Spirits finished and a little beading in between

This week I was really busy and it paid in regards of my January plans. First of all I finished preparing my bullet note journal and it helps me already a lot in bringing order to my daily chaos.

temp-2Then I was working hard in finishing my Spirits of the Orchid and was finally successful – even though the border rows took one hour each! I switched the final round to crab stitch rather than single crochet as in my opinion it makes a more stable finish. I don’t want my edges all floppy. I really love the final look – many thanks to Tasiana Kupryianchyk from LillaBjรถrn’s Crochet World for this gorgeous design. Rather than the Hygge wrap that came out too stiff and small for using it confortably, my Spirits of the Orchid it big enoug to snuggle into. Now the only thing I need is some spring weather so I can use it. We currently have another bout of winter though with snow showers.

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temp-1As usual, finishing a project leaves a feeling of lost purpose. So I had to find something quick to keep me occupied while watching Stranger Things on Netflix. I had been shopping at one of our biggest shopping malls last Saturday for boxes so that I can clean up my storage room. I stumbled over some gorgeous little swarovski bicones I don’t know yet what to do with but also a diy kit for a memory wire bracelet. I had just the right colours, so I needed to give it a go. I had never done wirework before and this was an easy start. Just stringing and making a loop at each end with some round nose pliers. Well let’s say I need a lot more practice – making a loop is not as easy as it sounds. I like the look anyway, even if it’s not perfect.

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Of beading bugs and creative sprint backlogs

tempLast October I caught the beading bug. It all started out with – who would have guessed ๐Ÿ˜› – a post on Facebook that ended in my stream somehow. It was about a loom beaded bracelet that was so beautiful that I was telling myself “I want to make that too!”. I already had a beading loom that I bought long time ago and hardly ever used and several colors of rocaille beads. I also bought some more – a decision which I regret now as rocailles are not so even that they are really good for loom beading. The first attempt on a bracelet was hideous – uneven beads, wonky thread and a hard time weaving in the threads in the too short bracelet (I was too lazy to measure exactly before removing the beads from the loom…). I was so frustrated.

img_0567That was the time my hubby stepped in with the comment “You know there is a lot more you can do with beads.” and he showed me some pictures of beaded jewelry. That’s when I started looking into beading patterns and found tons of beautiful projects. My hubby however had a serious consideration in suggesting that I might like to try beading as he told me later. He said that beads don’t take up as much space as yarn :P. He didn’t know by then what he has gotten himself into though as I have to confess that I am now officially a bead addict. There are so many beautiful beads out there!

img_0566After testing out my newly learned skills on some pieces for myself and being really happy with the result, I got the idea of giving beaded projects as presents to my friends. That’s why everyone ended up with a handmade pendant this year ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I have time to make some more for myself but right now I am again waiting for some beads to be delivered …

 

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So in the meantime I was thinking about my plans for the new year. Which projects should I put on my list and in which order? It was kind of creating a backlog for my projects which was actually fun but also a little bit overwhelming. Brainstorming projects I would love to make really made me end with a huge list and still did not take into account any changes that might occur during the year (I am still participating in a lot of crafty groups which provide tons of inspiration!). Planning the whole year on that just didn’t work out. So I decided on actually planning short term – month by month. In the last week each month I am going to take a look at my backlog and pick the projects I want to tackle in the next weeks. Just like planning a new Scrum sprint.

So even though the first week of January has already passed, these is my January sprint backlog:

  • Start my 2018 bullet notes journal: This is actually just a plain book where I write in anything planned for a week/month/year (whatever comes up), collect ideas (e.g. new projects that pop up, books I want to buy, movies I want to see) and track activities (e.g. my running events and training sessions). Nothing digital – just plain simple paper. I carry it with me all the time, so when things pop up, I can add them right away and they are not lost in the depths of my mind. It’s easy, it’s simple and doesn’t have many rules (you can read more about it here). I set up January and February already but still have ten months to prepare – it’s not much work but I need it to get done now or later I might be too lazy.

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  • Finish my Spirits of the Orchid: I am actually already making good progress – I finished part 1-7 and just need to add one more week and the border. This should really be achievable.

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  • Print out the first three beginners projects from the “Beginner’s Guide to Bobbin Lace”ย and laminate them for more stability: As I really want to learn bobbin lace making I need to get the projects prepared. It’s not much work but without that I just cannot start seriously.
  • Sew that little fish kit I got as a birthday present last year: I got this from my best friend and just didn’t take time to work on it. It is so cute however and I really would love to see it finished.

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  • One practice session for hand lettering out of the book “Creative Lettering and Beyond”: ย Hand lettering practice takes time – especially if you are struggling with even strokes like I do. I skipped practicing with all my crochet projects last year but really want to pick up a pencil or pen again.

It might seem small goals for some of you but I am a full time worker and do not have as much time for crafting as I might love to have. These goals I surely can reach tough….

Happy New Year – Looking back and forward

It’s this time of the year again where you realize that another year is over. That time when you look back on what you did last year and make some resolutions for the next one. So no wonder that I also did some statistics…


2017 definitely was a year for crocheting. I finished one knitted project but 11 crochet project this year. I finished most of my new projects and only created only a couple of WIPs. I collected tons of new patterns, so I am hard pressed to decide in the new year what to work on next. I created three cakes and only baked three times more – most of it at the end of the year. I missed my reading goal of 25 books by four but still happy with the books I have finished this year. I learned three new crafts – bead weaving, needle tatting and kumihimo – about which I have not written yet as almost all of them ended up as Christmas presents and I didn’t want to give away the surprise. Overall when seeing all my projects together I think it was a very poductive year (though I just realized that I missed three projects in my pics …).

