Here are some pictures of the little house we are renting this year. Today we are having a little family tour of all of the houses everyone moved into this summer! there was a lot of moving going on! So I thought we should share some pictures of our house with those who couldn't be here! THIS is our Dining area- looking into our kitchen with a print from an MFA grad student at Penn last year.
The other view of our family room- with the painting by my friend Justin.
. This is a detail shot of a display on a dresser in our family room/ area.
Our stairway decorated for Christmas!
The Dresser that belonged to my Grandmother's Cousin- "Cousin Betty"
Our family room with the blue dresser I got for FREE on craigslist! And the Anthro Chair I bought with money I made selling artwork- of course I waited until the chair was on sale! and our very first christmas tree!
Earlier this year- over the summer Cameron all sleepy-faced eating the pancakes he just made.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Going through my old thread collection- I decided they would make the perfect ornaments! I just threaded this one with some left over yarn and added some buttons and a hook- it took all of 5 mins!
I also made this little garland to string around the tree. I added buttons, varied the size of the spools of thread and included a buckle and other discarded items! Then I attached hooks to the green yarn and hung it on the stronger branches- due to the weight of some of the spools.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Mia picked out the yellow yarn- it looks like a halo!
This is another way you can wear it- just fold up the rim of the hat
Here it is from the side with the crazy pom-pom
And the very back of the hat!
This is another way you can wear it- just fold up the rim of the hat
Here it is from the side with the crazy pom-pom
And the very back of the hat!
I saw a hat like this in a vogue knitting magazine and knew that I wanted to make something similar. As with all of my other hats and with most things- I abandoned a pattern and went solo.
I used a pair of 7 rounds and cast on 82 stitches, which sounds like a lot and I probably could have gotten away with 72- but 82 just worked! the needles were small for the bulky-ish yarn- hence 82 worked out with this wacky ratio.
I knit 2 prl 2 to make a cabled rim and then I went crazy like I did with Ben's hat (see earlier post). After the cable I purled a row and then I dropped stitch a row- dropping three stitches. I mostly did a moss stitch for the majority of the hat- this is where you knt 1 prl 1 for the 1st row then prl 1 knit 1 for the second- and then repeat- it makes a cool pattern, plus its dense and warm!
When the hat was about 2-3 tall I added on a ton of stitches! Since I was knitting it on a train up to NYC and I didn't have a lot of resources- I winged it. I knit 2 then I yarn over at the purl stitch- ie add on, and repeat the entire row. I think I ended up with 150 some stitches!
Then I just kept knitting and eventually I knit a cable that decreased as it went up towards the top of the hat. I knit 2, prl 2 for 3 rows then I knit 2 prl 1- decreasing the prl into the other... make sense?
I finished with another platform type shape as I did with Ben's and topped it off with a MASSIVE pom-pom of yellow, white, pink and a tiny bit of green.
While out in Portland this October for my Brother's wedding- I hung out with my friends Mia and Ben. I took my green "swiss Miss" hat along with me- see previous post for pics- and while I was there one of Ben's friends asked if I could make him the Swiss Miss in Red. I did and I also made a hat for Ben.
THIS is the hat for Ben. It only took me a few hours and according to Mia he wears it all the time! I look forward to posting pictures of my recipients in their hats at some point in the near future!
Ben's Hat was easy to make. I used a bulky green yarn (the same used in my green swiss miss) and cast on about 52 stitches onto a set of large 11s in the round. I then knit 2, prl 2 to create a small cable for the rim of the hat and then I just went crazy for the rest of the hat! It was very sporadic- purl a few rows, moss stitch a few, knit a few, repeat cable etc etc. I decreased as I neared the top of the hat. BUT I never fully decreased- as you normally would- so the very top of the hat where the pom pom sits- is a little round box. (makes sense?) The COOL thing is when its not on your head it looks like a tiered cake!
Then I topped it off with a yellow pom-pom from the yarn I made Mia's hat with.
I sent Mia's hat yesterday and I will post the pictures of it with a -how to description- after she gets the hat later this week!
My mom already went out and bought me some yarn to make a Mia styled hat for her! I'm turning into a busy knitter!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
This fall I have been SPICING up some old sweaters- breathing life into them by adding embellishments!
I will be posting these sweaters all through the winter- to give some fresh projects for those long winter months!
This is my first sweater!
