Monday, December 8, 2014

Elf On The Shelf on Parade


Our small town has an annual Christmas Parade. For the past few years, my knitting group, The Wednesday Night Knitting Society - aka the WiNKS, has had an entry - and it always involves paper mache and yarn! This year's parade theme was A Storybook Christmas and we decided to do Elf On The Shelf. We started with a tomato cage, covered it in bubble wrap and poster board, and completed his look with a red "body" knit by one of our members who also knit his giant red and white hat. Other members knit his arms and legs, white mitts, and lovely pointed collar. To keep it cost effective, we used Red Heart yarn. His head started out as a beach ball which was covered in paper mache and paint, using dome lids from McCafe drinks for his cheeks and an avocado pit for his nose. (Sometimes you just have to use what's handy!) While creating him, we affectionately gave him the name Stitch.
During the creation stage. In the end we did not use lights under his outfit.



For Stitch's stability, we put a fat pool noodle inside the tomato cage; tall enough to secure his head on top of. We put small lights at the points of his collar and around the brim of his hat. Of course Stitch had to be knitting, so we fashioned needles from PVC pipe and using twisted coils of newspaper to resemble yarn, recycled the head of a previous parade entry's float's snow-woman into a ball of yarn and completed it with lights. The yarn on Elf's needles was a thick I-cord we made, and his project a scarf  - another recycled piece - a 16' long scarf that the aforementioned snow-woman had sported. We used straps to secure Elf to the top of the electric car that was driven in the parade. We decked the electric car out with knit and crocheted afghans and doilies on the wheel covers. There were eight of us in the parade: two in the car, one carrying our banner, and five handing out Corkies and candy. We dressed in red sweatshirts with white felt elf collars and red sequined elf hats. 

Corkies...that's another story. During the year most of us knit colorful little hats and scarves to embellish wine corks that we collect. After drawing faces on them, (each has a different personality), we bag them with a little tag wishing everyone Happy Holidays. Last year we handed out over 200 Corkies and ran out. This year we thought we were well prepared with more than 300, but alas we ran out again. We've learned that some people now have a collection of our Corkies and look forward to getting a new one each year.

Stitch was kept under wraps until parade night when he made his debut to the delight of spectators of all ages. It was heart-warming to hear small children exclaim, "Look, it's Elf on the Shelf! He's so cute!", especially since we know some children - and adults - are creeped out by Elf.

Elf is now residing in the window of our local yarn and fiber arts store The Stitchin' Post. He's happy there - in a warm and sunny space, knitting to his heart's content while being waved to and smiled at by many.


If I may say so myself, the WiNKS is a phenomenal group of women. (Although we do have a few token men who pop in from time to time.) We meet every Wednesday to eat, drink and knit (not necessarily in that order.) Our group is quite diverse - with ages 23 to 79 - and includes knitters from Australia, Holland, Israel, Morocco and Senegal. Some of us are retired (including a Postmistress and speech therapist), but most work...we have teachers, librarians, professors, administrative assistants, technology experts, a graphic designer, yarn dyeing professional, alpaca farmer, gymnastics coach, biology tutor, coffee roaster, nurse, and others. We enjoy teaching and learning from each other and frequently have a charity project under way. For several years we've knit sweaters for teddy bears that our local police and fire departments pass out to children, hats for the homeless, and fancy items for an auction that benefits Project Horizon. We just recently completed many pairs of fingerless mitts to go to young women who teach in India. Our most ambitious project to date was the 400 comfort dolls that we knit and sent to an orphanage in Africa. We also greatly enjoy anonymous yarn bombing  from time to time!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More Fun With Chalk Paint

When a friend mentioned recently that she wished she had a luggage rack for her guest room, I said 'wish no longer'. With a luggage rack that I picked up a while ago at Goodwill for $2.95 in the basement, and a new jar of chalk paint sitting here calling my name, I got to work. 
With chalk paint, it doesn't take long to go from 'before' to 'after'. The paint I had was a mix of two reds (half Sedona Red and half Traverse City Cherry) by CeCe Caldwell.  I painted on three thin coats and finished it with a coat of satin acrylic sealant. The only store in town that sells ribbon didn't have anything appropriate, so I bought a bit of fabric and made the straps. 
Three days later, we were both thrilled with how it turned out. 



Bring on the house guests!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Another Trash to Treasure

The Commander is finally getting the spirit! 
When he recently came home with a chair he found outside a dumpster, 
I knew he had passed a milestone. It's hard to complain about an 
accumulation of stuff in the basement when one has contributed to it. 



He spotted this find outside the dumpster at our local Habitat for Humanity Store. He said he thought to himself - "somehow we can use this". (I love it when a family member starts to think like I do.) Our just married son and daughter-in-law are setting up their first real apartment and need 
additional seating, so this chair was just meant for them. I have been anxious to try chalk paint, bought a jar of  CeCe Caldwell's paint and wax [http://cececaldwells.com/] and got to work. 
As chalk paint does not require sanding or priming, I only had to clean the chair, paint on two coats and apply the wax as directed. The painted chair has a soft, nice feel. The Commander 
cut the seat from some plywood we had and covered it in foam; I covered the foam with fabric 
The Frugal Daughter bought for $.50 at an upholstery shop. 



It was a fun and rewarding project, and I really liked using the chalk paint. I'm on the lookout for more finds to paint. Hopefully, The Commander is, too!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Classic Trash to Treasure







When leaving a thrift shop the other day, I passed their dumpster and noticed a beat-up high chair beside it. Being that it was a wooden high chair, I stopped and asked a man who worked there if I could have it. He said sure, so I put it in the back of the car, and much to The Commander's dismay, brought it home. Home this month is actually our daughter's house in Florida, and her husband is about as eager for me to bring things there as The Commander is. I thought I would have an ally in my daughter, though, and I was right. We went right to work cleaning it up, doing a little sanding, using wood filler, and a can of spray paint, and within a few days the chair was transformed into a shiny new seat! And I just love reminding The Commander and The SIL where it came from.
 



Monday, October 22, 2012

Pallet Fence

The Commander and I just returned from a 500 mile pilgrimage across Spain called El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James. We saw many beautiful and interesting sights along the way; this is just one that caught my eye. What a great way to recycle pallets.


 

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Bucket Hats!


I've long admired the patterns from oliver + s. There are so many cute things to sew for girls, but not as many for boys. However, when I came across this pattern for a reversible bucket hat, and with our annual family beach week approaching, I knew I had to give it a go. Thanks to oliver + s for the free pattern. They turned out really cute! You can't tell from the photo, but the inside fabric is red bandana-like making them perfect for the Fourth of July.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Digging to China

Growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, I spent a lot of time at the beach. In my really younger days, a bucket, shovel and a friend or two would keep me busy for hours. We loved scooping up sand fiddlers and digging away. We never got to China, but that didn't stop us from continually trying.

Digging to China...it's one of those sayings that I don't remember who I heard it from and didn't even understand what it meant for years, I just know I spent a lot of time trying to get there!


AJ loves to dig. A lot. He seriously could stay outside digging all day. There is a corner in his yard especially for him to dig in. He has a fleet of dump trucks and hand tools. With his third birthday approaching, we decided to add to the collection and get him a sand digger toy. Picturing him on the new toy, I wondered if he'd be thinking he was digging to China. It just seems like an innate understanding. In case it isn't, I painted a sign so he would know. I wonder how long it will be before he thinks about what digging to China really means. I don't think I'll be able to tell him that no matter how long and far he digs, he would end up in the Indian Ocean. Did you know that Argentina and Chile are opposite China? Don't tell the kids.