Chica-me-out!

G’day Mates and Would-be Suitors!

So October has been a hive of activity at work. We just finished taping an entire season of Sew It All TV and hosting several fabulous guests. As you may recall, I met Brini Maxwell. Though that’s not the end of the namedropping list. I also met Sue Hausmann from America Sews, we had dinner together. She likes onion rings. I managed to sneak my way into the studio on the day that the Crafty Chica was taping an episode. Kathy Cano-Murillo was so insanely nice! She even signed and gave me a copy of her latest novel, Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing. It was thanks to her that I decided to start this blog! I saw her Crafty Chica cruise and I thought “I want a cruise or at a minimum to attend this cruise!” As you well know fair readers, I started this fine blog, then my lovely boss saw this blog and soon enough I had my dream job. To complete the cycle, my dream job ended up introducing me to the Crafty Chica. Certainly this is a sign that all things are right in the world.

In other news, I found 17 kittens at a strip mall and taught them to sing Halloween carols. I hope to take the show on the road soon, but 3 of my brood keep threatening to leave me for the circus.

Also, I discovered a fun new photo app for the iPhone. Pic Stitch helps you create collages and add filters to photos to make them look extra fancy. I assembled a few of my favorite shots from a walk in the Botanic Gardens this summer into a collage just for you. It is fairly easy to use and the ads are very unobtrusive. Considering that the app is free, there’s no reason not to enjoy it every now and again.

Lastly, I finished my mittens just in time for the colder weather. As you can see, I whipped out some badass chain stitchery to make a monocle for my evil right hand mitten. I do so terribly enjoy these mittens. I may have to line them to take to Ireland. (Has this review inspired you to make some of your very own?)

That’s all for now ladies and gents! I’m off to the Jazzercise Opera, it’s a great way to stay in shape and while taking in a bit of culture.

Happy trails to you!

Henny Penny

 

Too Much Wonderful

Aloha Lasses and Brutes,

The past few weeks have been a resplendent rainbow of glorious happiness. First off, I leveled up in my MMOG, Miss Brickle’s Candylicious Fairietown. As a level 7 Glowworm I can behead just about any creature at or below my level with my toffee throwing stars. It’s really making the game that much better.

Secondly, my lovely and dear friend Kevin announced a Kickstarter initiative and wouldn’t you know it, he made his goal. Though that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t donate anyway. Visit his Dr. Zebrovski’s Hour of Power page to learn about the amazing show he will be performing very soon and near you (assuming you live in San Francisco).

Thirdmost, Cider Days struck Denver this past week with a fury not seen in years! While the day was chilly and sleetful, Mr. McCluckin’ and I ventured forth with a bag of apples to see what magic could be found. We discovered an insanely old cider press, several delightful volunteers, a few mules, and a pork chop on a stick. More than anything the cider press was the best part! Here’s how it worked:

1) Take a washed apple and break it in half on a thin metal bar. 

2) Toss the apple halves into the “chucker” or gaping maw of the apple destroying machine.

3) Turn the crank.

4) Mush up apples like it’s 1899.

5) Collect apple mush in wooden basket lined with a burlap sack.

6) Slide the wooden basket down to the press, then wheel the press down upon the apples with all the might you can muster. 

7) Watch the glorious life spirit of the apples pour forth in cider form.

8) Pour that cider into your jug.

9) Profit.

I have to admit I took all the glory and did the crank spinning. Though Mr. McCluckin’ did an admirable job of tossing apples into the chucker. Ultimately, the ingenuity of yesteryear was the star of the show. The cider press we used was from 1922, but they had some older models about.

 

Fourthful, following the Cider Days explosion my good and kindly husband delivered me to the Horseshoe Market. This wonderful fair only happens thrice a year. The judges seem to know exactly what I would like to buy and  offer it readily at the many booths spread about the parking lot. I found so many treasures I simply cannot describe how excited I was, despite the crappy weather. My favorite booth by far is hosted by the Clean Getaway Soap Co. Their soap is easily the best in the entire world. I prefer the Summertime Blues flavor but I am willing to branch out on occasion. This time around I picked up 3 bars of it to make it through the rest of the year, plus 1 bar of the Mahalo flavor to test the waters. The Ink Lounge also hosts a lovely booth and I found a few photos of miniature men to call me own. The best part is that the pictures were taken in Ireland, where I will soon be!

