Thursday, January 29

a happy update and Crochet Heart Garland

Thank you for the sweet comments. Thankfully, my night was exactly and no less than a 180 degree turn from the previous night! Good news all around, looking like no cancer for the dog and my grandma's looks fixable. whew (wipes brow). They are not out of the woods yet but everyone seems to be smiling! I did some research on donating hats to the hospital, no word on donating to the cancer hospital but the labor and delivery department said heck yes! My mom also suggested donating items to shelters for the homeless and for abused moms and kids. I made two preemie hats last night. so small.

crocheted heart garland
Repetition at it's finest. I really enjoyed making this garland. Less than an hour for each maybe even a half hour. The hearts were also the basis for the heart ornaments I showed you. Pattern here.

crocheted heart garland

crocheted heart garland

need to take your mind off something?

craft something for someone in need! I am sad. My grandma is sick. I didn't know what to do with myself so when my boss told me to just go home, I couldn't just sit and be sad. I just signed up for Kelly McCaleb's 31 birth-day celebration (go there you can help too). I made a receiving blanket and crocheted some booties (pattern here). Strangely, as I was working, a phone call made the news of my grandma official but the sewing and crocheting made me feel better. I think I will make some more. I need to make more as things keep adding up and now my mom's dog (the best dog in the WHOLE world) is sick. I don't mean for this post or the blog to be a sad place but it feels good to get it out. I am sad, mad, sorry, helpless, frustrated and everything in between. I am all the way across the country and can't even give hugs to the people that need them. I just don't know what to do. So I think I will go back to crocheting...crochet hats for patients on chemo and preemie babies. Is there an organization I can donate these too? I work at a hospital and I am waiting to hear how I can get these hats to my own hospital but I read something online that said "no handmade donations", can that be right? Does anyone know where I can send hats?

Wednesday, January 28

feeling blue?

What do you do when you are feeling sad? crochet yourself some slippers with this pattern.

Run out of yarn though before you finish? Well now your only half as blue. maybe.

Monday, January 26

Theodora Sweater

Completed! My first sweater is finished. It really has mistakes and doesn't look exactly like the pattern picture. I still need to block it but I have never blocked anything before so I am hesitating. I have time to waste as I think it is a tad too big for my girl now. I did have her try it on and she HATED it. HA! I think she wanted it to close with a button and I haven't added those on yet. That comes to a big mistake. The pattern called for a garter stitch on the edges of the cardigan. I was doing this perfectly for the first 6 rows but then some how I kept adding a stitch. Before I noticed both edges of the cardigan were jetting out. So I brought them back in a tad and thought oh well not pretty but still functional. To prevent myself from adding a stitch in I would do a yarn over when switching from knit to purl. bad idea. I no longer have those nice holes for which the buttons were supposed to go through. You can't see the ugly cardigan edges because of the sweater being unblocked but oh when I get up the nerve to block the sweater it will not be pretty. I do think I did a good job on the stockinette stitch and the back looks nice. It was just those darn edges. I am okay with my first attempt at knitting a sweater. It is still functional as warmth. My girl will out grow it soon. It was my first time.

I have dreams of knitting myself a sweater...I like this February Lady sweater and I like the way Philigry did the stockinette stitch instead of the lacy pattern. It seems less intimidating. But I also really like this crocheted chevorn lace cardigan. I do feel loads better about my crochet skills. Maybe I will start there first. decisions decisions. In the mean time, I have tons of babies to crochet shoes for and I started Coco's Bobble dress for my girl. By the way, I am really bummed it is Monday all ready.

Wednesday, January 21

Blog Headers in Photoshop

I, like others, have drifted from a picture to a graphic for their blog header. I first used Microsoft office to design a header. Then I tried Adobe Photoshop. While I love and need Photoshop for picture editing, I didn't like it for graphic design type things. So then I used Adobe Illustrator. This program seemed much better for designing and had more "clip art" type things I could put into a header or project. But after some reading, I realize now I just didn't understand how photoshop worked for graphics. I have recently gone back to using Photoshop for design (I say design but really my headers and other things I do are just silly). I wanted to share these websites with you in case you like to dabble with designing your blog headers too. First, pioneer woman had two posts on designing web banners. I hope she continues with this because I know she has more to teach. But the two she has up are great at understanding how you can have a light background pattern and change the colors.

