Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending the Year on a Craft Note

So I have here the last two crafts of the year.

Well, there's one more, but it needs some tweaks and finishing, so that'll be next year's post.

I gave these two gifts for Christmas.


First, I made the Ribbon Cowl Necklace for my Mom. Yes, I know another cowl, but she keeps requesting them, so I'll keep on making them. This was in an issue of Crochet! magazine. I made it with Red Heart Soft yarn.




Second, I made something for my husband.

I saw one of these on Craftster or somewhere and thought it was cute, so I whipped up my own design.


It's not just a rice bag, it's a phone holder!



I'm actually kind of proud of this one. It didn't come out quite as angular as I would have liked, but if I'm going to make another one I think I'll use interfacing.





Happy New Year! Here's to more crafting in 2012!




Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Craftykix!

Four years ago today, I made my very first post at Craftykix.


Since then there's been a lot of projects!


I hope you all have enjoyed what you've read as much as I have enjoyed writing.



FOUR MORE YEARS!
FOUR MORE YEARS!
FOUR MORE YEARS!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

CraftyKix Mega Holiday Prep Post

Hey gang!



So, it's the Holiday season, the time of year for crafters to go nuts!



First, decorations.

In the latest Charlottesville Crafter I tackle making your own ball ornaments.

Don't forget sewn ornaments too. Here's last years tutorial on making fleece ornaments.






Second, gifts.

Need a gift for a crafter? Check out the previous issues of my Gifts for Crafters guides.

Need to make a gift? You've still got time to make a hat, a cowl, a small wallet, a scarf, some fleece mittens, a pillow, an amigurumi toy, marble magnets, some ornaments, some zip pouches, a tote bag, some earrings. It doesn't take a lot of time to make something cool and unique for someone special.





What am I making for the holidays? Not a lot, actually. I have one handmade gift that I need to finish. School and work really sucked away my time this year. Next year I should be done with school and will be able to plan ahead and start sooner than the week of Thanksgiving.




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shiny!!

It's officially "Holiday Decorating" season.

I haven't had a chance to think about it yet. Exams are over this week and then I'll think about crafting and decorating and whatnot.

BUT, my friend Linda has been busy. She made us tinsel trees!


So until I dig the Holiday Box out from the closet, this is decking our hall kitchen counter.



And then after Christmas, I get some involuntary time off, so I'll have plenty of time to dig into the fabric stash and so forth.

I'm trying to think of it as 80 hours of free time instead of grumping about the lack of funds that will result from it.

Attitude is everything, right?

Monday, November 28, 2011

7 Topics that...

Are sure fire 100% going to spark heated debate upon any craft message board:



1. Copyright in general.

2. Copyright with regards to patterns and designers and modifications and your aunt Edna's left foot on every other Sunday.

3. Etsy.

4. Anything crafted which depicts a penis, boobs or naughty language (won't someone please think of the children??!?!?!!!!! who by the way are not legally allowed to have an account on most message boards OR FACEBOOK)

5. "The best" anything - technique, yarn, store, etc.

6. "They stole my idea!" Although this will initially garner you sympathy, someone will always somehow take up for the thief, which somehow always leads back to the copyright debates.

7. Selling handmade items.

8. Cats. Who would have thunk it??

Monday, November 21, 2011

Accomplished, halfway

You guys! I did it! I knitted a sock!!!!



And here is a view from the sole.



Now I just need to start the other one.
It will happen, but I need to work on some other things for a bit. I'll probably get started on it after Christmas is done.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sweating the Sweaters

I hqve made two crocheted sweaters so far. One is the Unseamly Sweater from Happy Hooker, and one is the Aqua Aloha that was a free pattern from Caron.com

The problem with both of these sweaters is that neither one of them fit.


The Aloha is too big. It was the first thing I made with my wooden H hook, and my gauge was too big. I can wear it, it just looks dumpy. I have some of the yarn left, I think my best bet to salvage it for myself is to cut it down the middle of the front and steek it to make a cardigan.



The Unseamly was made for a version of myself that was smaller. The sleeves are still long enough, but the waist is not. And of course, with the Unseamly, there is shaping in the waist with a different stitch pattern. I was not a fan of this shaping, but this was a time before I knew the power of modifying patterns.

It's done from the hem up, so there's no real way to frog back and redo the waist like I could have done if it had been done from the top down. I do not believe I even have any of that yarn left, so there goes the steeking idea.

I guess my choices are either frog the whole thing or find someone tinier than me who would appreciate a handmade sweater. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Helpful, yet addicting

A few weeks ago my friend sent me a link/invite to Pinterest.

I signed up to check it out, knowing full well what kinds of rabbit holes I was going to fall down. So from the bowels of the rabbit transit system, I say, this is cool!

Or course, I started 2 crafty pin boards. One is for crafty things I think are just nice to see, and one of crafty ideas I think are super awesome an want to bookmark to try one day.

Go take a look. I've been trying to limit my pin surfing to 10 minutes or less at a time, and I've still found tons of awesome things.

KMay's Crafty Ideas and Things to Try


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cold Snap

So over the weekend we had a bit of cold weather. Charlottesville was fortunate in that we didn't get a bunch of snow and the sun was actually shining in the afternoon.

Nonetheless it was COLD!!!!!

So I took advantage of a Michael's coupon, risked my life to go to the horrible shopping center where it's located and bought some Bernat Colorama and made myself a white hat like I've been wanting.








I wanted thick and nubbly and cables. It meets the requirements but I'm not quite satisfied. It very well may get frogged and redone before the winter is over, but for now it will do. I wore it on our walk today and was glad. Brrr!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interesting Internets for October

Once again it's time for Charlottesville Crafter!
This month, I bring back the Charging Station.


Since I'm linking, here's some other cool stuff I've found this month:



A while back I posted some things to consider when you're deciding to DIY your wedding. I was doing some surfing and found that 100 Layer Cake made a handy PDF flowchart for whether you should DIY or not.

Craftzine always finds the coolest stuff. This time it's knit & crochet jewelry that was then cast into silver

Sewing Daisies finished a blanket that's a Quilt/Afghan hybrid.

I used to make stuff just by draping and pinning and seeing what happened. I wish I had a dress form so I could still do that now. A guest post over at Gertie's is doing a tutorial along those lines.

Wild Olive has a tutorial on how to make a necklace from a vintage spool of thread. Kind of makes me wonder what kind of stuff my mom has left in her stash back home...


Craftzine also highlighted this tutorial for making t-shirts bigger. I was all set to come home and try it on my tiger t-shirt that's too small, and then realized that it got taken to Goodwill in the last bag of stuff. Sometimes I'm too organized and screw myself over. But maybe the next time I go thrifting, I won't pass up something cute just because it's a tiny bit snug and give it a shot.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10 Ways to Keep Your T-shirt Alive

The t shirt is a magical thing. It can be a billboard or a treasured item.

But what do you do with them when you're done wearing them? I hate wasting things I've spent good money for, and sometimes it may be the only thing to remind me of something or some place.

You can make tons of things with old T-shirt. Recycling or upcycling, you don't have to just throw them away.


-Make pillows. Huggable or stylish. It just takes a little thread and some stuffing.

-Make a quilt. All those shirts from all those things you did? Every race you ever ran or show you were in? You can keep the memory alive and yourself warm at the same time.

-Carry a tote - sew up the bottom, cut off the top and add some straps!

-It's cut out to be a tank top - it just takes a little modification to get a cute tank out of a baggy tee.

-Or a skirt. Or tube top. Depending on the shirt, you can have a cute beach cover up with a few scissor snips.

-Everybody needs rags- obviously for the shirts you don't care so much about. Keep your bathroom clean without buying paper towels. Bonus - They're washable and reusable, but you can toss them if they're disgusting and not feel bad.

-Baby/kids clothes. This one is a little more time and thought intensive, but how cute would it be to have Junior snuggled up in a onesie made from Dad's old favorite shirt?

-Kitties and doggies like shirts, especially to sleep on. (Why do you think cats like crawling into the laundry basket so much?) Make them a pet bed!

-Make your own undies instead of paying Victoria. I've seen posts where people have done it but haven't tried it myself. But just think, no uncomfortable break-in period before they get soft and comfy!

-If it's truly a memento, frame it. Make it art for your home.



No t-shirt has to die before you finish loving it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trusty Old Friend

I've posted about Serge before, but I don't think I've ever talked about my regular sewing machine.

She's been with me a long time, but doesn't have a name.





I've had this machine since I was a teenager, which means it's at least 13 years old. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas one year. Knowing what I know now, it was one of those "prepare our niece for future home life" gifts which while I appreciated it, but didn't really know what I was going to do with it. It got used sporadically. Every once in a while I'd beg some fabric out of Mom's stash or hit the remnants bin (thrifty habits start early) and try stuff. It was all mostly experimentation with really weird stretchy shiny 70s-esque polyester (which by the way, I will NEVER work with again). While I had an interest in fashion, it never really became a designing tool, as I got busy with band and boys and other things.




It came with me when I moved out, and sewed the curtains for the kitchen in my first place.

As I've gotten older, I've found more projects and my own creativity, and she's become a vital component of the CraftyKix empire.

She's only got two kinds of stitches and three ways to be adjusted, but that hasn't stopped me yet. A little oil now and then and we're happy campers.





Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Out and About

Saturday I had the chance to visit the semi-annual Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival, out in Crozet. I've missed the last 3 or 4 and wanted to make sure I went, just to keep up with what's going on in the arts and crafts world.

It was great weather for it - sunny and warm enough I didn't have to walk around in a bulky jacket, and didn't rain.

As usual there were tons of vendors. Lots of photography, woodworking, pottery and jewelry. I saw more quilting than I did the last time I went, and more garments. I'm pretty sure that I didn't miss anything, but I only saw ONE vendor with yarncrafted products!

