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Crafty Compilation – w/e 01/07/17

2017.  Wow.  I can’t believe I started this blog roughly 13 years ago, nor that some of you have been around since the very beginning.  Whether you’re one of my original few hundred subscribers or one of the couple thousand who discovered my site when looking for my most popular Halloween DIY, hi there, happy holidays, and happy New Year!  I’ve got a lot planned for this little blog over the upcoming year, so if you’re an old friend- thanks for sticking around… and if you’re new- I hope you’ll pull up a chair and stay a while.

Some of you may note that I’ve slowly made changes to the type of content that I post.  I’ve never been a mono-crafty person, and the blog will always adapt to whatever creative pursuits I’m into at the time, whether they’re knitting or crochet, cosplay or cakes.  Coloring books are going to have more of a showing on the blog, as will as a variety of crafts beyond the yarn-based ones.  For the last two years I’ve taken step-by-step photos of all the projects that I’ve made with the intent to focus more on sharing helpful DIYs, tutorials and tips going forwards, instead of merely showing off whatever I’ve made.  I’m going to have more reviews coming up, both sponsored and non, and while there might be affiliate links popping up at the end of some posts, I can promise you that my reviews will always be strictly my honest, unbiased thoughts.

Another feature I’m going to add is a weekly roundup, to both keep track of and hold accountable to the projects I’ve got ongoing.  Not everything needs to wait for a finished reveal, and sometimes quick projects or small pastimes get lost in the shuffle of the day-to-day.  To that end – this is my first Crafty Compilation.  I plan to post these on Sundays and to cover the previous week’s goings-on, but this first one is being posted on Thursday because life LOL.  Amazing how, even when one is off work in post-op recovery, when it comes to crafting, there still isn’t enough time!  This first CC will cover some stuff worked on over the holidays, as well as last week.


Knitting

  • Gift knitting

Over the holidays I knit a special baby hat.  One of Yannick’s closest friends had a baby girl just before the holidays, and when he showed me the gifts he planned to bring for the friend and his other young daughter, I told him I knew just the thing to make for the new arrival.  The little girl’s dad has similar geeky tastes as we do, and I thought this pattern would be perfect.

I’ve knit it once before, back in 2013, as part of a Hallowe’en costume for a baby girl aptly named Leia. This was a pic of Jakob trying it on for me at the time:

jakob-in-leia-hat

and this is a pic of the little sweetheart in her full costume.  Cutest Leia I’ve ever seen!leia-in-princess-leia-hat

The pattern is very well written and it’s a pretty quick knit, even with all the icord.  The hat and the ear puffs each took a night’s worth of knitting to work up, then the assembly took barely an episode of Elementary.

leia hat collage.jpg

Forgive the bad pics, it’s hard to take hat pics without an appropriately-sized head! 🙂 I’m really pleased with how the hat came out, even though I’d knit it before and expected it to look the same.  One thing I love about this pattern vs others out there is how it incorporates ‘bangs’ and the center part (not clearly visible in these photos but seen better in the one of Leia wearing it above).

  • Drops v-neck sweater

I also completely frogged a sweater I’d been working on.  Back in September I’d started a garter-stitch oversized sweater with a lovely gray yarn from my stash.  I’d thought it would be perfect ‘no-look’ movie or tv knitting but after measuring a sweater I own that had the fit I wanted, I realized that what I was making wouldn’t have the proper shape.  Plus I’d been having a nagging feeling that the garter stitch was eating up too much of my limited yarn.  So I frogged it one evening last week and began this pattern instead.  I’m pretty sure I’ll have enough yarn, and if not I’ll work the neckband and/or cuffs in something contrasting.

photo-2017-01-09-11-02-39-pm

So far I’m at about 32cm of the 34cm I need to be at before splitting for the low v-neck.

Coloring

  • Doodle Fusion ‘Christmas Tree’

A few weeks ago I’d taken a page from Dede Willingham and done color washes across a bunch of my coloring book pages.  From what I’ve seen she primarily uses acrylic paints, but I mixed it up a bit, using not only paint, but also my Neocolors and my Inktense.  This particular page, from Zifflin’s Doodle Fusion, seems to deliberately invoke a Christmas tree, so that’s how I decided to approach it.  I colored over the whole image with the inktense in shades of green.  The first pic is immediately after wetting the pencils, and the second is the next day, after the page had dried.

doodle fusion christmas tree 00.jpg

My plan is to color the characters in colored pencil over the Inktense, keeping them muted and dark, but to color all the eyes and anything round-ish in bright gel pens, so they’d (hopefully) look like bright ornaments on the tree.  If you squinted at it.  Maybe.

doodle-fusion-christmas-tree-01

This was after my first pass with the gel pens.  I think I got all the areas I’d wanted, but I’m sure as I work on the figures I’ll find more.  I’m looking forwards to coloring the characters now in dark tones to really make the gel pen pop.

