My Rigid Heddle Adventures

After the wedding last June, the present I gave to myself was a 15″ Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom.  I had been eyeing them for several months ahead of time, thinking about which loom I wanted to buy.  Reading the reviews and comments on Ravelry really helped and I am really glad I chose this loom.  Right away I made two scarves, but then I was stalled out for several months because I had a slightly stretchy yarn on the warp.  I finally finished that project and then got back on a kick of weaving plain weave scarves.  Somehow I never blogged about any of them this entire time.  So this will be the rigid heddle loom montage of projects (all listed on my Ravelry page):

A special thanks to my direct warp helper – my husband!  And the dogs seem to always want to help as well.  Why am I posting all these projects now, you might ask? Well, I have moved on to a bigger loom already.  I saw a deal online that I could not pass up – while I was watching for a deal on hand combs.  That’s another story for another day.  But yes, I bought a floor loom for an incredible price and am currently learning how to use it.  My mother-in-law has my rigid heddle loom on loan so she can learn how to weave next.  And my friend Janelle has a Cricket loom now too!  She tried mine out on knit night at my house and caught the bug (so I say).  The weaving bug is spreading…looking forward to seeing what I can create next on my big loom!

Leftover Authentique Cards

Yesterday I was in my craft room, looking through my little gatherings of leftover card making supplies. I found a grouping of stickers and paper where I knew instantly how to use them up.  I had to go back through blog posts to find that these were the materials leftover from my Authentique Card Kit way back in September 2013!  How fun.  I wish Diana still made card kits!  Here are three cards I quickly put together.

That’s two weeks in a row of cards.  I have been knitting and weaving up a storm too, just nothing especially exciting to share on the blog.  Hope you are getting a chance to create lots of projects!

Sincere Thanks Cards

To start out my Happy Mail Card Club cards for 2015, I created a simple card using the flower image from the Online Card Classes – Copic Markers for Card Makers. This image is about as detailed as I have gotten in my coloring adventures, but I was excited to blend the colors to create a realistic flower.  The reds are actually the Stampin’ Up Blendabilities Cherry Cobbler set, which match the background paper (of course!).  After I spent so much time coloring the image, it just seemed appropriate to use a simple background of embossed Swiss Dots and a simple “thank you” message.

I hope your crafting is off to a great start in 2015!

Apple Pie Filling Gifts

My homemade gifts for Christmas this year were canned goodies.  I blogged about canning cherry syrup/jam back in August, but I had to wait for this post because several of you readers got the “homemade apple pie filling!”  I live right next to apple country here in PA, so it only made sense to can a variety of local apples when they were in season during October.  I found the recipe I wanted to try at Food in Jars.  I bought my Clear Gel from Amazon after I quickly realized I could not find it in the stores.  And my spices were from Penzey’s (my favorite spice store).  I made two batches – 6 pints and 6 quarts (all jars from the wedding).  The batch tasted delicious and it was just as much of a sticky mess as the cherries.  I just hope it stayed delicious – I gave them all away!

2015 Goals – The Year of Nourish

A new year and new goals!  I am so looking forward to my crafting adventures in 2015.  I have had a few days to think about my 2014 Recap and I am ready to write down my goals for this year.  First, this is my fifth year of choosing a “one little word,” inspired by Ali Edwards.  Past words include:  Flow (2014), Acceptance (2013), Mindful (2012), and Relax (2011).  This year will be Nourish.  Google defines nourish one way as, “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”  That is exactly how I feel about my crafting goals this year.  I want to continue to nourish my hobbies and the time I spend on them.  Not every goal will be about growing the craft, but keeping it in good condition and keeping my current goals active.  It is not a year of big excitement – it is a year of nourishment.

2015 Goals:

  • Keep track of my fiber, fabric, and yarn stashes.

An important goal to me every year as I try to use more of what I already own.  Last year was a struggle in each of these areas, but I am looking forward to a fresh start this year!  It is too easy to buy more, especially when it takes so much time to use it.  My next goal should help with the reduction of the stashes this year as well.

  • Reduce the time spent on the computer each evening and over the weekend.

