Tuesday, December 29, 2009

There is no such thing as a silk worm (it's a caterpillar, silly)

Another wonderful natural fiber, silk is a protein obtained from cocoons made by the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori. I always thought the cute little worms, err, caterpillars, were raised and somehow "milked" for their silk. It is a lot more ugly. Commercially reared silkworm pupae are killed by steaming, dipping in boiling water or freezing them before the adult moths emerge, allowing the whole cocoon to be unraveled as one continuous thread. I expect some of them are allowed to mature to make more eggs that turn into more pupae. If the pupae break through the cocoon then the continuous thread made for the cocoon is broken. So a lot of little guys get boiled before they get to be moths. More on the process later. But appreciate that soft nighty or warm scarf.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Viscose, or wearing a tree

I have been seeing a lot more fabrics and clothing with viscose so I did a little research. I had no idea that viscose and rayon are synonymous and that viscose is touted as a "green" fabric. I actually thought that rayon was a synthetic (i.e. plastic) fabric. Viscose is a natural polymer made from wood pulp, patented 1892.

Because the cellulose has a very high viscosity, it was named “viscose”.
The cellulose is formed into sheets that are saturated with a solution of caustic soda. Sort of like making paper!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting Rid of the Goo

I cleaned my iron with CitraSolv. This stiff is made from natural oils and it smells pretty good. Just make sure to iron some scrap material first to get all the goo or whatever picture shows up on your iron gone. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness and we need our irons to work for us.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jesus on my iron or just goo?

Yesterday I started sewing again. My arm is healed enough to cut and sew! I got started on a project that needed interfacing so I ironed it on, then went on to iron a pocket and ruined the piece as there was a bunch of goo on my iron. Frustrated, I put the project aside and went to surf the net. I came across a piece where a women had goo on her iron, but it seems that it had a remarkable resemblance to Jesus. Thinking perhaps my iron had a message for me, I examined the image closer. I see something there. Maybe not a holy icon, more like a mountain crying or a waterfall. Is this a message?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Craft Fair

Cerise and Theresa did their first craft fair in Philomath a couple of weeks ago. It was a bust. Cerise was recovering form the flu and I had it full-blown though my fever broke before I went to sit at our booth. Most likely the swine variety. A benefit for the rodeo here in town, and well, a certain type of product must sell better. Slow traffic. Disappointing. I knew we were in trouble when they were giving out door prizes and the rodeo queen had mine. She called it a "Yogo Bag". Sigh. But, we have stock for another fair, maybe before Christmas! Anyone need a yogo or yoga mat bag, I have plenty in stock. Cerise has some really cute felt wool blend owls and alligators and her plush hippos. Oh, and we have about a billion cool magnets! Happy Crafting!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Corvallis Fall Festival

Aww! So many crafters. We went to the Corvallis, Oregon fall festival this weekend and saw 170 craft booths. A little crafting overload. Some amazing artwork and handcrafted work. Fused galss is all the rage. We picked up some things for Christmas gifts (can't list 'em in case the giftee reads this, perhaps something from the booth in the photo). It in inspiring but also shows how much work there is to going to a craft show. I saw some vendors I knew from shows in Arcata, like a women that does leather work and I was wearing her belt! Heal, arm, heal. I want to cut fabric again!
Theresa, OmMama

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thrift Store Volunteering

Cerise and Theresa vorked (volunteer working) their first day at Cat's Meow thrift store in Corvallis. The store supports Heartland Humane Society. Good thing: no cat box cleaning. Bad thing: lots of cool stuff. We only spent $22 today, mostly on fabric and craft supplies. They have great fabric. Before we started vorking there we got a bolt of wool fabric for $8. We can see that it will be expensive to volunteer there.

We also fund a super cool big pot and made dill pickles. POP! another just sealed.

The best part of the day: gluten free bakery!! What a yummy day.
Happy Pickling, C & T

Friday, August 7, 2009


Cotton. linen. Plaster. All holding my poor broken arm and wrist together. The lefty grows stronger. No sewing, crafting or anything for a time. Boohoo. Will do a lot of daydreaming on projects to do when I am better!
Theresa, OmMama

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Broken Arm

Om Mama has taken a fall and broken her arm. She will be out of commission for a bit healing before her big move. Krafty Katina is taking care of Om Mama and getting ready for a craft show and job hunting so posts will be slim. Check back this weekend for more!
Happy Crafting
Cerise : )

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dear Santa...

