Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Thanksgiving, ya'll!

I hope everyone had a fantabulous Thanksgiving... I know I did! Joey got to see his first hockey games ever (his uncle was playing), we ate super good food, and we got to spend time with family. Isn't that what it's all about? I'm sure that's what everyone did, except maybe minus the hockey. That's an Austin family thing. :) And I love it! I made Justin (my kid brother) some extra special celebratory cupcakes since he made the high school hockey team this year. They're little mini cupcakes you can just pop in your mouth, and I made a little chocolate team logo and his number to stick in the frosting.

I felt like a true pastry chef when I made the little chocolate toppers. :) I printed off his high school logo and put it under some wax paper so I could trace it with the chocolate. I heated red and blue chocolate and then piped it onto the wax paper. It was delicious! They peeled off the wax paper really nicely, and I didn't break any of them. I was pretty proud of myself for that. Again, the chocolate technique came from my 'What's New, Cupcake?' book. Congrats, Justin!

So I did end up doing some crafting for Thanksgiving, and since my crafts are fairly limited in the hotel room we call our home, I'm learning some new things. I did some cupcaking again! How can you go wrong with cupcakes? I made some Thanksgiving cupcakes made to look like stuffed turkeys. This one also came from 'What's New, Cupcake?'. The turkeys and turkey legs are made of rolled caramels, the turkey legs of potato sticks and the stuffing and lettuce are corn flakes. I will say the corn flakes got really soggy in the frosting. I ended up pulling them off and not eating them. Yuck. I did like the turkey legs, though because they were solid caramel! They were a huge hit, and everyone ate them all. I think Grandpa ate the most, despite the fact that my dad said Grandpa wouldn't eat them because they looked weird. :)

Scott bought me some new tools of the trade that I am realizing I don't know how I lived without. If anyone is going to get into any kind of baking hobby where icing is involved, please get pastry bags and tips. They work wonderfully as far as control and technique go, and they just make it more fun. It's not fun when it's difficult, right?

So I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and ate tons of food. Nothing brings people together like food does. On to the next holiday!

PS - Since I've received my yarn to continue my cardigan, I've completed both front panels and a sleeve. I just might make my goal of finishing before Christmas! One more sleeve to go... Happy Crafting!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sneak Peek Monday!

It was going to be Sneak Peek Sunday, but I wasn't quick enough on getting this out. So you miss out on the alliteration, but you still get the sneak peek. Yay, you! I can't work on my awesome new cardi because I ran out of yarn, and I'm still waiting to get new stuff in. So I decided to share what I have because I'm just so darn excited. And you get two sneak peeks in one! We finally closed on our house, and I get a craft room! I can't wait to have my own space to mess up again. I will say, though, it's really sad to leave my craft room in Holly as we put so much time and effort and thought into it. *sigh*

We'll start with my new craft room since it's the less cool of my cool sneak peeks. This is my new craft room in the new house. There's not really anything in it so it may not be the greatest look, but it's got so much potential! I can't wait to fill it with my crafting things. It will definitely be epic. Epic, I tell you. Plus, I'll have a place for the Rayna Crafting Tornado to pass. I understand how these pictures are probably boring, but I can't help but picture all my crafting things and all the ideas that will be buzzing around in there. It gives me chills. :) My room has one very large closet and lots of space. And also two windows and a ceiling fan. Thrilling, I know. :)

On the other hand, we have my awesome new cardi. Once again, it's a free pattern on ravelry. (if it's free, it's me!) I heart free patterns. :) I'm not the kind to knit sweaters. I'm way too impatient for that. I get bored with long runs of doing the same thing so this pattern is perfect for me. It uses a bulky/super bulky yarn with giant needles. So it takes a fraction of the time that a normal sweater would. I chose Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca in a beautiful deep blue color, and it's sooooooo soft. I can't wait to live in this thing! This is what I have of the back panel. As you can see, it's got a really cool lattice pattern with some cables on the side. Now, tell me, have you ever seen anything like this in the store? Exactly. It's mine. Because of the yarn I chose, it's quite an expensive sweater, but I am strangely okay with that. In any case, I can't do anything until I get the remaining 8 hanks of yarn. This is 2, so far.

Please to enjoy my exclusive sneak peeks. :)

Special note: I took all the pictures here with my new phone, the LG Optimus. I freaking love this phone! It replaces my uber-crappy Samsung Reclaim. I am never buying Samsung again. I called them so many times with issues about my phone, and they didn't seem to care. So take that and stick it in your powdered donut, Samsung.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cupcakes are crafts, too!

I'm trying my hand at a new hobby. Rayna, do you really need yet another hobby, I hear you say. One can never have too many hobbies. I find joy in many things so why should I limit myself? So there. Yes, another hobby. But this one's delicious... I'm making novelty cupcakes! Well, I've made one batch, at least. But I do plan on making more! Scott bought me a really neat book for a housewarming present (warm my house with cupcakes!), and it's got so many cool recipes in it. I'm definitely planning on making more. I've already planned things like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays ( I can't decide if I want knitting or goldfish cupcakes for my birthday. Maybe knitting goldfish? Awesome!).

