Category Archives: Craftyness

Year Long Endeavors

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The past few years have not been that great for me.  With each year I’ve noticed my health getting worse (fibromyalgia).  Every year I have always made up a list of goals for the next year and never get far because I never feel well.  At the end of the year, any goals that I didn’t get to just get added to the next years list with my new goals.  Only, I am getting to the point where I can’t do much at all.  So this year I didn’t make any “new year goals.”   I just decided to do as much as I can, when I can.  Every day is a new day and whatever it brings I will just have to roll with it.  If I can’t get out of bed than that is all I can do.

I did start a few year long endeavors but nothing that will throw me off if I miss a day.

  1. Temperature Scarf.  My oldest son Jared helped me with this a lot.  He went with me to Joann’s and helped me pick out 12 colors (including black).  Then we arranged them into a pleasing rainbow of sorts with the colors we deemed to be “cold colors” on one end and the “hot colors” on the other end.  Jared made my chart for me with a temperature range for each color.   I decided I wanted to show the extremes in temperature we get here so I divided the year into thirds.  The first 4 months I am checking the temperature each day and taking the low for the day I check my chart to find out what color to use.  I work one row a day based on the temperature.  After the first 4 months I’ll switch to the high temperature then back to the low temps for the last four – so it will be warm around my neck (where the middle is hehe)  I am almost finished  with January and I love how it looks already!  After the last day of January I’ll add a few rows of black.  I started with a few rows of black and I’ll end with a few rows of black and when it is all done I’ll add an edge of black.  That way it will look like a thermometer kinda.
  2. I joined a CAL (crochet a long) on ravelry.com that is making a 12″ x 12″ block every month.  They also vote for an extra 12″ square and there is also a 6″ square each month for people wanting to make a baby blanket or whatever.
  3. I joined another CAL (Official CCC Social group) that is doing a 12″ x 12″ block every WEEK!  (until Nov I think which leaves time to piece them together)  The last two pictures show the first two from this group.  They are so awesome!!!
  4. I also joined another crochet group that has several different CAL’s planned throughout the year.  Creative Crochet Crew Group has to be the best crochet group I’ve seen on facebook.   Their first project is starting on Feb 4th I believe and they are making the Magnificent Moss Basket.  They even have the designer in this group in case anyone has any questions.  This group is totally focused on crochet so no random chit chat about other things or negativity of any sort.  No knitting or other off topic things either.  That makes it really nice because it is such a large group.  I find so many wonderful patterns or ideas in this group.  The group I linked in #3 above is the social group where chit chat is allowed but not the negativity.  Both groups are awesome!

This link is to my Ravelry Project page for my 2014 blanket!  I’ll be adding each square as I do them so if you check back you can see all the patterns (which are all free).

When I finished the purple flower with the green part it made me think of a water lily so I made the rest blue.

When I finished the purple flower with the green part it made me think of a water lily so I made the rest blue.

So all of these “endeavors” are crochet related.  That seems to be the one thing that keeps me going.  Last year I was really into knitting but lately I only want to crochet.  I’ve been crocheting for most of my life (my sister started teaching me when I was 5) but I haven’t been knitting all that long.  When I am in pain and have a hard time focusing I go for the thing that I can do on autopilot.  It helps to keep my mind focused on something – something not to hard but hard enough to keep my mind off of hurting.  This may sound silly but if I am in so much pain that I can’t crochet, I actually try to mentally form the stitches in my head as a way to distract myself.  I think everyone with fibromyalgia has their little tricks like that.

Oh, I should add, I am doing all of these things using only yarn that I already have.  I have a lot!  I picked out four colors to make a blanket for my room.  Purple – Green – Blue – Cream   But, I am using different yarns and different shades of those colors in my squares.  I may even make some 6″ squares and group 4 together into a larger square.

Hairy Lavender Flower Square

I got the bright idea to use green fun fur with the white for the center of this square. Then I had to give it a haircut because it looked like an overgrown lawn!

