Monday, December 30, 2013

Loom Knitted Baby Blanket

All the loom knitting I've done so far has been using both sides of my long loom, back and forth, double-sided I guess? Like this one here. One of these days I'll learn the proper terms to better describe what I do for you guys.

Anywho, I have a friend who had a baby boy 2 months ago. I decided to make him a baby blanket, out of that really, really soft "Baby Blanket Yarn", using a new stitch technique. I used the video tutorial here from to make the blanket, using a stitch that goes around the pegs on the loom, and I used my longest loom. My friend also chose a Monsters, Inc theme for the nursery so when I found this yarn that's mostly white with the soft blue and green bits in there, I couldn't resist!

The results:

I love it!! The pattern that switches back and forth between purling one row, e-stitching the next, is such a pretty pattern and so easy to do!!

Then there's the edges. The way you wrap the outer edge pegs, forms this awesome rope-like edge that just looks so finished. It looks good head-on...

...and from the front!

I had to use 2 skeins of yarn, so there is the inevitable tie-off knot in there, and this is what it looks like up close, but you'd be hard pressed to just see it when you look at the blanket as a whole.

The only truly hard part I had was finishing the darn thing off. I will say, the YouTube video was pretty alright, except when she's showing you how to finish it. She accidentally goes off-camera with her hands and the part of the loom she's working on so it was a little difficult for me to understand (probably mostly with my limited knit and/or crochet skills) what she did if your row gets tight and you need to add an extra stitch here and there. I sort of figured it out towards the middle, but by then, it's really hard to recover and it got tight again, forming this little scallop part. Oh well, mostly it looks just as finished as the first row and the sides, and a friend I showed it to told me that babies like to nibble, so maybe that's what he'll do with the scallop point?

All in all, this blanket took me about 24 solid hours of work, and is 30" by about 38" or so long. I will be sending it out to my friend this week and can't wait to see what he and his fiance say about it! I really hope they like it!!

Now that I know the amount of time and effort that goes into this type of project, I want to start thinking about doing smaller squares and make an afghan for myself to use in the living room when I get cold. That means I'd have to learn the whole stitching-pieces-together thing, but hey, challenges are fun! Right? Right!!

Craft ya laters!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why is staying organized so gosh darned hard?!

I always let my craft room get so messy I can hardly walk around in there. Then I spend hours cleaning it up, only to let it get messy all over again within a matter of weeks, sometimes days! I have the understanding that being crafty and having as many crafts and hobbies as I do, my room is bound to get messy once in a while, but I just can't seem to really understand why and how my room gets as bad as it does, as frequently as it does!

I spent 3 hours in my room one night some weeks ago and another 3 hours the next night for example, and still did not quite done. I felt closer to getting fully organized than I have ever before. I even went and bought yet another plastic sterilite drawer organizer to put in there so that I can reduce the number of shoe boxes I use for things. In particular, my perler beads. Would you believe I have enough perler beads to fill 2 shoe boxes and they're overflowing AND there's more that were ordered and I'm just waiting on them to get delivered!! It gets a little old trying to carry around 2 shoe boxes whenever I want to work on anything perler related, especially since one of them is starting to fall apart it's been so full for so long.

I got to a point in my room where it was clean again, and was looking good...

See, doesn't that just look nice and neat!? That bottom right drawer btw? Yeah, that's the perler bead drawer, STUFFED full!

Only problem is, fast-forward to Halloween prep and party.. cleaning the living room up of all the boxes and things I ended up not using to decorate and you get this:

Yeahhhhh...... my room seems to end up the end-all, be-all place where things get dropped if I'm not sure where to put them for now and/or don't have the time to really be careful about setting things aside in its proper place or put back together properly. I feel like most everything has a place and I try to keep it all in its place, but it just keeps getting to the point where I can't get in there and either decide to be lazy and don't do anything, or I get the supplies out and go to another room like the living room so I can sit with BF and watch tv while crafting.

