Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last Day to Propose an OWL!

A quick note to remind you that today is the last day of May and you know what that means!  It is the last day to submit an OWL proposal.  Never fear, there is still time for you to propose it and knit/crochet or spin it.  If your classes are all in hand for May and you've snuggled up with your Slytherin cousin, why not take a gander at the OWL offerings and suggest one.  You will need all of the supplies, a swatch and a short description along with your photos and project page links. 

TTFN - MsOyster, Your Advanced Studies Reporter.  

Up next:  OWL project proposals

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Firstie Friday: Reverse Engineering & Making Things Work

Hello, fellow 'Puffs!Today, I'd like to honor PprmntMochaMama, PMM, and her Owl-Standing Purse, which she reverse engineered from the Crochet Owl Purse. PMM's is pictured on the left above, while zoom yummy's is on the right. 

PMM linked her project to zoom yummy's though she didn't actually use the pattern, just drew her inspiration from it. She decided to use more traditional owl coloring, the belly is Aran Flex by RHSS, while the remainder of the body is RHSS's Fiesta in Brown, She used white for the eyes, with brown pupils, and a yellow beak. 

After extensive swatching and experimentation, PMM decided on a granny square style strap with one round of brown Fiesta yarn around the foundation chain, which was milk chocolate brown. The strap is long enough to enable the owl to hang at her hip opposite the shoulder the strap is draped across.

The making things work part of today's title comes into play when PMM began working on the face. The craft of crochet was not giving her the desired effect, so she switched it up to knit the base of the face and continue with crocheted rounds for the eyes. She used the differences between the looks of stockinette and garter stitch to put in "fold marks." She steam blocked the bag, and yet was still not finished.

Surprise! Surprise! What else is left to do? Why, she had to line the bag, making it useful for smaller items as well as things too big to fall through the stitches. She chose a pretty calico with orange and yellow flowers and hand sewed it in place, as the next pic shows. 

Oh, and, she started this project on the first day of term and finished it the next! Talk about being fast! Wowzers!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Activities Update

The Activities Prefect's Mom is visiting this weekend, so we're getting the Activity Update a bit early.  I'm sure you don't mind right?
If you were playing hostess to family this week, here's what you might have missed around the den:

Spinners: Spinning in publicA crafting allnighter planPurpleAlpaca/SilkSamoyed Fur!
Library: Discovered on the shelves this week: Maze Runner series by J. Dashner; The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory and the Maisie Dobbs series.  Stay tuned for an exciting Summer Reading announcement nest week!
Tv/Movie: JillyMac finished a Kirsten-Dunst-inspired-Elizabethtown-hat!
Cleaners: AccomplishmentsNew Strategies! Slacking off! Ambassador ProgramsPotty Training!  It's been a busy week for the Cleaners!
Sock-along: Reminder: There be Badges HereLots of Dobby Socks for the Quidditch Challenge!  And some Dumbledore Sized socks for classes and advanced studies!
games:  The gamers are playing Hogwarts Word Association.  Jump in and start playing with us!  PercyRonScabbers!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Firstie's View - Time Flies!

Wow, it seems like just the other day we were starting term and now we're about done with the first month.  Many of us seem to be getting the hang of finding our classes and our homework projects are being turned in more easily now.

I think one of the hardest things for a Firstie to figure out is balance.  We want to make all the things but we might not necessarily have all the time to do it. Some are only making "take along" items so they can stop and add a few rows at any given moment.  Some are focusing on power crafting in the early mornings or evenings.  Some even fall somewhere in the middle... like me.  I seemed to have gravitated towards medium sized things and power crafting.

In the end, it doesn't matter if you turn in one homework or every single class available - what matters is did you have fun? Did you make something beautiful? If you can manage both, then you're working well beyond your House Cup years.  Good luck to all the Firsties and well done on your first term!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Staff!