Lastly, do you know who Brini Maxwell is? You don’t? Shame on you! Go watch this video and make yourself a better person. I had the inexplicable honour of meeting her yesterday! She was in town to tape an episode of Sew It All TV. I managed to finagle my way into the studio and shake her lovely and dainty hand. Then we spoke about vintage fabric, sheath dresses, and pumpkin body shapes. She even complemented my dress. It was one of the best moments of all time.

Well that’s all the news that is news! Hope you are living la vida loca my darlings.

Farewell for now,

Henny Penny

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Come one! Come all to the Craft Ninjas gathering Sunday, September 23 at 1 pm. Make mittens all kittens will covet! Talk about sewing! Sing songs! Seriously, you should come.

I’m going to be at the Craft Ninjas sewing funshop this Sunday and I feel strongly that you should also attend. Mention your intention to attend on FB, then RSVP on the Craft Ninjas page.

I’m just going to assume you will be there, so hooray for seeing you this Sunday.

Smooches,

Henny Penny

An A-Fair to Remember

Felicitations my fine fellows and fellowettes,

This weekend my fair city, hosted the 2nd annual Denver County Fair. Rest assured, I attended the resplendent event. I missed out on last year’s fair and have been kicking myself ever since. I love that our fair holds hundreds of competitions for anyone that loves crafting, baking, gardening, or toad hollering.

The fair ran Friday-Sunday and Mr. McCluckin’ and I made plans to attend Sunday. We took a wee friend along to help us judge how much fun a little person might find. Unfortunately we arrived about 4 hours before the end of the fair and everyone was very low energy. Nonetheless we pushed on and tried to rustle up some fun.

Adultwise there was the geek pavilion which hosted many a video game, science fiction amusements, and quite a few steampunk booths. I marveled over the little gears of steampunk creations while Mr. McCluckin’ challenged our 4-year-old companion to some old fashioned Dance Dance Revolution. We considered entering the Freak Show area but there was a demonstration of “How to Hammer Nails Into Your Nose” and decided that wasn’t appropriate for any of the age groups in our gang. Of course, shopping in the craft arena was lovely, but I didn’t find any gems.

As for our wee person, she had buckets of fun. There was a pony ride, bouncy castle mayhem, cotton candy galore, and goat feeding. She could have also enjoyed the petting zoo but opted out. We saw variations of chickens never before spied, fluffy little rabbits that looked nervous, and 2 varieties of goats.  Oh, and there was a cookie castle that had been built during the fair and Sunday afternoon they launched it from the top of a staircase to its doom. Apparently at some point a unicorn had been available but not while we were there. I later learned it was a mock unicorn, just a pony with a taped on horn.

It was also super exciting to see my colleague, Beth Bradley, win second place in the sewing competition with her fantastic purse. I wish I had been present Saturday for the speed knitting and crocheting races. Plus there was the sew something in 15 minutes challenge on Sunday that we managed to miss due to late arrival. All in all it sounds like there were many fun and exciting happenings that were missed due to poor planning on our part.

Final conclusion: Everyone I interviewed said that Saturday was a hoot. I think Sunday afternoon was just the end of a very busy weekend for most vendors. Next year I will make it a point to attend earlier in the weekend. Alas, fun could not evade us and we went home rather happy. Favorite things for each member of our group:

Mr. McCluckin’: The Blues Brothers Car, the robot building competition in which someone entered Crow T. Robot from MST3K, and the scrumptious chicken and waffles he smuggled out of the food truck roundup.

Wee Friend: The pony ride! Oh and the cotton candy.

Henny Penny: This weird little diorama titled Dr. Rabbitfoot’s Mysterious Knowledge and Information that might have been entered in competition or perhaps was just there to amuse. Clearly this is the dream house for Voodoo Ken. I also had a hoot feeding the goats. What is it about goats that makes you want to buy a herd and walk them in public? I just love the little rascals.

 

 

So that was my weekend, well mostly, I neglected to tell you about the terrible and mystifying events of Saturday. That tale is best saved for another time when there are fewer internet miles between us and when I am holding a flashlight under my chin.

Have yourself a merry little Wednesday!

Most assuredly yours,

Henny Penny

P.S. I made my first meringue pie and it was AMAZING! I intend to only eat pie from here on out, so if my crafting posts are just ways to make fluffier meringues, I apologize in advance.

