Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've been busy

Geeze.... having 2 kids is hard!!! I knew that once the baby got here my time would be severely limited, but knowing something and experiencing something are 2 different things. Needless to say, I haven't been doing much crafting lately. I have been gaining ideas and putting them in my scrap book, but that has been about it.

I made a few things before he arrived that I will share after Christmas, I don't want to spoil the surprise for any of those people that may read my blog.

I did make the Thank You cards that I sent out for those who bought the baby something. They are really simple, but I loved how they turned out. I take every opportunity to send out pictures of my kids, so I took thins opportunity to send one out of my new son, Jetson. I used the 4 bar cards and envelopes from Paper Source in the color pool and I used cards in the color Chocolate for the background behind the picture. I used chocolate ink and some alphabet stamps for the text, a 1.5" square punch for the photo and a 2" scalloped square punch for the background.

It might be a while before I have a chance to post again, so until then....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

completed projects.

WOW 2 posts in the same month... I am on a roll ;-) O.k. so in the last few weeks I have been a knitting FOOL!!!! I completed the background of the wall hanging for my friend's wedding. I am not sure that I like how the intarsia turned out. This was my first time attempting intarsia at this size and for the most part it looks o.k. but some of the stitches look a little wacky where I carried the opposite color in the back of the stitch. I think I just need to work on my tension in those areas. But either way, I don't know if I like the piece well enough to finish it and send it to her. For starters, it is HUGE... it is about 26" square and when I started this, I thought that it was going to be much smaller like 10" square. I don't know if I would even want to hang something that big in my house and I don't want to make her feel obligated to hang it just because someone she knows made it for her. At any rate, here is the picture of the piece so far.
If I were to finish it, I would make several eye cords to embellish the hills on the bottom, the tree and add some "leaves". I would also embroider their names and wedding date at the bottom (see picture). This project comes from the book, Closely Knit by Hannah Fettig. The project is really cute, I think in the end it was my yarn choice and lack of intarsia experience that has left me disappointed. (picture is of page 46-Tree of Love Wall Hanging).
And the entire time I was knitting this (which took me a long time) I was dieing to start knitting some baby stuff out of this book:
So the minute I was done I started knitting a hat, then another hat then some booties and then another hat. And now I am going to start on a baby sweater. It is probably my nesting instinct kicking in, but I only have a month (or less) before the baby gets here so I am trying to cram all of my knitting for him in before D Day!! :-) But I have to say that I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! There are so many great, fast and easy projects in there and now I have a few go to items when people I know have babies. I check out every book from the library to test it out and see if it is worth purchasing... and this book I am definitely going to buy!!! Here are the projects that I have done so far:
I also have all of the paper goods to make the baby announcements. Since I don't have any of the information or the picture of the baby to start making them, I have just set them aside for when he gets here. I used Paper Source products; for the announcement I used the #10 card in the color Bluebell for the background and the 4-bar flat card in the color Leaf (for the text). I also used the #10 OE envelope to match the background card in the color Bluebell. I plan on printing the pictures and cutting them to fit the area adjacent to the 4-bar card... so we will see how that goes considering I don't have a picture for a size reference.
BUT when I was picking out the cards at Paper Source, I noticed these really cute address labels that were in the shape of clouds:
I thought that these were PERFECT for the addresses on the announcements but they are pretty expensive... $4.95 for only 8 labels. Considering I have to send a little over 60 announcements... we are talking $40 for just the labels. So, since poverty breads ingenuity, I decided to make my own. I bought ink jet address labels that are 3 1/3" x 4" from an office supply store and a 2" round scalloped paper punch from a craft store and WAAH LAAH. Now, they aren't clouds... but I think the effect is still the same and I saved a TON of money. The best part is that I bought 150 labels (so I can do the mailing address and the return address) and I have the punch for other projects or other announcements. Now I am thinking about getting a "Christmas-y" punch and making labels for my Christmas cards! Maybe that would be a little much....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

many projects

This past month (2 months) has been CRAZY!!! I have completed and started so many projects that I lost count a long time ago. One that I completed was my knitting needle organizer. I made it so that it would hang on the wall and possibly fold and roll up if I needed it to, but I think that it will always be too full to fold. Besides I don't know why I would need to have my entire collection of knitting and crochet needles anywhere but at home. I used a bunch of Amy Butler scraps that I had left over from other projects and although the organizer is HUGE, I really like how it turned out. The main thing I was trying to accomplish was to just be able to look over and see if I had a specific size needle and to just grab it, instead of having to fish through a bin of assorted needles for 10 minutes every time I started a new project.
I also completed the knitted bear for my cousin's baby, but I neglected to take a picture of it. So you will have to take my word for it.... it turned out cute.

