Sunday, December 21, 2008

How To Make A Pomander

Bring a little sunshine into your cold winter days by making sweet citrus pomanders. This is a perfect craft for Winter Solstice or Christmas decorating, and pomanders smell divine. It's also easy, so children can help make pomanders, too.

Pomanders have been made and used since medieval times. Originally they were used to mask odors and were believed to keep sickness at bay. In the Tudor period, it is said that King Henry VIII's friend, the great Cardinal Wolsey, always held a pomander before his nose whenever he went out among the common people, a gesture that did not make him very popular with them. Nowadays, pomanders are used as a natural air freshener for rooms or closets, as well as decor during the winter holidays.

  • fresh, unblemished oranges, lemons or apples
  • whole cloves
  • narrow masking tape
  • Exacto knife
  • satin ribbon
  • scissors
SAFETY FIRST~ If you are making pomanders with kids, give them a sharp nail with a flat head, a thumbtack or a toothpick to make holes in the fruit's rind, instead of using an Exacto knife.

  • 1 TBSP ground nutmeg
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP ground cloves
  • sandalwood oil (4-5 drops)
  • paper bag

Use the masking tape to tape off any areas where you would like to wrap ribbon when your pomander is complete. It also helps to create guidelines for placing the cloves. If you don't wish to use ribbon, you can skip this step.

Use the tip of the Exacto knife to make small holes in the orange rind. Make the holes approximately 1/4 inch apart (or less).

Press the stems of the cloves as deeply as possible into the holes you've made. You may wish to create patterns with the cloves-- such as stripes or diamond shapes-- or, you can simply fill in the entire surface of the orange with evenly spaced cloves. (The more cloves you use, the better chance the fruit will be better preserved and the less chance that it will mold or rot.)

Above, my finished design, with the tape removed. (As you can see, I'm taking a chance this year, using less cloves in my design... we'll see what happens.)

The above photo shows my freshly made pomander on the left and a completely dried pomander on the right. As the pomander dries and shrinks, you may need to go back every few days and push the cloves further in-- the rind will pull away from them as the fruit shrinks. The pomander will begin to feel lighter and hollow as it becomes dried out. As you can see in picture, your fruit will shrink to almost half of its original size.

At this point you have a couple of options:
  • OPTION 1~ If you like your pomander and its scent the way it is, put it in a cool, dry, shady place to dry. You can add ribbon to it at this time if you like, but you will have to tighten it as your fruit dries and shrinks, so you may want to wait until it has thoroughly dried before adding your ribbon and/or bows. You can display your pomander, as long as its in a cool, dry and shady spot.
THINK AHEAD OPTION BELOW-- creating pomanders 3-6 weeks BEFORE the holidays
  • OPTION 2~ If you'd like to add more scent as well as an extra preservative to your pomander, then mix the ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a paper bag with 4-5 drops of sandalwood oil (the oil acts as a natural preservative, an alternative to orris root powder). Put your pomander in the bag and shake it well to get it evenly coated with spices. Leave the pomander in the bag and put it in a cool, dry place. Shake it in the spices once or twice daily and let it dry for 3 to 6 weeks. Once it sounds and feels hollow, remove it from the bag, dust off the spices with a soft bristle paintbrush, add your ribbon and display.
I think orange pomanders smell heavenly without needing the extra spices, so I've not made one using that extra step. My first pomander kept its scent for almost 2 years. I have not experienced any difficulties with mold or rot either, so long as the pomander is kept in a cool, dry, shady place.

What will YOUR pomander look like?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kinda Like A Little Hat

... only for a tea pot...

We're at the halfway point on the cozy! It's shaping up nicely.

The pattern hasn't been too bad, as long as I read carefully on some of the more involved instructions. It's the next row after what's shown here in the picture that I'm finding most challenging, just because I'm having trouble interpreting exactly what the instructions are saying I need to do. After playing with it a while, I think I have it figured out. I'll know for sure when I get to the next couple rows after that, if stitches don't match up.

But so far, so good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Get This Cozy Started

The pattern has been chosen, the yarn has been acquired, the hook has been located AND--

the crocheting has COMMENCED!

