Musings of a self-taught crafter

A, B, C – L turned 3! December 19, 2011

Filed under: 2011,General — blueberryblues @ 1:09 pm

Our daughter turned 3 this year.  Three years old!  And she was adamant that she MUST have a “letter party”.  She is currently obsessed with the ABCs and she did not waver on her choice of theme from the moment she came up with it (back in late October).  Thankfully, it was a fun little theme to play around with.  Unfortunately, I did not take many pictures of the details (we were having too much fun celebrating).  I did search around the internet and pin some of my inspiration in case anyone is interested in other ideas than the ones that we ended up using.

Since her birthday falls right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we kept it pretty simple.  We decorated the fireplace mantle with framed pictures of her from birth right up to recently.   It was amazing to remind ourselves of the physical (and mental!) changes that she has been through in the last 3 years – she is definitely a little girl now!  We also incorporated some her most colorful artwork and a letter “L” bought at Michael’s that will be used as a decoration in her big kid room.  I also re purposed our alphabet magnets as a vase (similar to this) and added three gerbera daisies.

L surprised me and was REALLY excited to give out favors to her friends.  She requested that she go shopping with me for favors and she helped to personalize everything thing that went into each friend’s bag.  We added some alphabet themed items (stickers and pads of paper), but L picked out sets of markers decorated with characters that she thought each of her friends would enjoy (princesses, minny mouse, cars, toy story, etc) and we added in a few glow bracelets that we had around, which have become another of L’s favorite things since Halloween.   Thank goodness for dollar bins!  We placed everything in green (her favorite color right now) goodie bags and decorated the front with the first letter of everyone’s name.

I made a classic white cake from scratch  in the shape of an L using two bread pans.  In my experience, it is really not difficult or too time consuming to make cake from scratch and I think it has much better flavor than the prepackaged cake mixes.  Those mixes have their uses in the world, but we do not have cake often and when we do I’m happy to take the time to make it really yummy and decadent.  I mixed up some butter cream frosting, tinted it with 3 different shades of green and piped it on into little “flowers” until it was covered.  The cake turned out really cute and fit the theme perfectly, although one of the 3-year-old guests was concerned that there was a large piece missing out of side of the cake!

My favorite memory of the day has nothing to do with the ABC theme or our preparations.  The 3 year old kids came and asked to be allowed to go outside, and since that’s not something we can do often in early December we were happy to oblige.  The babies were left inside with our family while the parents bundled up their big kids and themselves and we went out to get some fresh air.  L and three of her friends decided they had to play hide and seek and that a parent needed to find them.  I love hide and seek at this age – they just don’t quite get the concept yet but are so eager to play. All three of them hid around the same tree, circling it and hiding their own faces.  It was priceless!

L received some great gifts, but she has been fanatical about this one, which happened to fit in perfectly with the party’s theme – it’s been interesting to see how stretchy we can all be each evening, especially after eating dinner!  A definite winner for anyone out there looking for a gift for a three-year old.

Note:  We do have a few pictures of her party to share and I will come back and edit this post with them when I have a minute to do so


Back from Radio Silence? November 1, 2011

Filed under: 2011,General,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 3:42 pm

It’s been embarrassingly too long since I last posted.  I could run through my long list of excuses about why I fell off the blogging bandwagon, but suffice to say it was not my priority while the rest of my life was.  I’ve been having too good of a time being a mother, a wife, an employee, and setting up our new house, among other things, to take the time to post here.  That’s not to say that I have not been crafting.  It’s slow going these days and I pick projects that I find relaxing.

I’ve recently gotten into quilting and sewing and have spent some time at the sewing machine reminding myself about how to use it.  Actually, I completed one of my favorite sewing projects just in time for Halloween festivities.

Our little girl is totally into dress up and playing princess these days and insisted on being “a green fairy” for Halloween.  I searched around Pinterest (have you heard about Pinterest?  If not, that’s information for another post) for a little bit until I found this pin (which looks incredibly close to the pattern that I ended up buying and using – there was no way that, with my beginner garment sewing skills, I could have patterned this by myself). This is probably the most appreciated project I have ever made – she does not want to take it off!  It will definitely be a well loved item in her dress up bin now and I’m happy I made it one size larger than what she currently wears so she’ll get the most use out of it!


