Thursday, December 03, 2009

Really running behind with this posting ...

Check out how cute the Fairy Skirt pattern looks for raindrops for a school play!

Thanks for sending along the link, Julie, and I'm glad they turned out so cute for you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why yes, I am insane - why do you ask?

There's still time to order your custom Halloween costume ... mermaid tails are now available in a limited edition spectacular green scale print with purple backing.
Order ASAP for Halloween delivery, but definitely before Oct. 25.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Note to self:

Remember how much more pleasant it is to cut out ridiculously large quantities of fabric when you have a new blade on the rotary cutter. Swish!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

Okay, I sew pretty well, but there is no way I would ever be able to pull off anything as complicated as this without going completely insane. And she did it without a pattern! Gahhhhh!

You really should click over and check it out ... just don't enter to win it, because the only way LazyKid is ever going to get any costume like this is if WE win!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Look! Free press for Lazy Mama!

I am really excited to have been included in a listing of etsy costumes available for Halloween. You can find the link here.

While you're there, check out some of the other costumes. We've got a lot of really talented folks on etsy, so if mermaids aren't your thing, maybe the baby sushi or cupcake costumes will float your boat. Sooooo cute!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Well thank goodness!

Today was LazyKid's first day of pre-K, and I had almost two hours to work on whatever I wanted in my studio. You should see all the Play/Move/Store bags I've got cut out, and all the legwarmers that are hemmed and waiting for their ribbons and packaging.

And I get to do this three times a week!

It's good to be back!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Parenthacks: Painting without ruining your table

We're working on a dinosaur diorama, and I thought now was a good time to show how we set it up so that LazyKid can do crafts at our nice cherry dining room table without giving me a heart attack.

1. All craft projects are primarily done on some plastic serving trays I got on clearance at Target. This gives us a place (with a rim in case of spills) that she can be messy, but almost everything wipes off. Even dried-on "permanent" paint comes off with a bit of persuasion. And when we need the table for a meal, we can pick up the whole craft and move it out of the way.

2. I've been using heavy-duty foam plates as palettes for the paint, which lets her mix the colors together but limits the volume of paint she gets at any one time. The foam plates are easy to wash off and reuse over and over ... I just finally got rid of the set we'd been using for the past two years. Now we're using some disposable plastic drink cups. I cut the tops off of them so that each cup is only about 2 1/2 inches deep. This means that they're low enough to be hard to tip over, and again, it limits the amount of paint the kid can have. They're also low enough that LazyKid doesn't try to rest the paintbrush in them, which means she doesn't catch the paintbrush with her elbow and tip them over that way. These are wash-and-reuse items, too. We've also used styrofoam egg cartons as palettes, but that's harder to share among several artists, since all of the cups are stuck together.

3. Lots of paper towels, right there at the scene. It's much easier to clean up a spill if you don't have to run across the room to get a towel. Plus, if the towels are right at hand, it's much more likely that LazyKid will try to clean up the mess herself before asking me for help. We've also had good luck with using up some old packages of baby wipes as craft cleanup wipes.

4. Storage for the paints that makes them easy to carry without dropping or spilling. We've only got a few acrylic paints right now, so they're in a small shoebox that's stored with the rest of the painting supplies in a plastic tote. The plastic tote has all the poster paints, paint brushes, paint stamps, palettes, and stencils, all in one place. When we want to paint anywhere - on the easel in the basement, on the floor in the livingroom, at the dining room table, outside on the picnic table - we can just grab the tote and take everything with us in one trip.

5. Lots of supervision. If I'm not actually doing the craft with her (I helped paint some of the larger diorama figures above), I try to be physically with her at the table while I do something crafty on my own. I've got a number of mindless knitting and crochet projects I can grab to fill in a few minutes while LazyKid paints or works with clay ... things that can be picked up and put down a lot without getting messed up too much. I've found that trying to do things away from the table - like cook dinner or wash dishes - ends up with the kid making more of a mess than if I'm right there.