I've come to the realization that I am totally obsessed with fiber. I love flipping through knitting magazines and looking at all the yarns. I go to my LYS just to touch every skein they have. I spend hours online browsing spun creations. During one of my internet endeavors I discovered a fiber I hadn't heard of before. At least not by this name: qiviut. I've heard a knitter chat about the wonder of musk ox fiber but I still didn't know much about it. So I did a little research on qiviut and this is what I found. Qiviut is said to be even better than cashmere if you can believe that. It is softer and stronger and even warmer. It is not the jumbled, raggedy hair you usually see on a musk ox but the "downy" fur undercoat that is shed every year. The hair is either taken off in one large piece when it has pulled away from the body or collected when patches of the fluffy fiber fall off. It isn't usually bleached and dyed because the process compromises the strength and softness of the ox wool. It's then cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn. So this year, instead of a pony I think I'll ask Santa for a musk ox.
Happy Crafting!
Cerise : )

Thursday, July 30, 2009

My New Obsession

Biking around the streets of Corvallis, looking at houses for my parents to rent, Dale and I stumbled across a free sewing machine. My dream come true. And even better, it is a Wheeler and Wilson D-9, late 1800s treadle machine in a cabinet. It is absolutely amazing. It's not in great condition but I love it anyway. We took the car back and loaded it in the back seat (we really need a truck, that thing was heavy and awkward).
When we got it home and put it on the deck we pulled out the laptops and started searching for information about the old machine. During my search I found out that Allen B. Wilson was a sewing machines pioneer and all of us sewers have him to thank for the wonders of our modern machines. He created the rotary hook and bobbin combination and four-motion feed that moves the fabric through the machine automatically. In 1905, Singer bought out Wheeler and Wilson and continued some of their lines as late as the 1960s. Wilson never got much money from his patents, definitely no where near what Singer is making on their franchise, but he will go down in history with die-hard sewers and machine hunters.

The other thing I discovered in my online searches was a Singer Featherweight 222K. Of course I know about Featherweights. After all, I learned to sew on my mom's brilliant 1950s machine before getting my own. But I didn't know about the Featherweight 222K. And know that I do know about them, I really want one. The problem is, only 100,000 were ever made (compare that over 1,000,000 Featherweight 221s made between 1948 and 1959) and their scarcity means they are pricey. Especially since they are still very useful machines.
The free arm cousin of the Featherweight 221s were made in Killbowie, Scotland and not only is it a convertible machine that has a tubular bed that is perfect for shirt cuffs, but the feed-dog can be lowered for free form sewing, a huge plus to quilters. So for now, since I am broke, I will keep my eye out on these wonderful little machines in hopes of one day using my own.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Om Mamma & Krafty Katina on Facebook!

We've been on Facebook for a while but we want more fans. That means you! So become a fan and get updates and see more pictures of the craftappenings of Om Mamma and Krafty Katina. Plus, you can write on the wall; share ideas, links, and photos; and never miss what's going on with the girls. Hope to see you on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Corvallis Ravelers

Before I moved to Oregon I joined the Corvallis Ravelers group on Ravelry. I went to a Tuesday night knit meet at the Enoteca Wine Bar downtown and it was great! I'm glad there is a nice group of ladies to go knitting with. I'm looking forward to knitting with them again tonight and Wednesday night as well. I'll be working on my Basket Weave Socks again since I haven't worked on it since last Tuesday (I was making my first lace scarf, which is now Mum's). My LYS, Fiber Nooks and Crannys, also has a knit night every other week. I missed that one last week but am looking forward to it next week. If I ever get into spinning I can join ladies at my LYS the weeks they don't knit. The fiber scene here is great so far and I'm lucky to be in a community that will help me grow as a knitter.
Happy Crafting!
-Cerise : )

P.S. If you are a knitter/crochetter and you aren't on Ravelry, sign up!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crafting in Oregon

Well, it's been a long few months and I'm finally getting a long awaited blog up. Hopefully my life has settled down enough that I will be posting blogs more regularly. I have so so many things to blog about! I've been pretty crafty my first three weeks in Oregon and much of that is attributed to my newest addition to my craft life. Upon our arrival in Corvallis, Oregon, we scrambled to find a better living situation than we had originally secured and fortunately for us we got a beautiful two bedroom house that has a separate little house in the back. And guess where I've set up my crafts? In the craft hut! My parents came up for a visit three days after moving to Oregon and I had a lot of help getting my craft hut pretty and ready for crafting. My mom and I sponge painted the floor and my dad and Dale set up the extension cord from the main house to the craft hut so I could have electricity. I now have everything but my knitting out there and it's wonderful! I have my sewing table and a desk set up so I can leave out projects. There is plenty of storage space, including an old dorm dresser/cabinet from OSU, and plenty of space to spread out. I've already begun many sewing adventures but need to get some curtains up to keep out the sun and heat. I'm so happy I finally have some great space for doing all my projects and glad to have had helpers to get it set up!
Happy Crafting, Cerise : )