Making a blanket to fit my bed might be overwhelming but making a 12″ square can be done in an hour or so.  When I don’t feel well it takes me all day but I still find myself waiting impatiently for the next one to be posted in each group.  In no time at all I will have enough squares to make my blanket and I really doubt it will take a year.  I’ll probably make a blanket for every bed in the house.

The flower in this one is two shades of blue but the darker shade looks gray in the picture.  There actually isn't any gray in this.

The flower in this one is two shades of blue but the darker shade looks gray in the picture. There actually isn’t any gray in this.

Purple flower circle square

To See or Not to See

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I’m not a spring chicken anymore and more and more I’ve been noticing that I am blind as a bat.  I was trying to find the correct crochet hooks for a project and the larger hooks I have are these clear colored plastic hooks with the size etched into the end of the handle.  I’m sure you know the ones.  They are Susan Bates Crystalites.  Susan bates also has the hooks that are all white which have the same issue.  When I was looking for the larger sizes like L (8 mm) and N (10 mm) these were all I could find here locally.  With no contrast it is very difficult to read the size.  I finally got a bright idea and I dabbed some white acrylic paint over the size on the handle and tapped the paint around with my fingers to fill in the etched in area.  Then I wiped off the excess with a paper towel and now I can see it perfectly!  If you have the white ones you could use any bright color or black.  The same thing applies to the knitting needles of course.

Fixing Crochet Hooks so they are Readable

From Trash to Treasure

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I love boxes.  I collect boxes of all sorts.  Some of them are pretty vintage trinket boxes, some are carved wood, bone, shell, glass, paper etc.  I love them!  I also like to save and reuse boxes or containers from food, medicine, and packaging from anything.  I have always reused stuff but never really knew how to dress it up and make it look nice.  I have tried a few things in the past but it didn’t really hold up because I didn’t have the right materials so it would stay.  I’ve been learning though.  I recently joined a group on facebook called The Craft Hole  and they have some very talented members!   After seeing some of the stuff they make in that group I was a bit intimidated!  I joined a challenge they had called “Trash to Treasure” and had a great idea for something I wanted to do.  I like all the things I make to be practical and useful.  I had a great idea but I just didn’t know how to get started.  I finally shared my idea with them and some members nudged me in the right direction.  All I really needed was the proper terms to look up on youtube and I found a wealth of great videos and tutorials.  I watched a bunch of videos and got lots of ideas.  I didn’t have the same materials they were using but I got the idea of what they were doing.

Here’s my box.  Both of my teen-aged sons got wallets for Christmas and two of these awesome boxes were going into the trash.  They are covered in some sort of faux leather or something with stitching around the edging.

Dockers wallet box

I really liked how one side was sloped.  I realized it would be perfect for keeping my stitch markers in for crochet/knitting.  I have terrible nails so I keep them cut short and then I have the hardest time picking up the stitch markers.  I could just slide one up the side of this box!  I also have this travel Pepto Bismol To-Go tablet container that I’ve been using to keep my darning needles in.  That was especially handy because it has a child proof cap so if any children are around they can’t get to the needles.  I peeled the label off of that pink plastic tube and just wrapped some pink patterned washi tape around it to make it look nicer.  That container slips perfectly into that little cubbie hole in the box.  It is just snug enough to keep it from falling out.

I wanted to paint the bottom part of the box a light cream color so I had to over up all that orange.  Did I get the job done?  I gesso. har har

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It took a lot of it to hide all of that orange.  Then I mixed up some acrylic paint to paint it a nice vintage shade of cream.  It was kind of funny because it’s been a while since I’ve mixed paint, especially thicker paint like acrylic.  I kinda struggle sometimes with knowing what colors to mix to get what I want but I just glopped out some paint and mixed it all up and it exactly matched the ribbon I bought to put on this box.  I didn’t even have to add a little move of this color…. and that color…. no, a little more yellow….. a little more red….. etc.  It was just perfect, right out of the gate (or tube).

Here you can see some of the goodies I bought to decorate the box.

Supplies

So then I printed up some graphics from a blog I found.

 
If you subscribe to their newsletter they always attach a freebie!  This is the last one and I fell in love with it right away.  I just love these colors.  When I printed the sheet I didn’t have the page orientation set right so it printed small but that was perfect because the images worked great on my box.

