Crafting

G’s Scarf, Finally Done!

  It took me most of the winter, but G finally has a new scarf to wrap up in when he goes out to play in the cold.

  He loves it, and I’ve learned a lesson; don’t let the kid pick the yarn if you want/need to have the project done quickly because it won’t even remotely inspire you and you won’t work on it.
  Ah well.  I wound up doing a random pattern of stripes, changing colors willy nilly til I reached the middle, and then repeated the same stripes in the opposite direction to the other end.  I did all of it, except for a 1″ band on either end, in garter stitch, so it’s good and chunky.  
  It’s not my favorite project for sure, but it will keep him warm, and he is happy with it, which is what really matters.  Now it’s on to one of my many, many other WIPs…

(Really) Last Minute Fishnet Fingerless Gloves

  Holy cow folks, Halloween is Thursday…do you have a costume?

  Obviously, living in Michigan and planning on taking 2 wee-bits out trick or treating in the predicted rainy, 48-60 degree weather, I won’t be wearing that, but I did wear it for the indoor masquerade party we attended this past weekend.
  My costume was thrown together at the last minute, and while the skirt was finished in a decent amount of time, when I finally put it all together I realized I needed something on my arms to complete the look.
  I was already wearing fishnets on my legs, so I wanted to keep some continuity there and decided fishnet fingerless gloves would be the way to do it.
  I grabbed a second pair of fishnets, snipped the legs apart and pulled them up my arms.  I made the mistake, with the first one, of clipping a hole for my thumb before making holes for my other fingers to fit through.  Don’t do that.  You wind up with a hole way down on your wrist that your thumb has no chance of ever reaching.  It makes sense when you think about it, I know…let me be the dummy for you.  Anyhow, clip holes (usually one string is enough to open it up) to poke your fingers and THEN thumb through and pull the stocking up your arm.  Chances are it’s going to reach further up your arm than you’d like, so cut a slash where you’d like the top to be, remove both stockings from your arms and cut them off at the same height.
  Next, grab some matching 1/4″ elastic and weave it through the netting at the top of your glove.  Your elastic should be long enough to comfortably fit around the portion of your arm where the top of your glove should sit with a small excess for joining the two ends.  Once your elastic is woven through, sew the ends of the elastic together and you’re ready to go!
  Obviously these aren’t going to add a whole heck of a lot of warmth to a costume, but if you’ll be partying inside and your get-up needs just a little something more, these get you more bang for your buck than is really reasonable for a 5 minute project!

Curling Up With Winter Crafting

  It’s that time of year again…time to have 80 projects going at once, half of them gifts, all of them a quarter finished…

  Currently I have 2 main projects.  G has grown out of the scarf I made for him back when he was 1.5 and enjoying his first winter of being able to walk, so it’s time for me to knit up a new one.  I pointed him at my yarn stash and told him to pick a couple colors.

  He grabbed the navy and the (very) yellow green and I added the darker green, since I had a small ball of it and I thought it would tie the two together.  I’m doing it all in purl stitch to make it nice and nubby and warm and alternating the colors randomly to keep it from being too grown up looking.  Serious knitters, please ignore that I’m just winding the extra colors up through the side of my knitting.  I understand that it’s not the “right” way and that I ought to cut the tails and then weave them in and yadda yadda yadda…but this is a scarf for a not-yet 4 year old boy.  If I put too much effort into it, it just guarantees he’ll refuse to wear it.  His tiger costume pants for instance, have not gotten worn once since Halloween.  I’m doing my best to not throw a fit.
  My other project is the ongoing project that is my table cloth:

  We had our annual Friends’ Thanksgiving, and I can tell it was a success by the rumpled and food stained state of the table cloth alone.
  There were a few new additions, I updated G’s hand tracing (his big ol puppy mitts just keep growing!) and added R’s outline (just his hand…though an outline of the whole baby would be kind of hilarious…).  Keeping the table cloth up to date isn’t a huge time investment, but it isn’t one that gets done in a day either.
  I have a bunch of things I’m starting to do research on and work on that I’ll eventually share with you guys, but most of it is just in the planning stages right now.
  I have a recipe scheduled for Thursday, but I suspect most of you won’t be here since you’ll be enjoying Thanksgiving with your families.  The recipe will be waiting when you’re done.  In the meantime, here’s to a holiday season full of inspiration and plenty of time for creating!

Festive Flamingos?

  Well, I haven’t done a whole heck of a lot of sewing this week.  Most of my time has been occupied by moving everything up onto shelves in the office, cleaning to prepare for our yearly pre-Thanksgiving get together and dealing with a bit of a grumpy preschooler thanks to a bug that cut him down to size for a day.

