Sunday, March 31, 2013

Project 360: Week 13

{84} I saw a few deer in the snow while doing chores on Monday morning.

{85} Windy, cloudy day.

{86} Another cloud picture. :)

{87} I helped Dad put up our little greenhouse on Wednesday, and on Thursday I started some seeds in it! I'm trying to grow some dyeing herbs: indigo, black hollyhock, golden marguerite, and hopi red amaranth (that will be started outside, though, so I haven't planted it yet). I also planted some lavender and then some seed for my parents. I guess this is the year I'll find out if I'm really a plant killer or not. :)

{88} Walking past the creek.

{89} Love the tiny little flowers that grow randomly in the grass.

{90} Buttercups from my grandparents' yard.

It's a bit unusual that all of my pictures were taken outdoors this week, except for today's. {It's a wet and foggy day here.} Happy Easter, everyone!

Until next time,

Friday, March 29, 2013

She believed she could, so she did.

I came across this quote a month or two ago on Pinterest, and it really stuck with me. I think it was Natalie who first gave me the idea to embroider it, so a few weeks ago I started sketching out designs. I've been stitching on this piece for about a week and half now, and it's finally finished!

It didn't turn out exactly as I planned. My original idea was the quote looking a bit like a vine, with the flowers crowding in, and some green leaves and vines amongst the flowers. But then I thought that might be too busy (as if this piece wasn't busy enough already :).

I'm mostly pleased with the end result. I think I should have used a different color for the lettering, and the flowers look a little too starfishy. But overall, I'm proud of all of those lazy daisy stitches and how springlike the whole piece is. :)

Here's a peek at the back, because that's always interesting...

You can find the piece in my Etsy shop here.

Until next time,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quirky toys and dolls.

I have a new crafty obsession...making dolls and stuffed animals. {You might have noticed this if you follow me on Pinterest, because you were hit with a barrage of doll-related pins this weekend. :) Sorry about that. I use Pinterest to keep up with pages I don't want to lose!}

It's not really a new obsession, because I've made them in the past (little blog time machine right here: Audrey, puppy, doll with braids, and other doll). And I haven't made any more yet, but I'm itching to. I don't think this is coming from the fact that I'm going to have a niece or nephew later this year (though I will definitely be sewing soft toys for the baby!). This is selfish sewing because I want a couple of these sitting around my room. :)

Making toys is special. It's hard to explain, but it's different than sewing clothes or things for your house. For me, it's probably because I've always had a thing for stuffed animals. I liked dolls and all (I still have my beloved American Girl dolls- Josefina has some major split ends by now :), but I loved stuffed animals. My bed used to be covered with them. And up until I was about ten or eleven, I honestly believed they had feelings. {Can't believe I'm admitting this.} I would feel so guilty about the ones who wouldn't fit on my bed and who had to go elsewhere. I wanted them to all feel special and loved. :) I think Toy Story is probably to blame for this.

{Photo credits: top six photos, The Black Apple; bottom left, Chez Beeper Bebe; bottom center and right, Mimi Kirchner}
And besides, I am not a fan of modern toys. All the flashing lights and loud noise and hard wonder so many kids have attention problems now! Look at what they're exposed to from the time they're born. {My early childhood development classes gave me firm opinions about certain things, and this is one of them.} When I have kids someday, I want them to play with soft handmade dolls and wooden trucks and blocks, and I don't want them to know how to play games on smart phones or tablets when they're toddlers.
Basically, I appreciate unique, quirky handmade toys. End of lecture. :)
I love the idea of making little dolls and all sorts of adorable accessories. Capes, berets, knitting bags! Too much cuteness.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, too, here are some books to check out. I own Wee Wonderfuls, and two of the books I've made have been from those patterns. It's a lovely book, with lots of toys for girls and boys.