I bought it last year on ebay. Its a great vintage bright yellow sweater. It was a little plain and honestly I didn't wear it all that much.
After going through my grandmother's scarves I decided to use one of the shorter ones as an embellishment to this sweater. It was wide so I was able to cut it in half in order to make it go all the way around the sweater. I removed the buttons from the sweater and with my sewing machine I attached the scarf and hemmed its edges.
THEN I did a little couture hand sew- around the top to form the bow- to make it just right!
I'm going to wear it with a purple dress, some tights and my funky brown leather boots- THAT - coincidentally have purple fabric on the back of them with a yellow stitch! Perfect for Work!
ITS all about reinventing the old and making it new!
Its good for the environment and GREAT for your wallet!
Monday, December 1, 2008
In order to be more "green" we have to cut WAY back on our instinct to CONSUME- to buy anything and everything we like. Hence its been fun to recycle old jewelry and to find fun ways to display my Jewelry so I will actually wear it!
I made a peg board- out of an old set of stretcher bars from a painting. There wasn't any canvas covering the stretchers so I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the opening and taped it to the back of the stretchers. Then I covered it with an old piece of fabric. I stapled the fabric on the back and then screwed in some screws by hand- to hang my necklaces on! And then I hung it on the back of the door with i-screws and nails.
For my earrings, pins and bracelets- I took my grandmother's old cake plate and one of her pretty dishes and set up a little display on the book shelf opposite the back door and next to my closet.
Since dusting off my jewelry and displaying it all this way- I have been wearing it more thus getting a new use out of something I already own and not needing to buy any new jewelry!
Share your stories!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
In the next few weeks I am going to post a few blogs about how to Reinvent YOUR OLD- UNWORN items!
I have a few pearls necklaces- that are too short for me to wear comfortably- so I decided to string them together with other unworn jewelry.
What I used:
3 pearl necklaces
1 small pearl bracelet
1 small Silver charm Bracelet- that belonged to my grandmother (or mother ?) with my grandfather, uncle and my mother's names on each charm
1 pendent with my grandfather's picture
1 Charm and necklace that belonged to my Grandmother from high school
1 silver flower charm
Some string, a Button, thread and a ribbon
This was pretty easy. You will need needle nose pliers- to make your life easier!
I just laid the necklaces out on my coffee table to figure out the most pleasing arrangement. Once that was achieved I began attaching them together. In most cases I was able to use the hardware that already came with the jewelry. When I ran out of the clasps and rings I use some string and thread. This addition was not only a problem solver- but added another texture to the necklace besides metal and pearls.
Improvisation is your best friend with this project.
You will want to hold it up to your neck once all of the charms are on and you are almost "finished". This will allow you to determine the length and if anything else needs to be rearranged. I did this a few times until I was satisfied with the desired arrangement and ultimate "look".
THEN I tied the same yarn I used earlier -to one end of the necklace- looped it through a button and back through and knotted it off. Then on the other side I tied a ribbon to the existing clasp. I used a needle and thread to really attach it to the clasp. I ran the thread through the clasp itself and then just kept sewing until the ribbon was secure. I knotted the ribbon and made sure the loop was big enough for the button.
Necklaces like this would and DO cost a lot of money!
But if you have some old jewelry sticking around you can easily make something entirely New not to mention UNIQUE!
PLUS the way this was assembled- I could easily take it apart in the future if I want to wear the pieces separately or give a necklace as an heirloom etc.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I recently started knitting again and through trial and error I created the Hat "Swiss Miss" or "Swiss Mister"!
Since its creation was through default- replicating it a second time proved to be a little challenging. But I built upon what I learned during the process and now I can hopefully teach others how to knit this hat!
You will need:
bulky weight yarn (I bought 2 skeins of 125 yds each- and I used 1 skein and more than half of the second skein- this will vary based on the size of your head.)
pair of 8 needles (I used rounds because it makes life easier)
A large button
Large sewing needle.
The 1st PIECE- the main body of the Hat:
Basically you are going to make a large rectangle.
You will cast on based on the measurement of your head taken from your jaw line on the right side of your face up and over your head to the other side ending at the jaw line on the left.
IE almost the circumference of your face.
Cast on based on your stitch to inches measurement- I generally cast on between 50-60 stitches- or about 17-18 inches. Since this is such an easy hat to make you really can wing it as you go.