Docker box reborn

Here’s where I got stuck and really didn’t know what to do.  I knew I wanted a vintage looking box and some members of the group mentioned above suggested I look on youtube.com for distressing tutorials.  I watched a ton.  Some of them weren’t even in English but I still got the idea.  I don’t really have any one video that helped the most.  I didn’t have the same stuff they used in any of those videos so I just pulled out what I had.  I mixed up some more colors of acrylic paint and did a little dry brushing.  Sometimes I’d take a damp paper towel wipe it off (pretty much like what they were doing with stain in the videos).  I pretty much just played and had fun making my box look old.  I used some scapbooking stickers of coins and stamps and some other paper elements.  I had fun altering the images, which is another thing I learned.  I sanded the edges, tore, wrinkled up and added a little colored chalk.  I even used a little paint on a q-tip to add some shading to the coins.  For some reason, I never thought about making these adjustments to things before.

Finished inside

The little piece of ribbon at the bottom there is for pulling the box open.  The top fits over the bottom section pretty snug.  It was hard to open before I painted.  I used some good quality glue so hopefully it will never come off.

The bottom

I even added my name and the date.  It is a piece of art after all.

I really had fun when I started working on the top.  I had all of these different elements that I wanted to use but didn’t really have a clear idea in mind.  I started fumbling around with the ribbon and finally realized it was just too nice.  I bullied it around a bit until it looked like what I wanted.  I wanted it to have some frayed areas and pulled and distorted the weave of the fabric.  Finally I wrinkled it up and then started shaping it into a base for my centerpiece.  I brushed some decoupage medium over an image to seal it and then added a wooden, laser-cut frame and some butterflies.  I even took one of the images, some the awesome freebie set mentioned above, and layered it over the large butterfly and then just tore the paper along the edge of the butterfly.  I added some decoupage glue and slide the paper to get some wrinkles and I wanted a little bit of the light color of the wooden butterfly to show at the edge.  I really like the way it turned out!

The top

Oh, and I found that shell on the beach at St. George Island in Florida this past summer and I found that button in my mom’s things.  I will always be reminded of some good times whenever I used my *new* box.

My awesome box in use

Long time, no post…

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Yeah, it has been a really long time.  I haven’t been feeling well for about that long….  Fibromyalgia is sucking the life out of me.  I need to put up more of a fight.

I think I’ll get back to writing here because I need something to keep me going.  I’m working on getting back into reading too.  I didn’t read much at all last year.  It is so hard to focus and I find myself reading the same line over and over again and forgetting what I read.

Anyway, when I went to the doctor last week (I think it was) I had planned to do something before and changed my mind.  Whenever I leave the house in the winter the cold makes me start to hurt all over.  Usually, my husband drives me.  He picks me up in a warmed up car and drops me off right at the door so I spend as little time as possible in the cold.  Well, something came up and I ended up driving myself.  So, forgetting that I can’t do what I used to, I planned some other stops along the way.  Once I left the warm garage though and the cold air started seeping into the car I quickly changed my mind.  Instead I stopped into the Literacy Council’s used book store which is close to the clinic.  I picked up two books: The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber and Spirit Walker, a beautiful book of Indian poetry and artwork by Nancy Wood with paintings by Frank Howell.  I bought a copy of Spirit Walker for my mother in law and read it before I gave it to her.  I started tagging the poems I really liked with sticky notes and realized I had nearly tagged the whole book.  I was so surprised to see that book there so I bought it for myself.  The artwork is beautiful!  I saw the Debbie Macomber book when it first came out in hard back and decided to wait for it.  I finally found it in paperback and because my punch card was full I got it for free.

After my appointment I stopped by Joann’s to get some stuff to dress up a wallet box left over from Christmas.  I have grand ideas for this box.  I also joined this group on facebook called the Craft Hole that has challenges and swaps.  One of the challenges is “trash to treasure” and I signed up since that is right up my alley!  I’ve been sick with a cold though so I have’t been able to work on it.   I was getting worried I wouldn’t finish before the deadline which is the end of the month.  I’m feeling a little better though, so I started working on it last night.  So for I’ve just been painting it with gesso to cover up their logo and all the orange inside.  So it looks rather ghostly at the moment.  I’ll make a post later for that.  I’m still not sure exactly what I’m going to do next.

