Busy Busy Busy.. And a Spring time wreath

I don’t know if you could tell or not, but I’ve been busy lately.  Graduate school isn’t fun when the end of the semester comes rolling along.  While working on major projects and trying to keep my 4.0 GPA (let’s see how long that lasts..) I’ve been crafting in between reading, reading, and more reading.  I’ve got a lot to share, but I’ll spread everything out so your brains don’t explode with amazingness.  HA.

Anyway, for the last year or so I’ve been seeing a lot of these fun and simple wreaths all over Craftgawker and Pintrest.  I’ve been wanting to make one myself but never got around to it.

FINALLY I DID.

It turned out supah cute and looks lovely against our red front door.  My yarn stash is getting put to good use other than being knotted by a crochet hook.

Since I haven’t posted in a long time, I have LOTSSS to share. But that’s it for now.. Preview for coming attractions: 2 afghans I’m working on, an accessory for my camera, and finding inspiration from a baby book. Stay tuned!

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I Feel Special

Oh my! I have a loyal follower! And he nominated me for an award!

I have to admit I blushed a little and it put a smile on my face when I saw my name under his nominations =) This fantastic guy is Mr. Raynor over at The Shy Lion.  I follow his blog as well and he always has something fascinating to say. So thank you, Raynor!!

As per the terms of this Versatile Blogger Award, I have a few rules to follow..

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Not quite the one to always follow in order, and in no particular order of intrigue, first here are seven things aboot myself!

  1. I have lived in the same house all of my 24 years, and have never called any other place than Chicago home.
  2. I shaved my head once! (It was for a good cause; not teenage rebellion)
  3. I buy and hoard classic paperbacks with every intention to read them, but I don’t know when I’ll get around to cracking most of them open
  4. I’m nerdily excited about being on the front lines for literacy as soon as I’m done with my Masters Degree in Library Science and become a school librarian
  5. I’ve always wanted to become a professional photographer, but chose not to go to school for it because I know I would lose some passion
  6. I spend way too much time at the beach, on the boat and in the sun during the summer, and tan lines are my biggest pet peeve
  7. and finally, My absolute biggest, most consuming fear is to lose a limb or any part of my body.. weird?

And now, this is going to be the hardest bit because I’m not sure that I follow 15 bloggers..But shhh I listed 16! But 16 of my favorite blogs, those who are loyal to my blog and blogs I’ve found helpful in the past are as follows (and in no particular order..)

Okay, so that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  There are so many great blogs and creative minds broadcasting out there and I wish I had more hours to dedicate to following them more often.  But that is a list everyone should browse because there is a lot of amazing content there! Keep this going, don’t keep this going, I don’t caaare.. I just felt honored that I was mentioned so I wanted to make someone else feel supah special too.

ANYWHOOOO, I’ve been very busy lately! Granny square baby afghan, planning another baby afghan, more amigurumi, Easter/Spring decorations.. So much to update you on! But I’ll save it for another day.

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“Should we talk about the weather?”

I’m more than happy to say that it’s been a very mild winter here in Chicago, and the Midwest for that matter.  When usually we’ll have nipping winds and mounds of snow we had balmy and miserably rainy days as well as temperate sunny ones.  But hey, I didn’t care.  Other than being able to wear cute scarves and sweaters, I hate hate hate winter and live for Spring and Summer! I was happier than a pig in shit when I was able to rock some colorful tights, cut off jean shorts and a cute sweater or cardigan in the middle of Winter.  We really only had two significant snow falls and I completely missed the second one when I was in Nashville.  We flew home into a rainy Chicago to find that every inch of it had melted away! Huzzah!

Even though it’s been a warm one, this winter was very lucrative for me. I’ve had tons of crochet orders — hats, beards, headbands, leg warmers.. — so the temperate weather didn’t affect my little business at all which I’m very happy about. Everyone has been super supportive and more than awesome when making purchases from me and I can’t be more thankful! But now that it’s really starting to warm up I’m trying to find some inspiration for banging out a bunch of little projects like amigurumi items and little things I can sell when the weather turns chilly once again. But for now I’ve got 2 baby blankets and some little projects on my agenda. But today I’ll take a break from it =)

The last couple of days have been in the 70’s (very strange for March!) and we’re expecting the rest of the week to be the same.  Now that Daylight Savings Time happened on Saturday night, the days are getting longer, the sun is changing angles in the sky and I’m waking up to the chirping of birds.  Right now it’s 5:15pm and still sunny! Today I sat in the sunshine with a book and couldn’t have been happier in life. I even added to my sunburn I got on Sunday! My sad, winter-pasty legs have acquired a little bit of a pinkish hue =) Ganja even came scratching at the door from the inside wanting to soak up some rays. Me-yow. Good things are happening.

