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Homemade

This tag is associated with 5 posts

Extract

I started my vanilla extract last night using Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla.com and Svedka. Fresh vanilla beans are my new favorite. They’re so lush and fragrant. They ooze vanilla oil when I slice them open and smell just like vanilla pipe tobacco. It’s really magnificent.

Pics and cost information to follow. In the meantime, I went to the State Fair this week. We looked at all kinds of amazing quilts. I’m totally inspired.

Surprise Pay it Forward

Would you like a Crappy Homemade Gift™ of your very own? Here is your chance!

The Rules

I will send a surprise gift to the first 3 people to comment on this post.  This gift will be made by me and I will send it sometime within the next year.  Exactly when you will receive it will be a surprise (it will probably be a surprise to me too).

Of course there are some rules in this game.  Here it goes:

1.  I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post.  It will be a surprise and may arrive at any time in the next 365 days (yes, a year).

2.  To sign up to receive a gift from me you must play along too.  Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade and or / thrifted (modified to match my own predilections) goodie to the first three people who comment on your blog post.

3.  You must have a blog.

4.  After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love.  If you haven’t posted in 48 hours then the next commenter will be chosen.

If you want to join in the fun, comment below. If you’re one of the first three, I’ll send you something before the end of August next year!

A special shout out to Orla over at Orla’s World for the good fun!

Sister Has a Brand New Bag

Remember when I said the only thing I had to get done this weekend was some pillowcases? Yeah…

I couldn’t very well start pillowcases when I still had a birthday tote hanging over my head. So, without further ado, my sister’s much belated birthday tote:

Isn’t it grand? Well, in the light of day the lining looks a bit puckered and the pic is all kinds of weird colors just to make my grass look lifelike, but you get the idea.

This is a repeat of my first sewing project – Crafty Planet’s Beginning Tote. I would love to share the pattern with you, but Crafty Planet is a small, locally owned business and I believe they would prefer to sell it. The cost of the pattern is two dollars, but you get it for free if you take their tote sewing class. It’s fun. You should tote-ally do it!

My sister picked out the fabric and I must say – it’s stunning in real life. Like her, the tote appears modern and sedate on the outside. But the inside? A riot of color, complex pattern and beauty like you wouldn’t believe.

Happy Birthday, Sisterpoke (rhymes with cow poke). I love you more than cheese!

Bitches Be Craftin’

Empirical evidence suggests it take 22 years to recover from trauma induced by junior high level home economics class.* At least that’s how long it took me to find my way back to the business end of a sewing machine. After winning the luck lottery this summer, my Aunt abandoned her sewing machine to my care. The cost of a new foot pedal (not unsubstantial), fabric, and a sewing class later – I had made the most expensive reusable grocery bag of all time.

Heady with my newly discovered power – the ability to cut out squares and sew relatively straight lines – my thoughts swung to Merry Thriftmas.  It was also around that time when I discovered buying fabric. I’m unlikely to become a great seamstress. But when it comes to buying fabric, I’m as passionate as they come. And if I have to keep sewing for that to make sense, so be it.

Last night, my sister and I checked out Mill End Textiles in Eden Prairie. Or, as I will be calling it from now on, Mecca. That place is just totally awesome. I bought the fabrics pictured for trying my hand at pillowcases. Squares? Check. Straight lines? Double check!

I have settled on a Roll It Up pillowcase (pattern) and it’s the only thing I have to do this weekend. The fabric is pre-washing as I type. Wish me luck!

*Research on recovery from junior high level industrial arts class is still pending but symptoms of PTTSS (post-traumatic table saw syndrome) have been observed throughout the sample.
 
 

Crappy Homemade Gifts™

About a decade ago, I learned to knit. I did so mostly because I was flat broke and could only afford to knit scarves for Christmas presents. They were big bulky things knit on tremendous size 15 needles, but I gave them with embarrassed pride. One or two of them even got worn.

The following Christmas, I knit again. Anxious to give wanted, useful gifts – I attempted wash cloths. To liven things up a bit, I coordinated with a friend and fellow crafter to create knit wash cloths and embroidered dish cloth packages. They were cute. Fun was had. Crappy Homemade Gifts™ was born.

Since then, I have attempted dozens of Crappy Homemade Gifts™ with varying degrees of success. Knitting, bundt cake, home cooked TV dinners, and ginormous plates of Christmas cookies. I’ve also made jam, infused vodkas, peppermint schnapps and handmade jewelry. I’d like to say they were all well received – wrapped in adorableness and deeply appreciated – but I would be lying. For one, my raspberry jelly – despite being lovingly made with homegrown raspberries – was hard as a rock. And the homemade schnapps were really just bad. I relabeled them “Garden Waste Schnapps” and soldiered on.

So, as I approach the 2012 giving season, I have started to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned.

The first three indisputable truths about homemade gifts:

  • If what you are giving someone is not something that they would like, it’s a bad gift whether or not it is homemade.
  • If you are unsure of what a person would like, it’s best to error on the side of useful. A slightly unwelcome bottle of vanilla will eventually end up in cookies. A slightly unwelcome knickknack ends up at the Goodwill.
  • Before giving something away, try it.

With the above goals in mind, I’m reworking my Merry Thriftmas philosophy this year. For the most part, I hope to make my gifts and / or cobble them together through thrift store finds. However, I’m opening up the idea of making crafts to sell on Etsy to raise some money for gifts the finicky on my list. You can’t really give a 15-year-old boy homemade anything. Also, I’m starting early. Way, way early.

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