Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Origin of a Name

I don't have any crafty projects to post today - a result of having been gone for 5 days and then spending all day yesterday trying to get the house/laundry/etc. sorted out. So I thought I would share with you all the story behind the name twobutterflies.

The basic premise is I have 2 children and they love butterflies, hence my two butterflies, but there's a little more to the story than that. Every year, for the past several years, we've raised monarch caterpillars into butterflies. My husband finds them, usually on golf courses, brings them home and we raise them from caterpillars to chrysalis to butterfly. The whole transformation is amazing and the kids love it. They're pretty easy to raise - they eat milkweed which grows like the weed that it is here in Colorado. After they "hatch" out of their chrysalis, we release them back to the wild.


they're truly beautiful caterpillars - those stripes!!


in their habitats


just hatched


ready for release


Recognize this picture? It's the one I use for my blog header and that's my daughter holding the butterfly.

Then about a year ago I became obsessed with the idea of getting a tattoo. I had always been determined that I wouldn't get one until I had something truly meaningful that I wanted to tattoo onto my body - something that I would really want for the rest of my life. But I really wanted a tattoo that would represent my 2 children. Butterflies seemed like the obvious choice. I even let each kid pick which type of butterfly they would like to represent themselves. My daughter choose a tiger swallowtail and my son chose a blue morpho. And on a girls trip to Chicago I got my first tattoo, at age 34. I know they're not for everyone but I do really love mine and it is something I will be proud to have for the rest of my life.


centered in the middle of my upper back and I love it - the artist did an amazing job!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making Me Happy Monday - Thanksgiving

#1 Family








#2 Food


I can't pretend I had much to do with this Thanksgiving feast - my only real contribution was a jello salad which is the result of having made once and my kids then decided it was an essential part of any good Thanksgiving feast. You know, the pilgrims had turkey, corn, potatoes, bread, and a good jello salad!!






















And I got to eat at one of my most favorite restaurants - a little local, family-owned fast-food place called the Dash Inn - it has the world's best soft shell tacos. They also serve this:

french fries smothered in cheddar cheese with gravy for dipping (AKA heart attack on a plate)


#3 Fun!!



a little after dinner walk


we saw some actual turkey tracks - and actual turkeys but they were too quick for me to get a pic.


a little after Thanksgiving shopping - we hit a couple of local antique shops where I scored some vintage jewelry



and I finally got to see this movie - I loved it!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Super Easy Knit Fingerless Gloves



I've been wanting a pair of fingerless gloves for a while now but hadn't found a pattern that I thought I could manage. I actually tried a few patterns but ended up getting confused and ripping them out. So finally I just made up my own. If you can knit at all you can make these. There's no increasing, no decreasing, nothing complicated. Here's the pattern if you want to try. By the way, I am by no means a pattern writer, so please send me a message if this doesn't make sense.

materials:

size 6 knitting needles
worsted weight yarn - 1 skein
tapestry needle
buttons - optional

Cast on 44 stitches
Knit 2, purl 2 for 1 inch
*next row k2, p1
next row p2, k1* repeat between the stars until piece measures 8 inches
Knit 2, purl 2 for 1 inch
Bind off, leaving a long tail to sew the side seam

You should now have a big rectangle with a ribbed portion at the top and at the bottom like this:


Measure 2 1/2 inches down from the top and place a safety pin, measure 6 inches up from the bottom and place a safety pin.



Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise and using your long tail and a tapestry needle, sew your side seam together, leaving an opening between the two safety pins (this will be your thumb hole). Tie off and weave in your ends. If you'd like, you can sew buttons along one side for decoration.


snuggly, warm

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cardigan Re-fashion

As I mentioned, I had some left-over crocheted chain from yesterday's project. So I did a really quick refashion of a plain black cardigan.




I hand-stitched the yarn chain along the button placket and neckline. Then I added 2 pockets made from felted wool. I think it looks a little better in person - you can't really see the texture of the trim in the photo - my 5 year old photographer was having trouble getting a good pic!!

The sweater was also doing this:



Sweaters that do this drive me crazy!!! I don't know why, but I can't stand it when the hem rolls like that. Luckily, there's a really easy fix. Simply run a wide zig-zag stitch along the existing seam line.

nice flat hem - no more rolling

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anthro Obsession

So I'm a little bit obsessed with Anthropologie right now. They just have so many cute things - but I'm really loving all of their embellished cardigans. And lucky for me, my favorite thrift store had a big sale the other day and I stocked up on re-fashioning supplies - including lots of cardigans - all for around $1. So, hope you all aren't getting sick of cardigan refashions yet!!!

I love Anthropologie's First Pick Cardi.



And it didn't look too hard to re-create. I started with a plain white sweater and some boucle yarn.





Forgot to take a before picture of the sweater - as you can see it was just a plain white sweater. But not a cardigan - so the first thing I had to do was turn it into a cardigan, using the same procedure as here. It's pinned and ready to sew down in the above picture.

