Friday, December 28, 2012

Finishes

This week, my finishes are all small, as I have been reluctant to start on any big projects when I already have several looming.
As a gift for my mom's friend who is getting married tomorrow, I made a pillow.
Front
Front
Back
Back

On Christmas Eve, the Jesse Tree was also finished.
Finished Jesse Tree
Jesse Tree Top
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus at the top
O Antiphons
O Antiphons

I finished crocheting a "scarflette" (basically a short scarf) on Christmas Eve before Vigil Mass. This one is short out of necessity, as I ran out of yarn. But it drapes well, and I might hunt for a matching button. (The yarn is KnitPicks Felici in Tyrian Purple)
Scarflette
More infinity scarves were finished-- but a super boring finish, because I make these all the time. Infinity Scarves
Yesterday I finished making my Terribly Simple scarf, which was indeed simple. However, the endless rows of boring knitting got to me, and I cut it short because I wanted my needles free in case of another project.

Simple Crescent
It was lovely spending Christmas with the family. Here is my fiance, helping cook the bacon:

Cooking on Christmas Morning

Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas, and wishing all of you a safe New Year!!

Linking up with Tami's FO Friday!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Waiting in Anticipation

Two days before Christmas. The hustle and bustle of last minute gift wrapping, cookie baking, and making sure everything is just right.

Preparing for the birth of a Savior. Our Jesse Tree gets one last ornament tomorrow on Christmas Eve.

This will be the first year my fiance properly spends Christmas with my family, and I'm looking forward to it. Christmas Vigil Mass, and Christmas morning at my parents' house.

Being surrounded by the love of my family on Christmas is definitely the best.

I hope you all are surrounded by love this Christmas.

Merry Christmas, and blessings for the New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Done and Done!

No pictures today, because I'm at work, but I wanted to share my joy with everyone!!

I am officially (minus end-weaving) finished making all the Christmas gifts!!! Yesterday I finished off the last infinity scarf for one of my good friends, and this morning, I started and finished the second fingerless mitt for my aunt!

Anything I make after this is just an added bonus-- I can think of at least 2 projects that would be nice to have done by Christmas, but are not necessary to have done.

E and I are spending Christmas with my family, and New Year's with his, so I'll be busy this coming week. Christmas Blessings to you and yours!!

(Linking up with Tami!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pinspiration

My cousin T has totally inspired me to actually use Pinterest, as she is doing a totally hand-made Christmas this year. I think that is super awesome, and I want to do the same next year.

My first Pinterest project was based on this idea which used pipe insulation as a wreath base. I purchased several packages of pre-cut insulation, unlike the original poster. Each package came with 4 pieces, and they are cut in 3 foot lengths, which works well for me. I've made several wreaths using this method, and I like it.
Wreath forms

set 1Number Two came from my cousin, who made this cool project for my mom, who has used it at numerous parties this summer. I bought Christmas-y dishes on Monday when out with my mom, and while they will probably stay apart for now, I'm hoping to assemble them by next year.

set 2


The third project comes from a need for a better craft show display. Using items I already have on hand, I will be making this "bow holder" for my flower hair clips for next year's craft shows.

I'm actually in the process of making 2 more wreaths for Christmas gifts, as the greatest inspiration comes to me in the shower, and I realized I had the perfect yarn to make some holiday wreaths.

My post is up late(r) today because I spent the morning working on two of the above projects. Both of these projects are under $10, as long as you have the supplies on hand.

For the wreaths, I used masking tape and hot glue to hold the ends together (A Note on the hot glue-- it melts the pipe insulation, but provides enough of a bond to hold the ends together while I taped).
covered wreath.
Wreath in foreground, frame in background
For the picture frame, I used acrylic paint, not because there was no spray paint in my house, but because Michigan weather in the winter does not agree with the spray paint requirements of "between 50 and 90 degrees".  And I am impatient. Luckily, I have 2 artist (in the traditional sense) siblings, so paint and brushes are common in our house too. It helped that I did the wreath forms first, because then I switched to the frame, but then back again to the wreaths while the paint dried.

Yummy

Even though I am in the midst of several projects, I always feel the need to start one more. I've had this beautiful skein of Fyberspates yarn in my stash since June, and I know what it wants to be. But with all my other projects, ones that really need to be finished, I can't really ball this yarn yet. Soon though, really soon.

Linking with Tami and Ginny for WIPW & Yarn-Along 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Update from the Weekend

An increase in my stash occurred this weekend. It wasn't anything terribly excited, just more Homespun yarn for the infinity scarves I sell at craft shows. But, it was an incredible sale, and a few colors that I haven't used before.

Being on vacation from school for 2 weeks is nice, as I am able to finish up Christmas gifts and mix in a few "work" crochet projects too. I've also been cleaning, and managed to get rid of a large bag of stuff, just because it was NOT going to get used, and I did not want to move it into another space in 8 months time. Lots of stuff is disappearing due to that reasoning, and E totally supports it. However, he did come to the conclusion this weekend that I actually don't have as much stuff as I think I do.

mom & dadat the tree farmour tree!!

