Sunday, March 27, 2011

FINALLY!... after 2 whole years...

Yep, that's right... I FINISHED MY SOCKS! After 2+ years of staring at those socks wishing they would just finish themselves, I finally did it! I'll be the first to admit the 1st sock has a few mistakes in it, but I dare you to find them. :) Usually, everything I make has at least 1 mistake in it, and I like to make a 'Where's Waldo' out of it. Fun times. :) The 2nd sock is gloriously flawless, of course. It's taken this long to make them so one would hope I've learned something since then.

I got this pattern from a book called Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Cookie is a nutcase. She designs all these whacked-out socks for the fun of it! She also tries to teach the reader to design like she does, but I'd sooner stick a pole in my eye. Her designs are incredibly cable-intensive as you can see from the pattern I did. Most of them look like that. I'd rather torture myself making them than designing them. Making them is the fun part, anyway.
 Looking at these socks from any angle shows something different. There are 2 sets of cables that wrap around the fronts and sides of the socks and one entirely separate cable that goes down the back. I made these out of some great yarn from Knit Picks (that they don't make anymore, argh) that is 75% merino wool and 25% nylon. Talk about heaven on my feet. :) Oh, and when looking at these pictures, please be sure to ignore my fabulously pasty white legs. And, yes, I glow in the dark.
Ooh, in this one, I even blend in with the white wall! But, wait, ignore that, please. You see nothing! In short, I friggin' love these socks. I have a pair of ballet slippers that I absolutely hated it when you could see my socks through the top. These new socks look great showing through the top. As a matter of fact, today I wore these out and deliberately made them visible. Look at me and my fashion sense go!
Despite the fact that this Cookie woman is gloriously mad, I have plans to make more of her socks. Of course, the next pair I make will also be for ME as I am putting in the work. I'm being selfish, but with these patterns, I feel I deserve it. Then I have the inevitable birthday and 'something' presents that I make up because I just want to make more socks. This has been the longest 2-whatever years of my life, but I deserve these socks! I worked hard for them. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Etsy Rocks My World: Serpenthes

I got my etsy order yesterday! It's only 1 of 2, but I was really looking forward to this one. You may think it strange that I ordered notecards since I make them, but I do have a couple reasons for that. One, it's no fun making a card and then immediately using it. Second, I love it when I share a hobby with someone. Plus, there are just some people out there with wicked awesome designs. And that brings me to Serpenthes! She has the most amazing illustrations that I just had to buy some cards. I bought 2 sets, and they have the coolest octopus images on them. I still can't believe someone can draw like.
Even the note she sent me has a great illustration of the day of the dead! Even her business cards are a work of art. I was just blown away by what I got. Ooh, she also sent me a free gift! I got the postcard in the middle of the steampunk girl on her bicycle, which was GREAT because I was looking at buying that one, too, but it was only available in print form. I will remind you that one of the great things about etsy is custom orders! Probably about 50% of my orders have been customized for what I want. The octopus with the heart was a regular listing, but I asked for a custom order of the girl walking her pet octopus (that's me, by the way ;)). Serpenthes had a collection called Animal Variety Show that included people and their quirky pets, like this one. While I did like the other ones, I could NOT get enough of that little girl walking her octopus. I had to have it. Lots of it. A whole set dedicated just to them!
Needless to say, I will DEFINITELY be getting more cards from Serpenthes, and some of you will, no doubt, be seeing them firsthand! I've already sent one out. These are definitely some notecards you canNOT get anywhere else! And that's what I love about etsy. Etsy makes you the cool kid in school. :) No one will ever be wearing the same dress to the prom because we got ours from etsy.

If you are interested in some of Serpenthes' artwork, as I know you are after that GLOWING review, check out her etsy shop at Serpenthes' Etsy Shop. She's got some wonderful artwork and notecards, and she has some great invitations. I wish I had known about those octopus wedding invitations and save the dates when I got married. They rock. :)

Also, check out the Animal Variety Show collection! I'm seriously thinking about getting that one now that I have Wanda and Sid. That's what I named them. :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hockey Season is Over...

