Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Have You Made Yarn Dryer Balls?

 Update: Making these with more expensive yarn that supposedly had longer fibers did not eliminate the pilling at all.  I tried removing the pills as they formed on the balls, but they came back quickly.  I tried not taking the pills off which worked for a time.  At about the nine-month mark, however, the pills started coming off and sticking to my clothes.   What a pain having to pick these off a load of laundry!  Had I not been doing the "de-pilling" early on, that would probably have happened sooner. I don't think these are work the expense, time, and effort in the long run. 

You know the ones that you make from rolling a ball of wool yarn and felting it in the washer and dryer? I did and I like them because they:
  •  Really do eliminate static cling--unless you really over-dry the clothing
  •  Keep the wrinkling down
  •  Save money.  (There is the initial cost of the yarn, but these have got to last a really long time.  What can happen to them?  With dryer sheets you have the ongoing expense and contribute to the "we are making too much garbage" problem.)
  • Make less noise than the rubber balls.  The rubber dryer balls you find in the detergent section made too much noise for me.  Five minutes and they hit the garbage can. These yarn balls make some noise, but it's well within my range of acceptable.
The one downside for me can be seen in this photo.  They pilled. 
I was expecting to have this gorgeous bowl of felted yarn balls on my dryer--decorative AND useful.  These stay in the dryer instead.  It could be the yarn I used which was the only fully wool one available at Joann's.  After this happened, I read up on wool yarn and found that some wool yarns are made from shorter fibers.  Shorter fiber wool yarn may pill. Supposedly this stops after a while.  I've been picking the pilled material off these balls for a month, but they continue to form new ones.  All things considered, this is a small downside.

Some people said the balls decreased their drying time.  I have not found this to be true for me at all. I found no change at all for anything from lightweight items to towels.

After seeing another blog post with this bowl of pristine felted yarn balls, though, I have dryer ball envy.  I'm going to try this again.  I LOVED that bowl of beautiful felted yarn balls in muted matching hues!  I've been looking online for wool with longer fibers that doesn't cost a fortune.  Turns out wool yarn is not cheap!  I'm also going to try rolling the yarn more loosely.  I didn't roll my yarn tight, but it was definitely not loose at all.  Now I'm wondering if the looser rolling might increase felting and cause the balls to be even less noisy.     I'll let you know.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Better Nursing Home Bibs

Have you seen the bibs used in nursing homes?  All the ones I've seen are giant imitations of baby bibs of white terry cloth.  Serviceable?  Yes, but many people find them demeaning.  It's hard enough to be ill or disabled (or ill AND disabled) without being made to feel a bit foolish three times a day.  I made these for my mother as an alternative. 

Actually I made quite a few of these so there would be enough for at least 3 meals a day for a week.  If you're lucky enough to have your relative at home, you would not need so many.  Rather than looking like bibs, they look like aprons.  I used a basic apron design with slight modifications.  There is no need for waist ties which would be a pain to tie anyway.  It just needs to fit the neck area, wide enough to cover the chest and lap area, and long enough to cover the lap when seated. 

The neck area is adjustable with D-rings on mine so that can easily be slipped over the head and tightened up to fit when needed.
I put up a hook so that all the aprons could hung by this neck strap--easy way to keep them together and handy. 

These pics are to give an idea of how they fit.  (Since I'm the model and the photographer, I finally have an excuse for my amateur quality shots.)

You get the idea, right?

This is a pic of the basic design I used.
I cut out a pattern from the purple paper.  I used cotton early on but think that synthetics are more effective for easy washing and no ironing.  (Yes, I still use an iron for things other than sewing.  Am I alone in that?)  I have napkins from a synthetic blend I've been using for at least three years now that I love.  While they may not be quite as absorbent as cotton or terry, they work more than well enough, don't hold stains, and come out of the dryer wrinkle free.

I made mine from two pieces of fabric sewn right sides together leaving an opening for turning.  Don't forget to pin the straps in place!  If spilling liquids are a bigger issue, you might want to use a terry on one side or as a lining down the center. 

Some things I learned along the way:
  • Use busy prints so that possible stains are not as much of an issue.
  • Use two different fabrics on each side.  It's reversible!
  • In addition to top stitching about a quarter of an inch in all the way around the edge once it's turned right side out, sew in a design or two in the center, or just straight lines to hold the fabrics together.  I used a heart design on this one.
I also embroidered my mother's name on hers because things have a way of getting lost in nursing homes.  I feel like I'm dealing with school-aged kids again!
She got a kick out of having her name embroidered, too.

No need to leave the guys out.  Just use some fabrics such as these.

It's so often difficult to adjust to being in a  nursing home.  This may be one small way to make it a bit more tolerable.