Pattern: Simplicity Disney Fairy Pattern

Fabric: costume satin in green and yellow purchased at Joann’s.

The pattern includes instructions on how to make the wings, but I decided to save myself some time and purchase them from Joann’s instead. And seeing the amount of abuse they took through her multiple Halloween parties I’m happy I bought them on the cheap.  I did not use tulle for the under skirt and instead made it out of yellow satin. We could put one of her tutus under it if she wanted the skirt to have extra pouf, but I think it is overall more comfortable for her to wear without the tulle next to her skin.  I also made a long yellow satin ribbon as  a belt instead of the belt from the pattern.  I just made a long tube, closed the ends, and then basted it to the side of the dress so it would not fall down and would cover the waist seam. I did not make bloomers since she wore white leggings (it’s cold out there!).  And the satin was incredibly washable, which was great because she managed to get it dirty at each and every party.

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!  We went through a pretty bad snow storm (we live in the northeast) and lost a couple of trees in our yard, so trick-or-treating was postponed until Friday.  Instead, we enjoyed a quiet dinner lit by the candlelight of our jack-0-lantern (only one since we ran out of energy after cleaning up from the storm) and then played with the glow sticks in a dark room after dinner. That was actually really fun, so much so that our daughter asked to have the jack-0-lantern in her bedroom as she fell asleep (it was lit by a battery operated “candle”)!

I know that many of you continue to craft on a regular basis – I’m definitely inspired by much of what I see out there in the blogosphere.  Hopefully I can find a few moments, energy, and a few spare brain cells to document my projects on a more regular basis.

I linked this project up with Sherry, Katie, Ana, and Erin for the Fall 2011 Pinterest Challenge.


This just in… February 28, 2010

Filed under: 2010,Crochet,Knitting,Olympic Knitting — blueberryblues @ 2:54 pm

My Knitting Olympics and Ravelympics projects are completed and gold medals have  been attained.

Photographic evidence to follow shortly.  Once I find the camera…


OOOH – pick me! February 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — blueberryblues @ 10:36 am

LOVE this dress – perhaps a perfect dress to wear to weddings this year?  Now, to decide whether to splurge…or hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to win it!

Or how about this pillow?  I love that the i is lowercase.  This would be super cute in L’s room.


Let the Games Begin February 12, 2010

Filed under: 2010,Olympic Knitting — blueberryblues @ 10:46 am

Because I’m glutton for punishment, I decided to enter the 2010 Knitting Olympics.  How could I not enter the original knitting games hosted by the beloved Yarn Harlot?  I plan on knitting Pasha the Penguin for L – she has a bit of a penguin obsession going these days!  If the house and these projects are all completed in the next 17 days it will be a miracle worthy of a gold medal (especially the house)!

The countdown begins.  I’ll be doing a bit of yarn winding and tool organizing right up until the moment the flame is lit.


Do I Have the Heart of a Ravelete? February 10, 2010

Filed under: 2010,Olympic Knitting — blueberryblues @ 10:30 am

As the Winter 2010 Olympics approach, I find myself in a bit of a quandary.  Do I take part in the 2010 Ravelympics or not?  I jumped into participating in the 2008 Ravelympics without much thought or fear.  This time is different.  We are doing work on our house and we have a 1-year-old.  Time is not on my side for starting and completing a new project on a deadline.  There is one project that I want to work on and finish.  I want to clear it out of my knitting bag and put it behind me.  It’s the gift that my husband will hold over my head until it is complete.   But finishing that project is not in the cards – it would demand too much time and attention to finish it and finish it well.   But there is a certain little friend whose second birthday is fast approaching and I think she might enjoy a little handmade gift set.

The question is, does it fit “the rules”?