Anyway, I think it was Wednesday when I slept all day and woke up when my husband came home from work.  I wasn’t feeling well because of the cold but I wasn’t as achy.  I realized I was feeling more clear-headed so I decided to try reading the Debbie Macomber book.  I read several chapters and Ahhhhh!  I sure missed reading.  I even did 10 minutes on my stationary bike while reading since my doctor wants me to do at least 10 minutes of cardio a day.  Reading sure makes it easier and I managed to get through it without too much pain.  Hopefully I can continue doing that.

American Idol started Wednesday also and I love that show.  I didn’t love it as much last year but I’m loving it this year.  Harry is great! Adding him as a judge was such a great choice.  No more drama or cat fights between judges.  Maybe this year the show can actually be about the contestants.

Okay, back to work on my ghost box.

~ D

Craft Krazy

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I really hate to be a follower.  I go way out of my way to avoid anything that is “in”.  I’ve always loved butterflies but when I was in high school and the springy butterfly hair barrettes were “in” I refused to wear them, although in part because of the springiness.  Anything springy on the head is dumb unless you are 3, and then it is cute.

Anyway,  I’ve tried to avoid the Martha Stewart line of craft things because….. because I want to be unique and I know everyone and their mother is buying it!  But I was coveting the Martha Stewart Knit & Weave Loom Kit.  I really wanted to try weaving with it.  I’ve seen several free patterns on Lionbrandyarn.com and I have been dying to try them out.  The only problem was the thing was almost $50 and I am frugal.  That is another thing going against this whole thing.  Martha Stewart anything will not be cheap.  I watched for sales but was never happy.  Finally, I saw it a few weeks ago on sale at walmart for $35.  That is the best price I’d seen (Alaska prices of course) but I still held out, after all, I already know how to knit.  I just want it to try weaving.

Well…. on Sunday after having a lovely anniversary dinner with my husband we decided to stop by the store for a few things before heading home.  It was a very quick stop but my husband left the lights on and the car was dead.  So Happy Anniversary Honey, you get to walk home…..  poor guy.  It was slightly raining too.  I offered to walk with him but he was worried I’d be in pain afterwards and I probably would be.  So I went back in the store to browse while he walked home to get his truck.

They had a bunch of summer clothes and other out-of-season things on clearance and they were having a 60% off clearance sale for Labor Day.  I didn’t want to buy anything I wouldn’t be able to use so I just walked through each department killing time.  I just happened to walk through this section of yarn (which I definitely don’t need any of!) and scrapbooking goodies and then I saw this hacked opened Martha Stewart Knit & Weave Loom.  It was marked $31.97 on clearance and I saw this huge sign that said 60% off clearance!  I looked down and there were pegs from the kit on the floor under my feet.  I really didn’t want to pay for something that was damaged no matter how cheap it was.  Then I bent down to pick up the pegs to prevent someone’s demise and saw more undamaged kits on the bottom shelf.  Holy cow!  I grabbed one up and made sure it was in perfect condition and then had to hold myself back to keep from running to the register.  It cost me a whopping $12!!!!

So now I’m a Martha Stewart fan big time.  I’ve spent hours plugging pegs into frame pieces and watching videos online of how to use it . I’m a very happy camper and of course a new loyal MS follower.

I have woven one side of a pillow and I just learned how to double knit with the loom.  It is surprisingly easy and meditative.  I mean, I KNOW how to knit but I actually enjoy this.  My dog randomly jumped up in my lap, like she does on occasion, and even after she was sitting on the loom and knocked in on the floor and then drug it around to get it nice and tangled up….. even after that I was able to just pick it back up and it was fine.  If I had been knitting on needles it would have been all unraveled.  That is pretty darn cool.

Here are some video’s I’ve watched on how to use this cool new contraption.  This is a list of videos so when the first one ends just wait and it will go on to the next quick video.