Let me start by clarifying that I'm talking about high school hockey. So no smartass remarks.

There. Now that that's out of the way, I had the pleasure of making the invitations for the Big Rapids Cardinals Hockey team's annual awards banquet. Now I'm really starting to branch out in my audience! Those of you who know me know that hockey is my thing. Everyone has a thing, and hockey is a very significant thing to me. So this was definitely a big deal. On top of all that, it's my little brother's hockey team.

Justin (aforementioned little brother) usually plays travel hockey all year (he's been playing since he was a wee laddy), but this year, he got the chance to switch schools and made the high school team! I was so frickin' excited for him. I even made him special Big Rapids Cardinals Hockey cupcakes with his number on them. :) You can see those in my Thanksgiving post, by the way... (hint, hint...)

As you can imagine, I used the team's colors as the base of the design. I used my cricut, as always, and made the beautiful frame shape for the base of the invitation. From there, it was really just figuring out how the wording was going to come out. I did use a couple of cool embellishments to make it look "official", but those were pretty easy. I used a blue satin ribbon and then cut some fancy corners on the text card. I attached the team's logo to the pretty satin ribbon, and voila! You have a beautiful custom-made invitation. :) Did I mention its beauty? Yeah. I'm pretty proud of these.
 So... now that you know where to get your custom-made invitations, I'm sure I'll be hearing from some of you. ;)  If I don't, I suppose we can still be friends. This last picture I just took because I love seeing all the cards I made in a big pile. You might have noticed I like to do that in previous posts. It looks cool. And official. Like I'm mass-producing them or something. But no, they're special. Just for you. ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boring Craft Day!

I suppose I have some other interesting crafts I could talk about, but I just finished this one. And I want to talk about it. This was really a practical project, and it's pretty rare that I do one of these. We put some new bamboo flooring in Joey's room, and we're working on putting some beautiful teak flooring in our bedroom so we had to do something about our slightly leaky humidifiers. For some reason, they also occasionally leave some yucky powdery stuff on the floor. Ew. Anyway, I didn't want to mess up our floors that we worked so hard on putting in so I came up with these.
They came out of a book of crochet motifs I got for Christmas (Thanks, Sarah!), and I have made tons of them already. It's fun to check them off as I go and note how I used them. So this one is the illustrious humidifier rug. I had to add 4 extra rows because it wasn't big enough for our humidifiers, but it looks great. I love that it looks like a little rug. :) It's a great scrap project, and I chose colors that would match our respective rooms. Ours is the black and grey one. Our room is light grey, and there are various other shades of black and grey throughout. Joey's is green, brown and maroon to match his jungle room. The colors look a little off in that photo, so you'll have to trust me on this one.
This project took all of 30 minutes, and it helps keep our beautiful floors beautiful! We just about broke our backs for these floors. They are getting NOTHING on them. I think Joey approves also. :) No more nosebleeds! Yay!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good Deeds are Good

It should always make you feel good doing good deeds, and if it doesn't, then you should be ashamed of yourself. I have my thing where I like to do one good deed (or thing, if you will) a day, and this one should at least last me a week or so. I believe in karma so if I do something good for someone, then that should keep the baddies away from me. That makes sense, right? Yes. Moving on...

I knitted up a hat and a pair of mittens for some cute little boy somewhere for a friend of mine. She told me his story, and I had to do it! I'm a sucker for children, emotional stories (be warned if you ever end up watching a chick flick with me) and other such nonsense. I won't bore you with the details, but he needed a little extra warmth and love that can only be given by a handknit hat and pair of mittens.
I got both patterns off ravelry as I love their free patterns, and if it's free it's me. So that was a pretty easy decision there. I changed both patterns a bit as I so often do, and I ended up adding the cute little white stripes to the mittens. I don't know if you can see from the picture, but there is a button on the cuff of each mitten that the mitten-keeper cord is attached to so you can remove it if you choose to do so. I guess not everyone likes mitten-keeper cords, but I think they look pretty darn cute. I have always wondered if they make wearing mittens at all uncomfortable. I guess I'll never know.

