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!