craft projects, holiday, sewing

Challenge complete

Hello and happy holidays to you all! I meant to get back here before Christmas to give you an update on the advent calendar, but I was so consumed with that, and then with a wee sweater for my friend’s little boy, and the Christmas preparations that it just didn’t happen. But what I will tell you is that I completed the advent calendar very late on December 18. I’m very pleased with it.

First of all, a few close-ups.

The bunny is the first animal I completed, because I was trying to dip my toe in gradually, and he didn’t require any embroidery for his face. He just has this adorable (magnetic!) fluffy felt ball tail.

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Then, I made the fox. I did have to have a couple of goes on the eyes, but I got there OK in the end.

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The owl is perhaps what I am most pleased with it. I finished him according to the pattern. My daughter named him “Harold MacCaw.”

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But I just kept looking at him, and felt he needed a little more sparkle. And because after I had finished handsewing the border of the snow globe with white, my daughter asked for more gold, I decided more gold was what he needed. So I decided to try to layer them a bit like feathers to make him both more bling-tastic, and to add some feathery texture.

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I then moved no to the deer, which gave me no troubles. I was getting into the swing of it.

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And the sweet little hedgehog.

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And then the skunk last, because he was BK’s least favorite. Though I love his little face.

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But the piece-de-resistance is the star – outlined in gold sequins. I *love* this one.

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So here it is, all together — the grand ta-da!!!

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This was a fantastic project and I loved making it! There were a few minutes of stress, mostly due to my compressed timeline, but overall it was really great. So great that I’ve already purchased the materials to make the birthday countdown (though thankfully I have a few months to finish that one!).

I only had the one little hiccup with the instructions, but Jennifer was fantastic, and made it right for me immediately. The instructions were very clear, and good enough for a sewing novice for me. I also found the sewing of tiny things to be more enjoyable than the knitting of tiny things.

I hope all of you have had time to spend time with your family and friends, and that you’ve found a little craft time for yourself in amongst the festivities. The new year is rapidly approaching and I hope to see you here to talk crafting some more in 2018!

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craft projects, holiday, life

Happy Halloween!

Just dropping in to wish you all a Happy Halloween! It’s my ultimate favorite holiday, and I can’t wait for our family of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to go trick-or-treating tonight!


I thought I would share the buntings that my mom and I made together when I was 4 years old. She sewed the pumpkins and stuffed the ghosts, and I drew the faces. We made three strands, cut to custom lengths for three of the doorways in the house where I grew up. Now they hang in my house every Halloween. I’m sharing my favorite of the three. Why is this one my favorite? Because you can very obviously tell that the one on the left is the one my mom did as a demonstration of how she thought the faces should be made. And then I obviously decided I did not like that, and promptly made every single one of them on all three strands smiley. 🙂

BK and I actually did a similar thing last week when she drew a ghost, and I suggested doing three ovals – two for the eyes and one for the mouth – and then she went right ahead and made a smiley face anyway. It’s great to be 4 and love to smile.

 

holiday, knitting, life, sweater, Three on Thursday

Three on Thursday

Knitting in Hawaii in the car

  1. Mr. Snips and I just recently returned from a flat-out amazing, wonderful trip to Hawaii, which is why it’s been so quiet here recently. It was a great trip that had a lot of time for relaxing and reading by the pool, but with enough fun outings that it didn’t get too restful. Above, you will see a picture of me knitting in our rental car, roof down (we had a convertible), and the sunset in the background. Bliss.
  2. I’m nearing the finish mark on a quilt I’ve been working on for a while, and will be handing it off to get it professionally quilted very soon. I’ve never done that, so I’m excited! The other quilts I’ve done, I’ve bumbled along doing some straight lines on my little machine. Since this one is for BK, and the fabric is out of this world beautiful (Magic by Sarah Jane), I want to make sure that it gets a fancier treatment than I can give it alone.
  3. It’s almost Halloween! I can’t wait! It’s hands down my favorite holiday. It may have something to do with growing up in a cornfield and always having to be driven to different houses for trick-or-treating. It’s not nearly as magical as what I always saw on TV where kids just walked out of their front door and went around the neighborhood. When we moved into our old house, I nearly burst from excitement when we had 100 trick-or-treaters come to our door (yes, I’m a nerd, I keep a tally). Our new house gets less traffic, but it is amazing to trick-or-treat in because it is basically a big loop. We also have a few neighbors who really go all out on the decorations and make it really fun. BK and I did the whole neighborhood last year and it was a blast. I can’t wait to go out with her again this year.
advent calendar, Christmas, holiday, knitting, Toy

Heroes in a half shell

The very first thing I knit for BK’s advent calendar turned Valentine’s countdown, was a Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I cannot describe how deep and how passionately my child feels about Michelangelo, and the Turtles in general.

We have Bitty Babies, and beautiful dresses for them to wear, and Build a Bears with fancy clothes and all kinds of other things, but her stuffed Turtles (she has these) are what get to wear the nice clothes and use the nice accessories. Michelangelo is the one always selected to go on trips when limited toys can be packed on the airplane, or even a short car trip. In short, my daughter loves the “party dude.”

From the very beginning of planning the countdown, I knew I wanted the things to be stuff that reflected who she was, instead of just holiday baubles. I wanted this calendar that I am making with my own two hands to be full of my love, but full of my daughter’s personality. And the first thing that had to be on it was Mikey.

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She then requested Donnie and Leo, which I happily obliged. She doesn’t like Raph all that much, so she originally didn’t want him, but then changed her mind. I haven’t made him yet, but he’s on the list.