Part of the lack of crafting during the school year I know comes from sitting on the computer.  I love to read blogs and scroll through my Twitter and Instagram feeds.  I get distracted by something new on some crafty blog and then I must own it!  Which of course, reduces the time I am spending on crafts I already own.  So I have downloaded the StayFocusd add-on for Google Chrome.  My blocked sites include social media, Feedly (my reader for blogs), and Ravelry.  Once that little timer is up each evening, I am ready to enjoy my evening with crafting or anything else.

  • Commit to watching my online crafting classes (Creativebug, Craftsy, OnlineCardClasses).

Now this goal may seem to contradict the above goal.  However, it does not to me.  What do I do when I am cruising the internet?  Buy online classes.  Or hoard crafting books.  Both related.  This year I want to make myself a schedule of watching more of these classes I have already purchased.  Following a schedule is how I work best, so I plan to do something like, “watch three lessons this week” and have a little checklist.

  • Weave six projects from the yarn stash.

One commitment I want to make in my fiber related crafting world is to weave six projects.  I purchased a 15″ Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom in 2014 and have made 4 scarves on it so far.  This year I would like to make sure I keep up the weaving with at least six projects, using the yarn stash (oh how easy it is to tell myself I need more yarn after weaving a project!).  I would like to make some projects without fringe (back to the Craftsy class I already own).  And a sock yarn scarf is also on my mind for this year.

  • Shift my scrapbooking to focus on themes and non-chronological memories.

I have been scrapbooking each year of my life consistently since 2003.  I have a wall full of albums that generally mark August – July of each year.  I also have vacation albums, “daily” documentation albums, albums that were gifts, and digital albums.  I love all of these albums and am so happy I took the time over the years to document my life.  However, most of the pages I create are chronological event style.  Here we did this, then we did that.  This past year I have been pulled more towards documenting thoughts and feelings rather than events.  Rather than, “here is when my nephew was born” and leaving it at that, what if I also write down, “here are the emotions I felt the day you were born.”  And that kind of style takes in the moment writing.  It is not as genuine for me to write those kind of notes three months after the fact.  Instead, I want to use my Project Life cards and my new Story Kits to document my life.  What if this year I focus on a non-chronological scrapbook?  Just documenting what I want – when I want to.  It is a shift and I am excited to see where it leads!

  • Start a real garden out in the yard this year.

Now that we are more settled in our house, I would like to plan and plant an outdoor garden this year.  Last year I planted some containers, but this year I want to make the space for the garden.  I need to plan sooner rather than later, because prime planting time is always the busiest time of the year for me at school.  But I learned from my past garden at the old house and am looking forward to a fresh start.  Talk about alignment with the word of the year!

  • Can vegetables for the first time.

Last year I started canning for the first time – cherries and apple pie filling.  This year I want to venture into vegetables.  Not from my own garden probably, but definitely local produce.  Again, this is tricky because another busy time of the year is when all the vegetables are ready for harvest.  I am looking forward to trying something that does not involve a sticky mess though!

  • Create the wall of shawls.

This sounds like a funny one, but any knitter will understand.  I have all of these shawls I have made over the years and they live in a plastic bin that I rarely open.  Why?!  They should be on a wall, displayed for everyone to see!  The wall of shawls!  To make this happen we need to paint the master bedroom and decorate the rest of the room.

So those are my crafting goals for 2015!  I am also looking forward to continuing to spin and make cards (those crafts do not need goals this year).  I also have personal goals of continuing to run and practice my meditation.  I will be helping a friend plan her wedding this year as a bridesmaid.  I look forward to watching all the children in my life continue to grow.  And just being!  Nourishing the life I am so blessed to live!  Hope you are ready for an excellent 2015 yourself.

2014 End of Year Stash Report and Goal Updates

The end of truly wonderful and beautiful year for me is here!  Time to check in on my crafty goals and give the final stash report.  Remember, 2014 was The Year of Flow, which turned out to be an excellent word.  I referenced flow several times to friends throughout the year and it was a great reminder to myself when things got hectic.

Let’s start with the stash reports, which was my first goal of the year:

Fabric Update:

Used Year to Date: 26.5 yards

Added Year to Date:  21 yards

Destashed Year to Date:  5.5 yards

Not bad for still needing to complete my t-shirt quilt and wedding quilt!