Like the other night. I had to work on a clutch for a friend but didn't have the time or patience to clean my room to get to my sewing table so I just grabbed my machine, pedal/plug, ironing board and iron and used the kitchen table. Not quite the best solution but I did have plenty of space, got to watch the big tv in the living room while working (BF was out with his brothers and I fell to a guilty pleasure of a horribly silly reality show... "Say Yes To The Dress!"). Somehow though right when I was on the 2nd to last step, sewing around the whole outside of the lining and outside pieces and over the zipper before the flippity-flop to put it all right side out, my needle got to a point where it kept hitting.... something....and I broke 3 needles!!! THREE!! The first two were while I was going over the zipper, but when the 3rd broke over just the few pieces of fabric, I got so frustrated I turned the machine off, picked up my beer and just resigned to the sofa.

It definitely helped being in a common area when BF decided to take a look and helped me fix my machine. He took a look at my machine and found that for some reason, the needle was getting dragged back a little from the vertical drop it's supposed to do and was stabbing the metal plate below it! There was a visible hole from one of the hits too!! He took the plate off and took it to the garage where he quickly drilled at the side of the hole to widen it. Once he put it back on, I was able to finish the clutch! YAY!! He totally saved the day and my sanity!! Thank you, BF!!

While this was awesome that he could help me so easily, there's still the actual matter that I shouldn't have been in the kitchen to begin with; I should be able to work in my room at any time on any project and not have to spend hours cleaning first, or worse, move to another room altogether!

Like always, this type of situation gets me to dreaming... I dream of our future home where I can put holes in the walls (more than my current pegboard which is all I'm allowed currently to lessen the fixing when we move out) and have more permanent fixtures up so I don't have to use all the sterilite containers I use now. Of being able to paint the walls and not struggle to try and find creativity in a white box. Most of all, I dream of having a space that I feel proud of and comfortable enough in that I WANT to keep it cleaned and organized and I have no problem being able to keep it that way and that just breeds creativity and action!

Here are some ideas of rooms I love elements from and want to use for inspiration:

I love the idea of the big central working space with little shelves in it for frequently used items, but ease of getting to the rest of the room...

Artful Leigh Craft Room

I love that everything has a place, and everything is in its place...

And I especially love the corner/wrap-around desk and she has her sewing machine in the corner where there's the most room...

This room I like bc it's got all different kinds of containers that are all organized as well as coordinated with the same kind of label. That and like the one before, everything has a place and it's all in there!!

craft room love love love
Unfortunately, there's no source on this one that I can find.
Yet another with great organization but with half everything behind closed doors, the rest in easy to see/find containers..
I am just soooo envious of these gals getting their spaces organized and looking so good and I look at my room and just wonder how or IF I can ever hope to be that organized. I keep trying and trying, I'll spend hours cleaning up, organizing, trying to go through old items and clearing out things I don't think I'll ever use, but it's just never quite enough.

Do any of you have this same problem? How do you try to keep your space clean? What kind of steps do you take? Is it easier to clean up after every project or dedicate a day of the week to clean up after the whole week? Let me know in the comments!

Craft ya laters!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Holiday Plans

While I am waiting to get ahold of pictures taken of the Halloween party I had this last weekend to show you guys, I have started looking ahead at the holidays and making plans for what I want and need to get done.

We have decided as a family/group that BF and I are hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve at our house. We have also thrown around the idea of an ugly/tacky Xmas Sweater Party! Since we're doing so much entertaining already, and we don't want to overfill our weekends for the last 6 weeks of the year, I'm not sure if that last one will be a Xmas sweater party, or just tacky sweater party maybe in January? But there is also the matter of us wanting to take the weekend of December 6-8 for ourselves as our 6-year anniversary is on the 7th!

But what holidays mean is that I get to try and come up with some decorations perhaps to put up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I borrowed Christmas decorations from my parents last year as well as BF's brother's tree (he and his wife weren't able to get it up and since they weren't hosting any family event...) so I had that covered, but what about Thanksgiving?! I'm thinking at the very least I can make more yarn chain/garland to put under the kitchen bar and over the fireplace like I did for Christmas last year, with orange and brown perhaps? But what else?! 

Most of the pictures you see online are of table centerpieces or fireplace decorations... on a ledge or shelf. We do not really sit at a big table (numbers are way too many for that) and we don't have a ledge or shelf over our fireplace, nor do we plan on installing one as we are only currently renting. This is something I will definitely have in the house we plan to purchase, but for now, no ledge. We do have the bar countertop from the kitchen to the living room, but what can I put on there that will look nice and not cluttered. What can I put in the dining room area where the food will be set out for people?

