May 31, 2010

Make a scrap-yarn-wrapped branch decoration!

yarn branch art piece thing

While flipping through The Big Ass Book of Home Decor a couple weeks ago, I came across a project like this – yarn-wrapped twig arrangement.  I felt like I’d seen similar projects online too, like it wasn’t the first time I’d seen a branch wrapped in yarn, but now I can’t find anything in blog-land (at the bottom, I linked to some other related projects that I did find!)… Anyway, mine is a bit different from the book project, so now I’ll share it with you!

yarn branch art piece thing

I wanted to use a glue gun, but some crafty items got temporarily lost in the move and my guns were nowhere to be found, so I came up with methods that use as little glue as possible.  Some glue was necessary, so I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue, which worked very well.

All you need for this project are some branches/twigs (the size and amount that you want for your vase or other arrangement plan), yarn leftover scraps, glue, and scissors.

yarn branch art piece thing

You can barely see, but I tried out something with the solid blue yarn that I thought would look cool – as I was balling up the yarn, I tied knots in it all throughout, which made little bumps on the branches.  It would indeed look cool, I think, if I did more; if you make knots, make them super frequently (like every 4-6 inches or so).  I think I knotted the yarn an average of every 18-24 inches-ish, and that makes the knots pretty far apart on the branches, oops!

howto00 scrapbranch2

To make the scrappy version, you’ll need a bunch of yarn bits around 1-2 feet long.  For either version, to start wrapping at the bottom of your branch, wrap the yarn around itself a couple times then start wrapping upwards.  I found no need to knot or glue the piece at the bottom, just holding the tip down and overlapping it in the first wraps worked out well.

To change colors, when you have about 3-4 inches of your first color left, hold the tip of the next color alongside the branch.  Wrap the last 2-3 wraps of the first color around the end of the next color:

howto01 howto02

Hold the end of the first color against the branch, and start wrapping with the next color over the first color, wrapping over the tip to hold it down:


When you reach the end, cut the yarn when it’s wrapped all the way to the top, then unwrap a couple times around, dot some glue on the branch end, and wrap back over the glue.

To wrap the offshoots, the number one rule is be careful – they can be easy to snap!  Either wrap up over the offshoot and back down to continue upwards, like the red yarn above, or you can wrap the end of a new color into the base, continue up the main branch, and then use that new yarn for the offshoot.  The neatest way is to wrap up the offshoot just like the rest of the branch is wrapped, and glue it off at the tip, but on smaller offshoots you can wrap up loosely (further apart wraps), then wrap back down to the base, normally, so it’s double-wrapped and there’s no need for gluing the end.

closeup2 closeup1

By the way, I do recommend doing this project over newspapers – the little twig dust gets everywhere on your workspace, so newspaper makes for easy cleanup!

If you do snap an offshoot after wrapping, like you can see I did below, you can glue it back together, twisting it to get the wrapping back in place as much as possible.


So, just keep on wrapping until you’ve wrapped all the branches you want…


Then arrange them in a vase, or whatever (some kind of wall art arrangement could also be rad looking):

yarn branch art piece thing

I had a fun time photographing mine, it’s so colorful and fun!  I love how it turned out!!

yarn branch art piece thing

I made this one for our bathroom, which is white and boring, so now it’s cheery and colorful! Yay!  If we had some kind of entry area, this might be a great piece for that (bigger and crazier, perhaps)…

yarn branch art piece thing

So, as I was searching around to see if other crafters had made similar projects, I found some fun other ways to decorate with branches/twigs… I super love Betz White’s pussy willow rainbow, made with felt balls.  I also love the idea of pom poms on twigs, like Apartment Therapy shows here, and row home living shows here.

yarn branch art piece thing

Other ideas: branch jewelry holder, cherry blossom branch, and cherry blossom branch lights!  I think I see a roundup developing here…..

yarn branch art piece thing

It’s a fun project, I’d love to see photos if anyone does it!  The scrappy branch is my favorite for sure – I love that I found a use for some of my scrap jar yarn!!


Filed under: home stuff,tutorials,yarn — leethal @ 1:02 pm

May 29, 2010

Flattr: about to change the world, if we help make it happen!

I want to take a minute to tell you about something I think is completely awesome and could really change the way our community and the whole internet works.  The concept can be hard to grasp if you’ve never heard of anything like it, so I’m going to explain it as it relates to you, as a craft blog reader, but keep in mind that it reaches much further than just blogs or the creative community (actually, it currently has very little reach in our creative community, but I’m hoping that’ll change!)  So, here it goes…

Right now, this craft/knitting/blog world of ours has two kinds of content: free and paid.  There are free knitting patterns and for sale knitting patterns; there are tons of free craft tutorials, and then there are craft books and ebooks you can purchase (just a couple examples).  If a blogger you love writes a rad tutorial that you use and you want to show them your appreciation, you can comment on the post, share the post with your friends on twitter, facebook, your own blog, etc.  If they have advertising, you can click on the ads, which will help them, but kind of indirectly-ish… If the blogger happens to have a book, or an ebook, or a for-sale pattern or something else to offer, then you can purchase that to support them.  And now enter Flattr, adding a new, easy, direct, genius way to show your appreciation to your favorite creators!


