Wrapping Up the Holidays

Happy New Year, everyone!

I love the idea of the new year being a time to set goals, get organized, and get a fresh start. As my DH and I go through the closets and the house, cleaning and donating anything we don’t use or need anymore, I am reflexive about the holidays. I had a great holiday this year, and want to share with you some of the things I am doing to reorganize, and especially some of the crafts I made over the break!

Here we are wearing all the scarves that were hanging on the coat rack I cleared off. I donated a few, but kept most of them (I get really cold!)

Wearing all of the scarves!

Wearing all of the scarves! #Scarfie

I made a batch of freezer meals for those nights when cooking just seems impossible. I am going through my craft stash and organizing. All of the Christmas gifts are given, and so I put away the monstrous pile of yarn and fabric I had out to finish everything. That took almost a whole day. The house feels fresh and clean with the clutter of holiday decorations now gone. I am not under pressure to fill orders that were needed by December 23 AT THE LATEST!!! (that is a direct quote from a customer, lol), so, I can craft at my leisure. I do still have a couple of orders to fill in the next week or so, but they are not high pressure. I will start and (hopefully) finish them this week.

I did not take too many pictures of the gifts this year, but will share what I have 🙂

Here is a TARDIS inspired hat. I will make a couple more to troubleshoot the pattern, and then hopefully share it here.

TARDIS

TARDIS

I also made this really cute bow scarf for my sister. She really liked it, and, thankfully, took a picture of it after Christmas so I could share it with you. The pattern for this one is not my own. I got it from the ladies at Top It Off Threads. They are on Facebook, and make really cute stuff. They graciously shared their pattern for this scarf when I met them at the craft fair last October.

Bow Scarf

Bow Scarf

My friend had a fancy dress party for New Year’s Eve, and it was loads of fun! There was music, great food, fun games, and even a photo booth!  I made the skirt I wore to the party, and I am really proud of how it turned out.

NYE skirt

NYE skirt

I successfully stitched in the ditch, inserted a zipper, and added a hook and eye.

Stitch in the ditch!

Stitch in the ditch!

zipper/hook and eye

zipper/hook and eye

Since it is a plaid, I lined up the pattern. It always bothers me when the pattern does not match on ready to wear clothes. It is just a basic A-line skirt, but the fabric drapes really nicely.

NYE

NYE

I was also very careful when doing the hem to make sure the fabric lays flat on the right side. It is not a perfect fit, because I am still not sure how to properly figure ease, but I think it turned out just fine. I really like it, and will definitely wear it again! I also think we definitely rang in 2015 with style and class!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2014 holidays have come and gone. Food and gifts were shared, laughter and merriment ensued, and a good time was had by all! I really tried to enjoy every moment of this break, and with such great family and friends, it was easy. Thank you, kind readers, for sharing 2014 with me, and for your continuing support. I look forward to another year of sharing with you all and being inspired by you. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

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2014 in review

WordPress offered me a summary of my blog for 2014, which is highly appropriate as I am working on ideas for crafty goals for 2015! If you are interested in how the blog is growing, here are some stats and figures!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Staying Organized This Holiday

The holidays are an extremely busy time of year for everyone. Personally, I have more to do in December than just about any other month. For school, I have evening concerts, elementary tour, assemblies, sing along, final exam and review, and we begin music and prep for our most intense concerts of the year. For myself, I always take too many gigs because I love to play, so every evening and weekend is filled with either a rehearsal or a performance and somedays both! It is also the busiest time for Lou’s Labors between custom orders and regular orders from my etsy shop! When school finally ends for the semester (this Friday!!!!), I can start thinking about and planning the multiple family holiday celebrations we do each year.

I love each and every one of the things I do at the holidays, but it really takes some work to stay organized and keep from being overwhelmed! Sometimes I do really well, sometimes I cry because of the lack of good night’s sleep, but my goal is to try to thoroughly enjoy each moment of the holidays. I know that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do so many things and share my musical gifts, and have such an amazing extended family with whom to celebrate this time of year.

So, what is a crafty girl to do? Make a holiday organizer, that I dubbed a “Holiday Survival Guide,” of course 😉 !

I was looking at Pinterest over Thanksgiving Break, and I found the greatest idea – a homemade holiday planner! Jen, from Eighteen25, is seriously creative and made some fabulous printables. You can find the link here.

Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

I followed her tutorial, but this year’s printables were not my favorite color palatte. I had about a million sheets of holiday paper from other crafts, and I always have tons of labels (teacher, remember), so I made my own set.

It was simple to make and really took no time at all. I traced the cover of a composition book onto scrapbook paper and glued it on using paper mod podge. I let that dry and then covered the seam with a sticky glitter ribbon. I cut out the tabs and attached them at several intervals in the book. I used small labels and Sharpie markers to make them. They say “TO DO,””THE LISTS,” “EVENTS,” “SCHEDULE,” “CALENDAR” and “OTHER.” It has been extremely useful, and you could make the tabs say anything you want.