Now, I wish I could remember how I came to understand brushes in photoshop but let me tell you once I figured it out the fun really began. A brush in photoshop is not just a line which is what I had in my head. But you can actually use the brush for symbols or the clip art type thing I was looking for a few months back. and do you know what is better than finding out how to use a brush? finding there are tons of free brushes for download!
some websites:
Obsidian Dawn
Mel's Photoshop Brushes
Photoshop Roadmap

How to use Brushes in Photoshop:
  • Open the brushes window either from the icon next to the navigator window or from the the window drop down menu.
  • Create a new layer, this layer must be selected in order to place the brush. Create New Layers for each brush you use. If you decide later that you don't like this brush, the color, or size it is easy to delete this one brush layer then start from scratch. I haven't figured out how to change a brush once it is placed, so having a new layer for each brush is key.
  • Select the brush tool.
photoshop brush tutorial

  • Go back to the brushes window and select which brush you would like. If you drag your mouse over to the artboard area you can see how the brush looks and the size.
  • Adjust the size if needed with the "master diameter".
  • I usually pick a color I think I might like to start.
  • Then click the mouse to leave the brush where you would like it on the artboard.
  • If the size or color is not right then I usually hit "ctrl-V" and make the color or size change and then place the brush again. You can also go to the Edit drop down menu and select step backward (you can also do this for multiple deletions).

photoshop brush tutorial

I just finished this header for my family blog that celebrates my 2 year old's birthday.
photoshop brush tutorial

do you have any tips for headers in Photoshop? The steps in this tutorial assumes some photoshop experience but please let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, January 19

updates and amusements

Thank you for your comments and emails about my knitting dilemma. I feel very calm about it. I think I am going to stick with the motto that crafting is fun, I should do projects no matter what the craft is because I like it. I have so many ideas in my head of things to make it is just so hard to be patient while I finish a project. I have nothing but time to work on all of these things though, I don't need to do all the projects this month or even year. To help me be patient, I keep a little sketch book in my purse at all times to write down ideas that I see or think of, that way I will be able to get to them...someday. On a side note, my husband saw the post title "I had an affair", he was concerned...briefly.

My knitting is going well. I should say that I have big mistakes. But they are cosmetic mistakes and the sweater is still functional. I am working on the 1st sleeve right now, once I am finished I will fill you in on all the mistakes (there might be more!). I still feel very optimistic about knitting though. It is my first knitted garment, my expectations were not that high. I really want to finish my sweater before starting another project but I have some orders to fill (yea!!!!!) so I might take a few nights off to get those ready.

This blog cracks me up: I love you more than blank blog I asked my husband what he would fill in the blank with for his love for me. He said "food". Ummm thanks?? I told him I love him more than the internet, crafting, my big green chair, Detroit Red Wings, and blogging combined. So then he changed his answer to I love you more than our daughter! HA! funny guy.

If it is hitting the negative (!!!) degree cold weather where you are, make one of these fleece ski masks! I have never lived in cold like this before. Walking to work is not much fun, but luckily today was 21 degrees. My husband sporting his. The only thing I didn't do that the tutorial instructed was to add the elastic to bottom. I just didn't think it needed it although, my husband has a large head. Also, I didn't like the idea of sewing the elastic in place so I sewed a pocket and then fed the elastic through.

I also got these valentines. I am just in love with Vol.25's work. It actually really reminds me of my friend Mary's art.(image via Vol.25)

Friday, January 16

I had an affair

it is true. I cheated on my crochet habit with knitting. I still can't believe I did it. Just the other day I was going on on about how much I like crocheting and I really wanted to focus on improving and learning new skills with it. Then my friend Nicole goes and shows me one of her favorite blogs, Philigry. I spent at least 30 minutes looking at all her knitting projects and looking up the patterns. I was becoming obsessed with the idea of knitting a sweater. Slow down Jenni I thought to myself, you can make an equally fun sweater with crochet. So then I spent a good amount of time looking up sweater crochet patterns. Ummmm....not so much. I didn't really find much that were as trendy as the knitted sweaters. But did find some nice lighter sweaters to try (Crochet Crop Cardigan or Chevron Lace Cardigan), most crochet sweaters are crazy bulky with an early 90's vibe. I didn't look into patterns that cost money so maybe there are some out there. Do you know of any? There are some cute ones for kids, not sure I like the bulkiness to the arms on this one (short and sweet sweater) but still it is cute. So after several minutes of debating between crocheting or knitting a sweater, I just gave in and started knitting this pattern for my girl. I will keep you posted on my progress, it seems like it is taking forever to get anywhere though, maybe crochet is faster?

