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 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 : )