Friday, July 1, 2016

Show and Tell: Etched Glass Tumblers

Hi everyone! Miss Abigail here. About a week ago a friend of mine gave me these "etched glass kits" and asked me if I wanted to give it a try (with warnings of "this is acid, so you'll have to be really careful and dextrous.") Judging from the cover of the kits, glass etching looked like one of the coolest and classiest crafts ever!

Fast forward to Wednesday. I opened up the kits to get the party started, and after reading through the instructions and preparing a work space (because protecting the kitchen table is always a good idea, right?) I decided to jump right in. This was going to be awesome!

Isobel was right when she said the etching cream is dangerous. The bottle says that it causes severe burns and damage and may be fatal, and according to ye olde Internet, it is on the same scale as battery acid. How fun. This is why nitrile gloves exist!

So after being warned about the dangers of glass etching cream, I started playing with different designs on the glass tumblers that came in the first kit. I ended up going with a simple double stripe design to start with.

The process of creating your design and taping it onto the glass is pretty easy. You just cut strips of vinyl tape and arrange them how you like on the glass. It's a lot like placing an adhesive stencil - except you're the one creating the stencil with strips of tape. Really, the hardest part is deciding on a design. If you're like me, you can't decide whether to go with this idea or that one. (The etching cream bottle did say "permanent," after all, in bold letters.)

So I decided on a simple newbie design and got to the real work/fun/potential finger-destroying action. I pulled on my nitrile gloves, stirred my bottle of acid cream, and started spreading it over the areas within the tape. It's crazy how similar this is to stenciling. Just think, Abby, years ago you were  a fresh-faced ten-year-old just learning how to paint within the lines. Now you've graduated to using those techniques to make classy tumblers that you can use at dinner parties, or other events that call for fancy glasses.

So after I finished with the etching cream (fingers still intact so far) I had to let it sit for about five minutes, to allow the acid to do its work. Then it was time to rinse it off, wipe away the stubborn remaining globs, dry it and peel away the tape. Aaaaand....

...Ta-da! It looked great! Now I know how one achieves that "frosted" look on a glass. After I finished the other one I put them together in their own little set.

Then I got started on the other kit, which was a pair of glass flutes in need of classy etching. I tried a much more intricate design on those (shamelessly stolen from the cover of the box, because I really liked that design and my first initial happens to be A.) They turned out really nice too, and I think they'll make great little juice glasses. So I'm pretty pleased with how things turned out, and happy that I tried something new. I think we need to go to Walmart now and get more glasses! This glass etching business is definitely something I could get used to.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pretty Wool Roving for Spinning

Earlier this spring we sent several clipped fleeces from our pretty Finn sheep to the wool mill to be processed into roving for spinning. I'm so happy that it came today! I immediately dug into one large bag of light-colored wool and put in on the spindle to see how it feels. It is lovely.

I usually process the wool myself, but it is such a lot of work! Now I have enough roving already prepared that I can spin enough yarn to make a sweater I hope. That has been a goal for some time - to make sweater from hand-spun yarn with wool from our own sheep. Perhaps someday I'll get fast enough at washing and combing that I can make a sweater completely "from scratch" so to speak.

We have plenty and enough to sell. I'm working hard right now to prepare to be a vendor at the spring Fiber Festival at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum near Santa Fe. The museum shows life as it might have been in the colonial period on the Camino Real - the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe. It is a fascinating place. You can read about a visit we made to the museum a few years ago in this post. The festival is on June 4th and 5th.

After the festival is over, I hope to get back to my more normal routine and continue working on the hope chest. Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Antique Store Crocheted Edgings

I recently visited a small antique mall in Albuquerque where I immediately sought out the linens in all the booths. I've mentioned before that I love to stir through piles of antique linens and wonder about the lives and stories behind the needlework. On this day I found several "antique" pillowcases with crocheted edgings. I put the term in quotes because I don't think they are antiques, used yes, but probably not antique. The fabric and thread did not match in age. Possibly someone crocheted on the edge of pre-owned pillowcases. These pink pillowcases were worn, but the thread is pretty new and not laundered as often. But I thought the edging pattern was pretty and so I took a picture with my phone. I can deduce the pattern quite easily so I'll probably use it on something for the hope chest.

I can see that the person who crocheted this edging used a single thread to hand sew a foundation on the edge of the pillowcase, creating the spaces for the initial row of double crochet stitches. The initial crocheted row is simply a (3 dc, ch 1) in each space around the pillowcase. The second row is (2 dc, ch 1) in each ch-1 space from the previous row. It may work out to be (2 dc, ch 2) rather than the ch 1. I'll have to experiment to determine that. The third row looks like (sc, ch 4) in each space from the previous row. The final row is also (sc, ch 4). It is a pretty pattern and I'm happy to have stumbled on it.

Here is a second edging. The initial foundation and the first row is the same, and I think it was crocheted by the same person, but I'll have to work on figuring out the pattern...

The initial foundation and first row is again the same in this third example. I'll have to experiment with this pattern also.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Family History for Kids: Simple Family Photo Book

The Simple Family Photo Book is probably the easiest of the projects I've made. I just collected photos with ancestors or family members as children doing unusual things. I tried to find those that I thought would be interesting for the kids to see. I used the "add text" feature in my photo editing software to add a simple caption to explain each photo. Then I printed the photos and placed in page protectors to make a simple book that can be read to my grandchildren. As with the other books, I think I want to make it into a board book so that it can be as sturdy and long lasting as possible.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Family History for Kids: Historical Paper (Felt) Doll

Paper dolls were a favorite toy in times past. Talking to children about old fashioned toys and telling stories as you play is another way to connect young children to family memories. Other toys like jacks and marbles or card games, etc. also work in the same way to start a conversation with children.

Story: When I was nine years old (in about 1969) my best friend's mother helped us make what she called a "Clorox" doll. Sister Wright cut up an old Clorox bottle and cut a doll shape out of the plastic - one for Jody and one for me. She helped us cut and glue flesh colored felt to the plastic body and a colored felt swimsuit on top so that they were modest! She helped us make and attach yarn hair and draw a face. Then she demonstrated how to trace around the doll shape to make simple clothing out of felt. If not too heavy, the felt clothing clings to the body of the doll and you don't have to worry about tabs on the clothing. She gave us more colored felt, Elmer's paste, bits of lace and ribbon, sequins (for buttons) and turned us loose. We had a grand afternoon and I had a lovely toy to take home.

The doll could be made as a regular paper doll as well, using cardboard instead of plastic and the beautiful printed scrap booking paper for the paper clothing. Just don't forget to add tabs to the shoulders to hold the paper to the body of the doll. For our doll, Miss Abigail and I made felt clothing that would be historical and/or ethnic to further connect to ancestors and memories.

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