Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I've still got a little ways to go before the new year, but the pellet stove is blazing, it's 13 degrees out, the Christmas tree is lit! and everyone is ready for the Three Stooges marathon.

haven't really crafted in the past week, I did share a picture of some coasters I made last spring that people seemed to like. That's pretty much it. It was nice to relax after all the Christmas crafting.
Coasters...  I mean, coasters!!!!

Over the past week I have been thinking about some resolutions. I know I really want to get back into drawing this year. I didn't really put any effort into drawing or painting in 2013. That is definitely a skill that diminishes if you don't exercise it often enough. 

I've gotten rid of a good deal of my scrap yarn, thanks to that granny square project that didn't even last a month. I have to admit, I'm kind of glad I didn't have enough yarn to make it last the entire year.

Next, this one is a little ambitious, I really, really hope to finish ALL my current works in progress. Off the top of my head I can think of 6 projects that are in various stages of completion. They also vary in size so I'm not really sure how quickly they'll all be completed. I would be THRILLED to finish everything in 2014 that, at the moment, is sitting in my closet in colorful heaps.

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year with many blessings in store!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

This week leading up to Christmas has certainly been a busy one, but I have to say that I am so excited to have a regular post fall on Christmas Eve! I have got to start taking notes throughout the week so I can have somewhat more organized weekly posts. (New Years resolution, hm?) 

So, happenings:
 I saw a pin on pinterest. This one actually: Sweater Restyle And made my own version. I'm not so sure I love it yet. I think maybe by spring I may learn to. 

I finished another Christmas present. It has to be mailed out still...so no pictures yet. (Well, it is on Instagram ;) ) 

Finally, some baking. I braved the supermarket today and got some red and green chocolate chips to put on brownies and I bought a sugar cookie mix. Yeah, totally copping out this year. In the cookie department. I have got to come up with a better plan for picture taking and sweet baking next year. 

I did manage to get some pictures of making ever so festive kale chips! I had to put my ipad on a stool which is why I appear to be a giant! These were deliciously simple. Literally. They also gave me a chance to wear my Olivia Walton apron. The most time consuming part was cutting the spine out of each kale leaf. After that I just tore them into 1 to 2 inch pieces mixed it with copious amounts of olive oil, speared a layer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, sprinkled with salt ,and baked at 300 degrees for 16-20 minutes. very easy appetizer for Christmas! And as Lucy Ricardo says "It's so tasty too!"

Merry Christmas to you all, and I wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Past, Present, Future

PAST (and sort of present): Just barely more than a week to go before Christmas! My friend and I got together today to exchange gifts, shop, and chat for a little while. This means I can post the photo of the cowl now! I used this pattern from Fynes Designs. I love that it works up SO quickly, is not overly frilly at all, and the fact that it fastens with buttons instead of being an actual infinity scarf makes it extremely versatile. 

PRESENT: The Wizard of Odds and Ends is now on Twitter!!  One of these days I'll get all my social media links in one place. I guess I should've mentioned that in "future." Oh well.

FUTURE: While shopping today I found a great Fair Isle knit turtle neck from L.L. Bean. I have been patiently waiting for a fair aisle sweater to show up at the thrift store! Just $3.99, the price was certainly right. I also got another article of clothing, but that's for another day and another post!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crazy Christmas Crafting

Well, well, Tuesday night again. It's pretty cold out tonight. I think the majority of the United States is pretty cold right now. Short story: I flew to Florida last January. I left there on a day when it was 70 something in Jacksonville and landed in Boston where is was exactly 2 degrees Fahrenheit!! 

In contrast to freezing-ness, something excellently toasty is this lovely little 28 square, scrap buster, crazy, granny square afghan. I was lazy and just sewed it together with a zigzag stitch. It turned out to be kind of fun looking and it's actually warmer than I expected it to be! That's great right now! I think the high on Thursday is only 17! 

I was also going to post a picture of a gift that I made for a friend, but I was on the phone with her today and told her about my blog. Since she may see this post, that plan is out now. She didn't know I had an etsy shop AND a blog. By the way, she's the one that thought up "The Wizard of Odds and Ends" name. See, she is an awesome friend!!

Just to tide you over until I can post that photo, here are a couple little treasures I found in one of my family's  ornament boxes. The fur trim is coming off of Santa's waist. Superglue would not even hold the trim down! Mrs. Claus is slightly worn and I think I'm going to attempt to do some minor repairs with some red sharpie, felt, and get a white pompon to cover her pseudo belly button. 
My mom thinks she saw the same ornaments in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but she's not completely sure. I can tell you this, nobody will get me to sit and watch it to find out. I'll watch Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, or Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney anytime I want to see a great Christmas movie but I will not waste two hours of my life watching Chevy Chase! Anyway. Rant over. Here's the cute Christmas Couple!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Carrie Underwood Sound Of Music Review Part 2

Songs and Scenes

As I mentioned in part 1, the reason why I wanted to watch "NBC's Sound of Music Live!" was because, according to Julie Andrews in an interview, this performance was supposed to be the original theatre version of the Sound of Music. There are many differences between the theatre and film versions, not just the songs being "out of order" as my brother described it. 