As for regular decorations to place around the living room and dining area, there are some that are a little too simple and would be better suited if we had kids...

bead board turkeys- Thanksgiving decor DIY
Leslie's Latest Creations

Some decorations, although cute and/or funny, are a little outdated...

Vintage 1980 Thanksgiving Decoration Diecut Harvest Autumn Pilgrim Turkey Indian
Vintage Thanksgiving Decorations
Then there are decorations I like, but would maybe be too much for our simple Thanksgiving celebrations...

Thanksgiving decorations in the dining room
A Cultivated Nest Thanksgiving

Although, looking through Pinterest at Thanksgiving decoration ideas, it makes me realize that when we do get our house one day, I kinda hope to be able to have a little more formal a setup and house layout so that we can have some of the nicer decorations make sense. Currently, we have only a little square table in our dining area as a full 6-seater table would not fit, with chairs, to eat at. Forget about the idea of eating in there at all when it's a family holiday anyways since his side has 6-8 direct family members, I have 3, but we also invite friends of the family and friends from work and it gets up to about 30-40 people for the holidays!! 

We will just do what we always do, setup the 4-seater and an additional folding long table (like Halloween in a T backing to the window between the shelves) to layout the food on and people will either stand in the kitchen eating while talking, find a seat in the living room or just go to the backyard and eat over their laps as we only  have 1 table out back. **siigh**  It's fun times, I just sometimes dream of having a little more formal, closer to family oriented holiday so it doesn't get quite so crazy, but then that's probably because before meeting BF, I never EVER had a family/friend base like we have now. Holidays used to be just my mom, dad, brother, me and my grandma. So you can just imagine the culture shock I had the first few holidays we had when I realized the first one wasn't a fluke, nor was the second, and wow, it's ALWAYS like this?!

Anywho, enough of the rambling. I'll come up with something and show you guys what I do come up with.

In the meantime, this month will (hopefully) be reserved for things like working on scarves with all the yarn I got last month (yay sales!), finishing the baby blanket I started for a friend (that's a post all its own!) as well as trying to get the jewelry and clutches posted on my website that I got back from Easely Amused to see if any of those might possibly sell, maybe work on some new ones for Xmas times as well as finish the 3 I owe my boss and friend plus many other things on my plate!

There's always things to do when you're a crafter!!

Craft ya laters!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Resin Time!!

I am really really excited you guys!! I follow Carmi Cimicata on her Resin Crafts blog and on 10/1/13, she posted about a project she wanted her readers to participate in: Resin Time! I sent an email to her with my address and sat back to wait for an email to let me know I'd been chosen to participate.. and waited...and waited. Hmm... I guess she had enough people respond before me, and I couldn't participate. Maybe next time!

But then... late last week I got a package in the mail. I opened it and there it was! My very own time piece bezel!!

From her blog:
"Your watch face will be photographed and then I will be displaying them all in our huge booth at CHA in California in January.  That is the biggest crafting event in the world and I want your resin timepiece to be with me!

I plan to have a judging committee to select the top 10 favorites, which will be further featured on Resin Crafts Blog!"

The only requirements are to use either the ETI Resin and/or the Resin Clay. That doesn't seem too difficult but the question is, what the heck will I put in the thing?! I don't know, but I'm excited to be a part of this and can't wait to see what all the finished pieces look like from all the other participants!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How-to: Making a Spider Egg Sack Halloween Prop

Hey guys!! I've been working here and there on some of my Halloween props and getting small stuff back up that I had last year (garland under the bar counter, 'flight of the bats' from the ceiling, webbing on the pictures in the living room, etc) but I went ahead and got more of my spider Egg Sacks made last night that I originally made 2 of about 3 years ago and wanted to make a tutorial for you so you can have some of your very own too!!

Doesn't this look just the creepiest!?