Here’s how it works:

  • Once you have an account, you put some money in it, and choose a total amount you want to give out each month (this can be changed at any time) – as little as 2 euros (about $2.50) can be chosen.
  • When you read/see/hear anything you like online (Flattr calls them “things”) and it has a flattr button, click flattr to show it some love.
  • At the end of the month, your chosen amount will be evenly divided between all the “things” you flattred, and distributed between them.  (If you chose to give 2 euros, and you clicked on 5 things throughout the month, the creator of each thing would get a fifth of the total, about 50 cents, from you.)
  • If you have a thing you made/wrote, you can put Flattr buttons on your site/blog, add them into the Flattr list of things, and watch the counter add up as people flattr you.
  • The money that you receive from being flattred gets put into your revenue account (separate from your “for flattring” account) for you to keep, or for you to transfer over to use for flattring others.
  • You can have an account and flattr people without having any “things” yourself, but you cannot have things for people to flattr without giving back and flattring at least 2 euros total each month.

Make sense?  If you want a more visual explanation, click over to and watch the video on the home page.  Obviously, if hardly anyone is using it, it’ll be pretty worthless to us all, but if this really catches on and becomes regularly used within our community, it can seriously help sustain us bloggers and designers – if a blogger receives a bit of income each month from their free tutorials getting flattred, it will allow them the time to make more free tutorials and keep on being awesome!


A bit of a tangent…  Have you heard of the concept of micro-payments?  (I was first introduced to the idea through comics by Scott McCloud.)  I love it so much, but it’s pretty much theoretical because of the way the internet and payment methods work… If a blogger was able to charge just pennies for a tutorial, instead of offering it free, would you buy it?  Imagine an internet alternate reality in which you can buy something for any tiny amount (2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents) with one click of a button (no being redirected to paypal, no fees on either end) – if your favorite bloggers offered up their awesome tutorials (that they put hours of work into) for 5 cents instead of free, would you pay the nickle?  I’m guessing the answer is yes.  And then, on the blogger’s end of it, instead of putting all that effort and creative genius into the world for lots of non-monetary gain (which is great, but the bills still need to be paid), if 500 people enjoy your tutorial, you get $25, if 5000 people like it, you get $250, etc.  That’ll help you to keep on creating fabulous content, a win-win for everyone!

Sadly, the internet doesn’t work this way, and there are fees, and it’s basically impossible to offer something for 5 cents.  But, dude, you guys, Flattr comes pretty damn close to making this happen!  It’s a whole different thing from what I just described, but what I described was a concept that had been floating around in my head for awhile, this what-if frustration, wishing that when the internet was a baby and paypal was being born, things could have been different from the beginning.  So when I first heard about Flattr a few months ago, I was so excited that this could be our answer to this want for a micro-payments system.

By the way, paypal does offer a micropayments account, though it’s a bitch to get set up, it does help with knitting pattern sales – any purchase under $12 will charge a lower fee than a regular paypal account will.  But, with the fee rate of 5 cents plus 5% of each order, it’s far from a true micro-payments system that I daydreamed about above.  (Charging 5 cents for something is still impossible.)

flattr button on

Anyway, back to Flattr… it’s in beta now, so you have to get an invite – you can either sign up for one on the site, or find someone who just signed up, since every new member gets 3 invites to give out.  It’s based in Sweden and seems to be catching on much more quickly in Europe than over here in the States, and hardly at all in the worldwide craft community (a “things” search for craft brings up 8 results, and 2 of them are me), so let’s get it rolling crafters!  Spread the word – the more people who know about it, the more likely it’ll catch on, and if it doesn’t catch on, well then this thing will never happen and it’ll be a true shame.  Let’s make it happen!!

Comment if you have any questions, I’m happy to explain details further if needed!

Filed under: random stuff,self-publishing — leethal @ 5:45 pm

May 27, 2010

May 17th – 26th photos

Photo time!  The last week and a half was filled with a little gardening, a ton of awful weather, some good food, and some knit designing!  Sadly, I forgot to take a photo on the 16th, so starting with last Monday…

17th + 18th – I harvested a bunch of herbs that were ready, and some that were past ready, like this flowering thyme… The ones that looked good – sage, oregano, rosemary, a little thyme, and I think tarragon but I’m not sure – I hung to dry in the closet, hopefully they’ll turn out usable in another week or two!  The next day I did a little gardening work too, before the weather turned… I got a few starters (basil, rosemary, and an early girl tomato) to try out and hopefully not kill, exciting!  I’m so happy these rain boots I’ve had for years but never wear make perfect yard boots:

0517 0518

19th + 20th –  I made a milkshake based on the kind I used to make a lot when I was a kid – blend some milk, some vanilla ice cream, a cup of flavored yogurt of your choice (I used Tillamook orange cream, when I was a kid I would usually use peach), and 1 banana.  I also squeezed in some honey as it was blending, turned out yummy!  Built our new Ikea couch, which makes an L shape with our older couch – they discontinued the old model, so we had to find something coordinating, but I think it worked out well!  Also put together that hanging glass light, scored at Value Village for $3, yeah!

