This week has definitely felt like it disappeared before it ever started. That happens when you start it off by traveling. We took a short vacation to visit my dad in North Carolina for Easter where we ate lots of chocolate and barbecue and homemade doughnuts. I immediately ran to Costco when we got back to load up on greens and veggies. Our CSA starts in about a week, and we’re super excited for all the experimentation it will bring to our kitchen. This weekend we’re planning some major spring cleaning. Now that we’ve been in this house for a while, we see several areas where we can streamline, reduce clutter, and implement better storage. I can’t wait for DB to get home so we can chow down on nachos and get things moving around here.
All this spring cleaning has triggered a big itch to do some DIY projects around the house (I made the blue pillow cover in the photo above). In my stolen moments, I’ve been watching classes on Creativebug and Craftsy, as well as dreaming about the links below.
Design Sponge offered up this simple and beautiful tutorial on fabric covered photo mats that I love.
Sharpie paint pens + terra cotta pots = genius!
Grainline Studio featured a tutorial on how to mod her Scout T-shirt to look like this Madewell denim t. I love it because it goes hand in hand with fashion revolution day (which was yesterday).
A house full of tiny bears totally calls for some Bear string art.
Brooklyn Tweed just released Wool People 7. I love the beautiful simplicity of this scarf. Also, chevrons!
Colette Patterns released their Guide to Sewing with Knits, and two lovely new patterns. I’m pretty excited to make myself a pencil skirt.
Hope you have a creative weekend!
I came across this pattern on Ravelry a couple months ago and I totally fell in love with it. I loved the featured color way, the stitch patterns and the alternating textures created by the garter and stockinette sections. I also really liked the fact that the yarn called for (O Wool Local) was partially grown just across the bridge from where I grew up and milled in Philadelphia. I wanted to cast on right away. Of course, there’s not a whole lot of room in our budget for more yarn, and one of my goals this year has been to keep knitting from my stash. Immediately I thought of the Beaverslide Fisherman 3-ply (also raised in America) that I had bought last year with the idea of making an afghan only to realize I hadn’t bought nearly enough for what I had in mind. So I took 4 skeins. 2 of Big Sky Blue, one Autumn Licorice, and one oddball brown guy that I’d bought back in 2007. Originally I’d intended this for myself, but DB saw it and immediately loved the color combo, so I happily knit it for him instead. It is quite masculine after all.
I really love Beaverslide yarns. The wool is raised in Montana and milled in just over the border in Canada. It’s thick, wooly, has great stitch definition, really blooms after blocking. I have a couple skeins of Big Sky Blue left after this, along with some dark heather grey that I think will translate to a sweater for myself. Anyway, while gorgeous, it’s also significantly heavier than O Wool Local, it took some trial and error to figure out what needles to use and how many stitches to cast on. I ended up using size 11 with 37 stitches cast on which gave me about 9″ in width after blocking. It’s forever long, hence mountain instead of hill. In fact we keep referring to it as his Doctor scarf since the length is reminiscent of Tom Baker’s as 4th Doctor.
Instead of following the pattern verbatim, I alternated the garter and stockinette sections as seemed fitting. That’s what I like best about this, it’s a very adaptable the stitch pattern. You can really make it with any yarn in any color(s) you like, but thanks to the chevron created by the paired decreased on each end and the lifted increases in the middle, you end up with something much more stunning than a traditional garter stitch scarf. I’m actually using the garter pattern in fingering weight to make a blanket for our impending baby. I also think this would look great made a bit wider in a single color and used as a table runner. Raveled here.
I can honestly say it’s been a while since I was really truly stoked on knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting, and often feel lost if I’m sitting in front of the tv without yarn in my hands, but recently most of those times I’ve been working on a simple hat or scarf mostly for stash busting. It’s not been the most inspiring work, but this year I’m finding pattern after pattern to oogle and dream about, and frantically run to my (ever decreasing!) stash in order to make. I think the knitting world itself has really taken off in the last couple of years. Ravelry has played a big roll, of course, because it allows so many great and emerging designers out there to publish independently and really bring new and innovative designs to the table, something that’s been harder to find in traditional print publications over the last couple years. I’m also a huge fan of the growing number of small American raised and milled yarn companies that are helping to keep the textile industry in this country alive. Here are some of my most recent cravings, and for more check out my Ravelry favorites here.
Forge from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2012. An oldie, but I really like the different techniques used to cast on and shape the cap. Plus, who doesn’t want to knit with Shelter?
Perfect Storm from Twist Collective. In addition to having great content on knitting, Twist Collective consistently has awesome patterns from great designers.
I don’t know about you guys, but I still really love reading magazines. I haven’t even gotten through all my September issues yet even though the October ones will be out in a couple weeks. And when I say magazines I’m talking print because I don’t have a tablet or the patience to sit in front of this screen and flip through virtual pages. I like to hang out on my couch on a Sunday morning with a coffee and something sweet and while my way through the pages until the Bear demands we read Put Me in the Zoo for the 900th time.
What I don’t like is the clutter that comes with having magazines piling up month after month. I usually go through and clip the recipes, diys, and other miscellany that I want to keep and wrangle those in plastic sheet protectors and binders (which is another post for another day because those are SUPER disorganized right now). The others I send off to friends. The leftovers get a hot date to the recycle bin. Still, even with my meticulous weeding there are some titles that I keep in tact and when we moved I wanted to liberate them from the bottoms of drawers and baskets and give them all a proper home. I started off at Target and bought 3 magazine files only to come home and find we still needed more. The next day we stopped by Goodwill and scored these guys for $1.50 a piece. I liked the plain wood, but I wanted to give them a little something extra.
Armed with some Martha Stewart craft paint in School Bus and Rose Copper and a roll of painters tape I set off to spruce up my files. I kept things super simple here. The lines aren’t the same size nor are they exactly straight. I painted part of the inside but not all the way down since no one’s really gonna see that. I’m happy with how they turn out. The sunny yellow makes me smile and I’m really liking copper accents these days.
Should you choose to embark on a similar project you will need to bottles of craft paint in the color and brand of your choice, a roll of painter’s tape in a thickness you prefer, and foam brushes which I find to distribute the most evenly. Start by painting the whole file your main color, allow to dry about an hour before applying a second coat or touch ups then allow that to dry. Next, put on your painters tape covering the areas you do not want your accent color. I chose to keep my stripes all the way around the base and was careful to make sure the tape matched up once I got all the way around to avoid super wonky stripes. If you want perfection, get out a ruler and pencil and measure the space between each stripe on all sides. Paint your stripes, allow to dry and touch up as needed, remove the tape and there you go.
I know, it’s super easy, but so satisfying. As a busy, often overwhelmed mother of a toddler with another on the way, I really like these small simple projects that give our home a little extra without causing loss of sanity. What small projects are you working on these days?
I imagine that I’m probably not the only one who received their holiday issue of Martha Stewart Living in the mail and immediately sat down and examined each page, carefully noting which type of crafty holiday project and recipe would adorn their house this Christmas. I liked all the projects using felt, but I was particularly interested in the upcycled mason jars turned snow globes. It seems these little snowy dioramas are all the rage this year as several other tutorials began popping up in my Pinterest feed as well.I decided to keep my own snow globe project very simple (read: inexpensive), and relatively unadorned. Below is a quick and dirty tutorial should you also find yourself short on time and wanting some snowy cheer in your home.
Glass jars, bottle brush trees, white sand, tacky glue, spray paint
Using glass jars I’d been keeping around for such an occasion I went out and picked up two packages of bottle brush trees, some white sand (from the floral section of the craft store), and tacky glue. I stripped the labels off the bottles using olive oil and had DB spray paint the lids. Once everything was clean and I dry I put a generous helping of glue on the base of each tree and placed them in the jars using some chopsticks. I let these dry overnight then added some sand to each one and topped them off with the red lids. I’ve made 8 so far, with enough trees and sand for several more. They’re fun to stick all over the house, such as on top of our modest collection of vintage books.
PS. The above photo was taken with my iPhone and edited using the Afterglow app, which is a great app that I highly recommend you download.