Hope some of these tips help keep you (and your table) crafty but organized!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Busy, busy!

Well, I'm halfway through the wrap I'm doing for my insanely ambitious first real lace project, and while I love the yarn and love the pattern, I don't love the two together. The yarn obscures the lace pattern so you can't even see the diamonds.
Oh, well - I am not so frustrated with it that I'll abandon it, I just have learned that I need to buy quieter yarn when I do intricate patterns. Who knew?

Also - I'm typing this from my couch, because I got a new laptop and a mobile broadband internet account, so I can blog from anywhere! Ostensibly, this will maximize the time I can work while LazyKid is in school (pattern design at the library, anyone?), but really, I just hated my old computer. The thing is basically an expensive paperweight. But I luuuuuuurve my new laptop :)

Worked on a new quilt pattern this week, and as soon as I can convince it to tell me what sort of border it wants, I'll get it live. It's a relatively quick-and-dirty one that's for a twin bed (with mods for a throw size), so it should be a welcome addition to my projects. Plus, it used up a lot of my stash fabrics! Twenty-one different ones, as a matter of fact ...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finally - new merchandise!

Introducing the Play/Move/Store bag ... aka the "Stop Yelling At Your Kid To Pick Up The Legos" play mat.

Unfolded, it's a great place to spread out those toys with a billion pieces - legos, blocks, barbies, plastic tea sets, etc. It lets kids see all the pieces without having to dump the whole container in the middle of the kitchen floor. And the best part - when they're done playing, all they have to do to clean the whole mess up is grab the drawstring and pull. Voila! A very portable, very storable tote bag full of tiny pieces of plastic!

Now available in a wide range of colors and prints (which I'm listing gradually as time and LazyKid permit) on my shop at . You can find them here. And if you have a color combination you'd like me to make up for you custom, I'd be happy to give it a try! Just contact me at and we'll see what we can work out.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Mother's Helper

Oh, the joys of knowing a 13-year-old who will come and play with Lazy Kid for money while I get massive amounts of work done. In two four-hour bursts, I have:

- designed a new product for etsy (all that's missing are decent photos and a good name)
- made half a dozen of said new product
- finished up and published a pattern that's been sitting on my desk for months, just waiting to be proofread and listed
- listed and relisted almost a dozen items
- got together another submission of my Awesome Underappreciated Quilt Design, which goes out in tomorrow's mail.
- possibly spent a little too much of my "work" time on Ravelry, looking for "inspiration." Yeah, that's it! Inspiration!

Here's hoping she can come back next week so I can get these new dealios listed on etsy and write up a couple of extra patterns and edit some photos I might try to sell online and ... oh, crap, guess I'm going to need more than one day, huh?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Free pattern - Circle towel

I picked up some inexpensive linen yarn while I was on vacation earlier this summer, and I had grand visions of making it into some sort of hand towel.  All of the patterns I could find seemed to involve rather a lot of mindnumbingly boring stockinette stitch, so I decided to modify a cool sock pattern to see if I could make a towel that had a nice texture and a pattern that was fairly easy to memorize.  
The modification was a little challenging since the sock is worked in the round and the towel is back-and-forth, but I managed to get my head around it all right. As a bonus, the back side is nice and uniform and looks presentable enough that it won't be horrible when it's seen during use.
Don't be freaked out by the 20-row pattern repeat ... it's actually just 10 rows with a slight jog over to make the second 10 rows, and there's a lot of "do the same thing, only K instead of P" in there, too.  Trust me - once you've gone through it once or twice, you won't need to look at the instructions for the rest of the towel.

So, without further ado, here's how to duplicate my Circle Towel:

Lazy Mama's Circle Towel:

Finished size - 17" wide x 12" tall before washing and blocking; size after blocking will be added once this makes it through the wash :)

Yarn - light worsted weight or DK weight linen or cotton yarn.  I used every bit of 100 grams of Euroflax Athens by Louet Sales, which is approximately 200 yards.