For those of you who know me, I hate cooking. Maybe not hate it, but I'm terrible at it. I mess up macaroni and cheese, and I usually eat ramen when it's just me. I cannot cook. I will not cook. Although, I have been making Joey's food. That's beside the point, though. I can puree anything. That's not hard. So, anyway, cupcakes. Mmm, cupcakes. This book has everything in it. There are several recipes for cupcakes, which is good because I like everything in one place. There are also a bunch of frosting recipes. I went kind of cheap on that front. I bought frosting. :) Hey, you have to start somewhere. :) It's just as delicious, I can assure you. I'll get to making my own.

I made the Bake Sale Pies. Delicious! Anything with M&Ms is a hit with me. This was also marked as an "ez" recipe so it was a good place to start. There are so many cupcakes I want to make in this book. There are cupcakes that look like eggs, monsters, jungle animals, whales and bees, just to mention a few. Of course, there are also things you wouldn't want to eat. For some reason, there is a recipe for cupcakes with roaches on top of them and cupcakes that look like nasty rats. Ew. Definitely do NOT want to eat. This book has all the techniques and recipes you need to know to make their cupcakes. I love it! As you can see, Scott and Joey loved them, too. These cupcakes make a great snack! ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Frog Prince

I can't believe it's November already! We had a wonderful October as we took our boy trick-or-treating for the first time. It was so much fun! We have since moved to Ohio, but we haven't yet moved into our house. Preemptively, we trick-or-treated around the new neighborhood where we will be living very soon I hope. We met a bunch of the neighbors, and we got candy, of course. It was awesome! On that note, the craft for this time was Joey's costume. I knit him the cutest little frog costume. I, personally, thought it was genius. :) Plus, none of the other kids had the same costume.
I got this pattern from a book called Wacky Baby Knits, and, despite all the problems other people had with it, I had a great time knitting it. When it comes to knitting, I just trust the pattern. Even if it doesn't make sense to me at the time, I always just do what it tells me. It always turns out. :) I wish everything worked out that way! There were a couple times I had to check the ravelry forum to see what other people thought of the pattern, but then I just went for it. Sure, I'll make the frog eyes just like I made the frog eyelids. It doesn't make any sense, but I'll figure it out. I'm usually one to make it up as I go, anyway. Everything turned out fine, as you can see. The pattern was free, by the way. I'm sure you can google Wacky Baby Knits along with frog or you can just go straight to ravelry (if you have an account) and look it up there. Ravelry is definitely my go-to place for patterns. Google is kind of a waste of time that way.

Scott also had a hand in this, and I always value his design opinion, but he really helped with this one. The pattern had me stitching the black part of the eyes. We went button shopping for all the buttons to close up the legs and the collar, and Scott found the coolest green froggy eyes! They match the yarn perfectly, and they really just made the outfit. So, thank you, baby. :) Your input was invaluable.
I hope everyone had as much fun this Halloween as I did. We're finally starting to move into our new house! We should close on Monday so I can't wait to get my craft room back. I'll have to post new pictures! I get my own room with a ginormous closet! Hurray, me! I hope everyone's looking forward to the holiday season. I finished knitting Scott's Christmas presents, and I have to start work on Joey's sometime soon. I'm hoping I'll be able to wait until we get into the new place. For now, I'm working on something for me. ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For My Favorite Baby Momma

This post is a very special one because I get to announce... dun, dun, dun... my sister-in-law's pregnant! As you may have noticed, I go gaga over babies, and this is an extra special baby because they will be my very own niece/nephew! I can't tell you how excited I really am so I am dedicating this post to my very favorite family right now: Jen and Kevin Ehlert and the little bun in the oven. :) I haven't had a lot of time to do yarn crafts for the little bugger, yet, but I have definitely been inspired by Jen herself. I found the coolest stamp at Michael's in the $1 bin (Yay, $1 bin!), and it really brings out the fun in pregnancy. :) I had a lot of fun with this stamp. I made my own paper print by stamping a really fun curlique-type stamp in red, and then I stamped the little pregnancy dress on top of it and cut it out. This is a super fun technique called fussy cutting. It's one of my favorites! Then I made it even more fun and whimsical by stamping it on the paper print again and cutting out the bottom part of the dress so I could pop it out with a 3d dot tape. I thought Jen would love the realism. :) I also heart rhinestones so, of course, I had to add some of those.

I also made the envelope myself so I could coordinate with the card (for themed party coordinations, hint, hint... ;)). I used my much-loved cricut to cut out the envelope and stamped the same curlique-type stamp from the card on the corners of the envelope. Then, instead of adding rhinestones (because I'm sure they would fall off the outside of the envelope), I colored the little circles red.
There are a couple things I love about this card. One, I made it. Call me egotistical or whatever you'd like, but it's genius. Two, it's a little less baby (although we all know babies are indeed wonderful) and more a celebration of pregnancy and the beginning of motherhood. In other words, it's more about Jen! So, yes, we're all really thrilled about a new baby, and we can't wait to meet them, but it's also always fun to be celebrated and spoiled a little yourself. :) So this one's for you, Jen. We'll get to the baby when they get here. :)

To go back a bit, there was a card I made a while back that was also inspired by Jen. Her nickname is Jenny Bee. I guess I don't actually know if it's Jenny B or Jenny Bee, but in any case, she likes bees. So, for the sake of argument, it's Jenny Bee. I was trying to come up with some themes for a baby card, and baby bee sounded so cute! So we'll give this one to you, too. :) You're just so inspiring! This one was fun because I also made my own paper print, and I got to use some embellishments I don't normally use in the wire and the button. Plus, kraft paper is the best.

