All posts filed under: Crochet

December Daily 2014| project life app december daily 14

On Finishing Projects & December Daily: Full Digital Album

This is one of those projects I had to force myself to finish. It was certainly not as “inspired” as 30 Days of Thankful or Me: the Abridged Version was. But I LOVE this album. And I think the negative aspects of my experience in making it was a valuable lesson on mindset and how it changes the course of your experience. And before you see all the pretty pictures, let’s discuss – for a moment – what the wrong attitude is when it comes to investing in your creative outlets. First – allow me to set the stage. It’s December in New England – a very dark, cold, grey time of year. Everyone is generally grumpy and unexcited (which is why I wrote this post on battling grey days). This is the time of year when people do a large portion of their complaining. To be fair, there just isn’t enough sun. The days are too short and even when we do see it, it’s a dim, low-set sunlight. Terrible for replenishing your vitamin-D …

Thinking of making handmade gifts this year? Read this first!!

Are you planning Handmade Holiday Gifts? Read this first!

When time allows, hand-making quality gifts for friends and family is such a wonderful way to celebrate how much you care for that person. It’s also a great way to give them exactly what (you think) they want, cultivate your own craft skill set, and – sometimes, but not always – it helps your dollar go farther. In years past, I have made A LOT of things: photo albums, crochet hats, scarves, amigurumi, beaded necklaces and jewelry. Sometimes it’s a big success. Sometimes it’s not. And that’s okay. What I’ve learned is that some projects are worth pursuing and some – some just aren’t. So how do you decide whether or not hand crafting your holiday gifts is right for you? Honestly, it’s a big question that we could spend a lot of time talking about. Instead, I’ll boil it down to a few simple things. (Note to reader: I have done all of these things so you can learn from my mistakes!) 1. Ask yourself: why did you decide to take this on? For …

Be a Project Finisher | Tips on organizing yourself to finish those leftover projects

Be a Project Finisher: Finished Projects!

Last month I introduced an ambitious personal goal to finish a bunch of craft and home organization projects in the post Be a Project Finisher. I chose projects that were weighing on me and impacted my life the most with the goal of taking that (unnecessary) stress out of my life. Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers and crafters Elise Blaha Cripe, I decided to publicly announce my goal (here on the blog) and set a deadline (November 15). I also posted the checklist on the wall in my office. And it worked! Not only did I finish all of the projects I listed, I also completed all of the additional projects on my wish list. It’s so gratifying to finish a project, to know that those little things that were bothering me and causing unneeded stress – like organizing my desk drawers – those projects are done. They’re complete. And having them done has not only alleviated stress, it’s actually made my life easier and saved real time. And it didn’t cost a …

Project Life: Week 14

Keep it Simple (Project Life: Week 14)

I have this unique ability to make things that would otherwise be simple unnecessarily complicated. This is especially true when I care about the outcome. Whether it’s a craft project, a favor for a friend, or a task at work, I find myself turning what would otherwise be a fun thing into a burden. I get stressed. I have some kind of intense stare-down with myself, wondering how and why I got so stressed in the first place. Enter, meltdown. Minor or not, it’s a habit that I see play out all the time, and that is when I give the same advice friends give me when I’m being a nut. I think it’s as much about the questions as it is about the message, so here are the quotes: “Wow. That sounds like a lot of work. I would not put that much effort into that kind of a project.” <me: if you only knew how much time I had already spent on this… > “Do you really think they are going to care …

Project Life: Week 13

Thinking Positively Through Challenging Times (Project Life: Week 13)

Holiday time. Time for family firsts: baby’s first Christmas, first holiday season as a new family, first opportunity to create family traditions that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, that did not happen this year. So, instead of creating new family traditions we learned a valuable lesson about what the holiday season is truly about. I’m sure you have heard this saying before: at least you have your health! When we are down, when life is challenging, when things seems impossible to overcome, it can be difficult to think positively. We focus on the negative, we wallow in our misery, sometimes we even find other people who are also unhappy just so we can commiserate and share our gripes. Why? What are we even so upset about? For years my husband would say the same thing: you have a choice. You choose to be upset. You choose to let this bother you. And you can also choose to move past it. And that usually lead to further frustration. To think that I had any control over …

