Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who says procrastinators can't meet deadlines?

12 calendar squares done, just under the deadline.   Shhh, don't anybody mention that mayhap I should have actually had an assembled, finished blanket by year end.  I'll cut you!

October proved to be the most challenging.   There is a serious shortage of cute Halloween-themed squares and since it's my 2nd favorite holiday, it needed to be GOOD.   I saw some that were called "scary granny square" wherein the only scary thing about it was the fugly choice of yarn.   So I bought this cute spiderweb pattern and decided to use my newly minted spike stitch to make it all scaarrryyy and bloooddddyyy looking.   It worked, right? 

For the spider, I found this adorable spider pattern and thought she was high for charging $5 so I noodled out a (less cute) version of my own.    The first attempt was too big and has been relegated to cat toy.

Then we have November, the Turkey Square.    Yeah, he's cute, but really, can you imagine making 18 of these to create the whole afghan?  Does anyone love turkeys and/or Thanksgiving *that* much?   This just reiterated why this project is perfect for me.  I search, design, or noodle through the patterns for that one perfect square and then I move on.  No re-creating it 17 more times for posterity.  

And finally, the lovely and simple Christmas Wreath square.  I wanted a tree in the center, but I had a hard time finding instructions on making a square out of a triangular center and I had a deadline, yo!   So the wreath worked. 

And now, the 12 different colored, different shaped, completely uncoordinated Squares of the Year shall be assembled into one Hot Mess of a blanket for my son.   Who is Autistic and totally digs stuff like calenders, alphabets, presidents...stuff that has an order to it.

Ask me about that month that we listened to the Neil Sedaka song 578x/day

Edited to add:  I did swap out the ugly "egg" square for Easter in favor of the Warhol Bunnies.   

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This should not have been so hard!

I guess with the flurry of hat making, plus Halloween and Christmas crochet, I totally forgot to keep up with the Squares of the Year project for my son.    I think I floundered because I could not find a decent football square pattern for September.  Most were just fugly and not what I had in mind.     I am not quite skilled enough to crochet exactly what's in my brain yet, but I decided to just go for it.    

Freeformed the football.  Then spent hours crocheting and yanking the green background around the football.   I originally wanted horizzontal lines so I could add the white yard makers across.  But that was a wretched mess of wonkyness.   Then I had to try multiple times to create a square around an oval shape.    Eventually, I got the sides somewhat even-ish.    I think it turned out fab, and I especially love how the spike stitch approximates the Falcon's logo.    I just wish I knew exactly how I did this so I could do it again.    

Objects in picture are less crooked than they appear.
I had completed August, with a school theme since in GA, the kids go back to school in early August.   Of course, it's been so long, I cant find the pattern I used for the pencil, but looks like pretty basic crochet with decreases and I am pretty sure I just finagled a square around it.    

Although this is sure cute!    And so are these guys!

Now three months to go by Sunday....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The last of the Christmas crochet

I valiently worked to finish my MIL's scarf in the car on the way to her house on Christmas Eve, but alas it was not to be.   Luckily, we still have one more holiday event since SIL is out of town, so I had a couple extra days to finish the scarf and make a hat.

This pattern was fun, but I dont recommend a really loud, busy kid's play zone as the place to start working on it.   It's a 4 row-repeating pattern that I eventually got, but it took awhile to memorize.  

The wrong side is actually the bumpy, textured side but I think that's the cooler side.  I do love how it feels, but I am a sensory seeker.    The hat...I started making a hat with rounds and rounds of bobbles and it was sooo fugly *and using so much yarn* that I ripped and redid it as a simple beanie.   I reversed the yarn and added a round with the 4 rows of the scarf pattern for the brim.  I think it's cute.

Right side on left, Wrong side on right.

This yarn was cursed though.   It originally started out as a hooded scarf for one of the teachers, but it was coming out even fuglier than the bobble-hat.    I have never ripped out so many times.   Blech.  Glad to be done with you, purple yarn of doom!    And glad to be done with obligatory Christmas crochet.

Oh and one more quickie, I found the idea on Pinterest to make magnets out of errant foreign coins that are circulating around the house.   I am going to toss a few of these in with MIL's gift, so I thought I'd add a couple pics.  Super quick and easy and a really cute idea.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My muse

I crochet mostly normal things.   Scarves, hats, dolls...just your run of the mill yarn crafting. 

Except when it comes to my BFF.  She just inspires me to make the best things.  

First, for her Bday this year, I made a Flying Spaghetti Monster toilet paper cozy.   (Bastardized from this hat pattern and this TP cozy pattern.)

Because really...who doesnt need a FSM toilet paper cozy???

And just this month, for Christmas, I made her Rudolph's head mounted on a plaque.   Because really...what better way to say Merry Holidays than through faux taxidermy?

The only problem is that I am plum out of ideas for Arbor Day....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teacher Gifts, Pt 2

Finished hat & scarf combos #2 and #3.   I like how these came together.  