Because I had to work last night, I missed Reverend Mother singing "My Favorite Things" with Maria, "Do, Re, Mi" occurring much earlier in the show than it does in the film, and "Lonely Goatherd" in Maria's room during the thunderstorm. I was glad that I did make it home on time to see both of the songs that Frau Schraeder sings. (Yep, Frau, not Baroness, but we'll touch on that in the next post.)

"How Can Love Survive?" is one of the songs featuring Frau Schraeder that was cut from the film version. It's very theatrical and basically plays off of stories that poor, struggling people are the ones with great romances  and rich people who have "everything" do not have the time or the means they need to fight for love.

Schraeder's other song in the theatre production is "No Way to Stop It." Where she and Captain von Trapp realize their political differences in a less than subtle way and know that a marriage between them is not meant to be. Very different from the 1965 film scene where she graciously steps aside because she sees that the Captain has fallen in love with Maria. The character equivalent of Schraeder in the German movie Die Trapp Familie (1956) doesn't have any songs, just like in the 1965 Sound of Music film.

Something I noticed that was similar to the movie was when the captain, Max, and Maria are discussing whether or not Maria should have dinner with the party guests the underscoring is "How Can love Survive." In the movie, they use it just a tiny bit later, when Max is talking to Elsa right after Maria has left to go back to the abbey because Elsa said the Captain was in love with her. Which brings me to the next point.

In the movie, Baroness Schraeder tells Maria that the Captain is in love with her and in the play, it is Brigitta who shares this information to Maria. What really happened, according to Maria von Trapp herself in her book The Story of The Trapp Family Singers, is sort of a mix of both stage and screen scenes. Princess Yvonne (Elsa Schraeder ;)) notices the captain admiring Maria. She tells Maria the Captain is in love with her, which surprises Maria and makes her want to leave, but the princess convinces her to stay until the wedding so she can look after the children until they go away to school. Sound familiar? Following a few more events and finally a broken engagement with the Princess, the children ask their father if he will marry Maria so she can stay with them. The captain tells his children he would love to marry her but he didn't think she liked him much. The children then go to Maria and tell her that their father doesn't think she likes him much, to which she replies, "Of course I like him." The children then went back to their father to say Maria would marry him. Of course, when Georg walked Into the room where Maria was cleaning a chandelier, spoke to her about marriage she was surprised yet again. This time Maria did leave. She returned to the abbey, this part is accurately portrayed in the 1956 German film, and asked Reverend Mother if it was the will of God that she marry Captain von Trapp. Of course, we all know what Reverend Mother's answer was.

Okay, now on with the show

Lonely Goatherd or Marco Polo. What was with that? The duet with Uncle Max blindfolded playing with the children in the yard. It was just so strange to use the song in that game, I think the film version with Baroness Schraeder passing the basketball with the children is a much more "normal" scenario.

Soon after that scene Maria returns, looking for her life, and Frau Schraeder leaves. In NBC's Sound of Music Live, the Captain and Maria finally reveal their feelings for each other by singing "Something Good." I was very disappointed by this. Had they really used the entire theatre score they would have sung "An Ordinary Couple." The song "Something Good" was written solely by Richard Rodgers, he composed both music and lyrics in the early 1960s when asked to write a new song for the film for Captain and Maria's duet. Oscar Hammerstein had died in 1960. 

I did enjoy the scene where Liesl introduces Maria to Rolf. This occurred when Rolf, delivers a telegram to the house after Georg and Maria are married. In the 1965 film, there was actually a scene that occurred somewhere around the "Do Re Mi" montage when Maria an the children are in town and Liesl introduces Maria and Rolf. It was thought to slow down the film and was ultimately deleted. 

The last scene in the movie that I both enjoyed and slightly cringed at was the concert scene. I thought it was played very well. I enjoyed the transition from the von Trapp villa to the concert hall was really cool, as I've said before, but the concert itself did not really go as well as the transition into it. First, the brass drowned out all nine actors singing the "Do Re Mi Reprise," Then it seemed like Stephen Moyer could have used a lot more practice on the guitar for "Edelweiss," and finally, at the end of "So Long Farewell," his voice nearly drowned out Carrie Underwood altogether. Obviously whoever ran sound was not hearing what the television audience heard. I know I wasn't the only one to notice this because when I went to work on Saturday my boss mentioned the sound during the concert scene and asked if I thought it was off balance too.

