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Little Betty!

toddler,overalls,denim,

Even though my sewing machine is currently packed away while we await the finish of our new place https://buildingasmallhouse.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/first-blog-post/, I’ve begun to seek out small denim items for fun embellishment projects in the near future. I know now is not too early to plan for a couple of 2017 local craft fairs.

toddler,overalls,denim, I spied these toddler overalls at a local thrift store recently and couldn’t resist…how sweet would these be embellished with bright cotton print around the cuffs? The past couple of craft fairs had me wishing that I had more pieces for children, and indeed, they’re a lot of fun to put together. Much of the children’s thrift store clothing that I see is in hardly worn condition, perfect for a makeover. And many people really seem to enjoy seeking out special items for the children in their lives. Buttons in lieu of studs, and bright cotton print in lieu of lace and what do we have? Little Betty!

child,toddler,denim vest,upcycled,embellished,bright colorsdenim,jacket,tween,patchwork,scrap fabric

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Music On The Road

I5 Bridge Portland

I’ve decided to write about my relocation experience from Nevada back up to Washington, where I lived prior to Nevada. This move will involve an interim stint in a rented travel trailer while we build a small apartment over a garage to live in. I have no idea how I’ll carry on with music, sewing and other creative projects in said travel trailer, but I’m going to try!

I’m writing on the road from Roseburg, Oregon. Today began with tears as I left the gas station in Carson City; people I’ve come to love are in Nevada, and indeed, most of my reinvented identity-how do I know it will follow, and if not, where the heck might it go? In other times I’m not troubled by such thoughts, but putting this scenario in motion has dragged up emotions I wasn’t aware I had. On this trip up I’ll drop my car off, fly back to Reno, and do the actual move next week…

Driving with such a heavy heart called for music that would take me out of my troubled head, and I’d packed a bag (yeah, the real thing, no Bluetooth or whatever for old-school me!) of Zeppelin cds.

      DR0000_0737.mp3

Yes. John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham, wherever you all are, you should know about the enduring magic of your art. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDwotNLyz10

 

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She Has Funny Hats

beret,upcycled,diy hat

Most of the time I seem to have too much on my plate to commit to a major creation, so I lean toward simple ones that can be completed in a single sitting. Alas, this same situation applies to the songs I come up with, but I feel happier completing something rather than nothing, and I suspect that this is true for many. I also lean toward reuse, and simple hats certainly qualify here.

The three hats pictured are super easy creations that are fun to do and can be put together in under an hour. Below is a stretchy beret style hat that consists of six pie shaped panels cut from an old sweatshirt. These were sewn together to make a circle, which was then gathered and pinned onto the band, which is simply two old socks less the feet. Stitch these two pieces together, and you’ve got a new hat!

upcycled,hat,beret
Upcycled sweatshirt and socks into beret style hat

The retro brown-orange hat with green band was put together in the same way, both fabrics from stretchy knit ts and tanks. Doubling the band fabric gives it stability and a more finished look.

beret,upcycled,diy hat
Upcycled t shirts made into beret

The last hat has a little bit of a backstory to it…

A few years ago my band https://www.facebook.com/betterbettyrocker was planning a casual photo shoot, and naturally the topic of what to wear came up. We decided on black and white, with some sort of hat. I thought I might like to wear a pillbox style hat, but found vintage ones to be more than I wanted to spend just for this occasion. After band practice one day, I was lamenting this situation to Carolyn and she said that I would probably just make one out of an oatmeal box…it’s exactly what I did!

Pillbox inspired hat made from oatmeal box
Pillbox inspired hat made from oatmeal box

With a glue gun I attached an old linen napkin, lace, braid and faux pearls. It was a bit heavy, not perfect, and indeed had to be pinned to my hair for the photos but for that purpose was just the ticket-and so much fun!

Wearing my oatmeal box pillbox hat for the Betty Rocker photo shoot
Wearing my oatmeal box pillbox hat for the Betty Rocker photo shoot
Betty Rocker
Betty Rocker

If time ever permits I’d love to try my hand at a more serious endeavor. Do you have a favorite funny hat of your own?

 

 

 

 

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Single Afternoon Loom Knit Slipper Socks

loom knit slipper socks

You can make these comfy, cozy slipper socks in a single afternoon! The really great thing about this easy knitting project is that it’s calming, gives you a chance to catch up on your favorite listening and results in a great handmade gift for a friend!