The relatives are arrive in less than an hour!  Must get to work.

Linking to:

More the Merrier Monday

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Can A Television Ever Be Too Big?

I'm been whining about the television in my bedroom for a long time.  Too small!  I couldn't do foreign films because I couldn't read the subtitles.  Most annoying.  My lovely husband was listening.  Merry Christmas to me!

It's hard to see here, but this 55-inch screen takes up practically the entire top of my dresser.  Overkill?  Maybe.  Does it look ridiculous?  Even I think it look a bit silly.  However, when I watch Morning Joe now, I feel like I'm sitting right there at the table with them.  I find myself talking right along with Mika and Joe.  (I never said I was normal.)  I can definitely see the subtitles now.  I'm going with no on the "can a television every be too big" question.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hi You All! Want to See a Rather Eerie Pillow?

So I stopped back because I dearly miss blogging and found that me last post about stopping the blog is missing.  I can't find it anywhere!  Kind of weird, yet fitting.

Two things have happened here.  First, life is calming down considerably with my mother's nursing home issues.  This have given me more time for the second thing, getting back to crafting.  Every time I finish something, I really want to share it with other crafty people.  Hence, my absolute need return to blogging.  I missed you guys!

While everyone was making cute Christmas stuff, I was playing with eyeballs to make this guy. 

I saw the idea for making the eyes on one blog (wish I could remember which one) and traveled among countless others trying to figure out just how someone with zero artistic ability could pull this off.
Set #1--quite happy with this set
Set #2--not so happy with this set

The center, where the iris is located, is concave.  After painting, I poured jewelry resin in this area.  It was supposed to stay in that area.  The rest of the eye would have varnish to get that shiny look. My resin overflowed covering the whole thing.  That works, too, though, and eliminates the need for varnish.  Here's a pic that kind of shows the reservoir of resin (I think or hope it does anyway). 
That shine gives a great glassy-eye stare.
After finishing this project, I saw that someone else photocopies irises and then cuts and pastes them on the baked polymer.  I just might give that a try next.

So the creature is presently guarding my house and creeping out visitors who suddenly notice that the pillow is staring at them.

Hope you all had a great Hanukkah (or Chanukah  if you prefer that spelling) or Christmas! 

Linking to:

More the Merrier Monday

Monday, October 1, 2012

Look Who I Met in The Hundred Acre Wood

The Hundred Acre Wood Brian and I were hiking through is in Malta, New York.  No chance of meeting a bear, let alone Pooh Bear, there!  We did meet this guy.

 I only had my lowly 2 megapixel phone camera, but his coloring is so unusual for around here that I wanted to show him off!   I've never seen one this with so much yellow before.

There were a couple of feisty dogs racing around, so I moved him off the path
This is the only photo of the toadstools that came out well enough to share.  I love how it is practically turning into petals.  There were more different kinds of toadstools and tree fungus there than I've ever seen in one place before.  I am SO looking forward to getting back up there later this week with a better camera.  Maybe I'll even see that turtle again.  Probably not, but one can hope!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

More of the Travel Pouches--Shoe Bags

On our last trip I wished I had a few of these--

shoe bags.  Sand does have a way of creeping into every little crevice.  I didn't want to just put shoes in the suitcases.  This is much better.

I went with pink zippers this time.  The shoe bags join these other two pouches from last week.
I'm feeling so very coordinated and ready for another trip!  Brian does not share my enthusiasm about another trip, however.

Who else thinks a set of these would make a great gift??  Okay, maybe I'll tone down the bright factor for gifting.  These practically require sunglasses.

 I tried to do fancy zipper pulls.  I had these beads that I though would look so nice with the pink zippers and tropical flowers.
 See, would have been nice, huh? 
Unfortunately I know so little about beading.  The cording I bought would not fit all the way through the bead.  I stuck a large pin down through only to find that the bead was not evenly drilled through.  It got thinner and off kilter at the center.  I'm sure that really fine wire would have worked.  I have no idea, though, as to how all those beading supplies work.  I ended up with five different kinds of beading supplies--none of which work together to create a pull.  Until I figure this all out, a simple cord will do! 
I still don't quite have the zipper ends looking as they should, but each bag is getting better and easier.  Practice makes perfect, right?  By the time I finish a set for my daughter, I should have this all worked out...or not. 

Linking to:

More the Merrier Monday

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Want to See an Ocean Sunrise--kind of??

Here you go!

 I blew these up to 8x10, matted, and framed them.  I'm putting them on the stairwell wall so that I  can see the sun rising over the ocean as I go downstairs in the morning.   Going upstairs, I'll see a setting sun;-}