As I am casting on- I take what I have cast and check its measurement by placing it around the top of my head- from ear to ear- to make sure I have cast enough on that the ends reach from jaw line to jaw line. (note it will stretch as you knit). AGAIN about 50-60 stitches does the trick.
I used a basic Garter stitch when making this hat. But I'm sure you could use whatever stitch or pattern you like- just remember it will end up on its side. (refer to picture of hat to see how the stitches are running down the head as opposed to horizontally)
Then Knit Knit knit! (about 9 inches or so)
AGAIN this next measurement is custom to your head so you can check it by trying it on after you have knit about 8-9 inches. When you try it on- the needles will be at the back of the head.
What you are deciding is how much you want the hat to cover your face. If you have knit on 9 inches its safe to say you are almost done with this rectangle.
To achieve the pixie point of the hat you will fold one side of the back of the hat over the other making a little slope in the back- and creating a pocket (see last image of hat in green for detail). So take this into consideration as you are measuring the hat on your head. If you have enough material that it fits comfortably- then bind off.
NOW you have your crazy huge rectangle!
Now you take the right side of the bottom of the back of the hat and lay it over the left side. You can do this while it is on your head so you know how much it needs to be taken in- in the back to make the point of the hat stand up.
Secure this "over lap" by pinning the pieces together with a knitting needle. You will take your LARGE sewing needle and flip your hat inside out and sew the seam of the back of the hat together- starting at the top of the hat at the pixie point and working your way down to where the overlap occurs - continue to sew the hat together on the inside of the hat along the slope of the interior seam, or edge- this will allow for the little overlap to create a fun little pocket on the outside of the hat (see image for details).
Then sew the overlap together at the bottom "hem" of the hat.
Now you will make the bottom part of the hood. Again this is really straight forward.
I did a stocking stitch so it would curl under. (the purl side with be on the outside-allowing it to curl under). You will cast on based on the measurement of your hat- roughly 18+ inches. You can cast on more stitches if you want the two pieces to meet more snugly at your chin- covering more of your neck like a scarf.
Once you have determined how long you want this to be (from side to side ie about 18 inches)- knit and purl! until you reach the desired height. Take into account that this will curl up quite a bit so you might want to err on the side of caution and make it a little longer so it really covers the back on your neck! plus the bulky-ness of your yarn will also effect how much it curls up- ie the less bulky the more it will curl (that's been my experience).
I recommend making this piece over 4 inches. You should have a piece that measures 4x18+ inches when done.
Then take single knitting needles and pin this second piece to the hat in the back.
Take your sewing needle, thread it with you yarn and attach the pieces together on the inside of the hat- to hide the stitches and the seam. (like you did with the first seam)
Then attach a button to the front of the neck piece using your needle and yarn.
And then make a loop on the opposite side. I braided my yarn together to make my loop then I pulled it through and knotted it to the side of the neck piece, weaving in any extra.
The Knitty- Gritty!
Once you have tried your Swiss Miss, or Swiss Mister hat on- you might want to make some adjustments. And here's one that I made after the fact on both of the hats I made.
If the neck piece is a little full and frumpy in the back and you aren't getting as tight of a fit as you would like- flip it inside out and weave in a piece of yarn at the back of the neck piece to cinch it together a bit more. You can do this by hand with out a sewing needle, but you can also use the needle if you'd like. (you can see how its gathered in the last picture of the green hat)
Loop the thread through a stitch and tie it to this existing stitch and knot it. Then skip a few stitches and loop it through the next stitch- repeat this for about 2 or so inches in the back. Here you can tighten the back piece based on your preference.
Then Finish by knotting the end of your piece of yarn to an existing stitch.
This cinching should make the hooded part more fitted. (keeping more cold air out!
Let me know how this goes or if I can help along the way to clarify any step!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I have an ETSY account where I am selling necklaces I made using recycled vintage necklaces and beads. I have also listed a variety of prints, both silkscreen and Lithographs I completed during my undergrad!
my shop name is GRAYDAY
Go to etsy.com and type in GRAYDAY and select shop name on the left!!
Check out the site and pass it along to friends and family for gift giving ideas!
We had a lot of potatoes kicking around (left overs from a fall dinner where we brought the au gratin potatoes- yum!) and then in an effort to make sure we eat, my mother had given us a few more! The potatoes were beginning to look a little old with their sprouts and spots so it was time to cook em up!
