Alright, this is my last Christmas post!
Being in Minnesota, we normally have a white Christmas, but without snow this year, we were left with a brown Christmas. While I do miss the snow, I decided to turn it into a green Christmas! The majority of the materials I used for wrapping were scavenges!
I started out wrapping everything in very normal grocery bags. That made it every easy to save on paper use throughout, and no matter what, it's all still recyclable at the end.
Then I wrapped a band of old Christmas paper around each package to make it look a bit more Christmas-like. With the piece of dark green yarn in a daisy chain (or cast on for crochet), they really started to look like a present.
The last thing I put on is the only part that's not truly scavenged: I made gift tags for each gift from a design I found in a Finnish blog called Hey Look. They turned out to be perfect for what I wanted, but I made a few slight color changes to make sure they fit the other colors in my packaging. Overall I made out with a fairly green-friendly Christmas!
With only hours until the world brings in a new year, It is - as always - the perfect time to start fresh and make some changes in life. I never make just one resolution, because I like to try to I've had some great resolutions in the past that have done me very well, and I have had some that still challenge me greatly.
- To Never Drive Like I'm in a Hurry, Even If I am (2010).
This is the resolution that has stuck with me the longest. It's made me a much more relaxed driver behind the wheel, and I'm far more patient than I used to be since I chose to drive more responsibly. This resolution came on the coattails of a rough driving year, and I was still learning all the nuances of RWD (which I now absolutely love!). As a result, I have had very few problems.
- To Put Money Aside Each Month for Emergencies (2011).
I am so thankful that I went this route for 2011. Granted, by the end of the year money was a little too tight to save any notable amounts, but with this resolution, I was able to take some short vacations, go to New York City, and get car repairs taken care of. Definitely a good move.
- To Eat More Healthful Meals (2012).
Honestly, I do a lot of physical work already, and I have a dog. Come Sunday, I will not be one of the people with a shiny new gym membership (not that I think they're bad, I feel guilty if I exercise without my extremely energetic dog). But I will be the one shopping the outside of the grocery store with a list in hand. I want to try some new recipes this year, and I want to start learning how to make home cooked meals just as convenient as going out.
- To Expand (2012).
I'm working on a little bit of an expansion project for 2012 with the website and with what I'm designing. I'm thinking that in order to really expand, a name change will be in order in the near future, and I may upgrade to my own domain. I still have a lot to consider and research, but so far the prospects look pretty good.
For Christmas, from my husband I received a chop saw, and from my brother a hand saw. Add that to my creative arsenal and graph paper, and so many of what I've put down may come to life. I'm very excited about seeing how all of this turns out this coming year!
- To Buy a House (2012).
I'm hoping this is my year. I've helped with so many projects and seen so much love go into other people's homes, that I want to take a part of that for a space for me. I want to own! I'm very excited to be able to start a life with my own space, but I'm nervous for the responsibility. I know a lot regarding maintenance and what choices I would make for a home, so I am definitely ready to start seeing these come to life.
Between the crochet poinsettias and granny square quilt, I have already posted plenty of my Christmas creations. So, this wrap up is for one of the things I gave to my grandparents:
My grandparents are huge coffee drinkers. And I mean huge.
They also are the source of my handmade flair (via my mom), so something slightly upcycled and handmade is right up their alley.
The coffee mug is upcycled: it belonged to the person who used my desk before me at a temp job. When I left it followed me home, and I never wound up incorporating it into my other coffee cups.
Instead, I custom knit a cozy for it! I know, I did the moss stitch pattern again, but I spent almost an hour thinking about techniques and which stitch to use. I wasn't able to make up my mind, so I went with it. It's a good go-to stitch for just about anything.
There is a band that tucks at the base of the mug to give it a secure and custom look. I love how well it forms along the base of the mug without being bulky or overdone.
The rest of the body is curved and contoured to go through the handle and connect directly with the buttons. I'm thrilled with how well it sits and how nicely it fits the mug.
I was torn between doing brown or white buttons, but I decided on doing the brown because of the handmade-ness of the cozy.
Well, I'm fairly behind, but I have had such a successful Christmas with custom projects! But posting them prior to Christmas had the potential to get very sticky... So, today I'll post some custom work for my cousins!
One of my cousins (she's very tall with long thin fingers) got the works this year for custom projects: hat, mittens, and a scarf! The scarf and the hat were brand new styles for me, they turned out very cool with a netted ribbed scarf that was fairly quick to work. I used a strand of worsted weight red with a coral pink/orange throughout the scarf to make it extra soft and to tie in with the other two pieces.
