fur for a hat, and printed leather! The fake fur department has given me so many ideas for fur coats and fur scarves. This may be the after-effects of too much screwball comedy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Watching Cary Grant

Father Goose, Topper, My Favorite Wife - I'm drunk on pink ladies, and I can't go on like this. Crosspatch is almost half complete, but I'm switching genres.

It was perfect walking weather Sunday. We brought our copy of Stairway Walks in San Francisco by Adah Bakalinsky to Telegraph Hill - hidden staircases, footpaths, private gardens, upstairs porches, the murals in Coit Tower where we saw these girls, and outside we filled all the viewscopes with quarters.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Nosegay aprons

Found it, appropriately enough, in a box with the very first xeroxed and stapled issue of Bitch! This is the Everywoman's May 1954 'how to' project - 1/2 yard of tulle, 1-1/2 yards of ribbon and plastic flowers. I was thinking of doing a tonal stencil thing. Eleni, you could do an art deco martini glass thing and add sequins. I've had my heart set on plastic poinsettias, but a winter constellation accented with rhinestones on dark blue would be lovely, pink tulle with white poinsettias and gold bead centers or silver tulle and pink poinsettias with pink velvet ties would be sweet. And I keep seeing a deep golden yellow with white pompoms or white glittery snow flakes and a vintage Santa and his sleigh pin - over jeans.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bath bombs

I tried the bath bomb recipe in an old Martha Stewart Holiday Crafts magazine. They smell quite nice but they don't fizz for that long. They didn't come out of the molds either. Eleni, I'm going to try the advice in this version of the recipe and let them dry out in a towel and line the molds with tin foil or saran wrap. We used 4 drops of grapefruit and 2 drops of sweet grass in the first batch, maybe I'll switch to roses and lavender for the next one. Maybe I should use my 1 pint ice cream mold instead of these tiny 1/4 cup molds. I once added 2 c. of baking soda to a pitcher of lemon juice (thinking it was bakers' sugar) and that was some explosion - that's what I'm looking for - angel food cake pan sized bath fizzies!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Feast of St. Nicholaus

This morning we found our boots filled with chocolates and prizes! This gloomy, rainy weather is such a perfect setting for our tree. I'm going to search through the Family Herbal for some good potion ideas. Watched Father Goose last night, almost a third of the way done with Crosspatch, but I must take a break and add some inches to Damask.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First Wednesday Homesick Drill

They sounded the emergency sirens at noon today. Coincidentally I was adding glitter to some old St. Louis postcards for Christmas. I decorated the trees in front of St. Johns Hospital and the pillars of the Jefferson Memorial. These will make nice gift cards. I may take some photos from my album and photoshop them to look like old postcards and decorate those as well. Glitter is so gratifying!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lacy Crochet

Aach! The glare on the photo - it gets so dark here so early! This is a page from Lacy Crochet originally put together by the Japanese magazine Shufu-to-Seikatsu Sha, and now translated into English and published by Chronicle Books. I found it on the used shelf at Moe's.

Above, if you can see through the glare, is a lovely crochet hook folder and scissors case. Crochet + Linen or Felt = Classy. I'm thinking about using linen yarn with linen and thin tweedy yarn with wool felt or leftover silk laceweight with folded rice paper (library card and book list holder). The scissors case would look so cool out of leather or suede.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Holiday knitting

The crosspatch vest is 25% finished thanks to The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (wonderful restaurant scene), The Awful Truth (ok), Kiss Them for Me (ok) - and my favorite so far - Holiday. At one point Katherine Hepburn just plunked down on the couch and pulled out her knitting with me. I don't know how much more screwball comedy I can stand.

Visited Lhasa Kharnak today on Telegraph - a beautiful place to gather ingredients for holiday potions, makes you feel like brewing things and stirring them with your staff.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

On the right track

So many treasures at the flea today. We found a lot of postcards on which we will try the Christmas glitter treatment.

I was thinking of giving a stack of vintage books tied with ribbon with a handmade library card on top, maybe even wrap them in clear cellophane covers like library books. and then I'd write a card that says something like, 'I found these for you at the library, but they never have to be returned.'

I am also still haunted by the ladies' magazine with directions for a red tulle apron with plastic poinsettia's glued to it.