A nice, quick read – biography of Janis Joplin

Ganja baby with her irresistible kitteh smile

Honestly this weather couldn’t have come at a better time because I’m starting to burn out from repetitive crochet projects.  I’ve made too many hats in the last 3 months! Hopefully the warmth keeps up and we don’t get any unexpected, late Winter snows like a few years ago (5 inches in late April of 2009!) I need to start getting my tan on and soaking in some Vitamin D. So, let’s talk about the weather. How’s everything in your neck of the woods?

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Knitting Hooker?

One of my resolutions for 2012 involves trying new things and expanding my horizons.  What better way to get started on this than to teach myself how to knit? I’ve had knitting needles sitting with my craft stuff for a long time and actually learned the basics of knitting over a year ago, but I never kept it up.  A few weeks ago I picked up the knitting needles and dug my heels in, deciding to stick with it. Using youtube videos, I actually got the knit and pearl stitches down pat! The process is veeeerrrryyyyy slow and sometimes I get frustrated after only a few rows because I feel like it takes FOREVER to knit something, but I’m grinning and baring it. I bought double pointed and circular knitting needles so now I feel obligated to learn!

So in order to actually feel productive I’m working on an easy and super adorable beginner project I found at Elisa McLaughlin Designs.

My friend Jessica asked me to make her a headband so I decided to knit it like the pattern says, rather than crochet it! Wish me luck… Progress and photos will be shared =)

How will you be following through with your new year resolutions in 2012?

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DIY Wine Cork Stamp: A Personalized Touch

Hey, Kids! I’ve got something for you! Lately I’ve been tossing around different ideas for branding my crochet goodies and have been trying different ideas for adding tags to my hats, headbands, scarves, etc. I decided that making my own stamp and stamping out tags would fit best with my “hand made” ideology. So I made a stamp and bought a fabric ink pad, and because it worked oh so well I thought I would share the idea with you! So here goes my *gasp* VERY FIRST TUTORIAL! Bare with me.. it’s not perfect but you’ll get the gist.

What will you need?

  • Wine cork – actual cork material works best; try to stay away from the foamy material like I used here (it’s all I had on hand) or else you’ll have a lot of holes in your stamp. But if that’s the look you’re going for then go for it!
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors – I didn’t use these for the stamp in this tutorial but if you don’t have an exacto knife, sewing scissors work well; they just aren’t as precise as the blade.
  • Tissue paper – Color doesn’t matter..
  • Pen – Try to use an ink pen like the one in the photo, not a ball point. You’ll need the ink to bleed through the tissue paper and transfer onto the cork.

1: Cut the cork to size

For this stamp I will just be making a tiny heart to stamp on small pieces of shoe lace, so I used a knife to cut 1/3 of the cork off. I will be using the inside area of the cork as my stamp. Essentially I can get 3 small stamps out of this one cork.

2: Make an outline on the cork so you know what area you’ll have to work with.

Because my shoe lace is thin, I need to know how big to make my heart so it will fit onto the shoe lace. I laid the shoe lace on the cork and used that as a guide to how big I could make my heart.

3a: Draw your shape inside of your outline

I free handed a teeny heart for my stamp =)

3b: If you want to use more of a difficult stamp pattern such as lettering…

Use your pen and tissue paper to draw or write your desired pattern. I used my initials as an example. Cut the tissue down to size so it’s easy to lay over the cork. Flip the piece of tissue paper over so you see the backwards image of your text or image. Because I used an ink pen rather than a ball point pen, the ink bleeds through to the other side making it easy to see the text or image.

3c: Lay your tissue paper on top of the cork and trace the image or text using your pen.

Make sure you go over the image 2 or 3 times so the ink will bleed through and transfer onto the cork. You’ll end up with a faint image like this:

4: Back to my heart.. Use the exacto knife to first cut away outside of your outline. Please don’t cut yourself!!!

The outline is helpful here because you can basically whittle your way down to the true stamp shape. Start by cutting along your outline and then cut around the cork perpendicular to your cuts. You’ll end up with this:

5: Cut away the excess until your image/text  is left

Here is where the precision comes in.. You need to be a little more precise with text, and that’s where an exacto knife comes in handy.

6: Stamp away!!