First, you'll need to get your supplies:

  • Spray Adhesive
  • Balloons (I use black, but you just want to use something that won't be noticeable, so white, black maybe green or gray...)
  • Plastic spiders
  • Plastic/paper plate or painter's tray for paint
  • Sponge
  • White fabric (I used a $3 twin sheet from Wal-Mart)
  • Acrylic paint in gray, green and brown
  • Webbing
  • Surface you don't mind getting adhesive and paint on (I use a piece of another sheet I used for other props before; as you can tell, it's used a lot!)

For my egg sacks, I mixed gray, green and brown paint together in about equal portions to get this olivey, sickly type of green:

I blew up about 6 balloons and tied them off. The fabric I cut in varying sizes of thick/thin square-like and longer rectangles. Think of these like papier mache strips. Once you've got your fabric pieces cut, grab a balloon and your spray adhesive. Now, I actually popped a balloon spraying too much and/or that particular balloon was a little weak. I'm not sure which, so just be careful in spraying too much.

Spray adhesive, if you've never worked with it, is very very sticky. It also works better when you spray less than if you spray more. You can either spray the pieces of fabric or the balloon directly and then apply the fabric strip to the sticky spots on the balloons. This is the easy part as you don't have to be clean or organized at all!! In fact, you WANT to put the pieces as disorganized and wrinkly as possible!

The more wrinkles you can get on these pieces once they're laid down, the better. You also want to get about full coverage, but it's ok if little spots show through:

Don't worry about covering where the knot of the balloon is, you'll usually not see this part as you'd use the knot to tie string on and tie this guy up to hang somewhere in the corner.

Once you've got all the fabric stuck on the balloon and the adhesive has been able to dry for a bit, go ahead and grab your sponge. Here's where you get to see where having all those wrinkles come into play!! When you sponge on the paint, you don't want to have full coverage, you want to be able to see some white showing through, but it's up to you on how much white vs green you have. Notice when you sponge on the folds and wrinkles of the fabric, you get the appearance of veins!

This is about what you should see once you've got the whole thing painted. See those awesome creepy veins?!

Next, grab some webbing, but only a little piece. Webbing most of the time comes in these big, fat, yarn-like strands. I cut off about a 4"-6" piece for these balloons. Stretch it out a little beforehand so it's a little easier to spread. Grab your adhesive spray and lightly coat a good size portion of the visible balloon surface you can see. Spraying this much makes it faster on sticking down the webbing so you're not re-spraying in between each little area where you're laying it down. 

When you're done with the webbing, just go ahead and stick a few plastic spiders in among the webbing and you're done!

Here's one I made last time, 3 years ago.

You might be thinking to yourself, "Self, how on Earth did she keep these old egg sacks inflated for 3 years?! Balloons don't last that long!! What the heck?!"

Well Self, I'll tell you! The other awesome thing about these besides being easy and cheap to make and giving you an easy, creepy prop, is that once you're done with them for the year, all you need do is take out the balloon (pop it) and flatten out the fabric! 

Flattened Egg Sacks
When next year comes around, the fabric will have stayed together well enough that all you need to do is stick a new balloon in there...

Inflate and voila! All you need do is maybe spot-check a few places where the corners of the fabric may have come up over time, but you can totally re-use these!! The only thing to watch out for is over inflating the balloon to bigger than it was the previous year as if you do, you will make all the fabric pieces come apart!

With my two from before, and one of my new ones, I just tied fishing line around the knots of the balloons and put them in the ceiling with a push pin!

What do you guys think?? Is this something you will be adding to your list for this Halloween or maybe next? Let me know how this method worked out for you and what your egg sacks look like!! I'd love to see them!!

Craft ya laters!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sad News About the Consignment

I know I've been pretty MIA lately guys, I apologize.  Work yet again continues to get in the way. I hope to really get my butt in gear this weekend to finish the Halloween prop I teased you with before, but also to work on a bit of the other things I have planned.

I wanted to put up a quick post however to let you know that Tuesday was a sad day for me....

I emailed the woman in charge of the shop I was on consignment with, Easely Amused, and she let me know that they've decided to go full on with home decor items in her lobby only going forward. This means I had to go ahead and pick up my stuff to bring it home as they're accessories.

I dreaded actually going so I did wait until the last day she'd asked me to have it out by, but at least once I got there, it wasn't nearly as awkward as I worried it might be (she's a really really nice gal). We chit chatted about how things are going, and when she asked me about plans for Halloween, I got to brag a little on what I've worked on so far and what my plans will be.

