Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tacky Tacky Tacky!

The other night, I was reading up on one of my favorite blogs, and I was going through pictures of Lucy's work. I was also checking out nearly every link in her blog to see where inspiration is derived. Suddenly, I got this wild, but not entirely surprising realization: I am too afraid of color! Every project I make is pre-designed/ pre-meditated. I have to draw a diagram, after several weeks of thought, and several swatches to test color combinations. No wonder I never finish anything! It's completely boring just planning it out, so when I actually start the creation part, I have had enough of the project already! So a few nights after this realization, I grab all this yarn And I take my entire stash of 100% cotton yarn that I have been collecting for various projects over the course of 2 years. I'll be perfectly honest, I have never ever ever made anything from any of this yarn. Ever. I think my plan was to just build a collection of each color available! And I just started to make all these random squares. I wasn't planning anything out. The only "Plan" I made was to see how many squares I could make before I would have to repeat a color combination. As of right now, I have about 30 squares completed and NONE of them are the same :) A small sort of accomplishment! I will admit that this blanket is TACKY!!!!! Goodness gracious! Who would ever be proud of such a thing? Ha! Well, I decided that I wanted to make it for my Little Darling who needs something to sleep with during nap time at daycare. I'd seen 2-3 hand-crafted blankies in the cubbies of her classmates, and thought to myself, "Tacky has a home!" I am looking forward to completing this tacky assortment of squares and assembling them. I am hoping to be finished near the end of the week! And working on this blanket made my mind drift back to a project I started back in November, when I was first learning to make African Flowers. I think this was to be a pillow or something. Who knows?! But I am glad I never throw away projects in which I lose interest. As long as I can remember the color of yarn, the pattern/design, and the hook used, I can always pick up the pieces and keep going later. So when I am done with my Tacky Blanket, I will work on this one. This will be equally as colorful, but just with a tad more of a plan in mind! I can't wait!!! I have also been working on my table cloth. Since I was having allergic reactions to the acrylic yarn, I decided to use 100% cotton yarn to make a table cloth, and I started all over. I finished this in one night at work. Can you believe this is FOUR balls of yarn?! I will need to buy more yarn to continue the project, but I am getting really excited about this as well. I can literally see my dining room area coming to life. And check out the difference between the acrylic yarn... ... and the 100% cotton. I drapes nicer and it look more... Almost lustrous, I guess. Once I have this table cloth finished, I will move on to some cushions, pot holders, a table runner, some place mats, a center piece (for which I am already REALLY excited to hunting down supplies) and, of course, let's not forget... my *Dream* of a large painting that has eggplants and pears. Sounds crazy? You just wait! It will be glorious! ' Til Next Time! Too-da-loooooo!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Little Birthday

It's been years since I have made a big deal about turning another year older. I used to enjoy making the cakes, drinks...the guest lists, the hassle. I think that as I get older, it becomes less about what I do on my special day and more about who I am fortunate enough to spend time with.

Today, I got Several messages and birthday wishes from all my friends and family :) I couldn't be happier or more thankful. I wish I could knock on each one's door and give them a hug in person and maybe take a short stroll with them, while we catch up. Unfortunately, the digital gratitude will have to suffice for the time being.

I was able to do something today that I have wanted to do for some time now. By some time, I mean about a year! I love being outside, walking around, just enjoying the environment and air. My severe allergies (to all trees & grass) and my hectic work/school schedules haven't allowed me the time to just enjoy my surroundings the way I have desired. Today, around brunch time, I had an interview for a new job. Afterwards, rather than waiting for my ride home, I went for a walk.

A load of these little yellow flowers were waiting for me outside the door of my interview. I know they weren't there the day before, because I was just at this building the other day for an interview that was rescheduled. In my little mind, these flowers showed up for my birthday! Dandelions used to be in stiff competition with Daisies for my favorite flower. I went with Daisies, but I still love Dandelions too.

I love this part of town. I miss living there, although it's really not suitable for a family. My Little Darling wouldn't have very many children to play with or any parks to go to. But the sight of it.... Well, it just reminds me of good times.

A mural on a wall as I walked underneath the interstate.

These flowers weren't here Monday, and then Tuesday, they are on all the trees everywhere!