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cleaning up

First, let me say that Cerise's craft house in Corvallis is super awesome. She will post pictures soon (please, please!). Imagine having a whole small building to yourself to create, to craft and sew and imagine having all that space to keep things for future projects... Hey, a lot of that stuff is here at my house!
My husband and I are purging and sorting for an impending move. It is hard to toss things (actually, I mean recycle) that might turn into cool, incredible things to sell. I have a box of baby food jars (Cerise's) paint and print supplies (Cerise's) empty jewelry boxes (umhhhmm... Cerise's) along with my own baggage: cool pieces of driftwood I fantasize turning into jewelry, old sweaters that could be cat toys, worn blue jeans... I guess at some point some of it has to go. I just hate putting things into land fill so instead I lug it around, and maybe someday it will be the next great thing. Cerise has promised to get her baby food jars. She has room for them!
Theresa, OmMama

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My old 1952 sewing machine booklet tells me to oil my machine after 10-12 hours of use! Just like oil in my car and the life of my disposable contact lenses, I stretch things a bit. I finally oiled my machine this weekend and that little baby purrs! A new needle, a little motor lube and she is good to go for 4 or 5 more yoga mat bags, or 2500 miles or something like that. I promise I will oil you more, baby.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It IS Done

Yeah! I finished the Archaeopteryx stool. It was good painting practice and a fun project. Anyone want to bid on it? Come to the Museum's Prehistoric Ball on October 24th!

I also managed to make a nice pillow cover in a brown home decor velvety fabric I got on sale some time ago. I used an old vintage button that Cerise found at a thrift store. I stuffed a big 27" x 27" pillow form in the cover (another sale item from JoAnn's) and presented it as a father's day gift to my husband.
Now it is time to get sewing some new projects and new yoga mat bags!
Theresa, OmMama

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I work at a museum, which means we are always fundraising. This year is the Museum's 20th anniversary so we are having a first ever Prehistoric Ball. We are auctioning off stools, made with legs from the original display cases. Since I aspire to be artistic, I am offered to decorate one of the stools. I was petrified (no pun intended) to begin for two reasons. As a museum staff person, I felt there was more pressure for the stool to look good so that it actually got a decent bid. Second, the first artist, a tiler named Laurel Skye, brought back a gorgeous tiled stool with a lovely koi. Every speck of the stool is covered in tile. Mind you, they are little stools. I was kind of expecting I might paint beetles (about the only thing I paint lately) but as it was expected I really wanted to do something else.

Finally I struck upon the idea of something petrified. The legs are turritella (a fossilized sea shell compilation) and the top will be an Archaeopteryx when it is finished. Of course this is keeping me from sewing and writing about fabrics. essentially I am discovering that each project is helping to procrastinate on another. I will post the finished product when it is done and perhaps someone will pay big bucks to help "save the museum!"
Theresa, OmMama

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sock Mates

I have this wonderful twisted grey alpaca/merino wool blend yarn that I got at my LYS (local yarn shop) a while back and I finally decided to try it out last Wednesday while listening to Dale's band at a bar in Clairemont Mesa. Though I have two unfinished sweaters to finalize, some knee socks for Dale that are taking a while, and a Christmas present sock mate I need to re-knit for Mom since USPS likes to make packages disappear, I felt it was time to start another pair of socks. I used my classic go-to sock pattern from Knitting for Dummies and started in on the first sock. I fell in love with the yarn as soon as I started. I have been knitting with synthetics that split and don't feel that nice running through my hand so this was a delicious change in texture and quality. It was quit fun to sit and knit in the bar while listening to horrible open mic music before the headliner, a.k.a. Dale's band. I even started a little craft corner with a kindergarten teacher there to see the band. I stopped when it was heel flap time and when picked up the knitting the next day I decided to use my upcycled orange wool J. Crew sweater yarn for the heel and toe so I could get two socks out of one skein. After the first sock was done, Dale decided he really liked it and since I have two skeins of my wonderful Ecolana yarn we thought we might need to have matching pairs of warm, stylish socks. I finished sock two of four tonight. Sock one is on my foot, sock two is on Dale's foot.

I am a third of the way done with sock three. I love how quickly the yarn knits up. I found some of the same yarn on sale for $5 at my LYS today (along with some mustard and neptune Louet Merino Gems sock yarn) and I'm tempted to get the rest of what they have in the beautiful grey and white color. Until next time,
Happy Crafting!
Cerise : )

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Since Cerise has been talking about oilcloth it sparked interest in some other waterproof fabric. When we were kids and it rained while we were on our property in the mountains, my Dad would string up a big tarpaulin, which was very dark and heavy, and had a strong smell. This was a very old tarp and was actually covered with tar to make it water repellent.
In 1823 Charles Macintosh from Glasgow patented a waterproofing invention that used India rubber (from a ficus tree) mixed with coal tar naptha placed between two sheets of wool. This lead to the manufacture of the Mackintosh raincoat (nobody seems to know why the "k" was added), a classic that is still made today.
Thomas Hancock contributed his knowledge of vulcanized rubber technology, which solved a problem Macintosh had of the fabric becoming sticky with temperature changes. Is this the same guy who started Hancock fabrics? More research will be required! Later on many synthetics came onto the market including Gore-tex, by the invented Gore family. I believe they, too , are in the plastics hall of fame!
J. Crew makes a very handsome Mackintosh for a mere $800 and there are all sorts of vintage coats out there. Or go directly to the Mackintosh site where the two coats listed run about $900. For the women's styles (shown on micro-thin models) you need to request information. Sounds expensive. I suspect they last forever and only the styles change. And maybe you could start a campfire with one.
Theresa, Ommama

Monday, May 18, 2009

Denver, dogs and dad, a baby and the mall.