PS- this book is crazy, and I love it.  I’ll be showing a lot more of it in future posts.

I finally finished a page I started coloring back in November in the Disney Villains coloring book Yannick had bought for me, but as this post is getting long I’ll save them for another.  That’s another excellent coloring book that I’ve been working in quite a bit.

UPDATE: those pages are posted here.  🙂

Other Crafts

  • While the boys were off school for Christmas break I tried to keep them occupied with more than just Minecraft, Little Big Planet, or their new Skylanders Imaginators. Every few days we had ‘technology-free’ time during which we’d color, or do pencil puzzle books, and during one of those afternoons I taught them how to make their own stuffies.  However I took a TON of photos and so I’ll share the step-by-steps of their work in another post

Alright, that’s it for this round-up!

If interested in either the pencils or book that I’ve talked about in this post, you can check them out here:
Derwent Inktense colored pencils:
Zifflin’s Doodle Fusion with illustrations by Lei Melendres
  • these are affiliate links.
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timing is everything

I started a vest for myself.  I shouldn’t have, but I did.

At guild on Tuesday I won a mini raffle we did, and got a 2012/2013 Bergere de France magazine.  There are some GORGEOUS patterns in there, but I was taken by 2 in particular.  One of them I’m not sure what yarn to use, but the other…well…it’s a fun fur vest.  I know.

I know.

I KNOW.

But it’s really cute, and worse comes to worst I’m always cold at home so….  Yeah.  Moving on…

The body is worked on 8mm needles so it’s a fast knit.  It’s kinda a shrug/vest hybrid, and on Wednesday night I cast on.  I finished the back ribbing and the first few rows of the body.  And then I brought it to work with me on Thursday so I could photocopy the pattern out of the magazine to make it easier to work on.

Now, I shouldn’t have started this project on Wed.  I had realized just that morning that Christmas might be in 2 weeks, but the last day of daycare/kindergarten is next week, which means I’m running out of time to do the holiday teachers’ gifts which I haven’t started yet.  I *should* have started those.  But I didn’t.

Which makes it only fitting that I forgot the project at work last night, and then today both boys woke up with fevers, meaning I had to keep them home, and be home all day, and NOT be able to work on the vest.

Which means that in about 5 minutes I’ll be starting the holiday teachers’ gifts, all due next week.  🙂


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still good

Even though I had to go back into work today, I still managed to get my rows done, which means that although I’m not further ahead, I’m still 12 rows ahead of the game.

Our daycare wants the kids’ valentines in this week, to prepare the kids to hand them out next week.  I had lucked out last year and found 2 packs of Valentine’s Day pencils on sale the day after Valentine’s Day, and kept them for this year.  Instead of buying cards I made little papers on the computer, and punched holes at two of the corners.  Yes, I didn’t have the kids sign them.  But I did this after they were in bed, and I honestly don’t think they or their friends will care if they are personally signed.


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vegas kal #2 also done!

Remember I said I’d figured out how to fix/finish the too-small, too-“not me” Vegas scarf?  It was simple- I’ve got an engagement party this weekend for an old friend- my grad date, actually- who’s getting remarried.  He’s got a daughter from his first marriage who’s 2 months older than Jakob, and we’ve been having playdates with them for years.   Back “in the day” both he and I used to play Vampire: the Masquerade (though not together, except for one truly epic HUGE game at UofM) and he went through a bit of a goth phase, and his daughter definitely has some of that in her too.  Her winter coat is black, and I decided to put the hastily-ripped-from-the-needles scarf back on, and finish it to give to her as a gift.  Her dad (and his fiance) will be getting a gift from their registry, but the daughter is a part of this new family being created and I wanted her to have a gift to open too.

Last night after finishing MY scarf I slowly ripped back the last row of live sts- a fun fur row…making this not much fun at all.  Still, eventually I had all 264 sts back on my needle.