I think they are so beautiful. From a distance, I thought "Drats! These puffy flowers are the sole reason for my allergy attacks everyday". As I got closer, I wanted to pull one off a tree and wear it in my hair all day. Funny how perspective can change things.

I have no idea where this store is, but when I saw it...It just made me smile. A great, sunny, perfect day....and sight of this random, happy grocery store!

PIE! I love PIE! Specifically speaking, I love PIE from Homemade PIE & Ice Cream Kitchen. I prefer this particular Kitchen. I always get the Dutch Caramel Apple PIE with a scoop of Cinnamon Ice Cream. YUMMA YUMMA YUMMA-LICIOUS! This was birthday slice #1, and slice #2 for the week. I will be having yet another slice here shortly, when The Hubs returns from work.

Just know that I am Very Happy and Even More Thankful!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project Rundown

I am SO excited! I have, well had at this point, 3 full days and 2 full nights off from work! Since it is the end of my first day off from work, I now have 2 days and nights, but I am thrilled either way.

Normally, when I have days off, I just sleep. For example, The Hubs and my Little Darling were out of town this past weekend. I slept about 15 hours per day! But these next days will be different. I have so many things that I have started to work on, but I can't come close to finishing them because I need things I can't have at work... like my toddler for fittings, my sewing machine, my dress form, etc. Being home these next few days will give me the perfect opportunity to really put a hurt on some of these little projects!

Project #1: Circles to Squares Afghan for My Little Darling I have been working on this for about 2 weeks now. I recently discovered that I am seriously allergic to this yarn, so I am not working on projects made from this yarn as diligently as I was before. What happens? My face breaks out right along with my chest and back. Gross, high school-like acne! The only thing that clears it up is using some anti-bacterial body wash...which also dries out my skin, therefore causing even more break-outs! Part of me is thinking: just finish the damn project and then be done with it; worry about the acne later! Another, louder part of me is screaming: you hated high school and most of it was due to your crazy skin issues; no way will we willingly relive those years over a damn blanket! But the allergy is worse than just a skin issue. The fibers that naturally come off the yarn make my nose bleed, when inhaled. Inhaling microscopic fibers is inevitable unfortunately. The Hubs suggested I wear a full on mask to prevent any exposure to the yarn fibers. Ha! Could you imagine!? The yarn also gives me not one sty on my eye.... nope. It's more like 5-7 irritating, painful, scratchy bumps across both eyelids, making it nearly impossible to function.

This is what the blanket will look like when finished. It also does not include the border of colorful squares... Or the fleece (which gives me hives because I am also allergic to this fiber as well) that will be on the bottom of it. I want this blanket to be soft and cuddly for my daughter, yet playful and interesting on the other side. While at the craft store today, I found the perfect, most adorable polka-dotted fleece fabric that will be a perfect match for this finished project. I need to see exactly how big the end result is before I buy the fabric. Fleece is expensive, so I don't want to buy too much and have some odd shaped piece of it left over that I can't use. I also don't want to have to attach more pieces because I didn't buy enough to begin with. Either way, the circles into squares does not take very long at all, so I am hoping to finish another 3rd of the blanket in the next few days, while I am at home. Having serious allergic reactions is always better to endure while in the comfort of my own four walls, with Benadryl and a pillow right on hand!

Project #2: Granny Square Cardigan for My Little Darling
I was doing one of my usual browsing through pictures, blogs, and so on for inspiration and ideas. I revisited this pattern and decided to give it a go! Unfortunately, like many patterns, I am having to revise this one to fit a little person. I am not a mathematician, so we will see if all of my calculations work out! If not, I am sure my Little Darling will enjoy dressing up one of her animals with the end result. Ha!

Project #3: Asymmetrical Cardigan for My Little Darling
This is based on the same pattern I used to make infant cardigans. Again, I am using my "artistic math abilities" to modify this pattern to fit a pre schooler. So I am not sure what the end result will be as of yet, but I know that if it is a disaster, my Little Darling will be more than happy to play with it in some imaginary fairytale theme that she conjures up. Might I add that this yarn does not cause any allergic reactions and is SUPER DUPER SOFT because it is 100% cotton! My new safe haven-- all natural fibers! No more acrylic, polyester, nylon, viscose or whatever else is used. I'm going all natural, baby!

