Archive for I'll show you how!

You might want to make your own rose water.

If you could capture the magnificent essence of roses and put it in a bottle, would you?

I would.  Even if the gardens weren’t yet all in, even if you couldn’t get in or out of the front door, for the pile of dirty laundry waiting to be walked to the washer.  The roses are ready and are fleeting.

With my trusty enamel pot in hand, I visited the rose bush out back and carefully plucked her petals.  She was ready to let them go; she’s been sprinkling the earth below with a gentle shower of those petals for a few days now.

Find yourself a helper if you can; tasks like these are best shared.

Go ahead.  Bury your face in there so you can really smell them.  Drink it in.

Nestle an upturned glass into the center of the pot.  Fill with cold water to just above the level of the petals.  Revel in how lovely it is to try plunging them under, how lovely it is to pull your hands out of the water, covered in rose petals.

Place a dish for collecting the rose water on top of the upturned glass.  Don’t kid yourself – it need not be big.  This custard dish fit the task perfectly.

Place the lid on, upside down.  Be sure that the center of the upturned lid is centered above the collecting dish, but not touching.  When the water is boiling, fill the lid with ice cubes.  This causes the rose-infused water vapor to condense on the lid, follow the curve downward, and run right into the collecting dish.  Be careful not to boil too long or the delicate essence will become over-cooked.  I would recommend not doing this while waiting for the school bus to arrive.  You should really give it your full attention.  (take note, Self.)

This is the rose water I collected.  It’s scant and precious, indeed.

I poured it into the jar immediately, while still hot.  Essential oils are volatile and will drift away just as easily from your rose water as they did from the petals you collected.

So you’ve made some rose water.  Hooray.  Now what?

Bake with it.

Ice cream, anyone?

Beauty cream.

Or put it on a cool, dark shelf somewhere safe and consider yourself rich.

You get the idea.

Comments (25) »

The 15-minute May Basket

A clever, if not timely variation on my Fabric Crochet Workshop – In the Round pattern.  15-minutes is a rough estimate of how long it would take a normal person to crochet one of these little sweeties.  I say rough because I rounded up.  Surely you could whip out a whole barrel of these in no time.  For my part, I hope to make said barrel and round up my little accomplices to distribute them secretly on Sunday as part of our family May Day celebration.  Well, as secretly as one with a blog, whose friends also read said blog can do.  Ahem.

Perfectly sized to hang on an unsuspecting friend's doorknob!

Perfectly sized to hang on an unsuspecting friend's doorknob!

Some minor details are found on my Ravelry project page here.

So this is really the *before* shot.  I hope to have lots of *after* and *in-progress-sneakiness* shots to share next week.  (insert impish wink here)

Edit: Yep!  Here’s the *after.*

Comments (2) »

PDF Pattern. Fabric Crochet Workshop: In the Round

Pattern available on both Ravelry and Etsy.

This is so much more than a pattern – it’s a technique, deconstructed. Once you’ve made the basket from the workshop pattern, you’ll have mastered all of the components necessary to design your own round shaped object – be it a basket of any size, storage bins, a chair pad, potholder, pillow, or rug.

Baby (sold separately) not shown to scale. Currently, he's 2.

Yes, I said rug.  Like this one, if you like.  Same principles involved, and a detailed explanation is included inside.


In this Workshop Pattern:
The Pattern: Simple Basket with Handles
Step by Step Detailed Instructions, complete with photos
The Method: Breakdown of the crochet components
Cutting continuous fabric strips: detailed instructions

Crochet is exceedingly fast.  Use fat strips of fabric and a giant hook and you can whip out a basket in an hour or two.  There’s still time for an Easter basket or two!

Crocheting fabric instead of yarn opens up all kinds of design possibilities not found with traditional yarn.  Like polka dots. It’s also an especially good use for otherwise flawed fabric. It’s a skill every Maker should have.

This is so easy. You need not know how to crochet to follow these simple instructions. That said, if you’ve never crocheted before, you may need to supplement this pattern with a quick video tutorial of how to hold the yarn, use the hook, and do Single Crochet.  Don’t let that stop you – great video tutorials of these basics abound! All other techniques are spelled out fairly well within the following detailed instructions.  If you DO already have the basics down, you’ll still find the pattern of great use.

Find the PDF  here, on Ravelry.  It’s downloaded immediately after purchase.

Or buy it through Etsy, found here.  The PDF is emailed to you just as soon as possible.