The hat was pretty fun to make and also an interesting experience. It started out well because I just had to braid some yarn together. No knitting required! Then it got tricky. It's a fair isle pattern, and I have never ever done that before. Now I know why. It was frickin' exhausting! My yarn was getting all twisted, and I was freaking out thinking my tension was going to be horrible and there were going to be holes all over the darn thing. I was as shocked as you are now that it came out so well. I did take out quite a bit of the fair isle turning it into the solid grey background, but I was working on a deadline, and I was tired of making every single little stitch a different color. It was making me batty. The pom on the top was also a new thing for me. This was the 3rd pom I made. The first 2 sucked so I let Joey play with them a while before he started pulling the yarn out of them and then threw them away. I tried to get him to model the hat, but that didn't work well, either. He kept trying to pull it off while yelling at me for more graham crackers.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I learned some new things about knitting. So here's to doing good things!

On a different note, I've been doing quite a bit of shopping on etsy, lately, and I can't wait to post what I've bought! I'm pretty psyched about them, and I'm mostly writing it down here so I don't forget to blog about it when I get them in the mail in the next few days. Remember, Rayna!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Joey has THAT kind of Mom

Yep, that's right. This year, I became the kind of Mom that went a little psycho with the birthday party. It was totally awesome for me, but I fear it may become a little more embarrassing for him as he gets older. I made EVERYTHING. Except for the food. I wouldn't dare do that, but besides the food, I made every thing. I mailed out invitations (I made!) a couple weeks before the party, and our theme was monsters. For those of you who plan on doing monster theme parties for your little one, know this. I looked everywhere for monster stuff. No one has it! We went to Party City and the party sections in all major department stores (Target, Walmart, Meijer, etc.), and we found zilch. I eventually found some party favors at Oriental Trading, who, frankly, has everything. So it ended up working in the end, but maybe I'll say that's why I made everything. Yeah, that'll be my excuse.

These are the invitations I mailed out. I used my Mini Monsters cricut cartridge and some of my favorite embellishments. It was a pretty simple design, which I liked about it. I'm trying to get more streamlined in my designing. As you can see, there were 3 designs, and this theme went throughout the whole party. Again, as I like to protect the innocent, sorry for the little black boxes, but this time I'm protecting myself. So deal with it.
So I got my RSVPs, and all Joey's little friends came. We had our 3 friends from playgroup and our next door neighbor. It was crazy! We had 4 small children running around the house along with their 4 dads. So, basically, I guess you could say we had 4 small children and 4 big children running around like hooligans. It was a blast, but we were all pretty bushed after that.

I made us a party banner because I wanted. :) Parties need a banner, right? I used the same papers I used with the invitations, and, of course, the theme came through in the banner. The H at the beginning had monster horns, and the y at the end had dragon wings. I tied the ends up in pretty bows, and it looked like something out of a magazine. It really did. Sorry, but I can't be modest on this one. :) It looked great.
On top of that, I made some cute little party favors for the little kidlets, and I made Joey's shirt. I decorated some chinese takeout boxes, which are, by the way, the best party favor boxes there are. If you want to make a big impact at a party, use chinese takeout boxes. Each kid got a little monster rubber ducky and a monster beach ball. I made Joey's shirt with my cricut and some fabric spray paint. I made stencils for each spray paint color using my cricut. It took a little bit of time because you have to wait for each color to dry before you spray a new one, but it was totally worth it. I will definitely have to try this one again. Simply Spray is the best stuff there is. It dried on the shirt as if it was part of the shirt. It didn't get all rubbery like most screenprinting does. I did totally goof up the first one I tried, though so if you're going to try this yourself, you should buy at least 2 shirts. I ended up buying 3, and now I have an extra shirt to stencil something else. You really can do anything with the cricut. I stenciled "AaarGh!" on the back of the shirt over his butt. I thought it was cute. :)Joey's birthday really was a whirlwind from the very beginning. I had planned on making thank you notes that matched the monster theme, but I just ran out of time and gusto. I had a blast, though, and I would do it all over again. Now I just have to try to top this next year!