Monday, September 2, 2013

Halloween Hats

I loom knitted a few very cute little Halloween hats for my Stepmom's birthday. She has a budding photography business going and is always looking for cute photo props. [And on a side note ... if you tell someone that you're going to be at their house for them to take pictures of your kid, please have the courtesy to actually show up. If you can't make it, call and reschedule. Photography is a tough business and there's a TREMENDOUS amount of prep work that goes into it BEFORE any photos are made. Don't be a jerk, okay? It's amazing how many no-shows Stepmom gets. Okay .... soapbox is now going back into the closet.]

Here are 3 pumpkin hats. Two are infant sized and one is toddler sized. I need to make a slightly larger one for my daughter soon.

Click here to see my basic pattern inspiration (Loom Lore Blog)

A close-up

I made 2 candy corn hats. One turned out weird, but the smaller one is cute. I'm going to have to work on my pattern for this one. The inspiration came from the Loom Lore Blog along with the pumpkin hats.

Not sure why the one on the left is so BIG.

This one will be cute on a tiny head!

The candy corn hats are Red Heart Super Saver Yarn (pumpkin, bright yellow, white). The pumpkin hats are Caron Simply Soft (I think) in probably pumpkin and forest floor. I can't find the wrappers for that yarn, although I know I kept them.

It's About Time I Finished!!!

If you happen to read what I type here (as opposed to just looking at the pictures), you already know that I'm TERRIBLE about starting project 1, setting it aside, starting project 2 (or 3 or 4), setting that one aside to return project 1 (or 2 or 3 or 4), so forth and so on. That's okay when the projects are small and don't take up much room in my house. It's not so okay when it's stripping and repainting a functional dresser.

I have a dresser that belonged to my Grandmother. It's been painted and re-painted many times and has always (for some unknown reason) resided in the dining room of whatever house it lived in. Anyway, I decided that I needed to strip all the old paint off, sand, and give this dresser a fresh start. So after emptying its contents all over my dining room floor (which isn't used as a dining room, but rather as a library/exercise equipment holding room), I moved the dresser into the garage and proceeded to strip that paint.

I kind of liked stripping the paint off. It was fun to see it get all goopy and then scrape off. So, I did that one Sunday and then moved the whole operation to my (small) back porch so I could get my car back in the garage. At first, I continued to work on the dresser on the back porch. I sanded and got as many of of those stubborn bits of paint off that I could. Then, it was time to paint. This is when work stalled ... well, stopped.

See, it rained here almost every day this summer. Very strange for this neck of the woods. Usually we have high humidity, but no rain in the summertime. I told myself that I couldn't paint because it was so wet outside that the paint would take FOREVER to dry. I didn't want to paint inside because I have a young, curious daughter and an energetic, curious kitten both of whom would have LOVED to play in the paint. So the dresser sat outside on my tiny screened in back porch all summer long. The drawers were stacked inside the house next to the computer. All of these things were in the way. The items that had at one time been inside the dresser were also in the way. You'd think this fact would have kick-started me into action, but, alas, no. We just walked around the dresser and the drawers and the drawer contents --- eventually the dresser and drawers became cluttered with papers and other items, blending into our home's motif with surprising ease.

Finally, after several months, the weather man said the humidity was going to be low and we were going to have a wonderful weekend of cooler weather. Since humidity and rain were my excuses for not painting, this declaration forced me into motion. I moved everything back into the garage so I'd have more room to move, bought some Kilz to cover up any thing weird on the dresser, and pulled out some paint that was leftover from my bedroom and bathroom. The funny thing is that I finished the whole thing in a day (even with 2 coats of Kilz, 2 coats of paint, and the suggested drying times). Why couldn't I have done that sooner? The humidity thing was really a poor excuse. I could have painted in the garage and left the door close with the fan on in there. The paint would have dried. Oh well, I guess the important thing is that the project is finished. Here it is...

The body of the dresser is a slightly darker shade of purple than the drawers. It really did turn out nicely and the paint is relatively smooth, all things considered. If I may, now I'd like to draw your attention to the runner on top of the dresser.

I like runners on top of furniture. Don't ask me why, I just do. I made this runner yesterday morning. It started out as 4 placemats from Goodwill. After pulling out the seams and the lining, I did a little sewing, and waa-laa! A runner! I'm pretty proud of this. It's not perfect, but it coordinates well with the dresser colors and cost me about $2.

Now I just have to get the contents back inside the dresser.... maybe that won't take another 6 months.

Okay... so this concludes the dresser saga. That was a bunch of typing for such a simple project.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Not a Craft Project, But Definitely a PROJECT

So here's what I've been doing for the last week:

This sucker has a fort and a veranda.

My step-dad, my husband and I put together this GIANT (well, not the biggest you can buy, but pretty dang big) swing set for my daughter. It was frustrating, sweaty work, but I'm glad we didn't pay to have someone else assemble it. It's kind of satisfying to know that we accomplished this feat on our own. Not to mention I kind of like feeling of being all jacked up on testosterone that I get when I do manual labor and use power tools. :-)

Overall, the process took 5 days. Day 1 was unpacking the pallets of building supplies. Days 2-5 were assembly. It probably would have gone more quickly if not for the blazing sun and super high humidity. That combo really zaps your energy and your ability to think clearly. There are still a couple of things that need to be done, but they're small tweaks and minor additions. My daughter was VERY happy with her new swing set (well, she calls it a tree house).

The canopy was one of the hardest things to install.

I had vowed to take Day 6 off from outside work, but because she has a new, improved swing set, we didn't really need her old swing set anymore. There happens to be a large consignment sale going on at our local fairgrounds this weekend, so I thought we should try to sell the old swing set there. I was already registered as a consignor, so all I had to do was enter the swing set into my inventory and get it to the sale. Slightly more complicated that it sounds, but we did it.

I think this looks pretty good for having been in our yard for 2 years.

My dad came over to help me disassemble the old swing set, transport it to the consignment sale, and reassemble it inside. All things considered, it wasn't a difficult process. The best part, however, is that I had a very enjoyable afternoon with my Dad. It's not often that he and I get to spend time one-on-one anymore. I miss that sometimes.

Anyway, it's been a busy, but productive week me and my family. My daughter loves her new tree house and hopefully the old swing can be enjoyed by a new family. My testosterone high is crashing .... I think I need a nap...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm not doing so well keeping up here...

There's a reason why this blog is called I Can't Keep Up with a Blog. I try, but real life gets in the way. The Etsy store (Oddments and Endments) takes up a fair amount of crafting time. The other things I've been making have been little gifts here and there that I've forgotten to photograph.

Anyway, I've been wanting to make pillowcases for a while now and I finally did it. Super easy. I used the Magic Pillowcase Tutorial for the Alabama and Scooby pillowcases below.

I'm a terrible stenciler, but I'm trying to improve my skills. I lack the light touch and patience to stencil properly. Here's an early attempt at embellishing the edge of a pillowcase.

Okay ... that's all for now. Happy crafting!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Money Star

Hello! It's been a while! No, I haven't given up crafting --- just been busy with other things. Yard work, my Etsy store (, a scarf that I forgot to photo before giving away, and a blanket that is taking WAY too long to finish.

Anyway, I DID remember to take a photo of the money origami (that sounds funny, but you know what I mean) I made to go along with the scarf that I forgot to photo. Money can be a good gift, but is slightly boring, so I try to give it in creative ways. This particular gift recipient had already received money flowers from me , so something new was in order (you can find my money flowers here and here). I found this star tutorial online at Homemade Gifts Made Easy and here are the results:



This star is made from 5 bills. The tutorial said you could also use 6, but 5 fit my needs perfectly. I think it's really cute!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Getting Ready for VACATION! (UPDATE 4/24/2013)

So we're going on vacation this summer (to the beach), and I'm already preparing. Here's my official beach vacation purse and not one, but TWO tie dyed shirts.

 The purse is a Simplicity pattern (It's So Easy A5151). The fabric was an impulse buy at Goodwill. I don't remember what I paid, but it must not have been much because I remember coming home and being surprised I got sooooo much fabric so cheaply. In the store, the fabric was taped up so I couldn't tell exactly how much I was getting -- it was several yards. Anyway, I thought this fabric was wonderfully tacky and it works perfectly for my new beach vacation purse.

I have so much fabric that I'd like to make pajama pants for me and my daughter. Or maybe another bag. Can't quite decide yet.

If you've looked at my Etsy store (which you probably haven't), you've noticed that I like to tie dye things. Here are two shirts that I made for myself (with my impending vacation in mind).

This one turned out a little bright. I like it -- but it's a little bright. The shirt was another Goodwill find ($3.50). It's a wonderfully gauzy material that's just perfect for summer. The tie dying was done with one of those little kits that you can buy at WalMart.