I was really impressed with the presentation of lots of stuff. People didn't rely on the same old boring draped tables. There were things hanging, displays with shelves and baskets. One booth had the frame of her booth decked out with a crocheted tasseled border around the top and a lighted jewelry display case - classy! Another vendor, instead of using the usual velvet for displaying jewelry, laid her things out on trays of coffee beans! Very inventive.

As I usually do with craft shows, I made a tour of everything, then went back to the booths that intrigued me or had something I wanted. Yes, I did think a few times "I could make that*." I did get a few ideas, but mostly just enjoyed seeing what everyone else made. (Same thing happens when I cruise the crafts competition section at the fair.)

I try to buy things that I know that I won't ever make or that are completely spectacular. This time I bought a new star ornament. It's woodcarving, which is something that I am sure I will never try to do.


All together, it was a pretty good time. I'll have to try and get some company to go with me to the Spring edition!




*At a festival a long time ago, a vendor had a sign that said "sure you could make this....but will you?"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sew Spendy or Thrifty?



When I was little, my mom made a lot of my clothes. I think part of it may have been because it was cheaper, but it was probably more due to "hey I'm home all day with this small child and going a little bonkers, I need something to keep my sanity and hey look clothes." I'll have to ask her about that one day. She made me all my Easter dresses and Christmas dresses and the dress I wore to my sisters wedding, and also my sister's wedding dress. She was good. Then she went back to work, and I got to the age where "homemade" was eeewwww and that was kind of the end of that. Life moved on.

While I do own both regular sewing machine and serger, I do not currently make my own clothes. I modify some shirts, I made a wedding dress and a skirt or two, but it's not a regular thing. I would rate myself as an advanced beginner when it comes to clothes sewing. It's something I'd LIKE to get better at, but until 3 or 4 hours is magically added on to my day, it's going to have to wait.

The Simple Dollar has been doing a series on whether buying vs. doing yourself saves money. He just did one asking Does Making Your Clothes Save You Money?

It's an interesting read.

Mom had a huge fabric stash, so we didn't really have to go out and buy lots of fabric, so it probably saved. Buying the material and notions and pattern for my dress was significantly cheaper than spending even $150 on a dress in a store. But everything else so far has probably cost me money.

How has it worked out for you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

State of the Craft

Every so often I like to step back and take a look at my crafting life and take stock, you know? Being that it's my birthday week and I'm in a period of reflection anyway, it's a good a time as any.

Currently, I am in a period of low crafting. Mostly it's due to lack of time, and it really sucks. I do have a couple projects that are getting a tiny bit of attention here and there. There's the sock, the Luna Sweater that's been put on hold, and the odd washcloth or two that occupies my hands while I'm feeling twitchy.

This is seasonal. I know that once I'm done with school (for good) in May (hopefully), I will have a lot of free time back, and I hope to fill it with creating.


I have a few more projects planned for Charlottesville Crafter through the end of the year. I'm enjoying doing that. It's been nice to have a platform that reaches a few more people than just the blog here, although sometimes it is a stretch to think of a project that I can make simple so that anyone (including novices) can do and get decent results. I have no current plans to stop that, and hopefully CW doesn't either!

THIS blog will continue, of course, no matter what, unless something dire happens. It may be slim pickings around here at points, but it'll stay.


What else will I do?

I don't know if I'd open up another online store or not. It would depend how crazy I get with the making of things, once that returns.

In one of the recent episodes of Getting Loopy, Mary Beth mentioned that there needed to be more crochet podcasts. I agree. However, that will not be me. Mostly because I really hate hearing myself on a recording. Not to mention I think I convey myself better through writing than speaking. Ask most of the people I talk to on a regular basis - there's lots of"um"s, trying to think of words, making up words, and strange hand gestures. I communicate better when I have a chance to think and edit. :)


The Universe has been throwing me a lot of "Do what you love and everything else will follow" messages lately.
If crafting were to be The Thing to Do, I think I'd be ok with that. I'd be more than ok with that.

How do I make that happen? Beats me, but I think I'm ready. Got any ideas?


As always, I appreciate everyone that stops by. Maybe you came for a tutorial and kept reading, maybe you clicked over from Charlottesville Crafter, maybe you're a friend of mine. Either way, thanks. If you have any comments, concerns or project suggestions for me, please let me know. I do read all the comments!





Monday, September 26, 2011

September Wrapup

Greetings, lovely crafty people!


It's that time of month again, and Charlottesville Crafter is up! This month we are doing homegrown wall art, like I have hanging in my dining room!




Also, I got a little bit done on the sock while we were traveling last week. I'm now starting the heel.






Life is still crazy, but I do have some things in mind that will show up here eventually!

Thanks for stopping by and reading, I really do appreciate you. :)



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Links I Like In September

I subscribe to a bunch of crafty blogs, and I'd just like to share a couple of the cool things I've seen lately.



