Posts made in December, 2012

The End of 2012

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

Well, here we are at the end of another year. I suppose it’s only fitting to look back at my craft goals and see what I’ve accomplished this year. Usually I dread this, but this year I’m feeling pretty good. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Goals for 2012

  • Put the finishing touches on Memaw’s apple afghan Nope. Sorry, Memaw.
  • Viking hat for Lex Yes, and it still fits him this year. It’s a big hit whenever we go out.
  • Awesome birthday cake for Anthony Yes! Creeper cake achieved.
  • Science Craft Swap Yup, done on time :)
  • Hem ALL the pants! Nope, didn’t happen. I think I hemmed one other pair. This goal was mostly for the hubs’ benefit. Maybe next year, sweetie.
  • Convert dress into skirt Didn’t happen either, but I still want to do this once I lose all my weight. 
  • Lex’s room This one is my biggest disappointment, and therefore my number one priority for the new year. I got hung up on one thing, but I think I’ll be able to finish it up soon. 
  • Build at least one thing from ana-white.com This also makes me sad. I tried to make this happen but hit a few bumps. Now that I have the proper tools, I’m confident I’ll get it done in a snap.
  • Make something festive for each holiday Meh, sort of. I did a much better job this year of decorating for each holiday. I actually got my Halloween decorations up, and I made a cute garland for Valentine’s Day. There’s still room for improvement.
  • Make curtains for the living room I did this one! I made some curtains out of drop cloth for one of the windows in the living room. It took a lot longer than planned. Now I just have two more windows to go…
  • Finish the spooky dollhouse No, not quite. I did make a lot of progress, though. Next year!
  • Make a quilt Nope. I’m feeling much more comfortable with the idea now, though.
  • A year of handmade gifts I did pretty well with this one. I tried to include at least one handmade gift for each of my family members and succeeded for the most part.
  • One Pinterest project a month I completely forgot about this one. I did a few Pinterest projects this year, though, and this goal was designed to motivate me to actually DO stuff, not just pin it.
  • Make more cute things with felt & embroidery I’d say achieved on this one. I did quite a few embroidery projects this year and some things with felt. I’m sure there’ll be much more to come.
  • Improve photography skills I didn’t get as far along with this one as I’d like. I did learn a few things and have played more with Photoshop, but I do want to learn how to use my DSLR properly.
  • Stockpile handmade gifts Unfortunately, no. This goal is definitely going to roll over into 2013, though, and I plan to use my Creepy Cute Crochet book to help achieve it. 
  • Become a better cook Yes, I do believe I am a better cook now than I was last year. I’ve paid more attention to how I cook and found some really great recipes. 
  • Make more miniature things Yes! I learned how to make mini books, and I experimented more with clay and making miniatures.
  • Make steampunk costumes for me, Vincent and Lex Nope. This one is at the top of the list for 2013. I want to be done before Halloween next year at the latest. 

So, I’m seeing a lot more red up there than any other color. Regardless, I’m still pleased with what I did manage to accomplish this year. Crafting did take a back seat for most of the year because I was focusing on losing weight and trying to keep on top of housework at the same time. That brings me to my New Year’s Resolutions for last year and this year.

