Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some updated photos.

I have never been happy with my original photos of these knitted pieces...finally got on the ball (with my to-do list ever-expanding, no less) and took some quick pics yesterday. Had to haul it out into the snow, to get some of that awesome late-afternoon light. And I have to say, I love my new dress form. She is petite yet curvaceous and makes my photos SOOOO much easier! She has been named Sophie, with Grace's approval, because she is decidedly French. Doesn't she look pretty wrapped in red and ready for the cold?

And in other creative doings, I happed across this post on the Angry Chicken blog. Seriously. I had to try it once I saw how dang cute they were. Still not sure why I chose this week when I am still crazy-busy (did I mention the sheep costumes I'm sewing for Christmas Eve church service??? That'll be a different post).
For these, I used Tastefully Simple's Almond Pound Cake mix and it fit 6 half-pint jars perfectly. Yum. Like we really needed more sweets around this week!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The miracle product.

Holy cow, I seriously need to buy stock in 3M! I have just happened upon the most amazing and (to me) life altering product. OK, maybe life-altering is a bit much, but oh. my. goodness. I have been a fan of the Command line of products for awhile - great hooks and poster tacking stuff, never leaves a residue. I just installed a few more hooks the other day to hold unwieldy lunchboxes. Anyway. So, today, looking for more poster tacking stuff at Target, I saw they now have picture-hanging strips. Pure genius. For people like me, who totally hate hanging groupings of photos because they inevitable hang crooked, these are a godsend. I just hung 5 frames above the piano, all perfectly spaced, in about 5 minutes. Now I need more! I see they even have hangers for larger photos - I REALLY need these for 2 large pictures I have above my living room couch - at least daily I go in and straighten the frames. 3M, I love you!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

In the works.

The craziness continued into the end of the week, thankfully I am feeling a little more settled in that a few Christmas gifts are completed, which means only a few more of those to go! My priority this weekend, though, is finishing off some custom orders, one if which is pictured below...

Isn't the color amazing? The yarn is Mirasol Miski, color #104 (Jade). In real life, it is really more blue/green. But I still love the photo! It's going to be another Victorian Neckwarmer...wouldn't it look amazing with a black turtleneck and black velvet pants? I just may have to knit one up for myself. After Christmas, of course! I promise a photo of the finished product, probably in a day or too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crazy in a good way.

Lots of busyness around here today - I feel a little frazzled even though it's all been brought on myself! So I'm not complaining...just dealing. The kids were all home today - a "snow day" due to a lovely ice/snow storm we had in the night. I found out last night that school was cancelled and honestly, I was dreading today. I thought we'd have screaming and tears and who knows what else by 10:00 am! But, they have been good. Playing games, playing house, doing a craft project (with me...homemade paper bowl from an old Family Fun issue), etc. I managed to get out this afternoon (not OUT out, just out to the driveway) to do a little shoveling. And even then, with me out of the house and them shut inside, they were still good! Guess strange things can happen sometimes.

So why have I been busy, besides the aforementioned snow day activities? Well, filling orders, working on various Christmas presents (darn that handmade pledge!), and writing my first knitting pattern as part of an order. I have certainly done my own knitting design, just have never actually taken the time to write it all down properly (and have it look nice, with pictures, etc.). Once I figure out how to convert it to a PDF, I may post it in the shop for sale. I'm thinking it would be nice to sell something and NOT have to ship it, you know? BTW, the above piece is for which the pattern was written...

Oh, and another thing...if anyone out there has been interested in items in my shop but isn't from the US, never fear! I have decided to try international shipping, and edited my items accordingly. So, happy shopping!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Snickerdoodles are in da house

Yes, the cookie-baking went without a hitch last night, to my moderate surprise! We told the kids that they would get to eat one only if they helped. For the task assigned - rolling and dipping - they are pros anyway, so I shouldn't have worried about their participation. Granted, Reed probably would have preferred to be playing Guitar Hero on the 360, but he relented to help in order to earn his dessert. Even Kirk got in on the action, and I have now realized that he can get downright cranky if someone is messin' with his favorite cookies! Let's just say that after the first ball of snickerdoodle dough landed on the floor (by accident, I can attest) his temper flared a wee bit. Lauren wasn't buying it though..."come on, Dad, it's just a cookie!"