Welcome to Sunday Staff, where this week we are talking to hydra-star - the organizer of our give and take thread!
Tell us someting interesting about yourself. 
In the real world, I’m an animation student. I’m graduating this term and next year I’ll be in grad school!
What started you crafting? 
My Gran. I was in 5th grade when she gifted me with my first knitting book for Christmas and taught me. I’ve been hooked ever since.
What’s the most exciting thing you crafted last term? 
Probably my OoTP. A lovely (but very orange) sweater. :) 

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
Muffins, muffins, and more muffins. Oh, and maybe for us to win the cup this term!
We’re vacationing at your house this summer! Don’t panic, we’ll get hotel rooms but you have to entertain us. What local attraction are we going to go see? 
We’ll be going out for Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza and then we’ll probably go see second city. :D Yeah… It’s easy to come up with stuff when you live in a city as cool as Chicago.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Activities Update!

I hope you've all started your Quidditch challenge projects!  In case you were too busy crafting to keep up with the Den activities, here's what you might have missed:

Spinners:  Lots of fiber talk here!  Stop in to hear about plying, Supported spindles, good patterns for homespun yarn, sale at Interweave, plying bracelet and a Blog feature!

Library: Books noticed on tables around the Library:
The Thirteenth Tale, House of Leaves, the Stephanie Plum series.

Tv/Movie: The Moviegoers have finished with Elizabethtown (but you can still collect the badge until the end of the month!) and the next movie weekend will feature Whale Rider!  Busy Tv buffs have also been chatting about Dr. Who, Torchwood, Agatha Christie and Sherlock!

games: A few of the Gamers were talking about Give me the Brain and other favorite games.  I also heard a rumor that there was a word association game starting up!

Cleaners: The Cleaning crew has been very chatty this week.  They talked about Myers Briggs personality types, little helpers, donating, long term shelving, and reminders!

Sock-along: SOCKS!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It isn't too late to propose an Order Mission  

As we discussed earlier, the Hufflepuffs have joined together to Guard the Halls of Prophecy.    There are many missions that could be undertaken if being awake all night and wandering the halls in the cold doesn't inspire you.  
Successful completion of an Order Mission is worth 100 points for your House! If you reach the 25% mark you will receive 25 points in recognition of your work.

Key dates:

May 1-5 - Think over your willingness to take on a mission, given the jobs we are planning to do.
May 6 through 20 - Basic Requests for an Official Order Mission will be accepted. Mission Chiefs will reply that your BROOM needs adjustment or is acceptable as quickly as they can.
May 27 - Order Commander will say “Go!” You may begin crafting.
July 8 - Players may begin to hand in completed Missions!
July 22 - Last day to hand in completed Missions! Please note the date: July 22nd!

How do you post a BROOM?

Please begin your BROOM post with the information below. Your Mission Chief will contact you as soon as a secure means of communication can be established. Watch for surreptitious owls or faces in the fireplace. Your Mission Chief will need to inspect your BROOM and give the signal that all is well with your plan before your Mission begins.
Format for Basic Request for Order Operations Mission:
Name (RavID): 
House (or NQFY or SOS): 
Department: Mission (such as Central Command: Wombat Wrangling):
Plan: Within a story that goes along with the mission type, tell your Chief how you plan to fulfill the mission. Projects must take longer than one month to complete; ideally projects will take between 6 and 8 weeks. Remember that your owls can be intercepted so be cautious and only reveal details as necessary.

I hope you will join us in a Mission.  They are a lot of fun!

TTFN - MsOyster, Your Advanced Studies Reporter

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Staff

Today, on Sunday Staff, we're talking to narcissam. She's a cete-mama and helped out with the Amigurumi Showers during April!

Tell us something interesting about yourself:
I’m a Nerdfighter!

What started you crafting?
My grandmum taught me how to crochet and I learned to knit so that I could make a Weasley sweater.

What’s the most exciting thing you crafted last term?
My first pair of socks!

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
More time, more yarn, and a house in Edinburgh!