I decided to make my Christmas cards this year. Usually I buy my Christmas cards the day after Christmas for the following Christmas season and store them for a year. And I usually buy the really simple ones that you insert the standard size picture into the pre-made frame. This year when I was making the invitations to my son's birthday I stared to wonder, "why don't I make my Christmas Cards when I make cards for every other occasion?" So I decided to make them and I knew that I was going to have to make them early because I am not going to have much time for anything soon. It took me a week to do, but they are all done.... all 110 of them. I can't take the credit for the design, I got the idea directly from the Spring 2008 issue of Paper Crafts Magazine.
The idea came from p.36 and the thing I liked the most about this design is that it had a picture that you could hang in the Christmas tree. I didn't intend on using the same paper, but I found it on sale at Archiver's and couldn't pass it up. They didn't quite have enough so I found another paper that I liked for the rest of the cards. Both came double sided in 12"x12" and the bottom of the pocket shows the reverse side of the paper. I couldn't find a shipping tag that was the size I wanted so I made the tag and the backgrounds for the text from Manila folders that I use for filing. I also played around with using each side of both papers as the background, so I have 4 different versions of the Christmas card. Inside:

The inspiration card had a ribbon embellishment, but it has been my experience that when you put any embellishments that adds any sort of dimension and then you try to send it through the mail, they end up torn apart when they are delivered on the other end... if they ever make it there. So I think I am going to put a piece of string through the whole for hanging, similar to what you would normally find on the commercial Manila shipping tags. That way they can be hung and the string is thin enough that it won't cause any problems in shipping.

I also added some embellishments on the envelopes that I bought at an office supply and for the most part these are done. I don't have the photo for the cards yet, so that will have to wait until last minute and even though I have put the return address on them already, I am waiting to address them just in case there are addresses that change.
This week I have been working on my son's Halloween costume. I have committed myself to making all of my kids' Halloween costumes, probably because that is what my mom did..... so I started early to make sure that it would get done. This year, my son is old enough to pick out his own costume... so I took him to the fabric store, we looked through pattern books and he picked a pirate. I decided to wait until the pattern was on sale to buy it and while I was waiting I saw a really cute pirate costume on Old Navy's website for an infant (which is no longer available so I can't include a link). I instantly like the look of the Old Navy costume much better than the one that was in the pattern books! So I decided to wing it and make one that looks like the Old Navy version for my toddler. I got a simple pattern for pants and a simple pattern for a buttoned down/collared shirt. I adjusted the pattern so that I could make it out of micro fleece, add french cuffs, a sailor collar, ruffles on each of the cuffs and add embellishments. I decided to buy the pirate hat, an eye patch and a hook. I am trying to find a stuffed parrot for his shoulder, but I am not having any luck with that, so he might have to go without. To be really honest I think my son is only interested in wearing the hat, but the costume turned out great and I can't wait for Halloween!What else??? I have a friend that just got married this past weekend in Georgia and since I am about ready to pop, I couldn't go. But I found this really cute "wall hanging" in the book, Closely Knit by Hannah Fettig, that I checked out from the library. I think it is just a cute something to commemorate their marriage and something to hang on the wall so that they don't ever forget their anniversary :-) So that is what I am currently working on. It is an intarsia pattern and although I have knitted intarsia before, this is the most in depth intarsia pattern that I have attempted. It is looking good and I am learning a lot!

I think that I have started to "nest". Up until recently I thought that was just a myth... but lately I am doing some crazy organizational things like uploading my entire CD collection onto iTunes.... which has become quite the task. But I have also started to do things like make my Christmas ornaments that I make every year for people. This year I have decided to make paper mache "snowmen" but it has turned out to be more work then I wanted... so I might have to rethink my options for that.

I think my next project(s) is going to come out of this book:
There are 2 hats and the sweater pictured on the front that I am dieing to make for the new baby. I think it would also be cute to make matching hats for my toddler too! I must like being busy...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Current Projects

I really try to update my blog more than just once a month, but it seems like I can't seem to make it. So, this is going to be a fairly large post considering I have been working on a lot lately, or at least finishing up a lot of stuff.