Needle - whatever gives you a nice medium-firm fabric in stockinette stitch.  You need it to be a bit loose to comfortably carry the slipped stitches up seven rows in the pattern.  I used a US 2.

Gauge - not important.  Just make sure you're not making a super-lacy cloth, or it won't hold up to actually drying your hands.

Pattern stitch (multiple of 8 stitches):
Row 1 - Purl across
Row 2 - Knit across
Row 3 - Purl across
Row 4 - (P3, sl 2 st with yarn at front, P3) across
Row 5-  (K3, sl 2 st with yarn at back, K3) across
Row 6 -(P3, sl 2 st with yarn at front, P3) across
Row 7 - (K3, sl 2 st with yarn at back, K3) across
Row 8 - (P3, sl 2 st with yarn at front, P3) across
Row 9 - (K3, sl 2 st with yarn at back, K3) across
Row 10 - (P3, sl 2 st with yarn at front, P3) across
Row 11 - Purl across
Row 12 - Knit across
Row 13 - Purl across
Row 14 - (sl 1 st with yarn at front, P6, sl 1 st with yarn at front) across
Row 15 - (sl 1 st with yarn at back, K6, sl 1 st with yarn at back) across
Row 16 - (sl 1 st with yarn at front, P6, sl 1 st with yarn at front) across
Row 17 - (sl 1 st with yarn at back, K6, sl 1 st with yarn at back) across
Row 18 - (sl 1 st with yarn at front, P6, sl 1 st with yarn at front) across
Row 19 - (sl 1 st with yarn at back, K6, sl 1 st with yarn at back) across
Row 20 - (sl 1 st with yarn at front, P6, sl 1 st with yarn at front) across

Note: after your first pattern repeat, the first row of circles may look a bit flat on the cast-on side.  This is normal, and will not occur in any of the subsequent repeats of the pattern.

Actual instructions:
  • Cast on 80 stitches.
  • Knit two rows of garter stitch (knit each row).
  • Repeat pattern instructions a total of five times (100 rows in pattern).  If you are using a larger skein of yarn than I did, you may wish to keep repeating until you're almost out of yarn.  Just make sure you end on row 10 or 20 before you finish the rest of the towel.
  • Knit two rows of garter stitch (knit each row).
  • Cast off all stitches.
If you decide to make one of these, please share it with me on Ravelry!  Thanks!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yeah, that was a disaster. Look! Pretty scarf!

Okay, so apparently ugly + ugly = "oh my god, it burns!  it burns!" ugly.  The socks have been frogged, the yarn thrown out, and then the whole mess set fire to, for good measure.  I am done wasting time on that.

But let's not dwell on failures, shall we?  Especially when I have such pretty pretties to show!
Yep, I've jumped on the Noro Striped Scarf bandwagon, this time with Taiyo, a cotton/silk blend from Noro that's ohh soooooo soffffffffft and smooooooooooooooooshy.  And did I mention the colors?

Oh Taiyo, I am so glad I have enough of you left over to make a matching hat ...  which I will not allow anywhere near any washing machine that is set to "hot," I swear!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

ugly + ugly = ?

No photos yet, but I wanted to let everyone know what I was doing with the Fugly Yarn of Doom.  Various swatches with it proved that while the dye improved the look of the resulting fabric, it's still no beauty queen.  With that in mind, I searched Ravelry for a pattern that might either disguise or highlight the peculiar fug I've got.

That's when I found Bellatrix (Rav link).  It's got a pattern of deliberately "dropped" stitches, which make an allover design of really gnarly holes.  And so far, I'm liking it.  I mean, boy, is the combination of this yarn and that pattern a LOT of fug, but I'm hoping that it will somehow balance out and become magically infused with some awesomeness.  Barring that, at least I'll have used the yarn up, and I'll have socks to wear when cleaning up cat puke.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What happens when you forget about the load of felting in the washer?