I know the pattern calls for wool yarn, but I made an executive decision to go with kitchen cotton. Why? It's durable and shouldn't shrink when washed (at least, not too much). And being that this is a tea cozy and will be used frequently (she drinks LOTS of tea), I would say it's a safe bet it's going to get dribbled on from time to time and need washed. Plus, no danger of kitchen cotton felting. So there ya go.

Okay I know that it's probably too early to tell but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this tea cozy is going to be just too cute! And worthy of a trade for an alpaca shawl.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

On Ravelry

Hey fellow Ravelers! Over the past couple of days, I've been updating my Ravelry notebook, downloading info and pictures for all my past completed projects. You can find me here:

I'm a complete hooker and most often a threadie-- many thread, lace, beaded items, etc. Anything I've done in yarn is there too. It's an interesting and odd assortment of projects; everything from doilies to amulet bags to the famous Dr. Who scarf. So stop by, say hi, check out my notebook, friend me, whatever your fancy-- I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Morning Prayer Collage

I've always collected poetry and prayers for my BOS, especially anything that is seasonal or nature related. I especially like Celtic poetry and prayers because of their rhythm.

Lately, I've been collecting prayers to say as part of my daily devotions; morning prayers, prayers for mid-day, evening and bedtime prayers. I decided that instead of just writing them down or printing pages of them for my BOS, I would create a collage for each group in my journal.

My current focus has been prayers that can be used to greet the morning and prepare for the beginning of the day, so I decided to use watercolor pencils to sketch a sunrise. I did layers of watercolor pencil mixed with regular colored pencil. Then I used water to soften the watercolor pencil lines, let the pages dry, and repeated that process a couple more times until I liked the look.

Since I wanted to fit as many prayers as possible on the 2 page spread, I typed the prayers on the computer and printed them out. Then I cut them apart and framed them with lightweight cardstock. Once I came up with a layout I liked, I pasted everything down. Then I used rubber stamps to embellish with little swirls and suns and to title the collage.

I like the look of the vibrant oranges, yellows and purples together-- the pages seem full of morning energy to me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Cozy Trade

I'm looking for crochet patterns for tea cozies. A friend and co-worker wants to arrange a trade with me-- an alpaca shawl for a crocheted tea cozy. I'm thinking perhaps it should be a nice tea set-- cozy, place mat, napkin ring, maybe a coaster for good measure-- to make it a fair trade.

Here are links I've found for free tea cozy patterns that I thought were cute:

Rosy Cozy

Scallop Tea Cozy
which is similar to the...

Foxglove Tea Cozy

Simple Teapot Cozy could be fancied up with some crocheted flowers

Inexpensive patterns:

Honey Bee Kitchen set

Crochet Garden Tea Cozy (the smaller picture, pattern with rose)

Now to see if any of these patterns are appealing to my friend, and onward from there...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Funky Faces

Experimenting more with stamps and polymer clay this weekend. Working on a new idea for a necklace. It could be a bit too strange for most people, but someone may like the concept. I'm having fun with it, at any rate.

I've strung the necklace a couple of different ways so far, still playing around with it, though. We'll see how it turns out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tarot and my *NEW* Esty Store

My tarot card for this moon cycle is The Empress (3). Little did I know just how appropriate this card was going to be when I drew it last January for my new year's spread.

Keywords/phrases from TP&S: mother, fruitfulness, healing, prosperity, creativity, productive action, abundance. Now is the time to express creative instincts in productive action; any kind of artistic endeavor will prosper.

Why is this card so perfect for me right now? Well, the new moon cycle began on October 28th and that's when I began putting together my listings for my **new** Etsy store, which is NOW OPEN!

I am never more content, balanced and focused than I am when I am creating. It is a meditation for me and a banquet for my senses. I love creating beautiful items and it has been a goal for the past year or so for me to create enough pretty, unique and useful things that I could open an Etsy store and share my creations with others who will hopefully enjoy them, too.

This week I've realized that goal and I'm excited! I'd love to have you visit my new shop and share the excitement with me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

To Tempt You

Sorry things have been quiet around here the past couple weeks, but there's a good reason!

I have been saying for almost a year now that I'm going to open an etsy store. Well, it's about to become a reality! I plan to start listing items next weekend. Thought I'd give a little preview of some things that will be available...