~> Marisa at New Dress A Day did copycat Googly Eyed Louboutins.
Come on, how fun is a pair of shoes with googly eyes on them?? At least for Halloween...

~> A crocheted Rainbow Granny Parasol. I can't say that I'd ever do something in a rainbow palette (or anything that bright) but that was an amazing amount of work, especially to get the mechanism included. At some point I'll have to find links to the parasol patterns on Ravelry that I like, too.

~>A tutorial on Craftster for a cute Necktie Handbag! If the Mr. wore out ties on a regular basis, I'd have to try one of these...


Monday, September 19, 2011

Plotting

We were on the road to Northern PA this weekend to see the in-laws.

I got to work on the sock for a little, but mostly the 5 hour (one way) drive gave me a chance to work on my Crafting List.



Yes, these are all projects I want to do! (and some fixits as well...)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All Part of the Show

The other day I was browsing Craigslist as I do on a regular basis. I usually check the arts & crafts section, and the clothes and accessories (I admit, I am waiting for someone to get tired of the Coach bag I like).

I noticed a listing that said "crafters wanted" and of course clicked to see what it was. It was someone setting up a craft show. (I won't mention who or where, because a) it's not my intention to call them out for anything - and b) I don't remember exactly.)

They said in the listing that there would be multiple vendors including "Scentsy, Thirty-One, Lia Sophia, Longaberger, Pampered Chef, etc." They requested that there be "no more jewelry crafters" because they were full of that genre already.

A little background: when I was a kid, my mom took me to lots of craft shows. At our church every year we had a Christmas Bazaar full of things handmade by the ladies auxiliary. So to me, a craft show is tables full of crafters with handmade goods.

Scentsy is not a craft. Lia Sophia is not a craft. Yes, these companies are home based business opportunities, and an opportunity for people to make money outside of the irritation of a 9-5 job. I don't begrudge them that - I have many friends that sell for some of these companies and they enjoy it. That's great, I have nothing against it.

BUT it is not a craft. They may sell these things but they didn't pour them, weave the basket, stitch the purse or string the beads on that Lia Sophia. They are sales reps, essentially a vendor. If these vendors make up the majority of your craft show, it's not a craft show, it's just a show.


Friends, it is fall, and that means many small communities are having fall festivaals complete with craft fairs. Please do your best to get out and check out these events and support your local crafters!



Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy NatCroDay!

Hi everyone!

I'm not dead, just very very very busy.
( So much so that I am not a happy camper, but that's a long story for another time.)



It's September 12th, and that means it's National Crochet Day!

I don't know if I will get the chance to do any actual crocheting (though I do have projects in mind), but I will be participating in spirit. Maybe it will be mental crochet.

One crochet related thing I do want to share is that I'm self publishing my first paid pattern.

This is NOT the Rachel Scarf (I'm still writing that one up), but one I designed that was to be included in the Crochet Liberation Front's One Skein book. It looks like that book is not going to happen, and we were given permission to do with our patterns what we liked. So I'm publishing mine!

I'm offering it as a PDF download.  The pattern includes both basic written instructions and also a chart.  It's an easy pattern and doesn't take much yarn at all (just one skein!)








You can buy the PDF through Ravelry, and NO you don't have to be a Ravelry member to do so, just click the button above if you feel so inclined.


Happy International Crochet Day!  Hook on!



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping Busy

Lo and behold, something is finished.



I finished the kitty bed. Simple pattern, turned out well. So far no one's tried to nap in it, but they have played with it, which I guess is better than nothing.


Saturday, I went to a workshop held by the supporters of our Farmer's Market, and learned how to can peaches and tomatos. It was interesting and was actually a lot of fun.


Now I'm plotting what we eat on a regular basis that can go in a jar...


Monday, August 22, 2011

T-Shirts Afoot

Charlottesville Crafter for August is up and running! This month, T-shirt Transfers - they're not just puff paint anymore...


Also, to those venturing over from CW, hi! Welcome! Take a look around, find something crafty!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Trip to the Craft Store

So last evening, my errands took me to the Michael's. I had to get some ribbon, but of course, I'm not going to pass up wandering around a craft store, even if I am tired and kind of hungry. That's why they have the candy at the checkout, right?

They've redone their yarn section again, and I have to say I approve. Everything is now kind of organized by company, with the exception of the baby yarns, which are thrown on one wall together. The selection of sock yarns is low, though.


I saw a bunch of yarns that are new to me, and I'm kind of digging new additions to the Bernat line.

They've come out with Really Big which is really really big, like super bulky weight. I dig it and some of the colors, but I have no clue what I'd make out of it.

I also like their Colorama - it's big and SOFT. It's rated super bulky as well, but the Really Big is twice the diameter of the Colorama. I think I want to use that to make the white hat I want for this winter.

I did fall for the Mosaic, too. It seems to be their answer to Noro's colorways. I dig the Ninja colorway for the grays and purple and also that it's named Ninja. Because ninjas are awesome, that's why.

