Monday, February 27, 2012

Curly Black Scarf

While I was at the water conference this last week, I did what I usually do in training sessions that are primarily lecture format.  I am a good listener and conference presenters usually provide good handouts, so it's just a matter of keeping my hands busy while my eyes and my mind are paying attention elsewhere.  I crochet.  I can burn through a skein of yarn in no time at all.  I usually get comments from others because I crochet so swiftly.  Last week, I used two skeins of black acrylic yarn to make this curly black fashion scarf.

It was fun to make, and it's quite long.  I simply crocheted a nice long chain, then crocheted in rounds, doubling my double crochet in each loop of the prior round.  The spirally ruffle starts to form.  I think this is three rounds, total.

We took these pics on the deck.  It's kind of sad how dead everything looks in the background.  But that's February in Montana for you!  

I think this may be going into my Etsy store soon.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sass's Sunday Salvation Show - Lucky #13

It's Sunday - and that means we've moved another week closer to Spring - please, please, let Spring come soon!  I am tired of cold, wind, snow, sleet, mixed rain and snow, clouds, ice, etc., etc., etc.  I want a warm sunny day.  Or thirty.  Can you tell I'm getting impatient?  I don't hide it very well, do I? 

Last week's Salvation Show was lovely.  So many things to look at and enjoy and file away for future tweaking for a project of my own!  And all so hard to choose from.  But I set myself up to choose a favorite, and I did.  Here's my favorite project from the 12th Salvation Show: The Most Visited Room in the House by It all Started with Paint.

While there are no 'before' shots of this lovely, there is a bounty of lovely 'afters'.  You need to go there and check out the thrifty and pretty changes that have made this Linda's most visited room.  Though to be frank, the actual numbers of visits may have less to do with the decor and more to do with the hospitality!

Let's get on with the show, shall we?

A few rules:

Share something you've done recently.  Take a moment to look at and comment on someone else's link - we're all in this together!  Please consider becoming a follower of Sassafras Salvation and take a Sunday Salvation Show button to remind yourself and others to come back again and again!

Sassafras Salvation

Saturday, February 25, 2012

100th Post - Sip n Dip Evening

Well, I've reached a pretty magical number - big number One Hundred.  This is my 100th post - and I'm so pleased to get here.  Unfortunately, for anyone who was looking forward to a little Sneak Peek Saturday, I have been out of town at the Montana Rural Water Convention (in Great Falls) all week and I wasn't able to prepare a post.

So, instead, I have something a little weird and wacky for you.  Great Falls is home to a institution, and I mean that in the best possible way.  It's the Sip n Dip Bar, attached to the O'Haire Motor Inn, in downtown Great Falls.   Most of these pics are from their site.  

I 'm pretty much a lifelong Montanan, and I had never been to the Sip n Dip.   To tell you the absolute truth, I'm not much of a bar-goer - I would much rather hang with friends at home, but GQ magazine named this the #1 bar in the United States -  supposedly one for which you should consider buying an airline ticket and flying in just to visit this nightspot.  I'm not so  sure I would go that far, but when a friend at the convention advised me that he was planning to hit the Sip n Dip the last full evening of the convention, I jumped at the chance to go.  Several of us from my workplace went, and we had a really good time.

 Here's the scoop:  The back wall of the bar is actually a glass wall through which you can see into the pool.  Starting about 9:00 p.m., young lovelies in mermaid suits swim around in the pool to entertain the patrons.  They're actually quite modest by today's standards, and it's kind of cute.  The decor of the bar itself is cheeseball tiki.  Can you imagine a tiki bar situated in, of all places, Great Falls, Montana?  It's pretty odd, you have to admit.  There are bamboo poles, a woven banana mat ceiling, rattan bits-n-pieces, and tiki gods here and there.

There's an enormous drink called the fishbowl, and it has nine - count 'em - nine shots of various liquors, along with tropical juices.  (By the way, I was the Designated Driver, so I did not imbibe.  I'm a pretty lightweight drinker under the best of circumstances, which means at home, near my bed, so partying hearty out on the town is just not my cuppa tea, if you get my drift.)