I used some light weight ribbon to cover the raw edge this time because it was all I had on hand in the right color.

Then I started working on the yarn collar. I crocheted a long chain and 1 row of double crochets using an extra large crochet hook (I used an L hook).

Here's what my yarn chain looked like.

I pinned the yarn in place on my sweater and hand-stitched it on. The hand-stitching actually goes pretty quick. You really just have to tack it down and you don't have to be too particular with your stitches because they will disappear into the yarn. Then I did a little hand-embroidery over the yarn. As I've said before, my embroidery skills are limited so this was "interesting". But I managed to come up with something that looked fairly similar to the inspiration piece. I also attached a little ribbon to tie it together and some mismatched buttons along the front. And here's the finished cardi:







I had some left-over crochet chain which I used to refashion another sweater - more on this tomorrow.

And just for fun I had to post a picture of this thing that we got from our CSA last night.


Now we've gotten some interesting things from our CSA, some things that I didn't quite know what to do with, but this has to be by far the most perplexing. It's HUGE, green, oddly-shaped, and covered with little bumpy knobs!! I'm assuming it's some kind of squash - other than that, no idea.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Me Happy Monday

#1

My name is Jennifer and I am addicted to Peanut Butter and Jelly M&M's. Truly, I am. I even hide them in places in the house where no one else will find them - there to be enjoyed only by me!! Yes, it makes me sad to have to admit to this addiction but overall, peanut butter and jelly M&M's make me very, very happy.

they even come in these pretty fall colors - unfortunately I can't put them out on display because then people (other than me) might eat them


#2

My 5 year old son singing this Taylor Swift song. "You wear bleachers, I wear high skirts". Too funny!


#3

Thrift store shopping - if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I'm a bit of a thrift store junkie. There's just so many good reasons to shop at thrift stores:

a) price, obviously, less expensive than retail

b) environmental benefits - buying used rather than contributing to the production of more "stuff" and the resulting garbage

c) contributing to a good cause - at least a portion of the proceeds at most thrift stores goes to a non-profit organization - my favorite supports Habitat for Humanity

d) finally, and probably my favorite reason, if we're being honest, is the thrill of the hunt. I just love the possibility of finding a treasure. I can't help it. It's in my blood - my grandmother is the same way.

A lot of what I purchase at thrift stores gets re-worked, re-fashioned, etc. but here's a few of my recent finds that I love just the way they are:

























funky new pitcher that holds my whisk, spoons, rolling pin, etc. ($3)




2 vintage necklaces to add to my collection



old, black, leather purse - beat up and worn but I like it that way ($2)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ruffle Scarf

Ruffled, bunched, shirred, scarves seem to be big this season. Here's my version:




This scarf was made from a 50 cent thrift store wool scarf. All I did was run a couple of gathering stitches down the middle to ruffle it. I kind of like the contrast of the masculine plaid wool with the feminine ruffle






Friday, November 19, 2010

Jewelry Display

I picked up a plastic half-mannequin (or, "fake girl" as my son has taken to calling her) at the thrift store the other day for a few bucks. I saw it and instantly thought - "jewelry display". She looked pretty much just like this (although mine doesn't have the super-pointy nipples - a man must have designed this one):


Not so pretty. But I thought I could do something with it. After searching around the internet I came up with the idea of covering it with bits of vintage sheet music, much like this one on Artsy-Fartsy's blog. So I took up the slightly tedious process of decoupaging on little scaps of sheet music. When that process was done (whew!) I rubbed on a little watered down brown paint to make her look a little old/antiquey. Finished with a coat of varnish.

I also wanted her to be free-standing but had no idea how to go about this. Luckily, my most-awesome friend Joe took on the challenge and built a little stand for her out of a broken lamp base.

And now I love her!!




"wearing" some of my necklaces


on her stand


My husband actually had the audacity to say that he like her better before the redo. I know, crazy, right??!! (He has since retracted that statement).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spiced Chai Tea Mix

I love a cup of hot, spicy chai on a cold day!! And it seems like we are definitely having our share of cold days here in Colorado now. I do occasionally make a true chai tea on the stove with the milk, tea, spices, etc. But usually I'm too busy/lazy to go to all of the trouble - luckily I have this great chai tea mix. I can't remember where the recipe originally came from but I made it one year to give as Christmas gifts and have been making it (for myself) ever since. Warning - this tea is quite spicy!!

First, gather your ingredients:




1 c. sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened instant tea
1/2 c. coffee creamer
1/2 c. powered skim milk
1/2 c. International Foods French Vanilla instant coffee
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. white pepper (DO NOT use black pepper - they are not the same thing. Trust me, I learned this lesson the hard way)
1 tsp. cardamom




Mix all in a large bowl.

Transfer to a food processor and process to a fine powder.


nice fine powder

That's all there is to it! Store in an airtight container. To make tea, simply add 2-3 tbsp. of mix to a mug of hot water.


delicious on a cold afternoon