This used to be about 10" tall.  It was supposed to felt and get smaller, but I wasn't aiming for something that's too small to hold my cell phone.
This used to be a hat.  A very, very big hat.  Now it's a bowl.  A relatively small, very attractive bowl.

And the fuzzy red slippers that I had previously felted to be slightly too big for my feet, which I was trying to refelt to be a little more snug?  They're about 3/4" too long ... for my four-year-old.  Oops.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oh, hai! Guess I should post once in a while, huh?

The solution to the yarn issue from my previous post? Find a pattern that only needed the original number of skeins of yarn, and use a completely different color to finish it. Thank goodness for Dahlia!

Now, I just need to find a use for the extra five skeins of yarn in the powder blue lot ...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So very, very disappointing

After scoring a good deal on some Rowan Summer Tweed yarn at the local yarn store, I realized that they didn't have enough of the purpley-blue color for the sweater I wanted to make. I hopped on Ravelry and found a couple people who had the same colorway in their stashes, and I arranged to buy them for even less than I paid the local yarn store. Double score!

The additional skeins are different lot numbers than the original purpose, which usually means you're in for some minor variation in color. So you can imagine my surprise when the first of the additional skeins showed up and looked nothing like the color with which I had already started the sweater:

Yes, they are the same colorway (at least according to the labels). No, the lighting isn't a factor - they look this different no matter what lighting I use. This is just the worst dye lot variation I've ever seen.

I'm hoping that the other four skeins that are coming from Scotland will be somewhere in between these two colors, so that I can fade gradually from the purpley into the powder blue. Or that they're powder blue and I'll have enough to make the top part of the sweater without the three skeins of the purpley yarn I originally bought.

Or that I get up the nerve to just knit with it no matter what color it is, then overdye the whole thing black or really, really dark purple or something.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fun with drink mixes

So I had this really fugly yarn that looked awful no matter what I did with it, and a couple people on Ravelry suggested I overdye it. The easiest overdye for wool is - get this - Kool-Aid drink mix. I had bought some intending to use it to dye some cotton for my etsy shop, but since Kool-Aid doesn't actually work on cotton, I decided this was a much better use for my $0.20 of food coloring and citric acid.
After one packet each of Cherry and Grape, plus about 6 ounces of vinegar to help it set, and about 8 minutes in the microwave:
Still damp, you can see the variation in the top and bottom halves of the hank. And you can see how cute my cat is.

I'm hoping it will be dry tomorrow so that I can use the ball-winder that has finally come in for my at my local yarn store. I've got a swatch left over in the "before" colors, so it will be neat to see them side-by-side.

And if it's still fugly, it's hitting the trash.

But the overdyeing was fun ... definitely will have to try that again in the future.

Monday, March 16, 2009

This looks like a really cool idea

Has anyone tried them? I'd love to know how they work.
I also love the idea that you can buy them enclosed in a greeting card. Now that's unique marketing!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Look how pretty!

My Leyburn socks, which I'm knitting from the same yarn as the emergency wedding shawl (and the socks I made for my sister-in-law). Look how pretty!

And the scarf I made for Lazy Kid, which was a really fun short-row knitting project that used Soy Wool Stripes from Paton.
She wears it tied around her waist like a cummerbund. At least that way the static electricity it generates doesn't mess up her hair :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Last-minute greeting cards

Okay, so the package to the Lazy Grandparents needed to be in the mail today, and Lazy Kid wanted to make a Valentine's day card to go with it. Glitter glue wouldn't dry in time, so I hauled out Plan B: punching designs in cardstock with a hammer and nail.

1. Put a piece of corrugated cardboard on a solid surface (one you don't mind nicking up a bit if someone gets a little too excited with the hammer), then put the paper to be punched on top. I used regular cheapo cardstock for Lazy Kid's card, and some commercial blank greeting cards for my versions. Make sure you're looking at the inside of the card, poking the holes toward the outside of the card.

