A happy hubby and a happy me

temp-12This week I got squishy mail and only other yarn addicts can understand the amount of joy such an event brings. Remember that scarf for my hubby I ran low on yarn? Well, I ordered some yarn at Loveknitting and they sent them to me right the very same day! Now I had enough yarn to finish the scarf and a little bit extra just in case. Therefore my hubby is the very proud owner of a new soft and cosy scarf . It’s also a very manly scarf as it is done solely in mosaic stitch. And it was finished just in time as it started snowing again this weekend. I am so tired of grey and cold and am looking forward to spring and some colours….

temp-13After finishing this project I decided to finally finish another one of my half finished WIPs. I posted a sneak preview of that bead weaving project a couple of weeks ago but then lost the drive a little and got distracted by other stuff. I decided that I would not stop until this is finally done. It’s my first time using the netting technique and I really love the final result. It’s the Argyle Bangle and it is just the right size to slip it on easily.

Last but not least – as I had my beading tray already out – I tried myself on a new technique: Peyote with a twist – not crochet. Now this one is a lot of fun! So look forward to next week when I can show you the finished project for sure. I am totally in love with beading again at the moment even though I am supposed to work on my Jacaranda. I am running behind with this week already …

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Jacaranda Part 2, a manly hat and a ship in a bottle

temp-9This week I spend three days at home recovering from the flu and as I was feeling better I was able to do some creative stuff. I started easy with a shawl for my hubby but ran out of yarn at the end. So I ordered some more and until it arrives, the half finished shawl is neatly folded and stored away. Next I started a manly hat for my hubby as some weeks ago he lost the last one I had made for him. It’s based on a neat little pattern by Nancy Smith that I found on Ravelry. I had to change it a little bit though as the yarn I used was less heavy than the one called for in the pattern. It was a quite simple change though – just kept on going with the increase rows until the hat base was big enough for the sides. Hubby loves it, so I call it a success 🙂

temp-10As soon as I was up and running again, I did some shopping. I have to confess I am still loving the good old Lego even though I might not be part of the main target audience. Usually I mainly build stuff with the kids of one of my best friends. When a friend told me of the release of a ship in a bottle though, I just had to get it for myself. And then my hubby and I spend an evening building our own little Leviathan.

temp-11Last but not least the next part of the Jacaranda CAL was released. It looked quite simple but then I messed up the popcorn row by adding an additional popcorn accidentally. Of course I found out only three rows later and had to go back all the way. My hubby was very supportive though – by now he really is an expert in finding the right words of empathy 😂. I really love this design – see those cute little hearts in the last rounds?

A challenge and a Jacaranda

A couple of months ago, at the same time my beading passion started, I began experimenting with the Japanese craft of kumihimo – an ancient braiding technique that only recently started to spread. Usually students are not allowed to share the patterns they had learned from their masters and written patterns were strictly forbitten. It was learning by watching the masters only. Well, no art form can be kept hidden forever and therefore we are now also able to learn this craft. Essentially it’s not very difficult – you have a disc (historically it would be a wooden marudai but today for easier work it’s a simple foam disc) and several strands of thread. Then you braid in a certain pattern – and voila, out comes a beauty. So the theory. Practice showed that it’s not so simple as that. I started with a simple 8 strand braid with three colours that worked out really well. Then Pru from the Facebook group Kumihimo by Prumihimo and Friends suggested a challenge themed “Valentine”. I’m always up to a challenge – so I aimed for a simple but nice looking pattern: a 16 strand two colours heart pattern. Sounded simple, looked simple on youtube – and was a total desaster. No hearts, just a multicoloured mess. Tried several times, failed several times. Got help from a really nice group member – and failed some more. I already thought myself stupid. Then all of a sudden they appeared – not perfect yet as tension is key and I am not using a weight at the moment but definitely hearts. Well long stories end: I added a heart bead on a square stitched bail to spice it up a little bit. Even though it’s not perfect, I love it because it thought me never to give up. Just like you should do for the love of your life.

