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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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How To Make A Simple Slipcover For Round Ottoman Using A T Shirt

If you have a favorite old t shirt (perhaps an old concert t for rock and roll flavor) that you’re unable to part with but are no longer wearing, you can easily fashion it into a casual slipcover for a round ottoman, such as this one:Denim Drum Ottoman 1

 

For this project you’ll need a basic sewing machine, an old t shirt, a round ottoman (although this method will work on an oval shape as well), fabric shears, a marker, piece of fabric for ottoman top plus a couple of inches for seam allowance, thread, pins and a measuring tape. A steam iron is helpful but not necessary.

Slip t shirt over ottoman and decide where the bottom edge will be. You’ll be using the existing hem as the bottom edge. Measure, adding two inches for seam allowance. My ottoman is 11″ and so will be cut to 13″

Measure side width plus seam allowance 2

Lay as flat and evenly as you can on your cutting surface. (It’s helpful to align edges and press first)

Lay side fabric out for cutting 3

Cut at predetermined distance from bottom hem. Mine was 13″

Cut side fabric 4

Set aside the side panel, and lay your top piece face down on your cutting surface. Put the ottoman upside down on this fabric and, using a felt marker lightly draw line around ottoman. (Holding marker parallel to ottoman side makes it easier) This line will serve as your seam guide when attaching top. Measure and mark at several points 2″ out from this line for your seam allowance.

Cut out top piece along those points.                                                 Prepare top cover fabric 5

Moving your attention back to the side panel, measure circumference of ottoman. If your shirt exceeds this measurement, cut it down the side, measure and add one inch to the circumference measurement. Then pin and stitch this side. Press seam open.

You can skip this step if your t shirt already “fits” your ottoman.

Mark top cover fabric 6
Pin side panel for stitching 7Turn side panel inside out and pull over ottoman and adjust so that hem is as even as possible. Then take top piece and place face down on top of ottoman. You should have your inked line facing you. Pin along this line, making sure that t shirt edge is as even as possible with top piece edge. The t fabric tends to roll a bit.

Adjust side panel inside out 8 Pin upside diwn top piece to side panel 9With top piece facing you, carefully stitch along your ink line, keeping under fabric from bunching. Trim excess seam allowance fabric to about 1/2″.

Turn inside out and pull over ottoman. This cover is fairly plain, but imagine the possibilities, and so easy to do!

Casual tshirt slipcover!

 

 

 

 

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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 https://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 https://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! https://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

 

 

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Get Inspired By Fabric Art!

Life sometimes has a way of preventing the happy swirl of creativity in my head from turning into something real, be it a song or a piece of art. The swirl seems to break up into tinier and tinier bits until it’s just dust. But it’s also the signal that I have too much on my plate, emotionally and otherwise, and that it’s time to clear it away and seek some fresh inspiration.

Some months ago I was given a copy of The Art Of Fabric Collage by Rosemary Eichorn  http://www.tauntonstore.com/the-art-of-fabric-collage-rosemary-eichorn-070703.html as a gift and flipped through, dismissing this type of fabric art as being far beyond any sewing ability that I might have. But, there is some amazing art in there, and so I have lately been again flipping through with more of a sense of adventure; I’d love to do this!!

Another terrific inspiration is the crazy beautiful wearable art offered by Pat Berryhill of Magpie Dreams http://www.magpiedreams.net/apparel.html like the gorgeous piece here:

What do you do when life intrudes and hampers your creative sense?

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Upcycled Studded Denim Wrist Cuffs

Upcycled denim wrist cuffs

I was in the mood to do a small upcycle denim project and removed the wrist cuffs from two pairs of discarded jacket sleeves. I had quite a bit of soft animal print fabric left over from a pair of pajama pants, and black lace salvaged from a couple of vintage slips; the animal print wrist cuffs were easy to put together. The blue/purple themed cuffs are fashioned from a lovely old suit jacket and its gorgeous purple buttons.

Small accessories like wrist cuffs are fun, easy to wear and pack a lot of style punch! What do you think of wrist cuffs?

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What Would You Do With An Ankle Length Denim Shirt?

denim shirt ankle length front ankle length denim shirt backIt’s easy to find denim shirts in thrift stores. My eyes have gotten very accustomed to Continue reading What Would You Do With An Ankle Length Denim Shirt?