Because I have never seen the actual play and am so familiar with the film version, some of the scenes in Sound of Music Live seemed awkward, or disjointed compared to the relative smoothness of the film. I would give Songs and Scenes a 2.5 out of 5. Some things went really well, but when they didn't go well, they just really didn't at all. Plus the added disappointment in the fact that a film song was used to replace a theatre song. I read in "The Sound of Music: a Critical Review of the Changes Made from the Original Stage Play" by James M. Becher that the Rodgers and Hammerstein Estate is limiting aqusition to the songs which I assume was the reason for the change in this performance.

*Photo: Hirsch, Julia Antopol, "The Sound of Music: The Making of America's Favorite Movie", Contemporary Books, 1993
*Copy and Paste link to go to The review by James M. Becher: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-sound-music-critical-review-changes-1273471.html?cat=40

Friday, December 6, 2013

Carrie Underwood Sound of Music Review Part 1

 Just so readers are aware, I have not seen the original, complete, stage version of the Sound of Music. I have read 5 books by Maria von Trapp, Agathe von Trapp's book, and Die Trapp Familie, the German movie that the Broadway show was based on. Also, This review is going to have to be in multiple parts. I am not as concise as a professional critic, and I think I have a lot more knowledge on this subject than the average critic would have, so bear with me here. I want to share some things about Maria's books and "how it really happened" along with some insight into the German movie, what I do know of the original  Broadway show, the 1965 film, and tonight's televised production.

Let's start at the very beginning: Well, actually, I had to work until 8:30 so I saw the show starting at Sixteen Going on Seventeen. We'll start from about there.

When I walked in the house there were commercials on and I asked what everyone was watching. Mom answered, "The Sound of Music." Oh yeah, that special with Carrie Underwood was on tonight,  I almost forgot, but I did want to watch out of, well let's call it slightly less than morbid curiosity. My brother looked at me and said, "The songs are all out of order." They weren't. I knew that they were doing the theatre score/routined version. I heard it right from Julie Andrews in an interview.

Alright, show's back on...

Sixteen Going On Seventeen was pretty good, and I was taking into account the entire time that this was a theatre production, theatre and TV don't usually mix. There is a certain amount of overacting, large gestures and expressions, that have to be done in theatre that just doesn't translate well onto the movie or television screen.  Unless your watching the 1998 London West End production of Oklahoma. *Amazing!!* Anyway...that roll down the hill at the end of Sixteen Going on Seventeen was less than tasteful. However, the show as a whole did not leave me walking away with a jarring feeling and questioning "How could they even do that to this show?!"

The sets and scenery of the show this evening were impressive! There were so many details. From little shrubs in the foreground of 16 Going on 17 to the picturesque mural of the mountains in the background. 

Everything was very beautiful, even the props. The newspaper with the German headline that was about the impending Anschluss (I think) was a nice touch that, along with songs that were cut from the film, added to the intentional political overtones of the theatre version.

 I only have a few qualms about the set, the fountain in the garden of the Trapp estate was slightly cartoony, and the garden in Nonnberg Abbey with giant potted shrubs just seemed so....random. But alas this is the theatre, there are no "on location" opportunities and I have never been to Nonnberg Abbey. I bet they probably do have a garden. And the light projected snow in the final scene. Yes, they're in the mountains, and yes, I could have snowed...I think this was a painfully obvious attempt to add a Christmas feeling given the fact that tonight's airing was competing with NBC's rival ABC on their cable channel, ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas. But maybe I'm being too analytical.

Well done though. 4 out of 5 stars on Props, Set, and Scenery.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Deck the Hauls

I somehow miraculously ended up with all of Monday off, which after Black Friday and Saturday was a more than welcome break. I spent the day out on an impromptu  thrifting trip. We hit Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Savers. Here's the picture again that I put up on facebook yesterday.

The most I paid for any item was $7.99 for the gray cardigan in the top row. It's 100% merino wool so I'm hoping it will be nice and warm for the winter because I am always, ALWAYS cold.

My favorite buy is the incredibly glarey Lanz of Salzburg nightgown all the way over to the left. It doesn't even look like it was ever worn and all I paid was $4.99! They go from 45 to 60 dollars from Vermont Country Store! I also like the denim maxi skirt. I had been looking for one for a while. I had planned to cut a triangle out of the bottom on the front and back and sew in some of the floral fabric from the skirt on far right, but after I tried on the skirt I kind of liked it just plain.

