Archive for March 24, 2013

Kitty Grass

DIY Cat GrassDIY Cat GrassMy cat Murphy eats every living plant that comes into the house and then promptly vomits it up. When I heard that it was possible to grow your own cat grass and that it’s easier to for a cat to digest, I knew this was just the project for a girl like me and a cat like Murphy. First I had to make the planter fancy. The entire process takes about a week.

Cat grass is made from hard organic wheat seeds, I purchased mine from Amazon.com. The smallest quantity available was 5 pounds but it was only 12 dollars. I only used about 1 1/2 cups of pre sprouted seads for this project so it’s going to last forever (you need enough seeds to cover the planter).DIY Cat Grass

First, you need to pre-sprout the seeds. To do this you need to rinse the seeds in cool water. Drain and repeat every 12 hours until the seeds sprout. You know they have sprouted when they start to look a bit maggoty (read – disgusting). DIY Cat Grass

Plant the seeds. DIY Cat Grass

Watch seeds grow. DIY Cat Grass

Cat sniffs grass. (day three)DIY Cat Grass

Cat eats grass. (end of week 1)DIY Cat Grass

Easter Bunny Hat

IMG_2312FinalThis hat was originally supposed to be for my niece. However, I wasn’t truly happy with it. Although I consider myself to be a pretty experienced knitter, Anything that includes sewing seems to defeat me, so I decided to pack it away and try again next year.

I followed a Baby Bunny Hat pattern I found on Ravelry. I did make some slight changes to the pattern but the basics were the same.

Modifications

Size
Although my niece is only three months old, I did make the 9-12 month size hat. I found that the 3-6 month size was very very tiny, I also used a smaller needle size (8us) than the pattern called for. My husband was very kind to model the small hat size. IMG_2295

Yarn
I used Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Bone for the hat, and Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends in Peony for the ears. I was really dispapointed by how breakable the Organic Cotton was. I’ve never had yarn break while weaving in the ends or just simply by pulling on the drawstring to close the hat. Blue Sky Alpacas is one of my favorite brands, and it looked really cute when the hat was finished, so I hope this was just a wonky skein.IMG_2296_med

Decrease stitch
The pattern calls for the K2og decrease. I prefer the improved SSK decrease as it tends to be tighter and leaves almost no gaps. The improved SSK is as follows. Slip as if to knit. Slip as if to purl. Hold the yarn as if to purl and pull the two stitches over the yarn.

Ears
I wasted an entire night trying to figure out how to twist the two colors of yarn but managed to get the hang of it after a good nights sleep – only to waste the entire next day sewing the ears to the hat. I thought the pattern ears looked a little too cat like (after making them about fifty eleven times). So I made a few edits, which I wrote down in case anyone is interested.IMG_2302

Modified Ear Pattern
Cast on 12 stitches using the Organic Cotton Stone Yarn and 10 stitches using the Alpaca Natural Blends Peony Yarn. I continued the Knit/Purl repeats 3 more times until I had 16 rows. I changed the decrease row slightly.
Decrease row: With ModSSK, knit to last 2 sts of rabbit fur yarn, MODSSK, with inner ear fluff yarn
Purl
Knit
Purl
Continue to repeat this until you have 1 pink stitch and 2 cream stitches on your needle. Break Bone yarn and pull through both stitches. Use Peony yarn to sew through the ear pieces together.

Sewing…ugh
You’ll remember the ongoing theme of my blog…my wretched sewing skills. The cool thing about knitting with two colors is that you are essentially “seaming” one side of the ears together as you knit so you only have to sew one side closed. I just wish there was a pattern where the whole hat was all one piece because crooked ears has been a constant black cloud hovering over me since I started this project.IMG_2300

In case you are wondering my child size head manaquin was made with a lotion bottle and a ball of yarn.IMG_2315

The pattern says sew the ear bottoms together… (no, this picture isn’t blurry, that’s just the illusion caused by my horrid sewing skills)IMG_2308

…and then sew them to the hat in a triangle. I tried that – at first. But then I had to sort of move them here and there to keep them even and then move them a little more to keep them erect on the hat. They say you are your own worst critic, meh.