Now it’s time to focus on 365 new possibilities. This year I really want to focus a little bit more on sewing again. I have several projects that have been waiting for a year now and I am eager to getting started on them. Of course I still want to finish my crochet WIPs – my Spirits of the Orchid that is coming along nicely and my mosaic shawl that has been waiting for new yarn. I also would like to experiment a little bit combining my arts – crochet and stitching, beading and tatting, sewing and crochet … there is no end to creativity. Also I would love to start with bobbin lace making – just need to get the preparations tackled. And my beading frency is also not over yet. I have tons of patterns I’d love to make for myself.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year – may all your wishes come true, your crafting ressources never be empty and new ideas always at ready. Keep on crafting!

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish all my readers enjoyful and merry Christmas days!

The week before Christmas have been quite stressful for me as I was hard pressured to finish all my presents. I was successful however, so I am able to distribute most of them this week when I meet with my friends. So in the next weeks I can now really show you what I have been up to the last weeks.

This post however I want to dedicate to my husband because he is the best that could have ever happen to me. Not only does he have to cope with all my crafting bugs and whims, material hoards and shopping frencies – which by the way he really does well – no he is also very very much supportive. This year he came up with the idea of a crafty advent calender – 24 little presents of craft patterns for my new hobby and of course also crochet. He really has a great taste – there was not one that I would not have picked myself. I enjoyed so much opening up every window and now have tons of work to do ๐Ÿ˜‚.

He is also responsible for creating new crafting bugs though – I blame that on him as two years ago he presented me with a whole set of materials for bobbin lace making. Now this year he heard me talking about the historical art of tablet weaving. I was fascinated that they are even looking for volunteers at the museum of nature who want to recreate old patterns from historical findings. Now guess what was lying under the Christmas tree this year….

Isn’t he the best husband ever?!? How much I love historical art forms and wanted to try my hands on that one but had restrained myself from adding a new hobby to my already huge list ๐Ÿ˜. However, even though I am itching to get starting to weave, actually bobbin lace making is on my learning list for next year…..

Spirits of the Orchid – continued

img_0555I am awfully sorry for being late with my post today. Yesterday I spent the afternoon cheering on my running buddy at the Vienna Christmas Run and we got home late (we had some warm-up drinks and nice Mexican food afterwards to celebrate her successful run). Then I started working on the last Christmas present and was so focused that I totally forgot the time. It’s still not Christmas yet so I just can’t give you a sneak peek of the projects even though I just can’t wait to show. I can however give you an update on my Spirits of the Orchid CAL that I have been working on last week. Part two was mosaic crochet – a technique I really enjoyed a lot. It took me a couple of rows to get the hang of reading the chart. But as soon as I got it, it was so simple with a stunning final result. I really was sceptical about the colours in the beginning – some I would not have picked myself – but they come together so nicely.

img_0556I continued with part three – four extra squares with overlay crochet. I was a little bit concerned when I read that they should be blocked when finished. As I was not home I did not have any possibility to block and definitely no equipment. Though I wondered for a second if I might be able to borrow some needles from the hotel staff…. When I finished however the squares where almost the size needed – actually slightly bigger but nothing that cannot be fixed with an overall blocking. So I just joined them right away. No risk, no fun ๐Ÿ˜› What you can easily see in the picture though is my new nemesis. Because I forgot to take my wool needle with me and ended up leaving all the tails to be woven in for later. I did yarn over most but still want to weave them in a little bit more so that they don’t come undone. Honestly I am a little happy that I really need to finish my Christmas presents because weaving in so many tails is just not fun at all.

Relax and crochet

Each year my hubby and I spend some days in Tyrolia to relax in the hot springs. This year we are lucky to be there when the weather is really cold and the mountains surrounding the pools are covered in snow. That’s the best weather to relax in the warm water while enjoying the gorgeous view. These couple of days are for getting into the Christmas spirit and slow down a little from the rush to finish all presents.

Relaxing also means that I am able to work on something other than my Christmas presents – I would not be able to take all the stuff needed for those with me. I have finished already three presents and even handed over two so I felt confident that I can work on something for myself for a while. Remember that box of squishiness that came while I was working on my Ross Poldark? The one for my Spirits of the Orchid wrap? While probably every other participant of the CAL has almost finished theirs I had postphoned starting it myself – until now. Those nice little balls of yarn are perfect for taking with you wherever you are going. People looked a little bit strangely at me though at the pool. Until now I have finished part one but I had to take the picture earlier in order to have sufficient light. I really love the yarn – it’s so soft snd drapes gorgeously. This actually is just what I had wished for for my Hygge.

Start of Christmas baking season

Until now I finished two of five Christmas presents – with that speed I might not be finished on time. Though I am a little time pressured I decided that this week was the kick off of the Christmas baking season. Even though that means a whole weekend preparing dough and baking cookies and therefore not working on my WIPs. I only finished half of all recipes I wanted to make but I am quite proud nevertheless.

I started with one of the recipes that I love every year – stamping cookies. They are very easy to make but taste great and look nice with a festive stamp. Next my hubby wanted me to create some hazelnut truffles based on a recipe of his mother – and as it is a very old recipe it is definitely not suitable for dieting ๐Ÿ˜‚. They taste so great though that you actually have to be very careful only to eat one at a time.

Next I tried some recipes from the book “Cookies” by Cynthia Barcomi. Some thumpprint variations with and without hazelnuts. They are fille with either blueberry-cranberry marmelade or orange-ingwer jam. I have not taken a bit from those yet but they look great too so they cannot be too bad ;).

Finally – from the same book – I picked chocolate crinkle cookies in two variations: one patch is with Espresso and one without. I never did those before and was a little scared that they might not work out but they came out nice and crinkled.

Who else is baking and enjoying the smell of freshly baked goodness?