So this affair brings up a lot of internal debating. I have slowly been working my crochet hook and yarn stash up since last May. I have learned stitches and feel comfortable with trying new patterns and adding designs to existing patterns. Plus, the more practice I get with crochet the better my projects will turn out. Thus inching my way to my goal of making handmade items that don't look homemade. So if I start off shooting to other crafts like knitting then this will take time away from practicing crafts like crochet (or embroidery or sewing or photography). And I will be forever stuck making homemade items, none of which are handmade. Second, I have two sets of knitting needles. Two. I would now have to invest in more needles, long ones, small ones, big fat ones, circular ones.....). On the other hand what is the big deal with having a few different crafts that I can pick up and make. I see a lot of things I can make with crochet and knitting, what can be bad about that? Any crafting is a good time right? but back to that whole handmade vs homemade problem...and this is what I do to myself. does this make any sense at all?

PS. I just went on and on and on and really you should go to the NieNie dialouges because NieNie is BACK today! (if you haven't already done that of course.)

Thursday, January 15

Crochet Heart Ornament Pattern

crocheted heart

I mentioned I am a planner. Again I hate being rushed with projects, it really takes the fun out. So Valentines here we come! Definitely my new mindset is crochet (I did start a small knitting project last night but more on that later). I often think to myself, could I decorate that with crochet? could I make that with a crochet pattern? is their a pattern for that? I started by googling crochet heart patterns. There are a ton! I tried a few different ones. While I like this one, this pattern for hearts in the garland is much faster. I wanted bigger hearts though so I added a another round on top of the pattern. Here is the pattern. Again the starting point of the heart is from this garland, which I also made a couple of and is easy and very valentiney! I will show you the garland later though.

crocheted heart
(Those strings hanging down like that is really bothering me. sorry.)

Crochet Heart Ornament

Skill level: beginner
worsted weight, I used Simply Soft by Caron
Hook: Size I
Time: 5-15 minutes

treble crochet
double crochet
single crochet


Chain 14. In the 4th chain from hook: complete the beginning heart pattern here: from 3 TR to the Chain 2 (17 stitches including the chain stitches). Slip stitch into the top of the heart. Slip stitch into the chain at the left point of the heart. SC 1 in next chain. 2 DC in each of next 3 stitches. 1 DC into each of next 4 stitches. At the bottom of the heart, 3 DC in same stitch. 1 DC into each of next 4 stitches. 2 DC in each of next 3 stitches. SC 1 in next stitch. Slip stitch in last 2 stitches. This should bring you to center of heart top. Chain 9. Tie the two chains together and cut tails.

You could use these a bunch of these as a garland or attach to a gift or wine bottle (as my friend suggested!)

EDIT: chart pattern here

Wednesday, January 14

Birthday Bunting Finished!

birthday bunting

I must admit I actually enjoyed making the binding. Who knew? I think the thought of ironing the two sides of the strip of the fabric into the middle with perfect exact measurements made me cringe (I know that is handy tool for that but remember my monthly crafting budget is gone already). But making the binding by putting all the raw edges together, sewing, and then flipping it over and sewing again (tutorial and explanation here) was very rhythmic and soothing. I choose this little yellow flower fabric for the binding. It doesn't really go with most of the fabrics but I like it. I have no idea where this fabric originally came from and it was see-through which made me put this fabric back time and time again. I am looking forward to putting the bunting up to celebrate some birthdays next month!

Birthday bunting

birthday bunting

Birthday bunting

Monday, January 12

Babies, babies, babies!

It might just me be but I feel like most of my friends either just had a baby, is pregnant, or is trying for a baby. Which is wonderful for me because I can craft away for the little balls of love. A new craft I became addicted too over Christmas was crocheting baby shoes. I found this pattern for sale on Etsy. I first used a cotton yarn but it seemed a little too thick and made bigger shoes then called for: newborn pattern was making up as 6 months. I then tried Simply Soft by Caron which I like much better. Aren't they great? I think I have made 8 or 9 pairs. pretty darn addicting.

I modified the pattern to make some girlie mary janes.

Sunday, January 11

Durango + Robin's Egg = my new hat!

The binding for the bunting wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I am still working on it. When I was still dreading starting the binding, I decided to make myself a hat.