This one didn't photograph very well, but it's a very nice color combo. As with the other one, the shirt is a Goodwill find and the tie dying was done with a kit from WalMart. The material of this shirt is a airy rayon. I just love it!

I have another tie dye type project that's in the washer right now. I'll be posting pictures of it soon.

Happy DIYing!

UPDATE:  My 3 year old daughter wanted a purse like mine for our vacation. Here's the one I made for her.

The Phoebe bag by Rebeka Lambert.

It's actually nicer than the purse I made for myself, but it's too small to hold all my stuff. The pattern is available online (click on the photo caption). 

We'll be very cute with our matching tacky beach purses!  :-) 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crafting FAIL!

Not everything turns out like I want it to. In fact, a lot of my stuff doesn't turn out like I want it to ... but you never know that because I don't share many of my failures. Today, though, I feel like sharing my most recent failure (aren't you excited?).

I wanted to make salt dough pendants. I found them on Pinterest and thought they were cute. The e Pin took me to Lady with the Red Rocker , and here are her salt dough pendants. Cute, right?

So off I ran to make my own. Here's what I ended up with:

Not exactly the same. Maybe I needed to roll my dough thinner? Maybe I needed silver spray paint? Maybe I should have read her directions more thoroughly? I liked doing this so it will get another try. Maybe the next batch will turn out more attractive.

The little hearts may be saved. They could be a small garland or gift tag attachments or something.

Anyway, just thought I'd share my failure because I know it's easy to get discouraged when you make things that don't turn out just right -- especially after looking at Pinterest where EVERYTHING seems so easy and beautiful.

That's all for now!

Monday, April 15, 2013

I haven't disappeared into the abyss...

So my crafting has been a bit chaotic lately. Lots of starts, few finishes. I really need to start focusing on just ONE type of craft. My crafting ADHD is getting completely out of hand. Lately, I've discovered a love for tie dying. Nothing fancy ... tie dye kit, socks, and towels from WalMart ... shirts from Goodwill. It's messy, but I love it.

Here are a few of the things I've made recently. These are all for sale in my Etsy store, Oddments and Endments :

Kitchen towel and dishcloth. Love the color combo.

Kitchen towel and 2 dishcloths. These were my very first attempts at tie dying.

Women's socks
Another pair of women's socks.

Toddler socks  -- the tie dying gave these socks new life. My daughter wore then when she was 1-2 years old.

Final pair of women's socks for now. Really do love this combo.

 While I've been tie dying, I've been neglecting all sorts of other crafts. I need to NOT START anything new for a while and actually finish up all my open projects... I think I need an intervention.


Friday, March 15, 2013

A Shirt for Every Occassion

So I like to have shirts for whatever "day" is coming up --- Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc. Buying such shirts is easy because Wal-Mart is full of these things all the time. But, as you might expect, I really like to make them.

Here are a few that I've made recently:

Valentine's Day

This design is a heart cut from a grocery store doily and stick-glued to the fabric. I used a sponge applicator and stenciled over the doily. Then, I peeled the doily up and wa-la! Doily heart design on a shirt. Not the greatest, but kind of cute.

Probably should have defined my edges better...

St. Patrick's Day

For this one, I searched for Shamrock in Google Images and printed the one I liked best on heavy paper. Then I cut it out and stick-glued it to the shirt. I then used a sponge applicator to stencil around the design. Super easy! (Here's where I got my shamrock stencil ).

Not sure what's all over this shirt ... It wasn't like this the last time my daughter wore it. I'm running it through the washer again as I type.


Here the shirt I did for Easter. Peeps are my favorite Easter treat. Not necessarily to eat, but to look at. I find that I can't eat nearly as many of them as I used to. Anyway, I scoured the internet for a Peep template, printed it on heavy paper and cut it out. This time, I used a stencil adhesive to make it stick to the fabric, and, after the white paint was dry, I used a pencil eraser to put in the eyes and nose (brown fabric paint). Again, not the greatest, but kind of cute. (Here's where I got my stencil ).



That's it for now!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pinterest Test Success

I try quite a few of the things I find on Pinterest. In fact, much of what I make is inspired by Pinterest in one way or another. In spite of being a giant time suck, Pinterest is a fun place that's wonderful for igniting whatever creative flame you have deep inside. That being said, not everything I try works. For example, this cute little jar of Easter Peeps Bunny Smores did NOT turn out as expected. I followed the instructions, but mine ended up as a mess and so did my mom's. I don't judge the Bunny Smores project too harshly, though, because the jar turned out so darn cute.

