Sunday, November 25, 2012

Finished project: another felt pillow cover for Christmas

I had already completed two felt pillow covers earlier this year except for this one. It took a little while longer as I had to do the little holes in the centre by hand.

I made this the same way that I made the other two covers. Festive, eh?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finished project: Painted nutcrackers

These are my nutcrackers that I bought from Michael's Boxing Day sale. I love these kinds of projects because I can paint them any color that I want and they will go with my decor.

Here is my red nutcracker that goes with my decor in the basement.

Here is my purple nutcracker for my office at work.

And my pink nutcracker to go with my mom's pink and green decor.

A blue one for my kitchen:

And lastly, three little ones for my tree.

Finished project: Staghorn cabled scarves

After a failed scarf that I made for my hubby, I looked around for a more masculine scarf pattern that he would wear. Then, I found the Staghorn Cable scarf in the book Son of Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller. I was quite intimidated by the cable needle but after about 4 repeats of the pattern I had this memorized. So much so, that I did two scarves back to back on the bus without even looking up.

Here is scarf #1 which I made for my hubby:

Here is scarf # 2 which is actually for sale (let me know if you want to buy it). I plan on selling it at a craft show this year or giving it away for Christmas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to deal with a long commute

Do you have a long commute to work? Are you wondering how you will deal with this change? Perhaps these tips will help you.

I had a commute of 1 hour 10 minutes spread over between 2-4 buses per trip every day until I moved closer to work. However, now my husband has a similar commute for him to get to work with our new house so I decided to write down all of my tips that I learned over the past three years.

The best tip that I can give you is to think of this time as "me" time. We call it my husband's "reading hour" instead of the word "commute". We are adding a positive connotation to this particular time of day instead of thinking of it negatively. I know that when I first started this long commute I thought that it was a terrible time waster but then I learned how to knit. Now, I can't do without that hour to and from work every day because it's the only time that I knit during the day. Talk about a positive turn around!

Our other tips include:
  • Listen to audio books or read a book. Buy all of the books that you've been saying that you want to read (I found all of mine second hand) and read them one by one. When I lived in Montreal I read over 29 books in two years while commuting on the metro - I kid you not.
  • Listen to music
  • Play games on a portable mobile device like an mp3 player, if you have one
  • Listen to the radio on your portable mobile device. You may find that you really get into certain programs that play during this time.
  • Listen to learn a language CDs to perfect another language
  • Listen to podcasts on your mp3 player or smartphone
  • Watch a movie on your smartphone, if it has video capability.
  • If you know someone in the bus, sit with them and talk. You may develop a really good friend!
  • Read a magazine or even better - save your magazines that come in the mail for this specific time instead of reading them as soon as you get home. 
  • Read the newspaper. My husband downloads the newspaper to his portable device every morning and reads his newspaper online every day. This saves a lot of paper for us and keeps him sane.
  • Check your social networks on your mp3 player, if you have downloaded the apps for that. Just like the magazine, you could reserve this time as the only times that you check them
  • Carpool with work friends and talk.

Organization for scrapbooking scrap paper

I love scrapbooking but I have to say that the worst part is organizing all of the little bits that are cut off of the sheets of expensive paper. I spend half of my time trying to find white or cream-coloured scraps for journaling! So, I finally got so fed up that I made a connection between my empty poly expanding file organizer and my scraps: why not organize the scraps in the expanding file organizer?

There are 13 tabs in my paper organizer. I took a quick look at my paper scrap collection and came up with these categories:
  1. White
  2. Cream
  3. Yellow and Beige
  4. Red
  5. Pink and Purple
  6. Blue
  7. Green
  8. Brown
  9. Black
  10. Other: for all of the aqua, orange, grey and other colours that were not included
  11. Embellishments
  12. (and 13) Patterned: there were actually two pockets here so I organized it by the paper kits and the scrap pieces of patterned paper 
Then, it was a matter of organizing the paper scraps into the expanding file once I relabeled it according to the above categories. 

To this:

It took me about an hour to sift through my piles of paper scraps and organize them into these categories. Now I can get scrapbooking!

I hope my adventures in craft organization inspire you to do something similar! It's always great to bring order to chaos and get to work crafting instead of organizing the craft!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Finished project: La scapigliata

A while ago, I posted my in-progress pictures of la Scapigliata. Now I can finally say that after four years of starting and stopping this project, she's finally finished!! I just have to mount and frame her now and put her on the wall.

How did I do it? Obsessive cross stitching. I seriously lived and breathed this project for a whole month. I said that I wanted to finish her in June so I did it. Something just clicked in my head saying that it was time to finish her.

(detail of her flowing hair)

(detail of her hairline)

(detail of her face)

This project only took me four years but she's finally done. If I had spent more time on this instead of constantly doing a section and putting it aside she would have been done in six months.

***Update 04/08/2012***

Sorry, I forgot to mention that this is not a pattern that I created nor do I claim ownership of it. The pattern was published in Cross Stitch Collection magazine, issue 160 (August 2008), pages 32-35. It was designed by Maria Diaz.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finished project: Knitted baby blanket

After 6 months, I finally finished by knitted green baby blanket.

(The vibrant green didn't show up on camera no matter what I did!)

It measures about 28 inches by 36 inches.

It is a simple pattern of a stockinette blanket with a garter stitch border. I used Bernat baby sport-weight yarn in Fern on a 32-inch US6 circular needle. It is nice and soft for an acrylic and I really hope that it will hold up. I read some reviews about this yarn on Ravelry and was quite disappointed. I have hopes that the yarn will stand the test of time though!

Here is the blanket when I started it 6 months ago:

And a progress shot after about 10 inches: