Sunday, December 30, 2012

Knitting Men's Mittens

For Secret Santa this year, I knitted some mittens. I was aware that doing so would definitely give me away as the gift giver, but I just couldn't help myself. Robert needed some mittens!

Also, did you know that men's hands are enormous? I'm used to women's sizes, so it was a little bit shocking to watch these giant things keep growing and growing on my needles.

I used the Basic Mitten Pattern from Mittens and Hats for Yarn Lovers by Carri Hammett in the men's large size. I also added my own flair to the pattern by adding stripes, switching colors every 4 rows.

I carried the two colors on the inside of the mittens, and I was happy with how tidy they ended up looking, even when they are inside out.  See?

Before I wrapped up the mittens, I had Justin model them for me along with his new Denver mug that his mom gave him for Christmas.  Speaking of which, without even knowing it, my mom gave me a matching Hawaii mug for Christmas and the two mugs look great together on our shelf; a happy Christmas accident.

Did you knit anything for Christmas this year?

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Eve Nails

I hope you all had a great Christmas!  Now that it's over, it's time to gear up for the next party, New Year's Eve!  For the occasion, I got some champagne colored nail polish by Essie called Imported Bubbly and used it along with a tub of glitter to make sparkling champagne nails.

This look is super easy to achieve.  All you will need are two things: nail polish and a tub of glitter.

And there are only two steps to the process:

1.  Paint your nails.
2.  Dip the tips of each nail into the tub of glitter while the nail polish is still wet.

That's it!  I can't wait to show these off at our New Year's Eve party!

What are you doing in preparation for the big night?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Knitting

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I'm going to come out and say it: I'm in a love/hate relationship with my Christmas knitting.

I love it because everything about it feels very festive and Christmasy.  I've even been listening to Christmas music and eating candy canes while I'm working on it.

But I also hate it because it sheds light on one of my biggest flaws: my inability to do anything ahead of time.  Why do I always leave everything for the last minute?!?!

So for the next 2 days I'll be feeling a mixture of Christmas cheer and self-disgust while I knit furiously to get it all done.

Maybe next year I'll be better?  Yeah, right.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last-Minute Christmas Crafts

Christmas is now less than a week away (yay!) and I've compiled a list of 5 fun DIY tutorials from around the web, just in case you have a hankering to sit by the fire and do a little more Christmas crafting.

1.  Fist up is this perfectly rustic burlap and felt Christmas tree pillow from All in a Day.

2.  Or you could make this unique Christmas ornament from Julie Ann Art.

3.  I absolutely love these holiday hair pins from Happy Hour Projects.

4.  Make your presents extra pretty with these paper bows from Paper Mojo.

5.  Or try on a wintery snowflake necklace from Lana Red.

All of the lovely photos in this post belong to the bloggers who created the DIY tutorials.  Click on the links to see more of their photos and to find out how to make their festive crafts.

I hope you finish up all your Christmas shopping in time to do some Christmas crafting!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stitch Victionary: How to Bind Off

This week's Stitch Victionary is about how to bind off.
Here it is:

I hope you find it helpful!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Knitting and Ice Skating

Professional ice shows have given me the opportunity to perform all around the world, from Madison Square Garden in New York City to live television in the Netherlands (as well as hundreds of significantly less glamorous small town venues, county fairs, and theme parks along the way).  You might think that knitting and skating have nothing in common, but the more I think about it, the more similarities I see.

When I skate I'm rewarded with applause, and when I knit no one claps for me (that would be awkward).  However, the feeling of successfully completing a difficult knitting project is very similar to the feeling that comes from the applause at the end of a show.  Sometimes the satisfaction of completing a knitting project is even more gratifying because the audience will still clap if I didn't perform my best, but I'll only feel fabulous about my knitting if I did it perfectly.

The rewarding feeling I get at the end of both activities isn't the only similarity between the two; I use my brain the same way while I'm doing each one.  What happens is I fall into a level of concentration where I shut out outside distractions, I quiet all of my usual internal chatter, and I focus solely on a mantra-like internal monologue.  When I'm knitting, I chant the pattern in my head to the rhythm of my knitting "knit two, purl two, knit two, purl two…" When I skate it's something more like "one, two, push, extend, left arm, out…"  I absolutely love this feeling of internal quiet and concentration because my thoughts are usually pretty chaotic and scattered if I leave them to their own devices.

So even though the differences between my two favorite activities are countless, they both make me feel and operate in the same way internally.  I challenge you to take a deeper look at the activities with which you fill your life, and I'm willing to bet they won't be a series of disconnected pieces either. There will always be a common thread, and if you can pinpoint that thread, you'll know what it is that you truly enjoy in life.

