Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm back!

New Year's resolution: To try to get back into the habit of blogging.

I'm pretty sure I have no readers left after my nearly yearlong hiatus, but I started this blog to be a chronicle of my crafty pursuits for my own record. With two toddlers, a full-time job, plus plenty of freelance writing, I don't have the time for crafting that I used to, but I do manage to do a few knitting and sewing projects, as well as some fun thrift store and estate sale finds. I just haven't had the extra time to blog about it.

I really miss having that record, so I'm going to try again, even catching up with some of my past projects. Wish me luck in 2012!


Here's a very short video clip of me and the kids skating on New Year's Eve afternoon.

Monday, February 28, 2011

February Lady Sweater in February

"Be gentle. Every person you know is fighting a terrible battle." (Ancient Greek saying)
I did actually finish the February Lady Sweater by the end of February. here it is unblocked. This photo shows the color more accurately than the others.
I ended up doing 20 repeats of the Gull lace pattern for the body, and 20 repeats for the sleeves, since I wanted them to be long, not 3/4ish. I also decreased the sleeves a bit so they wouldn't be so wide, and made the button band wider, so it was the same width as the lower edge.

I also have a little boo-boo on one sleeve. I had noticed that the lace pattern was wrong and ripped it back and redid it, but it turned out wrong again in two repeats. I have no idea what I did, and of course, wouldn't you know, it's on the front of the sleeve. Oh, well, that's what makes it handmade. I'm sure most non-knitters won't notice.

You can also see a little bump above the bust in this photo, but that came out in the blocking. The sweater seems to fit well over a T-shirt. Now I just need to add buttons. I have this idea to make some wooden ones out of a stick. Kind of like these. Unfortunately that creative idea will only delay the finishing even further--definitely into March!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homemade Valentines

"Every child born has innate goodness." (Chinese proverb)

Still catching up... At 2 and 3, the kids are finally getting into doing crafty stuff. In fact, Sam is practically obsessed with building things with tape. Here are the Valentines we made this year. I bought foam rectangles, on which they glued hearts cut out of paper they had painted pink and red. Then I taped a chocolate to them.

These were for our Wiggleworms group, a little music "class" in our neighborhood, held in rotating people's homes. It's been really nice for meeting other moms of preschoolers. It was funny: we made a Valentine for each kid, but Sam also wanted to make one for Beth, one of the moms. I think he's a little sweet on her!

For Sam's preschool, we got out the construction paper and some pipe cleaners. Sam really loves to cut with the scissors. Sophie also helped out.

And I made little crayon hearts out of pink, purple and red crayon pieces (like these crayon cars from Sam's birthday two years ago) to tuck in with the preschool Valentines. I got the heart mold on 75% off clearance at Target last year. I picked up a few things on clearance this year, too, including some "ready-made" Valentines, but I hope we just use them in our homemade ones next year.

Next up: their crafty project for Daddy's birthday...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Felt convo hearts

"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes, to let it go, to let it go." (Mary Oliver)

So I'm a little behind again, but committed to keeping this blog a record of my creative endeavors--even if it takes me practically a month to post them. I may not have much time to blog, but I am finding a little time for creativity. It keeps me sane.

 For Valentine's Day I made this conversation heart banner, which I have had in my head for ages. Once again, using only things from my stash: I had a bunch of the smaller letters left over from the Jesse trees of a few years ago, used recycled wool sweater felt in pastels and hung it on some pink yarn.

The hardest part was coming up with traditional "Conversation heart" sayings. I found a bunch of pictures online.

Sam loved this--he's clearly ready to start reading and is always asking what things say. I had to read these hearts to him a dozen times.

Only wish I had made two more while I was at it, because I know my sister and mom would love one of these!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Happy New Year

“The world is a book and those that don’t travel only read one page." (Unknown)
Yes, this is belated, but not as belated as you might think. I'm wishing everyone a belated Happy Lunar New Year (Vietnamese and Chinese). We only celebrated Vietnamese this year. Plans to go to the parade in Chinatown were postponed when we learned it was on Super Bowl Sunday (and during naptime). Next year. 
Our Vietnamese celebration was, for the third year, with the Vietnamese American community at St. Henry Parish in Chicago, where we are usually two of the three or four non-Vietnamese people there. It was a good time: Sam was scared of the dragon; Sophie was not. (Photo above from that celebration.)
I was so excited that I finished this little decoration: a banner of felt lanterns saying, "Chuc Mung Nam Moi"--Happy New Year in Vietnamese, even with the diacritical marks! I cut out the lanterns from red felt, then zigzagged the gold tops and bottoms with my sewing machine. The felt letters are pre-cut adhesive ones I had leftover from the Jesse Trees I made a few years ago. 
Then I added large black rickrack at the top and little tassels from some trim at the bottom--both of which I had to buy. Still, the whole thing probably cost $3. And it helped me--and Sam--finally learn how to say "Happy New Year" in Vietnamese.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

February Lady Sweater in January

"One is not born a woman; one becomes one." (Simone de Beauvoir)

I'm knitting my first adult sweater--and it's for me! Sometime last year I started the February Lady Sweater (Ravelry link), but then set it aside to knit gifts, work, take care of the kids, etc. But this winter I was itching to knit something nice and wooly, so I picked it up again and am making serious progress. I may finish this February Lady Sweater by February!

For you non-knitter, this is a pretty famous sweater (with more than 10,000 Ravelry folks knitting or having knit it) based on a baby sweater pattern by the famous Elizabeth Zimmerman. I'm knitting the smallest size, skipped the eyelets, and started the gull lace pattern right at the third buttonhole. I do hate my buttonholes, but hopefully the buttons will cover them. I can't wait to pick out cool buttons. I also plan to narrow and lengthen the sleeves. It really helps to have ravelry forums to learn from others mistakes.

The yarn I'm using is vintage--I'm not sure how old, but Bernat wool sure doesn't come in this kind of packaging now! I believe my late Grandma Doris bought this yarn (on sale for 90 cents a skein, down from $1 a skein). It got handed down to my mom, who passed it along to me. I always knew there was enough for an adult sweater, and in the spirit of stash-busting, started the sweater with it. So even if I had paid for the yarn, it would be a nice wool sweater for less than $10! I hope to have a finished sweater to show off soon. 

**Just did some quick research on the yarn and seems like it's called for in patterns from 1970s pattern books. Also some is for sale on ebay (looks like this exact color) for about $12 a skein!

(I'm still playing catch-up with pre-dated posts with my fall and holiday crafting. More to come.)

Saturday, January 01, 2011


I will spend more time on my blog, catching up with pre-dated posts, if necessary.