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Monday, November 8, 2010

Okay. Every year I have really, really good intentions. I say, "I'm going to get ahead. I'm not doing everything I do at the last minute. I'm starting in November at the latest."

Yeah, right.

Well, this is going to be my year for following through. It's a great time for craftsmas: the economy still stinks, and guess what? Handmade really is nicer.

I'm starting simple. Manageable. Here we go.

Full Sun Body Scrub
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup coarse salt (try to find the really coarse kind -- you can get it at many asian grocers)
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops geranium essential oil

Winter Woods Body Scrub
1/2 cup liquid glycerin (available in health food stores or online)
1 cup coarse granulated sugar
10 drops rosewood essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil

I'm packaging mine in hermetic compote jars.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Colorworked Balsam Ornaments

These small sachets can be knit up quick and they make cute ornaments. You can combine the patterns any way you want, and it’s a great way to play with color work for the first time.

You will need:
- two balls of DK weight wool or alpaca yarn in contrasting colors* -- we used Reynolds Whiskey, and especially recommend something tweedy
- one pair US Size 3 needles
- a yarn needle
- about 1 tablespoon of balsam fir needles for each sachet (you can also use plain polyacrylic stuffing)
- bits of scrap cloth (white muslin is inexpensive and works well)
sewing needle and thread
four straight pins
- our pattern! Buy Now

*You will need at least two colors for this project, but you can use more if you want to work up a more genuine fair isle pattern or for the more complex three color patterns.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Five Easy + Inexpensive Handmade Gifts

1. Custom Recipe Book.
You will need:
- 15 recipes (check Williams-Sonoma and Martha Stewart for ideas)
- A package of sheet protectors
- A 1" View Binder
- Paper

Compile your recipes, print or write them out, slide the pages into the sheet protectors, and arrange in the binder. Use the view pockets in the binder to make a cover.

2. Amigurumi Animal.
You will need:
- Yarn, in a few different colors
- A crochet hook
- Buttons for eyes/noses
- Stuffing

Amigurumi animals are not too hard to make, even if you've never crocheted before. You only need to know how to chain and single crochet. Here's a free pattern in English for a simple penguin, and a free Japanese visual pattern for a forest rhinoceros beetle. The Japanese visual patterns tend to be easier for me than the written-out English ones, and I don't read a word of Japanese.

3. A Simple Fabric Scarf.
You will need:
- 2.5 yards of fabric
- 1 yard of fringe
- Thread
- Scissors
- The free "Cozy Scarf" pattern available on Amy Butler's website.

4. Stuffed and Decorated Candy Boxes.
You will need:
- Ingredients for your recipes + a kitchen
- A candy thermometer (very important for candy making!)
- Wax paper
- Small paper muffin liners

Cut wax paper into circles and line the bottom of your tins with it. You may also wish to line the sides with a strip. Fill with muffin liners and put candy in each liner. Stuck for ideas? Try these: Chocolate Fudge, Peanut Butter Cups, Peppermint Sticks, or Golden Caramels.

The nice thing about candies like caramel and peppermint sticks is that the ingredients are inexpensive, being almost 90% refined sugar. Give them to all your relatives kids, then run and hide behind a rock.

5. Knit Hat
You will need:
- 1 ball of yarn
- 1 set size 9 double pointed knitting needles
- 1 US Size G crochet hook

This is an easy pattern for a beginning knitter. It's a pattern of knits and purls, very simple. And, unless you're making it for someone with a huge head, you probably only need one ball of yarn. The two best things about knit hats? They take a fifth the time of scarves, and they let you get comfortable with knitting in the round, which is essential for socks and handwarmers.

Happy crafting!