“The One Rule To Rule Them All: Challenge yourself by starting and finishing projects during the 2010 Winter Olympics” (Quoted from the official Ravelry page, the emphasis is mine). The little gift I’m considering is small and definitely achievable, but is it a challenge?  Well, it is crochet and involves multiple colors, both of which are not my forte. I have to admit it is not the most challenging project I’ve ever made, but after my wonderful experience last time not participating seems, well, wrong.

But, in consideration to my time constraints, what if I do not finish?  Is it better to have tried and failed than not to try at all? I will admit that having my project remain incomplete at the end of the games would be a disappointment.  Then again, a half crocheted gift set is 50% closer to finished than in its current state. I think an Olympic athlete would answer this question in a heartbeat with a strong affirmative.  Not all Olympic athletes come home with a medal and I may just be one of those Raveletes.

My decision:  I’m in.  I plan on crocheting 6 Quick Cupcakes during these Winter 2010 Olympic Games.  Oh, and (most importantly) finishing the work on the house.

Are you going to compete?

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Swifter, Higher, Stronger


2009: Year in Review January 8, 2010

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 4:30 pm

If you had asked me a month ago how many items I handmade during the year I would have gawked at you.  I mean, be real – I just had a baby and there were times during the past year that I barely found time to shower and sleep, much less indulge in a favorite crafty past time!  But when I took the time to look back on all that I had crafted throughout 2009 I found myself pleasantly surprised and proud.

2009 – Knitting

Knits 20091) Claudia Hat 2) Nottingham Hat 3) Button-up Herringbone Cowl

4) Booties 5) Booties 6) and More Booties

7,8)  Hats for donation to local hospital for kids with cancer

9) Little Mabel (detailed blog post to come) and 10) Fish Dishcloth

Okay, the truth is that the green hat was not really my finished object.  It’s actually my husband’s first knitted item, which he did with the help of my instructions.  That counts, right? Some knitters at his company pulled together a charity hat drive and he came home and asked for me to teach him how to knit so that he could take part (I participated too, hence the little yellow had with crocheted flower topper).  I will proudly boast that he did mighty well for his first knit (the cute model does not hurt either)!

I am by far the most excited about the Button-up Herringbone Cowl, which was my first pattern.  It is not a mind-blowing design – it’s a simple cowl knit with two needles and closed with buttons! – but it was the first time that I had written up instructions and put them out there for others to use.  It’s been quite exciting to see it be knit up by others who discovered it over on Ravelry and to see the Ravelry “ticker” kick up to 4 projects!

2009 – Sewing

Sewing 20091, 2, 3) Lots of Babies = Lots of Burp cloths 4) Heat/Cold Pack 5) Baby Quilt

6) Birthday Banner 7,8) Doll Quilts

One of the most surprising developments of 2009 was that I dusted off the ol’ sewing machine and began to use it with more regularity.  With the amount that I had to focus on this year, this didn’t seem like a very smart way to use my crafting time.  But I am SO INSPIRED by the quilts and gorgeous cloth that I’ve seen on other blogs (and those made by L’s daycare provider!) that I could not stop myself.  My 2009 sewing projects are by no means difficult, but they were a start to strengthening my sewing skills.  I’ve really caught the sewing bug now.

The Tally for 2009:

hats – 3 (and 1 for the hubby!)

Booties – 4 (1 pair never photographed or blogged)

cowl – 1 (my pattern!)

sweaters – 1 (toddler sized)

burp cloths – 3 sets of 3

quilt – 3 (1 baby, 2 doll sized)

dishcloth – 1 (raveled but never blogged)

heat/cold pack – 1 (never blogged)

birthday banner – 1

Total – 18 (15 for gifts/charity, 3 for me)

I gave away the majority (83% – WOW!) of my completed products, which is probably why I felt like I didn’t accomplish much since I had gifted the visual reminders of my time and energy.  I can definitely identify which of the items were well cherished and appreciated by their recipients.  I always love when something that you’ve put so much time, energy, and love into is well received and acknowledged.

