Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Craft Day after Thanksgiving chez Nancy + A Puppy Update

Hope you all are recovering from your Thanksgiving festivities. It seems so long ago already considering how much we have packed in. Julia is back at school, Mom left for home yesterday, and I'm trying to figure out my new computer. Now I remember why I don't update programs and eek out to the very last day a computer. I hate those changes because I find them so frustrating because things never work the same! I will get through it....

My sister Nancy is the Queen of birch bark. This year's craft project was wrapping candles in the bark she collected in the woods near her home. This is super simple to do.... Wrap the bark around the candle giving a decent size overlap (at least 1"). Then glue gun the bark pieces together so they form a cylinder that the candle sits in. Trim the bark so it is even at the top and bottom with heavy scissors. You can add odd bits of funky shaped bark for interest. It takes all of about 15 minutes - the hardest part is finding the bark.

They do look pretty burning, don't they?

After we finished the candle project, out came my new knitting pattern for Zinnias and Sunflowers. Most of my sisters and nieces know how to knit which is pretty cool. They don't have a lot of time in their lives so their knitting hobby comes and goes with the cycles of their lives. They were inspired to make the flowers for gifts for teachers and friends.

I had such a fun time teaching them all how to make them. This is Laurie and her daughter Olivia who has just begun university in Pennsylvania.

This is my wonderful Mom Nancy smiling, sister Nancy concentrating hard and her daughter Lillian who began a garter stitch scarf.

Here's the happy cousins minus one who ran off to a basketball game. What a nice day!

I got an email this morning from a reader who was just beginning her Zinnia Flowers from my new PDF pattern. She wanted to know how I made the flowers I featured on my Thanksgiving napkin rings. 

I thought more of you might be curious too. I followed the basic instructions for the Small Zinnia with Short Petals making six petals each. I did a combination of small and large centers depending on the mood I was in. Some of the flowers had the Bobbled Edge. The ones that didn't have the bobbles were decorated with alternating colors of French Knots (the instructions for the French Knots are in the Sunflower section of the pattern). I made all of these in 3 nights and felted them twice in my front-loading washer. The petals for both the Sunflowers and Zinnias are done by working "short rows." If you have never done "short rows" I suggest in the pattern that you mark where your short rows originate.

If I were teaching this as a class, I would have my students make one of each flower size. Then I would suggest they make up their own variations by changing the number of stitches in the short row sections. That's what my sisters and Mom are doing. And it is okay if you just want to follow the exact instructions. Just know that there is lots of room for creativity if you can find it in your holiday hectic life! You can buy the pattern on my Shop Page Here or on Ravelry Here

And now for a puppy update! Man oh man, are Archie and Winston growing like weeds. When they arrived, they were half the size of the Border Collies. Now they are the same size. And the growing hasn't stopped yet. They will most likely be twice as big as the Collies! They have lovely tempermants and giant barks! 


I'm loving watching their personalities develop. Their demeanor is incredibly different than the Border Collies we have had for years and years. There's nothing like the joy in a puppy!


Robin Allen said...

felted zinnias
family, grand pyrenees
perfect Thanksgiving

Auntie Shan said...

Although We're IN the City, we have several nearby "forests", the closest has mostly Birch. So much so, that when we first moved into this neighbourhood decades ago, I developed an allergy to Softwood Pollen - in particular, Birch! :-[

I've learned to live with it... Anyway, if Anyone is out to go looking for the Bark, please, ONLY take it from FALLEN Trees! Deer strip the Bark off enough as it is. And, without the Bark, the Trees are prone to Insects and Disease! ..just saying...

BTW, Kristin, super Family pics! -- sooo...I'm sensing that "Glasses of Wine" are an integral part of the Creative Process..? ;-D

Natalie Servant said...

Lovely pictures, but birch bark around candles seems like an invitation to disaster, given how well it lights a fire when used as kindling.

Elaine said...

Ladies knitting, a couple of bottles of wine, laughter and 2 precious Pyres in the field--what could be better!! The candles scare me, though.

Lindy and Paul said...

I envy your family after-Thanksgiving craft day. Wish I could get MY family to do that! Aren't Pyrs just amazing? I love watching their gentle, humble demeanor around livestock- they're wired almost opposite border collies!

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