Even if you’re unfamiliar with loom knitting, you can do this. I would recommend first viewing this video, which will show you in a few minutes the basic e wrap stitch, which is used on the slipper sock from ankle to toe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DVRbwzQm7A

Supplies you’ll need:

Supplies for loom knit slipper socks
Supplies for loom knit slipper socks

The loom is a small 24 peg that can be used for baby hats and scarves as well. Have to do a shout out about the knitting counter; I could not do this project without it. http://www.clover-usa.com/en/knitting-and-crochet/80-knitting-counter-mini-kacha-kacha.html?search_query=counter&results=2

A few words about yarn. I doubled the lighter weight green yarn used on the cuffs. It more closely follows the medium bulk of the heel and foot. For the toe I went to a lighter yarn and a single strand. The toe, of course, is cinched up and makes the decrease easier with less bulk. All the yarn shown here is washable wool blend, lovely soft. You can use whatever you like, but I find the 100% acrylics not quite so soft a feel.

Onward to the cuff…

Slipper Sock cuff

E wrap a single row, referring to above referenced video if you need. For the next 12 rows, you’ll alternate knit and purl stitches in each row. k,p,k,p,k,p etc. If you’ve not done this on a loom, you’ll work to the right with working yarn in front. The first peg to the right of the anchor will be knit. For the knit stitch the hook reaches under the wrapped loop, and grabs the working yarn from above, gets pulled down and knit off. The next stitch is purled, and the process is reversed. The hook will go behind the loop from the top, reaching down to grab the working yarn. Knit and purl alternately for 12 rows. Leaving a tail five inches or so, cut the cuff working yarn and double knot to ankle/foot yarn.

Slipper sock cuff 12 rows
Slipper sock cuff 12 rows

I would be so lost without my little knitting counter friend!

The ankle is simple and quick…just e wrap knit 5 rows. This usually takes me two or three songs to do.

Inside view of slipper sock ankle
Inside view of slipper sock ankle

The next thing to do is mark the 13th peg. I’ve used a green wire tie here, and this works fine. Now is the time to leave a yarn tail, cut the cuff yarn, and double knot the heel yarn. For the heel, you’ll only be working pegs 1-12, and will e wrap back and forth between them for 4 rows. Always start on adjacent peg, and do knit the last peg.

First part of slipper sock heel
First part of slipper sock heel

To decrease heel and reattach to loom, you’ll leave your (13th peg) marker on and, beginning at the 12th peg, pull that loop onto the adjacent (11th) peg. Go to peg one, wrap (peg 11 as well, even though it will have three loops on it) and work the row, treating the bottom two loops on peg 11 as a single loop. Then go to peg 1, moving it to adjacent peg 2 and following the above instruction until there are three empty pegs per side.

Decrease heel
Decrease heel

To reattach your knitting to the loom, with your hook take a top edge loop of yarn closest to peg that’s holding the ankle knitting and put on that peg (it will eliminate holes). Same thing for remaining six empty pegs. This part can be a bit of a challenge, but take your time to “see” the best way to spread out the heel knitting over the pegs and it will be fine. Also, if there are any holes in the heel/ankle/foot area, those long tails from changing yarn make stitching the hole shut an easy matter.

Once you’ve got your knitting reattached, cut a long tail and switch back to yarn that was used for the ankle. Double knot, and e wrap all round the loom. You’ll now remove that marker from peg 13, and notice that your number one peg is now on peg 4. There will be three loops on a couple of the pegs, treat the bottom two as if they were a single loop.

From here until the toe, knit as many rows as desired. On a medium bulky yarn, I find 22 rows equates to about a womens 7.5. As you approach the end of the foot, make certain the knitting is not too tight. The toe will consist of three additional rows.

When you reach the toe, cut a tail several inches long and tie on the yarn you’ll use for this. Best to use a yarn about half the thickness of the foot yarn. Double knot, and move every other peg onto the adjacent peg to the right. Then “weave” the working yarn in front of the pegs with loops and behind the empties. Not too tight. Then knit the double loops over. Pulling one peg over at a time is easier than both at once.

Decrease toe
Decrease toe

Do the next two rows the very same way, remembering to keep yarn loose for ease.

Leave a tail about one and a half times the loom diameter and thread onto your flexible yarn needle. Go through all loops, and once again through first loop. At this point you can remove knitting from loom and turn inside out to close (drawstring) as well as weave in all tails and stitch any holes that may exist. If you’ve not used this drawstring method, here’s an excellent lesson in doing so http://www.loomahat.com/how-to-loom-knit-a-hat/close/ .