So, this post, dear Ehlerts is for all 3 of you! But mostly Jen. Take all the time you can get together because it will disappear quickly when you have a little one. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but store up face-time with each other because between sleeping and work and baby, you may not see each other for a little while. :) But you know who you can call for help, should you need it! Crazy Aunt Rayna will be on the move...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Fabled Follow-Through

I did it! I, who never follow through with (hardly) anything, have finished something I said I would do. And I can safely say it was all thanks to... da, da, da, dum... Couch 2 5k! I followed the program for 9 weeks, and while there were some rough practices, I finished the program and went on to run my first 5k in... forever. A long time, in any case. I did the Raise the Roof 5k benefiting Cincinnati's Habitat for Humanity, and the course was at Sharon Woods, which was SUPER HARD! It was crazy hilly, and it went through some really pretty woods (as you might have gathered from the name of the park). My boys were there to cheer me on, and I don't think I could have done it without them, either. While I didn't reach my personal goal of finishing within 30 minutes (I finished in 35:38), I did a pretty good job, and I only walked twice for a very short distance. Oh, and I picked it up at the end. :)

Oh, and the whole point of this post was to display my headband I knitted just for this occasion. I thought it would help my inner get-up-and-go if I made something special for myself to get me motivated, and it really did. I made this beautiful headband, and it's one of the many free patterns I've gotten off ravelry. By the way, if you're a fiber crafter, and you're not on ravelry, you're seriously depriving yourself of something wonderful and pure. So do it. I used this really nice thick wool yarn in my favorite crafting color: grey! I know grey sounds like such a boring color medium, but it's so versatile. And this thing is super soft. I doubled the yarn because I wasn't sure about the lace in a headband I wanted to keep the cold out of my ears, and that did the job. It worked great, and I actually ended up taking it off the last mile and using it to wipe the sweat off my forehead. It worked great for that, too. :) In addition to the beautiful, soft grey yarn I used, I used a very cool wood-like button for the back closure. The headband took no time at all to make, and I would recommend this pattern to anyone! It was great to work with it, and I loved the end result. If you're going to make it, the thing does stretch so don't worry about gauge too terribly much.

I'm really glad I did this, and I'm actually thinking of doing more 5ks. I'm kind of worried that now that I have no goal in mind, I'll stop working out. I can't let myself do that! I will NOT let myself do that. Oh, and I have to eat better. I'll be working on that. So today's lesson is to get up and go outside! I know it's hot, but you can do it. You will feel better, I promise. Unless you pass out from heat stroke, but I trust you to listen to your body and go inside if you start to feel sick. Okay? Okay. If I can do it, you can! (I'm a lazy bum. :))

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time to Accessorize

So we've been traveling a lot, lately, and I can't really craft. That means I have to find something I can do on the road (or in the hotel) and something that will also dress up my travel gear. Enter knit and crochet flowers. I've made some of these before, but I hadn't thought about putting them on all sorts of things. They're really easy, though, and I love them. :) So that makes it awesome. I bought 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Some Lady (google it, you'll find it), and it's got the most amazing flower, leaf, fruit/vegetable, bug and leaf designs. I've been piecing together flowers to make little corsage-type things. The most recent one I made was a bouquet of trillium (They're called something else in the book, but I made them white, and now they're trillium! Voila.) with 2 large leaves and 1 small. You probably wouldn't know that if you saw it, but that's what they're called in the book: large and small leaves. I think it looks awesome on my suitcase. :)

There's really not a whole heck of a lot for me to craft right now, theoretically speaking. I can't do any of my paper crafts right now (bah!), and there are only limited knitting/crocheting capabilities because I don't want to be carting around skeins and skeins of yarn. Plus, I have a Halloween costume to finish, and that really needs to take priority. I can't wait to show that one off! Trust me, that'll be a lot more exciting than a tiny corsage. :) This was a really fun project, though, and it made me slightly more excited about moving all my crap to another state. I definitely plan on making more of these. I think I'm going to try wearing one in my hair next time. Something fall-y. We'll see how that works out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Joey and the Eggplant

Have become great friends since I introduced them almost 2 weeks ago. They like to play together, roll around together and the eggplant likes to be chewed. Joey is more than happy to oblige. It all started with a promise I made Joey when he was around 4 months old. I promised him that I would make him an eggplant for his 6 month birthday. I like to think Joey loves it. :)

It may be unnecessary to say this for those who know me, but I have recently become obsessed with amigurumi knitting. You can knit your own toys! It's awesome! How many children out there have a stuffed eggplant? I would challenge you to find one. Plus, it's so well-constructed. ;) It's soft, there aren't any parts that will pop off and choke him, and it's got a really fun stem that he can chew on and hang on to so he can swing it around and hit people.