We Make Dolls! came from Amazon last week, and it has more of a quirky style (as you can see from the cover- look at the tattooed man on the cover. He has quite an impressive moustache and I love his striped pants). I didn't love quite as many of these as I had hoped to, but there are still several that I will definitely be making. There are also interesting interviews with dollmakers inside. And the pattern pieces (all except for two of the patterns) are all full-sized in the book! I think enlarging patterns is a pain, so I appreciate that.

I don't own How to Make Stuffed Animals or Storybook Toys, but they're both on my wishlist now and they have good reviews. HtMSA has lots of whimsical woodland animals (and a narwhal!). I especially like the fox. You can read a review here. Storybook Toys features more traditional looking dolls, and they are absolutely gorgeous and professional looking. From the previews I've seen, this book is really detailed, especially when it comes to making the perfect yarn hair and such. You can read a review here. And check out this ridiculously adorable Lisa and Corduroy set the author made!

So...have you ever sewn toys?

Until next time,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Project 360: Week 12

{77} New knit fabrics from Girl Charlee! Two of these have already become Renfrews. :) I had a wonderfully productive sewing week.

{78} I'm working on a new embroidered piece for the shop.

{79} Buttercups blooming! I guess they're technically daffodils. But we've always called them buttercups. :)

{80} Crazy beautiful sky.

{81} I won a giveaway over at Nicole's blog: Aimee Ray's new book and some pretty floss! I learned how to embroider from her first book. I had entered quite a few giveaways for this book and nearly ordered it from Amazon (where it's very inexpensive right now), so I was thrilled to win.

{82} This weirdness happens when I was trying to get pictures of Jack in my window against the evening sunlight. My cats have had spring fever lately...they've been super loving and energetic and hungry. And they've been fighting. Which is hilarious, because it's not mean hiss-fighting. It mostly consists of them stalking each other around corners and from inside empty laundry baskets, and Oliver trying to start something with Jack. Jack's ears lay down and they have a standoff, and then he just rolls Oliver because he weighs about three times as much as Ollie does.

{83} Snow! It was so nice yesterday afternoon I opened my window. And today it's snowing/sleeting/raining.

Until next time,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Just call me Auntie.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday night, I was sitting on the couch, knitting gloves and watching Once Upon a Time on real TV for the first time ever. {We recently got an antenna to pick up local channels.} My dad was in his chair reading, and my mom was on the computer. Little did I know that young Snow White's melodramatic acting and temptation to save her mother by letting someone else die would soon become completely unimportant. :)
About fifteen minutes into the show, my brother and sister-in-law stopped in. They handed my mom a little white bag and *bam* I knew exactly what was going on here. Cody and Rachel live next door and stop in quite often, but they usually aren't looking suspicious and carrying little white bags. My mom pulled a baby blanket and a pack of pacifiers.
I'm going to be an aunt! :)
I wasn't going to post about this for a while yet, but frankly I held off as long as I could. I can't wait to be an aunt. More specifically, I can't wait to be the somewhat kooky aunt who always gives books or handmade things as gifts instead of toys. And when she does give toys they're not store bought, but made out of wool felt and embroidery floss. :)
Ever since then, my head has been spinning with picture books I need to buy for my future nephew/niece and all of the things I want to make for him or her...clothes and baby booties and quilts and toys and blankets. And oh my goodness...I am going to be an aunt! Isn't it funny how life can change? I can't wrap my head around the fact that this Christmas we will have a new baby in the family.
Needless to say, expect to see quite a few baby crafty things on the blog between now and the end of October. :)

This is the first project. It also happens to be the first sweater I've knitted. I'm hoping to knit a sweater for myself sometime this year, so it was good to get at least a little practice in. Though I know my sweater will be more complicated and much more time-consuming than this one. :)

I used the Puerperium Cardigan pattern. It's free, fairly easy, and I love how it buttons up the side so it's easier to put on newborns. And technically this is supposed to fit a newborn, though I think it'll work better for a baby who's a couple of months old. I'm a tight knitter so I automatically go up a needle size on most projects, and in this case I had to go up two needle sizes because HL didn't carry the one I needed. So it's probably a bit larger than it's supposed to be.