I’m also putting together some vintage rag ball + pattern kits.

As always, email support is provided with any Five Green Acres pattern.  I’ve scoured it for coherency and tried to eliminate any errors, but I’m at the ready to assist and correct if anything’s slipped through the cracks.  Don’t be shy!

And don’t forget to show us what you’ve made!  Post your pics to the Five Green Acres flickr group:

Thanks for supporting this small business!  It’s so satisfying to put together a robust tutorial like this, one that I hope will empower you to design exactly what you want.

Comments (3) »

It’s Friday AND it’s GREEN.

Mostly green, that is, with some polka dots thrown in for good measure.

Welcome to the “Yes-I-Actually-Am-Still-Abiding-By-The-Rules-Of-That-Challenge-I-Created-Even-If-I-Can’t-Be-Counted-Upon-To-Report-On-It-All-Faithfully” edition of The Rumpelstiltskin Challenge Report.  April’s challenge theme, as I mentioned earlier, is Green, and not by coincidence either.  For months and months I’ve been working diligently and not so diligently on putting together a pattern for the basket I’ve repeatedly crocheted from strips of fabric, or rag balls.  (seems I never did show you the one I made for The Boy – there it is below, grey and yellow in the background)

It is timely to put out such a pattern, as the baskets happen to serve as our Easter baskets, but the pattern is actually much more robust than that, breaking down the components of the round crocheted form so that you can tailor the pattern to your own needs – flat, like a rug or chair pad, or vessel, like the basket.

All of the testing, bug-eliminating, trial and error, photographing, and pattern creation has been done.  I just need to put it all together in a handy printable PDF, which will be for sale on both Etsy and Ravelry.  The ETA all depends on Witchard.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for smooth sailing and will keep you posted.

Comments (4) »

Tools of the Trade: Pattern Weights

I’m an absolute stickler for pinning when at the sewing machine, and confidently assert that it’s not negotiable if you value good craftsmanship and your time.  But pinning patterns to fabric when cutting out the pattern pieces?  Waste of time.  Because I’ve got pattern weights.  And now you can, too.

They’re really nothing more than (pretty) pyramidal bean bags.  Place them atop gossamer-tissued pattern pieces laid out for cutting on your fabric and give the pins a rest.  Take the time you save to give yourself a wink in the mirror for being so clever.  Mild disclaimer:   I do all of my cutting with a rotary cutter and self-healing mat, so I can’t speak to the weights’ usefulness when cutting out with scissors.  Might not work so well.

Here’s how you make your own.  While you’re at it, you might as well make something to store them in, right?

Assemble the following materials:

+  scrap of fabric cut to  5 1/2″ x 15″  (makes 5 weights)

+  filler material: dried rice, beans, etc.  I had lots of split peas on hand.

+  a lovely teacup and saucer, if you desire

+  glue for teacup – E6000 or Quick Grip should work well


1. Fold the fabric in half the long way, right sides together.  Your piece is roughly now 2 1/2″ by 15.”  Sew each of the 3 open sides closed with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

2. Cut into 5 equal pieces by measuring every 3.” Each piece will be roughly 2 1/2 by 3.”

3.  The first and last piece will already be sewn shut on one end.  Set aside and sew the remaining 3 pieces shut on one end also.

4.  Turn right side out and fill with the rice, beans, etc.

5.  Fold the open ends inside 1/4″ and pin the seam closed, making sure that the seam runs perpendicular to the bottom seam.  You’re not trying to make a rectangular pillow, but rather a sort of pyramid that’s easier to grab.

6.  Sew shut, either by hand or by machine.  If you go the machine route, you might have to remove some of the filling to fit it under your presser foot flatly.  I chose to practice my blanket stitch and did them by hand pretty quickly.

7.  Glue the teacup to the saucer, creating a lovely platform to house your weights.

Wouldn’t this make a lovely gift for a sewing friend?  If tea’s not your thing, sew a pouch with complimentary fabric, put them in a pretty bowl….

+++  If all this is too much work for you, go raid the junk drawer or hardware store for some heavy-duty nuts.  I’ve been using these, taped together, with much success, though I look forward to upgrading to the lovely tea set.

Comments (29) »

Tools of the Trade: Add a Seam Allowance

What better way to start off this series than with a tool that you already have lying in your desk drawer?  Clever AND frugal…I like it.

