Friday, June 19, 2009

Hooping for Exercise!

"Exercise" hoops (not to be confused with children's hoops) are becoming more and more popular these days ... and, at anywhere from $39 to $59 for a colorful hoop, it pays to experiment a little and make your own! I found a great website with video tutorials here on Squidoo.
The hoop is recommended to be from about 39 to 43 inches across. I made this one to fit my son, really ... measuring the tubing from the ground to just under his chest. It is 47 inches and probably a little too big for the rest of us, but I've been using it, anyway.
I used the 3/4" 160 psi plastic irrigation tubing. I bought mine at Lowe's for about $30 for about 100 feet of tubing. Just pick up a package of connectors (my package of 10 cost about $2.97 or so) and a roll of black duct tape. This will make roughly 10 hoops!!! I followed the directions on Squidoo and it took less than 10 minutes from start to finish to make the hoop! Not fancy or pretty at this point, but definitely hoop-able!

I ordered holographic tape, vinyl tape and gaffer tape from Identi-tape and, if you order $100 worth or more for taping hoops, be sure to type in: hula hula in the code box and you'll get a 15% discount!! As you can see, above, my wrapping skills need much improvement ... but for a first try, I thought it wasn't half bad! The instructions say to put down the foil or specialty tape first, as it needs to have its edges covered by the heavier tapes or it tends to peel up and get ruined. So, apply the tapes in this order: specialty (mirror, mylar, glittery, holographic, etc), then the vinyl tape and finally the great-gripping gaffer tape!
Colette is kindly holding this one for me. She thought the colors looked very mermaid-like. I have to agree!

Here is Colette, testing it out. Even though this hoop is WAY too big for petite Colette (who barely reaches 5 feet and 1/2 inch, she's hooping magnificently. Somehow, the bigger hoop really gets going without a hitch!

She was really enjoying it! The dvd "Hoopnotica: Hoopdance Basics" is an incredibly good one! I LOVE it! I never could get a child's hoop to stay up. It always fell. Hoopnotica has a whole "troubleshooting" section so you can fix what you're doing wrong! In only about three tries, after watching the troubleshooting part, I was able to get this hoop to stay up and keep spinning until I wanted to stop, not stopping because my hoop fell! I have to say, it gave me a big boost of confidence! I'm just now trying to master walking while hooping. I'm having a difficult time with this ... but hooping with my hand over my head (halo), is quite easy and feels really fun. Just watch out ... when I first did this, my hoop took off and landed across the yard! I can't explain what a freeing feeling it is to get out there and hoop. I felt quite gloomy the last few days as it was too rainy for me to get out there and get going. I can't wait to make hoops for everyone in my family! If you don't have the time or the energy to make your own, Hoopnotica sells a lot of very cool, already-made hoops.
It's so much fun. It's still light outside. I must go. My newly taped hoop is calling to me!

My Gumball Machine Arrived!

Isn't it WONDERFUL?!!! It works perfectly! Glass globe, wonderful Acorn sticker and everything! Now, I'm off to order the Rain-blo gumballs!!! I feel like I'm in 2nd grade again ... I'm at the A&P grocery store after school ... and my Mom has given us all a nickel to spend on our way out! My favorite gumballs were the blue ones!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My First Jar!

I changed the date and anniversary line to three lines, instead. Also, I couldn't decide if I should put their marriage date or the current anniversary, so I finally put the current anniversary date ... that's the date of the jar, as well!
Another close up of the final jar ... here are some photos before I changed the anniversary.

Here's a full view of the Happy Anniversary Jar for my sister and her husband. The jar magnifies everything inside. I think I would have liked it better if it didn't!

Here's a close up of their faces. I won an auction for some old 1970s paper dolls and then found a photograph of the two of them and printed their faces out on watercolor paper. After cutting them out as best I could with an Exacto, I used some spray adhesive to put the faces on the paper dolls!
I filled the bottom with wool roving finger combed with flash ... and lots of mica!

I painted some watercolor paper with yellow and orange and let it dry, then I used a calligraphy pen and drew the moon face. You can't see it very well, but I put mica on the moon, too! I made a couple of impromptu stars and put a lot of glass glitter on them. I hung all these from the inside top of the jar.

I cut out the Bridal Chorus and used the music as the backdrop.