Last year I made it my resolution to lose weight. My goal was 139 lbs. My plan was to use the Dukan Diet to reach that goal. If you’ve been following me this year, then you know that I did lose weight this year. I got down to within 2 pounds of my goal weight, to 141, so I’m going to call that a win. Confession: this past month and a half I gave myself a free pass for the holidays and gained back 3 or 4 pounds. Still, I lost a lot of weight. I’m still planning on slimming down a bit more this coming year until I get to my ideal weight of 125 lbs. That’s the absolute smallest that I want to be, and I know now that it is possible to get there. It’s just going to take more hard work and perseverance, but I can do it! I’m also happy to report that I’ve inspired my dear husband to jump on the weight loss train with me. He’s committed to starting the Weight Watchers program, too. I’m so proud of him for taking this first step toward improving his health and quality of life. I know that when he starts exercising and eating better, he’s going to feel much better overall. Not to mention that it’ll be easier for me to stay on track since he’ll be there with me.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 is to become more organized. I know, I know, it’s very cliché, but it really, truly needs to happen. This year I discovered Fly Lady, and her awesome program for keeping your life clean and organized without becoming overwhelmed. I followed the routines for a while but then I quit. When I was doing the routines, I was amazed that my house stayed mostly clean all the time. I never had to worry about doing the laundry or dishes because I did a little every day, and it never became a problem. I also didn’t have to worry about people dropping by unexpectedly because my house was not a wreck. I’ve started back on the Baby Steps and can already see a difference. For me, the challenge is going to be to remain consistent with the program. I’m great at making plans and getting really excited about a new program, but I’m not always great about following through. I mean, I still can’t believe that I managed to stay on a diet for the better part of a year and actually see results. I know now that I actually can do things when I am determined, and this year I am determined to literally get my house in order and, most importantly, keep it that way.

This organization resolution also includes getting my finances organized. As a young adult, I made a lot of stupid mistakes financially. I’m a very intelligent person, but when it comes to money, I can be really stupid. For years I have been avoiding and ignoring the problems, but that, of course, has not made them go away. This year, however, is the year we (my husband and I) are determined to turn it around and starting rebuilding. I’m sure it’s not going to be easy, but it’s something that needs to be done. We have actually been pretty good about managing our money this past year (as in being able to pay all the bills mostly on time), but we still need to address the consequences of our financial mistakes in the past. I’m looking forward to actually sorting it all out and sharing what I learn with you all. This issue has been a sore spot for me for a while, and I want to get it taken care of once and for all.

Now I’m going to revise my goal list for 2013. There are so many things I want to do! Do you make goals or resolutions? If so, please share!

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Christmas Crafting Frenzy

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Crochet, Feature | 1 comment

Where’s Derby Thursday? Well, I’ve taken an unofficial break from roller derby until we move in the spring. Attending practice an hour away has been difficult for me. So until I start attending practice again, Derby Thursday will be on a short hiatus.

Since the first of December I’ve been frantically trying to make a little something for everyone on my list this year. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do for everyone that would be appreciated and not take a whole lot of time. Until, that is, my good friend Mandy brought me a book called Creepy Cute Crochet. I’d seen this book before and thought it looked pretty cool, but I haven’t bought any craft books in a while since they tend to sit unappreciated on the shelves for the most part. Mandy had perfect timing with this, though. It has the cutest little creepy critters, and there is a wide variety of them, too.

Since I got it this weekend, I’ve already finished one and gotten about 90% finished with another and about 50% finished with a third. That’s why I love crochet– it shapes up so quickly! I also love following other peoples’ patterns because I get to learn new techniques. If you’re a Facebook friend or you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen these, but here they are again.

Ninja

Day of the Dead Gal 90% done

The second creature I’ve been working on, a Day of the Dead gal. All she needs is a face and her crown permanently attached.

Here’s my first batch of eyes for the creatures and a couple of button eyes for my fairy doll. I wouldn’t have considered making eyes from polymer clay if I hadn’t read about it in Creepy Cute Crochet. They’re easy to make and attach (with glue instead of sewing). I would use safety eyes if I were making something for Lex, though, as these could pose a choking hazard. Since the recipients of these gifts aren’t prone to sticking inedible foreign objects in their mouths out of curiosity, I think we’ll be ok.

Doll Eyes

Fairy with eyes on front

Eyes on fairy from side

Here are the button eyes attached. I used a silver embroidery floss to sew them on, which I think looks pretty cool, almost like a glint in the eye. The face did not end up looking the way I originally envisioned, but I still like it. Kinda creepy but also cute. I’m sure Ophelia will love it.