The black article of clothing, on the bottom toward the right, I had thought was a skirt. It was hanging with the skirts and was nice and light and flowy, but since it was a dark color I thought it would transition nicely through the seasons. I got in the car and was admiring it and suddenly realized it was a pair of culottes and will soon become close friends with my sewing machine. 

The green scarf is going on Etsy, along with another item I purchased at an antique store recently. (wink)

In other news, I'm sewing together the 30 something(?) out of 365 squares that I managed to finish into a crazy afghan. Think crazy quilt, but crochet style. In all honesty, I take on huge projects when I am having no inspiration whatsoever for anything else and then part way through them inspiration hits and I move on. It's like a brainstorm for my fingers. You know how teachers had you free write before an essay to see if you could come up with any ideas to build off of? My big projects=Free write assignment.

And I also taught myself how to cable knit. Not too shabby, huh? 

Well, I guess that's basically it for this week.
Autocorrect just told me "that's spastically it" I consider that statement accurate.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My First Tutorial...

Since I can't post any pictures of Christmas presents, and that is basically all I am working on at the moment, (Whilst falling way behind on my 365 squares. Ugh.) I have decided it was high time to post a tutorial here and my camera decided it was high time for the batteries to die. Well, I'm done complaining. At least I still have something I can take pictures with.

Thanksgiving is in just a few short hours and I suppose that means I'm late, by retail store standards, getting into the Christmas spirit. The fun thing about working at a children's library is decorating for each season and the accompanying holidays. We haven't deecorated for Christmas yet, but we've been preparing...with discarded books! I'm sure you can find this tutorial elsewhere on the Internet, but I can guarantee you that their photos won't have that fuzzy vintage look that invokes feelings of nostalgia from Christmases past.

Here is it folks, the Christmas Tree Book:

Fold the page over so that the top edge is even with the spine of the book.

Fold page again so that the first folded edge is even with spine.

Fold bottom corner of page even with bottom edge of the book and tuck the corner inside of the triangle.


*Note: I made my tree out of four separate sections of 16 pages and glued the sections together. You can make your tree with as many or as few sections/pages as you like for slightly different looks. It's fun to try with different size books too!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Knowing and Sitting.

...in other words, knitting and sewing. That is what I actually did mostly this week. In fact, this week I learned how to knit with double pointed needles! Oh YouTube, how I love thee. I'm attempting to finish that project by Christmas,*knock on wood* so no pictures yet. 

And the sewing. I really like working at JoAnn Fabrics. There was some really old fashion looking striped floral fabric I had my eye on for a couple of weeks. I loved how it looked but I had no idea what I could make with it. I didn't want to get a yard or two for my stash because the point of this job is to save money, not spend each paycheck at my place of employment.
Well, this week I also happened to watch some DVDs of The Waltons. When I saw Olivia Walton's apron a lightbulb went on in my head and my next day at work I bought myself one yard of the floral fabric!

I made a half apron at first, but then after looking at google images I realized that hers is a full apron but folded down in a lot of scenes, so I pulled out the rest of the fabric a couple of nights later and added a bib. I ended up with just about a 9 inch by two inch strip of fabric left over!  I'm very pleased with the end result for not having used a pattern. I alternated the floral pattern in the fabric for the pocket. I liked it that way rather than matched up like the Walton one. 

The bib puffed out a bit at first do I made two little pleats a couple of  inches in on either side. And the neck strap joins with a button.

These pictures are the result of 2am dress up immediately upon completion of the apron attempting to channel 1930s fashion/Olivia Walton. I amuse myself very easily. That outfit is way too dressy for an apron!
Next sewing project: vintage house dress. (Sad but true. I have a pattern that I bought on sale for $1 and I think I can alter it pretty easily!)
Here are the moderately embarrassing photos...

-- I had a number of Etsy listings expire two days ago, so some of those should be back up within the week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ah, We Meet Again!

Hello again! I'm back! I was traveling, not this past weekend, but the weekend before that. I was away for 5 days and did not crochet a stitch, although I had planned to. I did purchase two new crochet hooks that are on the humongous side! Sizes N and P. I also saw a sausage making demonstration while I was away. The old fashioned way using a hit or miss engine to run the meat grinder. I even got eat pork cracklings that I watched them cook in the lard that they butchered from the same pig! Sorry if that grosses anyone out. I thought it was pretty cool...and delicious! 
It was around 7 on the night I got back home. I ate some dinner and immediately got to crocheting into the wee small hours of the morning hoping to catch up and blog. I did crochet two squares but it took me a few days to finally get back to where I was supposed to be and now I'm even working a little bit ahead! I am running out of yarn much faster than I expected, so in one way this is a fabulous scrap buster project but the fact that I'm going to have to buy some more yarn to get through the whole year is very appealing!