Facebook will be my doom one day – especially those groups that show new designs. I really did not wanted to start a new CAL. I already have too much in progress and planned. But this nice little CAL just keep popping up – Jacaranda. It comes – of course – with another Facebook group. But look at this beauty – isn’t it pretty? And it will become still more pretty over the next couple of weeks. Sadly I got really sick after finishing part one of the CAL as my hubby decided to share his flu with me. I can tell you, this year’s flue is one terrible virus. I felt like hell for two days and was not even in an way motivated to do an crafty stuff. Can you believe that? Gladly after only four days I am back to the world of the living, so look forward to some more crafty business next week 🙂

Of blog-aniversaries and successes

When I started this blog one year ago I did it only for myself. I wanted to give myself a reason for staying on track and finishing things rather than leaving them halfway done. I never thought that it would be so much fun actually writing the blog and also to interact with fellow bloggers. I got to know a couple of really great people out there and would not want to miss them in my life any more. I am also really amazed that people find my blog interesting enough to read it – and looking at statistics they are from all over the world. So I say hello to the world and to anyone following or reading me – you are the ones that make it so much more enjoyable to create things and share them with you than I would have ever imagined.

img_0613Now it’s also the last week in January and therefore it’s time to review what I planned and actually achieved. I used last weekend to practice my hand lettering using a practice session from the Creative Hand Lettering journal. I know it’s not spring yet but I am so sick of grey and cold that I wanted to dream a little bit ahead. I so much enjoyed adding flowers and greens to the lettered word. I really will consider using that technique again.

img_0614-1I also continued with the Solar System CAL but as it’s only rows of rows of black I will not bore you with a new picture. Instead I’ll give you a sneak preview of some beading I did in between – I just could not wait to start when the postman delivered the supplies I ordered for that project. It’s not finished yet but I am really in love with it already. Even though it is a simple technique it takes some focus to not mess up the colours.

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I couldn’t prepare my lace bobbin patterns as my printer decided to quite collaborating with me. As well the little fish is still half way done. Those two will be moved to February – top prio, I promise 😉

Sandy, Yoga and a new CAL

img_0603This week I was forced to stay at home due to a lot of sneezing and sick feeling. Luckily it was not the flu but only a short cold. This on the other hand gave me time to work on some projects and start some new ones.

I was lucky to get picked by Emma from EmmaCraftDesign to test the pattern for her super-cute Sandy, the Sea Dragon. I fell in love with this little fellow from first sight and had waited already for the pattern release. The pattern is so well written that it really worked up fast and easy. It’s probably not the right pattern for a total beginner as it has some tricky spots but I can highly recommend it for anyone with already a little bit of experience in amigurumi patterns.

 

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The pattern calls for DK weight – I actually used Scheepjes Catona which is a 4-ply and a multi-color cotton yarn I had leftovers from. She ended up approximately 12 cm from fins to horns. Look at this cute stuby nose <3. I am certain that I will make her some more companions – sea dragons live in flocks as far as I know…. Thanks so much Emma for this great pattern and a lovely first testing experience!

 

 

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After whipping up Sandy, I started the Solar System CAL designed by Alex from Two Hearts Crochet. I struggled a little bit with the beginning as the Sun started to curl really a lot – and though our solar system might not be flat, my project is supposed to be. I want to use it as a rug in my library and I really don’t want to stumble over the sun all the time. Luckily I was not alone with this problem and as I am late to the party, there were also several solutions proposed on her blog. Now even though the sun bugles a little bit, its much better and the rest is nice and flat. It will probably not become my favorite project though – and if you’ve ever done a project with only half double crochet stitches in the round then you might understand why. Can’t wait to get the base finished so that I can add the fun stuff to it!

 

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Finally I had a go at sewing again after quite a long break. My running buddy convinced me to join her at a yoga class as an alternative training for better mobility and core stability. And as I find it really, really, REALLY gross to train on a mat someone else sweated on, I went on a shopping spree and bought myself a yoga mat. Wow, those mats are seriously expensive … As a result I decided against also purchasing a yoga bag and will just sew that myself. The shop I usually buy my fabric from however had a terrible selection of oilskin fabric and so I postponed the bag-sewing to another time. That made me in need of something to prevent the mat from unrolling when carrying it. So I came up with the idea of just copying the paper sleeve the mat came with. That was an easy and fun sewing project: just sewed a double sided rectangle and added some Prym Colour Snaps.

 

Last but not least I wanted to sew that little fish kit but I totally messed up. I made the worst beginner error of all. I did not think when cutting the shapes from the fabric and ended with two front side pieces for body, head and fins. So stupid of me to not flip the template over for the backside! I was frustrated, stomped and rumbled a lot while my hubby tried to hide from my stormy mood. I was actually almost ready to throw everything away in frustration – almost crying because it was a present from my best friend. Luckily I did not yet because now that I have cooled down again, I have the perfect solution. There will be two fish with different fronts and backs – fish never swim alone anyway ;).

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 LillaBjörn’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.

Of beading bugs and creative sprint backlogs

tempLast October I caught the beading bug. It all started out with – who would have guessed 😛 – 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 🙂 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” 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”:  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….