Enough yarn squealing, back to the store - I like the expansion and selection, but the notions were lacking. Maybe they were not entirely done moving everything around and stocking, but the needles and hooks were a row AWAY from the yarns - it took me a while to find them. And it seems like the selection is scaled back from what they used to have, too. They do have what seems to be the entire Crochet Dude line, which is cool, although pricey.

Even though the Michael's is in my least favorite shopping center in town (drivers there are AWFUL), I at least know they have more options if I'm project hunting. It's a nice change.

(Also, WTF is up with their website? You can rate products, but not buy them? What kind of mass retail store does not have a retail enabled website???)


Also, they have skully duct tape. :)






(By the way, I did not get paid by Bernat to mention them, I just dig their yarns. And if they'd want to send me some to review, I'd be all over that...)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Craft is Art

I follow the Craftzine Blog feed, and the other day they featured an interesting crochet installation.

Aunt Peggy Has Departed by Shane Waltener is a crochet "web" in tribute to a departed family member.

I think pictures 3 and 5 show it the best. I know that threadwork is INSANELY time consuming and hard, and this is amazing. Pineapples, regular doily motif, stitched up as a web and installed.

What struck me the most was this thought on the page:
Doilies are like dreamcatchers, each knot holding a thought, a memory.

I think if there were to be any #1 example of Craft as Art, this would be it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's come to this.

I've started knitting a pair of socks.


I know I wanted to do more with knitting than just make square flat things, so what did I choose? The most complicated not square flat thing.

It's on my list. I wanted a challenge. I guess I'm going to get it.



I'm using Silver's sock class tutorial. My yarn is Deborah Norville Serenity sock yarn in colorway Obsidian. That actually makes no sense because it's shades of green and the last I checked, obsidian was BLACK. I'm working with metal #2 DPNs. This may also be a mistake, but they're what I had. If I get hooked and they end up being a problem, I'll go buy bamboo ones.




How's it going? I've gone three rows and somehow I've managed to drop 6 stitches already. Not sure how it happened, but now I have to come up with 6 more stitches. Now that I'm not on the beginning row anymore, I think I'll be ok.


But as I tweeted last night, I'm either going to go blind or crazy.




Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekend Production

Because I'm trying to be better with posting, and because I don't want you all to think that I'm not doing anything crafty....


This weekend I have made:

a fridge magnet out of my practice IPC solder certification board. (oh yeah, I'm certified in that now, even for those tiny IC chips!)





And in the Crafting with Food portion, I made a cake (from scratch) for the husband's birthday!
Chocolate cake, peanut butter icing. :)





As for the ongoing projects, I'm still working on the crochet pet bed. It's sitting patiently on the backburner, but I've added some inches to it.

And I'm also working on the pattern for the Rachel Scarf! I'm almost done with my notations, then I need to transcribe (and proofread proofread proofread) and set up the download link. I believe that I'm going to do it through Ravelry, because I do not have the time to do it as a Paypal invoice/email attachment for every separate transaction. I am pretty sure that even if you are not signed up with a Ravelry account, you can still download, but I will double check to be sure.

Also coming up, some interesting links, and Charlottesville Crafter goes up next week as well.

Time to go make some lists...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY or Don't?

I know that prime wedding season is winding down, but fall weddings are winding up, and lots of newly engaged crafters are plotting their events for next year!

As a recent bride, I’ve spent lots of time looking at wedding related items this past year. Doing it yourself is getting more prevalent in the world of nuptuals, due to both the economy and the amount of readily available instructions. No longer do you have to rely on certain pricy vendors to do things for you if you have some spare time and crafty ability. It also allows for a greater ability for customization. Why rely on generic white satin when you can have something that truly represents you and your spouse to be and that you'll remember fondly for many years to come?


BUT....

There are some things to consider before you go crazy on the wedcrafts.


Should you DIY? I'll be honest, it's not for everybody. Some people don't have the skills. Some people have the skills, but don't have the time.


Still debating? How about some practical guidelines?


You should DIY if:

*You have a vision that you are sure that only YOU can pull off.
And even if you're sure, make sure you have a backup plan, and some help lined up.


*You have the time to devote to the crafting that is required.
A good rule of thumb is to allot at least twice the time that you think you're going to need. Also, be realistic. If it takes you 20 minutes to glue one paper flower together, why would you think that you could do a whole centerpiece in one night, much less three? Do you even HAVE a spare evening to devote to wedding crafting? If you work full time and have a lot going on, you may not have the chances you think you will to get things finished.


*You have the money to devote to the crafting that is required.
Crafting is USUALLY the cheaper option, but not always. Hard to find or specialized components may cost extra money. Don't forget to consider quantities, too. Supplies for place cards or favors for 200 people will take more funds than place cards or favors for 50. Sometimes buying in bulk can help, but not always.


*You have the skills or motivation to do the craft you want.
Craft what you know, and branch out only if you're willing to take a risk. I sewed my dress, but I am not a paper crafter. Aside from some origami here and there, I find messing with paper kind of boring. So I did not attempt to make my own invitations. It would have only frustrated me and I would probably have not given them the proper effort. Keep the skill level needed to just above where you are now. If you've never done lacework, your wedding is probably not to time to attempt to knit a lace shawl. Don't add unnecessary frustration.


*You have the energy to do all the crafting.
If your decorationss are going to require you staying up late and running yourself ragged, they're not worth it. Your wedding is a celebration, and you can't celebrate if you're worn out from everything you've had to do!

*You can handle disappointment.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes a sash doesn't lay how you want. Sometimes certain flowers are not available. If your plan will completely fall apart if one thing goes wrong, make sure that you have a backup plan!




You are no less of a crafter if you don't hand craft all of your wedding accessories!
You can find all the great ideas, but when it comes to your time, energy and money, be practical. Don't go crazy unless you have crazy resources to back it up.



So if you've read this and weighed the options and still want to craft up your wedding, have at it and good luck!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hey Mama

I mentioned a while back that there were going to be plenty of babies this July! Not only did my friend have twins, my stepdaughter had a baby, too!

I know, you're thinking, wait, why didn't you make her a blanket??

Well, quite frankly, I was burnt out on blankets. Not to mention it's JULY and it's ROASTING, and there were a billion blankets on her registry already.

I'll have plenty of chances to make Baby B lots of things while she's growing up.

But don't worry, they're still getting handmade things! Mama had registered for some nursing covers, and didn't get any, so this weekend, I whipped up two to send down to her.

Her only requirements were that it involve pink. Not a problem. I tried to aim for classier prints, because I'm sure she's surrounded by baby prints all the time and would like some adult themes now and then.



I know, the desk chair doesn't make a very effective model, but it was late...

I used This tutorial. This was super simple and fast (especially for my first time working with boning, too!).


So I've sent them off to her (and a cute little headband for B, which I forgot to take a picture of...ooops.) and we'll see how they work!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Rachel Scarf

It's apparently gift week here at Craftykix!

My friend Rachel had a stroke a few months ago. She was traveling when it happened, and after some long stints in various facilities away, she's now in a rehab facility 20 minutes from home. She's doing very well with her rehab, and is getting stronger and better every day. I'm so proud of her!

I wanted to make her something, so I plotted. She loves Dr. Who, so I figured that I would try and make her something Whovian, but yet I still wanted to make the pattern so that it would stand on its own without the Who reference. So I made her a Tardis door scarf.




It's done with acrylic for easy care. I was a little concerned because the finishing kind of killed the stitch relief pattern, but I think the effect is still there. I got to visit her on my way home this weekend, and got to give her the scarf. She is very pleased with it, and I'm very happy that she liked it.


I am considering writing up the pattern and making it available for download for a small fee. All proceeds from the downloads would go to her and the family to help with the bills. If you would be interested in the pattern, please let me know! I would love for the love to continue well after the scarf!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Grateful

When I went back home to see the family this weekend, my grandma had a surprise for me. I don't know when she did it, but she made us a new blanket/quilt for our wedding present.




I feel so incredibly lucky that I have family that's willing to spend the time and energy to make something like this for us.

Thank you, Grandma! I love you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Learning from Crafting





Creating things can actually be a really good teaching experience. You may think you're just sewing but you're really learning greater skills.



Skills like what?

*experimentation
Is that fabric going to work? Try it and find out! Experimentation stretches the borders of what you think is possible, and helps build visualization skills you can apply to other areas of life. How would that look in white instead of purple?

*adaptation and flexibility
Okay, so maybe what you tried didn't work. Now what? Maybe you just ran out of the last of your supply of glue and have to finish today. What can you use? How can you get your project done?
Resourcefulness helps in many situations. Learning not to freak out when things don't go according to plan is a skill many can use (and that bosses LOVE).

*documentation
If there's one thing I've learned, always take pictures. Why? Multiple reasons. First, you never know when you can turn something into a tutorial. Second, if you need help, you've got a photo to illustrate the problem you're having. Third, maybe it just turns out to be a cool photo for the sake of art. And write stuff down. For future reference and so you don't forget your ideas. Sometimes I get ideas when I can't pick up the yarn or scissors, and I have to jot it down so I'll be able to get back on my train of thought later.



What have you learned from crafting?

Monday, July 25, 2011

That time again...

It's time for Charlottesville Crafter!

This month, I make earrings. This is the last of the wedding crafts! (I told you I had one more up my sleeve...)

Check it out!

I've got some more craft posts coming, plus a lot of projects planned!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Art, Craft or Both?

This summer I am taking one of my humanities requirements, and I chose Art Appreciation. I've always liked art, even when I don't get a chance to actually make it.

Anyway, I digress.
Let me say first that I think that the author of this particular textbook* is a little biased on certain things, and I don't agree with him completely. I personally like my textbooks to be like the news should be, unbiased, but I know I can't always get it, especially with something as subjective as art.

I was reading the chapter on "The Crafts as Fine Art" and he mentions "many artists feel insulted if their work is described as being 'craftful.'" His major point was that usually the line between Art and Craft is drawn by intention - if something is intended to be functional, it is a craft, but if it is made to be looked at, then it is Art. And then goes on to say that if a consumer buys something functional to enjoy looking at it, the artist's intention winds up being irrelevant.

Of course, being a crafter, I had to consider this in terms of my own work. Usually I don't consider my crochet or knit or sewing to be art because everything I make is functional to me. I can't really make a drawing that functions as anything other than a drawing, so I kind of default that to art. There are sweaters and scarves that I've seen in Ravelry projects that are functional, but also breathtakingly beautiful. Then there is crocheted art like the work of Olek while skillful, is butt ugly, in my opinion.


So where do you stand? Do you craft or do you craft art?




*Textbook is The World of Art, Henry Sayre

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Project, New Project Spot

I've chained on for a new project! I'm making a kitty bed for the fuzzballs. They'll probably ignore it, but maybe not.





I'm trying to stashbust, so I'm using a dual strand of Simply Soft Eco and TLC Amore. The colors are blending better than I expected.


The project is being modeled by my new furniture addition. Now keep in mind that I do not actually like colonial style furniture, but this one gets grandfathered in because this is the rocking chair that my mom used to rock me in! So it's kind of my family heirloom. It made its way to me after my sister redecorated her bedroom, where it was previously residing.


So hopefully I can get some good rocking and stitching going on and kitties will learn to keep their tails out of the way!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Click it & Link It

I've added a lot of crafty stuff into my RSS reader these past few months, so I thought I'd take a minute to let you know what kind of crafty things I've been reading!



Carina's Craft Blog from Carina of Polka & Bloom. Whenever an item of Carina's pops up in my feed, it makes me happy. She takes beautiful photographs and her work is filled with color. She's also got some good tutorials that have helped me out.

Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing is new to me, but I love it! She makes gorgeous vintage style dresses and lots of tutorials.

I know I've linked to New Dress A Day before, but now since the original year of remakes is over, she's featuring reader remakes every week! It's always awesome to see what other people come up with out of a piece of thrift store hideousness.

WooWork isn't new to my feed, but I don't think I've shared it here before. This guy is a MASTER of crochet sculpture. And his stuff is fun!

Dried Figs and Wooden Spools is written by Gillian, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting! (She's so nice!) She and her family recently relocated to a small apartment in NYC and lately her posts have been about the crafty solutions they've found to adapting to a smaller space and all the new experiences of living in the big city after years of Charlottesville.



I hope in these you've found something fun to read, and if you've got any suggestions for me, let me know!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Aftermath

It's been a good two weeks since the wedding, and I think it's time for a follow up!


The full list of KMay Crafted Wedding Items includes:

>Wedding Dress
>Ribbon Veil
>Earrings
>Bouquet


Surprisingly, there were not a plethora of flower shops on the Strip, offering ready made bouquets. Go figure. I ended up buying three roses from one of the shops in the hotel and binding them together with teal ribbon as my bouquet.

I made a quick pair of earrings in the same colors with crystal beads. More on those in a future post.

Well, let's see how it all turned out!

Here are the photos that I think show the outfit the best...



(Before the wedding, getting ready to leave)





(During the ceremony, view of the back)


The sash and I had some issues. It stayed on, but I think it could have behaved better. Of course, if I had remembered a few more safety pins, I probably could have MacGyvered it in the limo.





I loved the ribbon veil! It was fairly breezy out there in the desert, making for some awesome ribbon wafting moments.




So all in all I think the wedding crafting was a success, and it was just right for a desert wedding.
(Although for anyone going out there, I'd advise wearing wedges or flats instead of heels!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Heya!

Hi everybody! It's been a really busy month what with the wedding and black belt test and all!

I've got some posts planned, but haven't had time to sit down and write them yet.


Coming soon:
My Wedding DIY results (with pictures and everything!)

A plethora of Wedding DIY ideas

Crafty links I like...


For now, enjoy a redux of the ribbon veil on this month's Charlottesville Crafter

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pattern Review: Simplicity 2884

Now that I'm fully done with the dress, I can give the pattern a fair assessment.

From Craftykix Creations

It's not bad, how about that? Not having very much experience with working from a pattern, I think this was a decent way to jump back in.

Time for a quick rant: I think that all patterns, especially beginner level ones, should come with a basic pattern legend. There are a few pattern notes in the beginning, about adapting it, but I'm talking about BEGINNER notes. Things reminding you that "this triangle means a notch, make sure you cut it in the fabric" so that you don't have to go back and mark it with chalk later because you didn't.


I make a habit (and you should too) of reading the whole process through first. It works for pattern, recipes and any instructions at all. If you know what to expect, you shouldn't encounter any surprises with the steps.