I made soup last week from our stale home made bread. A recipe I learned while living in Florence. Bread soup is very common and a tradition for the Catholic Italians, since bread represents the body of Christ- you can't waste it!!
So I found a great recipe for my leftover Potatoes and in true Italian fashion I improvised!
This is what I used:
3-4 potatoes peeled and chopped
1/2 cup of cooked white rice (another leftover)
2 onions chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
Handful of baby carrots chopped (more produce that was on the cusp)
3 long stalks of celery chopped
4 cups of milk
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of ground pepper
1 cup of sour cream
2 TBL spoons of all purpose flour
the recipe I read also called for Bacon, which I am not the biggest "fan" of I KNOW! Geeze. and the recipe also called for Paprika, which we didn't have but since we added more veg it worked out well.
SO I chopped everything up. I used our large cooking pot and poured a layer of olive oil- covering the bottom of the pot. I threw in my onions and garlic and let em cook!
As you can see in the pics that I have this crazy green chopper- its one of those AS SEEN ON TV gadgets, but its AWESOME! Some day I would love to learn how to chop like a pro, but in the mean time this cuts down my work time by a lot!
The yellow bowl is for all my scraps. Since we don't have a yard where we live I don't have a compost bin at the moment but I am still in the habit of collecting all my scraps! Someday we will have chickens and a compost bin for our scraps.... (still toying with worm composting, but its a lot of work and we don't have a lot of plants during the winter)
BACK to the SOUP!
while the onions and garlic were cooking, I chopped up the potatoes, celery and carrots. I put them in a bowl and added our leftover white rice.
Then I poured the 4 cups of milk into the pot- adding it to the onions etc, and then I added the potatoes, celery, carrots, and rice mixture.
I let that cook for about 20 mins on medium, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime I poured the 1 cup of sour cream into a bowl, and mixed in the flour.
Once the potatoes were soft I stirred in the sour cream mixture and let it cook until there were bubbles on the surface- about 5 mins tops.
We served it up with some home made wheat bread and had a hardy good fall meal on a night when the temperatures have been dropping to 40, which feels especially cold after the warm summer we had!
Now we have a large pot of soup for the week! And what we can't finish (or if we get burned out on the stuff!) we freeze in small individual serving size plastic containers! And then either one of us can grab it and take it to work for lunch!
We figure when we cook a huge week's worth of soup it costs us $2-3 per meal- tops! Can't beat that!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We made our first dutch babies as a married couple!
And they were so good!
When I first heard about this family tradition of his- I thought it sounded like a morbid hansel and Gretel type thing! Turns out the recipe calls for flour, eggs, and butter -essentially.
We like to top our "Babies" with peanut butter and syrup, but I've read that a fruit topping and jam is good too. Can't wait to try it!
3 eggs- room temp
1/2 cup of milk -room temp
1/2 cup of sifted flour
1/8 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
1/8 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
7 tsp of butter
Preheat oven to 450, place oven rack in the middle of oven. Use a heavy pan- IE cast iron skillet and place it on the rack 10 inch skillet is great- of course the bigger the skillet the more EGGS! You are heating up the skillet. some recipes just tell you to heat it up- but our tradition is to heat up a little butter in the skillet- just be careful not to burn the butter!
In a bowl or Blender- beat the eggs until frothy then add the milk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon and beat for 5 mins.
Now pour the mixture into the preheated skillet.
then cook for 20-25 mins, until the doughy-pancake puffs up as seen in picture.
then top it with whatever you like!
As I said earlier peanut butter and syrup are great but if you want something a little lighter that doesn't stick to you bones as much- use powdered sugar, jam, or other fruit topping or just butter!
Monday, November 3, 2008
My name is Abigail. My middle name is Gray. I love rainy wet gray days and so you can find me as GrayDay on etsy and twitter. I am a twin, an MFA artist, a knitter, a Maine enthusiast, a vintage sweater junkie, I want to live in Europe at some point. I like stinky cheese, Jasmine Pearl tea, and I've never met a Lobster I didn't like to eat.
I have my Masters in Fine Art (from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: '08). I sell my work on my etsy shop. To see more of my work please visit my website.
(Updated as of Nov 2014)
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(Updated as of Nov 2014)