I have the most wonderful book of amigurumi knitting written by Hansi Singh. This is the second pattern I've used from this book, the first one being the Garden Snail, which was also awesome. Joey really likes that one, too. He likes to chew on the snail's antennae. The eggplant was a super easy pattern to follow, and I would recommend it to EVERYONE. The only thing to brush up on may be picking up stitches, but there's an entire section on this in the book. Everything you need to know can be found IN THIS BOOK. It's awesome. I absolutely hate it when I get a book that has specialized stitches (triple treble crochet clusters, for example, 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet...), and you have to bring along an additional reference book to be able to figure out those wonky stitches. For my amigurumi knitting, I need only one book. It's heaven. :) The patterns are just so unique and fun, too. What child wouldn't want a stuffed jackalope? I have at least 2 other patterns currently planned for this book. I bought yarn for Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster (this one's for me), and I want to make a spider for Joey for Halloween. That one may be a little late since we're A) in the process of moving into a new house and currently living in a hotel and B) I'm already knitting him a costume for Halloween. You'll have to wait and see what it is. :)
In any case, I highly recommend this book as it is wonderfully fun and quirky, and Hansi Singh is a friggin' genius. Yes, some of the patterns seem pretty challenging (I love to read knitting patterns before bedtime), but challenges are fun! It always feels good to accomplish something like this. Happy knitting!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Going green with crafting!

I'm finally finding the time to tell you how it was sewing Joey's wet bags, and I know I said I was going to do it a few days ago, but, well... life gets in the way sometimes. We had to make an emergency trip to Ohio (good emergency, nothing's wrong, but thanks for worrying), and my poor little boy is cutting his first tooth, and it finally broke through today! He's still quite a bit cranky, but you would be too if something razor sharp was tearing your gums apart trying to rip its way through your face. So don't judge.

So, wet bags. I found a GREAT pattern online courtesy of the oh-so-talented Jessica of Yarnmonster. Just for your clarification, she made an all-cotton bag so, if you use this pattern, adapt it to what you need. The link for the pattern can be found below. I made a drawstring wet bag using cotton flannel and PUL. PUL is a wonderful fabric that I used for the first time for this project. It's a thin, slightly stretchy washable water-resistant fabric perfect for things like wet bags, snack bags and whatever else you would make that you would want to resist water. Please note I say resist. Not water-proof so keep that in mind if you decide to use it. I made the bags slightly bigger than Jessica uses in her pattern, but she is wonderful at explaining how to adapt your measurements so it was absolutely no problem. These bags could also be made to be nifty little reusable gift bags. I made the 2 bags on the left, and all the diapers on the right are FuzziBunz. Great stuff, so far! I love them. We got several different colors so Joey can always look stylish in his FuzziBunz. :)

Jessica's Drawstring Bag Pattern

Below, you can see Joey modeling a pair of his FuzziBunz. He looks very cute in them, if I do say so myself. He's also very interested in his diaper bag. That's fine, I suppose. They were made to hold poop. He couldn't do much worse than that to them. Have at it, little gooba.

I sized the bag to fit Joey's diaper pail so we could continue to use our current diaper disposal system. You can kind of get the look of the PUL in this picture. It's the light blue, shiny fabric wrapped around the top of the bag holder. You do have to be a little careful when sewing this fabric as it is slightly stretchy, but it's definitely manageable. I had no problem with it, and I'm definitely nowhere close to being a first rate sewing person (whatever you call them). The only problem I had with the bag/pail combo is that between the cotton flannel and the PUL fabric wrapped around the bag holder and the piece of plastic that's supposed to go into the holder so it closes securely, the fabric is a little too thick for it to close. However, that ended up being just fine with us because 1) we put little Arm & Hammer odor eaters at the bottom of the diaper pail, and 2) since we're using reusable diapers, there is no actual poop in the pail because we rinse the poopy diapers in the toilet because I AM NOT putting poopy diapers in my beautiful green washing machine. NOT doing it. So there's really no smell to speak of in the first place. Now, I just lift the entire lid of the pail, throw the diaper components in, and when it's full, I take the whole bag out and throw everything into the washing machine. Voila. Just like magic. I'm loving this system! Plus, using reusable diapers makes me feel like a better person. So, the two reasons we're using reusable diapers: 1) wonderfully adorable fashion statement (for Joey), and 2) it makes me feel better... so purely selfish. But still okay!

I had to include King Gooba himself in some of these pictures. I put him in the midst of the bags and diapers, and he ended tearing up my pretty picture and chewing on diapers. I guess when you're this cute, you can pretty much do whatever you'd like. :) I don't think there's anything I didn't cover, but if you have any questions about this project or Yarnmonster's pattern, let me know!

Joey says: "Thanks, Momma, for saving the planet for me when I'm a much older, mature and handsome man." Go, green!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New look!

As you may have noticed, I've changed the background on my blog! I probably had too much fun messing everything up, but I think it looks great. It looks like a unicorn threw up rainbows all over it! I love it! For those of you who don't know, unicorns throw up rainbows. It's a fact, look it up.

In other news, my darling hubby now has his own craft-related blog! His craft is not nearly as feminine as mine is so you'll be disappointed if that's what you're expecting. His craft, however, is incredibly cool. To preface, who likes beer? ME! I DO! (bouncing up and down while violently shaking my arms in the air...) His craft is... BREWING BEER! How cool is that? I've tasted his homebrew, and it's great. His most recent creation was a watermelon wheat, and it's summer in a bottle. It's awesome. This is really the first batch I've gotten to enjoy like this simply because I was pregnant for, well, 9 months, and I missed a lot of it. But now I'm back in the game! Yay, beer drinking game! So if you're interested in his homebrewing hijinks, check them out at:

Beer Blog

Yes, it's seriously called Beer Blog. Now he just started it tonight so maybe give it a few days before you start expecting something, but go ahead and bookmark it. Bookmark it. Now. Well, I suppose you can finish my blog first, but THEN bookmark it. You'll be very glad you did.

