Saturday, July 31, 2010

hooray for saturday!

Hey y'all, hope you are having a great weekend!  Lots o' fun going on over here.  I can't tell you everything because that would be against protocol, but here are some highlights:

  • awesome photo shoot with the lovely Jen yesterday, pics aren't quite ready to post but I will soon (they are part of a secret project).  Jen is so many kinds of awesome, she can do it all.  And her hubby even watched my kids while we went to play with the cameras.  whattaguy!
  • visit from a dear friend and her daughter, so fun to see all three girls playing together!  Don't you just love having the kinds of friends that you can pick up where you left off, and it's like no time at all has passed between you?  Jeni is that kind of friend.  She is family.
  • my 5yo lost her first tooth, had her first piano lesson, and got a new bike all in the last 3 days.  That's a lot of excitement!!
So for now, I leave you with a link to one of my favorite blogs, p.s. i quilt.  Rachel is hosting a giveaway over there for this pretty little item:

I can think of lots of lovely things to do with these 30's reproduction prints!  Click on over to check out her site and enter the giveaway!

see ya laters -
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

dude. i made a button.

Look over there to the left!

i could not have done this alone.  let's give credit where credit is due:

Thank you, Oikology 101.  I don't know you, but your directions were impeccable, and it gave me the self-satisfaction of having done it myself.  Now I can go upstairs and brag to my husband, who will be totally shocked that I did it without interrupting his Starcraft game.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Twenty-Minute Tote Redo!

Went to Old Navy the other day to hit the clearance sale.  Old Navy's sales are garage sale cheap and often about as organized as digging through a big box of random unpriced stuff.  But, just like garage sales, sometimes you find a little gem.

I found this denim tote for 8 bucks.  I felt very sorry for it, because it was like the plain girl at the school dance, sitting in the bleachers while her colorful friends are getting all of the attention.  But, bless her heart, she is just soooo boooooring.  Let's help her out.

I had a couple of doilies I picked up at JoAnn's a while back.  I can crochet doilies but for 99 cents or less why bother?

I pinned the doilies to the bag using straight pins, but I would recommend using curved safety pins if you have them on hand.  I stuck myself a lot during the sewing process. Since the bag is already finished, sewing the doily on required a lot of maneuvering and folding the bag as I sewed, hence all of the sticking with pins.

Sew around the center circle first, then around the outside edge of each doily.

Easy as pie!  I added a few fabric flowers too.

Now we have a cute little tote for my daughter's piano books!

Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up     party!


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

i'm a winner! i'm so special.

Hey all!  Megan from the Brassy Apple notified me today that I was a winner in her most recent giveaway. Yay!  I love to win things.  I did not win at Bunco last night, and even though it was my very first time I was still kind of disappointed.  (Not that Bunco takes actual skill or anything.  I just like to win!)

Megan has really snazzy ideas and a funky style.  Here's a cute picture of her in one of the patterns I won.

I snagged this pic from her site.  It's totally hers.  But I don't think she will mind since I am talking about how awesome she is.  Her blog is one of my must-reads.  The e-book I won is full of fun scarf ideas, and you know how I love a good scarf!

Check out her shop for lots of patterny goodness!

I've got some really big things in the works over here, but can't let the secret out just yet, so hang in there! 
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Final Exhibit for Craft Fail Week: The Sasquatch Toe Socks

Dear Shannon,

Sorry it's taken me 6 months to come clean.  I tried.  I really did. I know your hubby really wanted these toe socks.  Thanks for being so kind as to supply the yarn and the pattern, and for your confidence in me.

It's a very good pattern.  That's not the problem.

I'm not sure the lady at the yarn store gave you good advice on this yarn.  It's lovely yarn.  But it's DK weight (or so it says) tweed, with no stretch at all, like the Cascade Fixation recommended.  It's also very scratchy.  I pulled out a significant amount of "VM" while knitting.  "VM" is knitter code for "vegetable matter"which is code for "bits of grass and crap" that gets into wool while it's still on the sheep.  Or at least that's one of the things I picked up from listening to some people talking about spinning.

I also had a little problem with gauge.  I had to go down to size 1's to get stitch gauge (but never got row gauge).  Not sure this DK-esque yarn liked being on size 1's.  It was kind of like knitting a brillo pad.

But they still turned out too big.  I say "they" but I should say "it", because after I finished the first sock my hubby tried it on and we both laughed until we cried.  So I only got as far as to make a few toes of the second sock.  I just didn't have enough optimism for that.

And I had to break into the second ball of yarn already to finish the first sock, so I don't think there's enough yarn anyways.

I'm really sorry.

In the end, it's probably a good thing I completely crashed and burned on this project.  Otherwise, you would have ended up with scratchy sasquatch socks that you felt obligated to pay for and your hubby felt obligated to wear.  Then he'd get some kind of itchy mysterious rash between his toes and you'd have to take him to a specialist who would charge you some ridiculous amount to explain to you that his in-between toe skin is just sensitive to sheep crud and sticks.

Would you like for me to frog it for you, or would you like the pleasure yourself?

Thanks for having such an awesome sense of humor about the whole thing.



P.S.  I'll give you a discount on that apron because I feel really guilty about the whole thing.  ;)
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Exhibit B: The Applique Christmas Quilt

Before I get into Exhibit B, allow me to draw your attention (if you haven't noticed already) to the crappy job I did redesigning my blog layout. Ironic, don't you think, during Fail Week? I'm gonna get my tech support guy (aka hubby) on it this weekend, but tomorrow's his birthday, so I don't want to bug him about it until later. Anyhoo,

Welcome to the awesome hideousness of the Applique Christmas Quilt, circa 1999.

I moved into my house on December 23, 1998, and spent one night there before driving to Oklahoma for Christmas, in the worst icestorm Texas has seen in my lifetime (anyone remember the 80-car pileup on 183?). After the holidays at my parents' and in-laws' homes, decked to the halls of course, I came back to my new, shiny, and totally empty and boring home. A few weeks later I hit the craft store sales and brought home a big pile of fabric and a storebought pattern for something Christmasy, determined to get started on decorations for the next year. I distinctly remember having to do some very fancy talking to convince my husband that it was ok for me to spend all of that money, because it was an heirloom decoration we could pass down for generations.

In the words of that really old knight that guards the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

"You have chosen...poorly."
(Remember what happens to the bad guy then? That was me, trying to sew this dadgum thing.)

I was all gung ho at the beginning. I had my own craft room, for goodness' sake, in my giant new house with no kids or stuff in it yet. I had lots of time on my hands.

Time to discover some very, very important things about myself.

  • I hate tissue paper patterns.
  • Just because the fabric is on sale does not mean it is a good choice.
  • Just because the pattern is on sale does not mean it is a good choice.
  • Just because the theme is Christmas does not mean it is a classic style. (I suspect this was already a dated look back in 1999.)
  • I do not have the patience of a saint.
  • I do, however, have the mouth of a sailor. (This is a family trait - all the women in our family reserve cuss words for sewing time.)
  • And most importantly, I did not marry a man who likes moose and cutesy snowmen as home decor. (Actually, I don't like that stuff either, come to think of it.)

You know what the really, really funny part is?

I still have the dadgum thing under the bed.

I took these pictures today, and then I PUT IT BACK. Why? I'm not going to finish it, ELEVEN YEARS LATER.

Guess I've learned one more important thing about myself:

I don't know when to let go.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Epic Craft Fail Week: The Apple Green Shrug

Welcome to Exhibit A: "The Apple Green Shrug." I happen to really like this color, that's not the problem.

Let me state, for the record, that most of these craft failures are not due to pattern flaws. This is a lovely pattern, the One Skein Wonder by Stephanie Japel, whom I fervently admire. It's a fabulous little knit, great for a leftover yarn or something expensive. But I digress. This is about my disasters.

The most important reason that this project failed is:

I knit it while in the hospital after having my second C-section.

I was on lots of meds and it was pretty dark in there and I was sleep deprived. Not great conditions for successful knitting, although it turned out to be pretty successful as far as the kid was concerned!
Other than that, my most notable errors were:
  • Choosing a yarn with absolutely no bounce back or memory. This is Classic Elite Bam Boo, which has GORGEOUS drape, but doesn't lend itself to ribbing. Note the sagging in the first photo. This yarn would be better suited to a scarf or flowy top, but it can get quite heavy. A better choice for this project would be a wool blend or even something with a bit of stretch to help it out around the armholes.

  • Choosing a yarn with too many plies. This is only a problem because I was a very new knitter at the time, working in the dark, using pointy needles. Plies split. You can see a lot of them that went unknit in the photo below.

  • And last, but certainly not least, I was still a new enough knitter that I didn't know that I was twisting all of my knit stitches by knitting them through the back, and that it's a no-no.
You'd think that I would have stopped mid-way, what with all of these troubles with plies and sagging. But noooooo, I finished the whole thing. Guess I was hoping it would look ok in the end (like I said, I was on a lot of drugs). Alas, it does not. But the kids have appropriated it for dress-up, so at least it's not a waste entirely.

The kiddo turned out ok, though!!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Epic Craft Fail Week: Prologue

I've been meaning to do this for a while. With all of the successful projects going out these days, there are plenty of dirty little secret unfinished ones behind the scenes.

Various friends and family members catch a glimpse of the etsy shop, pay a nice compliment, then casually ask, "Hey, whatever happened to the baby gift/sweater/quilt/doodad you were making for me?"


"Ummm...sorry about that...I told you it wasn't going so well, that's why I ended up getting you the book/bath set/gizmo/box of diapers instead."

And then I slink away, feeling guilty.

Time to come clean.

Look folks, making stuff is really really really really fun. Except when it fails. And sometimes, it fails SO BADLY, you can't recover. Not just emotionally (although that happens). Sometimes, you simply can't salvage the supplies.

Like yarn, for example. Some yarns just don't rip out well. Mohair. Acrylic of dubious origin. Really expensive laceweight silk. Anything with twelve plies.

Fabric, once cut and sewn, can't always be reconstructed into something else. Maybe the pieces are too small or the wrong shapes. Maybe it was stipple quilted far too late in the evening when someone had two glasses of wine instead of one and the bobbin tension was way off but went unnoticed for about half of the quilt. Theoretically speaking, of course.

And sometimes, I think I have the skill to do something BUT I DON'T. True story. Oh so painfully true. Just you wait until I show you some of this junk.

Last but not least, some failures boil down to BAD CHOICES, plain and simple.

So this week, I'm going to share with you some of my worst failures. Go ahead, laugh at me, and pretend you don't have a baggie of neon Red Heart acrylic granny squares in the bottom of your closet.
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