Category Archives: thoughts

Making a list for the new year.

I was lucky enough to get gift cards to both Amazon and Barnes and Nobel for Christmas, which means that there is an influx of new craft books in my life.

Every time the calendar rolls around to a new year, my mind always rushes toward setting new goals. I didn’t make any resolutions, but I did spend time on new years day thinking about what I want to craft for myself, my friends and family, and my home in this coming new year.

The first four months I imagine will be a frenzy of crafting. My sister is expecting her first child in April, and there is just too much I want to make for my new nephew. I also really want to attempt to create stuff for my home that I love, that will be whimsically stylish, and that will really improve the function of our space. And finally, I want to get a head start on Christmas crafting (really? already?), as there are many people who deserve hand made from me, and some have already requested finished goods.

The other day on the Colette Patterns blog, the Coletterie, Sarai asked her readers if they had any sewing goals for the new year. I realized I did, but not like her list. Hers is a list of goals to improve sewing techniques. Mine is more a list of things I want to make sure I make time to make.

For the rest of the month, in between knitting a baby blanket for my nephew, I’ll be scouring my books and magazines to come up with a master list of must-makes. For now, I’ll probably keep them all together on a google docs spreadsheet, so I can list what it is, where the pattern is, when I need/want it by, who/what it’s for, and any other pertinent information I can come up with.

Then, I’m going to share it all with you, so that you can keep me honest about what I am (or am not) working on.

Now, to be sure, I will want to make everything on the master list. But I’m sure I’ll come across projects that are screaming to be made that I didn’t know about in January. I may make stuff that isn’t on the list, and I may continue to add to the list. But there will be a list, and I’m going to attempt to use it to force myself to not procrastinate.

Do you have a list of stuff you want to make?


Gearing up for Christmas

No pictures today… I don’t get home until after dark and didn’t have time last weekend to take pictures of my current projects.

I’m currently planning for Christmas, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s the first Christmas that the mister and I will be spending the whole day together (he doesn’t work, yay!) and our first Christmas on our own in our apartment.

This all means that I’m serious about getting my crafty on this year. So far, my plans include Christmas stockings (in progress), ornaments (some supplies procured), and a new faux fireplace (pipe dream planning stages).

I’m planning on this weekend beginning the Christmas craft craze in earnest with a trip to JoAnn’s and possibly Michael’s on the horizon to get the rest of the stuff I’ll need.

What are you most looking forward to making this season? Least looking forward to?

And does anyone have any must-make Christmas ornament tutorials? It’s handmade or nothing on the tree for me.

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In the interest of Pinterest.

This month–okay, the last six months–have just been killer on my crafty endeavors.

I haven’t managed to finish anything I’ve started except for Cecil, the chair covers, and a few other bits and bobs. I’m still working on a summer dress that is now past it’s prime season, and I haven’t started working on my halloween costume at all.

All this to explain why this is a craft-less post. Instead, I want to talk about the site you never knew you needed, Pintrest.

Why do you need Pintrest? Mostly because I bet right now, lurking somewhere on you hard drive is a folder of images saved from the web. My folder is named “Inspiration.” I save photos of rooms, of locations, of beautiful things I want to make. The big problem with this system, though, is sourcing it. If a picture has been in your folder for a year, or even a month, you might be hard-pressed to remember where it came from.

Pintrest, then, is your inspiration folder on steroids. When you “pin” a picture, you get to choose which “board” it goes to, can add a note about what you like, and it gives links back to the source and where you found it (say, if you repinned it from a friend).

Right  now, I’m using it to pin inspiration for my Halloween party, my bedroom redecoration, and fashion that I wish I could incorporate into my daily life.

If you have an inspiration folder, you’ll love Pintrest. And feel free to follow me and/or my boards. I think I do a pretty good job of curating my stuff.


Finally, someplace to work from.

Insert the sound of my hysterical laughing.

As usual, I come back after a six (seven?) month absence, and my previous post is about how I’m going to make more time for blogging.

I guess this post could essentially be the same as the last one, minus the bit about being able to blog on my lunch hour. I still work at the same place; I’m just not allowed to eat lunch at my desk. Which bites, really. But I don’t want to get into that.