Just a couple of pictures of the mounting pile of squares...and this isn't even a month's worth!

A little, shameless plug for my Etsy shop as well. You might find someone a great Christmas gift! www.etsy.com/shop/wizardofoddsandends

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hand Sewn Halloween Costume

It's the wee, small hours of Wednesday but I am still going to get this "Tuesday" blog up before I go to sleep. I updated the crochet square album. Up to day 8 now, 9 tomorrow...today, I guess. 

In other news, Halloween party at work um, yesterday,  so I got to wear my costume that I've worn the past eight Halloweens. This is from my pre-sewing machine era, so it's all hand sewn. I was out looking specifically for a Dorothy costume in 2006 but I wanted it to look authentic, which resulted in my actually having to purchase the Simplicity pattern and make it myself. This resulted in about two months of sewing by hand at home, at school, for sometimes 12 hours a day! Don't you think it turned out pretty well?

The shoes were brown flats that were wearing out. I stretched a sequin tank top over them and strategically cut and used Elmer's Glue to hold it in place, plus a little bit of red paint, glitter glue, and sequin trim. Definitely not jumping in any puddles with these on. They would, well, I guess they would melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Monday, October 28, 2013

365 Crochet Square Challenge

Well, the posts here have not become daily. There are just not enough hours in the day! However, my posting in the "365 Crochet Square Challenge" album on Facebook has become an everyday occurance. Check that out here: 365 Crochet Square Album!

The book I'm using right now is 50 Fabulous Crochet Squares by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. Funny story: I've been thinking about how I'll have to finde patterns for 315 more squares after I go through this book. I figured I would have to search out a bunch individually online, but duh!...I work at JoAnn Fabrics! I actually sold a crochet square book today. Definitely going to buy one of those when I get closer to finishing this first book!

Here's one little preview of what's in the album so far!! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Terrific Tuesday!

Well, well, just scratch what I said yesterday about "never" having to work on Tuesday afternoon. I forgot to knock on wood. Ha! Today I volunteered to cover for someone who went home sick. It is now 10pm and I've only been home for about an hour. I just finished dinner and, as you may have guessed, have made no further progress on skirt alterations.

Now, an announcement: I'm starting another project. Surprise! I have been wanting to do one of those "one granny square a day for a year" things for a while now but planned on beginning January 1st. Click here to see where I got the idea! It just so happens that someone returned a book today that I immediately checked in and then checked out to myself. (One of the perks of working at a library.) I think there is just enough time to finish a square tonight before I drift off to dreamland in preparation for another 9 hour day tomorrow. Hm...I still have to find 315 more square patterns. Hopefully my night is not swallowed up by becoming lost in a Pinterest vortex.

I'm kind of thinking these posts may become daily, as time permits, over the next 365 days. I'm excited to begin this project!

New Day

Besides the fact that it is just after midnight making it a new day, it is also Tuesday, the day that I will be posting here from now on. Instead of late at night on Monday. You can read the official-ish announcement here on my facebook page! And don't forget to like my page while you happen to be over there! Thank you!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Business Busyness

It's been quite a busy week! I made two scarves with some extra bulky yarn I'd bought recently. I have come to the conclusion that I don't like that yarn at all. I hand crocheted them. Yep, sans crochet hook. That's why I don't like it. If my hand turned into a crochet hook, I wouldn't mind at all. Plus, I'd have a greater appreciation for Peter Pan characters.

This week I also finally made a fat quarter skirt...the correct way. My friend and I went out and bought fabric for the skirt months ago. I really like how it turned out!
The tutorial I followed:
Some pictures:
Left: Starting the skirt. Right: I actually pressed seams for the first time! 

Left: The black ribbon tie. I also used the ribbon instead of bias tape along the top. Right: You can see both panels with Chinese(?) writing to get an idea for the panel repetition. 

The whole outfit, haphazardly put together for the picture. My (not so trusty) camera and sock light diffuser. HA! I look like I'm floating!!

I also updated my Etsy shop today with a variety of scarves. Take a look!

Now, it's time for me to start cutting some patterns!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Under Contruction

Don't you hate when you go to visit a page and all you see are two dreaded words, "Under Construction" or any variant of that phrase such as "site maintinence being performed," or something like "server is down temporarily"? Well, I just tried to make a few changes to my blog via an iPad. Let me tell you, somethings are just easier via PC. 

Over the next week or so I will be digging deep into my memory for the zip folder in my brain marked Community College, under the folder 2010, subfolder Graphic Design, subfolder Web Design. (Did I get that folder rundown correct?) There will probably be many trips to multiple sites for some HTML tutorials, etc. 

The goal is for this to all come together beautifully with a slightly more relevant background to the subject matter, while still being pretty easy on your eyes, and perhaps a little more organization if I can figure all of that out.

Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blogosphere Extraordinaire

So, I guess I'll just start this blog by stating that I made my first little step deeper into the blogging world by commenting on someone else's blog. I'll post the link to that blog right here at the top or else my screen may not scroll down enough for me to make it a link on the blogger site. I'm on the app right now...and admittedly technology illiterate, for the most part.

Now the post:
I have spent many a rainy day  (many a sunny day, for that matter) on Google searching for craft tutorials. Mainly tutorials of the crocheting, knitting, or sewing variety. It was on one of those day that I came across the blog Crafting Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. A crafting blog with posts by two sisters.
As I read the blog over the next couple of years, I realized that one of the two sisters, as in siblings not nuns, is located somewhere around the same region where my boyfriend lives and that she was making some things to be sold at a living history farm that I visit a almost every time I'm in the area! One of the next times that I visited I went in the gift shop and saw a clothes pin bag she had made. I bought it and I love it!

Finally, quite a few months later I decided to comment on her blog and tell her my story. Apparently the cashier at the farm told her about me and I remained somewhat of a mystery for little while since I seemingly came from seven hours away to purchase something made by someone whose blog I read. Needless to say I felt kind of silly about that.

Here is the clothes pin bag. I love the fact that it looks like a little dress! It's going to get a whole lot of use at my house. My mom is the kind of person who will hang clothes out on the line until they are actually more frozen than dry!

Go check out some of the other great things made by the ladies at Crafting Makes the Heart Grow Fonder!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn Adornments

I woke up one morning this month and saw this scarecrow hanging on the door. I barely remember crocheting this a couple of years ago. I can picture the book vividly. It was one of those mini pattern books that had about 5 patterns in it and was sold right at the grocery store register. I bought it on a family vacation in Ithaca, New York somewhere around 2007, along with a skein of yarn to keep myself occupied. It rained a couple of days and we pretty much stayed in the cottage those days. My brothers and I weren't allowed to watch tv. They had satellite tv there, but my parents wanted us to have a break from tv and wanted to avoid any arguments between me and my brothers about what shows to watch. I also remember buying one of those fabric loop looms and making a plethora of potholders, a few of which we still have in the kitchen. I got tendonitis in my wrist that summer because I used the loom so much. I think it came with 100 loops and I had to go buy a refill that week that came with many, many more. Well, after that trip down memory lane, here's the cute little scarecrow and his two little crow friends (that you can barely see) that I was referring to at the beginning of this post. 

And here is what I've been working on this week. I was hoping to finish tonight but it's looking like that is not going to happen. I should've used a larger crochet hook. The candy corn(s?) are a little wavy because I probably should have used a larger hook. I like it though. I may try making one another time. And here is the link to the pattern for anyone interested:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Easy Peasy Curtains!

Crafting came to a dead stop last week after my second day of training. (First day at second job. It was the day after my first day of training at my first job.) needless to say it was a relatively busy, slightly stressful, but altogether enjoyable week even though I didn't finish altering my pants. I will soon. 

Now, for today:

We moved recently and left the old washer and dryer at the old house. The folks in the house we bought were taking theirs with them. My parents went out and actually found basically the same washer/dryer set my mom had at the old place. One problem, it was blue, our shower curtain and window curtains were purple. Girls and interior decorators know this is a less than ideal situation. My mother went out and bought three nice, gray curtains that went well in the new bathroom. Note: Our shower only has two walls and need a curtain for the side and for the end of the tub. I   given curtain number three. All that I did was lay it on my floor and walk all over it as I folded it in half, cut it up the middle, then placed the purple curtain on top for reference and cut about an extra half inch at the bottom.

I didn't get a true before picture, this is already cut. I could have never gotten the whole shower curtain in the camera, but you get the idea...

After cutting in relatively straight lines I eyeballed folding the hemline and didn't even iron it...sinful, I know. Then it was onto the sewing machine and again with simple, straight lines.

Bada bing, bada boom. Curtains that perfectly match the shower curtain.:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Black Pants

I have two pairs of black pants that would be lovely for the winter months at my two new jobs where I don't actually have a set uniform at either! I'm so excited! No more polo shirt day after day after day! Finally some variety, which is ,indeed, the spice of life. 
(Now I will continue this post about two pairs of pants that are the same color. Uh...yeah...variety...)

As I was saying, these pants would be lovely for the winter months, they each need some minor alterations. One pair simply need to be shortened. The other pair needs the legs thinned? I'm sure there's a different word for that, but it's midnight and I'm just thinking about having to get up at 6:30am. To keep it simple for my own mind I just call it "taken up and taken in."  The latter pair is about  10 years old, has ridiculously wide legs and been on stage in many a high school chorus concert.