Tabs

Tabs

I taped the tabs into place. I taped the calendar pages into place. If I make this next year, I will get some double stick tape so you don’t see it, but for the first time, it looks pretty good.

Calendar in place

Calendar in place

Doesn’t it look so nice with all the pages blank? I use the other section as a sort of journal/notes for next year place. It has been the least used section, but I feel better knowing it is there. I use the to do to keep a running list of everything I need to accomplish this season. The lists are gift lists for people, crossed out when purchased. Events is my planning section for events. For each event what do I need to bring, when is it, all the pertinent details for me. The schedule is for the incredibly busy days when I have to schedule even my free time so I can get everything finished. Calendar keeps the dates and deadlines hyper organized.

Tabs taped in

Tabs taped in

Several people have asked about me making them one, so I think I may try to get some of these together early next year and sell them. I may also add some pockets on the inside covers for receipts/coupons/other items not in the book. For this year, it is too late, as I am already doing enough! What do you do to help stay organized during the holidays?

Amis for Craft Show

I recently participated in a local craft and specialty show sponsored by a local high school. It was a very successful weekend, but I felt like I was scrambling to make enough items to show. Fortunately, I was nearly sold out, took several special orders, and everything that did not sell, I am posting in my etsy shop. All the designs are my own, unless otherwise specified.

Here is a look at some of what I made:
Here are the Winchester Boys – Sam and Dean, from the show, Supernatural. This is one of my favorite shows, and I made them for a swap, and I think they turned out adorable! I will probably need to make more of these for my shop 🙂

Winchester Boys

Winchester Boys

I almost always have to have a penguin to sell. They are one of my favorites, and this is such a cute version, it is hard to not make many of them.

penguin friend

penguin friend

It is not getting cold enough in North Texas for snow, yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with an adoarble snow man.

Snowman

Snowman

Here is a sweet little bear. His facial expression reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit, before he became real, of course.

Bearymore

Bearymore

Here are a set of adorable Avengers. I made the Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man. They were picked up almost immediately.

Cutie Hulk

Cutie Hulk

Cutie Captain America

Cutie Captain America

Cutie Iron Man

Cutie Iron Man

I had some yellow and orange yarn, not enough to make a huge giraffe, but I wanted to make something. I came up with this ridiculously cute duck.

Quack, quack, quack

Quack, quack, quack

This year I have been experimenting with extra large amis. I made three that are pretty huge. Trevor the Dinosaur, who did not sell, but is my absolute favorite thing I ever made. I think I am going to keep him.

Trevor the Dinosaur

Trevor the Dinosaur

Trevor wants a hug

Trevor wants a hug

I made an extra large monkey. He left to be a present for a baby shower. Those are my large (9″) scissors.

Big Monkey

Big Monkey

Finally, I made a giant elephant. Everyone picked him up and loved on him, but no one took him home. I will definitely post him on my shop, maybe with some better pics 😉
IMG_2542

I did a special at the craft show, for every hat someone bought, I am going to make and donate one to our local children’s hospital. I need to make 16 hats! I contacted them to find out what size they need most, and I am working on 16 hats for teens. I hope to have them finished by the end of November. Thanks for stopping by to look.

Back To School Crafts 2014

So school is back in full swing, and has been for a couple of weeks. I guess it is time I share some of my back-to-school crafting! This year I made several things for my room. None of them are particularly functional, but they are cute and lovely, and make me super happy to have them around 🙂

I made a sign for our room.

Orchestra Sign

Orchestra Sign

I bought some paper mache letters, painted the edges black, and decoupaged some cute scrapbook paper to it. I hung them over our doors using some velcro. They look totally adorable, and I think they really make the room look a bit more inviting 🙂

I saw a similar sign to this on Pinterest, and I really loved it! I made my own version, and pasted it to a canvas covered with cute paper. It turned out really cute, and I hung it above my desk. I look at it each day for inspiration.

Inspirational poster

Inspirational poster

Flower pens

Flower pens

I see these great pens everywhere, and I always love them. I decided to get some flowers and make my own. I put them in a cute container on my desk. They are cute and handy. They are not only my favorite colors, but they are also my school’s colors 🙂 Go Eagles!

Bouquet of Pens

Bouquet of Pens

I also added an Einstein Bobblehead to my toy collection! My DH got him for me for our anniversary. He is one of my heroes, and favorite historical figures. These are the toys that sit on my desk and help me keep my sanity every day. Yu Darvish tells us we can do anything we put our minds to (even though he is a bobblehead, he can only nod up and down). Yoda – because duh, who doesn’t need a jedi master around? Beethoven, who stares menacingly at us, especially when we are testing! Finally, I have a Papa Smurf that is conducting, that i have had since I was a little kid.  Teaching middle school can be crazy, so I guess I have to be a little crazy also 🙂

Toys!

Toys from my desk

So that is a peak into my classroom. I have a few more crafty ideas for the room, but they will have to wait for another day. Thanks for looking 🙂

It is FINISHED!!