All sorts of rune necklaces...

Herbal rune sets...

Scarab pendant necklaces...

Moon necklaces...

... and earrings...

... polymer clay votive holders with etched votives...

... boxes with intricately designed polymer tiles on the lids...

... and more! Hope you'll come visit my etsy store INTO THE DAWN DESIGNS when I open next weekend-- and perhaps you'll find something to tempt you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beetle Mania

Scarab beetles, that is.

Just a couple of issues ago, Polymer Cafe had a tutorial by Lesley Mitchell Polinko on scarab beetles, so I had to give it a try:

They were easy to get the hang of and fun to make. In fact, they became rather addicting. So I ran with the idea and made it my own:

I added a separate clay piece in a contrasting color for the head and added an "edging" in contrasting color as well. Then I finished all of the beetles with a patina of gold acrylic paint to bring out the sculpted details.

These scarabs also have holes pierced in them so that they can be used as beads or pendants. Now to come up with an appropriate necklace design that will show them off!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Crafty Solution~ Knitpickers Yarn Tote

I don't know about other crocheters with pets, but my cat (whose name is Moose, btw) just loves to leave his fluff all over any project I'm crocheting, no matter how careful I am. So when I found this on clearance last week, I thought I'd give it a try; it's called a yarn tote:

I'm a mainly a thread crocheter and I can fit one large ball of thread or two smaller balls in here while I'm working and keep 'em from picking up fluff from everywhere. There's enough room to store my project in there when I'm not crocheting, too. I like the little clip because I tend to take projects with me, especially on visits back to IA to see family, so I can clip my project to my backpack or purse and have it handy for working, instead of having to dig my project out of my bag and search for my hook in the process. Believe me, when you're at the airport or stuck on the plane or crammed in the passenger side of the car, it's not as easy to dig a crochet project out of a bag as you would think.

I have a project I'm about to begin (I crochet more in the colder months), so I'm looking forward to seeing how this works. I think it's a neat idea.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Favorite Halloween Costume

This is for MrsB and her fabulous 31 Days of Halloween contest! And for anyone else who never had the opportunity to see these pictures back in 2006 when they were posted at the original TH Cove...

I present to you, my most favorite Halloween costume ever-- The Dominatrix Fairy!

Here I am, ready for a night on out on the town with my handsome husband, Skeletor.

This is my "OMG I can't believe I'm out in public dressed this way" expression.

Pleather wings, purple bodice from my Ren Faire days, black crinoline borrowed from a friend who found it at a second-hand store, gigantic cross necklace from my Madonna-wanna-be days, spiked choker, and of course, a scourge. I decided if I was going to do this, I had to do it all the way, so I also have fake hair (everything piled on top of my head), fake eyelashes, fake nose rings (two-- this was before I got my nose pierced for real), fake beauty mark and fake black cat tattoo... the cleavage is real, though.

All in all, I had a blast that Halloween. But I still look at the pictures and say, "I can't believe I did that."

The problem is, once you've been the Dominatrix Fairy, how in the world do you top that?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tarot Journaling

Since the beginning of the year, I've begun to do more creative journaling. Often, my more creative entries are the ones having to do with tarot readings I've done for myself.

The above is a page I created listing affirmations for the Temperance card (14) of the Major Arcana. Temperance has been a tricky card for me to understand, so I decided to put together this page to help me better understand its meaning and advice. Some of the affirmations come from the excellent Tarot Affirmations deck by Sally Hill, Ph.D., others come from Mary K. Greer's book Tarot for Yourself. I used bright yellow and blue for colors for this page, because they seemed to reflect the energy of the Temperance card from the deck I use most often, the Robin Wood Tarot:

Above all, for me, tarot is a feast for the eyes! Just written journaling did not help me conjure up the power or message of the spreads I did when I went back to review. So I began to create pages to visually complement my written words.

The above page is the Star of Recovery Spread from Christine Jette's book Tarot Shadow Work. The tarot deck I used for this spread (as well as graphics for my journal page) is the Tarot of Transformation by Jasmin Cori and Willow Arleana, a gorgeous healing tarot. It was very helpful for me to draw out the journey of the healing cycle on the page, so that I could see the path I needed to take while working with this spread.