First up is a ruffle scarf that I saw on display at Joanns, I looked at the scarf and figured out the pattern all by my big-girl self!   I was very proud.   It's basically a variation of this pattern, but I did normal increases, instead of doubling each row, for a looser ruffle.    Warning:  It takes a boatload of yarn!  

The hat is a standard beanie with a ribbed (FPHDC, BPHDC) edge.   I found the perfect flower for accent.   Great pattern.   My fave flower yet, even if it's a little more complicated than the basic 5 petal flowers you can find online, it just looks sturdier!    Add a nice wooden button and done!

Next up, the Seashell scarf that has been in my crochet folder for over a year.   Fun, once I got the pattern, it worked up super fast.  I probably could have made it longer, but I was running out of time.    I wanted a little fancier hat to go with it, so found this cute pattern on Pinterest and went to town.  I think it stitched up a bit on the small side, but this teacher seems to have a small head, so I think it will work.    I used the flowers from the same pattern above, just omitting the last round to make them smaller.   I adore the color scheme! 

And with that, obligatory crochet is done!   Now I have a craft night to go to tonight and nothing to make....I'm sure I'll think of something.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teacher gifts, part 1

I really wanted to make hats & scarves for the 5 teachers that work the most with my 3 children.   But alas, I ran out of time.   Rather, I managed my time poorly.  I worked on the ones I needed later, first.   Not very smart.  So with deadline #1 looming, I switched to an old quickie, standby- the crocheted bath mitt.

I added ribbing around the wrist and a little hanging loop.
Wrapped up with some holiday bath gels....

Shoved into a cute box, with some chocolate and a hand-colored gift tag...DONE!

Next up, one of the hat/scarf projects I did complete.   I'm not in love with it, but I wanted to try out chunky yarn and it looked pretty on the skein.   I think the hat's too big and the scarf is too skinny.  I attached it into a loop, so its kind of a scarf, cowl, thingy.  It looks cute on, but maybe the teacher will not know what to do with it?   I expect to see this one at a Goodwill near me soon.    It's the thought that counts, right?

A box of chocolate goodies for the bus driver is up next for tomorrow, then the last two teachers and goodie recipients up for next week. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I am bilingual!

I am easing my way into Pinterest.   I know how much of a time suck it is prooving to be for my friends, and with grad school still going strong, I need to control myself.  But alas, it's beginning to suck me in.   And just with a short 15 min browsing session, I found these awesome ornaments that just needed to be made. 

But the pattern is written in British!   So I had to translate all my trc to dc's and use my noodle instead of my preferred method of mindless busywork.   Once I did the first one, it crochets up so fast and so pretty.   I have done 3 and my next one will be in blues for a snowflake look.  I even bought some bells today.   

With Bells!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I have mastered the yarn puff!

 Cat toys for everyone!   

My daughter is in a play and she is a Wintry, which is a sort of winter spirit who makes snow and ice and brings winter in and keeps it there until Sping comes along.    The director had a vision of these little white-clad business people.  But one morning, I woke up at 6:15am with a vision of a Wintry Hat in my head and it just had to be made. (And no, I could not get back to sleep...the curse of creative inspiration!)  As if I didnt have enough to do....I just committed myself to 4 identical...WHITE...hats.   Bestill my ADHD heart.

But isnt it cute?  I like that it combines an air of Seussical whimsy to the little white-clad business people. 

So the puff.   Boy did the puff give me trouble.  I tried so many, they were measly and flopsy and pathetic.   I googled 1,000,001 ways to make a yarn puff...well not really, but it felt that way.   I finally resorted to the cardboard circle cut out method and then learned that yarn type was key, as well.   A soft, shiny acryllic worked best, better than my stiffer acryllic and cotton puffs. kitten is happy as he is now the proud owner of a pile of cast off puffs. 

Oh and one Wintry is a little more non-conformist than the others, so I made him a colorful puff.   Three down, one to go by opening night this Friday.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inaugeral Member of the Hat of the Month Club!

So my pseudo little sis is having a baby.   I am on a hat kick.  Naturally, I decided to whip up a few cute hats.  She likes orange, so I picked this gorgeous fall yarn and went to town on a basic hat & some elfin booties.   Found an outfit that coordinated and wah-lahTM, baby gift.  Perfect for a November baby.  But it didn't seem like enough...

She also likes Dr Seuss, so I attempted a Cat in the Hat-ish hat, but it ended up looking more Christmas-y, so I picked out a cute Xmas onsie to go with that one.  Still didn't seem like enough....

Yay, Costco!   Found a cute Monster Baby outfit and thought a baby-sized monster hat would be perfect.   Except once I got the hat done, it just looked too cute to monsterize it.  

It needed a little something else...oh, I know...a little Monster rattle! 

OH MY GOD!   Get it away from the BABY!   It will eat the baby's BRAINZ!    It's looking at me with that misshapen eye.  MAKE IT STOP!

I've never been more scared of something I crocheted in my life.  

