October 30, 2010

Selection Perfection

I'm in a new team that's all about making Etsy treasuries!  It's called Selection Perfection and is under going approval for becoming an official Etsy team.

One team member (Luncheonette Vintage) has already made a treasury, and I'm in it!

Another team member (Cat Tales) also made one, here.

Here's the one I made for the team: Creamy Confection.

October 29, 2010

Holiday Goodies #3

Making handmade gifts for most members of the family can be pretty simple: cute accessories for the ladies, little clothing for the babies, and even for the home you can make some nice things, too. 

However, for the men in our lives, handmade gifts can be tricky.  Men who like accessories are usually picky about style and color, and other men avoid acceossories as much as they can (no scarves, no hats).  So, what can someone make for a man in their life?  I've come up with a few ideas to hopefully help with this tricky situation.

  • Make a wallet out of duct tape.  These can be pretty creative or pretty basic, depending on the taste of the receiver.  What a crazy and cool project!
  • If the man has an office space, a handmade calendar may be a great idea.  This is a gift that kids can help out with, too.  Follow the link to print out calendar pages and then draw pictures or create collages from family photos to correspond with each month.
  • A way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so tickle his taste buds and make your man a cake/cookie mix in a jar.  Put all of the dry ingredients in an airtight container.  Say that you'll make the treat when he requests it.  Follow the link to have a list of ideas along with respective instructions.  Hopefully most ingredients are things you already have on-hand!
  • For the guys who like accessories, you can always make:
  • Make a couch caddy for the movie-buff.  This helps keep remotes at a comfortable distance (and means you won't have to find them lost under the cushions...) 

There are several ideas to get the creative juices running.  :)

October 28, 2010

Avocado Hobo Bag

The bag is all finished!  I took it for its first outing today, and it did wonderfully.  It even held a clipboard full of papers!

Half of the fun of making these bags is to watch it become the end-product.  I love getting to choose a matching fabric for the inside seeing the bag change from a wide banana-shape to being gathered and full (see pictures below).

I made this of Lion Brand's Wool Ease yarn in Avocado.  The trim is TLC Essentials in Dark Brown.

Since I can't stand more than one handle over my shoulders, I came up with this design that avoids modifying the bag while getting the single strap.  The rings on the handle are from a belt that came with a pair of pants that I bought over a year ago.  I never wear the belt, so it's slowly disappearing as I make more bags!  Yay for reusing!

The lining fabric was from my stash (which has been added to by my friend and her family).  It's got small yellow and orange flowers with green stems all over it.  Makes me want to make a cute, frilly little dress for my baby!

The flower is based on Granny Square 10 from Illustrated Patchwork Crochet by Bella Scharf.  This book was made in the 70s, but its information is still on the market today because it's amazing!  It's a great foundation book, so I'm glad it was given to my family (a hand-me-down of sorts) several years ago.  I added another flower to the top of the flower from the granny square to finish off the look. 

October 27, 2010

Versatile Knit Sweater

My knit sweater is progressing; especially considering all of the other projects I’m doing (ear flap hats, keeping my websites current, cleaning my house…)!  Check out my past post on the sweater to get a link to the pattern. I’ve got past the sleeve separation, and so now I’m working on the body.  It’s starting to look like a sweater!  So here is an updated photo of the progress.

With the sweater having sleeve openings and longer cables (finally), I can try it on and see how it fits for size.  Then I know whether I need to adjust the increases/decreases on the pattern or not.
Also, I’ve got a close-up photo of the cool stitching that is across the yoke of the sweater.  It’s done by going through the back loops (instead of traditional front loops) with the coordinating purl or knit stitches.

October 26, 2010

Holiday Goodies #2

Crochet Tiramisu Baby Blanket
Here are a few more gift ideas since the holidays are coming so soon!
To access some of these patterns, you may need to become a member of their site.  All links I've included are free to join and the pattern is free.

Before you decide to give a gift that you hope will be displayed in a family's kitchen, living room or bathroom, see if you can peek into the color scheme that they already have.  If your item is a stark red against their cool blues and warm browns, they may not feel comfortable using your gift among their items.  Take time to check, and then your gift won't be a burden!