But it sure wasn't necessary to drink to have a good time with friends.  The best part of all was that Pat Spoonheim, a local legend, showed up at 9:30 to play the organ and sing.  Pat is 132 years old and has been playing at the Sip n Dip since she was 17, or so it seems.  Actually, I have no idea how old she is.  She appears to be held together with Aqua Net and she's been playing there since I was eight years old!  And I'm no spring chicken. 

All I have to say is that you've got to give it up for an old lady who comes to work at 9:30 at night!  Pat does what she does very well.  However, that said, the music is so bad, it's good.  Mostly because every song sounds a bit a whole lot like the one before and the one after.  You can sit with friends, laughing, trying to play 'Name that Tune' - for the entire length of the song.  We - along with the rest of the patrons, identified Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' at one point and pretty soon the whole bar was singing along:  Sweet Car-o-line!  Bum! Bum! bum!  We laughed so hard.  It was great.  If you ever get the chance, you must go! As one friend said, "It's been checked off the bucket list, but it's got a note for 'must go again'.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hungry for Spring!

 Are you, like me, hungry for a little Springtime?  I am ready for the first blade of green grass, the first robin, the first warm rainshower, the first jacket-free day.  So, so, so ready!  I hit Pinterest a little for some Springtime inspiration.  Here's a little of what I found:

Wheatgrass tutorial from Keep it Simple, Sister............

Darling umbrella inspiration from No Biggie..............

Airy flowers to craft from Annekata..........

Darling and easy button flowers from Freckled Nest..........

Too sweet Easter chick cupcakes from Martha Stewart.  I'm afraid the link will take you to that website, but the actual post has been removed [*sob*], so we'll just have to figure out how to make these darling chicks on our own!

Spring Explosion tea cosy from Crochet with Raymond...........

Last of all: a great-looking purse (with tutorial!) from The Boy Trifecta.

Here's to hoping Spring comes soon!



P.S. By the way, people!  Learn how to pin! Pin the web address for the actual post, not the blog title.  It's quickly turning into a pet peeve of mine.  I find something positively yummy, and then it's pinned without a good web address. Grr.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sass's Sunday Salvation Show #12

Here's a list of things I've been a part of accomplishing over the past twenty-four hours:  painting two ceilings (ten to eleven feet up a ladder for those), priming one panelled wall, two loads of clothes, primed large cupboard (inside and out), scrubbed a large bathroom floor (and it was very dirty - required scraping with a putty knife and scrubbing with SOS), sweeping and washing a cement floor, painting trim pieces, and some other more minor tasks.  Did I pick up a camera?  Barely.  I was so glad that my daughter was willing to spend one day of her three-day weekend helping me to get these things accomplished that I barely considered the value of recording the changes.  Bad, tired blogger.But thanks very, very much, April.  [On a side note, my mother works incredibly hard - really tough physical labor - and taught all of us to work just as hard.  When I get together with my mother, my daughters, or my sister, we can really knock. it. out.

Tonight, I'm just going to quickly put up the Salvation Show and trundle myself off to bed.  I'm full of turkey-avocado-croissant and I just need to get warm and get relaxed.  I think an Alpine may be in order (in case you don't know, that's hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint schnapps).  I may even treat myself to a big, fat marshmallow or two.

My favorite project from last week's Salvation Show was a bed designed and created by RedeFIND:

This gorgeous bed was a sort of gathering of talents and skills all brought together by one very satisfied blogger.  You'll have to stop over, read, and appreciate it.

Let's get on with the show.  I want my Alpine, my bed, and my kindle.  *Yawn*

A few rules:

Share something you've done recently.  Take a moment to look at and comment on someone else's link - we're all in this together!  Please consider becoming a follower of Sassafras Salvation and take a Sunday Salvation Show button to remind yourself and others to come back again and again!