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Feelin' the crafty love...

On the lighter side of life, I'm happy to show off a little crafty love I got on this blog today...check it out!

Oh, and I'm hoping to get a family Christmas-cookie-baking session in after dinner tonight. Wish me luck! (Because seriously, with this crew I may really, really need it!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


The shooting in Omaha today is such a horrible thing to have happen. It really hits home to us around many times we have been in that store. You just never think such a senseless tragedy can occur in your own area. Our prayers are with the victims and families.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Deck the halls...

The tree is finally up. I just couldn't do it before December 1st this year. I know some people love to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but not me! We ended up having the perfect day to do it, also. We had freezing rain all day so we hunkered down and enjoyed some Christmas tunes, a fire in the fireplace, and little hands deciding where to put all of the ornaments. How nice is that?
Here, Kirk helps Lauren get up high...
Then it's Grace's turn...(they wanted them all up high)
Reed figured out who Santa is this year, so it's been a tougher transition for him to get really excited about Christmas. He sat out for the ornaments, until I interested him in being the special person to hang the "Christmas nail" ornament on the tree. He got to read the little story that goes with it, explaining the significance, which helped a bit.

And then some dancing ensued...


What I did with it...

This is what became of that awesome chunky wool pictured in my last post. I love the result.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yarn Love

It is a cold, blustery day today...perfect for tea and a new project. A visit to my LYS this morning yielded some very nice new stuff to play around with. Some more alpaca and Peruvian wool (how much do I love the fact that I am supporting a tiny school in Peru just by buying this!) as well as some gorgeous slubby wool from Wales. Isn't is all amazing?
I feel so worldly as I craft! I would really, really love to find someone who produced wool locally (shout out to any Nebraska sheep/goat farmers??? If you're out there, let me know!) - I have the ambition to someday attempt spinning my own, and for as random as my crafting is, you know that is entirely possible! There is something so organic about knitting, much like I felt when I (once upon a time) was into wheel-thrown pottery. Kick wheel, of course, no electric for me. I fell in love with the rhythm and I think that is what is so appealing to me now with knitting. The upside to knitting as opposed to pottery, however, is the fact that I can sit in my living room and knit with kids around me and not get covered in clay! Having kids definitely alters my creative endeavors. It's all good though...because without them, I would never get gems like this...
(Portrait of Mommy as drawn by three year-old Grace)

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's been awhile...

Funny how I can go out of town for Thanksgiving and still manage to get behind in so much. Like laundry (ok, I'm always behind on that) and holiday shopping (why is it that it is not even December and I feel like I'm behind already???) and keeping the house in general order. Not like it is ever in order, really, but the busier I get I really neglect this place.

Fortunately, my craftiness has been flowing at a good pace and I am keeping up with my own projects as well as some custom orders. First, please note what I like to call The Happy Fabric...
Ahhh...I feel better just looking at it. I ordered this for a tote bag project for a good friend, and immediately I was struck that it just made me happy. So, so pretty. And wouldn't you know, when I delivered the bag to her she commented how it made her happy! Somehow they must weave little happiness threads right into the fabric itself. Here is the finished bag...
And a few more images of things that have gotten put into the shop recently...
I couldn't resist doing something else with this lovely stuff ... and then there has been some knitting going on...
these warmers...
and these...
and even a few pieces of silverware! It's all rather random, but as I have said before, that is precisely why I like it. I have to admit, I have even been frequently viewing some pottery pieces on Etsy lately...but I keep telling myself that I do not own a kiln and it would take SO much time to get pieces somewhere to get fired! I am working hard at exercising some self-restraint!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On the Bib Front