I added a lot of glass glitter to the paper doll's gown and glued on some paper flowers for my sister's bouquet and tied them with a little ribbon. I used a small paper flower for her husband's boutonniere. I also used a bit of netting and a little crepe paper for her veil. I know it's a little odd, so I hope they like it! I have been getting lots of ideas for jars ... like Happy Birthday jars and that sort of thing. I think I learned a lot about spray adhesive and being patient!!! The back is not as clean as I'd like ... the glue smeared a bit ... but it'll have to do. I do wonder what they'll think of it! Now onto package it up and take it to UPS. I hope it doesn't break!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's a Jungle Out There!

Meet the newest addition to The Pattern Box animal patterns!

I have finally written up and taken some photographs of the Giraffe pattern. If you're interested, he (or she!!!) is for sale at The Pattern Box. After purchasing, you can download it right away! Why not turn your own backyard into a jungle this summer and knit the lion and the elephant, too? All are knit in the round on double-pointed needles (size US 8) and then felted in your washing machine. I hope you'll give them a try!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Introducing the Mice on Holiday

These mice are taking a much-needed holiday in the sun after staying inside all winter long! Their bodies and heads are one piece, and knit in the round on size US 8 double-pointed needles. They are super-quick and super easy, but definitely not boring!
You'll find the pattern for sale both on Ravelry and at The Pattern Box website. I hope you'll take the 7-page pattern along on your holiday and give them a try!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Popknits Watermelon Glass Cozies and Napkin Ring Set!

Here's the non-felted version. Just use size US 5 double-pointed needles. One skein of pink Cascade 220 and one skein of green will make 4 glass cozies and 4 napkin rings!

If you'd like a felted version, simply use size US 8 double-pointed needles. Still, it only takes one skein of pink Cascade 22o and one of green to make four glass cozies and four napkin rings.

When I was little (and I'm much bigger now!), my parents belonged to a Saturday evening bridge club. How my best friend AnneMarie and I would look forward to the times when my parents hosted it! All the great snacks we'd have! Bugles! Doo Dads! Twigs! Chipsters! Dry-Roasted Peanuts! Pretzels! and bottles of Coca-Cola! Ah! Yes!
And the way my Mom always set everything up ... the kitchen became the "bar" and highballs with whiskey and ginger ale seemed to be the favorite. Those tall, ice-filled glasses always sported glass cozies. They were store-bought, but they were knit, stretchy and had sparkly threads glittering throughout. They were very festive, indeed!
So, with fond memory of those glass cozies, I came up with a very quick, very easy pattern for knit (or knit, then felted) glass cozies with matching napkin rings in summery, watermelon colors.
Take a look at the Popknits Summer Issue for the free pattern. And remember, the watermelon seeds are duplicate-stitched (or Swiss Darned), so there's no chart to follow and no switching of yarn colors.
I hope you'll give it a try and raise a glass to sweet summer evenings! And bridge parties of long ago!

Duplicate stitch (or Swiss Darning), is so easy! Just look for the V shapes in your stitches. Insert your yarn needle from back to front through the center of a V. Then, as this photo shows, put your needle through the top of the V from right to left. Then, put your needle back down through the center again and pull it out the back. Voila! You've made a stitch right over your other stitch!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gumball and Cracker Jack Charms!

Looky! Looky! My treasure box arrived! Chock full of odd little charms! Don't you just want to dig in and see what's inside? If you really can't resist, go to eBay and look at all the vintage charms for sale. You won't believe how many there are!

Here's a closer view of some of them. This batch was incredible! Truly a mini wonderland! I just purchased another batch on eBay with over 300 charms in it! I can't wait for it to come!

For awhile now I've been looking through eBay auctions for gumball and Cracker Jack charms. There's just something about them that is fun, happy and totally fascinating! I love them! I could spend hours just sifting through the little things! Even my son, who thought they were the absolute most ridiculous thing I've ever purchased on eBay, couldn't stop sorting through them after they arrived!! Don't they look like an I-Spy game ready to be played? I'm not quite sure what I intend to do with them all, but I know there's a plan brewing somewhere. When the others arrive, including the 20 adjustable rings, I'll be sure to post photos here!

Knitted/Felted Garden Lantern Pattern!

The battery-operated candle inside gives off a lot of light! Hanging a few of these lanterns from tree branches or shepherd's hooks will add a bit of charm to any evening garden party.

This is the "tall" tea light available from battery operated candles online.

I used simple Swiss darning to make colorful designs on the lantern before felting. The free, 7-page pattern gives you all the instructions you'll need. The pattern is a pdf and you can download it here. I hope you enjoy it! As always, if you run into anything troubling about it, jot me an email and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I hope you're having a wonderful summer so far!