I just thought I would post a short, no pun intended, preview of the latter pair of pants. The"taken ins." When I said they were wide legged I was not kidding. I figured they would be better trimmed down a bit so I don't lose any children in my pant legs during story time at the library. Somewhat a la Mother Ginger in the Nutcracker.

Picture from: http://www.nutcrackerballet.net/html/washington.html

Well, here is a very impromptu before of the pants. I guess they're not quite Mother Ginger proportions...but close! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Men's Shirt to Skirt

You've probably seen "men's shirt to skirt" tutorials on Pinterest and that is exactly not where I found the tutorial to make this skirt. I actually googled "men's shirt to skirt" and his was the eighth result on the page. I picked it because I liked the way it looked better than all the results ahead of it and I had a skirt that I thought would make a good template.

The tutorial is right here:

I loved the tutorial. A LOT of pictures and just enough written instructions that I knew what I was supposed to be doing if was confused by a picture. Does anyone else do that? I know I can't be the only crafter that goes mostly by pictures and not written instructions.

Before I started I managed to snap one quick before picture so I actually have what will pass as a before/after photo for this project! Now, let me explain a little. The shirt/skirt is 100% cotton mint chambray. NOT WHITE! My camera kind of decides to make each picture a different color which can be a cross between amusing and frustrating, depending upon what I'm trying to take a picture of. Pardon the wrinkles on the skirt and scraps in the background. I had literally just finished sewing. Excuse the sock as well. That diffuses the flash so I don't get a glare across the mirror. So professional. Anyway, less writing, more picture.

And, just an example of what I mean about my camera sort of having a mind of its own when it comes to the color of each picture, here's a lovely yellow-orange tinted photograph. Hello 1973!

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Job!

No, my Etsy shop is not a full time endeavor yet, but here's an exciting update... I just got a job at JoAnn Fabrics! I am beyond excited to FINALLY be working at a craft store! (Not to mention the fact that I think there's an employee discount!) Pardon the overuse of exclamation points in this post but I am excited! Have I mentioned that yet?!

I've been into crafting, multiple types of crafting, for a long time. It's always the first hobby I mention when I'm asked. I guess that sounded good answer to that question at the job interview. Haha! 

There was one time, when I was working at a grocery store, that I was admiring a lady's scarf and I asked her if she crocheted it. She said yes and I told her is was beautiful and asked what the stitch was because I'd never seen it before. We continued to chat ask I rang up her groceries. I told her to have a nice day and that was that. About a week later she came through my line again, only with the literally hundreds of faces I saw everyday, I didn't recognize her. This time as I was scanning her items she pulled the pattern for the scarf out of her purse and handed it to me! That just made my day. I haven't made the scarf yet for two reasons; 1. I want to have the right yarn so it turns out the right way. (Lots of projects I use what I have on hand that seems comparable and the result after all the effort are not always nice.) 2. That customer's scarf was just soooooo pretty, it's kind of daunting to take on the project myself after seeing someone else's results in person.

Anyway, I'm very excited to be starting work at a craft store. Hopefully I'll learn lots of new things from customers there and maybe gain some more crafting skills. I can't wait to start!  I have never felt that way about a job before! I'm so excited! Okay. I won't say that anymore! Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Blanket for the Best Baby Boy

Alright, so I'm a little biased. But ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is the moment you have all been waiting for...

And there it is, I still have about 20 rows left, I think, but I have been working so hard on this. I've had a couple of pauses over the past 9 months or so crocheting a blanket for my brand new nephew, but he seems like a pretty cool guy, so I think he'll forgive me.

I used a pattern on Ravelry by Sue Williams. I just printed out the photo on the pattern page and used a single crochet stitch for each square. I did try to buy the pattern, then after a few failed attempts I saw that it said "This pattern *was* available.." 

This poor blanket is unfortunately not perfect by any means. It got narrower as I went along. I should be a little more vigilant about crocheting every stitch, but once I get into a fairly quick rhythm, I do miss a stitch or two every once in a while. I also wasn't sure if I worked the color changes correctly, but it looks pretty close to the picture, so I am just about satisfied. We'll see how the remainder goes.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Pardon the delay, and apparently the broken promise [about posting a photo of the blanket i've been working on] to anyone who reads this. I've had a cold and an  on and off fever since last Wednesday. I currently sound like June Allyson (if you've never heard of her type her name into youtube ;) ) which is actually an improvement from the weekend. Let's put it this way, I sang soprano in chorus and for some reason every. single. time. I catch a cold I can sing a mean Ol' Man River Paul Robeson style. (Also search that on YouTube.)