Speaking of this weekend, E was here for the day on Saturday. We got our Christmas tree (with my parents), and then ran some Christmas and wedding errands. My mom wanted some sugar cookies decorated, so we helped with that too. We tackled more books after that, and I have regained some of my closet space. He took a large box home with him (we are planning on living in his hometown) and I took two bags to the library.
Camo-mman                      cookies 3                      cookies 2

Sunday after Mass, I cooked some breakfast before heading down to my cousin's for the day. Her two girls are going to be the flower girls in my wedding, and we wanted to try on dresses. David's Bridal adventure! (Looking at dresses was marred by my frustration in searching for the perfect shoe. They advertise a nice pair online, but apparently are discontinuing it. What I can't understand is why they don't make a comfortable, attractive shoe with proper support. Oh well. Rant over) 
two cuties at David's
The darker blue is the color I am using
On the chance that we might find something cheaper  else at the mall, we spent a bit of there too. Nothing at all. Actually, we found this dress at Justice, but the color combo was just slightly wrong (we needed a blue base, not a pink base)
Monday, Mom & I ran errands, and then I wrapped gifts. The tree was put up, and some decorating has occurred.
closeup 2wrapping in progresstree half decoratedTree close-up

Friday, December 14, 2012

Papercrafting and Last Minute Orders

My FOs this week are mixed media-- I have crochet, like normal, but also papercrafting. You see, I have been on the hunt for a circular paper punch, with the little scalloped edges, for several weeks. However, the stores don't seem to be re-stocking, so they've never had the size I wanted. Yesterday, my JoAnn's had the one I wanted, and it was on sale. I used it as soon as I got home, make new ornaments for our Jesse Tree. So now, my family is celebrating a mix of old and new as we prepare for Christmas and the birth of Christ.

Paper punch
new paper punch!
Next week's ornaments
my ornaments for next week
This week's ornaments
this week's, up close
old ornaments
ornaments from years past
our decorated tree
our Jesse Tree, preparing us for Christmas
I have made some crocheting progress, though sadly not with Christmas gifts. I had a woman who had purchased one of my scarves at a craft show contact me (2 months later?!) and wondered if I had any left. (I really wanted to tell her to go away, but business is business, right?) So I graciously offered two of my WIP scarves, since I would have the rest of the week to finish them. Those are now finished, and I'm waiting to hear back from her. For those of you who work craft shows, is there any good way to let people know that you won't take orders after a certain time? Because, I update that information on my Facebook page regularly, and people still think they can order stuff the week before Christmas. Like, I made the FB page so people could find me later, and contact me. Am I doing something wrong?

finished scarves
two new scarves
I'm looking forward to the weekend-- we're cutting our Christmas tree tomorrow morning, have a party in the evening, and on Sunday I'm going dress shopping with my flower girls. Anyone else have exciting plans?

Anyway, linking up with Tami for FO Friday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday!

Wednesdays are fabulous days, especially when my semester is OVER!! It's been a really stressful semester, but it's over and I get to spend next semester with a variety of high-school students, teaching them about my favorite subjects: Government and History!!! All while planning a wedding and looking for a house and a job in a different city. Yay me!

WIP
In Progress
But for now, I'm in a Christmas gift-making frenzy, hoping to finish orders for a few close friends (who ordered ages ago and deserve to have their stuff finished) and FINALLY spending time with some books.

More Yarn
One done, 2 to go!
Even though I swore off infinity scarves, I actually am supposed to be making some for people. So, I have more Lion Brand Homespun in my bag for my 5 hour shift at work. It's okay though, because I like the mindlessness of making them.

For my reading, our priest recommended I look for something to read and reflect on as I prepare for marriage. So off to the bookstore I went yesterday, and found Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for your Marriage, by Kimberly Hahn, which reflects on Proverbs 31. It looks really good, and since Fr. Dan told me not to look for stuff about being a mother, and go more towards reading about being a wife, I thought this would be a good fit. Though I am totally open to other suggestions, if people have them.

Reading
Excited to be reading new things!
My other 2 reads are also non-fiction: In the Garden of Beasts (about the US Ambassador in Germany pre WWII) and Six Armies In Normandy.  As you can tell, I'm on a WWII kick. I'd welcome some historical fiction, but 1) I haven't actively searched, and 2) I don't have that much free time.

I'm hoping to have a few more interesting crochet projects soon, so stay tuned for those!!

Linking up with Tami and Ginny today!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

End of the Season

Saturday marked the end of my craft show season this year. I was fairly successful, especially with the popularity of the infinity scarves. I attended 5 different craft shows, and each one was different. One of our shows this year was a complete dud, but a learning experience as well.  My aunt and I are looking into adding one more to our "regular schedule" -- which means there will be at least 4 shows for me next year (my fifth this year was independent of my aunt).

K-zoo show
This is what my stuff at our last show looked like.
It is an enormous relief to not have to worry about making more items to sell-- Now I can work on it as I please.