Fiber Update:

Ounces Spun Year to Date:  56 ounces

Purchased Year to Date:  55 ounces

Yards Spun Year to Date:  2,528 yards

Net Destashed for 2013:  1 ounce

Barely made it on this one, but still ahead!

Yarn Update:

Knit Year to Date:  8,001 yards

Woven Year to Date:  740 yards

Traded/Sold/Gave Away Year to Date:  993 yards

Purchased Year to Date: 8,646 yards

Acquired for Free to Date:  995 yards

Net Destashed for 2013:   93 yards

Whew, just barely made it.  Considering I was about 1,000 yards behind three months ago, I am proud of myself!  Being the social scientist that I am, I just had to make a chart to compare the past three years of yarn usage:

Interesting, isn’t it?  2012 was a prolific year of knitting for me (too bad I did not track the years before that).  I really cut back on buying in 2013, which makes sense with our big move.  And this year I increased my knitting again, but bought almost the same amount.  I’ll blame my new nephew for that…I just HAD to knit him a blanket…and buy the yarn for it…and just HAD to knit the baptism gown…and buy the yarn for it.  I am just kidding about the blame – it is a miracle I did not feel compelled to knit more for this kid!

My nephew wearing the Woodland Tee I knit for him.

Other Goal Updates:

  • Enjoy the crafting for my wedding.

Well this goal was a huge success and I blogged about it here.  I loved crafting for my wedding and stuck to my motto of flow and enjoying it along the way.  I even went through some withdrawal afterwards – I missed walking into a craft store and dreaming about the wedding!  Now I have beautiful photos, video, and memories to remind me about it all!

  • Start and/or finish at least five projects for myself.

This year I finished and started 22 knitting projects and 6 of them were for me.  12 of the 22 were for kids in my life.  None of them were sweaters for myself!  This will definitely need to be an updated goal for 2015…always a “struggle” to balance the things I want to do for others and spending the time on making things for myself.  How long have I been saying I am going to finish that t-shirt quilt for myself?  I DID go with the flow on this goal though.

  • Start an outdoor garden at this house.

I said I would plant something – anything – and I did!  I started with potatoes and basil plants in containers.  That was a big accomplishment, considering the wedding.  I am also glad I waited to make a permanent garden because our yard changed drastically this year with the dogs and home improvement projects.  So next year I can go beyond my herb and one vegetable!

  • Paint the rest of the house and put curtains up in every room.

Well…we made a lot of progress on this goal, but it is not a complete goal.  When I made this goal, the second bedroom was not touched, and that room got done this summer, curtains and all.  The living room and kitchen were already done I think…except the curtains.  We just recently updated those.  I made a custom Roman Shade for the one bathroom – that was cool.  And we did make big progress on the breezeway (which I am committed to finishing before the new semester starts!).  And we did buy the rest of the paint we need…we just need to actually do it.  The master bedroom, hallway, and bathrooms are the last rooms that need paint.  I did have a friend at my house last week that said, “You have done SO much to this place in the past year.”  And yes – she is right!  Out of 1975 into 2015 here we come.  Although I am pretty sure that harvest gold counter top is going to outlive me.  :)

That’s it for 2014!  Such a wonderful year, both in life and crafting!  So glad I made reasonable goals for myself and stayed in the flow.  I am really looking forward to planning 2015!  Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas Cards and Tags 2014

This year was the first year I sent out a photo card instead of a handmade card to our family and friends!  I had a great reason though – a chance to use the wedding photos.  I ordered the photo cards this summer and addressed them over Thanksgiving break, so I was well prepared to send them all out at the beginning of this month.  Next year I will be back to handmade.  And I did get a chance to still make some Christmas cards and tags this year for my Happy Mail Card Club and my old scrapbooking group (the Queen Bees).  I used the Simon Says Stamp Winter Jubilee card kit for both the cards and tags.  I tried to replicate Shari Carroll’s card and Sarah Moerman’s card from that gallery.

I loved working with the matte medium product and the little epoxy hearts and ribbons.  And who can resist those bunny rabbits?  Just a little modern take on Christmas cards and tags!  I hope you have had the chance to do some holiday crafting this season!