Sassafras Salvation

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Sneak Peek Countdown

Hello everyone!  Today's sneak peek is going to be more conceptual than concrete.  Basically, all I'm sharing are the colors of the wedding.  

Of course, without saying as much, I have already shown you the colors, but maybe you didn't realize it.  The little Sneak Peek logo above says about all that needs to be said, except that I'm not limiting myself to those specific shades.  The orange is generally a nice dreamsicle-y shade, but could go from paler to deeper.  The turquoise is the antique turquoise that is so au courant right now, but it run the range and be lighter or darker, as well.  You'll see as I continue to unveil bits and pieces through the next few months. 

It's all very exciting -- we're developing new ideas all the time, so stay tuned!  Meanwhile, if you've missed the first couple of sneak peeks, I've linked them below. 

Today, my daughter is helping me paint.  I'll take some pics and share in a post this coming week.



Sneak Peek Countdown - Prior Posts

31 Weeks Away
30 Weeks Away

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Faucet Set JUST FOR ME!

I finally decided that I wanted to do up a faucet set just for myself.  I bought this pretty new dress at the Helena Industries Thrift Store for $3.00 (and it was brand-spankin' new)!! I had the perfect large beads to go with it, so away I went!

MMM took the pics.  I was enjoying a little bit of sunshine here.  I work in a windowless office all day long, and so if I get the chance for a little midwinter sunbathing, I take it.

That center piece is just a pretty button I found.  I knew it would be perfect with this set.

And I love, love, love, the chunkiness of these beads.

The length on this is just right, too.  

Even matching earrings!

Just had to share.  Hope your day is fantastic!



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pretty in Pink - Scarf, that is!

I love it when I can score craft supplies at the thrift store.  Not too long ago, while in the craft section at the Good Samaritan - my favorite local haunt - I spotted three small skeins of polished acrylic.  It's much the same texture as the cotton I use for dishcloths, but lighter in weight.  And that color!  That bright, happy pink.  I could hardly wait to get started on a ruffly scarf for myself. The price was the best part.  Each skein was $.75, and I used all three, so this project came in at $2.25! 

Essentially, I just chained long enough to make myself happy.  This is a long scarf - it must be close to six and a half feet in length.  Once I had the length established, I worked my way around in two rows long ovals of double crochet, one in each previous row's stitches.  The third oval row has two double crochet in each of the first oval's stitches, and then I repeated that, so the fourth oval row has, again,  two double crochet in each of third oval row's stitches.  Those two rows are what forces the ruffle effect to happen. 

The weather accommodated me and my scarf by snowing all over the place.  Shoveling was necessary. In fact, at one point, I managed to put my car partway into a ditch, and had to shovel myself out.  I'm a old hand at shoveling.  I grew up on a farm and could shovel grain well enough to keep up with most men.  I kind of like to shovel, as long as I don't get frustrated.  Unfortunately, in that case, I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to dig my car free.  And I kind of hurt myself.   But it's ok - I'm feeling much better now.

[I wish I could provide better information about my crocheting.  Unfortunately, because I crochet without patterns in a freeform fashion, I'm not much good at explaining it for someone else - and unless that someone else is an experienced crocheter, s/he's not going to get much out of my explanation.  So sorry.]

My Valentine's Day was really sweet.  MMM suggested at we pick up a u-bake pizza, but I think, in the end, he liked my idea better.  I cooked a really good meal:  steak, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers sauteed in butter and liquid smoke, creamed peas and new potatoes, bicolor zucchini squash, tossed salad, and for dessert, mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Yummers.

How was your Sweetheart Day?



