Archive for the ‘Crochet’ Category

Review: “MaryJanesFarm” Magazine

If you have barnheart you will love “MaryJanesFarm” Magazine.  My mom first introduced the magazine to me last year, and a dear friend gives me her back issues.  It’s all about being a “farmgirl at heart”, weather you live in the city, suburbs or in the country, with a very strong organic, sustainable slant. It’s got articles on gardening, cooking, livestock,  organic products, crocheting, sewing, and other fiber crafts.  It gives ideas on how to transition to a more green lifestyle, use less electricity,  and how to be more “Do It Your Self”.   It looks like Martha Stewart designed the magazine, but with a “shabby chic” bend, which is beautiful, but it’s very commercial.  In fact Mary Jane seams kinda quite a bit like Ms. Stewart, but with a bit more dirt under her nails.  Mary Jane has her own line of products for sale, from organic towels, to baking mixes, to her own “Farmgirl” sewing fabric.  She even has a “Farmgirl Sisterhood” club complete with badges like girl scouts for adults.  It’s seams  like “Farmgirlism” is a good idea that got caught in the web of capitalism.   Still, if you can avoid the “Ooh I have to have that!” trap, the magazine is full of good info, recipes, and crochet and knitting patterns.  One issue even taught me a new slogan for eating local slow foods:  SOEL Food, meaning:  Sustainable, Organic, Ethical, and Local Food.  And commercialism aside,  if “Farmgirlism” can replace the “Princess” fad that so many girls toys are marketed to, I promise not to complain too much about the marketing. Just promise me not to buy the $47 clothes pin bag, please! (My clothes line didn’t even cost me that much!)


Swap-bot: Ostara Traveling Altar with Matchbox Shrine

This swap was my first large, multi-item swap for a group called “The Green Witch”.  It required an altar cloth, offering, Ostara decorations, letter about one’s path, and something special from receiver’s profile.  I decided to crochet a place mat for the altar cloth, which worked up pretty fast. I also made a crocheted egg, two rooster sickle feathers, two small candles I made years ago, some lavender, a bit of earth from my back yard,  and a matchbox shrine.  The dirt from my yard was something my partner requested. She’s collecting soil from around the world for a peace spell.  The only thing I bought to make this was some yellow cotton yarn, and I’m very glad because it was rather pricey to ship to Sweden!

Ostara Traveling Altar

Ostara Traveling Altar

Ostara Match Box Shrine

Ostara Matchbox Shrine, Font

Ostara Matchbox Shrine, Back

A Quaint Valentines Day

I have fond memories of cutting out paper hearts and gluing them to paper doilies to make a handmade Valentine for each student in my class.  This custom has been replaced by the dorkiest commercial Valentines I have ever seen. How lame is it to just print names on cards hardly bigger than a business card?  Can’t cable television leave just one holiday alone, please?  So naturally I wanted to do something completely different, so I crocheted 22 red heart ornaments and taped  each one to a bag of candy, and sent Vincent off to school with them.  I hope they are well received.

I also involved Vincent in our first Swap-Bot exchange for kids, a DIY Valentines swap, where he made two hand made Valentines and sent them and some goodies to his assigned partners. The packages included candy, pencils, stickers, the Valentine, a crocheted heart,  a feather from our chickens, and a little note.  The partner in Sweden told me her son loved the feather! I’m not sure yet, if the other package was received.  Vincent has not received any packages yet, due to the weather, but I hope we get them tomorrow.

I hope you all had a great Valentines Day weekend. Next year, lets’ all not wish for a white Valentines Day, Ok?


Fourteen Free Things I Could Use

There are some normally recycled or tossed out items that I could use. Here’s a list of them, I would deeply appreciate it if you could remember to save them for me, if you are local to me.  If the item is small, and you are one of my partners at  feel free to include this in a package!

1. Old Candle Wax: I recycle it into new candles!

2. Large plastic Ice Cream Containers:  Great for organizing stuff! I use smaller ones for storing household batteries for recycling. I used another for my compost bucket. Another is a toy for my son Julian!

3. Buckets with Lids:  Like the kind cat food or litter come in. Also useful for storing things in the garage that you don’t want mice to get into.  I use one for my diaper bucket in my bathroom.