Why was I not making these when my kids were babies??? Okay, maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were babies and I just didn't have the time. Well anyway, I have the time now and I can't get over how cute the flannel is. I mean, really! NYC shopping and aliens! I may just have to make coordinating blankets. I added these plus a few others to the shop this afternoon. I realize the shop is a little random - serving pieces, glassware, zippered pouches and now, bibs? Please bear with me. I really do craft this way...pretty random, but it keeps me interested in what I'm doing. Oh, and those yarns I bought the other day? One is being reknit from one scarf to another (the first stitch pattern just wasn't cutting it for me). And that tattered rose yarn? It's also in mid-formation on it's way to becoming a gorgeous scarf, too. I had to pick out a few rows yesterday but it's back on track. And then, once completed, will probably find it's way into the shop...yet another random piece! Eat your heart out, Julia Roberts!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Who Knew?

Yesterday I was scanning the headlines on the internet...and yes, I admit, they were the entertainment headlines, not the hard-core news ones. Unfortunately I do actually have a clue as to what is going on in the lives of today's entertainers! So anyway, I read an article about how Julia Roberts wants my life. No, seriously! OK, not ME exactly, but apparently she would be just like me if she could (yeah right, I don't know if I totally buy it either). She said she would love to be a stay-at-home mom with a little creative outlet like needlework. Um, yep, that pretty much sounds like me. I informed Kirk today that Julia Roberts wants my life, and he said, "Why?" Maybe she and I could work out an occasional trade or something? So hey, Julia, if you're reading this? Have your people call my people and we'll set it all up for, say, next Thursday?

Oh, and a little random yarn-shop happiness today. I got in on a good sale and bought some amazing alpaca yarns, one of which is being turned into a cozy scarf (probably for the shop, not for me) as I write this. No, really, I bewitched my needles to clickety-clack away while I attend to other tasks! Sound Hermione-ish? The best part of my yarn deal, however (besides the alpaca) was the 4 free balls of yarn I got to choose with my purchase. Did I say free? Yes, free! Of course, I had to choose from the clearance bin, but I ended up coming away with a lovely rose-pink blend, kind of ribbon-y, kind of tattered, almost vintage looking. I love it! And at an original price of $12.95 a ball, I think I came away with quite a deal!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Same goblet, different day

goblet closeup
Originally uploaded by j.hoferdesigns
Every time I make something, I wander through my house trying to find the perfect spot for photographing the item. Sometimes I end up outside, where the light is good and the weathered fence looks just...right. One recent photo featured a tote bag hanging from a nail against my red kitchen wall. Striking, yes...but a bit of a pain since it involved taking down the mirror that usually hangs there! So, I keep looking for that just-right place. And it has eluded me thus far. I am hoping this will not be the case anymore, thanks to the lovely peacock-blue poster board I purchased today for 67 cents. When propped just right on my bathroom counter, it looks fabulous as a backdrop! That, combined with a tripod for my camera (I so need to do this more), and voila! The just-right spot.

Oh, and I am proud to introduce my online store, "jenny hofer designs" !!! I am excited about this new venture. I still hope to build business with custom orders...but now I have the storefront I've been meaning to acquire for a long time. Happy shopping, everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Water goblet

Water goblet
Originally uploaded by j.hoferdesigns
I finished a set of these yesterday and am loving them. They'll have to keep drying for another day or two before they're really ready to be used. Feedback? Likes, dislikes? Any comments are welcome!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Custom Order Update

Check out the custom order link - I have updated this afternoon to include glassware and silver serving pieces.