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I made these in a similar way to the tiny ornament, using the ornament pattern from Handknit Holidays, knitting on a smaller needle and not increasing so many times. I added on the eyes and mouths (details like these are so much harder than you think – especially on such tiny things! I had to redo them a few times) and then also tied an extra bit of yarn to the back to make the ends of their masks.

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Turtle power!

 

advent calendar, Christmas, holiday, knitting, Toy

Switching directions, and counting down

So, I mentioned that I was going to make BK an advent calendar. But shortly after I posted that, she declared that she did not need another Christmas calendar. And she already has a Halloween countdown, too. But what would be good is a Valentine’s countdown, she said. Well, count me tickled! That saves me making ten excruciatingly small knitted items! And BK loves a good countdown.

Since I had only made a few items, and had not really done anything totally committing me to Christmas (like sewing a giant felt tree), this is an easy turn. There are two things I made that I’m going to have to scrap for the countdown, but still plan to turn into little ornaments for her tree she has in her room at Christmas. The first is the ornament I shared last time. And the second is this cute little guy.

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He was originally a gnome in Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, which I purchased shortly after deciding to undertake this project. There are several really cute things that I love in this book. It was an extremely easy mod to change his clothes to red with some black pants/boots, and ta-da! you have Santa Claus.

But when BK got up the next morning to find him on the couch, she asked, “Where is his nose?”

So mod #2 was adding a little button nose to please her.

 

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I hate to say it, but she was right. He did need a nose.

advent calendar, Christmas, current projects, holiday, knitting

Christmas in July

Last year, I really kicked around the idea of doing some kind of Christmas project that my daughter would have forever.

I have had the idea on my mind since I saw the Yarn Harlot’s advent tree that she did back in 2014. I loved it, but I wasn’t a confident sewer, and I had a one-year-old at the time, and it just seemed a little out of reach for what I could accomplish at the time. Also, I already had an advent calendar with a scene of Santa and Mrs. Claus that had a tiny mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket. It was given to me by my Granny, so it’s very special to me, and I had passed it down to BK. I thought she was covered for an advent calendar, because I want her to have fond memories of that one, too, and it was a wonderful thing we could share.

So I started looking for alternatives. Last year, the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL caught my eye. It was appealing because it only involved 12 things, not 24, and also you had two weeks to complete each small mitten, which seemed very reasonable. It was also very beautiful. But I ultimately decided not to make it, because even though it was lovely, I struggled with where it would go in amongst my Christmas decorations. I also explored the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar by the same designer, which is also lovely. I also considered a garland of little stockings, but didn’t want to commit to finding treats to put in each one of them, since BK usually already has a store-bought calendar with chocolates in it.

Eventually, this year, I got back around to the idea of the Yarn Harlot’s tree. And I figured if I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years, that’s probably what I really want to make. And that BK probably had enough room in her life for two advent calendars, since last year she had three (the mouse one I gave her, a chocolate one, and one with mini Thomas trains in it).  I started digging around for ideas on what to put on the tree, and made a rough list of what I would like to include. I’m still finalizing exactly which 24 things will be on it. BK and I have a had a few conversations over what to add and what to remove, and the list is very fluid at the moment. I’ve started on a few, and since I still have 4 months, I’m sure I can get it done for this Christmas (famous last words, right?).

tiny ornament for advent calendar

Above, you’ll see one of the finished items. It’s a tiny Christmas ornament, made from this pattern in one of my favorite books, Handknit Holidays. I’ve made the full-size version several times (I got a little excited about this pattern when I first learned to knit in the round), and all I did for this one was start just as the patten calls for, but didn’t increase the full number of times. When I finished it, I then picked up three stitches on the top in the gray yarn and made a tiny i-cord for the top of the ornament. The main part of the ornament is Tiny Toes by BaH Yarns. I’m not sure they make this color way any more, because I bought it when they first started. Heather is a good friend, and I love everything she and Brenda make. I originally purchased this yarn with the intention of making BK socks, but since she hates all socks (handmade and store-bought) and prefers to be barefoot, it seemed like a waste of good yarn. So she’ll still have something made out of this beautiful yarn, and it doesn’t have to be on her feet. 🙂

Wish me luck on getting all this done before December! And I’ll keep you posted on which 24 ideas make the final cut.

P.S. – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.

baby, Christmas, current projects, holiday, life

Back to reality: Bye bye Disney World

Mr Snips, BK and I just returned from our first real family vacation just the three of us. We spent a couple of days at Disney, and I have to say it was magical. I was so sad to come home. And not just because we were going from 80 degrees, sunny and spectacular to sub-freezing, snow flurry conditions, but because we had a really lovely time. So nice, in fact, that I’ve already started daydreaming about what our next trip will be.Cinderella's castle in Magic KingdomAnd since we’ve arrived home and the snow has started in on us (which feels very early for Indiana, but the weatherman assures me we are nowhere near reaching record lows or snowfalls), the knitting has commenced in earnest.

I finished my Roseberry sweater last night (can’t wait to get some FO shots for you!), and I started a hat that is part of my very limited Christmas knitting while we were on holiday. Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve dithered on what to do next with the hat (Ahoy Princess Beret), because my initial plan was to make the worsted weight intricate cables version. But after I finished the ribbing and realized I had an opportunity to do a modification for an extra slouchy version, I’ve wavered. I think I only have enough yarn to do the regular version of the intricate cables, and I could MAYBE squeeze a slouchy less-intricate cables version out of my yarn – but I JUST DON’T KNOW. And it’s for a 21-year-old college student, and I don’t know what kids these days like (this makes me feel FAR older than my actual years – when did this happen?). I have 200 yards of MadTosh Vintage, and the pattern calls for 210 with non-slouchiness, but I’m feeling dangerous. Some research on FOs on Ravelry hasn’t helped make up my mind. Suggestions welcome!