The hat and mittens were in the red worsted weight that runs through the scarf so they all can be worn together. The hat was a really fun new pattern for me with a lot more of a lace pattern throughout. It turned out so cute, but was more difficult to learn than most of the other patterns I do. It was so great to have a challenge!
The coordinating mittens are in the same weave pattern that I have used in other pieces, and the long cuffs keep them a bit more trendy. She has such long fingers, that I planned for them to be an inch longer than mine with the same width that I would normally use on my own hands. They fit perfectly!
The second project I did was for another cousin (her younger sister), and I made a nice wide infinity scarf. I used a box pattern that I hadn't used in years but I have always loved. I was able to use my larger hoop needle to make it connect through both ends.
In this picture, it's double wrapped, so it's nice and long enough to be worn a few different ways. The final detail, is that I made it a mobius version. It twists throughout the loop, so when twisted twice it sits flat, or it has a unique curl when worn once.
I paired two different blues for this yarn to give it some color variation. When I picked the colors I was unsure which to go with, so I went with her school colors.
These turned out to be such fun projects all around, and are definitely a favorite take on things I've made before. They turned out to be so much fun, and I love being able to work with projects that I've done before in a way that keeps me excited to make them! I love these so much!
For a long time, I have wanted my own piano. For Christmas when I was 7 years old, we were blessed with a Yamaha keyboard. It still works and has tied me over quite well. About a year ago, my mom scavenged her own piano through a string of events:
Her brother acquired a new piano when his wife's dad was downsizing. It's a gorgeous piece. So, my mom snagged her own piano for the cost of moving it from their house to hers.
This is the common denominator on free pianos: they are all self-movers. If I remember correctly, hiring piano movers was only about $80 for my mom's piano scavenger.
The piano on the left is not the one she scavenged: It's from Craigslist, but it looks like a very nice specimen. With just looking at pianos on here, I've found there are a few things to watch for:
- Approximate Age and Manufacturer. If they can tell you who made it, doing research is a whole lot easier!
- No matter what, the post must always have pictures. I don't even consider a Craigslist item without them. I want to see exactly what I'm getting myself into. It's a little bit judging a book by its cover, but you can see any blemishes, if there are any cracks in the piano keys, or if there are any major deficits.
- Last time it was tuned or the condition of the sound. If the poster is honest about its problems, I'm more likely to take them up on the piano. This particular one says that some keys need a little tweaking at its next tuning, and it hasn't been tuned for about three years.
- If you were a fortune in a cookie, what would you say?
"Trust in your potential, and your goals will find you." Because once you learn to trust yourself and take the necessary risks, things start to come together.
- If a magical carp gives you three wishes –you can’t get silly things like more wishes– what would you wish for?
The recovery of shark populations and greater oceanic conservation.
And interdependent global economy that does not function in a give/take society but a mutually beneficial society.
A smooth transition from petroleum based energy resources to sustainable energy resources before we destroy the planet.
- If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you spend your money on?
An off-grid house: completely self sufficient. It could be rural or urban, but I want it to be 100% independently sustainable resources. I know it's possible.
Scuba equipment and maybe a dive boat.
Cars. They're my wildcard. No matter how much I love sustainable things, I will always have an appreciation for fast and fancy cars.
- How often do you dress to pass as the gender that does not match you genetalia?
I don't ever dress to look completely like a man, but I have a very masculine style in general: I'm all about the feminine take on traditionally masculine pieces: suits, vests, etc. But I still get into skirts once in a while.
- Have you ever eaten a deep-fried Twinkie?
No, but I've had poached eggs wrapped in bacon then deep fried. Way better than a Twinkie in any form!
After several weeks of using a hybrid kitchen/bathroom system to have a functional kitchen, the counters and the sink are finally in!
The new counters have now been installed complete with an under-mount sink and a new faucet! They turned out completely gorgeous!
The main hold up with getting the new counters in was a problem with gapping around the back corner behind the sink. Since most of the delicate cuts for that piece of stone could be edited, that piece was taken and trimmed to be more flush with the wall, and the joining section of counter (above the little strip of white for the dishwasher) was completely recut and installed. The installation turned out beautifully, and the single small seam between pieces is almost impossible to see.
I honestly wish my photos did the overall look of the counters justice, but I'll try to get some during the day when we have everything completely done: backsplash, paint, etc.