A Letter in Three Parts

Dearest Readers and Skimmers,

I would like to start my blog today with some complaints, followed by superb news, then wrap the whole thing up with a fun use of technology. For your reading pleasure I have labeled the following parts and you are welcome to skip the ones that don’t concern you. So here we go…

Let’s start out on the wrong foot with a few Complaints:

Tearing tickets and selling tickets at the museum, once an exciting port of call for my resume, has recently been a bit less than perfect. Nearly everyone on the ticket slinging team has been out of town creating goofy schedules aplenty. Meaning my free time for crafting and speaking sweetly to my sewing machine has shifted from regularly to nearly never.

Also, I would like to complain about the earwigs that invaded my in-laws porch. Whenever we stop by to say hi the earwigs visit us and are creepy.

Let’s see, I would also like to take a moment to argue that honey is way to slow at leaving it’s happy bear home. Get a move on honey.

With that said I think it’s time for some Superb News:

During the past 2 weeks I have also been applying, researching, and thinking nonstop about a job opportunity I spied on craigslist.org. All of that mental energy paid off, I am now the editorial assistant for Sew News, Sew It All, and Creative Machine Embroidery. Well technically speaking I will be after my last 2 weeks at the museum. Can you believe it? I am joining an awesome team that might just be made up of unicorns and sewing wizards. Soon I will be paid to sew and write. Huzzah!

Now would be the perfect time to discuss Technology:

Mr. McCluckin’ downloaded the Craft Studio app from Martha Stewart. I gave the app a test drive and it is rather fun. I am not the biggest Martha Stewart fan, but this app is clean, cute and has many options for killing time. Maybe you need to wait in line often, well this iPad app is for you! Consider using this app to create and spread propaganda about your least favorite relatives. How about running your campaign for HOA president with elegantly and virtually crafted cards?

Basically the app allows users to use photos in a lay out that is similar to a scrapbook page. You can print using a variety of means and there’s a tutorial video with Martha narrating. I made three little cards just to get my bearings. I have to say the glitter shaking is clever. Whenever you use glitter you write with a pen then shake the entire iPad as though it were an etch-a-sketch to glue down your chosen shade of glitter. Of course, the app would like your money. There are several theme packs to buy filled with different stickers and stamps to help you create the cards of your crafty dreams. I haven’t purchased any yet, but maybe someday when I am in need of a summer camp theme or disco laser theme, I’ll hop over to the shop. Right now the app is free, but not for long, eventually it will cost $4.99.

That’s all I have time for today. Watch out, because next week will be craft-licious. Best of luck in your upcoming llama race!

Toodle-loo,

Henny Penny

Watching the Bird

Ahoy-hoy Fiends and Goody-two-shoes!

I have terrible and terrific news for all of you. A lovely robin has nested on the windowsill of my craft room. This is terrible because she is easily frightened by my moving about the crafty space. This is terrific because there are 4 beautiful eggs in her nest and I can’t wait to see them hatch. I’ve named her Hester the nester and she seems to be a lovely and decent bird with excellent morals. She even had a friend pay her a visit yesterday.

This has of course hindered my crafting ability of late. I managed to set up shop in a nearby abandoned coal mine and started making over a few shirts I picked up at the thrift store years ago. The first completed number has gone from plain tee-shirt to spectacular tube top. I am planning to make up a tutorial once I have worked out all the kinks. Several other shirts are on the chopping block in preparation of perfecting this approach.

What else is new in my world? So glad you asked. The answer is simple, very little. I’ve been baking bread and otherwise kicking kitchen ass. Tomorrow Mr. McCluckin’ is taking me to Boulder for an adventure we’ve titled BOULDERDOME 2012! We shall attempt such feats as tea drinking and crepe cake eating, not to mention the possibility of purchasing items from shoppes. Mainly we intend to run amok and cause trouble.

Hope you are living la vida loca. I must get some beauty rest before confronting the foothills head on.

Smooches,

Henny Penny

Spinning yarns and such…

Salutations lonely internet ghosts,

I just got back from a night drive across the dam with the sunroof open. Of course I was blasting some sweet Tom Jones as I cruised along the nearby reservoir. Also, I saw 3 weredolphins.

Then I realized I should tell you about my recent craft outing! I heard a rumor from a tiny bird inside the mouth of a hippopotamus that the Denver County Fair had teamed up with Fancy Tiger to offer a few craft workshops. Last week I registered for the Spinning 101 class thinking it might be a great way to meet single men. As it turns out I’m married, also no men attended the class. That said I learned quite a bit and I was lucky enough to have Jaime, one of the owners of Fancy Tiger, as my teacher.