In the time since I last posted, anniversaries and holidays have passed, the Mister and I have finally moved out into a place of our own, and I’m slowly getting used to feeling suspiciously like an adult.

The current desk set-up.

The current desk set-up.

I have been unpacking and organizing and trying to get our household all set up. I’ve got my own desk for the first time in four years, and it’s big enough to hold my computer, the sewing machine, and the serger at the same time–though for obvious reasons I can’t use them all at once.

Pincushion close-up.

Close-up on the badly made pincushion.

My first project in the new place was the Weighted Pin Cushion, from the tutorial over at Sew, Mama, Sew.

I saw it first over at Noodlehead, and I liked it so much it’d been on the top of my to-be-made list since October.

I really didn’t take the care like I should have for the project, but it started with not especially liking my fabrics. I made it because it was useful and because I wanted to try it with not-good stuff before I ordered fabric specifically for it.

I really like the design, and if I hadn’t half-assed it, I’d really like this one. I could see making this for a few of my friends who sew; I think it’d make an excelent gift. When I’m ready, I plan on making matching machine covers and an ironing board cover (matching in that I’ll make those, and a new pincushion, in specially picked fabric), if only to girlify the office that I share with the Mister.

The hardest thing to get used to in the new place? His interest.

I’ll be sewing and all of the sudden he’ll be hovering over my shoulder, watching what I’m doing. It could drive me batty. I’m not used to anyone taking an interest in what I’m doing. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, though.

And he might hover less if I fix the pocket in his favorite shorts.

A Quick Update.

I seriously can’t remember the last time I posted, which is a terrible, terrible thing.

My life has gotten infinitly busier than it was last time I was writing. I now have a full time job working at a law firm, and an insatiable addiction to World of Warcraft.

Which means that I have barely any time to think about crafting, let alone do it. But I think I’m getting into the groove; I’ve been working for a month now and am not exhausted when I come home. There are things I want to make to add to my wardrobe. And I’m so much happier now than I was for the last year, that I finally feel like it’s okay to indulge in new supplies to make things.

I’m going to try to be more regular around here—or at the very least not dissapear for months at a time. Especially since I have a lunch hour in which to expound upon my recent crafty endeavors.


Knitting and Sewing and Thinking

It may seem like I’m not making anything with the lack of posts going on. I found that when I started blogging over here, ideas were flowing like water. Besides, I had a large back-up of things I wanted to talk about, but were too crafty for my personal blog. So, for a few weeks, I managed to get a post up nearly every day.

I kept up hope that my crafty friends would join me. They all craft and blog, and seemed really excited about the idea of a group blog. But the days went on, and it turns out that they were petrified of posting something not interesting, and so it is still all me, all the time.

However, since it’s just me, the posts have been trailing off. I don’t really do too many in-process posts of my projects because either things are going well but slow, or don’t take me too long at all. Also, I try to be crafty every day, but that hasn’t yet translated to writing every day. (Trust me, I’m working on it.)

For the last few days, as I work exclusively on my Icarus shawl, I have been thinking about the differences between knitting and sewing.

Continue reading

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Brainstorming presents for the Mister’s birthday.

Not much craft related going on today; I actually get to do some (real) office work and I’m on a break right now.

I’m thinking about hitting up the local Hancock fabrics tonight or tomorrow; the Mister’s birthday is at the end of the month, and there’s a few things I’m thinking of making him. I’ve got a 10% off coupon as well, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Since the Mister loves the outdoors (Eagle Scout and all that), I’m thinking I’ll make him a kite from One Yard Wonders, and perhaps the placemats for camping. I’m trying to come up with inexpensive stuff I can craft that he would like.

If I was super handy with a block of wood and a drill, I’d make him a cribbage board; we love to play when we’re camping, but we don’t have a board of our own. Sure, I know you can keep score with paper, but there is something nice about a self-contained unit that stores a deck of cards as well.

We’ve been dating a little short of a year and a half, and friends for about a year more, and it’s hard to come up with creative ideas for him. I don’t want to start giving him gifts that his mom is more than willing to take care of (socks, shorts, etc.); I want him to be genuinely surprised and thrilled with what he unwraps.

It’s a darn good thing he’s an even bigger geeky dork than me, since usually it means if it tickles my funny bone, it will his as well.