Above is a page I created for the reading I did this past new moon. It is the Lady of the Hunt spread, another from Christine Jette. I photocopied the moon maiden spread from Tarot For All Seasons and colored it with colored pencils, then pasted it on a background of blue construction paper and added a little interesting detail with some of my celestial themed rubber stamps. Then I printed up miniature copies of the cards I pulled for this reading and pasted them in the proper positions. The deck used this time was the Vision Quest Tarot.

HELPFUL HINT: If this post inspires you to create some of your own tarot journaling pages, check out Taroteca, a large compilation of graphics from many, many tarot decks. If by chance your deck is not there, you can either make color photocopies of your cards and decrease the scale size or you can scan your cards and then adjust them to a smaller size before you print them.

And, if you do create some tarot pages, please feel free to let me know. I'd love to see them and hear about how the process worked for you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Etched Square Jar

I have been playing occasionally with glass etching over the past year and I was very pleased with how this particular project looked when it was finished. I think the green tint of the glass really helps make the etching stand out. I repeated the same design on each side of the jar, which did require a bit of precision and patience, but overall this was a fairly quick project.

This will be a nice jar for storing buttons, spools of thread or embroidery floss or other sewing notions. Or I could use it in the kitchen for my dried herbs. I could leave the lid off and put potpourri in it or use it as a candle holder.

In what way could/would you use a jar like this?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thank You

A heartfelt thanks to all who came to check out my first tutorial! Thank you for visiting and thank you for the wonderful feedback. And a special thanks to Nydia for promoting my tutorial by linking to it over at her great blog.

Please DO let me know if you try this technique yourself. And if you have pictures you'd like to share of your creations, I'd love to be able to link to them or even post them here, for others to see how easy this is to do!

Happy creating!

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to Make a Stencil~ Cookie Cutter Version

Can't find a pre-made stencil that's the shape you need for your project? Use your favorite cookie cutter to make your own.

  • stencil blanks
  • pencil or pen
  • cookie cutters
  • piece of glass
  • heat tool with stencil/tapered point
A few notes before beginning:
  1. An 8 1/2 x 11 piece of glass from an unused picture frame makes a good sized work surface for this project. For safety's sake, be sure to tape the edges of your piece of glass so there's no chance of cutting yourself.
  2. Stencil blanks can be found at the craft store in the same area with home decor stencils.
  3. Look for heat tools in the wood working and wood burning supply section. There are a variety of heat tools; make sure the one you purchase gets hot enough for creating stencils, it should specify in the description.
Now you're ready to begin. Place your cookie cutter onto the stencil blank and trace around it with your pen or pencil. You may wish to put a sheet of blank paper under the stencil blank for contrast so that you can see your lines more easily as you draw them. Be sure to space your shapes far enough apart so that there will be room to cut them apart, with some room to spare, later.

Next, place your stencil blank on the piece of glass; the glass protects your work surface from being burned when you cut your your stencils with the heat tool. If you are using a blank piece of paper to help you see your pencil lines, place it UNDER the glass, not between the glass and the stencil blank.

Give your heat tool a few minutes to warm up. You may want to practice on a piece of stencil blank to get used to the speed with which you need to work. If you work too slow, you might melt too big of a section; too fast, you may not completely perforate the blank or you may accidentally slip past your reference lines, creating jagged lines.

When you are ready, firmly and carefully follow your pencil lines with the tapered point of the heat tool all the way around your shape. You may find it is easier to pull the tapered point towards your rather than push it away from you.

Turn off your tool and safely set aside. Remove the perforated shapes from your stencil sheet and cut your new stencils off the sheet. Be sure to leave an inch border (or more) around them for stability. Your new stencil is complete, easy as that!

Use your stencil for scrapbooking or art journaling. Or use it to create home decor projects like trinket boxes, seasonal "Welcome" signs, primatives, and more.

Here's how I used mine--

What will you create?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oct '08 Poly Cafe

The October issue of Polymer Cafe magazine is out. I picked it up over the weekend. Polymer Cafe is the only magazine I have found dedicated to all things polymer. It used to be published only quarterly, but went bi-monthly earlier this year, which made me very happy-- more inspiration, more often!