I hope this was easy enough to follow.. After all, it is my first tutorial! If you will be stamping on fabric you’ll need a fabric ink pad. VersaCraft is a great brand and comes in lots of fun colors. I found mine on eBay for around $7. If you’re using this ink, make sure you let the stamped fabric dry over night and heat set it. Lay a piece of fabric over your stamped fabric and use a hot iron back and forth for about a minute. Once the ink is heat set it will be permanent and can be washed without the ink washing off.

I made another stamp for my crochet tags. This was before I bought a new exacto knife so I used sewing scissors to cut away at the cork. The lines aren’t as clean but it works just fine and I kind of like the imperfect look of it!

Now that I have tags on my hand made goodies I kind of feel legit! I love how the small tag looks and the hand made stamp just adds to the hand made beauty of a crocheted hat or scarf. My thoughts are that the more love and thought you put into your work, the more it will be loved and cherished by whoever receives it =) Now, to what will you add your personal touch??

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Time to Brag About My Christmas!

Well, it’s the day after Christmas. Crazy last minute crocheting and wrapping complete. Last minute cooking and baking over. But I’m left with the euphoric feeling I always have after spending some very much needed ultra quality time with family and friends. I certainly wish my whole family could have been together, but my oldest sister Lauren lives in Oregon and wasn’t able to fly in. We did get to Skype with her and Amanda though so they were here in spirit!

I become a big dork when the holidays come around because of all of the little activities that come along with Christmas: wrapping presents, making cookies, more baking, celebrating with family and friends. Since I started crocheting in 2009 I’ve made little gifts for everyone. Last year it was headbands, and this year was coffee mug cozies! I snuck in a picture of my coffee mug wearing a cozy in my Thanksgiving post, but I’ve been working on making a bunch of them in the last few weeks to give as gifts this year. I stuck big awesome vintage buttons on them and they turned out great =) My friend Jess R is a big DIY fiend so I attempted my very first amigurumi and made her some peas in a pod, and she made me a mustache pillow! It also had a bird on the other side of the pillow.. Put a bird on it! Finally, I pulled out my antique apron for a night of baking cookies with my two bestest friends, Jessica and Karli.

Friday was the 10th annual grab bag party with friends I’ve had since forever ago. I must be notorious for loving moustachios.. in addition to the mustache pillow I got an amazing coffee mug with a mustache on it and inside it was stuffed with Godiva chocolate and a gift card for Michaels craft store! I’m in love =)

This year I tried to incorporate as much DIY as I could. I made the cozies for gifts, used this idea from Sarah’s Never-Ending Projects to make canvas photos for my friend who had a baby back in October, I also spent an evening making salt dough and punching out shapes for tags on my gifts, and for making ornaments (J K L is for my sisters and me.. Jenna, Krystle, Lauren). That was a lot of fun and they turned out pretty cute! I crocheted little scarves for the gingerbread men shapes.

Wrapping presents is easily one of my favorite parts of Christmas. So many people hate it and find it tedious but I find myself getting overly excited about putting pretty bows and decorations on boxes and seeing those receiving it light up when they get a box they can’t bare to rip apart. I get nerdy about decorating as well. I spent the day before Christmas Eve decorating my Aunt’s boyfriend’s house where my mom’s whole side of the family would meet on Christmas Eve. Garland and twinkling lights galore!

As much fun as it is giving gifts, receiving them is pretty awesome too..! I got so many great gifts from my family and friends! From my parents I got the Spinner 360 lomography camera which I can NOT wait to start using! My sister Krystle got me a Yeti Blimpus created by my friend Mike Serafin (you should check them out because they’re more than awesome!). I also got lots of gift cards for Michael’s craft store so I can finally buy some fancy yarn and make something nice for myself, and all of the other little goodies that made Christmas great this year like all of the delicious smelling soaps by Amanda and apple pie shots made my my cousin Andy and wife Angie. Mmm!

Was Santa good to you?? Or did the Krampus come and beat you with sticks for being naughty? I certainly hope it wasn’t the latter.. Now that Christmas is over it’s time to start getting excited for one fantastic year to end, and another to begin!