Durango + Robin's Egg = my hat

Durango + Robin's Egg = my hat

I first saw this Robin's Egg Blue hat pattern. I thought I wish this was a crochet pattern. I just love that band. I know the basics of knitting but I really want to focus myself on expanding my crochet skills. So I just tucked that hat pattern away. Then I saw this pattern for the Durango hat. I felt it had almost the same sort of band to it as the Robin's Egg. And I like the ridges in the hat. So I set out to make the Durango hat. As I was getting close to starting the band of the hat. I realized I wasn't sure if the Durango pattern band was close enough to the Robin's Egg Blue hat band, that I liked so much. So after I finsihed Round 12 of the Durango hat I crocheted up this band below. It is perfect! I think it took me 3.5 hours total, which isn't too bad at all. I used less than 1 skein of CottonEase yarn in Terracotta, hook size H.

Work body of hat in the Durango pattern through Round 12. (I used an H hook and she suggested I; it still fit my head perfect).

Abbreviations: CH: Chain; HDC: half double crochet; SC: single crochet

Row 1: After joining Round 12, CH 8 (the last chain is our turning chain). Now we will work the hat in rows instead of in the round.

Row 2: SC in each of the 7 stitches across. SC into stitch in the hat body, the first open stitch (in other words, the first stitch next to the where the chain of 8 started from). CH 1.

Row 3: HDC in each stitch across. CH 1. (7 HDC)

Row 4: HDC in each stitch across. (7 HDC) Attach the row to the hat body by completing a SC2tog in the two adjacent stitches next to row 2's attachment. CH 1.

Row 5- 64: repeat row 3 and 4. This will take you around the hat to meet with Row 1. Attach the last rows to the hat body but not to row 1. (I think there were 64 rows, still not great at counting rows but just go until you reach the last stitch next to row 1.)

Row 65: HDC in each stitch across. CH 1. (7 HDC)

Row 66-75: repeat Row 65.

Row 76: HDC in 2 stitches. Chain 2. Skip 3 stitches. HDC in 2 stitches. CH 1 (4 HDC)

Row 77: HDC in 2 stitches. 3 HDC in Chain 2 space. HDC in 2 stitches. CH 1 (7 HDC)

Row 78: HDC in each stitch across. (7 HDC).

Bind off and weave in ends.

Line up the over hang of the band with the hat band and determine where the button should go based on where the buttonhole lies. Sew with yarn in place!

I freakin' love it. I wore it all day. Seriously. Cooked, played, sewed...on my head all day.

Friday, January 9

birthday progress

birthday banner fabrics
This banner will serve for all celebrations not just for birthdays or half birthdays, which I like to celebrate too. There are several tutorials with different ways to make banners or bunting, these are some: here, here, and here. While I liked parts of all these ideas, I didn't love that edges might fray and the thought of applying fray check to all the edges seemed crazy at many levels. I also wanted to have both sides of this bunting to look nice so you can hang it up in the middle of the room. I didn't choose boy and girl fabrics I just chose ones that I liked and will work for whatever celebration we have.

This is what I did:
  • Make a triangle template in MS Word. I set the dimensions of my triangle as 6 inches wide and 7 inches long.
  • Place the template on a double layer of fabric, wrong sides together and cut triangles. Keep each of the two layer triangle together. This makes sure that all the triangles match sides and you don't have to put two pieces of fabric together later.
  • Then stitch 1/2 inch seam allowance down both sides of the triangle.
  • Use pinking shears to cut the raw edges of the sides. It doesn't have to be perfect. I realized after perhaps a zigzag stitch at the edge of the triangle would have combined these last two steps into one. But the look of the pinking shears is nice.
This really didn't take too long. One night I chose the fabrics. The next night I cut triangles. And last night I sewed them and pinked the edges.birthday banner fabrics

Now I need to attach them all together with binding. I really want to buy binding that is already folded. But I already used my entire months crafting budget (there was a yarn sale, I went nuts). So I could wait until February to finish this but that might make me to stressed. My mom makes bindings all the time for her quilts, I think she does it like this. That doesn't seem to annoying I think I can handle doing that. But cutting those strips, that doesn't seem fun at all...

my happy triangles
birthday banner fabrics

Wednesday, January 7

Birthday Crown

Let the birthday planning begin! My daughter turns 2 on February 5th. I am a planner. I hate being rushed with a project so I have started some birthday crafts this week. First off, a birthday crown! I used this pattern and tutorial. I don't know if she will wear it but at the very least I can decorate the table with it. (This January lighting and my apartment without windows makes for very poor pictures.)

Sunday, January 4

Crayon Purse

My mom made this crayon purse for my girl. I love it! The fabrics are so pretty and she loves to carry it all around before deciding on the perfect place to stop and color. It has two side pockets (including the one for crayons) and a big one in the middle for a notebook.