I did finish both wet bags as I tested the first and completed the second today. They look great, they fit in Joey's diaper pail wonderfully, and I'll have more on that tomorrow, probably. Pictures and such, you know.

So I hope everyone has a good night. I've sent the unicorn back home after he so lovingly contributed his beautiful unicorn vomit to my blog. Bjorn (the unicorn) is wonderful for helping me out in my time of need. So go bookmark Scott's blog, and then come back later for wet bag project info! Don't tell me... YOU CAN'T WAIT!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Holy notecards, Batman!

As you may know, I've been working on a very large order. I think it's the largest one I've done, minus work I've done for craft shows, of course, but it's been an absolute blast! I got to use a ton of creative license, and I am very grateful for that. I came up with a ridiculous amount of new designs, and I have listed many of them on my site already. So, as I said, TONS of fun. I think the most fun part was ending up with a huge stack of notecards at the end.

Awesome, right? I LOVE IT! :) Anyway, I'm sure it's boring reading about how I stacked up a bunch of notecards so I'll stop. But it was fun. I mean, look at that placement!

Anywho, besides, going bonzai on my notecards, I've been working like a crazy woman on stitching some more notepads. You know what they say about crazy bookbinders... they're crazy. Watch out, right. Since I've had my bookbinding drill, I've made a few more notepads, and I've got quite a few more in the works. I'm working on a very special one that I'm making out of the very same paper I used to make Joey's baby announcements. I'm thinking about keeping that one for myself. In any case, my bookbinding drill is a-freaking-mazing. I can clearly get notepads done in a fraction of the time, and it really does save my wrists and hands. The stitching is quite a bit easier, and I'm just plain happier with my products. Go, me.

Now that I've mostly got my products solidified, I'm working on finalizing some other business-type things. I worked on some packaging materials yesterday, making myself some stickers for sealing product bags, and I got my new stamp! Yay! Now my products will all have my new website on the back. Woo hoo! While this may sound very boring to you, it's so exciting to me! I've also started making a list of new things I might want to carry. Party accoutrements! Banners, themed thank yous, cupcake toppers... Of course, I'll have to work out the logistics, but, again, I'm really excited. As you can tell, it doesn't take much. :)

Now that I'm done with this order, I'm going to get it ready to send off, and it will be lookin' good! Then I have another order to work on, and in between all this, I will get that wet bag done. I promise. I'm off today to get more fabric. Unfortunately, I did misjudge what I would need on that front. While sewing is not my first love, I like to think I'm capable. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So little time...

I've been making a TON of new card designs, lately, and I just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about my blog. I'm working on some great stuff, and I'm also working on adding some stuff to the shop. I had been waiting for some supplies, and I got them in the mail yesterday so... yay! Hopefully, I'll be on that soon.

In other news, I am officially a member of the Cricut Circle as I received my welcome kit with my exclusive Cricut cartridge about a week ago. I would have mentioned it earlier, but I wanted to make some things with it first. The cartridge is French Manor, and it is not available for purchase. Yep, that's right. I did say exclusive. :) The cartridge is filled with beautiful vintage, French country designs, and I'm going to have a blast with this thing. Here are a couple of the cards I've made.

This first one is obviously a 'hello' card, and I used one of the two chandelier die cuts from the cartridge. I put it on top of an embossed damask pattern I made with my epic six, and I then added some color in the pink rhinestones and ribbon. I find that I have been obsessed with rhinestones, lately, and I've been adding them to everything. This, of course, was no exception.

The second card I've made with this cartridge, so far, is a wedding card where I also used a damask-type pattern for the base of the card. Again, I used my epic six to emboss the eyelet pattern on the semi-circle, and I added a 'Congratulations' sentiment with some rhinestones. Go figure. :) I got the beautiful bird cage from the French Manor Cricut cartridge, and this card is seriously one of my favorites. I also got the birds from the new cartridge. Other than that, I pleated some mulberry paper underneath the semi-circle and added some color with the purple bow to match the card base. The thing I love about this card is how personalized you can make it. Instead of using purple, you can use the wedding colors or color-coordinate the rhinestones or the bird cage or the brads. There are SO many different versions of this card to be made.

I'm definitely working on some other stuff to make with my new cartridge. These 2 cards are not yet on my shop site, but they will be there soon. These are actually the first pictures I've taken of them, and I took them about 30 seconds ago. Needless to say, I'm already loving my Cricut Circle VIP status. This is heaven for a paper crafter.

I just bought a Japanese Screw Punch, and I'll be taking that to some notepads. I had previously been using a paper piercer to individually pierce 5 holes in 50 pages and 2 covers. This was killing my wrists and any free time I had so I googled for a more efficient way to make them. I came up with this screw punch that was both cost-effective and seemingly wrist-friendly. I'll have to let you know how true this is.