Project #4: Easy One to Two Hour Sewing Projects
I have these cute patterned fabrics. All of them are 100% cotton, so I need not fret about allergic reactions. As mentioned in previous posts, I am terribly afraid of my sewing machine. However, if I see another blog where someone has sewn something, embroidered something, or in any other way, shape, or form used a sewing machine to create something ah-mazing, I am going to SCREAM! I have to learn how to sew! The original plan was to take a 10 week sewing class. I didn't have the money to spare for that, thanks to too many trips to the craft store, but I do have all the materials and machinery needed. I am going to start with some super-simple one hour sewing-for-dummies-type of patterns. Nothing that requires too much fabric, skills, or knowledge. If you never read another post from will be due to the somber fact that my sewing machine has eaten me whole.

Project #5: Teaching Myself to Knit
For the past 3 months or so, I have been seriously interested in knowing how to knit. I have seen some seriously adorable patterns, not that I will be ready for patterns for another year or so. I have also realized that you can do more with knitting than crochet, which is really exciting! I have been having different people teach me a few things every here and there, but I still don't get it. So I went out and bought my very first knitting needles and some how-to literature. Something tells me I will need more than the books... I might need a DVD, a personal tutor, and a small miracle to grant me the gift of coordination! I am thrilled to learn just the basics for now, and I have two more days to try!

I have absolutely no intention of finishing so many projects. I am just glad to be able to have the time, space, and supplies I need in order to work on these things. I hope to have some very interesting results before I go back to work Thursday night!

Also.......... tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY (woo-hoo-hoo!!!!) And tomorrow, I will reveal a very special project that I am to begin. But you have to wait until then -- Wink*

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oooh La La -- TA DAH!

I am soooooo happy to show what I have finished. I am so excited that I plan to include whatever "revealing of completed projects" in their own little blog posts from here on out!

Some weeks ago, when I last blogged, I showed a series of baby items that I am working to complete. With the exception of one baby who is already here, I have just a few more weeks to finish everything else!

I ended up missing the baby shower of a friend, which under normal circumstances, would give me "permission" to drop the project. I am happy that I didn't.

I finished her little baby gift basket!

You can't see all the contents in this picture, but there are plenty more to come!

First, I want to confess that my plan did originally include items that were sewn. I had this uber-cute Hello Kitty baby pink fabric that I was going to use to make a bib... and there as something else that was going to be sewn, but after struggling with my fear of being eaten alive by my sewing machine, I didn't even bother pursuing "mystery sewing project #2".

There was also supposed to be a crochet hat in the mix. I said "NO" to that as well. The baby will be born in warmer months and...well, I know when I am getting eager to be finished. When I get that "Just be done already" itch, I have learned, with the completion of this project, to just go with it! Finish what I can so that it seems complete, and then move on to the next thing! My problem lies in that I get bored and try to force myself to finish things. Then it becomes a chore. Boring, time-consuming, annoying chore. But not if I listen to that little, easily distracted voice telling me what it's time to call it quits, wrap it up!

And that is what I did with this project. I had finished the larger blanket some weeks ago first.

I then started and finished this smaller blanket. It's to be thrown over the carrier. I hope it's the right size. I never had a carrier for my Little Darling. We bought our stroller in Germany and it came with some sort of .... something else!

I am always dreaming of these projects I start. In my dream, this one had some colorful flowers on it. These were some of the first flowers I have crocheted!

These flowers, I just made up out of my head. I was tired of trying the complicated flower patterns and failing!

But, you what they say... "When you stop trying, it happens for you!" I was on the brink of leaving the blankie out of the whole project, when I gave it one more try! I was able to make a flower (***HAPPY DANCE***). I got this pattern from this book. This book is great because it has a diagram, AND words, AND pictures of the completed motifs. Yes, I need THAT much help in order to follow a pattern. But it was worth it. I think the flower is precious!

I actually just finished and stitched all the flowers to the blanket last night at work! I am happy. I had to fight myself to complete my vision. Good thing I won.... against... myself- HA!

In the mean time, in order to distract myself from my struggles of deciding on colors for flowers and dealing with my terrible lack of competence in the department of following patterns, I worked on this little cardigan.