I just got back from a long trip to Denver to help my Dad go from hospital, to rehab to assisted living. It was an emotional trip, and, I think, ultimately successful. I missed my two little dogs who were delighted to see me when I got back. They weigh eleven pounds together. My sister has two large dogs whose teeth are bigger than my dogs. Her dogs make quite an impact when they jump into bed with you.

I also got to meet a new niece on her first day of life and go to the swanky Park Meadows Mall. No recession there. Everyone was packed into Hollister, Abercrombie and even the Hallmark store. So here is the tie-in to all these things: Buy handmade! I brought a cool necklace from CharmStar on Etsy for my niece's birthday—she wasn't returning my gift! There are multitudes of cool handmade baby gifts and dog toys. Who needs to go to Target or Petco! I got to thinking of all kinds of handmade things I want to try, from useful things for seniors to fun dog toys. Be creative, have fun and give from the heart!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Real Oil Cloth

So the snack bags aren't up on Etsy or Art Fire yet but they will be soon! And to add to the good snack bag news I'm working on leak "proof" snack bags. My first thought for this was vinyl and that led me to using oil cloth. But I realized I wanted to be really green about this, I mean vibrant-in-your-face-kelly-green. So I thought a little harder about the oil cloth. I had looked into this fabric before and found out that all this supposed oil cloth was really cute cotton prints coated in PVC. I don't want PVC leaching into my food! The point is to get away from plastic. So I researched the wonderful web full or information for any and every project you could ever want to start. I quickly came up with the very simple and easy way to make oil cloth. Spread some oil on a piece of cloth. It really is that easy! Real oil cloth is made using cotton fabric and a flax byproduct called linseed oil.

This would be a natural alternative that wouldn't leach nasty PVC chemicals into my food (this link talks about the poisons of PVC). I devised a plan to construct a frame on which to stretch my selected cotton prints. I didn't want to staple the fabric to the frame and waste a whole inch on the edge (you can make neat things out of long fabric scraps). My thrift store embroidery hoops came to mind. I would make a large and bulky embroidery hoop that would hold about a fat quarter's worth of fabric without putting holes into the pretty pieces. I went to Lowe's (this was the fun outing alternative to the neighboring Ikea in Mission Valley) and picked up some long skinny boards, stiff metal joints, and found some boiled linseed oil. I have the outer frame mostly constructed, save the tightening mechanism similar to the embroidery hoops. Due to the lack of a real wood saw (I was stuck using my tiny metal jewelry saw with it's tiny little blades NOT meant for wood) the ends of my boards are really rough. I'm going to have to file down the inner frame board ends in order for them to fit inside the outer frame. Then it's just connecting the last few pieces and I will be ready to get greasy! I probably should have waited to start this project after we moved so I had some sunny outdoor space to apply the linseed oil but I think I'll finish it here and try at least one swatch. Stay tuned to see a final product and more about how cool oil cloth really is!
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Progressing Sweater

As promised, another post! Lately I have been discovering a balance between my sewing and my knitting and trying to fit that into my everyday life. With very little work in my week I have been able to focus more on this (I'm still trying to fit school in there somewhere too). Sewing is the best in the say time as my "craft room" (a.k.a. the bedroom) is nice and sunny and I don't need to strain my eyes in bad light (and I still don't have a bulb for my machine). Knitting is best at night while catching my favorite History, Discovery, and Travel Channel shows or while reading my knitting magazine. This has been working out rather well. My sweater is starting to come along and I'm beginning to think about how to approach the neck. The pattern I started with (Treeline Striped Cardigan from The Purl Bee) won't be helpful for creating a v-line neck with a big edge.

I am going to have to dive right in to creating my own pattern if I want this to be a v-neck. The big, ugly, chunky man-sweater I have been working on (the blue one I've been ignoring since I finally got the last skein I needed to finish it, remember that one?) might help me figure this out. I have many more little stitches on this purple and white striped beauty but at least looking at how to decrease may give me some insight. I was hoping to try the end of the sweater on to see how much longer I want to make it but the needle cord is too small to go over me in either direction. It definitely has a little ways to go but it's very exciting to finally see some actual progress that looks like an article of clothing. Unfortunately, the onset of summer is getting me winding down on sweater projects. I'll have to pick up a side project of something lightweight and cotton so my knitting mind doesn't get overheated with all that warm and woolly yarn.
Happy Crafting, Cerise : )

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Facebook Fan Fridays!