0519 0520

21st + 22nd – The weather was really getting to me these days… I know in Portland it rains through the Spring till June, but I don’t remember the last couple years being so freaking cold and dark still at the end of May!  The first shot was a long exposure taken late at night, with a weirdly color balanced pink sky going on:

0521 0522

23rd – Tested out freezer paper stenciling with fabric paint (I usually use screen printing ink) – worked surprisingly super well!  This is what I’m going to be using in all the free teen classes I’m teaching at Portland libraries throughout the summer, fun!


24th + 26th – A couple of food shots for you… asiago cheese toast with fresh sweet basil from the yard, and then last night I made an awesome dinner, delicious and super easy, too!  Wild mushroom & herb couscous with some TJ’s organic frozen veggies added along with the spice packet at the beginning, then while it was cooking I grilled sliced up fake italian sausage on the George Foreman grill, chopped it into smaller pieces, and fluffed it in with the couscous! So so so yummy!

0524 0526

25th – I’ve been designing a bunch!  Working on two or more projects simultaneously, focusing on one this day, another the next… not really the best way to do it, but with so much time off from designing through all the moving business, my brain keeps jumping all over the place and I need more knitting time!  Yay, so glad to be back into design-land again!


Oh that reminds me of another thing I’ve been doing the last couple of days – remember code-land?  Well, I’d been planning a couple of website updates for awhile, and then I decided I wanted my main navigation to have drop-down menus, which turned out to be super complex (for me, anyway) so I spent a big chunk of time yesterday deep in css code-land trying to get it to work… but it’s looking good and now my little shop update is turning into a bunch of new site stuff!  Fun!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 2:14 pm

May 25, 2010

Future club 2.0 and May leethal quick knits club!

I’m so excited to tell you about my future leethal quick knits club plans!  I’ve been brainstorming about it and planning out all the details for the last couple of weeks, and I’m really looking forward to making the switch, which will happen after I’ve completed 1 full year of the current club.  Not sure what it’ll be called yet, some ideas:

  • leethal quick knits club: the next generation
  • quick knits club 2, electric boogaloo
  • quick knits club: the new class

Any better suggestions? hehe… Ok so here’s the deal: starting in September, my club will be PDF only!  But wait, it’ll be awesome, I promise!  (I was totally inspired by my buddy Star’s supercool sock club, by the way.)  Each month I’ll be making a club ebook, which will always include:

  • at least 2 quick knits patterns, perfect for using up yarn leftovers
  • at least 1 step-by-step tutorial for another project fitting with the theme
  • at least 1 fun extra, which could be anything from recipes to games/puzzles to embroidery or applique patterns, etc

Each month revolving around a theme, and everything designed with a focus on using up leftovers, recycled items, and things that you probably have on hand or are super easy and cheap to obtain.  I’m excited to put more attention into awesome project tutorials, instead of having to figure out ideas based on what I can include in 30-40 packages each month, limiting creativity potential.  And, of course, this means club subscriptions will be much cheaper (like, less than a quarter of the current club cost)!

Old Timey Moustache!

Other major change: no more exclusivity!  Each month, the club pdf will get released to the world, and be available for anyone to buy, forever.  So, if you don’t like the idea of  buying something when you don’t know exactly what it is that you’ll be getting (like my current club), you can wait until it’s released each month and see if you like it.  It will be a majorly discounted per-month price to subscribe, however, and there will be a rad bonus for club members only…

Each month, all subscribing members will be entered into a raffle to win a club kit package!  It won’t necessarily include everything needed for all the projects like my current club, it will vary each month depending on the projects, but every month I’ll be putting together a few packages of kit materials that fit with that month’s ebook and sending them out to a few lucky members!

club #2: Back to school set

Ok that’s enough info about this future club for now, since it won’t be happening for awhile, but the reason I wanted to tell you about it now (besides that I’m excited about it) is that there is only one week remaining to get 3-month subscriptions to the current version of the quick knits club! If you love the physical packages, grab a membership now for the last 3 months – June will be a Traveling theme (yay for summer road trips!), and July + August are yet to be announced, but I’ll be sure to make the last couple months extra awesome for sure!  Starting June 2nd, you’ll be able to get a 2-month subscription for those last 2 months, and then in July you’ll just be able to sign up for the August club alone… and in August you can start signing up for the new club.

(those photos above were from old clubs, now moving on to May’s package…)

all May club stuff

You already saw a chunk of May’s Home Decor club package, but here is everything that each member included (above), and the yarn – I Feel Like Going Home and To Go Home:

I Feel Like Going Home dyed yarn To Go Home spun yarn

Which are used to make the Stuffed Ball Cord Pull and Garter Strip Light-switch Cover:

Stuffed Ball Cord Pull Garter Strip Light-switch Cover

Everyone’s package included a standard switch plate to use with the knit cover, and I stuck an extra bonus idea in the pattern pdf, for this fitted cord pull cover:

switch plates fitted cord pull cover

The extra goodies were half of a record album cover, 2 book pages, 1 of them with 2 stamped designs added, and 5 reclaimed magnets:

club extra goodies club extra goodies

So with the club items, pictured on the left, and some basic craft supplies, pictured on the right…

projects materials in club package needed to make projects

…members can make 5 custom crafted magnets and a switch plate (or multiple switch plates, or more magnets, or other crafts!):

magnets! 0514

See my switch plates post for album cover plate how-to, and I’m planning a future post of magnet ideas!  It was a fun club month for me, hope you enjoyed it too!

Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,knitting,quick knits,yarn — leethal @ 3:01 pm

May 22, 2010

Switch Plates! And how to make one from an old record cover!

My club mail out day was Tuesday, and, like I do every month, I put the 2 patterns up on ravelry and flickr after sending out the pdf to the members.  Normally, since the patterns aren’t available to the public, plus they are small trinkets that most knitters don’t seem to care much about, this doesn’t really mean anything – but holy crap you guys, this light-switch cover pattern has gotten a crazy response!!

Garter Strip Light-switch Cover Garter Strip Light-switch Cover

It got blogged on Knit Hacker and the number of hearts on ravelry have surpassed not just all my club patterns, but most of my full-sized patterns as well!  Of course, I so wish I could be selling the pattern to everyone who loves it, but my club promises exclusivity for 3 months, so it’s members-only until August… this system will actually be changing soon, but that’s another post for another time…

Anyway, for the record, the knit switch plate concept was Pete’s idea!  I had thought of the cord pull for the Home Decor club theme, and we were trying to brainstorm other ideas, and genius Pete thought of this!  Here is my first try – the center hole was messy and uneven, so I tried solving the problem with ribbon, which probably made it look worse:

firstknitplate1 firstknitplate2

So, moving on to the point of this post, making the knit plate cover got me all inspired to make more, since the switch plates our house came with looked like these, about half of each:

oldplate2 oldplate1

A quick note to club members – most of you should have gotten your packages by now, but if you haven’t (because you live outside the US perhaps) and you don’t want any spoilers, you probably want to stop reading now and come back to this post once you’ve opened your package!

My first try, covering a switch plate with a book page, was a bit silly… I tried attaching the page to the textured kind of plate pictured above, with spray adhesive, not a good match, so the edges never really glued down.  But I learned from my mistakes and made some rad ones, and plan to make another, better book page plate, for the library light switch!  Once I started seeing how cool covered plates look, and how simple they are to make, I decided to include some extra goodies in the club packages that could be used to make more switch plates!


So I included a couple of book pages and half of a record album cover, with a little instruction sheet for how to turn them into either magnets or switch plates…  The instructions included are just text, so I thought it would be a good idea, and fun for everyone, to put up a more visual how-to here, for making a switch plate with an old album cover!  (This is just how I made mine, and I am definitely not an expert – there are lots of great switch plate tutorials out there from people with more experience, which I collected for my recent Threadbanger roundup here, so check those out to see how to cover plates with fabric, polymer clay, and other things!)

Let’s get started!  First, you’ll need:

  • an old record album cover with a good switch-plate-sized image
  • an X-acto knife
  • a basic switch plate
  • craft glue (I use Aleene’s Tacky Glue, but there may be glues that would work better for this type of project), and a brush to spread the glue

Start by laying the plate down on the album and positioning it where you want the image, keeping in mind the where the holes will be for the switch and screws.

Use the blade to trace around the plate, with plenty of extra space for the curved edges – I made mine so the the paper curved around to the edge of the plate, but I think it would be better to have more extra image so it wraps around to the back a little.  To have it wrap around the back, cut at least a half inch out from the plate edges.

You don’t need to press down through the whole album cover cardboard piece with the knife, as you’ll see in the next step that you’ll just be using the top image layer…


Carefully separate the image into its own layer, peeling the cardboard apart – this is easier with some albums than with others, depending on age and wear.  You want the image layer to be as thin as possible, but not to rip; though if it does rip, you can put it back together when you glue it onto the switch plate.


Peel it all the way off and you should have a rectangle of thin cardboard with your image, curling up at the edges.  If it seems too thick to be able to curve around the switch plate smoothly, you can carefully peel more cardboard layers from the back.


Now lay the switch plate on top of the rectangle, centered, and cut an X across the switch hole, from corner to corner.  Also, punch holes with your blade where the screw holes are, but they don’t need to be big or neat, since you can twist through them with screws later.  Now turn the cardboard piece upside down and fold the X tabs back, like this:


Note: in the club instruction sheet, I just said to cut out the hole, but I’ve since found that this X method makes for a neater switch plate.  This first one I made used the cut-out-hole method, and it looks fine, just a little more handmade-y or something.  Here is a progress shot of that one, with the cut-out hole:


Before gluing on, curve the edges back, like how they’ll be curved around the plate, with your fingers.  Now cover the back with glue…


…then spread the glue to all the edges, corners, and X tabs with a brush (I used a foam brush, but a paint brush should work fine):


Position the plate onto the glued piece, and center it so that the holes and edges line up:


This part gets messy, if you’re doing everything with your fingers like I do… Pull the X tabs down, and curve all the edges around, keeping everything centered and straight (it’ll want to slide around the whole time).  If you cut the piece bigger to curve around to the back, press the cardboard on to the back.