4. Plastic Bags in  gray,  tan, or blue:  I make these into plarn (plastic yarn) to make bags and other non-clothing items. I shop at Food Lion, so anything not white and blue I would love to have! Swappers, feel free to send me a blue one!

5. Mason Jars: For canning or candles!

6. Paper Bags: I use them to wrap stuff for shipping, and for covering school books.

7. Plastic Vinegar Bottle:  or anything food grade (no bleach bottles). I cut them into scoops for chicken or pet feed.

8. Grolsch bottles: the beer bottles with the buckle top, for making home made soda!

9. Egg Cartons:  For both eggs and fire starters!

10. Plastic Milk Rings: You can crochet around them to make ornaments! Another good one for swappers!

11. Chinese Take Out Containers:  esp the rectangle shaped plastic containers and the pints and quart sized liquid containers. Paul uses them for his lunch, and I freeze food in them sometimes too.

12.Ice packs and Styrofoam coolers:  for transporting eggs.

13. Box Tops for Vincent’s School:  I usually skip the fundraisers, but I work extra hard at collecting the box tops from anyone who isn’t already turning them into a school! If your a swapper who isn’t saving your box tops for your kids, please, send me some!! Honestly I don’t buy allot of the foods that have the Box Tops, so I can use all the help I can get!

14. Big Pretzel Jars: I usually see them at Sam’s Club, or smaller ones at Wall-mart. Also good for storing flour, pet food, yarn or plarn!  You can also cut the top off and stick them over plants in the early spring to create a mini green house.

Post Cards and Potholders with Swap-Bot

A few weeks ago I discovered this neat website called, where you can join swaps for all kinds of items, many of which are hand made. I started with a pot holder swap, which you can read about here.  The swap ended yesterdy, and I got a note from my partner that she has not mailed it yet, but at least she sent me a note!  I also joined a Brewery Box post card swap where we cut post cards from beer box art and mailed them to two partners. I send both of my postcards, cut from Wood Chuck Draft Cider boxes (my favorite beer-like drink), and sent them out right away.  I did receive one postcard made from a “Flying Dog Beer” box. The sender said that it’s nasty beer, but great for making bread! LOL  The pot holder I crocheted was received and I now have my first rating (somewhat like feedback on ebay) which enables me to host my own swaps.  You can see the two that I have created listed on the right side of this page.  The Imbolc Post Card Swap is now closed, and has 4 participants.  I have a week to make my Imbolc post card, and I’ll be sure to post a picture of it here!The hair scrunchy swap is still open, so feel free to join!

Swap-Bot also allows people to make private groups who can then hold private swaps that are open only to group members. This way if people don’t want to release their mailing address to just anybody, they can make a group. Groups also are a way to keep out “Flakers” who are people who join a swap and don’t send the required item.  I’m thinking about making a Unitarian Universalist Group to do UU themed swaps.


Crocheted Hair Scrunchie Swap – Swap-bot

Crocheted Hair Scrunchie Swap – Swap-bot

If you have long hair and love to crochet, please join my swap to receive three crocheted hair scrunchies! You must join by February 22, and mail your scrunchies by March 8th. It’s an easy pattern, very quick to make, and a great way to use up your left over yarn!

Happy Swapping!


My First Swap-Bot Swap!

Blue Denim Pot Holder

Blue Denim Pot Holder

I’ve been swapping books at for a few years now, but I’ve recently discovered where you can set up swaps for all kinds of things with a select group of people. A coordinator sets up the swap details, what kind of items, how much to spend, how many partners, and mailing deadlines. The web site sets up the partners and only reveals address to one’s partners and has a rating and feedback system for both swappers and coordinators .  My first swap is a “Pot Holder Swap” with 9 members.  The coordinator did not limit it to quilted potholders, so I crocheted a blue and white double thick potholder using a Heringbone Half Double Crochet stitch.  It came out much bigger than store bought pot holders and very thick. I’m going to try using the same technique to make some cotton diaper stuffers for Julian.

I have not thus far received my potholder from my partner, but it’s still early. They are to be mailed by January 2oth. I’ll let you all know what I get as soon as I get it! I so love surprises. As soon as I get several good ratings, I’ll be hosting my own swaps.  I’m thinking about an Ostara (Spring Equinox) card and poem swap, if I can get enough ratings to become a swap coordinator by then. Wish me luck!