The New Toy

Ah, the difference between my hobbies and Kirk's are really kinda funny sometimes. For me - just point me in the direction of a craft store, give me a credit card, and the urge to make stuff lasts a long, long time. But him? Make sure it has a remote control, and rechargeable batteries, and oh - even better if it flies. Like this helicopter. I now know we never really get over the things that made us happy when we were kids. You wouldn't believe how noisy this little sucker is, too ...the other night I was in the shower (with the water running, and the fan going) and I was thinking, man! What in the world is he shredding right now? Do we really have that many documents we need to get rid of at 10:00 at night? But oh no, he was only playing with his helicopter, practicing take-offs and landings without crashing into the bed or the dog or the tv. Trust me, it crashes a lot. Luckily it isn't (usually) very seriously damaged. Oh yeah - and that rechargeable thing? It lasts about 5 minutes. Too short of a time to go on seek and destroy missions.
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Update on glassware

A few notes about the glassware. Firstly, they came through the dishwasher with flying colors! Yippee! Sometimes I think I'm a bit silly to get so excited about things like that. At least Kirk humors me and was mildly interested when he learned that fact as well. However...I will probably hand wash my glasses and any silverware I make...there is really no reason to put them through the dishwasher on a regular basis, maybe only if they get gross!

And yes, I plan to add them to my orders page. I have not yet figured prices on everything, but when I do (which will be soon) I will post it.

Oh, and the glue used was Amazing Goop. Probably anything that is designed for plumbing adhesive would work...we've also tried Loctite Houseware Repair...but my stones fell off with that one.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


A new craft venture for me - wire and glass bead-embellished glassware! We have been planning on doing a similar craft for our MOPS group, though with sterling silver serving spoons (say that 10 times fast) instead of glasses. I have several spoons I have made and they look terrific - why I didn't take a photo of them, I don't know. Anyway, these little babies were done last week, when after making the silverware, I decided I needed more things decorated in the same manner. Really, I just needed something fun and crafty! But seriously, who can resist a set of 4 glasses for $1.97? They're really a bit smaller than I would ideally like (something for, say, a vodka tonic?), but for practice with the technique I am more than pleased with how they turned out. I've been letting them cure all week and plan to run them in the dishwasher tonight to test the glue. Supposedly the glue can withstand water and heat...we'll see about that. If they do hold up, I will post something about what I used to make them.
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Another bag, and sewing frustration

Another day, another pleated bag from Bend the Rules Sewing! After making one for a friend, she ordered 2 more for Christmas presents. I congratulate myself on completing the first before Halloween! If only I could be so good about my own presents for family. a perfect world, right? I have another one (same design) about half-way done. Just waiting to go back to the fabric store for more thread and stiff interfacing for the bottom. The kids have been home from school this week so errands haven't been the easiest! I love my kids, but a week off for "fall break" is a bit much.

This bag gave me a lot of trouble towards the finishing touches. When I sewed the lining to the outside, I was left with lots of extra pleats in the corduroy. Out came the seam ripper and I had to do-over, with several side-seam adjustments to take up a bit of the slack. I really, really hate do-overs. I am a speedy crafter and if I'm making something for myself, I tend to live with the mistakes. However, the people-pleaser in me hates to have imperfections show to anyone, much less a friend who is actually paying me money to do this! I know it's good for me. It teaches me patience (of which I have had little this week, thanks to the fall break) and good workmanship. I just hope my friend (or her sister, for whom this is intended) doesn't notice the wee extra pleat that happened at the top on the second try! Oops! It will just give it a little character, right???
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Willing Model

Alas, how lucky am I that my favorite preschooler (aka Grace) not only likes to wear what I make for her, but also likes to pose for photos? When the camera comes out and I say, "Can I take a picture of you in that/wearing that/whatever" she smiles and says "yes Mommy!" Then out comes the cheesy squinty-eyed grin and the shoulders shrugged up to her ears, and with each photo snapped are the words "can I see it too?" The digital camera age is all about instant gratification for the photographer as well as the pint-sized subject! Of course, photos such as these frustrate her immensely when viewed, because I have purposefully NOT included her face in the photo! Usually I have to get a couple of silly-grinned shots to satisfy her "I wanna see myself" attitude.