I am sad that it didn't last too long, but I am glad I at least made a few sales and I appreciate her allowing me to use space in her lobby to display my items.

I'm not sure if I'll try to look for another place to display my items just yet however as this time of year starts to get pretty hectic with family plans and work trying to get what it can before people are gone for the holidays. On top of that, I applied for a manager position here and am waiting to hear back about an interview and then we'll have to see what happens from there! If I get it, I'm not entirely sure what that'll mean for my free time or sanity, but I am thinking maybe it'll mean I'll HAVE to do some crafting here and there to keep my sanity or to relax on weeknights or weekends.

Hint: I'm kiiiiinda into making knitted scarves again and have already made my new one for the season!! That post to follow.... ;)

Anywho, thanks for sticking around and bearing with me and as always,...

Craft ya laters!

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 Halloween Prop #1 - WIP Pics with Full Reveal Later!!

Hey guys!! I know I've been a little sparse of late, but day job has been kicking my butt lately!! It's busy while I'm at work, and then by the time I get home, I'm just pooped!!

I did start on a Halloween prop for this year however this last weekend that I can maybe tease you with for a little bit.... ;)

Testing for doll size/fit.....

Boyfriend suggested I use a bigger baby so it'd look like it was jammed in there as opposed to me wanting to have enough room for it.... don't want the baby to be able to get up after all, do we?!?!! Mwahahhaa....

Starting to work on ghouling up the baby doll.... don't mind the pipe insulation pieces, that's for another prop I will be working on soon....

A little close-up of the baby in the painting process...

I know, it's not much and my pictures are le suck, but this is about all I've really had time or energy to do!! This weekend I hope to get this as well as a few more things done as I'm focusing tomorrow at least on this month's Craft Day - Halloween Themed!!

I'll post all the pictures (including these again) once the whole thing is complete and show you guys later what else I'm working on/have gotten done for my other props!!

Craft ya laters!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The 30 Minute Challenge

The other night, my boyfriend and I were watching tv together for a few hours. I realized it was about 8 o'clock however, and needed to work a little and make at least one of the things I have people wanting to pay me for. I told him I needed to work for a bit and his response of course was, "Ok, see you in an hour, if even." I simply stated, "I don't need an hour, I can work for only half an hour and be back in here!"

Needless to say, he didn't believe me so I made sure when I went to my craft room, to take special note of the time. I didn't do a clutch as I know for a fact these take about an hour, maybe an hour and 15 minutes for me to make, so I tested myself on making a simple tablet case with no frills or bows or anything.

Wouldn'tcha know, I totally won the challenge and was back in 30 minutes to watch some more tv with him!!

He did ask me when I got back however if it would even fit her tablet, and did I check to make sure? So he made me sufficiently paranoid enough to ask her exactly what tablet she has (Kindle Fire) so that I could look up the exact dimensions to my Nexus 7" tablet and there was only a 10mm difference on top to bottom measurement! Yay!! AND she likes how it looks! 

Now I only need to finish her clutch and I'm golden!!

Craft ya laters!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First attempt at inchies

I've recently become aware of these things called "inchies" thanks to the forums. An insightful post about what they are, as well as what "rinchies", "twinchies", "moos" and "rolos" are is here.

I am still trying to figure out the appeal, but in the process, I decided to make a few for myself:

A close-up for a little more detail:

I made these by cutting up an ATC card for watercoloring on into the 1"x1" pieces and once they were all created, I glued them to a piece of cardstock for scrapbooking to use as a display. I did trim it down a little so the inchies could be closer to each other instead of spread out on the whole piece of cardstock.

For something like this, I can see the appeal I suppose... it just depends on what you actually put on them or how you decorate them. These I feel were a little empty, until I put them together on the background and then they didn't look quite so 'meh'. I'm not sure about doing ones that aren't part of a collage or set such as these, but I may try a few more at some point and see what I can come up with. I especially want to try to do a themed set for my bff who loves the Firefly series/movie and the quote "I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar." in particular.

Even when I tried explaining to my boyfriend and the friends we had over the other night what I was doing and though why, "They're art... ya know,.. used for jewelry, to display, magnets.... things like that?" I was still a little unsure myself of why I was making them. 