2. Use a lightweight hammer to force a thin nail through the cardstock into the cardboard (but hopefully not into the table under it), punching a small hole in the card. Repeat the process, placing holes no closer than about 1/4" apart (much closer together and the paper will tear, and then the kid will cry, and that's not the point of this, now is it?). You can lightly trace a design for the child to follow, or tape a pattern to the paper and remove it when all the holes are punched, or just let them wing it. Or, if you're really dumb, you can hold the nail while the kid hammers, which lets you control where the holes will end up, and also really, really hurts. Don't ask how I know this.

Lazy Kid's card, made with me aiming the nail (ow)
The bumps made by the nail pushing through will be different sizes depending on what size nail you use and how deep it penetrates, so if there's a specific look you're going for, play around with it on a piece of scrap paper before you let the kid go to it.

One of my cards - the outer heart followed a pattern, the inner one was done freehand

If you use a fairly large nail, you could even glue or tape a piece of colored paper behind the holes so the color would show through (and your traced pattern would be covered up), but it's really the texture of the holes that makes this so fun. I've made a bunch more this morning, whenever I could wrest the hammer away from my daughter. I love that our craft session included the sentence, "I want to make another card - where's the hammer?"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The last of the cotton market bags

The construction on this is really nice - there's a double bottom that isn't joined all the way around, so you can flip the whole thing inside out and stuff the bag into the bottom to keep it tidy when it's not in use.

I think I've got one more market bag left in me before I'm done with this for a while, and I think I'm going to combine the bottom of this bag with the sides of the sea shell tote, just to see how they work together. Wish me luck!

Looky what I made

Lazy Kid likes her Rapunzel braid so much, she wore it to the mall on Sunday, and she would have worn it to school today if I hadn't tackled her on her way out the door. It's on a ponytail elastic, and the boucle yarn is lightweight enough that it doesn't pull out immediately, even on her straight hair. I may have to invest in some extra colors of yarn and see if these will sell in the etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What I've been up to

Well, first of all, I've been dealing with the near-record January snowfall (around 40" ... just in January) here outside of Cleveland. The snow has come regularly in large quantities with no thaws in between, which is why both sides of my driveway look like this:

The snow is so deep that Lazy Kid hasn't been able to get out to play, since every time she tries she either gets stuck in a waist-deep drift or loses one of her boots somewhere in the side yard. This means we're all going stir-crazy, which may be why these have been so much fun:

I went stash-diving and came up with a whole bunch of kitchen cotton and leftover Paton's Grace mercerized cotton, most of which has been crocheted into reusable shopping bags. I made these two ... on Sunday. God, I love crochet. It's fast and uses lots of yarn, which is a good combination when trying to clear out stash.
The first bag is cuter, but smaller, while the second bag holds a lot more but looks more utilitarian. The load in the second one during the photo shoot: fourteen library books and seven CDs. The librarians were impressed when I got there - it was like one of those clown cars where more and more people keep getting out, only in my case it was almost-overdue library materials.

I have a third bag in process that should be finished tonight or tomorrow, and it's both gigantic and a HUGE suck on my yarn supply, so this may be my last one for a while. Unless I can make shopping bags out of leftover sock yarn ... hmm ...

Monday, February 02, 2009


Anyone participated in this program before? I know some of the crafty bloggers I read are teaching this year, and it looks like an excellent vacation idea ... but I'd like some feedback from people who have actually gone before. So pipe up if you're a Squammer!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My new favorite listing on etsy

(fwiw, I bought a DIY I Spy bag kit from aebaby, and it was wonderfully done, and just right for my pre-reading daughter. I highly recommend her stuff .... although I'd prefer a lower price on this one!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's just so pretty

And it's cashmere! swoon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Feeling all smug in a MacGyverish sort of way

Lazy Husband was just getting ready for bed and discovered a rather troubling steady drip of water that is coming from the top of our bedroom window frame and splashing loudly on our windowsill every 0.65 seconds. Aside from the hideous mold this leak is probably causing in our walls and attic, the sound is enough to drive you insane while trying to go to sleep.

