Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creative Ennui...

Well, I'm in a bit of slump.  A creativity slump, brought on, I think, by mild exhaustion.  The husband was gone for 3 weeks on business and it's always just a little too crazy around here for crafting when it's just me and Mr. Boy.  Husband is back now, but I'm still in a slump.

In the past 3 weeks this is all I've managed to finish: 

mini granny pillow front & back

I bought these little pillows years ago from IKEA with the intention of making all kinds of cute little cushion covers to throw around different areas of the house.  Yeah, never happened.
So I have this one done (the picture shows front and back) and I'm not even all that thrilled with it.  It's ok.  It's meh.

So my question is:  Does anyone have any tips or tricks for getting over a creativity slump?  Do you just wait it out or do you force yourself to craft until something excites you again.  Maybe brains just sometimes need a break from being all excited and crazy inspired for awhile so they create the Creative Ennui.

Oh well.
I'll leave you with this picture of a cute little magnet I saw at a store the other day.


good advice

Thursday, February 10, 2011

♥Things I'm Loving♥

Not a lot of crochet time lately now that Mr. Boy is down to one parent.  (Daddy is in Indonesia on business.)
So I've been doing a lot of browsing and playing on-line.

Here's a few things that I've found that I'm loving:


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Boat and Tote bags from LL Bean.  There's just something so classic and timeless about them and now you can customize your own.  I've been playing around with different colors and combinations all week. Here's a link to one of my favorite custom combos if you want to check it out.

This quick bread recipe from Inside a Black Apple.    

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I changed it up a bit.  I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 2/3, and instead of just 1 cup of walnuts, I added 1/2 cup each of walnuts, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips.  It came out sooooooo delicious! My picture doesn't do it justice.  Just try it because it's super easy to make and it tastes like something you slaved over.  I'll bet you have all of the main ingredients in your kitchen right now.  I did!

I can't wait to try these Salon Effects nail polish strips from Sally Hansen.  
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I've already bought some, but haven't had the chance to actually try them out yet.  Pictures will follow when I do.


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Follow the link and share what you're loving! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh Mr. Darcy, can you fetch me my shawl?

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I must admit that when I first noticed that shawls were becoming the thing in the knitting realm, I was a bit baffled.  I know something had to replace ponchos once those went out of favor, (which I was really dismayed about because I still love ponchos, but that's a whole other story) but shawls seemed a bit too... I don't know... Jane Austenish to carry over into our current modern times.  I mean shawls and texting?  It just didn't seem right.

Don't get me wrong.  I love all things Jane Austen, myself.  I've read every one of her books.  I've probably watched Sense and Sensibility at least 400 times (much to my husbands dismay.) That scene where Elinor's shawl falls off while she's taking one of those oh so English strolls and talking to Edward and he tenderly places it back over her shoulder... *sigh.*

But the point is, I just couldn't really see the need to spend hours knitting a shawl and then where would I wear it and with what?  I mean I'm pretty much a lounge pants/sweats and tee shirt kind of gal.  In the summer I might wear a dress or two, but there's rarely a need for a shawl in a Houston summer.

Then I saw a girl in Starbucks and she had a shawl wrapped around her neck in this certain way so that it was more like a scarf and she looked très soigné, and I thought, well OK, I could maybe pull that off.  And then I saw this pattern on Ravelry and I knew I had to make myself one. It kind of goes along with my whole granny craze that I've been on lately.

So I went for a little stash dive and found some sock yarn that I seriously don't even remember buying and before I knew it I had my first shawl.  Here's three things I finally understand about shawls and why people love them.
1.  They keep you so warm!
2.  You can wear them inside without feeling like you're dressed for outside.
3.  Shawls are like little blankets that are acceptable to carry around with you all day.

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I actually did a little research on the shawl (because that's the kind of thing I do when I get semi-obsessed with something new) and I found out that shawls first came into fashion around the Jane Austenish times (1780-1870) along with all things in any way Oriental.  Most everything else soon went out of style (turbans) but the shawl stuck around because it served an actual purpose which was mainly keeping women warm in drafty houses. And to think I used to feel sorry for poor Elizabeth Bennet and Elinor Dashwood freezing their arses off in the English winters with nothing but a shawl to keep them warm.  Ha!

Close up of shawl/scarf
(This is as close as I get to soigné.)

Ian in my shawl
Here's Mr. Boy in my shawl.  He always gets cold in the grocery store.

By the way, crocheting a shawl is so much less time consuming than knitting one.  I used sock yarn and an F hook and it still went fairly quickly.  I would have made it bigger, but I kept running out of yarn.
There are definitely more of these in my future.  I've just about worn this one out already during this crazy cold winter storm nonsense.  (I seriously have already had to mend it!)  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Well I'll be durned...

Look what I found hiding in the midst of my stash the other night.

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This project was from years ago.  So long ago that I had pretty much totally forgotten of it's existence.  This was originally meant to be a felted messenger bag, but somewhere along the way I think I realized that I have absolutely no need for a messenger bag.

So rather than frog it, which would suck and leave me with lots of itty bitty lengths of yarn,  I decided to felt it and make it into a kitty bed for my poor cold kitties. 
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This was my first time to felt anything ever! To be perfectly honest, I never really saw the point of felting things.  Seemed counterproductive to spend all that time knitting or crocheting something only to purposefully "ruin" it and make all your beautiful stitches melt together and disappear.  Okay, it makes sense for a bag because it makes a very strong fabric, but still...

However, now that I've done it I love it!
It makes such a lovely dense and warm fabric, and well honestly, there is a sort of recklessness and rebelliousness that comes from just wildly tossing your woolen handmade item into a washing machine full of hot water without a care in the world. Like, "Yeah, I'm gonna put it in the washing machine... Yeah, hot water... You got somethin' to say about that...?  Huh!?"

And it's pretty cool that even though it's wool, I don't really have to worry about shrinking it in the wash anymore.  Love that part.
Photo794.jpgThis picture sucks pretty bad, but I just wanted to show that my kitty bed plan worked.  It took Kitty (yep, that's her name) about 2.3 seconds to claim it once I put it on the couch.  I tried several times to get a better picture, but this was the best I could do.

So now, of course, I'm obsessed with thinking of new things to felt.  Oh dear...

(btw- the yarn is Lamb's Pride Worsted, in case anyone is curious. It felts beautifully and they have every color known to man as far as I can tell.  The original pattern was the Good Vibrations Bag from this book.  Here it is on Ravelry too.)