Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall Manic Craftiness Re-cap

I am well aware that this is only my fourth post of the entire year, I have total admiration for any blogger that manages working full time, having a baby and two other children in the house and still finds time to blog!  I know this does happen because I read their blogs, but apparently I am not as great at multi-tasking.  Not blogging doesn't mean I haven't been up to fun stuff though, the Fall season has actually inspired lots of craftiness around here!  Halloween ranks well near the top of the list of favorite holidays at our house, and since I spent last Halloween mostly sitting around on my butt rubbing my enormous belly it was time to kick it into gear this year.

I, like many, have fallen victim to the endless inspiration that is Pinterest.  Also, like many, I often find myself pinning tons of stuff but not actually doing any of it.  I decided Halloween was the perfect time to challenge myself to do at least 5 things that I had pinned to Pinterest.

I always like to make the front steps look festive, so I went on a hunt for some fall wreath ideas for the front door to go along with my usual sprinkling of chrysanthemum pots and waiting-to-be-carved pumpkins.  This wreath caught my eye, and I knew I had PLENTY of fabric to make one.

Source: lilluna.com via Kate on Pinterest

I completed the fabric cutting and tying part in an evening, then the next day decided to add some glittery bats to give it that little something extra.  The Pinterest link for this just takes you to an old Etsy listing, so I used the picture for inspiration and bought a metal wreath base at Michael's and started tying on strips.  I don't know what the original wreath sells for since Etsy doesn't show prices after an item has sold, but the seller's shipping is 12 dollars and I don't think I even spent that much making this (but I did already have all the supplies except the wreath base and black glitter for the bats).  I think it turned out cute and the bats can come off easily so that something Thanksgiving-ish can be added.  Here is my finished version:

I loved this simple looking Halloween garland.

Source: etsy.com via Kate on Pinterest

It looked like theirs was made out of felt, but I knew I already had plenty of fall colored papers, round hole punches, and I found a bat template online.  I went with large bats and then two garlands of different colored orange circles, which I just sewed into a long garland with my sewing machine.  However, I was so excited about the bats that I took pictures of them and forgot about the orange garland.  Oh well, take my word for it, all of them together was perfectly festive.  Here are the bats:

#3 & #4
My neighbor became obsessed with the Halloween trees at Hobby Lobby that they had this year and kidnapped me one day to go buy one with her.  I had to admit it was really cute once she got it up, who knew a black fake tree could be cute?  It needed ornaments though and I told her I would make some.  We always do Halloween together so I had lots of photos from previous years, and this Christmas ornament how-to pin was perfect inspiration for what I wanted to do.

I gathered the lids from some old frozen drink mixes in my freezer and spray painted them black with chalkbaord paint.  Round photos and festive ribbon had these looking adorable!  Here is my Halloween version, I highly recommend this tutorial for Christmas ornaments!

I also was inspired by this pin:

Source: etsy.com via Kate on Pinterest

 to take some old Christmas ball ornaments that I don't use on my tree any more and spray paint them with chalkboard paint as well.  Then I wrote little messages like "Spooky"  and "Boo" with chalk.  These turned out so well that I will definitely be making myself some for next year:

I frequently pin free printables to my holiday boards, there are so many cute ones and I loved these ones to go around candles.  Easiest craft ever and the effect was awesome and enjoyed for several evenings at dinner:

Bonus #6
The middle child wanted to be a dark angel for Halloween and she likes us to make her costumes together.  A dark angel needs a fancy tutu and of course there are plenty of tutorials out there.  This is the one we used, but in black of course, and it was exactly what she wanted.

Here is our version!

Pinterest challenge definitely met!  I still have tons of stuff pinned that I want to do next year.  I really wanted to do this prank to the girls this year, but didn't get around to it, there would be lots of squeals on that one!  Oh well, Halloween comes around every year.  I have pinned a lot of cute Thanksgiving stuff as well but haven't gotten around to doing any of it because I have been too busy planning a certain baby's first birthday party!  Eek, one already!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Finding time for fiber activities is proving to be a bit challenging with a 4 month old, 8 year old and 10 year old.  It is soccer season, piano recital season, 5k training season, and chorus performance season... not to mention regular end of year school activities and working full time and the demands of the 4 month old mentioned above.  Phew, it makes me pooped just typing it all!  However, that doesn't mean that I have completely abandoned my loves of fabric and yarn.  The baby's quilt is sewn into blocks and waiting on my sewing table to be sewn into rows (it is going to be so cute!).  I also recently started and abandoned an Imogen Cowl.  Gosh I love that cowl, but my mind is too mushy and constantly distracted by little people to take on a challenging-for-me lace pattern.  I kept forgetting where I was in the pattern and having knitting panic attacks.  Since knitting is supposed to be a fun and relaxing hobby for me I had to talk myself into trying the Imogen Cowl some other time.  I had been knitting it with the beautiful, soft, irresistible Malabrigo Finito that I picked up as soon as it arrived at my favorite yarn store a few weeks ago.  This yarn is so lovely!  It has now been used to start another Summer Wind Cowl, this time for myself.  I loved the one I made for my mom for Christmas and know that it is a pattern I can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.  Of course, baby-in-the-house time is a whole different sort of time, so we'll see if I still consider it a reasonable amount of time when I finish it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Ponytail Hats!