I'm also attempting to get some business cards made via The UPS Store. Holy crap, is it a pain in the behind. They're really nice and everything, but, for some reason, they can't print my business cards the way they're supposed to look, and it's driving me insane. They print beautifully at my house, and I'm wondering if I shouldn't have done it that way in the first place. Oh, well, you live, you learn. Hopefully, I'll have them soon (since I've already paid for them), and I'll be well on my way to handing them out and posting them on random public bulletin boards. I want to get the word out. EHLE CUSTOM STATIONERY IS BACK! I'm now doing more occasion-oriented cards to make myself more marketable, and I'm trying to get some advertising accomplished. I seriously suck at advertising so if anyone has any ideas, please LET ME KNOW! I would love your help and support.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ode to My Cozy Feet

Don't they look comfy? Well, they are, and that's because I made them so! I started these slippers sometime after Christmas. They were supposed to be the slippers I took to the hospital with me when I had Joey, but that clearly didn't happen. :)

I got this pattern from an awesome book called Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. Fabulous book, if you ask me. It's a good knitting book for traveling if you knit when you go places (I do!). There are all sorts of patterns, and then mixed up with the patterns are fun things to do related to knitting. There is a list of movies to watch that have knitting scenes, there's a way to wind down in the bathtub (while knitting, of course), there are various recipes, how to decorate with yarn, etc. And all these things relate back to knitting. I love it! I'm such a dork.

For these slippers, I used the pattern for the argyle slippers (in the book), but I used a chart from another pattern (almost-famous luggy bonnet, also in the book) and changed it to fit my slipper tops. I also picked out my own colors, obviously. :) It was a really fun pattern because there were several little pieces to knit so it didn't seem to take that long. The thing I had to work with was not having the pre-made kit to make boots (they give you the resource in the book, but the company is ancient and doesn't have a website. Plus, I'm not paying a ton of money for a kit I can make up on my own). And, if you ask me, my kit ended up being better. :) The way the book had it, you buy this boot kit, and you have plain old boring brown or black suede boot bottoms. After some research, I found that these things are usually between $15 and $50 depending on what you want. Boring! (and ridiculously expensive) I bought supported shoe sole inserts for $2.50 and covered them in fabulous fabric of my choosing. I also have some really nice leather from when my Grandma used to make slippers so I covered the bottom of the inserts with the leather and sewed it into the slippers. It sounds complicated, but it was really easy. In short, there are 2 bands that go around the perimeter of the slipper. The leather goes up in between them and is sewn and glued in there.

I also made an extra piece to make them extra warm on top of my feet. The pattern was more of a guideline for me. :) I think mine turned out awesome, though! I made them with super soft yarn, but with the fabric bottom, I can also wear them in the summer. I will say, the only thing I didn't like about this pattern was the fact that I had to assemble about a brazillion pieces. I do not like assembling. I'd rather knit everything together somehow. So, whenever you're cold, think of my cozy feet. Then you'll feel better. :)

Now that I'm finally done with these slippers, I'm moving on to more projects FOR ME! I have this bad habit of never making myself anything and also working on a million projects at once. I'm going to try to close some out. Next, I'm going back to some socks I started ages ago. Wish me luck! And don't forget about my awesome hand-knitted feet. :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ehle Custom Stationery Has a New Home!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for me to move on to something more... me. I have my very own space now! Yay! And it's much easier to update and change, and I feel more in control. I need to be in control sometimes, and this is one of those times.

On the opening page of the site, there's a photo gallery of lots of different kinds of things I've done. Some of them will be on the web site for sale, and some of them will not. If you see something in that gallery that you would like, just contact me using the Contact Me button on the toolbar at the top of the page. I won't bite, I promise! I hope the site is also easier for shoppers to use. Scott and I had a fun time testing it. :)

I also have a couple special offers going on for a little while. I don't know how long they'll be going on so you'll just have to keep an eye out on the main page where I'll be sure to post all the promotions I have going on. So, this special offer of which I speak...

For the next little while, maybe a couple weeks or so, those people who read my blog get their very own special offer. When you checkout with an order of $5.00 or more (before shipping, obviously), you get an extra %10 off! Yay, savings! Just enter the coupon code bloggerunicorn when prompted and BEFORE actually placing your order. If you need help finding it, just let me know.

The first 5 orders I receive through this website will receive a free gift! You don't need a coupon code for this one, I'll keep track of these.

So I hope you have fun tooling around the new shop site, and keep in mind that if there's something you see in the photo gallery or have seen in my other shop that's not listed for sale on the new one, just contact me. I'm a very nice person. :) Thanks for your support!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coasters!... And Why Animals Eat Their Young

Another craft project, yay! That's how it happens in my head, anyway. This project was a new one for me. I've never done anything like this before, and I've never really worked with cork or plexiglass so I broke the mold on this one.

My husband's amazing hobby is beer brewing. Seriously, does it get any cooler than that? No, I must insist that it does not. For his home-brewed beers, he also makes his own labels every now and again. His favorite was a pumpkin beer he made last fall. Unfortunately, I was not able to taste it as I was very pregnant, but I'm demanding pumpkin beer this year. Scott, take note. Anyway, he was very proud of the label he made so I made him a set of label coasters for Father's Day. I will note that I had to add the twisty gothic vine border to make the image wide enough for a glass to sit on top of it. It was kind of funny how it happened because I had seen the idea on Martha Stewart's website, and, despite the fact that I cannot stand Martha herself, her people (I refuse to believe it's all her) have some really good ideas. Case in point, these coasters. I looked everywhere for the oval shapes in which he makes his labels, and I couldn't find it. He ended up mentioning that he could cut them for me. So, in short, he ended up helping me with his own present.