I found the pattern for this on this blog. Ok, this is the basic pattern in the blog. I made the bottom part shell stitches instead. I thought it was cuter. You can tweak it to make any stitch you like. I will be playing around with this basic design and coming up with some cute little baby cardis in the coming weeks as I complete the other baby projects!

I also made these little booties.

Well, these are actually just some ballet flats... maybe some ankle socks, depending on how you view it! I got the basic pattern from this blog. This is one of my favorite blogs. Lisa is so creative and always has some inspiration pictures on her Flckr site. If you are bored and looking for some creative motivation, check Lisa out! If you are a Knitter, she has lots of knitting projects too!

This is the little set, finished. I guess a hat wouldn't have been too terrible to make--- but NO! I'm done with this! One more thing, and I will explode! Hahaha!

Well..... there are two more things actually, which is why the hat never happened.

I wanted to embellish some onesies! I got some "easy" sewing patterns for baby stuff, but my sewing machine grew these angry red eyes and started drooling.... so I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some onesies to embellish.

In hindsight, it would have been cheaper to grab a pack of onesies from Target or Wal-Mart, but I am happy that I picked these up and gave it a go! I have embroidered things before. I am not terrific at it, but I am working to grow my skills! Let me just say, if you are new to the needlework/ embroidery game: DO NOT EMBROIDER JERSEY KNIT FABRICS ON YOUR FIRST PROJECT!!! I found this out the hard way. It kept stretching and I couldn't get a picture on there....

BUT! I am very happy with how cute they turned out!

My little sister got me hooked on to all this Kawaii things. Everything has to be **CUTE ^.^** My favorite, when it comes to the **CUTE ^.^** are all the foods and sweets! Ha! Can you tell I'm a foodie?! All the fruits and veggies, the toast and sweets, the dumplings and sushi. They're so funny and adorable. And what's sweeter than a baby girl? Uh, NOTHING!

Well, when it was all said and done, I was happy that I tried new things-- the onesies and the flowers. I was happy that I used some well-known techniques to finish the project faster -- granny squares and basic double crochet for the blankets. I will most definitely be trying several new items as I finish the other 2 baby baskets I have left. And go figure! I have THREE more pregnant friends after I am done with those baskets! Lucky for me, I love to make things for little ones!

Until next time! HUGS :)


Well, I have to admit that if you looked outside of my window, you wouldn't think that the title of this post makes any sense! It's yet another rainy, chilly day in my little city. I remember when March would get here and it would be scorching hot. This memory is coming from somewhere way back about 10 years ago. It's just so gloomy that all I have to keep me warm on a morning when I am home alone like this are those memories of being outside eating ice cream on a hot, March afternoon. I know that Spring isn't officially here yet. And I know that the raccoon or whatever the animal...Paqchatway? The little squirrel thing that looks for a shadow. I know it didn't see it this year, so that is a good sign! I am anticipating that Spring is just a few weeks away. And the good thing about Spring here is that it's really, really warm!

The title that I have shared has more to do with the projects that I have been working on.... and e-hem, the one that I FINISHED!!!!! Yes, that's right! Me! I finished something! For once in... well, let's not put a number on how long it's been since I've started and finished anything. I could do cartwheels and sing cheesy songs from musicals. That's how proud I am of myself!

Unfortunately.... I am going to make you wait to see what I have finished. Ha! Of course, you could just scroll down, but that wouldn't make any sense. Then you would have to scroll back up and read my post backwards. Trust me, I read magazine articles backwards all the time (an improvement from reading them upside down, I suppose) and I know that it takes some serious skills!

In my last post, I mentioned something about getting a little more creative with African Flower hexies. Well, I was at work the other week, and I started to work on this.

What is this? This is a sketch for a tote. My sketches are super terrible for someone who has a Bachelors in Fine Arts from an accredited university! The thing is, I am extremely visual, but I don't waste time perfecting the piece of paper! It's the doing that gets me excited!