It's also 2 weeks into Advent, which is the mark of the new liturgical year. After seeing a number of fellow bloggers (JOYfilled Family, Karen @ A Servant's Memories, Ginny @ Small Things)  talking about Jesse Trees, I remembered that we once had a Jesse Tree at my house. It's been many years (1996, we think), but I wanted to bring it back.
So there is a Jesse Tree in our kitchen. I've been slacking, because of finals, but my dad has been adding things. I love the idea of another mediation for Christmas.
Bare Jesse Tree
Bare, for now








Friday, December 7, 2012

In Preparation

Saturday I have my final craft sale before Christmas. So, hopefully, peace at last. E and I also have our first meeting with the priest who is going to marry us. There are some things that I like preparing for, and my wedding is definitely an exciting thing to prepare for.

Preparation for the craft show will just continue up until I start selling, though, as I was not as prepared as I wanted to be. But I did finish new hats!

Here they are:

Basic Blues
The totally finished ones

Creatures
Still in progress-- 2 dinos, a duck/bird, and a flowered one

More Blues
My favorite shade of Bernat Super Saver is this peacock color

Flowers?
This is what my bed looks like when I am trying to match colors
 Lots of colorful stuff going on right now! But you can tell that blue is my go-to color for hats, simply because blue can be both boy and girl. The light blue hat with the puffy flower is my sister's favorite-- she loves the dimension that the puffy flower gives to the hat (last minute Christmas gift for her?)

Linking up to Tami's FO Friday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thinking about the Future

It's  December, and I'm thinking of goals for the new year. Right now, I live with my parents, in the room I grew up in. It's tiny, and my yarn overwhelms me. But in less than 9 months, I will be moving into a new apartment with my new husband!!! However, I don't really want to start married life with a whole slew of WIPs and lots of yarn that I will never use.

I really want to get a head start on my craft show stock, something that I NEVER do. Let's face it, we all have goals that we never follow through on, or that remain incomplete for a while. Truly, I want to make it a goal to get through all of my Lion Brand Homespun yarn before I move out of the house. I definitely need a count of how many skeins I have-- I bought 9 skeins a few weeks ago, but am not sure where that puts my grand total. It takes me about 3 hours to crochet an infinity scarf, and some days I've been able to make 3-- especially when I'm sitting through several hours of lecture. Though, without hours of lecture in the coming semester (*me* lecturing, instead of me sitting through someone else lecturing), and more hours of lesson planning, it might not be as easy as I want it to be.

However, I do plan on keeping track (to the best of my ability) of my "Cold Sheep" progress. I joined the Cold Sheep group on Ravelry, and they are an inspiring group. The Nov-Dec "Cold Sheep Along" is helping me keep track of my stash reduction. BUT, it's only been one week since I last bought yarn. At the beginning of this year, I stopped buying yarn, and I believe that lasted about 6 months. i'm not really sure if there is a best method to solve my yarn-buying problem, especially since I work fall craft shows.

So far, the best method I can think of to effectively reduce my stash and still build up my craft show merchandise supply is to stick to my yarn budget. Like, really stick to it. And to do that, I really need to watch sales and clip coupons. Even though the *really* good sales tend to happen around this time of year (especially on yarn) if I only buy yarn with Michael's and JoAnn's coupons-- which would be 2 skeins of yarn a week, at the most--I think I would be keeping under budget. And it's also a matter of knowing my stash, so I can buy yarn that will be the most helpful for my projects. (If you're wondering, my current yarn budget is about $10 a month-- but I'm also working minimum wage/part-time, and going to school).

A List-- because lists are easy to look at--
  1. Use 250 yards a week (minimum)
  2. Make one craft show item for every personal item
  3. Make one afghan square for every skein of yarn finished
  4. Keep within monthly yarn budget
I'm not sure if I do better when the goals are broader or narrower. (I shall re-assess in 3 months)

Warm Ears!

I've been super busy with the end of the semester (I think this happens all the time, but more so with school stuff) but I have been squeezing in some crafting time. My last craft show of the year is on Saturday, and I've been trying to make a good selection of child and baby sized hats. I really love crocheting for little kids, and I can't wait to see what they think of my creations. Between school and crafting and wedding planning, I can honestly say my life is not dull.

And!! One of my bridesmaids just got engaged, and will be getting married next winter-- she just asked me to be in her wedding, so the excitement just keeps on going!

I fell off the stash busting wagon on Cyber Monday, when I bought a bunch of pretty yarn from Knit Picks, but I am still trying to keep track of my yarn 'weight loss'. The scarf for Bro #2 got rid of 300 yards or so, and I used up an entire skein of Vanna's Choice on 2 child hats.

Stripes
I'm also working on moving unwanted stash out of my room, because I am anticipating the move, and who really wants to move stuff that has no purpose. Basically, anything I don't want to use is being bagged up for a trip to my church for the fourth graders. Because of all the busy in my life, it's hard to find the spare time, but I totally believe that if you want to, you can make time. For each skein of yarn I donate, I've been trying to make an afghan square to donate too-- the fourth graders love seeing what the 'adults' make, so I try to have a couple of squares in with the yarn. 

If you come back on Friday, I'm going to try my best to get up photos of all the hats I've made. It's really exciting, because I tried a couple of new-ish designs. :)

Linking up with Tami for WIP Wednesday and Ginny for Yarn-along!