Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Projects

I needed some stationery this weekend so I got out the watercolours and did a simple line around the page.  I love it!  It was fun to play with different colours and combinations.  I did these on art paper which was very nice to work with but makes a rather thick package to fold into an envelope!  Next time I will write a shorter letter or use computer paper.

While I had the watercolours out I painted this quote, one of my favourites.

Since the Fiddlehead Mittens are finished I needed a new knitting project (great for in front of the TV).  I cast on for a scarf.  Four times.  Yes, four.  Trying to remember rib, trying out a slip stitch edge and figuring out the number of stitches I wanted.  But now I think I'm set and it shouldn't require too much thought.

Happy Monday everyone!  Check back later this week for a new tutorial.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finished : England Scrapbook

This weekend I got another left over project finished!  Hooray!  Another item off my to-craft list.  This one is a scrapbook of the trip I took in 2009.  My original goal was to have it done within a year of going on the trip but that date came and went last summer.  When I actually settled down to working on it after Christmas I was pleasantly surprised with how much was already done - it didn't take as long to finish as I thought it would.

It's in a standard 12x12 scrapbook that I got for pretty cheap at Michael's.  Here are some of the pages (click to enlarge).

Title page - I forgot to think about vertical alignment when I started putting the letters on so the L and D go off the top of the page a bit, but it actually looks quite good like that I think!

These pages are on Amy Butler paper (from Michael's).

I love the moment this picture captures so I'm showing it on it's own as well as on the 2 page layout.

I like patterned papers, stickers and trims but sometimes simple and plain seems best to show off the pictures.  These are a few layouts of our hikes along the coastal path.

More walking, more beautiful scenery!

This is the cottage where we (me, my mom & sister) stayed for a week.

One of the many gorgeous beaches we visited and the only one we all swam at (it was cold!)

Cute seaside town with lots of boats in the harbour.

I love the beauty of Bath, this was my second trip there and just as gorgeous as I remembered.

These pages show Regent's Park in London and the view(s) from the London Eye.

I love including memorabilia in my scrapbooks but sometimes it's hard to include it with pictures so I made a separate page for it.

I found this vintage-y map of London paper and wanted to include it - a little tricky because I wanted the map to show.  Using only a couple pictures and spreading them out seems to work.

Last page.  My mom was so happy to finally (on her 3rd trip to London) ride in a black cab we had to commemorate with a picture.

As you can see I don't put a lot on my scrapbook pages.  I like the pictures to be the stars and I find too much "stuff" just detracts from the memory I am trying to preserve.  It also makes it a little faster (relatively) to put together.  I overheard a customer in my local scrapbook store saying she spends 3-4 hours on each layout (including printing and sorting through pictures, shopping for supplies).  I don't have that much time to devote to scrapbooking!  I'm not sure how long I take but I'd bet it's a lot less then 3 hours a page!  You may have noticed I don't include a lot of journaling either, sometimes I include more but with a thorough trip journal I can refer back to I don't feel the need to record every detail in my scrapbooks.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finished : Fiddlehead Mittens

This weekend I got one project crossed off my list - fiddlehead mittens (kit purchased in fall 2009) are now complete!

I ran out of wool in the lining colour so had to use one of the colours from the outside mitten to finish off the second lining.  Since the whole thing gets shoved inside the outer mitt you won't notice the dark blue on the end. Phew!

I haven't tried the mitts outside yet but I'm sure they'll be nice and warm - two layers of wool has got to equal warmth, right?  Just as well with temperatures like we've been having (-30 celcius this morning)!

The one thing I'm not completely happy with is that the lining bunches up a bit inside, like the lining is a bit too big for the outer mitt.  I want to knit these again with fewer stitches in the body of the lining mitt or on smaller needles to see if that helps.

Although after taking a year (with lots of breaks) to knit these I'm not sure that I'll be in that much of a hurry to start again!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recording my days

I like the idea of having a yearly record of what has happened in my life.  Sometime around New Year's I'll read my journal entries for the past year and condense them into a "what happened this year" entry to myself.  Looking back and seeing what changes have happened in the last year feels like a great way to ring in the new year.  I also like the idea of having a yearly scrapbook type record that's a little less personal, so it could be shown to others, and acts as a place to keep ticket stubs, pictures and so forth.  In 2004 I tried doing a monthly layout after finding some paper meant for that purpose.  I think I lasted till March.  Last year when I ended up with a plethora of datebooks (I bought one and was given two) I decided to turn one into a mini scrapbook record of my year.  It turned out pretty well.

It's nice to have somewhere to put ticket stubs, pictures and memorabilia.

Although some weeks are pretty boring as not much out of the ordinary happened.  This year I'm trying a new format.  I love this printable I found to record "the best of my days".  Printed out, trimmed down and threaded on a binder ring the idea of recording one best thing everyday is both manageable and inspiring.  I'm planning to use it as a place to keep ticket stubs too by adding them behind each month's page.  It'll be sad interesting to see how often food features as the best thing!  So far it's down three times.