I have finally finished it! My 100 crafts from my stash are finally complete! I am terribly excited to share them with you! I have learned quite a bit from this journey, and I am really glad that I did it. At times, it was terribly frustrating to be unable to go and just buy yarn or fabric, or other supplies. I also missed the stress relief of shopping at the craft store. I will admit, I went a couple of times to my favorite one to look around, get project ideas, or be inspired. I did not buy anything for the challenge, and I am now more mindful when I do go shopping, and stick to getting supplies I need to get for crafts I am actually going to make! So, without further ado, here is the last batch of crafts from this challenge!!

#93 – scarf and hat set – These were a special order for a friend of mine from work. I have to count them as a set, because I ran out of yarn before I finished the scarf, and did have to get more. The hat is completely from stash, and I only bought enough yarn to make the rest of the scarf, and have a vey tiny ball of it left. She wanted something soft and black variegated to wear this winter.

Scarf and hat set

Scarf and hat set

By the way, this picture is taken in her super cute office. She decorated it using some really neat Pinterest ideas, which I totally need to steal from her! She loved the set, and I am really happy to make her something she will use.

#94 – Parrot Mascot – My best friend started her career as a teacher this year. She is teaching freshman English and is the Drill Team coach. I am so excited for her as she joins our profession, and I wanted to make her something she could put in her classroom. Her school’s mascot is the parrot, and their colors are orange and black, so I made her this:

Go Poly Parrots!

Go Poly Parrots!

I have been exploring some larger amigurumi, and he was the first one. He stands about 10″ tall, and is really cute and snuggly.

#95 –  Fabric Flip Flops – I recently lost a pair of black flip flops. Well, I did not so much as lose them as they broke and were no longer wearable. I had a couple of cheap ($2, I think) pairs that I was going to remake using fabric a couple of summers ago (3 years ago, I think). I finally dug those out of my craft stash, and cut the plastic part off them. I got some cute coordinating fabric and attached it using knots and a little glue. So far, I have worn them 3 times, and they are holding up fine. I am really excited about them. I also have a white pair and a pink pair to do, now that I know how it works!

Recovered flip flops

Recovered flip flops

Such a simple idea to remove the uncomfortable plastic and replace is with some cozy fabric. It’s like having new shoes, which is ALWAYS a good thing 😉 .

#96, 97, 98, and 99 – Reading Nook Pillows – Also for my friend’s classroom, she wanted a reading nook. It is a place where the kids can grab a book and a pillow and do some reading when they finish their assignments. I made her four pillows for the nook. I actually took regular bed pillows, cut them in half and sewed them up, then used the fabric she picked to make covers for them. They are eclectic and cute, and turned out really great!

Star Wars Pillow

Star Wars Pillow

Music note pillow

Music note pillow

Pretty Flowers

Pretty Flowers

Polka Dot City

Polka Dot City

They all wound up being slightly different sizes, and I think her students will enjoy getting cozy with a book on them!

And now, drum roll, please…

#100 (yea, celebrate! Imagine balloons and confetti falling from the sky!) – Enormous Dalek – This crazy huge guy stands almost a full foot tall and took me all of Labor Day weekend to complete! The pattern is by Lucy Ravenscar and can be found here on Ravelry.

IMG_2450

The instructions are very clear, and I really love her patterns. I even bought her Star Wars Pattern collection, and I love how cute they are and how quickly they work up. This dalek did not work up quickly, but he is AWESOME in his hugeness and in his details. I really love him, and he may very well be my favorite ami I have made in a while.

 

I am so relieved to be finished with this challenge, but I also value the lessons I learned from it. I am looking forward to more mindful crafting and more mindful shopping for supplies. Thanks for looking, and for supporting on this crazy, not always beautiful, journey!

New Garland and Then Some

I am inching ever closer to creating 100 items from my stash!

#91 – August Garland – “I Wonder If It Will Be Friends With Me” – This is a tribute to my favorite author and book – Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In case you can’t tell, it’s a set of sperm whales with little bowls of petunias.

August Garland

August Garland

The whales are felt and embroidery, as are the bowls.

IMG_2384

Felt whales

I crocheted the tiny petunias with embroidery thread.

Tiny Petunias

Tiny Petunias

I think it turned out really cute, and I am so excited about it.

#92 – Gray Fingerless Gloves – My sister-in-law works in an really cold office. She asked if I would make her some fingerless gloves, so she could have her fingers free and still keep from freezing. I LOVE the look of cable knitting, but since I have still not gotten the the hang of knitting, I thought I would see what I could find for cable crochet. I found this pattern through Ravelry, and gave it a try. It was a great pattern, and I really enjoyed working it. My SIL loved the gloves and I hope they keep her hands toasty!

Cable gloves

Cable gloves

I really love how the cable turned out, and I am super thrilled to have learned this technique! I look forward to trying this in some other patterns and designs!

I have a few more things, but have not had a chance to get pics of them. I am painfully close to finishing, and then I will show you some back-to-school crafting I have been doing! Thanks for stopping by!