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Thankful for Overindulgance

*groaaaaaaaan* Too much food. Must fight through the tryptophan and write…

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m going to step away from talking about my latest crochet adventures and give you a good old fashioned Thanksgiving post that will probably have the same effect as tryptophan and put you to sleep, but whatever! I’m the crochet hooker, so listen up.. Turkey day is one of my favorite times of the year mainly because I get to gorge myself without regrets, except for that half hour after eating when I can’t move for fear of vomitting. Besides eating my favorite yummy foods, I get to recount the things in life which I am most thankful for. First off, I’m thankful for colorful yarn that eventually gets turned into fun things, and all of the helpful tutorials on youtube that teach me all of my crochet needs. I’m thankful that Black Friday commercials will finally come to an end.. until next year. I’m thankful for social media and the technology that allows me to interact with other skillful crafters as well as share my creations and inspire others. Just tonight I was told that I have inspired a family friend to pick up the crochet hook again and start playing around with it more, yay!! That’s exactly what I’m trying to do here, so I’m glad I’m finally sparking inspiration in others =) Finally, and this may sound cliché, but I’m most thankful for all of the wonderful friends and family in my life that make every day worth living. I truly am blessed to be surrounded by such a loving family and amazing friends. My family is very close and we already spend lots of time together, but it just feels extra special during the holidays because it’s just another reason to tell everyone that I love them.

I’m one of those people that needs to document every minute of my life because I have this fear that I’m going to one day lose my mind, so I took some snapshots of my Turkey Day…

Started the morning with a biscuits and gravy breakfast and cup of coffee

Threw on my apron and tried helping out in the kitchen

Enjoyed a hot cup ‘o Saffron tea while waiting to munch on some grindage

The turkey! Cooked to perfection as always by my momma

The feast, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, corn bread casserole, green bean casserole, biscuits, cranberries, stuffing, and gravy.. It’s safe to say there was enough food for at least five other people to have eaten with us. Helloooooo, leftovers!

Let’s hear it for over-indulgence.

And what Thanksgiving would be complete without a slice of pumpkin pie…?

Chalk up another success for the day of thanks. I feel like there was so much more I wanted to talk about, but the turkey has taken over my brain functions. What are YOU thankful for??

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Ello!

Hello, all! I just want to welcome you to my new (not yet improved) blog all about my adventures in crocheting.  Exciting, yes?! This is the first time I’m attempting to blog about really anything so give me a break here.  A little of what’s to come:

  • Projects I am undertaking
  • Projects I have completed in the past and absolutely have to share with everyone
  • Pretty/fun/colorful/cozy yarn I come across & new and exciting techniques I learn
  • Sharing fun ideas I come across online, just in case you miss them (there are so many beautiful ideas out there!)
  • New and exciting things going on in my life that won’t necessarily have anything to do with crochet

So to begin with my very first post (forgive me if I seem nervous and shaky!) I’ll tell you a little about how I began with the hobby I love the most. Sit back, relax, and wait for the anti-climactic ending…  Waaaaaaay back in 2009 before my lovely cousin Amanda was living in Oregon for good, we had a little cousin retreat in Indiana.  We decided to have one last camping trip with the ladies and got everything planned out.  Amanda thought it would be fun to leave my sisters and I with a little skill she loved, and told us to buy some yarn and a crochet hook.  My mom used to crochet, as well as my grandma so she was pleasantly surprised when she found out.  Not knowing a damn thing about the art of crochet I went to my local craft store and bought cheap yarn and what I didn’t realize at that time was the smallest crochet hook ever.  A few days later we were off on our camping trip and I spent the whole 4 hour car ride there rolling yarn into balls.  Needless to say that’s about as far as I got with learning how to crochet.  Rolling yarn balls.  Excellent.  I should mention here that when you get my family together things can get kind of weird and really nothing gets accomplished except for adventuring through forests and, on this particular camping trip, cooking yummy food, swimming across the small lake looking for water lilies, and huddling around a laptop screen watching scary Japanese films.  Before I knew it the trip was over and I was asleep in the car for the whole trip home.  Amanda moved to Oregon, and never got the chance to teach me how to crochet.

Okay, so I have all of this cheap yarn and the world’s smallest crochet hook.  Now what?  Mom knows how to crochet, let me ask her! She tried, I failed.  So I turned to Youtube and taught myself… Climactic ending right?  Basically I searched countless tutorials on Youtube (none that I can remember to grant credit) and learned how to crochet.  The very first thing I made was a teeny tiny white scarf (Bah, I wish I had a picture of this pathetic little scrap!) that was far too small to even consider wrapping around even my scrawny little neck.  From there I made a huge wrap/scarf that I still have today and will upload a photo of.  Then I went on to learn how to make hats and really the rest is history.  I will tell you now that I am TERRRRRRRIBLE at following patterns so I like to improvise my own creations.  So please..PLEASE do not expect any patterns from me.  Let me rephrase that: the only patterns you will find from my blog are those which I find and link from other sites.  Holy crap am I bad at following patterns.

So, I guess that’s all for now.  Time to finish up some baby hats and I guess get started on that homework stuff.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

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