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Sweet Wreath, Conversationally Speaking

Happy Valentine's Day!   It's the day to show someone and everyone that you love them.  And I have one last pretty I made up just for this special day.    It's the ubiquitous candy heart wreath.  Everyone's made one of these by now, but they're so much fun and so appropriate for the day.  If there's a candy we inevitably associate with Valentine's Day, it has to be the sweetheart conversation heart.  These candies, originally made by Necco, were called "motto hearts'.  From the Necco website: "Cut in various shapes, such as postcards, baseballs or horseshoes and embossed with curlicues, the original hearts had room for much longer sayings, enabling would-be lovers to send messages such as “Please send a lock of your hair by return mail,” or “How long shall I have to wait? Pray be considerate.”  Can you imagine?  What an interesting time the Victorian era was!  Today's sayings are short and sweet.  

I'm not 100% sure that my candies were from Necco.  The words on mine are molded, rather than stamped, and the candies are actually closer to Sweetarts.  Yes, I nibbled a few while I crafted - shocked, aren't you?  Who eats their craft supplies?  I do, apparently.  And enjoyed it.

This project took three bags of candy.  It's a large wreath - and heavy! I didn't do any special prep to my styrofoam wreath form - just tried to glue them on in neat rows.  I will say that if you line up the candies on a flat surface in a row with all the words facing the same direction before you apply a row of glue to the stryrofoam, it is much easier to get them placed while the glue is still hot.  And you'll be less likely to hot glue yourself -- my favorite trick.  Once or twice I forgot to do that, and found myself trying to flip the candies over and straighten them out while my glue just cooled into the styrofoam.  I just don't recommend that.  Also, if you have pets, an unfinished wreath lying around is very tempting.  Gotta play a little keepaway.

I have to tell you one other thing I did to celebrate Valentine's.  This was last Saturday - and doggone it! - I didn't take my camera - bad blogger!  But it was such fun, and I am extending the challenge to all of you.  It's called the Great Ding Dong Ditch Challenge - begun, as far as I know, by Kindness Girl.  Essentially, it's the old game of ringing the doorbell and running away.  But it's better than that.  You leave a 'bit of nice' behind - (No flaming bag of dog poo!).  I gathered up a couple of my grandkids, Kieran and Kai, aged almost 11 and 8, respectively.  We went to a lovely bakery, one of many famous in our region for really good farm to table bread, Great Harvest.  One of the fabulous things about all of these bakeries is that, once you're in the door, they will slice of piece of fresh bread from their breadboard for you to nom, nom, nom, while you make your selection.  I had a piece of white chocolate cherry bread (to die for) and the kids each had a piece of Extreme Cinnamon Swirl, which was enough to convince them that they picked the right one.

We bought two loaves.  These were hand-shaped loaves, nicely wrapped up in plastic, unsliced.  They also gave us two of their brown paper bags with logos on them.  Especially nice, because the bags are very recognizable.  We didn't want anyone to be unduly suspicious of possible bad stuff.  We borrowed a couple of felt tip markers, and found a table.  The kids each wrote:  "You've been Ding, Dong, Ditched!  Happy Valentine's Day!"  

Then we went on a hunt, looking for houses that looked like someone was home.  It was a lot of fun.  The kids giggled and exclaimed about how their hearts were beating so fast!  They each successfully made their Ding Dong Drops and there were a lot of smiles and high fives.  We got caught by at least one recipient, who smiled and waved at Miss Kai!  They had a really good time and made some really good memories that day.

So that's my challenge to you, for Valentine's Day.  Certainly tell those you love how much you love them, but try to spread a little random love out in the world this week, as well.  Pay it forward!



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sass's Sunday Salvation Show #11

The last entry in last week's Salvation Show ended up being first in my heart.  I get all mushy for Valentine's Day, I guess, and this entry was too adorable for words.  Or maybe 'too adorable with words' is more accurate.  It's the cutest customizable eye chart art.  The Cheese Thief brought it to our attention and if you're looking for something sweet to make for a wedding or sweetheart gift, you must check it out.