The first thing that I finally finished was the baby sling. I didn't have a baby sling with my first child and I was remembering my tired arms from carrying him when he was really little, so I thought a sling might be a good investment. I found this free pattern online, which incidentally was pretty much identical to one of the slings that I found in a boutique for close to $70. The pattern was easy to make, I ran into a few snags because I made it reversible and I tried to make a few short cuts. Take my advice, no short cuts when sewing!!! But other than that it was easy. I will say that it was difficult to find the size that fit me the best. I made a few practice slings out of some extra cheap fabric that I had, to get the perfect size before I used my good fabric. It was also hard to judge the size because I don't have an infant that I can take for a test run and I also have a large belly in my way :-) I made the final sling with Amy Butler fabric and so far I really like how it turned out. I will find out in a few short months how it works and I will let you know.
The next thing that I worked on was another baby blanket. I knitted one for my first child by using 2 different colors simultaneously to create a variegated effect and I knitted it in a seed stitch. I wanted this blanket to be similar but different and I stumbled on this pattern ... so I made it. It was VERY easy to make; it was simple crochet using 3 different colors at the same time with a size 35 crochet hook (or what they call a speed hook). The only adjustment I made was the size; the pattern called for 6 skeins and I used 9 in order to get a similar size to the one I made for my fist child. I really like how thick the blanket is... this will be a winter baby and I think a heavier blanket is going to come in handy.
I have a cousin that was due last week with her first child that is supposed to be a girl. So, I wanted to make her a blanket as well. Luckily I had a pink and white baby blanket that was almost done just laying around the house. A few years ago I had a friend that told me she was pregnant and I immediately thought that she was having a girl, so I started crocheting her a blanket. Right after I finished crocheting it she had her sonogram that proved me wrong and the blanket has been laying around here ever since. I decided to tuck in all the ends and get it ready to send to my cousin. It was lucky that I had that left over, otherwise I don't think I would have had the time to make her one.
I would also like to knit my cousin a small stuffed toy to send with her blanket. I made the reversible dolls for her brother's twins earlier this year, and I think it would be nice to send her something little too. The dolls take me way too much time (which I don't have right now) sooo I found this pattern for a small knitted bear. I haven't even started on this yet, but it looks like it will go pretty fast and I have plenty of yarn at the house so I won't have to go buy any. I haven't heard if she had her baby yet or not... so I still might have a little time to get it done. Another project that I would like to get done in the next week or so is an organizer for all of my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I usually keep them in my Grandma's old knitting bag, but it is hard to locate specific sizes. So last night I drew out a plan for an organizer that will hang from the wall or can be folded and rolled like most knitting needle organizers. It is going to be pretty large but very easy to sew. Hopefully I can get this done in the next week or 2 and post a picture of the final result.
Since I have been looking for projects to complete around the house, I finally got my granny square afghan done!!!! I am glad to finally have it done, but I was a little disappointed by the size. It is much smaller then I thought, but I figure someday when I am really bored I can get some more yarn to make more squares and super-size it.
What else? Oh, so last week I got sucked into the "Twilight" book series by Stephanie Meyer. Each book has a bout 500-600 pages and I read all 4 in 5 days!!!! Since I am not a teenage girl and I have a firm grasp on reality, I felt a bit strange reading this series..... but Meyer seems to have a way to keep you reading right up till the end. The series was getting a lot of good reviews and all 4 books are on most Bestseller lists, so I figure it was definitely worth checking out. After having this intense need to read for 5 days, when I was done reading I felt extremely bored. I decided that I needed a new project to keep me busy so I didn't pick up another book that consumed my ever free minute. I then found this pattern for a shrug. I have been wanting to knit a shrug for a while and I thought that this was the perfect time to do it. All of my maternity clothes are for the summer... and since the shrug doesn't extend to the belly, I thought that I can get away with wearing this before and after the baby gets here. I am not quite done with it, but it is getting there. The pattern is fairly easy and straightforward and I am definitely refining some of my knitting skills like picking up and knitting stitches. :-) I will show the finished result when I get that done. I also made some thank you cards from my son's birthday. Elsie Flannigan had a few baby pics that she posted on her blog a while back that I used as inspiration. She took the pics of the baby on a large round hay bale and I got an idea. I hooked up with a friend of mine and we took the kids to her dad's farm, where low and behold... he had some round hay bales. Well, anyway here is how they turned out:
I think that covers all of the things that I have been up to lately (as if that's not enough). Now my brain is going crazy thinking about the things that I need to get done before the baby comes like.... make my son's Halloween costume, make the birth announcements (as much as I possible can at this point), make my Christmas cards so that all I have to do is add the picture and sign them, get a few things made for my cousin that is due at the same time as I am, and that doesn't include getting ready for the baby. Hopefully I can get some of those things done really soon so that I have more time to rest before I don't have the luxury of resting :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Photo Shop Pic