The new faucet is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. I love that the spout is set at the base facing the front: I've been caught in the past turning the water on with my left hand on a spout to the right - which is fairly typical placement - and having my arm soaked. My mom and I are both lefties, so this kitchen is set up a bit more for either someone dominantly left or right handed. The central placement wasn't a hard decision at all, but definitely makes the whole kitchen flow better no matter how you'd want to use it.
The spray for the faucet is also integrated into the spout: it pulls out and with the flip of a switch, it switches to a wider spray. There is also a "pause" feature that turns the water on and off directly from the sprayer. It's really an amazing piece. The retraction is made differently from a normal retracting hose: it is weighted to help pull the hose back into the rest of the assembly and locks in, so even after prolonged use, it is designed not to fall out and hang down. The weight system is also adjustable in case there is ever a problem.
I'm definitely excited to see how the rest of this kitchen comes together! Next up: installing the backsplash. Then the last step is a very large painting project: what hasn't really been shown is how large this kitchen/entry/dining area actually is, so the new paint is really going to take over a large area. It's been a long process, and a long time coming for this kitchen, and I am very glad to see it start winding down! We're past the functional parts, and the rest is all for fun!
Alright, so I've added one more Christmas product to the list! It's the most complex thing I have crocheted thus far, and they turned out very cute!
These were a more time consuming product than many of the others, because they were made with so many different pieces! All of the leaves and petals are individually done, then they are pleated and attached together.
The small centers are one of my favorite parts of the poinsettia: instead of doing a standard yellow, as is normal, I used a variegated yarn to add just a bit of extra visual interest.
The stem is made a lot like the legs on my octopus, starting from where it is attached to the top and down through to the end. It was a bit more difficult than normal and has more structure because I'd attached a wire through the middle. This makes it a bit more opposable and gives it a better ability to stand on its own in a vase.
The biggest surprise for these was how difficult they were to assemble. Stringing the petals and the leaves (I guess technically on a poinsettia they are all leaves...) onto the crocheted stem was quite difficult. Once the wire was through, it was very tricky getting the crochet rows to go through the centers without sliding or stretching across the stem. But, that meant once they were all on, they weren't going anywhere. So, the difficulty of the assembly also meant it was structurally better than if it had been easier.
For this set, I made a bundle of two for my husband's grandmas. Bundling them together like a small bouquet I think makes them look just a bit more classy, and I really like being able to exercise my ability to knit and crochet in the same project. Honestly, these fusion projects just tickle me, and I wish I did them more!
The band was just a very simple round knit that can be removed so the flowers are separated. Since the knit has a bit more stretch, it seemed the appropriate way to do the band.
Overall, it was a very fun and challenging project, and I couldn't be happier with the results!
Just started a brand new yarn project! I'm doing a small poinsetta to fit with the holiday spirit! I needed a little break from my quilt, but I am getting quite close to finishing that up too.
I really like this poinsettia pattern: It has a few different layers in a few different colors, and I'm planning to add stems to it as well. The curl in these top petals is very cute! It's a bit of a time consuming pattern with a lot of intricate details, but in the whole, it should turn out very well.
I'm currently debating how I want to attach all the layers and if I want to integrate the stem or give it a bit of extra structure other than just the yarn. But I should definitely have an update on that soon!
For anyone who has played "Would You Rather?" It can be the most vile and disgusting game on the planet. But, that is one of the things that makes it fun!
- Would you rather have to suck all the ink out of a ballpoint pen or paint your tongue with Wite-Out?
Definitely the ball point pen. I don't think I'd be able to paint my tongue without gagging. And after a while, the ink just seems more appealing than that.
- Would you rather drink a gallon of used hot dog water or a shot glass of someone else's foot sweat?
EEEEWW! Neither... I'm going with the hot dog water. I HATE other people's feet! They are so creepy!
- Would you rather always wear shoes that are a half size too small or always have your underwear creeping up your butt?
Creeping Underwear. Annoyance is secondary to comfort.
- Would you rather always be nauseated or always have a headache?
It's possible to have just one? Depends on the severity. If I always felt about to vomit or have a head explosion, I'm going with headache. If the symptoms are mild, I'll go with nausea.
- Would you rather have to always eat standing up or always enter your car from the passenger door?
HA! Passenger door. Done it. It would be an excuse to get a truck: they have bench seats! Eating standing up just feels so unnatural.