It was a really easy and fun project to do, and you could really make coasters out of anything. They sell plexiglass sheets at home improvement stores in very manageable sizes for good prices (8.5" x 11" for $4.50) or you could just buy shapes, but, after not being able to find the ovals, I'm definitely going to be making squares or circles from now on. Ooh, I just had an idea for the next set of coasters, too. Can't tell, though! Ha, ha...

I feel like an idiot explaining this, but the project consists of 3 pieces: plexiglass shape, image and cork backing. You can buy the cork backing in rolls at any craft store. I also bought some spray adhesive (Elmer's) because it's awesome. Just don't sniff it. I sprayed the back of the plexiglass where I would affix the image. I didn't spray it on the image because I didn't want the ink to bleed. I then immediately adhered the image to the plexiglass. I let that sit for a while, and then I cut the image to size. Then I sprayed the back of the image and adhered the cork backing. Again, I let that sit for a while before I cut that to size. The cork's really easy to cut so you really don't need anything more than a pair of scissors. I used rotary cutters to make it a bit easier and faster.

I can't think of a segue so I'm just going to tell you that Joey isn't sleeping through the night anymore. We think he's teething because he goes on these ridiculously brain-melting crying jags at night before bedtime, and there's hardly anything reasonable that calms him down. He's also got a little bump on his bottom gum. I'm excited about the tooth, don't get me wrong, but I was just starting to enjoy being able to sleep 6 or 8 hours at a time.

Due to this recent annoying development, I've come to a realization. Babies are so damn cute because it's part of their survival mechanisms. Joey can really ramp me up to the point where the sound of his voice starts giving me polio, and he'll just throw in a random smile at me. It's always his mischievous smile when he knows he's driving me out of my friggin' mind. But I can't help but smile because he's SO CUTE. He completely contains my anger for just a few moments before he starts crying again. If babies weren't so cute, I'm pretty sure we'd eat them just for a moment's peace. Sometimes I wonder how or why people do it. But I guess I'm people now. And I love Joey for it, but I'm just glad he's so cute, and, luckily, he's got some really cute survival techniques. The evolution of the baby is a wonderful thing. :)

I'm sorry to all those ugly animals that I have offended. I'm sure your babies were delicious.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Today, we Ehlerts did the Father's Day thing because Scott has to work tomorrow. We had a super awesome fun time because it was Scott's 1st Father's Day! Yay, Scott! Of course, how else can you start a holiday than with presents. Joey and I woke up Scott with some cards and a present, which Joey presented himself. He was kind enough not to drool on them. We were also kind enough not to take pictures of Daddy first thing in the morning before he even got up out of bed. You'll have to do with pictures from the second present. :) The second present was also presented by Joey, but by that time he was trying to chew on them.

Now Joey and I decided to make Daddy work for some of his presents. So what we did is we made letter tags with my other best friend, my Cricut, and we hid a letter in each one of his presents. By the end of opening presents, he had 8 letters, and he had to unscramble them to find out our last activity. Scott actually ended up solving it faster than I had anticipated, but it was still fun. :) We took Joey on his first-ever carousel ride! It was wicked good fun, and Joey had a good time looking around at stuff while Scott and I were feeling a little nauseous. It's been a while since we were on a carousel. So we got daddy lots of beer-making stuff and some fun boy stuff. Joey had picked out a little football so daddy could teach him to throw. He's not ready for throwing, yet, but he's an ace at chewing on stuff. He'll get there.

Joey had his 4-month check-up at the doctor yesterday, and we were told he could start eating cereal! That was super exciting to us so another thing we did today was get all set up to start making baby food. We got some really cute teeny spoons, some teeny bowls with fishes on them, a food processor and some freezer storage cups. We just need to get a recipe book, but that's coming soon! I just couldn't wait to get him up in his high chair so after a couple tries and some wailing and flailing, he finally sat up in his chair so we could feed him. I don't think he liked the cereal. Or maybe he's just confused about the spoon. He was either letting the cereal leak out of his face or trying to lick the spoon. It was weird and entertaining. I'm still kind of confused. Maybe I've been using a spoon so long I kind of take it for granted. I'm still inclined to think they're not that difficult to figure out, though. I'm sure Joey will teach me lots of interesting uses for them. He did finally get the idea that he could bang on the high chair tray. That was fun. And then he dumped his bowl of cereal all over his tray and himself. He figured that out pretty quickly, too, which, in turn, taught Daddy to put the bowl further away from little hands banging on the tray. Here's Joey's take on the cereal:

Overall, it was a great day, and it was fun seeing Joey move on to another phase in his quickly changing little life. Hopefully, he'll get the idea of eating cereal soon. :) It makes such a yucky mess! To those of you celebrating Father's Day tomorrow, have a good one!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gallery Idol 2010

To those few who know what I mean when I talk about Paper Crafts Magazine, you may know what I'll be talking about here, but to those who don't, it's a pretty cool contest. Gallery Idol 2010 is an American-Idolesque competition in the way that... um, there are finalists... okay, so really in name only. But you get the idea. The first round was open auditions so anybody could submit their designs using the theme "Thank You Cards", and, from those submissions, 20 finalists would be chosen. Now, I told myself I wouldn't be disappointed if they didn't pick me. I was convinced they wouldn't, anyway because stuff like this never happens to me. I was right, they didn't pick me, but that's kind of beyond the point now. I actually wasn't disappointed because when I looked at the 20 finalists that were chosen, while there were some excellent ones, I didn't agree with most of them. So there. It did make me feel slightly better. :) This kind of design competition is really subjective, and, while it sounds like I'm making excuses, I honestly thought at least 1 of my cards had something of a chance. So, no, I'm not making excuses. Believe me or not.