Inside out at finish, ready for weaving in tails
Inside out at finish, ready for weaving in tails

The second sock goes much quicker with the insight from the first one. A bow sewn on the cuff from yarn that’s been braided or spool knit http://bettyrockwear.com/retro-craft-tools-spool-knitter/ would really make for a special handmade gift. Or enjoy them on your own feet!

Finished wool slipper socks!
Finished wool slipper socks!

 

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Retro Craft Tools Hazel Flower Loom

peg loom

Did you enjoy making square loomed potholders with yarn loops when you were a child? There are some fun retro crafting tools in circulation, as well as new takes on some of the older ones.

This round Hazel Pearson flower loom from the 1960s was a lucky thrift store find a few years ago. In fact there were two identical looms included in the purchase; the other was gifted to my very clever friend Mary, who seems able to craft anything out of thin air-loom or no!

Check out this page on knitting-and.com http://www.knitting-and.com/small-looms/loomsandyarns.htm to see what’s possible with these flower looms-beautiful things that could be used in conjunction with many projects. Apparently the loom was designed originally for use with raffia to make the straw flowers so popular back then, and indeed some beautiful examples are to be seen on knitting-and.com.

loom flower 3loom flower 2loom flower 1

I’ve not yet made raffia flowers. These simple yarn flowers I’ve made are sewn on casual fabric and knitted bags, but I’ve also used them to jazz up the side of a basic knitted hat.

Clover has some great knitting tools (I have their little counter that I love), and indeed they make a modern version of the flower loom https://cloverusa.wordpress.com/tag/flower-loom/ should you desire one and are unable to find an original.

Hazel Loom with instructions I enjoy this compact little vintage Hazel’s Loom down to its lovely pale yellow color! Do you have a favorite old school crafting tool?

Next week I will look at another useful little vintage crafting tool.

 

 

 

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Betty’s Flax Seed Chocolate Coconut Rock Snacks

It began as a hostess gift, when Carolyn invited me to join her for a jam session (I was terrified, and indeed, that is a whole other story). Then came the realization that, on an evening after working all day, trying to make music was a bit of an energy drain. By the time we had a name (yeah, our name was surely inspired by that other famous baking Betty), a drummer, a set list and two hours to rehearse it, Betty Rocker https://www.newsreview.com/reno/baked-goods/content?oid=14962152 was full tilt into rock snacks!

Ready to rock!
Ready to rock!

 

 

 

 

I have enjoyed baking for most of my life, and love to share healthy treats with friends. Baking is a great way to add seeds, fruit, nuts, whole grains and seems to have broad appeal. It is a simple matter to make healthier substitutions and cut fat in recipes you already love. Applesauce or other pureed fruit, yogurt or nut milks can replace some of the fat in many baked goods. Whole grain flours and ground nuts and seeds can replace white flour and provide nicer texture and flavor. Certainly you can create art in the kitchen when you shake up an existing recipe!

So here is a simple recipe for flax seed bars that you can take some further liberties with, just keep the dough cohesive and somewhat sticky and you’ll be fine.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour                                1 cup raw sugar (or brown sugar)

1 1/4 cup quick oats                                           1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flax seeds                                    1 egg

1 teaspoon coarsely ground coffee beans      1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut              1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt                                          1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

About one tablespoon flavoring of your choice, vanilla, rum, maple, bourbon are all lovely!

Up to a half cup of nut milk, plain yogurt, soy milk, dairy milk, whatever you like, to dampen as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Very lightly grease a 9 X 12 inch baking dish. Grind flax seeds with coffee until thoroughly chopped, but not dust. Mix softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add all dry ingredients except chocolate. Mix, and begin to add milk or yogurt choice as necessary to make a somewhat firm, sticky, cohesive dough. Then add chocolate chips. Spread evenly in prepared 9 X 12 inch baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Baking time will vary with oven-check after 20 minutes. After cooling completely, cut into bars and store in airtight container-they freeze very well. Makes two dozen soft small squares.

A few of these bars will sustain you through a couple of hours of sweaty rock and roll fun-enjoy!

 

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Inspiration, Shyness, And Self Promotion

One month into 2016 and I find I’m groveling a bit for inspiration to fuel my denim creations. Last week I did my second ever children’s piece which was truly fun to do http://bettyrockwear.com/product/girls-colorful-denim-vest-size-6/ and something I look forward to doing again.