Ophelia is a girl after my own heart when it comes to making stuff. She’s thinks it’s super cool. Last weekend she was upset because she was bored, and to cheer her up, I agreed to help her sew something. She chose a teddy bear. We looked for a pattern online, and decided on this one. However, you had to buy it. It looked pretty easy to figure out, though, so I winged it. The result, while not exactly the pattern online, was very cute and floppy.

Ophelia with bear

Not bad for my first teddy bear pattern attempt, eh? And Ophelia did help with it. She stuffed an arm and a leg, and she helped sew up the straight parts on the sewing machine (with a little help from yours truly). She also chose the fabrics we would use and the buttons for the eyes. Now that I look at the inspiration bear, I see that I shouldn’t have sewn a line between the body and the head because Ophelia’s bear has no neck support (oops). But it was still a success, I think. Lex also liked the bear and fought over it with Ophelia a bit. It was pretty cute.

Speaking of Lex, I’ve barely started on his Christmas present. There is so much to do in the next 12 days! I’m starting to feel the familiar stress of the holidays. *Deep breath* Nothing to do but keep moving forward!

Good luck and godspeed with all your Christmas crafting!

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Hooking Like a Madwoman

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Crochet, Feature | 0 comments

Tee-hee-hee. I love that double entandre for crocheting! I’ve been a little crochet crazed lately. For Lex’s birthday I made a set of characters from Where the Wild Things Are using the patterns from CraftyisCool. I was so thrilled with how they turned out. And apparently I’m the world’s worst person for uploading photos to computers so I don’t have a pic to share at the moment. I’ll do another post about them soon.

Those wild things are definitely the most complex things I’ve ever crocheted, and I learned a lot just from making them. It’s like something clicked in my head and I suddenly understood the construction of crochet patterns. When I first learned how to crochet, I was so amazed at how people could create patterns for all kinds of different things. I guess some people are more spatially gifted than I am and it comes naturally to them. As for myself, I have a hard time visualizing how things fit together without having something physical in front of me. So constructing these little creatures with all of their different details helped me understand how different stitches and increasing and decreasing make different 3-D shapes. It’s really cool.

Because of my new understanding of crochet, I have been inspired to make my own original patterns. See, when I showed people the wild things, they almost all said I should sell them online. I explained that I could not because the pattern’s author expressly asked that people who use her pattern not sell the products. But if I create my own things, I can sell not only the things I make but also the patterns themselves. So then there’s only the question of what to make.

The hubs and I had a brainstorm on the way home from work one day. He’s a web developer and works a lot with a platform called Drupal. The  mascot/logo is a little blue drop of water with a face:

PNG version

Kinda cute, right? Well he’s going to DrupalCon in the spring in Portland, and he suggested that I crochet some Drupal drops to sell or give away at DrupalCon. I agreed and started working on drafting a pattern. After only a little bit of frogging and cursing, I was successful. When the hubs posted a picture of his on Facebook, a friend immediately bought 3. So now I’m busy cranking out these little guys:

Drupal Drop

I just recently finished making my second from scratch crochet creation- a doll for Ms. Ophelia, my step-daughter. It’s my handmade contribution for her Christmas this year since she just loved the little Wild Thing dolls I made for Lex. When finished she’ll be a fairy with pointed ears. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen a couple of pics. I’m afraid she looks a bit creepy here without any hair:

Bald doll

But look now–awesome magenta curly hair!

Doll with Hair

I really like making doll hair. It’s so gratifying. Now she needs some eyes, a mouth and ears. Oh, yeah, and some clothes. :) I think I’m going to sew them rather than crochet because honestly I don’t like the way crochet clothes look in general. I think they’d be too bulky on this little lady.

I want to make a bunch of different versions of this doll, some male and some female. I was inspired by Waldorf style dolls and by CraftyisCool’s designs. I wanted to blend the two and add my own style to make something unique, and I think once I’m finished I will have achieved that.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. That and steadfastly not exercising. >.<

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