This issue has several different pendant ideas, the most interesting of which is the Double-Walled Pendant by Sophia Lenz. There are also a couple of articles for simple sculptures-- including a silly little one for making slugs-- yes, SLUGS-- by my favorite PC artist, Christi Friesen. Other projects presented are stamped bookmarks and creating the look of lampwork beads with polymer, as well as the results of the True Colors challenge.

I hate to say it, but all in all, I found this issue a bit disappointing. Usually I find several little "gems" that really inspire me in an issue, but nothing really did this time around, even though I did find some of the articles interesting. I think this is the first issue ever where I've felt let down.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

TOY Cards

I’ve been doing some card-making recently and the theme seems to be Thinking of You and birds. I experimented with creating different looks using pretty much only one set of stamps.

The text on the card above is a quote from Emily Dickinson, and it reads, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” “Thinking of You” is stamped on the inside of this card instead of the outside.

I love coloring in stamped images with colored pencils, the look is very appealing to me and it’s a great way to add color without having to mess with lots of different ink pads or inking pens, which gets messy.

From autumn… to spring… This set also has a stamp of an evergreen branch with pine cones, but being that it was 98* F outside, the thought of making a winter themed card just seemed inconceivable today. Maybe next time…

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Power Animal Amulet

I’ve been practicing shamanic journeying and working with my power animal quite a bit more recently.

Ages ago (I’m embarassed to say just how long), my power animal told me to create an amulet for him, something to wear while I journeyed. I thought long and hard about colors and design, what I wanted to put in the amulet, etc., got some of the materials… and never made it happen because I didn’t do too much journeying after that. Now that I’m practicing again, one of the first things he told me was that I needed to complete this project as a way to strengthen the connection between us when I journeyed.

So the above is what I created. It’s crocheted with Senso size 3 cotton yarn and two types of crewelwork thread. Weird, I know, but having the right colors was important to me. I used seed stitch, which creates a houndstooth pattern when the colors of each row are alternated (although I alternated every 2 rows, don’t ask me why, it seemed right). I used a simple hdc for the neck cord. The pouch is approximately 2 3/4 by 2 1/2 inches and the neck cord is long enough that the amulet rests on my chest at heart level.

Root Chakra Affirmation Bracelet

The root chakra is associated with the color red and with stones like garnet, ruby, hematite, red jasper, bloodstone, lodestone, obsidian and smokey quartz. Garnet seems to strongly evoke the root chakra for me, so I chose garnet chips and beads along with some silver spacers for my bracelet.

I based my design very loosely on the idea of a wrist mala. The large stone is where I begin my affirmations, by chanting the OM and the seed sound for the root chakra, which is LAM. There are five (a number of protection) round garnet beads for saying affirmations, with 7 (the number of chakras) garnet chips in between each round bead. I finished my bracelet in time to let it sit under the full moon to be charged and blessed.

Some root chakra affirmations I collected to use with my bracelet:

  • I can take care of myself, no matter what circumstances I am in.
  • I am safe. I trust more; I fear less. I am centered and grounded.
  • I am a child of the universe and I am always loved and protected.
  • I connect with the earth and am nurtured by it.
  • I am a beloved child of the universe and I deserve love, peace and security.
  • The universe supports my growth and development. I am thankful for this opportunity to express myself and grow.
  • I release all negative feelings that hold me back from being happy and free.
  • I release all doubts and fears which block the way for love and abundance to come into my life.
  • I know that I am worth giving myself the things that I need.
  • I have an abundance of strength and energy.
  • I affirm that I am strong and able to handle any situation.
  • I am here and I am real.
  • I enjoy being in my body and I nourish it each day.
  • I love my body and trust its wisdom.
  • The earth supports me and meets my needs.
  • I am connected to the Earth and the safe foundation it provides for my future growth.
  • I walk with my feet firmly on the ground in trust and confidence.
  • The energy patterns of the earth flow upward through my body supporting my life’s purpose.
  • I manifest, I trust, I believe in my abundance.
  • I trust my Higher Self fulfills all my needs. My life is full of prosperity.