Zakka Life

Great "breaking" news! We were so kindly featured on Zakka Life's blog on the Facebook Fan Fridays section. Check out the great Zakka Life blog and Zakka Life on Facebook. I love getting the email updates and looking at all the cool craft ideas and projects. Thanks!!! And don't forget to check out the new Krafty Katina and Om Mamma's Facebook page. We might just have to start up a Facebook fan section too!
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

Dragon Tie Belt Picture!

After however long it's been...toooooo long...here is a picture of the dragon tie belt. All upcycled materials! Unfortunately the camera is thrown off by the shimmer of the gold dragons and can't manage a great picture, but hopefully you get the idea. I'll be holding down the blog fort while mum is in Denver. More to come soon...
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dragon Tie Belt

A while back my dad gave Dale all his cubicle-era ties he didn't want anymore. One of the ties that ended up in the bunch was my favorite tie from my childhood (next to the Yellow Submarine one of course). I decided to sneak that one off the tie rack and make a belt out of it using some vintage hook buckles I purchased off Gingham Girl's Etsy site. I don't like the belts made by just using the original shape. I wanted a belt that would go through my belt loops but still be noticeable as a tie. I ended up ripping the seam on the back of the tie and trimming the inside support down to the smallest width. Then I pinned it to the support and painfully sewed wiggle designs with my Brother sewing machine in gold metallic thread. This tool FOREVER and my thread broke every few minutes. I had to adjust my tension over and over again and that still didn't help. The thread bunched up really badly in many areas on the back side of the tie/belt. At least only the decorative gold wiggle stitching is visible, not the out of control bunches of thread. I attached the very long belt to the right dragon and began figuring out how to make the belt adjustable without buying more materials. I decided to use buttons. I have a wonderful vintage candy tin full of old buttons from Merry Sunshine on Etsy. I plucked out a card of gold buttons to match the dragon. I tried out the metallic thread for the button holes but threw out the idea on the first break of the thread and used yellow instead. My button holes came out great! I think it might even be the first time I've actually made real button holes for buttons. I sewed on the buttons and though they are evenly spaced, they do not match up with the button holes. I might resew them but two at a time will button in, enough to hold the belt on the needed size. I have three more vintage hook buckles and some thrift store ties for belts. There will definitely be some changes in the second belt but overall this was a really fun project and came out pretty neat. I can't wait to wear it!
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eco-friendly Dry Snack Bags

On my trip to Jo Ann's for...hmmm...I don't remember what for...I had a wild hair you know where and decided to start yet another project. This one I actually started and finished the SAME DAY! Eco-friendly snack and lunch bags, produce and bulk food bags, and shopping bags have been all the rage lately. I have seen them on Etsy, in Whole Foods, and other areas on the web. I decided about a month ago that I should make my own. I have been eco-groovey lately (I think it's the anticipation of being Corvallis and getting back to my "hippier" lifestyle) so I decided to take advantage of some sale cotton quilting fabric. I passed some wonderful pear fabric and was instantly inspired. I also got some cute cherries on checkers and some tree lover fabric (very fitting since it's saving bags!) and picked up a package of sew on velcro. I started in on my project right when I got home. I never pre-wash my fabric (I know, this is a no-no but I have coin-op laundry only!) but I did iron my fabric. I've found this is a really good idea with the cotton. I pulled out my bolt of muslin (sadly it's bleached) and started cutting out square of outer fabric and lining fabric with only a small idea of how I was going to make this snack back. I started with the pear print and quickly finished a great little velcro closure baggie. It came out exactly why I wanted it to! I thought the velcro may not be strong enough just attached to the muslin liner so I pulled out all my ribbon and began matching colors to prints for something to blend in the stitches on the outer fabric. I consulted my testing crew (Dale) and he decided it was quite sturdy with the velro just on the muslin. But the ribbon and lace looked so pretty on the cherry checker fabric that the pears now looked naked. I found some pretty scrap lace and seam biding ribbon for the happy tree fabric and after an afternoon and evening of sewing, with a break for dinner and the weekly crossword, I had three littl snack bags done. I really like the ribbon/lace accent on the outside and am going to hunt for something to match the pears for the next baggie. I love them and will soon be using them when my upcylced ziplock baggies get too ripped up to continue using. I also plan on gifting them and most likely selling them on Etsy or even at a craft show in Oregon and will definitely take special orders and requests until they hit the public market! I have some cute dino fabric on the way to make kid-friendly baggies too! I also want to make some reusable leak proof snack baggies for wet and gooey stuff but that is a future experiment that will have to wait a little while. For now, I'll just be using all the leftover apple sauce jars.
Happy Crafting, Cerise : )