Project Life: Week 9 Pg 1

Preparing for Baby’s First Immunizations (Project Life: Week 9)

This is the week I started calling myself “mom.” I know, that sounds crazy. My baby was more than two months old, but I had felt that life was way too easy and had yet to earn my ‘parenting stripes’, so to speak. But that changed SO quickly. And suddenly I found myself saying “plleeeeaasse, Max, be good to mommy!” “pleeeaasse, baby, mommy needs sleep…” “pleeeaaasse, Maxie, feel better for mommy…” I think all parents eventually reach the point where they learn the harsher reality of parenting – sometimes it’s really hard. Our trial-by-fire came the weekend of Thanksgiving. And that was unfortunate, becasuse there is not a lot of forgiveness during the holidays.There are no sick days when the entire family has yet to see the baby. You have to suck it up and BE. A. PARENT. A real parent. A sleep-deprived, slightly hopeless, parent. First, let’s start with the lesson. The lesson is three-part, and here it is: 1. When scheduling baby’s first shots, expect a sleepless night or two. 2. Expect the …

Mid-Winter Flu Season Blog Break is Over!

Oh my! I never would have imagined such a busy holiday season would be possible after the burdens of semester finals had passed, but this last month has had its share of moments – good, bad, and ugly – that we will not soon forget. ┬áThe flu (which has become an epidemic in my state, declared officially last week) ran its course on our family, starting with the baby in early December and ending with me more than a month later. Not even three days later, after my first three days back at work, I was sick again. And as of tonight, baby is working his way through the end of his latest cold. To top it off, the flu has officially reached epidemic proportions in our area, leading to a state of emergency, and sending us all into a semi-concerned state of panic. You can see the concern on the face of strangers in the drug store, as entire families show up with the flu to get treated at the minute clinic, and on …

Handmade Holiday Gifts

You may remember from last month that I committed to a Handmade Holiday this year. Well, it’s finally happening. And here are the first of MANY projects complete. 1. Cowl. I’m not sure who to give this to yet, but I have intention to make several cowls for my sisters and friends (and me!) this year. This is the first of several patterns and textures I’m trying out. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft (on sale at Michaels for $3/skein this week!). I used 1.5 skeins and doubled them up to add thickness (and save time). You can find the pattern from The Crimson Owl blog here. 2. Elf on the Shelf. Yes, it’s all the rage this year to have an Elf for each home that has a kid. But with limited funds and a hefty pricetag ($30 at Target!), I offered to do better for my sister – to give her something unique that only my nephew would have, and to save the much needed funds for a present under the tree. I …

Lots of Baby Hats..

In my brief time as a new parent, I have already developed some expertise in crochet baby hats. It took hours upon hours of research (i.e. searching Ravelry patterns and Etsy shops), more failed attempts than successes, and a lot of time, sitting, nursing, and keeping my hands busy with a hook and some soft yarn. Here are some things to think about when you’re shopping around for baby hats: 1. What is the purpose of the hat? Is it for a photo shoot, for fashion, for warmth? Each function has a different answer. 2. For my photo shoot hats, I kept everything simple, neutral, and coordinated. It was important to capture my baby.. not the hat. I made the whole outfit with one large ball of yarn that I purchased for $10. I even had enough for a baby cocoon (not shown). Not bad! 3. For regular, every-day wear and for warmth, I like hats that are a little big and that have ear flaps. They stay on well, I had lots of compliments, …

Why I (love to) Craft

The November 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living just arrived today and it brought me back to a topic I’ve been meaning to revisit: the joy of crafting.   Over the summer I picked up a couple new hobbies and polished skills on others as part of my preparation to get though late pregnancy and maternity leave with my sanity in tact. Turns out that I was onto something. According to the article titled “This is Your Brain on Crafts,” “crafting can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and even improve sleep.” Crafts, especially fiber arts like knitting and crochet, provide a light distraction by keeping your hands occupied, while allowing your mind to wonder, hold conversation, or catch up on the most recent season of Project Runway. And although my new hobbies solely responsible for the cool, calm demeanor I maintained throughout pregnancy, I can certainly attest to the fact that picking up crochet and jewelry-making definitely put my mind and body at ease on hot summer nights, long car rides, and awkward …