  That being said, I did stitch this little guy up:

  I joined Aunt Peaches’ Flamingo Ornament Exchange because, well, why not?  My tree is pretty well populated with birds, so a flamingo certainly wasn’t going to be an off-the-wall addition and it seemed like a quick, fun project.
  To get the basic shape, I did a google search for flamingos, cut the body out of a pink cotton I had some scraps of and tossed in some ribbon for legs and a hang tag when I sewed it up.  I stuffed the body (easier said than done with that long skinny neck!) and stitched it shut.  The beak got wrapped in black and white felt to really pin down that “flamingo” feel and then I went nuts with the beads and sequins.
  I’m terrible about getting to the post office, so hopefully I’ll remember to do it in the next few days so this critter can be sent off to his new home!

You Won’t Believe What This Top Was

  I’ve been branching out in my workouts lately.  I’ve been doing zumba since the summer after G was born, and while I still love it, I wanted to find something else to add into my routine.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I’ve started doing aerial silks.
  One of the things with aerial silks is that you need to protect your armpits and the backs of your knees while you do it if you don’t want to wind up with fabric burns.  Pretty much all of my workout tops are sleeveless, and workout gear is EXPENSIVE!   Rather than going out and buying new stuff, I made this:
  Can you guess what that black top used to be?
  How about if I tell you it took me less than 5 minutes to modify it into this?
  No?  What about if I tell you that I’m wearing it on the wrong half of my body in this picture?
  That’s a pair of tights.  All I did was snip the feet off and cut the diamond shaped portion out of the crotch to make a neckline.
  I came across the idea a good year or two ago when I was browsing some runway show pictures.  The designer had done the same thing with nylons, purposely stretching them til they ran to create ladders through the fabric, and the idea stuck with me.
  I was cleaning out my closet and realized I had tights I wasn’t wearing…soooo…. a couple quick snips and my new shirt was ready!
  I’m really happy with how this turned out.  It was quick, easy, and, because I already had the tights, free.  It’ll keep my armpits from getting destroyed by the fabric, and even better, it looks cute.  This is an incredibly simple project, but if you have any questions about how I did it, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Ignoring Pinterest guilt and NOT making this project

  Sometimes I need saving from myself.  I’m (fairly obviously) a huge proponent of making things yourself when you can.  Pinterest, of course, feeds this by having endless tutorials saying things like “You too can easily make this cashmere shrug with only dryer lint and a bit of chewing gum!”  It makes it hard to remember that making it yourself isn’t always the best approach.
  This was one of those projects for me.
  I’ve been wanting to make G a geoboard since last fall when I was still pregnant with R.  For whatever reason, I just kept not getting around to it.  But, lately I’ve been a bit on a roll with checking things off my to-do list and I finally got the initiative to do it.  “This will be a quick, easy project” I thought to myself…because apparently I’d forgotten that nails don’t magically pop themselves into wood?
  Now, I’m good at a lot of things, but hammering nails isn’t one of them.  I inevitably smash my thumb or ricochet the nail across the room or both, simultaneously.  A master carpenter I am not, so why I thought hammering 100 nails into a particle board square was going to be a good time is utterly beyond me.
  But, there I was, with my square of board marked off into 1″ squares, my box of finishing nails, a tack hammer and a yoga mat to keep everything in place, pounding away, smashing my thumb and generally not particularly enjoying what I was doing.  And as I hammered those first 10 nails, it occurred to me that, oh, I don’t have a monitor out here and the baby could wake up at any moment.  And then it occurred to me that, huh, I’m spending my only free time today, while both boys are asleep, doing something that I don’t really like, that hurts my fingers and that, what do you want to bet, I can get for far cheaper than my time investment here.
  So I put down my hammer and headed to the computer and did a quick search…and lo and behold, I found this geoboard for $4.  …pretty sure I invested more than $4 worth of time just marking the spots I was going to put nails on my DIY version.  Granted, it doesn’t have 100 pegs like my DIY version would have, but really, if I’m honest with myself, G probably isn’t going to get nearly as into a geoboard as I’m going to want him to, and 100 pegs is probably too many for a 3 year old anyhow.  It doesn’t have the old school black wood with the metal pegs…but this way I also don’t have to worry about anybody getting clocked in the head with it, or putting out an eye on a nail.  It’s a bit smaller, but that way it can go in the car.
  I feel a bit like a cop-out that I’m buying a geoboard rather than making one, but it’s important to remember that your time has value too.  Making things is grand, but only if you’re enjoying yourself!