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mercy, Mercy, Mercerized

I never quite finished talking about Nylon. I will get back to it, I promise! My tangent today is "Mercerized," something coined by a Mr. Joseph Mercer. I see Mercerized thread and fabric and never really knew what it was. Someone asked, I checked around.
I have a dog named Bluto and whenever he chews something we say he Bluterized it. Well Mercerizing is kind of similar really, only in a chemical way. Mercer discovered in 1844 that if treat you cotton thread or fabric under tension with a caustic soda it will increase the luster and allow the fabric to more readily accept dye. Apparently Mercer loved dyes and later learned a lot of chemistry. Science and fashion do mix! At first it was quite a failure as Mercerizing causes the fabric to shrink and the chemicals were expensive. Once Mercerizing became mechanized (whew, that's a mouthful!) and improved the process, it was successfully patented and is still used today.
Maybe I can find a way to put Bluto to work on an invention after all. He is full of Blutonium. There is no other way to explain his behavior.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thrist Store Finds...

It's been a LOOOOONG time once again! And again, I can blame school and work. Over spring break, I had my first field geology experience in the Mojave Preserve and it was a blast. Last week was spring camp at the Fleet, and this week I have no excuse really for not posting anything. I have been crafting this past week and created some eco-friendly dry snack bags (more on that later), discovered a new craft (also more on that later), and am finishing a dragon tie belt project (once again, more on that later). During my lunch break yesterday I went to my favorite thrift store in North Park and hit the jack pot on seam binding, biased tapes, piping, twill tape, and other sewing goodies. I did forget to grab the cute little oval embroidery hoop but maybe it will be there next time. The seam binding was the perfect find for my eco-friendly snack bags and was a much cheaper buy than the craft store and is using (almost) upcycled materials.
One of the other goodies is a sewing machine light bulb that fits my Singer Featherweight.
Ironically enough, the light just now blew on the Singer Featherweight. Good thing I got one at the thrift store. Let's hope it works so I can finish my dragon tie belt. That is (hopefully) going to be my next post.
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

I started this post from end to beginning out of my humor for the blown light bulb. The new light bulb won't fit in my machine!!! So so sad. Off to the craft store after all!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More on Fabrics:Nylon, a brief introduction

As most people know, nylon is a synthetic, intended to replace silk, that became popular during WWII when silk was scarce. I often wondered if the soldiers wore silk undies but really it was for parachutes and I expect silk was really difficult to get. Of course women still had to wear their stockings, soon to be called nylons, later to be called panty hose. I never got the attraction of those things. Silk on my bare legs, nice. Plastic polymers, yuck. So I got all sidetracked looking at synthetic fabrics and plastics. Did you know that there is a "Plastics Hall of Fame?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sewing as Poetry

One of my other art outlets is poetry. I had a reading at a local bookstore last weekend so was consumed with rewriting. I also wrote this (not my best, but apropos):

Learning to Sew on a 1954 Singer Featherweight

First year 4-H, make a scarf and a handkerchief:
use an iron without getting burned;
stitch a straight seam on the sewing machine;
pivot and sew another straight line,
pink with shears (so as not to cut through
the seam that you just sewed). Tie a knot.

Second year, sew a practical apron:
learn how to gather a seam,
bunch the fabric for an attractive pouf;
learn to sew on pockets—
presumably for handkerchiefs
when weeping in the kitchen.

By the fifth year make a lined,
formal dress. Do not plan
on wearing it to the prom.
The color will be garish,
the left breast will sag.
You will stop sewing for 20 years.

I am mesmerized by the needle
dipping in and out of the fabric,
ten, twelve stitches per inch,
a locking line of thread
linking two pieces together.

None of the other stuff, before
or after, interests me:

agonizing over choices of fabric,
pre-washing the cloth, ironing,
measuring, pinning, cutting patterns,
winding the bobbin, threading the needle.

The smell of the machine oil
and the whir of the wheel
keeps me sewing, anything
with long, straight lines.

Theresa, Poetmama

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The not-so-long awaited cat nip sweater!

A few days ago two packages showed up in my post box. Though both were addressed to me, neither of the them really was meant for me. One of them was a handmade surprise for my mum that was wrongly shipped to me and the other was Katina's little cat nip sweater toy. Of course mum hadn't forgotten about me. I got some sweet little froggy stickers and a wonderful book about a capy, one of the cute R.U.S.S., who lived with a family. But I couldn't give Katina her toy right then because my camera batteries had died, again. This morning I got up "early," did a few chores, and headed out the door for my yucky but conveniently located super market chain to get some batteries. We don't use batteries for that many things but we do go through them like crazy. I decided to buckle down and buy the recharge-ables and a charger since they were slightly on sale. just beat the wonderful rain back to the apartment I was happy to find out the batteries were pre-charged. I plopped the batteries in my camera and tossed Katina her toy I had been telling her about the past two days. Since then she has been sitting on it looking out the patio screen, tossing it around now and then, and trying to rip it open with her vicious little kitty teeth. I think she would give it two thumbs up if she had proper thumbs. I wasn't able to get the best action shots of her because she refused to act out for the camera. She is definitely an embarrass-able little kitty but I could tell she loves her sweater toy. Thanks Mum!
Happy Crafting!
Cerise : )