My Pinterest test successes include DIY fabric spray, toilet paper roll air freshener, DIY fabric softener, and DIY fruit infused water . Now, I can add these cute little Easter eggs to my Pinterest test success list.

The idea isn't original. Blow up a balloon, wrap it in string/yarn/thread/whatever that's been soaked in some sort of stiffener, and let it dry. Then pop and remove the balloon. You're left with the string/yarn/thread/whatever in the shape of your balloon. I used 1/2 cup of liquid starch (you can find it at Wal-Mart) and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour as my stiffening agent. My material was either crochet thread, twine, or something that's like a really thick crochet thread (sorry, I don't know the name). The balloons were some we had in the closet from birthdays past. What's a little different about this project than most I've seen using this technique is that you put a little Easter surprise inside the balloon so that it's left inside the egg when you pop the balloon. Cute and fun!

First of all, this project is messy. Be prepared. Second, make sure you buy things that can fit inside your balloon. This isn't that big of a problem because you can carefully stretch the balloon neck quite a bit before it tears. So, I put my toys inside the balloon, blew up the balloon into something egg shaped, and tied it off. Then I mixed my concoction and soaked some string. I had no idea how much string would be needed so I didn't cut it ahead of time. Be careful about tangles, though (you cross stitchers will know what I'm talking about). I got the string good and wet and started wrapping.

The wrapping part wasn't nearly as fun as I thought it would be. Maybe it's my symmetry OCD? Maybe I left the string too wet? Either way, I had a hard time wrapping the string in what I thought was a visually pleasing manner. In fact, I got a little discouraged and didn't even wrap the last balloon I'd prepared. Maybe I was just having an off day.

Anyway .... when I thought I'd wrapped enough, I cut my string, secured the end onto the egg (under another string), and set this baby in a little Dixie cup to dry. The next day, they were all nicely dried and it was time to get the balloon out. NOT as easy as I thought. For some reason, I thought I could just pop the balloon and pull it out with a little pair of locking forceps leaving the toy behind. No. I popped the balloon and it shriveled up on the toy. So using my forceps and scissors, I had to CAREFULLY cut the balloon into a bunch of pieces and pull them out one by one. The end result was nice, but it was more labor intensive that I'd expected. Well, I mean it took a few minutes instead of 15 seconds. Gee.... I think I was having a bad day. Maybe I need to try this one again.

So here are my finished products. My daughter was very excited about this project. After I took the photos, I told her she could have all the eggs. They lasted about 2 seconds after that. This is a fragile project, guys. Don't give a 3 year old free reign over the final result if you want it to survive.

This bunny head is an eraser

The duck is an eraser (and this is the thread that I didn't know its name).

A cute little dinosaur

Another photo of the bunny egg

Here's a slightly blurry dinosaur

And the duck again

Overall, this was a Pinterest test success. Looking back, I must have been having an off day for craftiness. I think I'll give this one another try and maybe I'll enjoy it more.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oh, it's..... lovely?

Hello! I've been gone soooo long that everyone probably thinks I've given up crafting for good. Some of you may even be happy about that fact. Truth is that Christmas took a bunch out of me, things in real life were neglected, and I had a tremendous amount of catching up to do. The last 6 weeks or so have been busy!

I've got several projects in the works. One is a scarf that I didn't finish before Christmas. I'd been doing my knitting on plastic Knifty Knitter-like looms, but this scarf was on a wooden loom with metal pegs that are REALLY close together. The pegs being close together means the knitting takes MUCH longer. I'm roughly halfway done. It's going more quickly now since I'm a more efficient knitter, but it's still not anywhere as quick as the plastic looms. 

Another project I've been working on is a baby blanket. I think this is going to be a gift for a family member who is expecting a little boy this summer. This project is my first on the Martha Stewart knitting loom and I have to say, I'm liking it. I usually avoid Martha because she annoys me, but one day I broke down and bought her loom set at Wal-Mart. I like the adjustability (is that a word?) of it. You can create lots of shapes and control how close together the pegs are.

Last, but definitely not least, is my Etsy store. This was an idea that has been bouncing around my brain for quite some time. I really do love making things, but I run out of people to give them to and it gets a little expensive. So, I thought that if I could just sell a few things, it would help kill two birds with one stone. I'd get to keep making things, and I'd have a tiny bit of money to buy new supplies. So, if you're interested, you can visit my store . Tell your friends! I have some items that would make wonderful Easter or Mother's Day gifts, and am adding new items regularly.

Okay .... On to what I'm posting today. First, let me warn you that it's not the most attractive thing I've ever made, but I'm excited about it anyway.

Oh, it's .... lovely?

I know what you're saying.... That's the ugliest wreath I've ever seen ... but hear me out before you judge. Yes, it's a wreath-like thing. Yes, it's ugly. No, it's not for decoration. It's a yarn wreath for birds to use for nesting material! 

There is a whole lot of yarn in my house, and some of it is too small a quantity to really be useful in any sort of knitting project. I'd seen several projects where people put out yarn scraps and dryer lint for birds to line their nests (just Google it). I wanted to do the same thing, but definitely didn't want to buy any new supplies. So, I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt through the house for something that would work.

I ended up using an old metal coat hanger, a metal slinky, floral wire, and a bit of paper ribbon because, if you think it's ugly now, you should have seen it BEFORE I added the bow. I cut the hook off the coat hanger with wire cutters and put the slinky on the wire. Then, I fashioned a circle shape with the wire (I wrapped the wire around itself to keep the o shape. Then, I used florist wire to re-attach the hook to the coat hanger wire and to attach the two ends of the slinky together. I probably could have saved a step by not cutting the hook off the coat hanger. Anyway, then I cut my yarn into bird sized lengths (I have not idea what that means ... I just cut it into varying lengths so they could be pulled out individually), and stuffed it into the slinky. TaDa! Now you can make your very own yarn wreath! Oh, and I added the bow because it really was butt ugly and even birds shouldn't have to look at something that ugly.

That's all for now! Don't forget about my new Etsy store and hopefully I'll be back here posting new stuff soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christmas Wrap-Up (ha!ha! see what I did there?)

To those of you actually reading this, you may remember that I decided to make most of my Christmas gifts this year. Well, not this year, but Christmas 2012 (I'm a little behind on my posting). I've already shown you some of what I did, so without further ado, here's the rest of homemade Christmas 2012...

Giant Floor Pillow (or Pillow Mattress)

This is the cutest, most comfortable thing EVER! It wasn't hard to make, just cumbersome. The pattern was found on Pinterest and bought from Quilter's Quarters . That's official Tangled fabric for the front and Tinkerbell fabric for the back. It's HUGE, but accordions up into a semi-reasonable size.  I think I like it better than my daughter does (I made it for her), but that's okay.





Many of the young ladies in my family received necklaces this year. These are cute and easy to make. I used the round and square Shape Studio Tools from Epiphany Crafts . I found images that I liked online, resized them to fit the die, and printed on glossy photo paper. Super easy. The bubble caps (the things over the images) and necklace settings are also from Epiphany Crafts.

I apologize for the quality of all the necklace photos.



These are loom knit socks using a very simple pattern I found online. I used a ribbed cuff instead of the rolled cuff shown on the YARNGEAR blog

The ones on the left are oversized for my mom (she doesn't like anything remotely tight) and the ones on the left are for my step-mom who is a University of Tennessee fan.

Embellished Kitchen Towels

These turned out nicely, and were easy to make using scrap fabric. The idea was inspired by several Pinterest finds such as Quilt Story , Sew 4 Home , and Be What We Love .

Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves

Okay, so loom knitting scarves is easy and mindless and I might have gotten carried away. I don't even know if my family likes scarves. We live in the South where it's often 75 degrees on Christmas day, so do we even need scarves?

And these scarves really did turn out nicely. I'm just incapable of taking a flattering photo of a scarf. So when you look at these, imagine a more attractive version -- that's what they really looked like.

Unless otherwise noted, the scarves are all versions of the Keep Warm Tubular Scarf from Learn to Knit on Circle Looms .

I'm sooo disappointed in this photo. I LOVED this scarf. It's an infinity scarf. The colors were beautiful and it was soooo soft. Here it just looks like an ugly blob. This scarf is the Magic Mobius Scarf from Learn to Knit on Long Looms. I made another one of these out of beautiful hand dyed yarn in University of Alabama colors, but I think I forgot to take a photo before giving it away.
A loose weave, lightweight scarf. Very cute in real life.

Lightweight and slightly itchy, but still pretty in real life.

I made a fat version of this scarf and a skinny version. The yarn (?) was a little weird, but I liked it.

A close up of the scarf's texture.

Okay ... that's it. I'm done. Next year I'm either not making most of my gifts, or I'm giving gifts to fewer people. I didn't include the lotion I made or any of the canned goods. maybe if I feel up to it, I'll make a separate post about those...

Off to clean up my much neglected house!