We’re vacationing at your house this summer! Don’t panic, we’ll get hotel rooms but you have to entertain us. What local attraction are we going to go see?
I’d love to take you all to the park for a day full of crafting. It has a beautiful lake and we can have a muffin picnic in the great outdoors!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday Catch-up and Sunday Staff

First off, your Activities Prefect apologies heartily for missing yesterday's activities update.  The Den has been Wildly Busy this week, but I do invite you to jump in and offer opinions and insights as well as queries and concerns in any of our Spring Activities. 
A few Quick Notes:
The HuffleTheater is having it's first movie watch-along weekend next week.
You can pick up a Lot of badges in our Sock-Along this month.  Check them out!
The HuffleCleaners and the Spinners are ready to help you with any issues and happy to cheer with you when things go right.
The Library and the HuffleGames are always up for some new chatters!
Don't forget to stop in the Give and Take thread this term!  There's a lot of trading going on in there.

And now, for our Regularly Scheduled Sunday Staff.  Please give a warm welcome to our Amazing HECK-mistress and cete-mama, Jen2291!

Tell us someting interesting about yourself: I crochet an average of 10 hours a day, even though I work full time. (No, I don’t sleep.)

What started you crafting?: I needed something to keep my hands busy at the kid’s softball games, crochet was easy to carry, relatively mindless, and had the added bonus of distracting me just enough to not get too wound up over coaches and referees. :oP

What’s the most exciting thing you crafted last term?: You’re kidding me right? I have 28 projects to choose from. How about my mini HP characters?
If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?: Health, more time with my kids/grandkids, and enough money to take a really great vacation every year.

We’re vacationing at your house this summer!  Don’t panic, we’ll get hotel rooms but you have to entertain us.  What local attraction are we going to go see?: I LOVE to play tour guide. We’d see Montezuma’s Castle, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Classes, Detention, and Badgers ... Oh My!

Here we are at the end of week one of Spring Term 2012 at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With the first week of classes under our belts, let's take a peek at what the Firstie Badgers have been cooking up!

First up we have tigerbeat with her Reversible Mug Mat, that she handed in to DADA.

Next up, is redqueen with her Detention submission, which excited her to no end to be typing First Year for the first time!

Jasperquaint is next with his submission for History of Magic. I doubt he'll let a Dementor Kiss touch his lips.

Next up is twirlymom with her submission for Muggle Studies, Dobby socks for our sock-a-long too!

And, Now the Badgers!!

Zillalatte starts up the Badger Goodness with her Helga the Badger!

Fantasium's Xeno the Crumple-Horned Snorkack may not be a Badger, but we have it on good authority that badgers and crumple-horned snorkacks are descended from he same ancient creatures.

And, last, but certainly not least, we have lmolin's Hedgehog Washcloth, hedgehogs are also related to Badgers!

Check in next week at the same Badger time and on the same Badger station for more Badgery goodness, and remember to have a muffin!

Let's raise a little HECK!

The new term is off to a great start, and HECK is already on fire!  If you are new to the Den, HECK is the House Elf Crafting Klatch, and it is the place to go for anything related to HPKCHC classes.

Not only do we have the monthly challenge, we've got spreadsheets, check lists, helpful links, and creative minds all in one place.

This month, after last term's 'spring cleaning', it's time for getting organized.  Make something to organize your clutter, and turn it in to DADA as sneakoscope storage as our May Challenge!

See you in HECK!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Join the Order of the Phoenix!  

A mission is one that should take more than a month, but less time than an OWL to complete.  Some students are intimidated by OotP projects.  (Order of the Phoenix = OotP).  One of the challenges of a Mission is to come up with a clever story.  Since that has often been a stumbling block, JMN has a great idea to band together to Protect the Hall of Prophecy together and has shared a story for us all to modify and use for our submissions.   BROOMS can be submitted on May 6!