We won't know the gender for quite a while, so I picked out pink and blue buttons. I haven't sewed them on yet, of course, but here's the girl version of the sweater (above) and the boy version (below).

{I hate those creases on the sleeves that come from my tension between needles, I guess? I'm hoping after I wash it the stitches will even out a bit.}

The sweater came together surprisingly quickly, and it was pretty simple. Just basic stockinette stitch, garter stitch, increases for the raglan sleeves, and such. The only part I was nervous about was picking up stitches under the arm to continue with the sleeves. Picking up stitches has been pretty hit-and-miss for me with past projects...sometimes it looks neat but sometimes I have gaping holes that I have to go back and fix later. I did a sloppy job with the first sleeve and because I had to go back and weave things in tighter, it's a bit bulky in that spot. But before starting the second sleeve, I looked in one of my knitting books for instructions (should have done that before, goober!). That one turned out much better.
And can I just say that knitting baby stuff is so much fun? :)
Until next time,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Edward Gorey's ballerina.

About a week ago, I stumbled across the Illustration Stitch-Along group on Flickr. I love this idea, because embroidered pieces that are based on illustrations are just really gorgeous. I definitely wanted to join in.
The plan so far is to have about four stitch-alongs a year, each one for a certain illustrator. The first one started in January and runs through the end of this month, and the illustrator is Edward Gorey. I had never heard of Gorey before. Apparently he wrote somewhat morbid (though humorous) stories, sort of in the style of Charles Addams or some of the darker Roald Dahl stuff. Anyway, even if his stories are a bit dark for your taste, you have to admit his illustration style is gorgeous.
Since my participation was sort of last minute, I decided to embroider this ballerina. It looked fairly easy compared to some of his detailed illustrations. {I would have loved to have done the man in the checkered suit and the lady to his left from this picture, but I can't imagine how long that suit would take to stitch.}

I'm really pleased with it except that her raised hand looks a bit strange. But it did in the original, too.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Project 360: Week 11

{70} Pinecones look surprisingly flower-like from underneath.

{71} I think spring is coming!

{72} My latest knitting project, which is not quite finished. It has some pretty exciting news that goes along with it, and I can't wait to share. :)

{73} Picking out floss colors for a new embroidery project.

{74} I'm a little obsessed with the way bare branches look against the sky.

{75} See what I mean?

{76} A peek at the embroidery I finished last night (I'll share it this week). I finished it while watching The Colgate Comedy Hour, which comes on a channel we get with our new antenna- RTV. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were hilarious...I laughed until I cried a couple of times. :)

Until next time,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Classic movie blog event?

I'm toying with the idea of having a blog party in May. It would be all about classic films, and I've been jotting down ideas for posts.
Like...five famous classic movies that I don't like, my favorite cheesy live-action Disney movies, classic films that I think are underrated, my favorite musicals, etc.
There would be a linky with each of these posts, so that you guys could join in and write about your own favorites, least favorites, etc. And I'm thinking I could maybe have a couple of giveaways. {I've got a few ideas, but if you know anyone who might be willing to donate classic movie-related prizes, let me know.}

So I guess what I'm asking is...does this sound interesting to you guys? I think that quite a few of ya'll love classic movies, or at least are familiar with some of the most famous ones. Would a blog party like this be something you'd be interested in participating in? Let me know in the comments. :)

Until next time,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blue skies.

I feel bad when I don't post during the week, because then the blog ends up having two Project 360 posts in a row. I've been working on a couple of embroidery and knitting projects this week, but nothing is finished quite yet so I don't have any crafty posts to share. So here are some pictures I took during my walk today.
It still feels like winter, with these cold, windy days we've been having, but things are starting to bud and bloom. I do enjoy spring, though I don't exactly look forward to the hot humid Virginia summer. :)

Until next time,