From three datebooks last year I'm down to one this year.  I love the cheery picture on the front and that it's recycled and made in Canada.  I don't like that it doesn't have a bookmark - so I made one!  Based on an idea I ripped out of an old Martha Stewart magazine, it was quick to make and so far is doing its job very well. 

Basically a piece of cardboard with two elastics attached.  One to mark your page.

And one to go around the whole thing to keep it closed.

Do you have any new projects on the go for this year?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Colourful Cards

Remember those little paintings I did a few posts back?  I'd planned to make them into cards so after looking through my scrap papers (sorted by colour, heavy on the blue & green which are my go-to colours)...

making a few cuts and sticking it all together, I came out with these:


Bright & cheery & nicely un-winter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Card Making

I saw this birch forest wall mural linked on One Pretty Thing and decided to use it as inspiration for a round of card making.  I really wanted to incorporate the heart shaped leaves of a birch but it just didn't work on the plain trunks.

I wanted to make a set of four cards so I added this one to the set, but somehow it didn't fit well so it's off on it's own.  I really like how delicate it looks.

And when I was running out of creative juice I got out some paper punches and did something rather simple.

Sewing Lessons

On the weekend I had my first lesson on how to operate my new sewing machine.  We started with some straight stitching with different stitch lengths and needle positions:

Then we tried zigzag stitches with different widths and lengths:

The really close together zigzag stitch is great for applique!  Excuse the threads hanging out the edge - proper applique would have them trimmed neatly but this was just a scrap on a scrap.  

Then we tried applique with blanket stitch.  Plus some decorative stitches in the centre while I had a bit of time to play:

We got out our buttonhole feet and did buttonholes.  At this point I realized my machine is smarter then I am.  You put a button in a specific slot on the foot and it stitches the hole to the size of your button!  Wow.

The last foot we tried is useful for blind hemming.  It's also great for edge stitching (thanks to a little fabric guide under the foot) as apparent at the top of the applique photo (3 up):

The next class is in February - I'm excited to see what else I can do and try things out with an instructor there who can easily show me if I've done something wrong or how to make it better.  Hooray for learning new things!  Great start to the year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Folding Sheets

A quick break from crafting to share this video which isn't craft related but definitely useful.

I don't know about you but my fitted sheets always seem to end up in a big blob instead of anything resembling anything folded.  This video really made sense to me and I can now fold fitted sheets that Martha could be proud of!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Over the holidays I hauled out my paints and did a little "doodling".

The alphabet was inspirted by this post of Elise's.  I liked it but found acrylics a bit finicky to work with so I tried with watercolours too.

I really love using watercolour and ink together.  It seems to be a good combination of mediums for my more crafty-then-arty skills.  I'm thinking of making these into greeting cards, and maybe making more for my (sadly neglected) Etsy shop.

I should really paint more often - the colours are lovely and it's such a peaceful activity.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crafty Goals

Last January I posted my crafty goals for the year, let's see how well I did.

Last year's goals:
  • Make the maple leaf scarves for which I needed the red fleece.  Done!
  • Sew a pin cushion for my fancy new pins from Lupin.
  • Try spinning with my drop spindle (which is carried over from the 2007 list!)
  • Knit the mitts from the kit I got at the Knitter's Fair.
  • Knit myself a scarf with "mint-chocolate" yarn, also from the Knitter's Fair. Tried but decided this yarn is not right for the scarf I had pictured.  Going to do leg warmers instead (I think).
  • Scrapbook the photos from my trip to England.
  • Experiment with paper garlands.  Meant to do more then 1 but I'll count it as done.
  • Dye yarn & unspun wool (for felting/spinning.)
  • Make a brooch, something felted I think, to wear on my new sweater (because the Christmas tree one isn't going to cut it anymore!)  Done!
  • Try out LiEr's katybag pattern.
Hmmm... I completed 3 out of 10 projects and started 2 (the ones that are half crossed out).

Elise has been posting a lot about goals recently.  I really liked her On Motivation post.  It has a lot of good ideas, like taking things off your to do list and setting dates for your goals.  I highly recommend you go read it!

With that in mind here are my crafty goals for 2011:
  • Finish my fiddlehead mittens (kit purchased at the Knitter's Fair in 2009.  Outside of mitts done, just have the lining left).
  • Finish my England scrapbook.
  • Learn how to use my new sewing machine. I have 4 lessons lined up which should help a lot!
  • Work on knitting up the yarn in my stash.
  • Work on sewing through the (large pieces of) fabric (destined to be garments) in my stash.
And that's it for right now.  I know there will be a lot more craft projects that I discover through the year but I'll stick with those five goals for now.

How about you - do you have any projects or goals in mind for 2011?