Tag Archives: crochet

Buy Nothing New Christmas: Final Report for 2013

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Today is the day I start planning and making Christmas presents for next year.When I started making gifts in June last year, I thought I was totally on top of things, but I did not give myself enough time. I found myself at the end of the season frantically buying supplies and completing projects (and adding last minute projects!) and I ran out of time to come up with good ideas that didn’t use anything new.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do a terrible job. I made several gifts out of my stash of supplies. I made a large blanket for my brother that did require yarn purchases, but still met my rules because I started with stash yarn and only had to buy some additional yarn to complete the project. But I could certainly do better.

First, here is the list of projects that did fit my rules:

  • A scarf for my dad made with stash yarn entirely (I didn’t get a picture of this one)
  • My brother’s blanket–all colors started with stash yarn, but I did have to supplement that a bit. However, I did say buying supplies to finish a project would count for my purposesBlanket for David
  • A set of 10 coasters for my mother made entirely out of stash yarncoasters
  • The Christmas tree collage for my aunt, made with supplies I had on hand when I started the challengecollage
  • A set of ceramic plates for my cousin using the plates I finished up from my pottery class last fall (didn’t get a picture of these, either)
  • An ebook for each of my kids to read on their Nooks

And here are the things that didn’t quite meet the challenge:

  • Makeup and nail polish for my daughter
  • Magic cards for my son
  • Munchkin game as a family present
  • Scarves for a couple of my friends–I had my daughter sew them, but I did buy new material rather than upcycling old tshirts as originally intended (again with the no pictures–it was a busy time at the end of the holidays, finishing gifts just in time to give them)

Overall, I think I did pretty well. The majority of the gifts I gave were handmade, and I don’t feel too bad about the ones that were new. Makeup is even sort of meeting the rules, because it is consumable. The games are something I should have made an exception for, in retrospect. Anything that encourages the children to spend time NOT watching TV is a good thing, in my book. And at least the scarves were made by me (because I made the girl that made the scarves, 😉 ).

I do think I could do better next year, though, if I start planning now. If I had started with a better plan for the gifts, I wouldn’t have been adding things at the last minute. I am still at the beginning stages of planning, but I will definitely need to have a plan in place soon. I hesitate to say that it will be a complete plan, because things always change, but I want to have at least a framework by the end of this month.

Am I the only one crazy enough to start thinking about this now?

Goals for 2014

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Goals

This year I am planning to be way more intentional. Less mindless TV and facebook gaming, more making, learning, and blogging. It is so easy to fall into a habit of coming home from work, doing something about dinner and settling in on the couch for some mindless relaxation. I am not entirely opposed to mindless relaxation–sometimes that is so healing–I just don’t want it to be the default mode.

With that in mind, here are some goals for the year. This is sort of a first pass on the goals. I would like to develop a longer, more detailed list, like the 52 Things in 52 weeks at Kincavel Korner, but I am not ready to dive directly into that list.  I am trying to put something quantifiable on each goal, because leaving things too open-ended is just a setup for procrastination, and then I can flesh it out into 52 items.

Learn to use the sewing machine. My mother gave me a basic sewing machine for Christmas in 2012, at my request. Since that time, I went out and bought lots of supplies for sewing and did about 6 inches of stitches just to get a start on learning to use it, but I have not even started making an actual project. Luckily, my daughter knows how to use the machine, and this year she is going to teach it to me. I am going to make at least one thing each month.

Crochet (at least) 10 blankets. This is an easy one–I love making blankets! I completed 12 blankets last year, and I have several that are close to being done just waiting for the last bit of work to complete them. I want to include it in the goals list, though, because it is not totally implausible that I will get distracted by other things and let this slip. For the purpose of this goal, finishing a blanket counts, even if the blanket was started before the year began.

Play more games with my kids. They love playing games, but I often feel too busy to sit down and play. I have been working on this the past month or so, but I want to make sure we keep it up. I’d like to play at least one game per week.

Do more upcycling. I make a lot of things, but I tend to go out and buy new supplies–new yarn, new fabric, new art supplies, etc. I wouldn’t say that I never reuse things, but it is more rare than I would like. I would like to do at least one project per month that reuses something that had another use–making tshirt yarn and crocheting something, making a blanket with old blue jeans, doing something with all those jars and wine bottles that I’ve saved in my basement.

Start an art journal. Technically, I have already started one, but I haven’t done very much at all–maybe 4 entries over the last year. I’d like to do at least one art journal entry per week.

Blog more regularly. I am aiming for three posts per week. This will actually help me with my other goals, as I need to have something to post about!

