Sunday, December 16, 2012

Homemade Playdough

Have you ever wanted to make your own playdough?  It's pretty quick
 (about 10 minutes from start to playing with it).

Homemade Playdough Recipe
3 cups flour 
1.5 cups salt 
6 tsp. cream of tarter 
3 tbsp. olive oil 
3 cups water 
food coloring or koolaid

Mix all the ingredients in a large pot.  This makes a lot of playdough.  You may want to start with a half batch.

Stir over medium heat until the dough sticks together.  The dough on the bottom of the pot cooks first so keeps stirring and pull the bottom dough up so it can cook evenly.  It will only take a few minutes.

For even color, add the food coloring or koolaid in your pot before the dough starts to stick together.
For swirly colors, add the food coloring after the dough is formed.  I made indents with my finger, put a few drops of coloring in and then squished the dough around it.  Then I kneaded it to mix in the color.

I added the yellow color in the pot and mixed the blue and green in after the dough was formed.

Store in an air tight container.

You don't have to be exact on the salt.  I ran out on my second batch and only put in half a cup.  It was a little stickier mixing, but the finished dough was just like the first batch.

Kiddo decided to mix all the colors together.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Announcing Beneath The Tree

Beneath The Tree is a holiday home tour and art sale and I'm very excited to be a part of it this year!

If you'll be in the Grand Rapids, MI area November 9th or 10th check it out!  This is really different than any shows I've done before.  The art is set up in people's homes and there is one checkout per house!

I've been working hard to get my stuff made and tagged.  I have scarves, hats, bar soap, foaming soap, vanilla extract, toothpaste, and braided roving rugs!

Look for RainyDayArt and Mel's Naturals at house #1!

They're still looking for volunteers if you'd like to work a shift or bring a meal.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wool Dryer Ball Report

Thanks for the comments, its so nice to know that someone reads my blog!

These dryer balls are awesome! Seriously!

I wasn't checking constantly; I just set the dryer for less time than usual, but a big load of diapers dried in 40 minutes less (at least) than usual AND the thick BumGenius AIOs that take FOREVER to dry were completely dry. Next time I'll try setting it for a little less time.

Here's some how to info that I found.

If you're making a bunch that is probably the way to go. I made 3 and they're about 3 inches across. I just felted them at my sink, it went pretty quick. I wrapped the wool into balls like shown in those links, put hot water and soap on them, and rubbed them in my hands, then did a second layer. With how well they work, I should make some more. I don't have any old pantyhose, because I wear them almost never, maybe I'll try a sock.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Toe Up Socks with Gusset and Heel Flaps

I really like knitting socks toe up, but I also wanted to try for a better fit by adding a gusset, and I wanted to knit it with magic loop instead of double points. I searched and searched and didn't find a pattern that had what I was looking for. So I examined heels and gussets in several different patterns and of course my gauge was different, and this is what I came up with.

I knit from both ends of the yarn, which is why the stripes progress in opposite directions.

This is a basic sock formula which can be adjusted. The numbers in my example fit a size 6 US shoe size (9 inches toe to heel, and 7.75inches around the ball of the foot).
Gauge: 6.25 st/in
Needle size: 4
Yarn: Indulgence 6 Ply Distrato (at 426 yards, it looks like I have enough for another pair)

Use a cast on appropriate for magic loop knitting, such as this

Cast on 16 stitches per sock (8 each for the top and bottom). If you want a wider toe, cast on more to start.
Toe increases:
Row 1: K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1, K1; K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1, K1
Row 2: K around
Continue increasing until there are 48 stitches per sock. (or more for a wider sock)

Knit around until you have 6 inches or about 2/3 of the total foot length. This can be adjusted depending on how big of a gusset you want. On this sock I did 3 rounds of increasing for the gusset, if you want more start that many rows earlier.
The first half of the sock is the top.
Row 1: Knit across the top. K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1,
K1 (2 stitches increased)
Row 2: K around
Repeat until you have the desired number of gusset increases.

Turn Heel
How wide or narrow the heel is can be adjusted by how many stitches are in the middle of the heel. This gives a fairly wide heel.

Row1: K 23, M1, K1, wrap and turn
Row2: P18, M1, P1, W&T
Row3: K16, M1, K1, W&T
Row4: P14, M1, P1, W&T
Row5: K12, M1, K1, W&T
Row6: P10, M1, P1, W&T
Row7: K8, M1, K1, W&T
Row8: P6, M1, P1, W&T

Knit around picking up and K2TOG the wraps as you go. (Pick up the wrap, put it on the left needle, and knit it together with the stitch it was wrapped around)

Heel Flap
K till 8 stitches left, SSK, turn
Sl 1, P20, P2TOG
Sl 1, K20, SSK
Continue decreasing until you are back to 48 stitches per sock (so 24 on the heel side).
Knit around until a little less (1 1/4 inches) than desired length
Switch to K2, P2 rib for 1 1/4 inches.

Use a stretchy bind off such as a K2TOG (through the back loop to make it look like a regular bind off) bind off or Jenny's surprisingly stretchy bind off

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wool Dryer Balls

I've seen wool dryer balls on several different websites. They are supposed to shorten drying time and so use less energy. That sounds pretty cool. I had some wool leftover from a spinning project so I made some. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Scrappy the Fabric Block

I'm gradually getting a bit more time for making things here and there. I was fixing a shirt the other night and decided to make this fabric block while I had the sewing machine out.

You may recognize one of the fabrics from the pajamas I made. I had scraps from different polar fleece fabrics. I cut 6 squares. Sewed four of them together in a line, then sewed one on the top edge, matching each edge of the square with an edge from the other 4 squares, and one on the bottom edge, leaving a space to stuff it. I turned it right side out, stuffed it with more fabric scraps, and sewed up the small remaining hole.

Ta Da, a nifty soft block made from scraps! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Look at me making stuff again! This is pajamas that I sewed for my daughter. It was fun to work on a different sort of project and this was my first zipper installation. I learned some things along the way and it turned out pretty good too!

The sleeve cuffs where too tight so I just left them off and did a simple hem.

I got so tired of the pajamas in the store having toxic flame retardants on them, so I did a few things about it. I bought some super spiffy wool pajamas from England, I bought some of those tight organic cotton pajamas with the silly warning tags, and then I picked out some fabric and a pattern and made my own. Mine look super cute on her and so cozy and warm!

Its pattern 3527, in case you want to make your own.

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