She busted out a few drop spindles and we went to town on some nearby roving. Now why would you want to learn to spin? Well you can make your own yarn of course! I know you have tons of yarn at home hiding in your stash waiting to be used, but those yarns won’t be imperfect and riddled with your love. Also, Jaime informed us it would be very meditative. Not to mention you can work your way up the spinning corporate ladder to making art yarn with bits of twigs, Lilliputians, and candy hidden inside it.

 

 

I highly enjoyed giving this skill a go. I learned a few things about myself:

A) I can’t remember which direction I started spinning something and therefore am good at unspinning yarn.

B) I do not want to make thin yarns…ever

C) I may never detach my new “yarn” from it’s spindle, it looks so nice right now, like a hairball on a stick. 

Maybe spinning isn’t for me, but it was an affordable class and I enjoyed learning more about yarn. At a minimum I didn’t have to pay for parking and I sniffed some waffle cones on my way home. Then of course I changed form into my werewaffle shape and hunted the syrupy goodness I so often crave.

Whelp I’m off to darn some trash bags.

Have a lovely mid-evening!

Henny Penny

What Else?

Salutations Lovely Readers,

Where on Earth have I been? Mostly I have been sulking in bed with a nasty sinus infection. I was convinced my superior immune system could fight it off without the aid of medicine. Alas, I was wrong and a week and a half later I submitted to a good old fashioned doctoring and came home with drugs. Piles and piles of drugs. Huzzah!

Needless to say the craftiverse and I haven’t been hanging out much during my infirmary period, but I thought you might like to know what I have been up to otherwise. Ooh and this week I tried to make all the pictures roughly 7% lovelier, do enjoy.

First off Mr. McCluckin’ really proved his title of Exceedingly Generous Ultimate Husband by buying me a car. The short version of this story goes like this: we have a bit of pillow chat about how I am sad roughly 2 weeks ago, the next day he buys me a car to make me happy!* And what a car, I am the proud owner of a Mini Cooper S. It’s used but who cares? I promptly named my fine little lady Jujubee the Honey Badger or Jujubadger for short. I am so content. Clearly he is due some crafty goodness as thanks.

Next up on the roster, I went to the zoo with several neighborhood scamps, including the Wee Vs and Mrs. Ryan. I refused to take pictures of anything caged, so in other words all I have to show for it is a picture of a peacock. Mysteriously I received my infection a day or so after the zoo, so what does that mean? You can never trust a caged gorilla. Yes I made out with a gorilla, what’s it to you?

Then there’s the discovery of the exciting and thoroughly delicious Gnome’s Nook, a small shoppe of candy and gnomes here in Denver. As best as I can tell the gnomes are afraid of the internet as their website doesn’t offer too much, meaning you will need to pop in to learn why it’s so magnificent. The entry level is painted as the forest floor and the second story is the forest canopy, also that’s where they keep the candy. All they sell are gnomes and candy, but soon they plan to offer craft classes. I intend to visit them again quite soon.

The only crafty business I have been up to is winding two skeins of yarn into balls. I bought the skeins on holiday and neglected to ask the wool mistress to use her ball winder at the time. I have been kicking myself ever since. I simply can’t understand how to make a nice even round ball. What ever did we do without ball winders?

Oh and in other news, I have decided to become an expert in something. I am open to suggestions. So far I was tossing around learning all about the steam engine or the theoretical concept of crepe making (no actual making of crepes). Then again perhaps I should trust my instincts and work on ingesting all there is to learn about some form of craftiness. The history of wool carding might be a fine start.

Well I am off to enjoy the meatloaf!

Cheerios,

Henny Penny

*The long version of the story goes like this: the hen house has been living the good life with only 1 vehicle and 2 commuters for the past 2 or so years. At the dawn of 2012 the ever-so-wise-and-not-ridiculous-in-any-way-transit-system canceled the bus that dropped Mr. McCluckin’ off at the salt mines. Not only did they cancel it they failed to offer any alternative to get him within a mile and a half of his bossman. Then I came down with a case of the blues and we started talking about all the changes I would like to make. Not once did I say “let’s get a mini cooper because everything little is delightful.” But his magic rooster ears heard my secret pining (so secret I wasn’t even aware it was present) and went out to fulfill dreams. Presto! Jujubadger arrived with a pretty red bow! The End

 

 

Brushstrokes and Boozehounds

Salutations Chums and Secret Crushes,

Isn’t it odd how when you least expect something fuzzy and wonderful you manage to stumble upon a puppy in a top hat? You see I was bemoaning the loss of crafty friends to Mr. McCluckin’ on Wednesday evening, then like magic Friday arrived and my lady pals suggested an impromptu painting party. I checked with the mister and apparently he didn’t set it up at all. Just kismet!