October 25, 2010

Fall/Winter 2010 Color

There's a science out there to predict the coming seasons' top color preferences for consumers and manufacturers.  I don't know how they decide, but it's great to see what colors are forecast and what actually happens.

Pantone is a company that makes those forecasts, and this Fall season has an awesome line-up of colors.  I think it's brighter than typical Fall colors - suggesting we need more cheer in our times!  I love the selection and how they mix and match together!  What are your favorite colors from the Fall 2010 report?  Pantone even  has already prepared their forecast for Spring 2011!

I love Lagoon, Chocolate Truffle, Purple Orchid, and Lipstick Red.  Check out this interactive booklet that shows examples of big-name designers using the forecast colors and read their thoughts behind the design.

October 23, 2010

Holiday Goodies #1

In need of resources for gifts to give this Christmas/Holiday Season?

I've got a few ideas of things that are easy to make with little or no cost to you (depending on what supplies you have on hand).

  • Make 15 hexagon grannies and attach them together in a row to make a scarf.
  • Make snowflakes as Christmas Tree ornaments.  You can attach them (as shown) to make garland, or leave them separate to make individual snowflake ornaments for your friends.
  • Make beanies for your friends.  Adding flower makes it feminine!  These work up fast and are very cute!

  • Make embellishments to go on top of generic cards.  This Santa really adds something to this!
  • Make a headband/earband with a flower for keeping ears warm.  This was really popular last year, so I bet lots of people would love to receive one.

  • Make simple, small stocking to stash a handful of candies or nice Christmas thought.
  • Make pillowcases that show individuality, but are easy and simple.  Fabric usage is pretty minimal, too!

October 22, 2010

Avocado Hobo Bag

Avocado Bag in-progress
As promised, here are the pictures of my work-in-progress.  The pattern is called Fat Bottom Bag and is originally in Portuguese.  However, I don't speak (let alone read crochet terms) in Portuguese, so I searched and found that a lady had already done the work.  She didn't translate the pattern, but she did a tutorial on how to make the bag.  She did translate the chart, though, and that helps a lot!

This bag always turns out so cute - I get oohs and ahhs where ever people see me carrying the cream one that I made, and online where I've posted pictures of the others that I have made.  You can change the number of stitches and/or hooks to get a smaller or larger bag.  I've made small, medium and HUGE ones - all are favorites!

Bags like the ones shown have already been made for several people that I've sent across the world!  I've gotten orders from Australia and Germany as well as in the United States.

October 21, 2010

Avocado Inspiration

I'm working on my latest project... and it's for me.  I have to make things for myself every once in a while, otherwise it gets too hard to give away all of my creations (even if they paid). 

I'm working on a bag that I've made before, but I wanted to make one for myself in good ol' avocado - a very popular color of the 70s in house appliances and carpet.  Even though it's not popular for the same items, it's been a color-of-choice for handbags and purses lately. 

This pattern is also a big hit, and so I'm really excited to put the two together.  It should be done before the weekend is over, as long as my baby lets me work on it!  I've made a treasury showing colors that represent what I hope this color of the new bag will look like.  Yum!

I'll post a picture tomorrow (lighting will be better - sunlight versus incandescent/fluorescent bulbs), and let you see the work in progress.  Unless I'm already done with it by tomorrow!  Then I'll show the finished product. :)

Etsy Treasury Creation

I made a treasury today, featuring many teammates from the LDS Members of Etsy Team, of which I'm a member!  They represent my love of changing seasons and the excitement that comes as each new season approaches. 

I'm thinking of cold winter mornings where you don't want to walk on the tile in the bathroom because the shivers are unbearable!  Then I think of running to my kitchen, bundled in a blanket, and warming up some water for hot cocoa.  Yum!  I think it's so fun at this time of year to pull out my cold-weather clothing; coats, gloves, hats, scarves, and sweaters.  I also love piling up the blankets and snuggling with my hubby and baby.  What great times to make great memories!

Check out my treasury, and share the link with your friends!  Hopefully it will help with the excitement for change and things to come. :)

October 20, 2010

Christmas Creations

As you've probably noticed, in the retail-world, Christmas merchandise needs to be available as soon as about mid-September.  I'm a little slow going, but I'm really excited to offer some very cute items for Christmas!  I can just imagine little girls in their Christmas dresses wearing my baby shoes to match.... :D

To get started, I've been working on my line of baby shoes and hats that are focused for Christmastime in the northern hemisphere.  (However, I can make items that are less "cozy" for those of you who enjoy Summertime Christmases!)  I've got a few items already listed, and one is brand-new as of today.  I think I'm in love!