It just so happens that, in their infinite wisdom, the creators of The Pencil engineered the distance between two pencil tips held side-by-side to equal 1/4.”  As they were no doubt good friends with the engineer of the standard sewing machine foot, the two parties concurred that 1/4″ was indeed the divine proportion, forever marrying the utility of pencils to the needs of sewing.

So you have a pattern that does not include a seam allowance?  Problem solved.  Two pencils and a few pieces of tape are all you need to add 1/4″ to the pattern before cutting your fabric.  Simply trace the innermost lead along the perimeter of the pattern and the other lead will add an adjacent line 1/4″ from the pattern’s edge.  You could trace directly on to the fabric or on to a larger sheet of paper, making a new pattern piece.

This is also useful for making your own patterns, as long as you roll with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  If not, dig deep into your school pencil bag and pull out the compass you haven’t used since geometry class and measure and mark your desired seam allowance width.  I’ve just added “compass” to the shopping list myself; emptying my cupboards for bowls to trace for various-sized circles is no longer working for me.

Elevate the status of your pencils!

Comments (27) »

The owls have risen. (with tutorial)


75 or so odd owls, made by hand in a frenzy with a looming Christmas deadline.  Christmas 2007, that is.  The deadline came and went; the owls who were to be the centerpiece of a Christmas tree garland retreated to a dark corner to percolate.  But the corner proved to be not dark enough, as they became a favorite plaything of the little girl who wanders these parts.  One of these owls, a very special one indeed, was Chosen and elevated to status of Sleeping Buddy.  She was granted domicile in a custom-designed hanging nest on said girl’s bedroom curtain.  The other 70-odd owls remained in their dark corner, searching for their new incarnation.  Christmas 2008 came and went.  No owls.  No garland.

Enter Christmas 2009.  The Wandering Girl is, more than ever before, a whirling dervish of the ebullient anticipation that is the Christmas season.  She’s also beginning to try to wrap her arms around the concept of time.  ‘Aha,’ said The Momma.  ‘Owls:  come forth.’

What we needed was an Advent Calendar, a tangible representation of  days and time and just how long this seemingly-endless wait will be.

And did I mention that I was participating in Sew Liberated’s Holiday Traditions Exchange?   Why not make two Advent calendars (there are plenty of owls, after all) and send the second off as the handmade portion of the exchange?  Perfect.  Here’s where The Momma’s own shaky grip on the concept of time comes into play, thinking that making two at the same time would be barely more time commitment than just the one.  It’s not; they both sucked up more than their fair share of time. But they are done; the second mailed off with well wishes and the hope that it is lovingly received and adored.

This is the finished Advent calendar for our family.  It was made entirely from the fabrics in my stash.  I can’t even begin to describe how satisfying it is to start paring that stash down a bit.

This is the calendar made for my exchange partner.  I had two concepts of how the owls would migrate to the tree throughout the month and it was nice to be able to see both to fruition.  The calendar above shows the starting point, before December 1st. Any wonkiness you might notice is due to the fact that, moments before completing it, it got soiled and promptly thrown in the wash.

This  (above) shot shows the calendar updated to the date I sent it off, midway through December.

And this is how it will look on December 24th.

Oh!  I’ve not yet mentioned my acquisition of an industrial-strength snap press!  I think it goes without saying that since receiving it, I’ve found all kinds of applications, including the mounting of these owls.  They snap in place on the calendar as they both wait in line and fly off to the tree.  (of course this proves me right in believing I couldn’t live without the snap press)

So do you like the owls?  Again, I fear they might become victims of a passing design trend.  But they live so nicely on our calendar tree that I think they’ll age quite well in our house.  I never claimed to be a trendsetter.  That said, if you find yourself wishing you could make your own, I wrote up the how-to and pattern, which you can find here.  While I drew my own pattern and instructions, I most definitely did not invent the idea.  These owls were all over the blogosphere and flickr a few years ago.  If I could find my point of inspiration, I’d certainly cite it, but alas, my record keeping is crap. Oh wait – here was my inspiration.  These were stuffed and 3D; mine are adapted from the same concept but flat. A note about my pattern:  I intended for them to be whimsical and decidedly not symmetrical.  If that’s not how you roll, you’ll need to carefully re-draft your own pattern.

Now, let the countdown begin!

Comments (11) »

Sweater Mitten Tutorial!

It’s here, it’s here!  As promised, the Sweater Mitten Tutorial is ALL YOURS, with plenty of time to whip out a dozen pairs for the Holidays.

These are patterns I’ve used dozens of times, so many times that I’d rather not make them in bulk ever again.  The patterns were given to me by a kind and generous woman in Northern Wisconsin who whips out dozens of them each year, both for her family and to sell.  It was in this spirit of generosity and crafting for the greater good that I’ve decided to in turn, share the patterns with you.  Through my own use, I’ve made my own modifications, omitting the turned cuff that you may have seen as part of many sweater mittens, and modifying the fit slightly.  But more than that, I’ve consolidated the hundreds of hours of know-how I’ve logged making these myself, and distilled it into a four page tutorial complete with pictures and diagrams.  While I’ve pored over the details for many hours, trying to be concise and as clear as possible, I don’t doubt that some polishing can be done.  Please do share your feedback, good and constructive.  To facilitate this, I’ve created a Flickr group to both showcase and discuss the patterns and our magnificent results.  Go see for yourself and share your own results!

Cashmere Lined Wool Mittens 2

To print:  You’ll need to print all 5 pdf docs.  When printing the actual patterns (front, back – top, back-bottom) BE SURE TO PRINT at 100% or the scale will be off.

Tutorial – Sweater Mittens

Patterns – Sweater Mitten

pattern front

pattern back top

pattern back bottom

All right.  Now get sewing!

Comments (44) »

How to: Puffy Applique Tutorial

Here’s a completed Christmas gift I thought I’d share, which means I get to cross something (albeit small) off my to-do list. I made the appliqué from a kid-sized sweater and a salvaged tshirt, and in a moment of inspiration, thought I’d try a slight departure from my normal appliques and make it a bit more 3D. Following is a tutorial for it, though it’s certainly not rocket science. Sometimes I find that all I need to just do a project is someone spelling it out for me, so that I don’t have to think about it. Maybe you can also benefit from this…

Puffy Applique Tutorial


Applique source. Look for great designs on thrift store tshirts, sweaters, etc. Or cut out your own. Felted wool from sweaters would work really nicely.

Backing fabric. I like to contrast my fabric textures and chose a tshirt knit to contrast the sweater, but anything will do. See what kind of great color combos you can make!

Fusible webbing. Also known by brand names Wunder Under and Heat & Bond, among others. Regular weight is appropriate, as you’ll be sewing through it. Or, if sewing freaks you out, get the heavy-duty craft version and just iron the bejeezes out of it. Ask your friendly fabric shop staff for direction here.

Stuffing. Poly-fill works well. As does the miscellaneous stuffing from a pillow you no longer want, or one that’s real cheap at the thrift store. Or shedded dog fur. Hee hee.

Chopstick or other poking device. Really crucial for getting the stuffing into those hard-to-reach places.

Something to apply applique to. I’ve appliqued this tote bag. A tshirt would be nice, a pillow, tea cozy, you name it. Incidentally, if you find yourself wanting a nicely-colored, inexpensive tote bag, I’ve got some here.


1. Cut out applique and backing fabric (mine is the kelly green tshirt in this example), leaving a generous border around each. Apply fusible webbing to the back side of the backing fabric. It also helps to stabilize a crazy, all-over-the-place fabric like tshirt knit.

2. Place applique on backing fabric, and sew it on, making sure to LEAVE AN OPENING for the stuffing. I find that a free motion foot is infinitely useful for all appliqué applications. I sew around the perimeter of the appliqué design, trim off the excess border, and then sew down that edge for extra reinforcement. If you’d rather not sew it, I suppose you could apply a thin perimeter of fusible webbing around the edge and iron it on, leaving a stuffing opening. Really, though, you’d be doing yourself a HUGE favor if you run out, right now, and find someone who knows how to sew to teach you. There’s more and more of us every day. Sewing is power; embrace it. (I digress.)

3. Insert your stuffing to your heart’s content, making it as flat or as fluffy as you wish. Here’s where the chopstick comes in real handy.

4. Sew up the opening left for stuffing.

5. Iron appliqué on to your desired base. (tote bag, etc) Sew the perimeter to reinforce it.

6. Take a picture of it and show us what you’ve made!

Like I said, there’s nothing profound or difficult in the process here, and the whole tutorial could have been easily written by Captain Obvious. Perhaps it’s just the inspiration you needed, though, to finish off your own crafty Holiday list.

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: