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?

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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 😉

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….

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 😛 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.

FAL progress – Ross Poldark

C48FE79B-7705-46CD-818B-B54DF7BA4042After cleaning up my craft space last time I really found my crojo again that got lost a little during my vacation. Also seeing my current WIPs all displayed like that made me realize that finishing them was not an unreachable goal. With only one project in my project basket again I set off to work on finishing the first one – my Ross Poldark blanket. I was actually surprised by myself – never before have I progressed so much in only one week before. I had week 4–7 still to work on – with tedious 8 squares in week 4, four rectangles in week 5 and the central big square.

E776B464-97CF-4B59-AF46-94F70D467AACI had one square of week 4 finished before my vacation and now worked the missing 7 squares in paralell. This works really great with repeating patterns as you don‘t have to read the pattern over and over again. I did week 5 once in total to get a feeling for the pattern but did all three others the same way again. Those rectangles need some serious blocking though.

I even started with the central square and got already pretty far. So hopfully next week with a public holiday coming up I am able to finish this project. Just in time for the cold season – my hubby might need his blanket pretty soon.

48C5818B-F7C5-4D55-8CEA-7FD6189C09E1There‘s also one reason why I want my WIPs finished: I got squishy mail this week! I was lucky for doing home office on Friday when the postman came. It‘s the current running Spirits of Life CAL by the amazing designer Lilla Björn. I always wanted to give one of her patterns a go – they are quite challenging even for a long time crocheter like me. I will learn C2C and her gorgeous mosaic stitch for this project. Isn‘t that something to look forward too – and the yarn is so soft and squishy *sighs happily*. But I am not allowed to start something new until something is finished ….

Storage clean-up time and preparations

IMG_0463Over the last year I collected a lot of stuff for my crafts. This year was really productive and therefore all the stuff started to spread from my craft room to the living room for easier access. Now though it might have been easier to have everything close, the solution was less than perfect. I ended up with a punch of boxes stacked next to the couch which were hard to access nevertheless.

IMG_0464Recently my hubby started. to talk about this – he was quite annoyed whenever I started something new or got additional material. This was the time where I realized that I had to do something about this. I searched for a solution and finally came up with one based on the Ikea Eket series. This can be stacked however you want and has doors to close everything in so that it does not gather dust. Now after several long minutes figuring out the instructions – who ever said that those are easy to understand? – and building the 3D-puzzle, I am now proud owner of my new craft storage in my living room. Now it’s fun to work on my WIPs again and hubby is happy too.

Speaking of WIPs – Polly Plum is hosting a Finish Along CAL where the goal is to finish as many WIPs as possible in ten weeks. In the progress of cleaning up my craft space I also made an imventory of all my current WIPs to set my goal for this CAL. Here is the list I came up with:

  1. IMG_0474the second Nuts about Squares in Earth colours
  2. my beach bag that needs some fabric added
  3. Sophie’s Universe
  4. a shawl I started quite some time ago but am not happy with the design
  5. Ross Poldark which I am currently working on tomget finished
  6. a lalylala bunny which is missing the cross-stitched roses
  7. Charlotte – 2 of 25 squares finished
  8. a gothic amigurumi doll
  9. some squares that should have become a throw for my couch but now will end up as a bag instead

Let’s see how far I can get in the next 10 weeks – especially as I have several new projects on my mind.