I even tried to distract the eye with bows. But, I just didn’t have confidence in my sewing skills to send this out into the world. Some day little niece.

Murphy’s Planter

Murphy's Planter BoxMurphy's PlanterThis planter is part one of a two part project. I am making Murphy, my cat, wheat grass otherwise known as cat grass, in hopes that it will save my plants. So of course an ordinary planter simply would not do.¬†(Inspiration for this project can be found here.) I wanted it to have a weathered vintage sort of look, I hesitate to use the word “shabby chic” because that’s not at all what I wanted but that’s pretty much filled up my head and absorbed all thought so there it is.

I hoped my husband would make the box but he rambled off a long list of wood cutting tools he would need, and that was the the end of that dream. Boo.

We found a sufficient enough 24 inch box at Home Depot and I set about destroying it in the name of DIY.Murphy's Planter

Home Depot sells 8oz sample sized Behr paint cans for $2.94, which is perfect for this project. I fell in love with this color, much to my husbands horror. I want to paint every room in my house Smokey Slate. I used about half of it on the planter.Murphy's Planter

Once it dried, I used sand paper and a hammer to destroy it. I wish I didn’t use the hammer – other then knocking a big chunk out of the right side of my planter, it pretty much made quarter size dents that look really odd. Anyway, with that regret in mind, once I’d destroyed my beautiful paint job well enough, I moved on to the next step.Murphy's Planter

Side note: I don’t know the grade of the sand paper. I found it lying on the floor in the garage but I imagine it was the roughest possible as the first swipe almost tore all of the paint off the planter.

I used a paint brush to apply the stain…Murphy's Planter

…and then with an old towel I “borrowed” from the gym, I rubbed it in and wiped it away.Murphy's Planter

At first I was HORRIFIED. The smokey slate was ruined and it didn’t look that great. However, I was determined to make this a successful project, so I pushed on. Apply stain. Wipe away. Repeat. So on and so forth. After about 3 or 4 cycles, it started to look passible! Thankfully, I can say I really like it. I am looking forward to making a few wood signs.

Stay tuned for the cat grass!
IMG_0026 Edited

Birthday Card

DIY Birthday CardDIY Birthday CardWhen Lee mentioned that he needed a card for his grandfather’s birthday my first thought was ‘yay! new birthday craft punch’. I quickly offered to make it.

Lee’s grandfather holds a special place in my memories. Lee and I were engaged the first time I met his grandparents. During our visit he told me that Lee got his ummm… “appreciation” for girls like me from him. He told me that I looked just like a “colored girl” that he dated overseas during the war. He seemed so proud of Lee, it was hard to take offense.

Since this card was last minute, it turned out a bit barren but I like it and it wasn’t super hard to make.

I used the Martha Stewart Balloon craft punch and the Martha Stewart Alphabet craft punch, several shades of scrapbook paper, and a brown paper bag colored card.

I punched a ton of balloons and alphabets in various colors.DIY Birthday Card

I glued HAPPY BIRTHDAY letters to the balloons in contrasting colors and glued them to the inside of the card.DIY Birthday Card

Next, I glued embroidery thread to the back of the balloons. This was trickier than I thought it would be. I couldn’t seem to get the string to stick. I tried super glue, mod podge, and finally a glue stick which oddly enough did the trick. However, I hate hate hate glue sticks, they are so messy! I tried to take pictures of this step but my fingers were so sticky that I decided to preserve my camera (and dignity). Once it dried I glued the balloons to the front of the card. Note: I only glued string to about half of the balloons so that I didn’t add to much bulk to the card but mostly because I hate glue sticks.

So that’s it, my first handmade birthday card… Lee was thrilled that the “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” balloons took up so much space because that left little room for writing. Men!IMG_2236