Now you may have had a similar situation to ours here in Denver wherein a cavalcade of painting and boozing it up shoppes have opened in the past 2 years. We have Canvas and Cocktails, Acrylics and Vodka, Canvas and Corkscrews, Brushstrokes and Boozehounds, Sip ‘n Paint, and many more. So when the ladies I was to meet up with randomly decided they longed for an evening of apron wearing, Riesling swilling, and acrylic paint using; I was amazed to realize every spot was booked. I however suggested we just purchase canvasses (or is that canvasi?) and use up some of my many paints.

WARNING: The following contains poorly taken photos that are on occasion blurry, not centered, and sort of a hot mess. Sorry, but there was wine and you aren’t reading a photography blog. Smooches! HP

My pals for the evening were an even mix of new people I had yet to meet and classy lasses I had luckily known prior. We ate some Asian food, bought some oven baked turnovers and lactose free ice cream, and ran away to paint. Penelope Cruz* had attended no less than 4 painting and drinking classes and offered to host so she acted as instructor. Everyone took up brushes and away we went to Artistic Town!

The delightful Macy Gray* had not painted prior but turned in for her project a lovely flower scene.

 

 

Selma Hayek* took to painting like a fish takes to parading (which is to say well as we all know fish make the best drum leaders) and produced an insatiable dinosaur portrait, soundly taking second place in the competition of creativity.

Our leader, Ms. Cruz* also chose a flower scene; it had an abstractness to it that truly defined her aesthetic style.

 

 

 

 

 

I offered up a bird wearing a dunce cap that is still not quite finished. The poor fellow has no eye!

 

 

Our first place winner was Miss Halle Berry* with her stirring fat unicorn chasing the winged ice cream cone creation.

It was a very delightful evening and we all went home late and a little punch/wine drunk! Now the girls are even considering a stitch-n-bitch. Can you believe the luck?

 

Cheerios friends, and good luck out there in internetopia.

Henny Penny

*Some names may have been changed to protect the innocent ladies with whom I am known to mingle. Also, I forgot to ask if I could use their names so enjoy these names instead!

 

 

What Else?

Dearest Readers,

I am sure you have been wondering what’s been crackin’ here at the hen house. Well I would never leave you in the dark. I am up to my elbows in fabric for a quilt I promised far too many months ago to one of the loveliest ladies I know. Additionally I made yet another elasticized item to strap to your face, an eye patch for a youngin’ living up in Canada. Then there’s the baking!

As best as I can tell Colorado has decided to remind me why I have been dying to move away and that reason is snow. I love a fluffy storm about once a year to roll around in and participate in a few shenanigans, but you’ll note I said once per year. Alas, 2012 has been the year of the never leaving snowdrift. Just as the snow has nearly melted to smithereens and all we have left are the huge drifts and piles created from shoveling, we get another crappy storm. Sure it’s personified calmness as it falls, and yes it’s nice to look out on a scene of snow covered meadows. But let’s be honest, I live in a town home complex the only meadow I can see from my house is the weird abandoned field between me and yet another town home complex. Even the word field is not appropriate for this space it’s really more of a plot that the developers on the other side of the fence dumped a bunch of dirt on, so now it has become a hill that the coyotes apparently love. Regardless though, snow makes me want to do 3 things: drink cocoa, bake, and crochet.

That second one has really been consuming more time than it should. As I have a bit of a problem with sweets, I try not to bring too many into the house. Instead of cookies, cakes, and brownies, I am prone to baking bread of all forms. Lately I’ve discovered a quick recipe for pita bread that’s easy and sublime! It’s from the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I have a weird relationship with this book. It introduced me to bread baking 2 years ago and I haven’t gone back to store bought bread since, but sometimes I feel like the bread isn’t terribly complex. In those moments I turn to Peter Reinhart and spend weeks trying to make a starter. Either way the bread turns out delicious!

Now you might be asking yourself why on Earth would I spend so much time talking about baking when this is clearly a crafty blog. Well baking is a good deal like crafting, and I am pretending that making a sandwich is just as important as making a softie. Granted this could all just be due to the damn snow that has been distracting me from the handicraft projects lurking in the shadows.

Bundle up pals, Punxsutawney Phil says we’re in for the long haul!

Henny Penny