In the Open Auditions, you could submit as many designs as you want so I decided just to do 3 so I wouldn't exhaust all my design options and techniques in the first round, JUST IN CASE I got chosen to continue. My first one I made using heat embossing, stamp masking and precision cutting techniques. The bears are also 3-D, as you can see. I think this one's really cute. I love those bears. They're like, hey, what's up... I'm a bear.

My second card was made using flocking and precision cutting techniques with pearl and button embellishments. And, yes, I cut out all those leaves myself. Again, the tree, leaves and deer are all 3-D. Whenever I use flocking, my husband uses it as an excuse to say, "What the flock?!" Yes, Scott, you're very funny. :)

For my last card, I used heat embossing, die-cuts and paper piecing techniques with pearl, chalk and ribbon embellishments. The bird mat and thank you cloud are all 3-D. This is the one I thought had a fairly good chance, and it's also my favorite. For this one, I used the swirly embellishment and the pearl embellishments like I had never done before. I was really happy with the way it came out. This card was really unlike any I had made before, and I could actually imagine seeing it in one of my Paper Crafts Magazines. I love it!

So, despite the fact that I DID not make the final cut, I'm still voting, and that is still fun. There are some interesting themes after that incredibly vague open audition theme. The second one was Sympathy/Thinking of You, and the third one was Masculine Garage. For the third one, they had to make a card for a man using items "from the garage". My favorite was a card that said "I Want to Be Just Like You When I Grow Up" with a little nail (baby nail) and a big nail (daddy nail). It was adorable. The next theme is "Ribbon". Do with that what you will, but it will be really interesting to see what these gals come up with. If you are interested in voting in some of these rounds, you can do that below by clicking on the link. You do have to have an account to vote so you may not want to, but you can view the entries without an account. I'm just saying.

Gallery Idol 2010

On a side note, tomorrow is National Knit in Public Day! Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to participate as tomorrow we're celebrating Father's Day because my husband has to work on Sunday. I know! It's horrible. But for those of you who can, enjoy the audacity of knitting in public! Be proud of your hobby!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm Baaaack!!!

Holy crap! I've been gone a super long time. While I was gone, I had a beautiful baby boy. His name is Joey, and he is the new love of my life. Now I have 2 of them... my husband and Joey. :) I also made tons of stuff for Joey and lots of other stuff. I'll probably be throwing some random posts in here just to try catching myself up.

Currently, though, I know someone else having a baby, and I have found how much I love knitting/crocheting baby things so I went crazy for them. I'm so excited! Now, I won't throw out any names because I don't know how they'd feel about that, but they're having a baby boy, and he has a snoopy-themed room colored with browns and a pretty celery green. I made a 3 x 3 tile blanket using those colors because I found the most wonderful washcloth patterns. The first one is Snoopy as Joe Cool, and the second is Woodstock. They're original washcloth patterns, but I wanted to do something ambitious with them! So I made them 2 of the tiles, and I threw in a nice medallion bobble pattern tile in the middle. On the two edges you'll see gooseberry stitches, and the remaining 4 tiles are simply stockinette stitch.

I had a blast making this play blanket. I'm hoping they love it! I made a small blanket similar to this one for Joey before he was born, and now it's his play blanket. His was made with several tiles, but there are 3-D hearts sewn onto randomly placed tiles because I figured he would like the different textures. I had the same idea for this blanket. I thought between the purl stitches making up the patterns for Snoopy and Woodstock and the gooseberry stitches, their baby would have a ball with all the textures!

If you have access to ravelry, you'll be able to view the patterns for the Snoopy and Woodstock tiles, if you're interested. They're great patterns, and, best of all, they're free!

* Snoopy as Joe Cool

* Woodstock

In running with the Snoopy theme, I also crocheted them a plush Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace (personally, my favorite version of Snoopy). This was also a pattern I found on ravelry, but I had to buy it on etsy, and as much as I like the finished product, I would NOT recommend buying this pattern. It was really hard to follow because it was written very poorly, there is only one view of the finished product, and the assembly instructions are incredibly vague. I did a lot of winging it on this one, and I am very confident in saying it would not have turned out so great if I hadn't been a veteran crocheter. So, buyer beware is all I'm saying.

I also made them one more thing. Can you tell I was having fun? This was something I made for Joey so I knew how much fun it was to make and have him wear. :) This is a pattern I got out of The Expectant Knitter by Marie Connolly. It's a beautiful sweater that's pretty easy and quick to make. It's a great pattern!

So while I've spent all this time talking about someone else's baby-having and already mentioning that I also did some of my own baby-having, I have to show off my little angel. He's now 4 months old so he's not technically a newborn, but I'm already having a great time watching him grow up, and he'll always be my baby boy. He learns things so quickly. I swear he learns something new every single day. I'm learning to enjoy every single moment and spend as much time with him as I can. We do a lot of playing, attacking with Kissy Monster and Momma Zombie (Momma Zombie wants to eat baby's bwainz!!! He always laughs really hard at that one. :)) and he flies around on the airplane that is Momma's shins. So any of you ladies having babies soon, enjoy every moment! I can't believe how quickly my moments are coming and going. Good night, everyone!