But there’s a struggle at play here, too. It’s the resistance I encounter within myself when I’m inspired to cut loose and just try anything. Last year I found a lovely, simple, ivory short-sleeved lace bodice wedding dress with an elaborate floor-length bow in back; I’ve had so many ideas for making a denim wedding jacket (a denim wedding jacket??) but have yet to take scissors to that piece and begin. And then there’s another part to the struggle-getting the word out. Just yesterday afternoon I was having a phone conversation with a very dear old friend about how my very own shyness gets in the way of self promotion; it’s a tough thing to manage in this endeavor, but I’ve decided to soldier on…

One of the best examples I’ve seen of just cutting loose denim (yeah, I know, but I think of this as cutting loose rather than cutting edge) is this brilliant idea from C & C Pop-Up Shop http://cncpopupshop.com/cncpopupshop/2014/2/10/diy-upcycled-denim-jackets

fabulous, isn’t it?

How do you meet your resistance head on?

 

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Things To Do, Books To Read, In 2016

End of the first week of January already, and I’ve not begun any of the projects that escaped me during the last few months of 2015. I had envisioned, from day one of this new year, new creations emerging from the sewing table, signing up for springtime craft fairs, cramming for a rock show, etc. But! Not one of those things has happened; the slate’s instead been full of mundane catch up.

Sometimes the desire to just check out and escape in a good book nearly outweighs the desire to make exciting things happen-ever feel like that?

In the case of that happening-or if I find some time-this looks like some truly entertaining rock and roll reading:

https://twitter.com/littlesteven_ug/status/681894570611863552

Happy New Year!

 

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Craft Fair Lessons Learned


Tween Jean Jacket front

Tween Jean JacketTween Jean Jacket apple patch

Tween Jean Jacket Recently I did my second craft fair ever. The YAH Craft Fair was put on by the Young At Heart senior group in Gardnerville, NV https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyCommunityandSeniorCenter/ and was a great event!

It also proved to be a learning opportunity for me. Though I did fairly well, and met some lovely people, I could have done far better, if only:

  1. I remembered that (duh!) holidays are approaching and many fair goers were shopping for gifts
  2. Many of those fair goers were shopping for gifts for children
  3. Winter in Nevada is chilly, and people are not interested in skimpy summer wear…….right?
  4. Good idea to have more than twenty items in your booth space

Why the oversight on the above mentions? Well, the past few months have been filled with various life distractions, and when that happens my calendar somehow gets distorted (turn the pedal OFF-ha!) and I don’t always see holidays coming. As I have no children, I forget to appreciate that many folks will buy for children before they buy for themselves. The tween jacket pictured http://bettyrockwear.com/product/back-to-school-tween-jean-jacket/ here is a piece that I donated to the fair’s raffle, and it received a lot of positive attention that day; I realized right away that I should have had more to offer like it. The jacket, incidentally, was a kick to do, and I look forward to crafting more whimsical denim wear for the smaller set.

Another realization that day was that what seemed like a great pile of inventory crammed into my tiny home work space hardly filled that booth space-I was instantly sorry I’d not spent more time sewing in the weeks prior.

What was a hit was my dummy (at right in lead photo) dressed to rock out; sneak peeks at the dummy from some of the older gentlemen was completely amusing!

Good takeaway. Good lessons learned.

 

https://twitter.com/bettyrockwear

https://www.facebook.com/bettyrockwear/?ref=hl

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Betty’s Busy Life

Betty has been busy with both hats on!

Over the summer we https://www.facebook.com/betterbettyrocker had a fantastic time playing a number of shows in the Reno-Carson-Tahoe area. We debuted a few new

      DR0000_0428.mp3

songs (that aren’t really new anymore!) and are now taking a break while we work on new material as it turns cold here in Northern Nevada.

Black Tshirts jeans Betty Rocker (2)

At this writing I’m prepping for a local craft fair http://carsonnow.org/reader-content/11/10/2015/1121-young-heart-holiday-craft-fairraffle the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Hopefully a few fair-goers will be inspired to get a new denim jacket or vest for their inner punk rocker! http://bettyrockwear.com/product/betty-rocker-denim-zip-jacket-with-faux-fur-trim/

I have also been having fun doing simple loom knitting, covering a couple of birthday gifts as well as some upcoming holiday gifts; very gratifying, loom knitting.

For now, back to the sewing machine, and then on to the guitar and the search for a cool riff 🙂

Faux fur side close up