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Sewing reusable produce bags?

Not much going on the craft front over here; I am mired in the time-suck that is video editing, creating a photo slideshow for my grandma’s 80th birthday party on Saturday (her birthday is today).

I’ve been working on the shawl in spurts on breaks from the video. I’ll be glad to be done. While my Macbook makes creating them relatively easy, I don’t particularly enjoy it. Especially the part where I’ll have seen the video about 50 times before I’m done.

I have been keeping up on my feeds though, and today ran across an Apartment Therapy post that spotlighted reusable produce/bulk food bags from Bite.

While I think they are a great idea, as a crafter, I can’t help but to think I could make them myself for much less (it’s $5 a bag). It doesn’t help that the upper fabric in the picture is a fabric I saw at JoAnn’s last time I was there.

I suppose my first question to making this would be, where can I find a very fine mesh fabric? The second would be, what type of seam would I use to make them look clean and crisp?

I have been thinking about reusable bags quite a bit. I make lunch for the Mister every day, and we buy his lunch “snacks” in bulk, and self portion. This leads to using lots of Ziploc bags every week, especially if he gets more than one bulk item in his lunch (i.e. Cheeze-its and Teddygrahams). I don’t want the food to go stale after I portion it, but I also want it to fit in his lunch bag. Another container is out of the question, as his sandwich container takes up most of the bag already.

So, what I need to find is probably impossible. Something that functions like a Ziploc bag, but is easily washed for cleanup and reuse.

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A day of (semi) internet silence.

I am (nearly) without Internet this morning. We’re having AT&T’s U-verse installed—fiber optic speed, here I come—so my only connection to the net comes from my iPhone.

Hopefully the changeover goes smoothly, but if not, I’ll spend the day working on Icarus. Especially since I can’t seem to pull myself away from the internet on my own.

See you on the other side!

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Knit sweater conundrum.

In addition to dreaming about a new dress to sew, I’m also longing to knit myself a sweater.

I knit up my first one last October/November, and have been in love with it ever since. Except for the part where the yarn I used is so increadibly itchy. (That’s what I get for buying yarn online and for not knowing what I was getting into, having made the purchase only a few months into my knitting life.)

So, I’m dreaming of a sweater. And while I know I probably won’t start on it until the middle of summer—having to save up for whichever sweater I choose—I can’t help but want to start planning ahead of time.

Right now, I have my eye on three patterns, all of which I have the patterns lying around for. Which only makes me want to knit them even more.

Rogue sweater Rogue by Jenna Wilson

To be perfectly honest, this is the sweater I’ve been coveting the longest, and the sweater I had originally bought the itchy yarn for. I bought the pattern over five years ago, and pull out my copy once and awhile to look at it in all it’s lovely glory. I love the cables. I adore the kangaroo pocket. The hood is just brilliant. I know I will knit the sweater; it’s really all just a matter of when. Do I want to knit it first, and know it will take me the longest to do, not because it’s hard, but because cables require attention to be paid.

Owls Closeup2 Owls by Kate Davies

This sweater just calls to me. I love the owl detail along the yolk. I love the added detail of the little button eyes. It seems like everyone and their sister knit this sweater up this winter, and that doesn’t dissuade one little bit.  It’s a bit more plain than the other two sweaters, but that’s part of it’s appeal. Until I reached the yolk, I could knit it while watching TV with the mister. I would probably buy the updated pattern, even though it was originally free, because I think that people should be rewarded for things I find awesome. And this sweater really tops the awesome scale. I also really like the variations I’ve seen with shorter sleeves.

market5 Farmer’s Market Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio

From the Fall ’09 Interweave Knits, I fell in love with this sweater immediately after I finished my itch-fest. I adore cardigans, since I’m often pulling sweatshirts on and off when it’s not ridiculously cold out, and I love the cable details at the pockets that flow up and around for the shawl collar. Every time I pull on Girl Friday I wish it had pockets even though I know pockets would never ever work with that pattern.

I’d like to think that over the course of the year I might be able to knit all three of these sweaters. First I’d have to be able to purchase yarn for them, but then I’d need to not procrastinate enough to get it done. If you had a vote, though, which would you most like to see me tackle on this here blog?

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