So bear with me here, I have not abandoned this second or third attempt at blogging. I'm just trying to recover from the ridiculous virus that took over my house. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lights, Camera, Crochet Tutorials: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

Last night I was up until the wee small hours of the morning. 2:48am to be exact. I was the unfortunate victim of a fruitful Pinterest search. During said search I stumbled across a video tutorial for a summer tunic.

Now, usually I'm not a fan of video tutorials. Either they go too fast or my Internet is too slow or some other nuisance like that. During this roughly 37 minute tutorial, the video only froze about twice, which comes close to being considered a miracle. Unfortunately I don't gave the correct size hook, 1.75mm. I tried making the first motif with a 1.5mm hook, but it looked way too small. So I did what so many crocheters have done before and completely unraveled all my work to start over. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? I'm going to attempt it with a 2mm hook next time. (There was no way to check the gauge on this pattern!)

Today: I have to work on my nephew's NASCAR blanket, of which I've gotten quite a lot more accomplished. So far, so good. I can not wait to weave in the ends and see what it looks like without random strings all over the place! Picture of that the next post, I promise.

Here, for anyone interested is the link to the Summer Tunic Tutorial:

Friday, July 26, 2013


I'm traveling today and I thought it was about time for a new blog post. Unfortunately I tend to over pack which usually leaves no room to bring any projects in progress. So I thought I'd share something I made years ago that I still carry around with me.

I made an iPod case three or four years ago that I still use ALL the time. I didn't use a pattern because was easy enough to crochet a rectangle and sew the edges together and, of course, the button closure is an iPod button, sooo not in proportion though. I sort of wish I had made the case big enough to leave the ear buds attached and be able to fit it all into the case but that's tight squeeze so I crocheted a white rectangle and sewed that to one side and made a drawstring with the yarn to hold that closed. I have to say, like that feature more than I used to. I made a second, identical case that I gave to a friend for Christmas and she still uses hers to!

After a few years of use it's a little dirty from sitting in the bottom of my purse a lot, but my iPod is still scratch free and I don't even use a screen protector. The case is starting to show it's wear with little frayed and fuzzy ends of yarn sticking out. Maybe I'll get around to making a new one one of these days. :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A,B,C: Applications, Baking, Crocheting

I recently moved which meant changing jobs. I worked at the same place since high school and throughout college. I've actually spent the last couple of weeks sending out my résumé and have finally started to get some responses! So exciting! Nothing to do with crafting or anything, though it would be lovely to do that sort of thing full time some day. Until then I'll just keep plugging away at it as best I can. 

The new place happens to have some black currant bushes in the yard. I had only ever heard of currant jelly and red currant wine from Anne of Green Gables. The black currants were so beautifully ripe that I had to use them for something! I googled "black currant recipes" and every result ended ".co.uk" luckily almost every recipes had the ingredient amounts converted into American measurements. I made black currant tea bread. I substituted peppermint tea for fresh mint, though,  come to find out we also have fresh mint growing in the back yard. We inherited quite the overgrown garden from the previous owners. 
Anyway, the bread turned out pretty well. Kind of dry like a scone, which isn't really to my taste, but everyone else seems to enjoy it.

In other exciting news that has developed over the long interlude, I have a nephew on the way. Here is a little sneak peek at his blankie. I plan on dividing up the rest of the rows tomorrow so I can actually finish it within a month or two. He'll be born by then, in fact he's past due, but I'm sure he'll have lots of blankets to keep him warm. :)

Now, let's see how this posts from my new app. If you're reading this then it worked beautifully!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Update Part II

See, just like I promised. Now that didn't take too long, did it? Etsy shop is updated with a lucky number of 13 items.  I actually had to reactiviate my Etsy bank account before I could new listings because it had been so long since there was any activity! 

I've actually become a lot more organized over the past little while. So, we shall see how things go from here compared to my pervious on again, off again Etsy relationship.

Back in May I was pretty excited to have gotten an Etsy convo to my very empty and neglected shop from someone who saw one of my items on Pinterest!! 

Here are my personal favorites from today's listings :) (Pardon the lack of pictures, I'm updating from an iPad and have not quite figured out how everything works on here for blogger.)

Hello Bluebird Banner

Crochet Chain (This is the item that was spotted on Pinterest!)

Sweet Treat Earrings

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!

Please check out and like my Facebook page as well!:
The Wizard of Odds and Ends on Facebook

Updates! (And It's About Time!)

I'm still here, after a fun winter and a busy spring, I am once again making long overdue updates to Etsy, Facebook, and of course this blog. Wish me luck! I am sure things must have changed on these pages in the past uh, 8 months.  To be honest, I don't know why I'm posting on the blog first. I'll mosey on over to Etsy now and make a second update post in a little while...I promise!