Every year for my son's birthday I take him to get professional pictures. I still can't quite figure out why, since I take billions of pictures of him anyway.... but none the less I still do it. I usually take him to a JC Penney Portrait Studio to get them taken and when I was looking on their website recently I saw one of their fine art effects that looked like an Andy Warhol. Super! I loved it and when I asked about it, they said that it wasn't available at this time. I am not sure why, but I had my heart set on that picture and when I was talking to my friend, Emily, she said, "why don't you make your own, you have Photo Shop on your computer." I said, "Well, I don't really want to spend the time... and blablabla." Well, since I couldn't get it through JC Penney I was bound and determined to get one made... even if that meant that I had to do it myself. Now, I haven't really used an Adobe program since College... I have dabbled a bit with it but nothing significant. So I found a GREAT tutorial on Melissa Clifton's website for an Andy Warhol look and after making a few adjustments, I got exactly what I wanted. The best part is..... that I had it printed at Kinko's on glossy paper for $1.59. YOU CAN NOT BEAT THAT. I don't know how much JC Penney would have charged for their Andy Warhol pic, but I would bet that it was much more than $1.59! Here is what I came up with, this is the scanned version of the printed image. It is a little choppier than the original, but you'll get the point.
So now my mind is racing with all other kind of enhancements that I can make to my photos. :-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

recent projects

We realized recently that it was time for our toddler to move out of the baby nursery and into a "big boy" room, especially since we are going to need the nursery soon. So I stripped the wall paper border, compliments of the previous owner, and I also had to sand the walls. Yes, sand the walls. The border was a "beach theme" and she mixed sand into her paint before she painted that room. Surprisingly it came off quite easily. I painted the room blue and bought fun car and truck decals from Target. I LOVE these because they are basically just stickers... and even though they stick to the wall nicely, you can remove them very easily. So if he decides he wants a more "grown-up" look in the room in a few years, then I can just peel them off. So, since I LOVED these decals soo much, I decided to make a stuffed plush toy that looked like one of the trucks. The truck turned out HUGE!!! The dimensions are about 23" long, 14" high and 8" wide. I also decided against making it out of felt (which would have held its shape a bit better) and made it out of fleece. Basically I designed this to go on his bed and the fleece is just a better choice for something you might be sleeping on. Well, since the shape is a little distorted, my son now calls it his motor home, when in reality it was supposed to be a large box truck :-)


Motor home:
I also made birthday party invitations. Last year I made birthday invitations for my son's 2nd birthday and I really enjoyed making them and loved how they turned out. So this year I decided to make more. I took a picture of my son and altered it in the program; HP Image Zone Plus using the solarize tool. After I had the pictures printed, I thought about screen printing the text onto the picture or possibly making my own rub-on for the text but ultimately I just printed the text right onto the photo using my desk jet printer. On the front of the card, I used various stamps, the 2 bolder stamps I actually made with block printing rubber and there is also a 3 made from a label maker. The card is a Paper Source A6 card in the color curry, which I bought from Urban Arts & Crafts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Past Projects

I have had absolutely no time lately to do anything! The first weekend this month was just crazy and I am still trying to recover from it! However, there are a few things that I have been able to put together with some of my limited time that I am super excited about.

I found these two sculptures that I made in a ceramics class in college. They are abstract figures depicting my husband and I when we got married and they have been collecting dust ever since. When I was cleaning up some of the clutter in my house I also found this "shadow-box-shelf" that I bought a long time for an entirely different reason and never used. Well, I put one and two together and waaaalaaah:
I know that displaying my figurines in a box isn't that creative, but I am really excited that I was able to display them for free. Who isn't excited about the word Free??