I have a question for those of you who read this:  Should I make a specific "department" in my Etsy shop for Christmas items, or should I categorize them in their respective categories (ei: baby girls, etc)? Please put your answer in the comments for this post!

Take a look at my items (click the image here to see the Etsy listing), and share them with those you know who might be interested in making or buying them!

October 19, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature

One of the funnest things about Etsy is that you can create a list of up to 12 items that you really like.  These are called treasuries, and are kind of a "picture wish-list!" Some of the lists people make are really eye-catching, beautiful, and appealing.  These treasuries are collections that can end up on the first page (in fact, on the main Etsy page, there is always a group of nine items, and those are always taken from a treasury).

I just got a message letting me know that I'm in a treasury today, and I really, really like this one!  It's called Hot Pink Tamale with Olives and my item is the third one down in the first column: the Crochet Flower Pillow Cover.  The list was created by Shannon of Gifted Design.  Please follow the links in this post and show the treasury some attention!

October 18, 2010

Versatile Knit Sweater

I'm working on a knit sweater, pattern available here. It's a first-pattern for the designer, and she only did it in Medium Size. But not-to-worry! Plenty of other people have already tried her pattern and made notes on how to modify and improve. Following the suggestions of the others who have tried the pattern, I'm making similar modifications. I'm going to make three button-holes (and sew on three buttons), and I'm also going to make the cap sleeves sit closer to my arms (it poofs out a little on her). I'm using this awesome chunky yarn, called Homespun, in GRAPE. It gives me fuzzies and tickles my nose, but I still think it will be great! I'm calling it a Versatile sweater, because of it's open front design. This works for regular-life as well as for varying stages of pregnancy! That means I'll keep wearing it throughout the winter even as I stop being able to wear other clothes. As soon as it's done... I'm nearly to the point where I will separate off the sleeve portions. Yay! Here's a picture of what it looks like so far, even though it's hard to tell.

Baby Sweaters

I just decided that the weather was cooling down, and my baby only fits in a couple of sweaters/jackets that I've got. Considering she's a baby learning to eat finger-foods, she needs more! Just so happens that I have lots of perfect yarn on-hand - I just needed a few cute patterns to make some cute sweaters!

The first pattern is available here. The original design uses fingering yarn, but I used sport-weight yarn, which is thicker. I separated the sleeves at row 7 instead of at row 11. I then did enough rows until it fit well (and I ran out of yarn). This took a little less than one skein of TLC Baby Yarn (this one is in LIME). Pretty cute, huh?

The second pattern is a pdf available here. I used Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted in AUBERGINE. Pretty shade of purple, isn't it? I love it. And the yarn is anti-pilling (no fuzz balls!), and is ultra-soft even though it's made of acrylic (funny that we make fibers out of plastic)! I found a couple of errors in the pattern, though, and made these corrections:

The Bobble instructions say (error is italicized):
“BOBBLE: Insert hook in indicated st, yo, pull lp through, ch 3, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook,
insert hook in same
st, yo, pull lp through, insert hook in next st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook. (Bobble is worked across 2 sts.)”
I was left with 3 lps so I pulled through all three. Made a cute bobble as I did it!

The next one is simple, but it still confused me! Under the instructions for the Left Button Band, it starts saying that you’re working on the edge of the Right Front only… pretty sure they mean LEFT FRONT! (Otherwise, how would it be the Left Button Band?)

I've already had a lady tell me that themodifications helped her, and she won't have to un-do her work yet-again. Yay!

They worked up really fast. Even with a baby who suddenly wants me to hold her constantly, I was able to finish the LIME sweater in one day, and the AUBERGINE sweater in two days. The buttons and ribbon (on the LIME one) add finishing touches. Love them!



I've decided to start a blog featuring projects I'm working on, so that you can get links to awesome projects with my personal notes and pictures to help guide you through!

Let me know if you have something in mind that you'd like to see!


P.S. Picture to the left is from a FREE pattern available here. Click on Pattern Shop and scroll to the bottom!
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