So, this new skirt is something that came together very quickly (oh, my favorite thing! more instant gratification!). Black stretch cord with striped cotton on the bottom. Grace's favorite thing is the "rainbow" fabric which she chose herself. It really has a lot of give to it yet holds it's shape nicely, considering all of the wiggling around that goes on at preschool. I made the same style for Lauren in brown cord and pink/brown swirl (see the inner lining of my purse, posted below). It too is cute. But man! How hard was it to find a shirt to match the pink swirl? I know my inner craftista could make or embellish something with either the brown cord or the pink swirl, but Lauren (even at the tender age of 5) is not so into being matchy-matchy these days. I settled for a pink shirt that sort-of matched. Oh well, the other kindergarteners won't care!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Handbag, and Sewing Insanity

I whipped this up this afternoon (well, technically, the pieces were cut this morning). All in all it was a nice project, one that gave me a little taste for successfully completing a sewing project with curved edges. Really, I'm not so good at those. I like the end result but would modify a few things...longer handles and skip the bow next time. Maybe a funky line of buttons instead? Now, as for the Sewing Insanity...why is it that I get so enmeshed in my creative flow that it starts to interfere with my sleep? I suppose having a 3 year-old in the midst of nighttime potty-training doesn't exactly help the sleep factor either, but still...I dream about fabric. I am working on projects in my sleep, then wake up and can't wait to find some time to play around some more. Nights like last night, for example, included not only the waking-up-changing-pants-changing-sheets thing, but then a good 20 minutes of wakefulness before going back to sleep, followed by dreams of fabric combinations. I woke up tired because it felt like my mind had been going all night. Let's just say that by the time this afternoon rolled around, I was ready for a wee bit of a nap. I did doze off for 20 minutes (with the drool spot to show for it), then awoke and immediately started thinking about getting to work on this handbag. Ugh! I mean, I love the creative flow/mojo thing I've had lately, however it's like I'm ready for a break but my mojo is not! Weird!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rain and Comfort Food

This has been such a rainy, chilly weekend. No playing outside, for sure. Of course, by Sunday night that just creates a mutinous, surly bunch, especially in the age 7 and under category! Still, I love it. I love being inside a cozy house with plenty of crafty projects to keep me occupied while the thunder rumbles and the rain pit-pats on the bathroom skylights. What is it about this weather that makes me want Campbell's soup and grilled cheese? Maybe all of the rainy Sunday nights as a kid with the same thing on the menu. The only difference between now and then (other than the obvious ones of being 20 years older, being married, having 3 kids of my own, etc) was that my mom and dad always had the little kitchen tv tuned in to 60 Minutes during dinner. No other night of the week would we watch tv while eating, just on Sunday's so they wouldn't miss that show. So, tonight, I'm remembering rainy Sunday nights of yore that involved canned tomato soup, lots of Velveeta, and the crabby rantings of Andy Rooney.

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Bits for a friend

Don't you love it when a friend just loves something you made? Loves it so much, in fact, that she wants one for herself and wants to know how much you'll charge? Such was the case with the pleated tote. I just finished these new ones this weekend, ready to be delivered later this week. I think I like them better than my own!

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My sewing machine needles have been clicking away recently, working on a few projects from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. I love the tote. It keeps it's shape and has a firm bottom (unlike my own, alas) - it's been great to bring into stores to avoid the gazillion plastic bags at the checkout line. And the little zip case is my new stashing-ground for the stack of plastic cards (discount cards, gift cards, you know, you have tons of them too). Now they are out of my wallet and in a little stylish home of their own. I'm already envisioning spring versions of these...maybe linen? That's what's pictured in the book and me likey!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Skirts for Fall

Lauren and Grace got some new fall skirts - ruffled, tiered numbers made just for twirling about. Both have fabrics from the Chocolate Lollipop line by Anna Maria Horner...I love love love these fabrics! I've never done anything with ruffles before I made these, so I was pleased that they actually turned out well. No real pattern, just followed an online tutorial. It's amazing how many things you can actually sew without a formal pattern - just measure and cut, none of that tissue paper madness that comes out of pattern envelopes!