The other present I actually completed and had under the tree was ponytail hats for the big girls.  Last year I made one for the teenager next door and ever since I have been wanting to make one for every person I see wearing a ponytail.  There was a bit of stress around these, mostly because of my inability to alter a knitting pattern.  I'm a very literal knitter, I want a step by step pattern that holds my hand every minute and spells out exactly what it wants me to execute at all times.  I am always in awe of someone who takes a pattern and modifies it to look completely different from the original and if you throw something at me that wants me to interpret a chart I will probably run away and hide under the bed with my wool stash.  The only thing I ever change in a pattern is to almost always go up a needle size or two because I knit hideously tight.  So, my issue was that the Hannah ponytail hat pattern is an adult size, and I wanted to make it for a ten and almost 8 year old.  These children of mine do have above average sized heads, so at first I convinced myself that if I just used the recommended size yarn and much smaller needles then the hat would turn out perfect.  Well, through some evil yarn black magic this not only resulted in a hat too big for a medium sized child, it was too big for me!  Of course I told myself differently the whole time I knit it and waited until I had finished, cast off and plopped it on my head to admit that yes, it was huge.  So, I turned to my stash of Cascade superwash and decided to try a much smaller weight of yarn along with the smaller needle size (notice that there is no mention of ever actually altering the number of stitches in the pattern, my brain touched on this idea for a moment then yelped and hid).  This seemed to work great and when I finished I had two hats that I was quite sure would fit.  I patted myself on the back and added buttons.  I considered sneaking the hats onto their sleeping heads in the middle of the night to make sure, but my husband's look of disapproval made me realize my size obsession was getting a little out of control.  I gave the hats a quick bath to relax the stitches, because blocking is magical, and then the panic set in.  The Cascade superwash seemed to stretch quite a bit after being wet.  I laid the hats out in their correct shape and put them in front of a space heater and waited for them to fluff up and be perfect.  I called my mom and panicked.  I poked at them probably every hour and was never totally convinced that the hats, which were previously deemed perfect, had not stretched beyond wear-ability.  Eventually I let it go, as you have to do with all handmade gifts under the tree, and told myself if they didn't fit I would just try again after Christmas.  I don't think I could have possibly been more excited on Christmas morning when the girls tore into the wrapping and immediately donned perfectly fitting ponytail hats. Craft stress turned into that glow that comes with a well executed and well received handmade gift (and several Christmas morning mimosas).


Maybe next year should be another item where size doesn't matter, and I probably should start working soon since there are now THREE little girls to knit for!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lifting Fog

summer wind 1.jpg

The end of 2011 was definitely a hazy blur of pregnancy, birth, newborn-ness, Christmas preparations and holiday events.  However, in all the chaos there was quite a bit of holiday knitting going on!  I can't say it all got done in time to be under the tree, but some of it did and some of it has been being finished up in this first week of the year.  By far my favorite thing made was a Summer Wind cowl for my mom.  I started this back at the beginning of baseball playoffs and knit, knit, knit right on through the World Series (huge Cardinals fans around here).  I didn't even take much notice at the beginning that the cowl I was making was Cardinal Red, (I had randomly chosen the color because I knew that it looks good on my mom) but by the end of the World Series with the Cardinals pulling off a very exciting win it began to feel like it had all been planned.  I'll admit, it was a bit hard to give it up, but mom has been warned that she may have to wear it nonstop at the end of each baseball season for the sake of superstition.  I don't actually have a picture of anyone wearing this cowl, I was 8 months pregnant by the time it was done and not feeling at all photogenic, but I have the couple shown here with it in progress and right after I blocked it.  This was my first lace project and I have to say that going from the scrunchy finished object to the blocked finished object where all those holes are opened up is quite addictive.  This pattern looks great on, worn long or doubled up around the neck, there are plenty of pictures of people wearing them on ravelry here.  I used Spud and Chloe fine in Red Hot for the yarn.  I felt like the yarn should be softer when I was knitting with it, since it is superwash merino and silk, and actually started to doubt I had chosen the best yarn until I blocked it.  Blocking made the fibers soften and drape beautifully.  I'm glad I bought the same yarn in another color to make one for me!

summer wind 3.jpg