I have been searching for ideas and different ways to make them, decorate them and display them and so far, I will say that Kira's blog "Oops, I craft my pants" has given me a TON of inspiration and I might try to do some of the things she's done such as:

Tiny scraps into colorful collage
Another teeny inchies book
Three bird inchies made from scraps

I really want to try something like these as some of the other ones I've seen (not going to show as I don't want to appear to be badmouthing any other artist, each person's opinion is their own and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings from my personal feelings or opinions) are a little too cluttered for my personal tastes or I can't quite understand why they put as much clutter on the pieces as they did, etc. The ones Kira does are minimal, but colorful and cute as all get out, much more my style and taste!

I love having small-scale art and things to put up on my wall at work so that's maybe the biggest appeal for me on these guys. I do particularly love the idea of a little inchies book though, something maybe I can adapt for the months or maybe the days with no month specified type of thing...

The other thing though is that it doesn't just have to be inchies! I have done a couple of ATC cards here but only did the 2 as I wasn't sure what else to put on them at the time, but there's the whole genre of these guys with the rinchies and twinchies too:

Inchies, rinchies and twinchies!
Rinchies are round inchies and twinchies are 2" square pieces, you have a little more room on those to work on a design. But there are also trinchies (3" square pieces) and moos (basically artist trading cards, ATCs) and rolos (altered rolodex cards).

Yeah, she has some pretty awesome stuff that she's made and is sooo inspiring to me!!

Craft ya laters!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Origami flower bunch in purple and black

My friend asked me to help her make some origami flowers for her wedding reception decorations. The style was this, called kusudama:

Simple enough, yeah?

Well, I got so intrigued with trying different colors and patterns, I went and got an old used copy of Jane Eyre to use those pages. It was pretty funny as I was doing this in the living room while watching a movie with my boyfriend and he looks at me funny and this is the conversation we had:

Him: Are you cutting up a book?!?
Me: Yes, yes I am.
Him: Why would you do that?!
Me: I'm crafting, duh?
Him: Well, is it a good book?
Me: *shows him the book title* Have you heard of it or read it?
Him: Oh. No. Carry on.

Now granted, I haven't read the book yet and I plan on one day reading it, but it wasn't that great a copy and I was making a flower primarily for personal practice and to recall how to make them, then the 2nd was going to be for my bff, Airon.

I used regular Elmer's glue for the pieces to be closed on themselves and to each other in the pairs, but then used hot glue to attach to these silver foil-like pipe cleaners I had in my stash, folded in half to be sturdier.

Then this last weekend I decided to make a whole bunch of flowers to give my boss cuz she's awesome!! Her favorite colors are purple, black and silver so I went to Hobby Lobby and got some 12"x12" sheets of scrapbooking paper, cut out 4" squares, painted some 1/8" (I think) dowel rods silver with acrylic paint, 2 layers and...

There are 8 total flowers in this bouquet and my hands didn't really start hurting/cramping until flower 8, so I call that a total win! I think it also helps when you assembly line the flower parts and then space it out with gluing together. Fold petals for 2-3 flowers...glue...fold 2-3 more...etc.

I tried to get a picture of the full bunch at a distance in front of one of the windows at work... didn't realize the colors were so bad, but you get the idea of how they look, right? I used some simple white/clear/AB glass marbles in the vase to give it a little more color.

Needless to say, my boss LOVES them!! ^_^ I'm thinking I might have to try making myself a bunch or two or ten! I do however want to try making them smaller, maybe see how small they would be with 3" square pieces of paper, but I also saw this and want to try it as I had the idea in my head and seeing it really does encourage me to have some to display cuz they look awesome!!

I just LOVE how that looks!!! I like the idea of using the alternate color as the leaves, but I'm also wondering how it'll look to have the 6 petal flowers (like what I did) and use an alternate color that's a little darker or lighter and try to mimic a real flower with layers of petals....

Don't worry, I'll definitely show you guys what I try and how they look!!

Anyone that hasn't heard of these and/or wants to try making some, this tutorial is fantastic and the site also has a bunch more tutorials for making all kinds of other origami things!!

Craft ya laters!