Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Days...

Now I am sure that most anyone who grew up and attended school in the NorthEast knows about snow days. Here in the central part of Maryland a snow day is called for any amount of, or prediction of possible accumulation of snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain. Today is Day 2 of Ice Days for my children- and those living anywhere in the state except on the Eastern Shore. So, my floors are covered with melting salty slush and the kitchen is a mess of cocoa mugs, chocolate syrup and sandwiches. Every time I turn around there is a fresh pile of wet, grimy socks, gloves, hats and boots by the front door.
As I grumble under my breath yet again to children who have already dashed back out to play in the snowy/icy mix that in summer months is known as "the front lawn" I am reminded of the snow days of my childhood.
One such snow day my best friend and I found ourselves walking for hours through our neighborhood over snow-quieted streets. We had lived in this same place for all of our 12 years and knew every street and backyard like our own. We walked to the 7-11 and bought Slurpees and chocolate bars; we walked to her boyfriend's house and hung out for a while; we walked to the elementary school where everyone was sledding down the big hill behind the school that emptied out by the community pool. We had a blast! We fell into bed exhausted, with wind-chapped cheeks and sunburned lips and we were thrilled to hear that the next day would be a snow day too! Oh the plans we made on the phone at 10pm after the evening news was broadcast! It was no longer a school night so we could stay up late and talk on the phone, sneak late night snacks and plan our walking tour of the nieghborhood for the next day. It was exciting and so much fun...
As I turn to the newly shed pile of wet, smelly woolens that have once agained appeared by the front door; as I carry the freshly laundered, clean and warm replacement socks, gloves and hats and drop them into their bin in the front closet, I do remember and bite back the grumpy response on the tip of my tongue, grab the mop and once again wipe up the slushy, salty foot prints. I remember what it is like to be a child again, to have an unexpected free day from school and responsibilities of homework and reading assignments, to have an imagination that can turn the snowscape of an ordinary front yard into a winter wonderland full of magical winter creatures like ice princesses and snow faeries...
The kids are out to play once again, with their freshly laundered woolens and stomachs full of hot cocoa and sandwiches and full imaginations. I return to the work of being "Mom" and I think that things are as they should be. Even now my children are gathering their own memories to be taken out and visited many long years from now, just as I have visited mine.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Just a Little More Time...( Felted Tie Pattern)

How many times have you said that , or at the very least thought that very same thing? I seem to be thinking it and saying it too much these days myself. I have been trying to figure just exactly how to find more time in my days, but unless I decide to give up on sleep altogether I cannot see any way to add more hours to my day... maybe Congress could vote some more hours in for me? LOL!
I have been working on getting my craft room in some semblence of order, a daunting task indeed! But on the bright side I actually FOUND an entire bin full of yarn that I did not remember having!
I am working on several projects at the moment-- crochet, knit and cross stitch, as well as trying to get my online store launched. Still have not come up with a good name for it... My hand-crafted item site including Jewelry, Purses and accessories is called DHDesigns, but I was hoping to come up with something a bit more catchy for an online store. Hopefully I can come up with something that works in the next day or 2 and get my store opened!

I promised a FREE PATTERN so here is the first one. It is easy and requires no real gauge.
I used Paton's Wool in blue and it looked like one I saw at the Mall before Christmas that was on sale for 59.99.... It took about 1/3 of the ball of wool for this project.

Crochet Felted Teacher's Tie

Size H hook
Worsted Weight Wool of choice ( real wool not acrylic)

Chain 32, turn
hdc in 2nd chain from hook and each chain to end (30 stitches), chain 2, turn
continue this pattern until tie is 48 inches long
Final row sc across to end and bind off.

Finishing :
Place tie in basin of HOT water with 1/2 tsp of liquid dish soap. Squeeze and agitate the tie in the hot water for 6-10 minutes then rinse with warm water until runs clear. Roll tie up into a ball and squeeze as much water out as possible.
Repeat this process until there are no visible spaces between stitches so that tie appears to be made of a solid fabric. It may take 3 cycles of hot water and rinsing to acheive this depending on how loosely you crochet. The tie should be about 1/3 smaller than when you started if you have felted it completely.
When you are satisfied with your felting and have sqeezed as much water out as possible fold a bath towel in half then lay the tie out on the towel with the tie folded in half. Roll the towel up with the tie inside applying pressure to the towel as you roll. Do this several times to remove as much moisture as possible from the tie.

To dry the tie unroll it and block it so it is square on each corner and the sides are straight and let it dry over night. To finish use an iron set on wool setting and lightly press the tie by placing the iron on the tie for several seconds beginning at one end and moving it along the tie to the other end. Be sure to lift the iron and set it down in the next spot- Do Not Slide it along or it will make the tie look uneven or crooked along the edges.
Voila'! You have now made a hand-crafted wool tie comparable to those found in high end retail stores for upwards of 100.00!!!
Great for gift giving with a nice Tie Tack or Tie Clip