So after toying around with these African Flower hexagons that were originally going to be for a scarf, I managed to piece the puzzle together into a tote. You would think that would have been easier, given my sketch, but you saw it yourself! Could you understand and follow that diagram?! Please, pay no attention to the mess at my work desk. I always have my laptop, phone, and snacks readily available. I like to watch a movie and text while I work. Makes the time go by much faster and makes me feel like I'm with people all night. And although you can't see it, I am usually reading an art/craft blog or two while working as well. Do I read the blogs backwards like I read magazine articles? NO! I read them in no order at all. I find the most interesting picture and start there and then skip around until I have finished the whole post. Try it! It will blow your mind!

This is what I have so far. I just need to finish sewing a few hexies together and add a handle for the tote and then decide how to line the bag....Should it be fabric? Will I do a crochet lining? I have seen crochet linings before. I think that may be too much of a commitment for me! It looks like a lot of tedious work...row, after row, after row.... I have a magical closet filled with fabrics. I will pick one and sew it in the bag. Stay tuned to see the finished (and yes, I shall FINISH! this bag) product!

However, I have to admit I had to abandon this project for a moment in order to work on a more time-sensitive project. I will get to that in a bit.

First, I am excited to announce that I am doing something for myself! I never make anything for myself... ever... under any circumstances whatsoever. Anything crafty or artistic that I make is always given to someone. Go figure! I don't even think to sell my works. I am perfectly happy with handing them off to someone. I like the smiles!

But I put my altruism on hold for a moment for this project

It will be a table cloth. I have had this dream of having this painting of a Bartlet pear and eggplants together and everything in the dining area will be this dark brown, aubergine purple, and limey-pearish green.

It seems a little colorful, but I think I am OK with that. I like color, and I am always playing it way too safe anyway. For the longest, I have been working to change everything to Black in my living room. And the walls are blank. For someone so artistic, I really don't take the time to utilize any of my creativity to save my apartment from looking as though we just moved in! I am hoping to change all that with my new table cloth! I am going to put a sheet of thin plastic over it. This thin plastic, of course, can be located in my magical closet of items from the fabric store! It pays to be a collector of random artsy thingies!

When it's all said and done, I will have the table cloth, some place mats, a runner for the table (I cook elaborate family dinners on most nights and everything is set on the table), some chair cushions, some pot holders, and let's not forget my painting of pears and eggplants! I am also thinking of a nice centerpiece for the table as well. I love the idea of fresh flowers, but my allergies prefer silk flowers. That final decision will be made at a much later date!

Oh! And that's the first granny rectangle I have ever made! WOOPIE!

This week, I noticed something important.... I really can't sew! In my grand finale of my finished project, I planned to include some sewn items. the truth is I can't sew anything more than a straight line... and even that usually looks like a question mark or a semi colon on some days!

I decided that my next order of business is to teach myself to sew!

Lucky for me, Hobby Lobby;, my local and all-time favorite craft store, has Simplicity patterns for just 99cents! Some of these patterns are over $15!!! And who said it would be cheaper to make your own clothes? By the time you have bought your $15 pattern and your $70 or so of fabric and notions to complete a single item in the pattern collection... You really start to wonder if it's worth it.

Of course, I have the answer to that question! HELL YEAH!!!!! It's SO worth it to see my Little Darling in a fresh Spring Collection of dresses and happy little ensembles made by her mother. That means, she will pick the patterns and decide the colors and which ribbons! But first I have to get over something......

I am terrified that my sewing needle will BITE ME! Laugh if you want to, but I have seen enough fashion design competitions on TV in which someone is getting eaten by their sewing machine. The screams. The pain. The blood... Yea. HELL NO! Not for me! My machine is not taking a notch out of my finger! And because of this minor phobia, I can't even sew a straight line. I keep moving my hand and watching the machine devour the fabric on its own. I guess I must admit--- I am not smarter than my sewing machine!

I have been dreaming of designing and making my own clothes since I can remember. So I stocked up on "easy" patters and I will begin teaching myself to sew as soon as possible. I did plan on giving an "easy" skirt a try this afternoon. We will see if I have time for such things. Something tells me I can find something safer to do!

As I am the Queen of Random Thoughts, I just had one... I will make another post dedicated to my finished project.... Hopefully it won't be the last.

Ha! And to think! You made it all the way to the end of this post.... expecting to see a little something, didn't you? Well, I will give you a little appetizer, a sneak peak.... but just a taste! You can check out the next post for the whole meal :)