For the corners, I first curve the edges around up to the corners, then fold the corners down, as you can kind of see above and below.  You could also make the corners neater by making small cuts in them so they curve around without folding like this.


Let it dry, punch through the screw holes and twist them open with the screws (below).  Then you can coat it to make it longer-lasting.  (You could cover it with Mod Podge, or use something like Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear, which is what’s recommended in The Big Ass Book of Crafts – I’ve never used it, but I bet it would work well and make your switch plate more permanent and durable.)


Screw it into the wall and enjoy!  I put mine in the bathroom to brighten it up in there, but I might need to make some kind of over-sized plate (like this or this one, for example) to hide that terrible paint job around the switch…

albumplate2 albumplate1

By the way, I have no idea who that is on my plate – anyone know?  It’s on some best of the 70’s album with this watercolor collagey kind of artwork… I just like the colors and the happy tone of the image.  Ok that’s all, and I’m hoping to be posting more home decor projects soon! Yay!

Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,quick knits,tutorials — leethal @ 2:55 pm

May 20, 2010

May 9th – 15th photos

Wow this week is flying by!  This post was meant to go up on Sunday when I started it, and now it’s Wednesday night, how did that happen?!  A combination of club mail-out day, yard work obsession, and the last 2 days off with Pete spent house-stuff shopping to the point of exhaustion at Home Depot (lawn mower!), Ikea (couch!), Target (ice cube tray! ok, that one’s not exciting…), and four different thrift stores throughout Beaverton and Tigard…. time flies when you’re trying to work full time and work on your new house full time, at the same time.  So here’s the blur of last week…

9th + 10th – Club work both days – lots of yarn unraveling, dyeing, spinning; then after flipping through home decor project books for theme inspiration, I spent the day trying to figure out my extra club goodies, which turned into doing some silly projects to test out ideas.  One of those silly projects was this super crazy hanging light, made from one leg of a pair of dollar store girls’ tights and 2 wire hangers, plus some red glass marble things to weigh it down at the bottom… it was pretty much a fail… it was inspired by this one from The Big Ass Book of Home Decor, but using crappy materials makes the concept not work out so well:

0509 0510

11th + 12th – Last week Pete and I spent much of our free time thrifting (which we’ve been doing a ridiculous amount of since the move!) – I actually forgot to take a photo on the 11th, so both of these were shot on the 12th, but those glass plates were purchased throughout both days, and are destined for something awesome!  The blanket was a pretty sweet Bins find – crocheted, thick, sure to be warm in the winter, and looks great draped over our black chair:

0511 0512

13th – Library day!  I walked around the corner to our super local branch and lugged 2 bags home:


14th + 15th – More on this later, but I’ll tell you at least that this switch plate is May club related!  Spent quite a bit of time in the yard on Saturday – used our new weed wacker on the overgrown craziness, taking breaks to rest my arms by picking up pine cones for when we start mowing… it would be fun for awhile, treating it like an easter egg hunt, counting the cones and spotting tips buried deep in the grass… until I was in the 100’s and wasn’t anywhere close to done.  I picked up 145 that day and I’d guess it was about a quarter (maybe a third) of the total number.  I love that we have a Doug Fir in our back yard, but damn those cones!

0514 0515

Ok hopefully I’ll be getting back to you in the next day or two with some crafty fun!  And I’ll probably start bothering you with gardening posts soon enough!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 1:05 am

May 10, 2010

From Thrifty Finds to Crafty Lamp!

A couple of years ago I came upon a bag of granny squares at the Goodwill bins!  Score!  No two colorways alike, they were obviously handmade, the start to a project that was never finished:


I washed them, then they sat there for 2 years, waiting waiting waiting for a project… and then I got a paper lantern style lampshade for $1 at a yard sale the other day, and this idea came to me!


It’s weird, but I love it!  I wove through the edges with some yarn leftovers and a blunt needle, tied them around, and pulled the squares all straight into 6 columns.  (A little more complex than that, but I didn’t take any step-by-step photos.  I feel like my methods were probably not the best way to get the final result – if you want to recreate the look yourself, the best results would probably come from actually crocheting the pieces together, or at least sewing them.)


It looks pretty cool with the light shining through!

atnight1 daytime2

I haven’t completed a crochet project in years (need to get back to that skirt now that the move is over), but I do love crochet, so I’m happy to represent granny squares in my new home, even if I didn’t hook them myself!


Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,thrifty finds — leethal @ 7:51 pm

May 9, 2010

May 1st – 8th photos

Now for this most recent week… settling into the new house, starting to unpack, and starting to get back into normal life routines…

1st + 2nd – We’re still excited to have our own washer+dryer, and watching the clothes in the front loader is fun!  hehe we’re silly.  Finally got back into a knitting project – that hat I was mentioning a couple posts ago:

0501 0502

3rd – Spent some time unpacking boxes of books and starting to get the library set up!