Another thing that I am really excited about are these things:
I am not sure what their technical term is but they are party favors (I assume for a kid's party) and they are plastic cones with a textured piece of clear plastic at the end. So you can look through them and see the world in different forms of distortion. I received these as a favor for a bachelorette party that I recently attended and immediately put them up to my camera to see if it would focus through them. And indeed it did. I should also mention that I was using a "pocket sized" digital camera (Sony Cyber-shot) with the front lens measuring about 1/2" in diameter. I don't think it would work with a large camera lens, but it would be fun to experiment. Here are some fun pics of the 2 different "lenses".
So, like a big dork, I am going to be looking for more of these so that I can really play with my pics. And I am definitely going to keep these in my camera bag for all occasions.

And as I have stated before... I have no time, BUT I have even more to share. I recently purchased a mirror from a garage sale for $6 and I LOVE IT. It was originally a brass color, but the frame is plastic and whoever had it before, spray painted it with a high gloss black paint. I think that maybe that person didn't like how it turned out? It didn't look like it had been hung before and looked almost brand new. But as they say, "one man's trash is another man's treasure" and oh what a treasure it was.
So I decided to hang it next to my "Jewelry Box". I also found this frame at a garage sale and it was just a frame; no glass and no picture. It looked like it was made in the 70s and although it was made out of wood, it was painted to look like a more expensive and interesting wood (you know, with painted on wood grain). There was also a part of the frame that was covered in a faux suede that accentuated it's 70s-ness. I think I bought it for $5? and I painted it in a high gloss black and covered the fabric section with a zebra print fabric that I just had laying around the house. Then I had my husband build a shallow box behind it and hinge it to the frame. I cut a piece of Styrofoam to fit the inside, covered it with black fabric and placed it inside. For less than $10 I have a great display for my jewelry and even though it looks like a piece of art on my wall, it is also functional because the frame opens like a door on the front. :-) I used dress maker pins to hang up each of the pieces of jewelry and I LOVE IT. I made this long before I found that mirror and when I saw the mirror, I thought that it would be a perfect addition to my wall... which I am just starting to realize is exclusively yard sale finds.

At the same yard sale that I found the frame above, I also found 4 small framed Norman Rockwell prints. They didn't have any glass in them either and the backing was just cardboard. I think I bought each of them for either 25cents or 50cents. Either way, they were a great deal. So I also sprayed them with high gloss black paint and until recently I was using them as photo frames. I backed them with a stiff piece of black card stock and displayed large wallet sized pics (printed on my home photo printer) inside the frame, held in by black photo corners. I didn't have glass for the frames and by using the photo corners, I could change out the pictures as often as I wanted to.
But, when I hung my mirror, these photo frames weren't quite working. I remember seeing a DIY "recipe" for an earring holder made from a frame, screw eyes and wire. So I changed one of my frames into an earring holder and I really like how it turned out. I used what I had... the screw eyes were too large and the wire I used was a scrap piece of heavy duty picture wire, but I like how it gives more of an industrial look. The frame is small so it doesn't hold a lot of earrings, but I don't change my earrings that often so this size works perfect for my small collection.
I like how all the pieces look together and I am itching to find some more functional ways to transform the 3 other small frames.

Well, that is all for now... maybe the next time I am super busy, I will have equally as much to share ;-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I am attending a wedding in a week and a half and I decided it would probably be smart if I bought a dress. Since I have to get a maternity dress, the selection is pretty minimal. Luckily this is an outdoor wedding and not super formal attire, so the selection for summer day dresses is a bit larger than for formal maternity dresses. Anyway, I found a dress that worked (which is VERY red) and for some reason I decided that I needed a necklace to go along with this dress. I found a necklace on that I really liked but it was orange and lime green, it would have worked if it was red and lime green so I was on a quest. I bought a few things and ended up using the least expensive beads that I bought and a silver necklace from my jewelry box that I was never going to wear. I used red coral beads, lime Jade beads, and Lucite flowers. Unlike the Etsy necklace, this one I decided to make asymmetrical. It is the first necklace that I have that isn't symmetrical and I really like it. I think it turned out great and I really like it with the dress... the flower might be a bit much with the pattern on the dress but OH WELL.
I was also thinking about making either earrings or a bracelet to go with this. I don't normally wear bracelets, so I thought earrings. I can't decided between the one on the left and the one on the right. But now I am thinking that the earrings might be a little much?? I am probably thinking about this way too much!