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crafter Feature: Elephant and Chickpea

I should be working on my history paper, but I just couldn't wait to post my recent favorite Etsy store find. The elegant picture of a pair of light strawberry colored Mary Jane house shoes on the front page of Etsy the other day instantly caught my attention. When I read on about the house shoes, I was happy to find that the soles are made of upcycled denim and leather and gorgeous upcyled and natural fabrics. Not only are they beautiful (and most likely practically comfortable) they are eco-friendly as well!

Elephant and Chickpea, located in Vancouver, Canada, currently have four shoe styles to choose from: Mary Janes, loafers, T-straps, and ballet flats. Stop by Elephant and Chickpea's store and blog and take a peek at the wonderful assortment of house shoes. Like me, I bet you'll find a pair to fall in love with!
Happy Crafting!
Cerise : )

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Photographing Old School

In my third issue of CRAFT magazine, which will no longer be published (yes, I feel I got screwed out of my fourth magazine), there was an article about Polaroid emulsion transfer which allows you to transfer images from photos you take onto any object you want. I became quite enthralled with this process that I went on a hunt for a Polaroid camera. Being the whimsy, go-getter that I am, I didn't research my cameras closely enough before buying a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera. When I got my film a week later, I couldn't get it to fit in the camera. I realized that I had purchased the wrong camera. Luckily it was an inexpensive eBay purchase. I went back to the gargantuous online auction site and found the pack film camera I needed (after extensive research this time). I won the bid on my wonderful, old 1970s Polaroid camera in is nice carrying box with a flash holder and old flash cube. I could hardly wait! When the Polaroid Countdown 90 Land Camera arrived in the post box I ribbed open the package and quickly briefed myself on how to load the film. I got my film pack in and was ready to take photos when I realized I didn't have batteries. Searching "local" camera stores, I found that my battery need was very specialized and pricier than some batteries. I went back to my online film site and found my weird batteries and decided to order more pack film while I was there. So I waited once more fore a package to creativity.

On Friday I came home to a package tucked into the corner of my porch, tottling on the edge of my doormat. I squealed with excitement and quickly opened my door. I threw down my bags of groceries, tore open the package, grabbed my second Polaroid camera, and proceeded to clip in the batteries. With the metal-to-metal contact of the second battery and buzzing, beeping sound was emitted from the camera. Another squeal. I took some pictures of my cute guinea pig hanging out on the bed and was very disappointed in my photos. Big white blurry streaks and a faint hint of a pig somewhere in the middle. I took a few more and again got blurry blobs of guinea pig and bedspread but managed to get better developing this time. Still saddened by my ghostly photos I headed out to the balcony and took a picture of the cat stretching out. Blurry and dark. Then the red lanterns hanging from the awning. A bit more artistic this time but still not a clear image. Then I tried to capture some things around the living room and even dale with a lamp much too close to his face. Nothing but black squares and clownish out of focus person. Disappointed that something was wrong with the camera after my long, anxious wait, I put the the Countdown 90 back in it's slightly moldy black box and put it back on my crafts books in the corner.

On Saturday I became determined to figure out what was wrong with the camera after a few more blurry tries. Surely I could get it to take a decent photograph. I was still befuddled by the number 2 on the red button on the top and the number 3 on the lever to ready a new sheet on film near the lens. Where was number 1? I browsed the book, remembering a picture of a bob-haired blond model being used to show focused and non-focused images. Of course! The number one had been in front of my face the whole time and I didn't realize there was a focus finder next the the view finder. The cat, staring at me from her perch in the window, stared at me and listened to my gasp of excitement. She was my view finder victim. Too close at first, I backed away, slide the number 1 component sideways, and voila! I had her in focus. Click, pull, pull, beep, peel, and there was the cat, right out of a 1970s photo album, perched in the window on that classic white backed little rectangle photo paper, sharp as a digital snapshot. At last! I grabbed the guinea pig and recreated the bedspread background and repeated the Polaroid process. Again, a crisp image of a little white pig in a sea of orange filigree. I can't wait to tote this giant, cumbersome camera around and create a time warp of modern images. I am once again inspired to take up my cameras.
Happy Crafting!
Cerise : )

*P.S. I think this process might work with modern printers. I found the image on a penguin tag fully peeled off from its photo paper one day. I'll have to try that out as the pack film is not cheap!*

See how to do it!
Polaroid Emulsion Transfer

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Knit Mania

Oh my goodness! I thought I was getting better about posting but I guess not. I have been overly busy with work and attempting to stay busy with the very little school I have going on this semester. But here it finally is!

