holiday roundup

Here's a little summary of just some of the Christmas craftiness I've been up to ...

Remember my somewhat tentative decision to make my own cards this year? I found even more inspiration at Paper Pals! This paper ...

Was transformed into these ...

I used double-sided tape to attach the embossed green tree cardstock, and good ole Tacky Glue to attach the grosgrain ribbon. The cardstock was double-sided, with a pretty red snowflake pattern on the inside. They may have arrived a little late, but I'm pretty happy with how they turned out!

And to my delight,
these winter buds ...

Are now blooming! This was my first year to try paperwhites. Wow. Gorgeous.

My amaryllis is playing catch-up to the paperwhites ...

And a new crafty project ...

It's been fun to do some needlepoint again. It's been sooo long since I've done any cross-stitch, and I hadn't realized how much I missed it. [cross-stitch was my first, childhood crafting speciality] Plenty of work to go until it turns into this:

Finally, a new holiday decor acquisition:
This cute snowman is a decorated gourd! I stumbled across it in a Salt Lake City airport gift shop, of all places. Adorable, huh? I was so worried I would accidentally crush it on the flight home!
Hope your holidays were merry and bright!

yuletide inspiration

After an unsuccessful search for this year's Christmas cards (is it me, or are the mass-produced ones just boring this year? Maybe it's the limited selection in my area...) I've decided to ... gulp.... make my own Christmas cards this year! This will be only my third set of hand-made cards--my foray into card-making, scrapbooking, and papercrafts has been slow! Too many fun crafts, too little time! So I'll be making a trip to our local scrapbooking store for supplies and inspiration, but I've been scouring the web for ideas in the meantime. These great cards from Impress Rubber Stamps' website are inspiring me right now!

I never understood what was exciting about all those fancy "punch" tools until I saw this ... how inventive! (it's a bunch of "fern" leaves assembled in the shape of a tree)

Ooh, love the pearl accents!

I could definitely handle this one... cute, too...


[all images courtesy of Impress Rubber Stamps]

utilitarian patchwork

I've already cast on for another Coronet, but I'm also dreaming up some patchwork tote bags for my next project. I snagged some linen-look-alike cloth at JoAnn's, and right now I'm really loving these color combinations. I'm envisioning something simple--just a stripe of accent cloth and some embroidery for fun. But that may change as it develops! :-D

my first cable

Soooo much easier than I ever expected! If you're looking for a great project for your first attempt at cables, I highly recommend Coronet from So cute! So easy! So gratifying! I had no idea how much fun it is to watch the cables weave together as you knit ... this could get addicting.

This project used about 3/4 of a skein of Berroco's Ultra Alpaca in pale pink. Warm, soft, and fuzzy. I'll be using it again!

new loot!

Thank you Jimmy Beans Wool for your speedy delivery! Order placed: Thursday. Order received: Saturday. Did I request rush delivery? Nope, just good ole USPS Priority Mail. Talk about instant gratification! This is my first venture into using "fancy" yarn--four different colorways of Berroco Ultra Alpaca (charcoal gray; navy; pale pink; pale blue) and five different colorways of Crystal Palace Yarns Kid Merino (painted iris; ultra blues; red cinnamon; taupe mix; code pink). I couldn't resist the novelty of the Kid Merino (so delicate! so tiny!) that I cast on with it right away. What feels like a wiry thread coming off the skein quickly amasses into fuzzy goodness when knitted up. And this photo does not do the color justice--so many subtle variations. Gorgeous! I'm already in love with it. No wonder there are so many yarn snobs!

What am I knitting, you ask? Shhh! It's for Christmas! Let's just say I'm inspired by Amanda's FO-love. (FO=finished object)

an introduction is in order

Meet Zoey. Such a sweet, innocent calico cat. Riiight. Let's just say that attitude is something she's not lacking. We adopted her as a little kitten from my sister just over a year ago, and inherited the name (although I didn't object too much, it matches her spunk). Something Zoey and I share is a great love of yarn and knitting needles. Zoey, however, expresses her love much more violently than I do. Here's an example of Zoey in action ...

Don't worry, I stepped in before there was too much collateral damage. And since this project is destined for felting, it was pretty safe. My bamboo knitting needles, on the other hand, bear much more permanent scars. I swear, she can smell unsupervised knitting needles. Within milliseconds I can hear her chowing down. I am soo jealous of knitters who can leave balls of yarn, unsupervised, throughout their home. I know I can't be the only one with this problem... my solution? My works in progress stay stashed in bags hung from our coatrack or on top of a cabinet, out of Zoey's reach. Ahhh, Zoey. You sure make life interesting, don't you? :-D

casting on

I'm back! Fall hit me in full force--and I lost all motivation after realizing that my plans to participate in a fall craft fair were totally impractical (at the rate I was going, it would be July before I had enough inventory!). But after a break, and casting on a new project that's just for me, I'm back into my normal craftin' groove. I'm hard at work on my very first sweater (eep! exciting!). I picked a simple button-front cardigan from "Hip to Knit." It's so simple that it doesn't even have a ribbed border! I know that means I'll have to deal with some curling/rolling, but that's okay. I'm using Moda Dea's Tweedle Dee yarn in the "Surf and Turf" colorway (80% acrylic, 16% wool). It's chunky and knitting up pretty thick, which means this baby will be warm--but that's fine by me, as the fall chill has hit pretty hard lately. For being "shaded effect yarn" it's also surprisingly stripe-y. But I'm loving it so far--it feels really soft and I'm curious to see how the colors will pool on the sleeves. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