OH!  Guess what?!?  Part of the reason the scarf wasn’t doing it for me, is that I could sense it was kinda small.  Well, no wonder- turns out I wasn’t using a 5mm after all- I’d been using a 3.5mm!!  BIG difference!  I’d had both loose with their Addi bags in a project bag, saw the 5mm bag and nearby a needle and grabbed it, never stopping to see that it wasn’t the needle from that bag.

Anyways, I got it back on the 3.5mm, and did about 4 more rows just so it would feel “finished” to me.  I confess I didn’t roll or flip, I just used the yarns I wanted to use, and made the scarf look slightly asymmetrical, yet balanced.  I got through about 1.5 of those rows yesterday, but it got late and I put it off ’til today.

This is both halves of the same scarf, showing the two different sides.  You can see the split down the middle, though it’s hard to see through the fuzz.

This morning I went solo to the non-zoned French school’s open house.  It turns out it’s not an option for us.  The problem is that you have to apply every year for permission to transfer to your non-zoned school…even once your child is registered there.  So even if Jakob gets in for kindergarten, we’d have to reapply for grade 1, 2, etc before each new school year.  To begin with, they refuse over 85% of transfer requests because they need to keep a minimum of kids in their zoned schools, and what really is the clincher for me, is that even if he gets in for kindergarten, if any random year later our zoned school doesn’t have enough kids, they can refuse us and we’d have to transfer to the zoned school.  There’s no way I can have Jakob in a school and making friends and have to worry every single year if he’ll have to transfer away.  And then in a few years go through the same thing with Henri.  Uh uh.

Once I got home I had some lunch, then sat down to start catching up on the last 2 weeks of Once Upon a Time and Desperate Housewives.  While watching I did the last few rows (everything from the white section to the end from the pic above), and then I bound off with the same yarn combo I’d cast-on with, and twisted the fringe with Maaike’s handy-dandy fringe twister.  Man that thing is awesome!  Gonna have to get Yannick to build me one of those.

Now both scarves are done and I get to head over to my original surgeon’s office to see if he can find my hernia(s) yet, and to let him know that I’ve seen another surgeon, and have got the diagnostic laprascopy scheduled.  Not sure which is going to be more uncomfortable…the examination or the confession.


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covered in icing

My day  ended covered in icing.  Always, when I make the birthday cakes, since the parties are usually on Sundays, I bake on Thurs, dirty-ice on Fri and decorate on Sat.  So today was decoration day.  I knew better than to risk starting to make my buttercream while the boys were up, but I wasn’t worried about getting a late start because of how much I got done being home yesterday.

In the afternoon my neighbor brought her 7-month-old daughter over for us to babysit, and my boys had a BLAST playing with her.  She was seated in her Bumbo like a princess on a throne, and the boys didn’t stop parading in front of her trying to make her laugh.  First Jakob would do somersaults across the room, then Henri broke in with a guitar solo, and Jakob wouldn’t be outdone, so he grabbed some maracas and got in on the performance.  It was a riot.

Luckily she practically put herself to sleep just before the boys went down, and I was able to get to work on the cake.  But I forgot to take pics with my cell, and my camera isn’t with me at the moment, so instead of cake pics, here’s an update on the holiday gifts for the boys’ daycare teachers.

This is what each teacher (5 in total) got.  A red platter, topped with a back scrubber, a crocheted chain-8 dishcloth, a crocheted soap-saver bag with a scented bar of soap inside, and a crocheted bath puff, all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon of red yarn.

The chain-8 and bath puff are the standard patterns I’ve been using for years, and are linked from the projects on my Rav pages.  The soap saver I just made up on the spot, and is basically just a sc1-ch1 pattern around, with a drawstring near the top.  All was done with 2 shades of holiday Bernat Handicrafter cotton, plain white Handicrafter, and a 4mm crochet hook.

I’ve made these as teacher gifts before, but both my boys are with new teachers now so none of these 5 have received this gift before, so I didn’t mind recycling the idea.  The daycare owner, however, has already received this gift, so I needed to come up with something new.  She also happens to be pregnant, and due with a little boy any day now.  So she got this:

It’s 2 shades of Bernat Baby Coordinates from my stash, worked in a simple granny square, using a 4mm crochet hook.  I would have liked to have gone bigger, but it was late, she was leaving on mat leave the next day, and my hand was starting to cramp into a claw.