I have been in a knitting craze lately, only throwing in a little sewing here and there. Knitting has become a outlet for me. Making all the tedious stitches relieves my stress from a long, high-energy day and soothes my nerves when I'm upset about all the clothes or dishes strewn about my tiny, boxy apartment. I can take it anywhere, like the baseball game on on a car trip, or enjoy an online radio show, a book "on tape," or my favorite cartoons on the boob tube and still knit away.
Not only does knitting relax me, I get a completed, wearable end product. Basic socks are now a breeze for me and I almost don't even have to look at the pattern. I feel overly comfortable knitting sweaters and am even comfortable with adjusting patterns to suit my tastes. I am amazed how how far I have come from my metal shish kabob sticks, the closest thing to knitting needles I could find in my house, and a scarf that was knitted on either side (as knitters know, this doesn't give you a smooth interlocked V side and an opposing bumpy side but rather a series of ridges known as the garter stitch) and no knowledge of purling. I have even taught three of my girlfriends to knit and started a little knitting group. I am up on Ravelry and listed all my projects and yarn. I now have an understanding of gauge, yarn thickness, ply, fiber content, needles of all sorts (single-pointed, double-pointed, circular), how to read the weird shorthand patterns, how to adjust patterns, bought a subscription to a knitting magazine to replace the no longer printed CRAFT magazine, and even have an understanding on how to spin yarn. Nothing in the knitting world is now scary to me. I am intimidated by sewing because I don't know how to size things, intimidated by cooking because I burn and miss measure things, and intimidated by photography because I don't focus well or take two rolls worth of pictures without any film in the camera. But with knitting, I dive right in without thinking about it and am able to come out successful and proud of my work.

I recently went through all my yarn and stashed it on Ravelry, setting aside unwanted skeins and weird projects from who knows when. I took a little box full of my unwanted over to my last knitting party and offered it up to the girls. I found the first knitting project I ever made, on those old metal shish kabob sticks. Two kids I babysat taught me how to knit one summer when I was in high school. They made it look easy while I struggled. But they did have real knitting needles. My friend thought it was cool and liked the yarn. I wonder if she'll frog it or add on to it. It reminded me how difficult and ugly the beginnings of my knitting were. Like many people, I started as a beginner, scared of gauge swatches, unable to understand the knitting shorthand, and not sure how to choose yarn. Now, I don't even care if I have a few funny stitches. Who will notice? What family member will care and give me a white ribbon instead of blue? (Of course, for the county fair next year it will matter.)

Even after I purchased my first knitting book with a Border's gift card I got for Christmas, I only did little samplers of different stitches and only got a few rows into my first sock attempt before tossing it aside (yes, that too was in my give-away box). The day I decided to knit a sock, to just go for it and not look back, was the day my knitting knack was freed. I'm now four and a half pairs of socks, one and a half and an arm into sweaters, and many scarves into a few years of knitting. It may not sound like much, but for someone who is easily scared away by imperfection of the outcome of her projects, this knitter is so far self satisfied and always impressed by the outcome.
Happy Crafting,
Cerise : )

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dog Pile

Here is Sweet Pea and Bluto, with Mike (my husband, Cerise's Dad) at the bottom of the dog pile. They are very spoiled (even Mike!) Sweet Pea is obsessed with squeakers and since I put one inside each little dog sweater she has managed to chew through one and pull the squeaker out. She hasn't been able to get the other out yet. I suspect that little sweaters with catnip would make a great cat toy. I will test one with Cerise's kitty, Katina, the famous Krafty one. What do you think, Miss Krafty?
Theresa, OmMama

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Funny little sweaters

The sun was out intermittently and as the day is nearing its end I realize that both my husband and I have been working all day for our little Chihuahuas, Sweet Pea and Bluto. My husband is making a giant "playpen" to move around the back yard and I made dog toys. Sure, we should be enjoying the extra hour of daylight, like the dogs lying on our bed lounging in the last rays. Tomorrow we will go to work for them to earn money so that they have organic chicken and brown rice.
We are so ridiculous, as are these little sweater dog toys. They are made from an old wool sweater that I washed and dried to try to shrink it more than it already was. I put in a squeaker and triple-stitched it. I don't know why I cut the arms so skinny. I will try them out tonight and if they pass the chew test I will perfect the design.
Theresa, OmMama

Monday, March 2, 2009

I (Heart) Sewing

Another project just for me! I got this fun waffle weave fabric on sale. I wanted to see how quickly I could throw together a top. It doesn't fit perfect, but I decide it is for sleeping in. Won't I look cute when I'm sleeping?!
OmMama, Theresa

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Handmade Love

These beautiful handmade valentines arrived in the mail a few days after the 14th (along with some wheat-free heart cookies!) from Cerise. It made the love last even longer. I love the embroidery so much and love my blog partner and daughter Cerise!
Theresa, OmMama