As far as my modest amount of what would have been craft fair inventory goes, we'll see. I've toyed with opening an Etsy shop since last February, but I am sooo busy this fall that opening a shop now really isn't in the stars. On the other hand, I don't really like the idea of opening a shop in January, during the post-holiday slump. So we'll see. For now I'm reclaiming some of my "stock" for myself!


A couple of sunset shots to bid the weekend farewell.
Why must you disappear so quickly?
(now if I hand-dyed my yarn, these would totally be inspiration shots)

Oy vey.

I am such a bad blogger! One post this month? Yikes. What's worse is that when I realized my only post was on September 1st, my first thought was, "Wouldn't it be cool to have posts only on the first and last day of the month?" (instead of being motivated to post immediately) And I've had photos of projects to write about for weeks! Yeesh. Forgive me. I'll try to get my act together.

**back to our regularly scheduled programming**

The Gator bag! Here's a photo synopsis of the process:


And after! Blocking up nicely.

See? Not so cat-in-the-hat afterall.

Once again, I decided that I liked the "purl side" of the bag better. (as seen above) The difference is slight at a distance, but you can really see it in these close-ups.

The "right side." (smooth stockinette stitch)

the "wrong side" (bumpy purl)

I like how the color transitions are more mottled with the purl-side out. The beauty of these felted bags is that they're basically reversible, so if someone liked more defined stripes, it could just be flipped back. Which look do you like prefer?

endings and beginnings

Today I finally faced the fact that summer is officially over. It's the first day of September. Classes have been in session for a full two weeks now at WSU. But with the official start to the college football season today, I just can't deny it anymore. I was knitting up a storm as we watched the Cougs battle Wisconsin, and decided that stripes would be more fun that making a true twin of my latest felted tote bag. There I was, thoroughly enjoying my bright orange-blue combo, when my husband commented, "Wow, that's going to be a Gator bag." (My husband, a Florida State grad, is a certifiable Gator-Hater). Oops! Sorry, honey! He forgave my Pac-10 obliviousness. (And to his chagrin, I haven't ditched the color combo). Right now it's looking a little cat-in-the-hat, but I promise that will change ....

stormy nights

Wow--the lightning storm that blew through the Palouse last night was a sight to be seen. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've seen winds of that force (granted, we are decidedly not in hurricane or tornado territory!). The trees in our backyard just seemed to swirl in circles, whipped from every direction, wind alternating with sheeting rain. And the lightning strikes! Beautiful. I love a good storm. Luckily the power held out for us, but there was at least one casualty. A massive tree branch fell--approximately 8 feet tall, a good third of the tree.

Larger than your average Christmas tree!

Definitely showing signs of disease.

Where the branch used to be.

Amazingly, our patio plants appear relatively unscathed.

Storm? What storm?

on the diagonal

Yeesh! I didn't mean for nearly a week to go by between posts. Forgive me. Here's a fun wooden-bead bracelet I recently made. I'd never worked with wooden beads before--I love how fun and bold these beads are.

coming soon

You'd think with all the beadin' going on, I'd up and quit knitting. Nope! Here's progress on my next felted bag, a twin for the last tote I felted. I love this shade of blue! It's one of my all-time favorite colors. For the top border/handle I'm thinking orange, because ... I have an obscene amount of orange wool on hand and can't think of any other aesthetically-pleasing uses for it! Well, maybe I'm exaggerating (I only have three skeins of the offending orange wool). And I really do like the color combo.

Happy Friday, everyone!

heavy metal

I recently restrung a bracelet for a co-worker that consisted only of metal beads and spacers and beautiful chalcedony-like, blue-green stones. It was stunning. Inspired by that bracelet, I thought I'd play with paring things back a little, forcing myself to use the elements I always disregarded as "transitional filler" as a true design element. I love this look! The repetitive silver patterns really allow the beads to "pop."

beads, incognito

Just blending in with the local scenery ...

Here's a better view:

I stumbled across these paintbrush jasper pendants at a Spokane bead shop and fell in love with them. They were strung together horizontally, like a belt. Lots of mottled grays and agate-like accents. They've inspired a bunch of necklace designs, but these are the first two creations!

2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...