Get my finances under control. I don’t do bad here, but I spend more than I should, and I have a few debts I would like to get rid of, mostly related to my house and college loans. I pay my bills on time, and I don’t have creditors calling, but I would like to save more and be a bit more careful about what I spend. I don’t have a concrete goal for this one yet, but I want to have a plan by the end of January.

I am deliberately using the term goals rather than resolutions here. I don’t think that resolutions are really serious things. If I were substituting a synonym for resolutions, I would use wishes rather than plans. Goals are a bit more concrete–not quite plans, but a good basis for plans.

Projects I Have Done and Projects I Have Yet to Do

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Christmas Countdown R & G Dots

Christmas is 34 days away! Time to take stock and kick into high gear on my remaining projects!

Projects completed:

  • 3 crocheted blankets
  • 9 crocheted scarves
  • 6 crocheted stocking ornaments
  • 18 small pottery plates
  • 1 pottery Christmas tree
  • 4 crocheted spa cloths

Projects in progress:

  • Two crocheted makeup bags – crocheting is done, they just need buttons sewn on
  • Button Christmas tree collage
  • Pottery magnets
  • More pottery Christmas trees
  • More pottery plates

Projects I would still like to do:

  • Coffee mug cozies
  • Homemade lip gloss
  • Jewelry-making
  • More ornaments–both stockings and snowflakes
  • One more crocheted blanket
  • Lavender Sea Salt Scrub
  • Finish a shawl I started for last Christmas
  • Crochet some coasters
  • 1 more crocheted scarf

What do you think? Too ambitious? How are your handmade projects coming?

Making Things: A Cowl for Me

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I actually made this a few months ago, but I forgot to save the pattern, and it took me this long to find it again!

Cowl

I should have looked on Make: Craft sooner– I love that blog. This was a quick, easy and fun pattern to work up, and a nice use for some yarn I had bought off a clearance rack. It was actually an accident I was wearing matching colors in the picture above–I took that picture as soon as I finished the project, and it just happened to be a good outfit for the cowl.

Pink was wonderful last night. The show was so much fun. I loved the circus theme and the acrobatics, and of course her voice is amazing. I am so lucky to have good friends who are good to me!

Ack! Christmas is coming!

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I am not a fan of Christmas music in October or early November, and it drives me crazy that Christmas merchandise is everywhere already, but when you are a person who makes things for Christmas presents, you have to start early. I did start early this year, too–I have been making blankets and scarves since June. However, this weekend I suddenly realized that Christmas is less than 2 months away, and I still have so many things left to do!

I can’t post everything here, on the off chance that some of my recipients will see this post, but I can say that I have gotten a lot done. Yesterday I experimented with mini-stocking ornaments to make as a decoration for all of my gifts this year.

first stocking

I made three of these, each slightly different, to perfect the pattern (or really, my interpretation of it). I’ve nearly got it down, and I am pleased with how quickly I can knock these out.

I also started a collage for my aunt, based on this pin.

green canvas for tree collage

tree collage getting started

Last night I painted my canvas to get ready, and I have been working on it off and on today. With collage, I often have to stop and let the glue dry a bit, so it is good that I started now, when I have time to come back to it over several days.

I also finished a scarf and worked on a blanket that I can’t post here. All of this is making me feel a bit better, but there is still so much left to do! Anyone else making Christmas gifts this year? What kind of progress are you making?

October MADE IT challenge – GET THOSE VOTING FINGERS OUT, IT’S TIME!

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I have been thinking about entering this made it challenge for months now, and this month I finally did it. I entered twice, with my Blue Waves blanket and with my finished pottery pieces. There are so many beautiful things in this challenge, go take a look! If you want to vote for me, that would be nice, too, ;).

woolhogs

♥      ♥

And just like that the October Made It challenge draws to a close and the VOTING door is flung wide open!

What a sensational month it’s been! Lots of lovely newcomers, and FIFTY FOUR, *record breaking wooohooooo high five* awesome, crazily creative projects – thank you EVERYONE!!!

In the mix this month you’ll find a wonderfully colourful array of

Blankets, warm & cuddly

Throws, natural & rustic

Scarves, trendy & chic

Cushions, bright bold & beautiful

Headbands, fashionable & pretty

Shawls, elegant & soft

Christmas snowflakes/angels/ghosts, happy & dapper

Ceramic decor, shiny & different

Mandalas, hip ‘n happening

Beanies, adorable & addictive

A spring wreath, beautifully floral

Cell phone pouch, rainbow coloured

Toys, fun & AMAZEBALLS!

Mitts, fingerless & funky

Cardi/Sweaters, too cute for words

Crochet food, yummy…

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