Putting down a towel on the sill didn't help, it just made it into more of a splat than a plink, and at the rate the water is coming out the towel would be completely soaked before morning, anyway. Lazy Husband was about ready to give up and sleep in the guest room tonight when I had a brain flash.

I grabbed the leftover (organic, unbleached, undyed, ridiculously expensive) cotton yarn from this hat, taped one end to the wall above the leak, ran the length of it so it touched the drippy point on the frame, and stuck the other end in a plastic pitcher. Once I wetted down the yarn along its length, the water ran (silently!) down the yarn and into the pitcher.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, craft gods, for helping me get some sleep tonight. Because I'm going to need it when calling repair people tomorrow ...

Update - look how cute the legwarmers are as fingerless mittens!

All I did was add a large buttonhole to the side as a thumbhole, and voila! Fingerless mittens that look really cute on a 13-yr-old! Gotta go make some of those for me ...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Little Legwarmers now available

Just a quick note to let everyone know that you can now buy my Little Legwarmers EXCLUSIVELY at Above the Barre dance studio in Berea, OH.

The legwarmers all feature decorative ribbon bows at the top and double-overcast edges at the bottom (which look a little different from the ones in the photo, but trust me, they're even cuter with the new lettuce hem). Great as legwarmers for young kids, or armwarmers for older kids or adults! Each pair is individually made by me, and comes packaged in a cute cello bag with care instructions on the tag. A steal at only $8 a pair!
Get them while you can - I sold three pairs before the owner had finished reading the consignment agreement I wrote up!
If they sell well at the studio, I may try selling them at additional venues, so let me know if you have any suggestions of places who might be looking to sell kids' clothing.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wifebeater bag

Lazy Husband left a pile of t-shirts sitting in our bedroom, waiting for the next run to Goodwill. I snagged one and turned it into a reusable shopping bag, ala the much superior ones that fellow Clevey zJayne makes.

In order to make the bags, you first have to cut off the sleeves and the neckline of the shirt, then fold in the sides of the shoulders to reinforce the handles. When you do that, you basically turn a poor, unsuspecting t-shirt into a wifebeater, which got me giggling. And when you make the bottom of the bag and gusset it, you end up with this sort of wifebeater-torso bag, which is going to make me snort every time I use it.

Note to self - when making subsequent bags, a unisex XL makes a bag that's really too huge to be practical. I could stuff most of a week's worth of groceries in there, if i didn't mind them squishing each other into a pulp before I got them to the car. Or maybe I'll just go buy one from zJayne ...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Some projects that aren't socks

This past summer I made a cotton skirt for Lazy Kid, who managed to outgrow it before she tired of wearing it. After a couple of months of her showing everyone her undies unintentionally, I finally got around to adding a couple of inches to the hem. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out:

The hem is a mixture of a lace pattern from a pair of socks I made ages ago, and part of a lace edge on a collar in a recent issue of Knitty, so basically it's a one-off that's never going to happen again. Shame, because the ruffle effect is pretty cute. Might have to practice that on another skirt to see if I can get the ruffle again. In the meantime, since she's been the same waist size forever and her legs are growing like weeds, I'm saving the rest of the lace pattern for later. I figure I can pull the cast-off edge and just keep going when I need to make it longer again :)

And, once the socks were all done - ALL DONE! - I knit myself a hat and a pair of mittens to celebrate. It goes nicely with the scarf I made earlier this ... er, last year.

Awww, aren't I cute? Also cute - the hat, and the button on the brim that I found in the button box. The mittens are only felted because they turned out freakishly large - they didn't fit Lazy Husband, and he's got giant hands - and I still need to add some elastic to help cinch in the cuffs. But they're close enough to finished for a photo, right? I had so much fun felting the mittens that I've already cast on for a pair of Fuzzy Feet, which I hope to have finished by the end of the weekend.