I followed almost all of the pattern steps with the exception of three. I did not do the instructed "turn up" hem. I used bias tape, because I've done it before with a full skirt and I like the end results. I also used an invisible zipper, not a regular one. I used this tutorial, did a practice one first, and it turned out beautifully. I did not put in boning, either. Half because I forgot to buy it and half because I didn't really want it. It turned out fine without it.


I could only decide on one thing that could be better explained. This is the first garment that I have made that has gathering, so I was not familiar with the process. Fortunately, I'm pretty intuitive and know how to look things up, but I imagine that there are people that do not think of such things and might flounder a bit with the lack of explanation on that feature.

I think more high contrast drawings would also be helpful, but I know there's a limit to the printing they use for the instructions.

Other than that, it was very descriptive as to what side you're supposed to be stitching on and other little bits.


As long as you read your instructions and notes and pay attention to what side is what, you'll be fine. I'd give this pattern an A-, for the reasons listed above. I'm satisfied with my results.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Cville Crafter

It's time for another Charlottesville Crafter post!

This month I tackle something I'm not sure I've ever done here on Craftykix - Decoupage!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How to Make a Ribbon Veil

No secret that I'm being married next month, right? We've already seen that I'm not really a traditional Giant Poofy Wedding kind of bride. I'm also getting married in the desert. So needless to say, a traditional veil, even a shorter one, is not really appealing to me. I really like the look of the ribbon veil, as shown on Offbeat Bride.

What's a crafty girl to do when she sees something she likes? Make it, of course!







Ingredients

~ Ribbon - in colors that you like/match your scheme/are special to you.
~ A hair doodad. I went with a barrette. If you would rather have a comb thing or elastic, have at it, but these instructions might not work the same.
~ Hot Glue
~ Clear nail Polish, white glue, or fray stopper
~ Ornamentation - I used star beads, but anything is fair game - rhinestones, beads, feathers, whatever your heart desires and makes you happy)



1. Decide how long you want your ribbons to be. Do you want them just dangling by your shoulders or all the way down your back? Have someone help you measure your desired length if it's super long. Make sure you have enough ribbon - some of the "discount" rolls only have about 3 yards on them, which may not be enough. You're going to need twice your desired length, more if you plan to use that specific ribbon more than once. Also, at this point, decide if you want your colors to be random or in a pattern on the barrette. I like symmetry, so my colors will be mirrored on each side.

2. Cut your ribbons. You want the raw ribbon to be twice the length that you want the veil. I cut the ends on the diagonal, to help prevent fraying while I worked.

3. Attach to the barrette by tying gently. Open the barrette. Fold your ribbon in half, lengthwise. Take the loop where it folds and put it through the barrette (you can temporarily remove the little curved forked tensioner thingy if you need to). Pull the ends of the ribbon through the loop and all the way through until it's snug. Don't worry if it's not perfect, you're not done.





4. Repeat as needed until your ribbons are on the barrette in the order you wanted. IMPORTANT: KEEP ALL THE RIBBONS GOING THE SAME DIRECTION. I.E. whatever side you insert the loop from the first time, insert all the others on the same side.



5. If you have not removed the forked tensioner (what is the NAME of that thing, anyway??), do it now. You'll put it back in later.




6. Plug in the glue gun. Make sure there's glue in it (duh). If you're like me, this step will take an hour because you've forgotten where you put the glue gun after you used it the last time and end up finding it in an unmarked box on top of the bookshelf.

7. Pull your ribbons snug and make sure they're where you want them to be on the barrette. On the back side of the barrette, put a dot of glue under each ribbon tie and press down to secure. They might still move around a little bit, but they will be mostly secure. When the glue is dry (5 minutes-ish), put the tensioner back in. This will also help to keep the ribbons in place.









8. Now it's time to deal with the ends. I'm sealing mine up with glittery clear nail polish, but you can use a light white glue that dries clear or some fray check or something. Just dab a little bit on the ends and let it dry. You may want to put something down on your work surface before you do this step, unless you want it all sticky.





9. When everything is dry, you can add your ornaments. Mine are slider beads that I reclaimed from a pair of shoes. Two are going on the barrette itself, and a couple are going on the ribbons. Hot glue will probably be your best choice for this, depending on your decorations.







10. Let everything dry, then try it on to make sure everything is how you want it!











The good thing is that this project isn't expensive. A couple bucks will get you multiple barrettes, and ribbon goes on sale all the time (or if you have one of the 40% off Michaels or Joann coupons). It's truly fully customizable, and if you screw up, it's easy enough to start over. Unless you and ribbon really have issues, it's a low stress way to add a DIY touch to your wedding ensemble.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Well...

It's done.

99.5% completed. And the only reason I've taken off the .5% is because I haven't figured out exactly how I want to fasten the sash.

I know, I know, shut up and show the picture, right?





I'll discuss the pattern later, but I'm pleased with the results.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yay!!!

Wave a Yay Flag, ladies and gents, we have a garment!!!



Nope, it's not finished, but it's in one piece and has a zipper! Yay!!!!