Knit Baby "Quilt" Blanket

  I’m really excited to show you guys today’s project.  It’s one I’ve had in the works for an exceptionally long time and then had to keep hidden because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.  My dear, dear friends in Pittsburgh are expecting a baby and I finally handed over this blanket:
  This is a couple dozen knit stitches/patterns joined together into one blanket.
  To make the blanket I created 6 separate “scarves” of a certain number of stitches.  One scarf for instance is composed of all knit patterns that are 24 stitches wide.  Once the scarves were all completed I used the same yarn to stitch them together.  After they were stitched into a square I borrowed my mom’s foam mat and blocked it to get out some of the weird pulling spots where some of the patterns were narrower than others.  Finally, I crocheted a frame of single crochet stitches around the outside to stabilize everything.
  Probably the most challenging part of this project was finding enough interesting patterns that had the right number of stitches.  There were lots of them that were just 1 or 2 stitches off from what I needed.  Luckily, the internet is a wonderful resource for knitting, so I managed to muddle through.
  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I had this concept for a long time before I started executing it.  I love the “sampler” look in all one color.  With all the lacey stitches there are lots of holes for little fingers to explore.  My friends love it and I can’t wait to see their little one all wrapped up inside!

Maple Bud Hair Comb

  This past weekend I celebrated a friend of mine’s birthday.  We’ve been friends since middle school, and she is one of the few people I know who not only has hair long enough, but actually chooses to adorn it with elaborate picks and combs.  I don’t tend to find a whole lot of opportunity to wear hair-jewelry myself, but I love making it, so I inevitably wind up making something for her as a gift!

  Our yard has a ton of maple trees in it, and all of them are budding out right now.  The pinkish red of the ends of their branches is just gorgeous against the cornflower blue of the sky, and so I decided I wanted to try and make a comb that looked a bit like the branches of my trees.
  The seed beads photographed rather orange for some reason or another, but in natural daylight they’re more pink.  If you look at the beads in the bottom left-hand corner you can get a better idea of their true coloring.
  To make this, I used fine wire and two types of beads turned into beaded branches using the same method I wrote up this past summer.
  My friend loved it, and hopefully she’ll get lots of wear out of it.  As well as it turned out, I’m half tempted to make myself one.  Too bad I know it’d be in my hair all of 30 seconds before one curious little boy or another yanked it out…

Button Necklace, inspired by alex and chloe

  Pinterest is such a wonderful treasure trove of inspiration for me.  I get exposed to all sorts of designers, brands and ideas that I never would have come across on my own.

  Alex and Chloe is one of those brands.  When I saw the picture above on Pinterest I fell in love.  As a seamstress, I have a bit of a weakness for buttons, but unfortunately, while the Alex and Chloe versions are fabulous, to say that their starting price of $100 is a bit out of my comfort range would be rather understating things.
  Luckily, this idea is perfectly DIY-able, and I already had all the supplies on hand.
  The main challenge of making this work is finding a combination of chain and button that fit together.  You need either a really fine chain, or a button with a rather large hole.  I busted out my collection of chains and antique buttons and split the difference so I didn’t need to buy anything.  Somewhat delicate chain and a shell button that had a slightly larger than average hole.  Once the button was threaded onto the chain, I attached my closures, hung it ’round my neck and pretty much haven’t taken it off since.
  Soooo, I know I’m supposed to be working on smiling more in pictures, but the boys were giving me hell all morning when I took these, so I was in more of a “scowl at the camera” kind of mood.   Besides, a smile would have totally ruined the “Girl with the Pearl Button Necklace”, historical-drama novel look going on in the close up shot anyhow.
  This is such a quick and easy craft to throw together, with such great results!  Break out your own button collection and find a pretty one to wear.
  By the way, speaking of easy projects, the top I have on is one of the altered maternity tops I told you about a month or so ago!

Mobile Fish #2

  I mentioned in the comments last week…there might be a lot of these for a while.  Crafting and sewing time is rather at a premium with two little guys on my hands.  That means more posts about works in progress than finished projects for a little bit!

  I finished another fish for the mobile.
  This time I’m getting smart and keeping him hidden away so he doesn’t get co-opted into G’s growing army of stuffed animals.
  This fish’s nubby body and chubby little pot-belly are more in line with the idea I had to start with.  I’m also happier with the sequin and bead eyes I stitched on, instead of the buttons last week’s fishy had.
  The bulk of him is scraps left from my two-way stole, his face is the same as the first fish’s body and his fins and tail are pocket material from a pair of my Mr.’s jeans that had gotten worn out.
  I’m definitely missing having the time to complete bigger projects right now; the first 3 months or so of having a new baby made me totally batty last time too.  I have to admit though, these little quick projects are fun!