What do you love to do?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Knit Skate Ornament

I recently found the most adorable crochet ice skate ornament at Suzie's Stuff and I loved it so much that I decided to make a knitting pattern for it.

First I tried making the skate out of a single layer of stockinette stitch, but it wanted to curl up when I hung it on the christmas tree. I made the ornament lay flat by knitting a mirror image of the first layer and seaming the two layers together. Suddenly the skate became 3 dimensional and had much more bulk to it so it fit in better with the other ornaments on the tree.

  • White, sparkly worstred weight yarn
  • US Size 5 needles
  • Jumbo paper clips
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needle

Terms used in this pattern:
PSSO: This stands for Pass Slipped Stitch Over, and it is a left-slanting decrease. To do it, insert the left needle into the front of the slipped stitch on the right needle, then pass the slipped stitch over the last knit stitch and slip it off the right needle. (It is basically like binding off one stitch.)

Skate Side 1:
Cast on 11 stitches
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: knit
Row 4: purl
Row 5: slip 1, knit 1, PSSO, knit 9
Row 6: purl
Row 7: bind off 4, knit 6
Row 8: purl
Row 9: knit
Row 10: purl
Rows 11: knit
Row 12: purl
Bind off, leaving a big loop when you bind off the last stitch. That loop is what you'll use to hang the skate on the Christmas tree.

Skate Side 2 (Mirror Image):
Cast on 11 stitches
Row 1: purl
Row 2: knit
Row 3: purl
Row 4: knit
Row 5: slip 1, purl 1, PSSO, purl 9
Row 6: knit
Row 7: bind off 4 purl-wise, purl 6
Row 8: knit
Row 9: purl
Row 10: knit
Row 11: purl
Row 12: knit
Bind off purl-wise

Finishing Touches:
  • Weave in the ends.
  • Place the two sides of the skate flat on a table (right side up) with the bottom edges of the skates touching each other. Line the stitches up with each other and seam those two edges together using mattress stitch.
  • Slide the jumbo paper clip onto your work right where you just seamed it. You should now be able to fold the two sides of the skate up like a sandwich, and the paper clip will be at the bottom of the skate where the skate's blade would be.
  • Sew the rest of the edges of the skate together using mattress stitch.

This little skate looks good on a Christmas tree, but it's small enough that it also works well for fancy gift wrapping, see?

I hope you have a great time knitting this little guy!  As you know, ice skates are near and dear to my heart.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY Advent Calendar

There's no time like December 5th to make an advent Calendar, right? Isn't that kind of like December 1st?

Anyway, regardless of the date, I felt like making an advent calendar that was a little bit different this year. Instead of filling it with chocolates like the ones at the grocery store, I decided to fill mine with little love notes for my boyfriend. That way december will be a month of love!

This is a magnetic calendar, so it's perfect to hang on the refrigerator. The walls are all magnetic where we live (weird but true) so I just stuck mine up on the wall.

To make this project, you'll need 25 clothes pins, construction paper, scissors, a pen, washi tape, magnetic strips, and glue.

Here's how you make it:

1.  Cover one side of each clothes pin with washi tape, trimming the tape to fit.

2.  Flip the clothes pins over and glue a magnetic strip onto the back side.  Do the next 3 steps while the glue dries.

3.  Cut 25 1.5" x 1.5" squares out of construction paper.

4.  Decorate one side of the squares with washi tape.

5. Flip the squares over and write a love note on the back side of each one.

6.  Slip one paper square into each clothes pin, with the washi tape decorations facing out. Then they're ready to be hung up.

To make a Christmas tree-shaped triangle, I put 7 clothes pins on the bottom row, then 6 on the next, then 5, then 4, then 2, then 1.

I hope you're having a love-filled December!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Creative Wreaths

It's finally December, and that means it's Christmas decorating time! I think that's why I woke up this morning with wreaths on my mind. I love a good, traditional, green, pine-needly wreath as much as the next girl, but I was wondering what else wreaths could be made out of to shake things up a bit. That's when I did a little Etsy browsing and realized that people make wreaths out of every type of material imaginable. Seriously. Here are my 5 favorite wreaths available for purchase right now:

1. I love this yarn wreath from Cozy Made.  You would think I'd get sick of yarn, but I never ever do.

2. I like the rustic feel of this burlap wreath from Get the Door, don't you?

3. This red berry wreath from Elegant Holidays would be so bright and cheery on a snowy day.

4. I think this wreath made out of pink ornaments by Judy Blank adds a spunky twist to the traditional Christmas color scheme.

5. And this tulle wreath from Ducky Duck Diaper Cakes is also different in all the best ways.

All five of those lovely photos are courtesy of their respective Etsy shop owners.

Do you have a non-traditional wreath at home?  What is it made out of?

Happy decorating!
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