I think the Target gift card will have to do as the "Little Something Else".    I may be the faux-Auntie, but I am not going to put myself on the hook for baby boy's future therapy bills. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Handmade Halloween, Part 2: With a little help from Hogsmeade Village Thrift and Amazon

Because I am crafty, I put an enormous amount of guilt upon myself if my children wear ready-made costumes.  Because I am cheap, I cannot turn down offers of free stuff.  So my son was given a Harry Potter set up (robe, tie & glasses) so that just left me 3 robes to make - 2 for the girls and 1 for my husband. 

This tutorial was simple, the fabric was cheap at Joanns and the style is very forgiving of my "eh...its good enough" style of sewing.    Because my husband was Snape and just needed black on black, I did one layer.    The girls robes were lined with red.    The patches were bought off Amazon- $10 for 3.    I made three scarves using yarn I had on hand, going with the early years style because it was easier and required less counting of rows.

On their persons:

Youngest refuses to wear the scarf.   Must find a 3yr old Redskins fan to regift it to.
For Snape, I paired it with a thift store find of some gaudy faux-crushed velvet shirt with gold accents.  It was obviously part of a costume get-up (tags still on) but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it could have been a costume of.    Yes, I know Snape is all black, with high collar, bla bla.   I'm in grad school, ok?  I only play a seamstress on the internet the week prior to Oct 31st! 

For my Alastar "Mad Eye" Moody costumes, I used a thrift store trench coat, brown pants, boots, an eyepatch from Amazon, a walking stick from the State Park gift shop and a black shirt.   But on oct 29th, I realized I needed something else.    A leather vest with some sort of hardware on it.    With nary a pattern, I took some pleather and curtain rod hangers and made my Mad Eye vest, finished about 2 hours before my Sat night Halloween party:

Close up of the hardware:

As usual, I go through this enormous effort to create a family theme costume and we never seem to have anyone around to take a pic of all five of us together.  So here we are in two pics:

It was way too hot for the trench coat!
The wig was a Cher wig, turned Tiger Lily wig in '09, turned Snape wig in '11. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Handmade Halloween, Part 1: Ollivanders

A friend linked me to this awesome DIY Harry Potter wand instructible and despite the fact that my crafting skills are generally limited to yarn and fabric, I think they turned out pretty awesome!  Now, Fanboys take note: we did not make any efforts to make our wands look like the ones belonging to the characters in the movie.  We just had fun with the design and colors.   

L-R: Hermione, Ginny Weasley, Harry, Mad Eye, Snape

Here are some in progress pics:

Adding glue designs to the rolled paper wands
My husband, who usually mocks my harebrained ideas, even got into the fun.
Fun with paint!
My wand:  Before Paint
My wand:  After paint (My daughter says it looks like for me)
A close up of the details
I did add a thin wooden skewer inside the rolled paper to add some durability to the wands.  My kids are not gentle. Additionally, one step I would add would be to put some sort of clearcoat over it when done, because the paint does chip off easily.   If time permits, I may go get some, but seeing as these only have to survive through Monday, I'm not that worried. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stress makes me a milliner

Yes, I have been on a hat making tear in the last month.  Look at this mess of hats! 

It started with the monster hat I made for my neighbor's child, so I decided to create another monster hat to while away the hours I was spending at the theater for my daughter's play rehearsal:

Which led to kids begging for hats.  I didnt really want to take money from kids but I also couldn't keep up with the demand likely to be generated from giving away free hats, so I told them to donate to the theater if they end up taking one of my hats.  Before the show was over, I got one more theater-hat knocked out:
Bad pic, but its not my kid, so I didnt want to show a face.
Then there was a hospital stay for my son,  doctors' appts and general stress related to my son's medical condition, so more hats were made in a frenzy of yarn and hooks...

Crazy Cat Lady needs make up
From cats to birds to pigs, oh my...
That's my family in Angry Bird.  We havent been able to schedule a photoshoot yet, but it will happen and it will be made of awesome!  Although cannonball bird came out a bit small for my son and I wasnt feeling it for him, so I made him Yellow Bird.  

Definitely feeling it now.

Oh and in the midst I tried a Dr Seuss inspired stocking cap that turned out cute and made another to use up some babyish yarn I had on hand.  Which prompted my 3yr old to ask "Who that hat for, mama?"   I replied, "No one, I just needed to use up some yarn I had."  She then said, "So you can buy some more yarn!"  Yes, child.  You get me.  You really do!  (Now dont tell Daddy!)

Oh and I also knocked out a couple AB hats for a friend, coming up with the features for Girl Bird on my own.  That was fun.

And I have another monster hat in progress (got another play gearing up, need to keep my fans happy!) and I finished an owl hat that had been waiting for a face for months.

And the heavens opened up and shone their approval upon the crocheted owl, and there was joy and stuff.

Also mixed in that pile are 3 random hats that may become monsters or owls or puppies or some random critter whenever the fancy may hit me.  

Yeah, I'm crazy.    But I suppose its a better outlet for my stress than barbituates.