Here is a little more information on the subject from JMN:
::There was some real excitement for the OotP template for proposing a BROOM and fate worked so that we had the perfect prompt - Protecting the Hall of Prophecy!
Here’s the prompt from the thread: 
Guard the Hall of Prophecy - We don’t know who’s disturbing the Ministry - but we’re going to patrol the most sensitive area! Craft something that will help you stay awake and/or warm while patrolling at night.
So we put our brains together and came up with this proposal:
Dear GazeboGal, as badgers are known to be nocturnal, Hufflepuff House will be working together to guard the Hall of Prophecy through the long cold nights. It’s going to be quite chilly but we are prepared! I’ll be bringing insert muffin type here and insert pattern here. Have no fear! The Badgers will keep the Hall safe! Sincerely, insert Rav ID
And you can personalize it even more if you'd like.  
A simple turn-in prompt when your project is done:
The Badgers were successful! No prowlers were seen and the Prophecies are safe! I was kept warm with my insert pattern name. Unfortunately, all the muffins disappeared! 
Include photo of finished object!
Part way through the term, we’re going to have a few telegrams to send to GG just for fun. Something along the lines of: ”
dear gg muffins gone stop on to oatmeal cookies stop no sign of prowlers stop
We’ll work on that and get back to you!::
We are hoping that by following this basic format, we as Hufflepuffs can FLOOD the OotP with proposals and projects! Remember EACH OotP project turned in earns 100 points for both you AND Hufflepuff! Huzzah! Hufflepuff! First Quidditch, Now the WORLD!

TTFN - MsOyster, Your Advanced Studies reporter

P.S.  How are your OWL proposals coming along?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dye-ing to Help!

Hey Puffs!

I've heard that some of you are intimidated by the idea of dyeing even though it's soo easy.  So, here I am to help you out. 

You're going to need:
  • Kool-aid flavor packets, in your choice of color - make sure they're the ones without sugar.  Generic/off brand drink packets work fine.  The more color you use, the darker your dye will be.
  • Yarn: Animal Fibers are the only ones guaranteed to work for kool-aid dying.   I'm not saying you can't use acrylic or cotton, just that I can't guarantee you'll get a good or even decent color.  However, I have used blends and you get some nifty striping.
  • Water (tap is fine) and a way to heat it.
  • A bowl or container to hold your project.  
Step One: Soak your yarn in cool water while heating more water to boiling (or nearly so).  I use my handy teakettle but you can use a pot or the microwave or the tap, if your tap water gets very hot.
Step Two: Take the Yarn out of the cool water, and discard the cool water.
Combine the Koolaid powder and the hot water in the bowl, then add your soaked yarn.
 Let it sit there for 15 to 30 minutes, then check the color.  The water will turn clear(ish) when all the color has been soaked up by your yarn.  If your yarn has soaked up all the color but it's not dyed enough for you, repeat step Two!

Step Three:  *If you would prefer not to have brightly colored fingers, now is the time to locate some gloves and put them on*  Take the yarn out of the water and gently wring it out.  Rinse it under cool water and gently wring it out again.  Hang it somewhere to dry.

See?  Easy!  Go try it out!

Still confused?  Feel free to ask questions on any of the Ravelry Forums or to send a Ravelry message to Kaypendragon.
Have fun playing with your new skill!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Firstie's View - Today's the Day

It's still dark out but that doesn't matter, it's time!  The weeks of waiting are finally over.  No more wondering.  No more pacing. Today's the day, the wait is finally over - Spring Term has begun!!

With our house colors proudly displayed, we walked into our classrooms. Nervous. Excited. Scared. What will this term hold - what will we learn? Will we be able to perform at the level that Hogwarts is accustomed to out of their students?  So many questions getting jumbled in our heads. Each class held more information than the last but as the day went on, it all began to make more sense. Homework assignments, while challenging, don't seem unobtainable after all.

As the day begins to wind down and we all start to head back to our dormitories, there is a collective sense of relief.  We may not know exactly what is going on or exactly how we will complete all the tasks laid before us, at least we have begun.

We've made it through the first day - all limbs intact.