4th + 5th – We had a weird/stupid day, with Ikea having discontinued the items we needed, terrible weather, and other frustrating and stressful things, so we tried to end the day on a good note with our buddies, eating happy hour veggie burgers at Kennedy School and playing cards.  Fun times!  Then I found the desk I had wanted from Ikea on Craigslist, so the next day we drove out to Gresham to pick it up and stopped at a couple of thrift stores in the area while we were out there.  The insanely bright rainbow was spotted outside a Goodwill:

0504 0505

6th – In order to get the huge corner desk into Pete’s Prius, we had to take it almost completely apart, so the next day I had to put it all back together again – not easy!  But I did it!


7th – Had fun with a photoshoot in our front yard!  This is my favorite plant we have – our Satomi Dogwood tree:


8th – I finally tried making quinoa for the first time the night before (I’d eaten it before, but not made it myself), and had tons of leftovers, which I played with for lunch and dinner.  I’m totally in love with quinoa!  It cooks exactly like rice (my rice cooker makes it so easy and good!) and I can use it exactly how I use rice, but it’s way healthier!  This is my quinoa, 3 bean, and grilled mushroom quesadilla, photographed before piling a ton of cheese on top and a second whole wheat tortilla… who says vegetarians don’t get enough protein?!


In case you don’t know about quinoa, here is an excerpt from wikipedia:

In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians, vegans and athletes. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.


Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 11:11 pm

May 8, 2010

April 21st – 30th photos

This was the week of total insanity – fun and extreme work – with my brother visiting, getting the keys to our house early, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and the move!

21st + 23rd – Packed all day, dropped off a ton of stuff (almost literally, hah!) at Value Village, then picked up Matt and Chelsea at the airport and brought them to check in at the Jupiter – definitely one of the coolest hotels in Portland, so I was excited to see the inside of a room there.  Tiny, but super cute for sure, with the mustard yellow mural-ish painted wall.  A bit out of order for aesthetic reasons, on the 23rd we got the keys to our house, spent some time moving a few things in and checking it all out, then that night was the most packed-with-shows night of the festival, so I shot the schedule:

0421 0423

22nd – The first night of the comedy festival, we spent the whole night at the Bagdad for opening night funniness – this is the ceiling:


24th + 25th – The 24th was pretty darn beer-filled, as the city of Portland encourages – we each got sampler trays at Hedge House with our dinner, to try all the deliciousness that New Old Lompoc has to offer.  Also on the 24th, we scored the elusive Voodoo $5 bucket!  We had stopped by Voodoo to grab a dozen for a small empty-house gathering we hosted on Saturday afternoon, but how could we resist paying less for a ridiculous bucket instead?!  Well, each of us ate a donut, and what you see in the photo was left over… so on the 25th, we took it with us to the festival and passed it on to the comedians:

0424 0425

26th + 27th – Bonus of the house closing early – time to paint!  Spread over 2 days, we did the primer coat then 3 coats of orange, to get the bright and bold final result!  Yay!

0426 0427

28th – Moving day!  We highly recommend Thunder Movers, by the way.  It was our first time ever hiring movers, and after countless moves, between the two of us, doing it all ourselves, it was such a relief after all the packing and house-buying stress to have the bulk of the moving done by pros.


29th – Pete was unexpectedly called into work a day early, so I spent all afternoon, till 10ish at night, at the old apartment getting everything off the walls by myself, the job we’d saved for last – I don’t think either of us realized how much we had screwed/nailed into the walls of that place!  Not a fun time, but it got done…


30th – Our final day getting the apartment cleaned out as much as possible to hopefully get our deposit back, that part of the day sucked, but then I got to finally spend the remainder of the afternoon and night resting in the new house!  Banzo had a bit of a tough time adjusting for the first couple of days, as most cats do, but I think the biggest reason she was freaked out was that after moving her over, we weren’t able to be there with her much, since we had to deal with the apartment, and Pete had to go back to work.  So, on her 3rd day in the house, once I was there with her for a few hours, she started settling in and acting more like herself:


Ok that’s all for this set… not much else to say… I went yard sale shopping today, that was kind of awesome – scored a great coffee table, painted teal with 3 levels, a couple other house items, some great vinyl, and some rad toys!  Maybe a thrifty finds post is in order!  Oh yeah, I also bought The Big Ass Book of Home Decor at Powell’s, so I’m super excited to spend some time with that!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 9:42 pm

May 7, 2010

April 13th – 20th photos

It’s about time!  Splitting these up into sections – this section goes from just after the April club was mailed out and my focus turned to full time moving-related work, up until the day before my brother got into town…

13th + 14th – Packing/moving errands day – boxes, tape, etc were purchased and serious packing started.  I wanted to devote some focus to my car before the move, since I hardly ever drive (I fill up my 10 gallon gas tank once every 3 or 4 months) and I know I’ll have to start driving more now that we no longer live walking distance to so many places… so, I started out by washing it, then I took it in for a check up to make sure nothing major was wrong with it (nothing was! yay!) – this photo shows what happens when you pretty much ignore your car in the rainy city of Portland: plants take root!

0413 0414

15th + 16th – Packing packing packing!  Both in my studio:

0415 0416

17th – Spent some fun crafting time embroidering an octopus on some baby overalls for my friends’ son, who is due in less than a month!


18th – Caitlin and Patrick’s baby shower!  Portland celebrated with us by giving us several afternoon hours of super nice weather, yay!  Notice Susan‘s amazingly delicious vegetarian pigs in a blanket (or, pigs in blankets?):


19th + 20th – These 2 days were pretty much spent packing all day again, not so photogenic – exhausted Banzo is much more picture-friendly!  And, the 20th was the day we signed the final papers on our house!

0419 0420

Well that’s it for now – I’ll probably do the next photo-a-day set tomorrow, then the final set, up to the present, on Sunday… then next week hopefully I’ll have time to post some higher quality content!  I’m actually working on a new hat pattern!  (At least a couple of weeks till that’s released though.)  Actually, it’s going to be a tutorial for a new knitting technique (hopefully new – I’ve never seen it in a pattern before, but I’m always afraid when I think I’ve invented something new, that it’s probably been invented several times by other designers and I just don’t know about it…) and then a set of hat patterns that use the technique.

I guess a smart thing to do would just be to ask you, my dear readers… have you ever read a knitting pattern that has a brim or a cuff that’s worked sideways, and the rest of the item worked in the round (hat, socks, mittens, etc), that uses a method other that picking up the stitches, or sewing the 2 parts together?  No spoilers yet for what my technique uses, but any feedback on this question would be oh-so-helpful!!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 8:49 pm

May 3, 2010

April leethal quick knits club!

Tea Towel

First of all, this post is much belated, so because of that, and because the May club mail-out date is later than usual, I’m extending the May club sign-up deadline through Wednesday (the 5th) – May’s theme is Home Decor, and I have some fun ideas brewing!  (Sign up for just May, or for a 3 month subscription at a discounted price!)

April Club - Everything

So, April!  Fruits + Veggies theme!  It was a fun one!  My favorite part is the spun yarn pattern – I managed (with much trial and error!) to design a mini produce bag with just 10 yards of yarn, a square of reclaimed vintage lace, and an extra little bit of recycled cotton yarn, plus a loop of t-shirt fabric for the handle.  With big needles, yarn-overs, and dropped stitches, it expands to hold a totally decent amount of fruit!  (in the pictures, it’s holding a lemon, an apple, an orange, 2 tangelos, and a lime):

mini produce bag mini produce bag

That spun recycled yarn is double stranded orange cotton, yellow lambswool, and a couple secondhand threads (green + orange), all spun and plied together – it’s called Trees Keep Growing:

Spun Yarn Closer

And then to complete the bag, everyone got the square of lace, t-shirt loop, and extra bundle of orange cotton:

Bag Making Stuff Yarn Plus Pattern Extras

The dyed yarn pattern was a bit different this month – included were 4 fruit+veggie dish scrubbie designs (well, 3 really, because the orange and the tomato are the same shape) and the members get to choose which 2 they want to make.  The yarn was divided into color sections with one end starting with red, to knit up either a strawberry or a tomato, and the other side starting with orange, to make either a carrot or an orange, and green in the middle for both leaf tops:

fruit + veggie dish scrubbies

This yarn was kind of nuts to dye – after balling up the whole bulky sweater worth of yarn, I decided to skein it all together as one gigantic skein, to make the dyeing easier – but it made the washing, drying, etc, much harder (wetter and messier!)…

Balled Yarn Skeined Yarn

But, it worked, and everyone got a 15 yard chunky mini-skein with 5 yards of red, 5 of green, and 5 of orange – called If it is Growing:

Dyed Yarn

The main extra crafty goodies were a kind of embroidery kit – a sheet of paper with drawings of a bunch of different fruits + veggies, a piece of fabric (like a mini tea towel), and a sheet of carbon paper for transferring:

Embroidering Stuff

Using a pen (or a mechanical pencil with no pencil sticking out, my favorite method), with the carbon paper blue side against the fabric, on a hard surface, trace the drawings you like, how you want them on the fabric, and tah dah – transferred!  Then embroider over the pictures however you want… or you could trace over them with fabric paint pens, or get creative with some other method…

Embroidery Transfer

And the final extra bit of fun – everyone got 2 of these fruit+veggie blank greeting cards.  I got them at Scrap reuse center (also where the carbon paper came from); the photography is by J. Christie Studio:


A complete April club package:

Full Club Package

And all the stuff hanging in my kitchen (I love how useful this club kit was!):

All Kitchen Stuff

A note to anyone interested in these patterns – sometime in July the last 4 months of club patterns will be released in an ebook, and separately (like the first 4 months were), so that’ll include the earmuffs + earflaps, cuffs, picture frame + photo patch, and these 2 designs!

Filed under: knitting,quick knits,yarn — leethal @ 12:59 pm

May 2, 2010

Wecome to our Home!

Well that whole blogging every few days while moving thing didn’t happen!  Oh man it has been a chaotic couple of weeks, wow!  Got completely moved out of the apartment on Friday afternoon, keys turned in, energy so drained from days of non-stop heavy lifting, cleaning, etc that I could barely manage to write up my Threadbanger roundup and get it posted by like 7pm then watch stupid shows on hulu (like Flash Forward, so bad but I watch it still) for hours and let my brain and muscles heal a wee bit…

view of wall from entry

Then yesterday I finally had a whole day in the house (except for a walk to my local Food-4-Less to stock the fridge with some necessities, like new house cake and frozen pizza, already missing being able to walk to TJ’s), so I shot all these photos and planned to write this blog post right away.  But, after taking the pictures of all the box madness, I felt the need to make the living space more livable, so I moved boxes into their rooms and moved furniture around, and now at least we can function in our main living space, even with most of our possessions still boxed up.

view from entry

So, finally I’m back to blogging today, starting with this introduction to our new house post!  I’ll be dividing photo-of-the-day posts up into a couple of sets, instead of doing a massive 3 weeks of photos post all at once… so those will give you a glimpse into the last few weeks of fun and work and moving craziness…  Now the tour begins!  Above is the view from the front door, living room (pre-box-moving, duh) and dining area back there where the fan is.  Notice not just a ceiling fan for most summer days, but an air conditioner for those few superhot 100+ Portland days each year, yay!

living room couch wall

One of the first things we did was hang that little framed welcome to our home cross stitch, thrifted awhile back… Now that we have the space, we’ll eventually get the rest of the L pieces for our couch so it wraps across the window – great light through those big picture windows!  And Garbanzo’s cat tree is the perfect height to sit with us and look outside.

outside view from living room

Our view from the front windows.  (Here’s the outside view, taken before the house was ours, but I don’t think anything has changed.)

living room tv wall

Our orange wall!  The house closed a few days early, allowing us the extra time to paint a wall before moving day, hooray!  It used to be the same blue as the other living area walls you can see in the top two photos – so much country blue!  I don’t mind the blue as much now that the orange gives some contrast, but we do plan to eventually cover all the blue with our own shades (thinking of making one wall green and the other a yellow/orange, perhaps).


The kitchen is a bit smaller than our apartment kitchen was, but we’ll be able to make it work just fine – so happy (relieved) that there’s a dishwasher, and the gas stove and the fridge are both super nice!  That window looks into the back room, which is a converted covered patio…

back room

…and that big carpeted main section will be transformed into 1k Labs!  They put in a nice, new sliding glass door for us, which looks out onto the huge back yard:


Yes, we desperately need to buy a lawn mower, and learn how to do yard work, then learn how to plant things that we can eat!  (Planning to start with tomatoes and carrots!)  Exciting and overwhelming!  That shed is pretty awesome – easily fits my bike, plus another bike if/when Pete gets one, and all our yard stuff once we get it.  (No garage, but we don’t really need one.)  Oh, and that tree in the back there is gigantic, and has a squirrel feeder!

laundry room

On the other side of the back room is the laundry room – with our brand new, super awesome washer and dryer! Woo yay!! (Mostly yay for no more apartment complex laundry stupidness or laundromats, but also yay for finding an affordable deal on a nice front loader!)  Yeah, we’re feeling like such adults lately, being excited about buying a washer/dryer and stuff, but not feeling like we actually are adults, really, weird, hah…

studio window

And that is my studio!  I was originally going to get the master bedroom, but those extra days before moving day allowed me to see the rooms in different times of the day and levels of overcastyness, and I discovered that the smaller bedroom gets amazing light!!  That skinny little window, facing west with no overhang or trees in the way, is magical!  So, I opted for the space sacrifice (this studio will be smaller than my apartment studio was, bummer) and went for the happyhappy sunlight – there are even green walls to make it happier!  Since there is a ridiculous amount of storage space in this house (3 big closets just in the hallway alone, plus a huge attic!) I think I’ll be ok, just have to get more creative with all my supplies.


And then the ultra-tiny 3rd bedroom is going to become the library!  We love calling it that, though it’ll function more like a storage room, but we’re going to try to make it look awesome, lined with bookshelves all around!  No more stacks of books piling up around the living room because they have no space to go!


And lastly, the bedroom, which inspired my roundup – not sure what solution I want to try for a headboard…  I really liked our makeshift shelved headboard (made with Ikea shelves and fabric panels) but I don’t think it would work here because of those wall-mounted lights, which I like having (though I want to make new shades).  It’s weird having a huge bedroom, after years of our bed and clothes crammed into a space barely bigger than the bed itself, so that my studio could live in the real bedroom room.

I made a flickr set of house photos, which has some more, and most of them have notes about details… Once everything is unpacked, set up, decorated, looking good, I’ll take new photos, but that could be months away!

Oh and as for the whole questions thing…  I answered a few smaller questions in the comments, but I will still be doing the answer posts, and feel free to continue adding to the list if you think of anything you want to ask!  The answers will just be spread out now, since I wasn’t able to do it during the move.

Filed under: home stuff,personal — leethal @ 4:37 pm
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