Today's Sunday Salvation Show is headed for Spring 2012.  We're just about ready to put another February 14th behind us - can you believe it?  This year has positively flown away.  I am marveling at the swift passage of time in the last year.  I taught school for a number of years, and I always joked that teachers bulletin board their lives away.  Seems like bloggers have it even worse.  I am constantly thinking of the next holiday, the next event, the next whatever - and that seems to rush the year along.  Fortunately, it's also been one of the most creative years of my life - and such happiness!  I am grateful.  Grateful.   That gratitude helps me to move forward towards each new event.  And remember - FORWARD - is my word of the year.  

Let's move forward into the Sunday Salvation Show, shall we?

A few rules:

Share something you've done recently.  Take a moment to look at and comment on someone else's link - we're all in this together!  Please consider becoming a follower of Sassafras Salvation and take a Sunday Salvation Show button to remind yourself and others to come back again and again!

Sassafras Salvation

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Sneak Peek Countdown

Hi there and welcome to another Saturday Sneak Peek.  I have a little something to show you, and I think it's pretty innovative.  As you know, I decided that I would either thrift for make by hand everything for our wedding, coming up this September 1st.  I know that it won't be easy, but I already have a good start on many of the items.  

One of the things I want to do is to make the flowers.  I know that in September, there will likely be plenty of fresh flowers - even grocery store florists have flowers available.  But I need arrangements for six tables, a bouquet, a couple of corsages, and a selection of single stems for another decorative element, as well as enough to put an arrangement or two on the food table.  It's quite a few flowers, and part of the reason I'm doing it this way is that it really is thrifty.  I'll spend a good deal less, as long as I stay on task.  I can spread the cost over months and months --- and it will be relatively low cost, albeit pretty labor-intensive.

There are a multitude of tutorials that can show you how to make organza flowers , so I don't plan to go step by step through that with you.  What I haven't seen is how to set those flowers on a stem.  I need stems to do flower arrangements and bouquets, so I racked my brain and haunted the hardware store until I hit upon the solution.  

Here it is.  It's a wire nut/connector, but it has a hole all the way through the bottom.

Frankly, I'd much rather have had no wings on the nut, but once it's wrapped with floral tape (I'm using dark brown floral tape), it really makes for quite a nice sepal -- the part of the flower that protects the bud.

 Using a plain old needle and thread, I stacked up the petals,

inserted the needle from the bottom of the stack,  strung on four or five beads, 

and then went back down through in pretty much the same spot I came up in.  I drew the thread tight, causing the beads to form a circle, and then quickly stitched them in place, between the beads.  

My final stitch went back down through the center of the flower, then through the center of the wire connector.

I fed a length of floral wire into the bottom of the connector and fed a bit of hot glue into the top opening of the wire nut, basically making sure that there was enough to contact the bottom of the flower.

Then, after allowing the hot glue to cool and set, I carefully wrapped the stem with brown floral tape. 

Some of these are on wire, and some are on skewers... depending upon where I'll need to use them and whether the stem needs to be stiff or arrange-able.  I have never seen these organza flowers on stems, so I hope that this is helpful to someone else.  I think they're just beautiful.



Sneak Peek Countdown - Prior Posts

31 Weeks Away

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Custom Faucet Handle Bracelet

I know that you're probably feel like you've seen this before. ("Like, hey man, I know you can make a bracelet.  How 'bout you go do something else for a while?")  I have to say that January - way, way outside of spray paint season - has made a bit of a salvage jeweler out of me. 

This bracelet is actually the first one I've sold.  Lovely Meg, who I've just recently met, is a twenty-something redhead with a sparkly personality.  She contacted me via Facebook and provided direction about her preferred colors.

In honor of the fact that she's also my first sale (in connection to my Etsy store, although this sale didn't go through Etsy), I threw in a pair of matching earrings.  Meg was adorable, and she was right on about the color choices.  We met in a parking lot of a local store and she put the earrings on while we were standing there.  They sparkled in the late afternoon sun and they looked great with her skin and hair.

She was very happy with this set.  I'm so glad.  I loved the rustiness of it, and the way the green and black accent play off the autumnal tones.  The best part is how much fun it is to see someone else enjoy something you've created.

Many thanks, Meg!


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