I can confidently say that I succeeded in my goal that I set at the beginning of 2009 – to find a way to fit crafting into my role as a new mom.  I hope to continue to do so in 2010.  In 2009, I definitely used what time that I did have to craft, not to blog about my crafting.  I hope to post more regularly throughout 2010 and to do so as I finish projects.  It’s nice to have this record to see how far I’ve come in a years time, in two years time, and so forth.  I even have a few ideas for posts queued up, so hopefully this will get me off on a good start! As for 2010 goals, I have a knitting WIP that doesn’t seem like it will ever be completed, probably because I continue to focus my time and energy elsewhere.  It’s time to get that going and finished.  Perhaps I should challenge myself to finish it during the Olympics, à la this?  I also have so many quilting ideas running through my head and I would love to see at least one of them be started and ideally completed.  Hopefully 2010 will be another productive year!


A Bevy of Blankets January 7, 2010

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 10:05 pm

A short post lacking in detail as I try to wrap up posting my 2009 projects.

A baby sized quilt for PSC

DSC_0029 (2)

A doll blanket for my Mom and L – a Christmas present


And another doll quilt for my Mother-in-law and L – – a Christmas present



New Traditions December 24, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 2:55 pm

I love decorating for the holidays.  I have my favorite decorations that I look forward to uncovering out each year – the cross stitch santas, handmade paper holiday cards too pretty to throw out that I’ve framed, special ornaments, the crocheted Christmas tree angel.  To me, these items bring up fond memories of family members and celebrations gone by and these items are now like old friends whom I get excited to see even before we open the storage crate.

L’s first birthday is just a few short weeks before Christmas.  As we prepared for her FIRST birthday party (YEAH!  She’s ONE!), I wanted to create a special decoration that could be pulled out and displayed year-after-year.  I’ve loved the birthday buntings that I’ve seen on Etsy and around the web and decided to create one of my own.


I purchased a Fabric Central Refresh fabric bundle on a whim awhile ago.  I fell in love with the nature prints (leaves, flowers, butterflies) and the color palette of soft blues, greens, and browns.  The colors are a little mature for a first birthday, but I think that its quiet sophistication will help it “age” over time.


I cut the letters out of white fabric that I had in my stash.  I ironed on paper backed fusible web and then traced letters which I printed out to use them as a stencil.  I ironed on and sewed around each letter on the front half of the bunting before sewing together the front and backs together.  The finished size is about 4.5″ x 5″.  I finished the banner by sewing each letter on cotton bias tape 1′ apart.

I’m really happy with the finished product.  It hung in our living room for a whole week before L’s party and I became more excited to celebrate the milestone birthday each time I passed it.  I’m excited to have this project completed and in our stash of decorations.  I know that when we pull this out each year that I will fondly remember L’s first birthday and be amazed at how she’s changed.

Happy 1rst Birthday, L!


Dear Santa December 17, 2009

Filed under: 2009 — blueberryblues @ 4:55 pm

I know it has been years since I wrote you a letter listing all of the wonderful things that a girl could ever ask for.   It’s been so long, in fact, that I’m not sure snail mail is even delivering to the North Pole anymore.  I trust that you are a technology wiz and will find my little wish list here in blogland.  See, I really want very few things this year.  I could ask for a new sewing machine or a dedicated sewing area, but that doesn’t seem reasonable to ask of you right now.  I would, however, love to make a quilt this upcoming year.  See, I have this vision of making a quilt for our living room – one for every winter holiday.  My ongoing project.

I spied the L’Amour fabric by Sandy Gervais over at the Fat Quarter Shop and I think it would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day quilt.  Isn’t it pretty?  Can’t you imagine snuggling under a quilt made of this fabric one cold February night?  I’d really love to have find the L’Amour fat quarter bundle under our tree on Christmas morning.  I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is not your holiday, but I thought I could start with this one while I improve my skills and search out the perfect fabric for a Christmas themed quilt.   So, what’cha think?  I promise I’ve been good.  Very good!  I promise to set out cookies and milk for you and a carrot for Rudolph like I did all those years ago.



PS – L looks forward to hanging her stocking, reading ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, and waiting on the top of the stairs until you’ve finished your good work – it will be her first Christmas doing those things!