Saturday, August 31, 2013

August in Instagram Photos

August has been a crazy month filled with a lot of fun and skating and traveling and not as much blogging... oops.

Here's what my month has looked like in Instagram photos:

I skated in a million ice shows (that first picture is a view from the wings during a show), I tried knitting with teeny tiny knitting needles, and I rode on one of my favorite rides at Cedar Point: the swings.  I also hung out with my hilarious friend Courtney's stuffed animals backstage, watched my awesome friend Andy play his guitar, and rode on an antique carousel at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky.

My feet were suffering during the shows at the end of the contract due to a very unfortunate run-in with some mosquitos, but then I packed up my crafting area and left town.  In Colorado I ate some really yummy spaghetti squash casserole at True Foods, checked out the cutesy stores in Cherry Creek, took some pictures with the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign, and hung out with my best friend who coincidentally has the same haircut as me.

Did you have a good time in August as well?  I'd love to hear about it.

Here's to a new month!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guest Posting

Today I'm guest posting over on The Bumbling Bee!  I used leftover t-shirt scraps from my last t-shirt redesign to make a fun hair accessory.

Happy crafting!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Heading Home

I'm all packed up.

We'll do 3 shows this afternoon and then start driving home.

I'm looking forward to stopping in Kansas to see my friend Johanna and I'm also looking forward to sleeping in my own bed on Tuesday night.  Yay!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Link to Love: Daniela Edburg

Artist Daniela Edburg has used knitting as a central component in an entire collection of haunting, surreal photography.

Image via Daniela Edburg

Isn't this piece remarkable?  I love how it conveys a feeling of haste set against a serene natural backdrop.

Check out Daniela Edburg's website here.  All of her work is striking and unsettling and visually appealing.

My favorite pieces are in her Knit series, about which Edburg writes "This series portrays intense characters dealing with their restlessness and the passing of time.  The element of knitting is a constant, as a form of occupational therapy or channeling an obsession."

My favorite photos in the collection are Picnic (pictured above) and The Interruption.  What are yours?

Happy browsing.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Change is in the Air (Again)

We've officially entered the last week of our summer show here in Sandusky.  We spent our last day off celebrating the end of our contract at our friend Chuck's farm.

The end of a show contract is always a strange time because we all know we're about to leave all the friends we've made.  I'll probably get to work with some of them on other ice shows down the road, but there's an equal chance that I may never see some of them again. It's the proverbial parting of ways. Ugh.

I've gone through this time once or twice a year for the past 7 years and I still find it unsettling.

These are the things I'll miss about this contract when it's over:
1.  My Sandusky bffs.  Each and every one of them.
2.  Having wordless conversations with my friend Shawna using just our eyes.
3.  Seeing everybody (and their stuffed animals) wearing the bows I knitted for them back in June.
4.  Singing the 4-show-day song with the other Laura.
5.  Laughing so hard with Andy during the show that I can barely stay on my feet.

But as each contract comes to a close, there's more to it than just leaving it all behind; there's also the excitement for what's coming next.  For me, that will be a 6-week break at home in Denver before my next skating contract in the Caribbean.  

I can't wait to spend all that time at home!

These are the things I'm looking forward to at home:
1.  Hanging out with my family and my Denver bffs.  I am so incredibly lucky to still have great friends back at home even though I haven't lived there full-time in 7 years.  (See you soon, Button!!!)
2.  Unlimited time for knitting and crafting. Yay!
3.  Yoga.  In a real studio with real instructors.
4.  Living within a mile or two of Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, and Sunflower Market.  It's seriously gluten free heaven.
5.  Leaf peeping.  I can't wait to spend my favorite time of year in my favorite place in the world.

I guess the point of all this is that even though I'm sad to be leaving good old Sandusky, the future is looking pretty darn awesome as well.  And thanks to modern technology (I'm looking at you, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc.) I know that all the friends I'll be missing will really only be a phone call (or a text or a tweet) away.

You stay classy, Sandusky.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wrap Bracelet Knitting Pattern

I knit myself a turquoise wrap bracelet with a pretty rhinestone button.

It's really just a glorified i-cord, which means it's a contender to be the quickest knitting project ever.  I made the whole thing while I was watching America's Got Talent the other night. (Some of my skating friends were on that show!)

Anyway, let's get down to business about the bracelet.

A small amount of fingering weight yarn (any type that's lying around in your yarn stash)
US Size 3 double pointed knitting needles
A small button

To determine the length of your bracelet, measure the circumference of your wrist.  Multiply that number by 2 and then add 1 more inch.  (Example: my wrist is 6 inches around, so 6 x 2 is 12 and 12 + 1 is 13.  My i-cord should be 13 inches long.)

Cast on 3 stitches

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Without turning your work over, slide the knitting to the other end of the knitting needle and knit again

Repeat row 2 over and over until your i-cord is the desired length. (13 inches long in my case.)

Bind off the first two stitches.

As you bind off the last stitch, leave a loop large enough for your button to pass through, as pictured below on the left.  Tie a knot with the loop still intact and cut off the excess yarn.

On the other side of the i-cord, thread the button through the tail that you left while casting on, tie a knot to secure it, and cut off the excess yarn.

Pretty fun and easy, huh?

I wore my new bracelet to a party at my friend's farm yesterday, along with the skirt that I sewed.  I love wearing things that I've made myself, don't you?

Happy knitting!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Link to Love: Creativity Sparkers

Do you ever find yourself clicking from blog to blog and wondering how all those people sustain such high levels of creativity?  I know I do; and I especially wonder about those bloggers who work full time, raise families, and write craft blogs all at the same time... what?!? They are endlessly amazing to me.

The key to my creativity is simple: I have a job with a large amount of down time that I like to spend knitting and brainstorming craft ideas.  For me, those breaks in between our shows are like blogging gold.

So how do non-professional show skaters do it?  The Huffington Post sheds some light on the issue in their post (which is today's Link to Love):  5 Unexpected Ways to Spark Your Creative Genius

I thought their point about writing by hand was interesting, and I'd love to get one of those Aqua Notes pads to write in the shower.

I was a little bit scared by what they had to say about watching TV, though.  Here's a snippet.
"Though we all feel inexplicable inspired when watching bachelorette meltdowns, this kind of mindless activity is not one that fosters brilliance.  One study reveals that watching such low-brow (sorry) entertainment actually makes us dumber."  
I'm sorry to say that I'm guilty of watching Dance Moms way more often than I should admit.  I guess that's a habit I might want to think about breaking.

One area where I'm definitely not failing, though, is liberating my mind to wander while doing monotonous activity.  We've performed our ice show 170 times so far this summer.  I can basically do it in my sleep at this point, and I often catch myself thinking through knitting patterns while I'm on the ice.  I really do try to focus on the show, but maybe it's not such a bad thing that my mind wanders from time to time.

What do you think of the Huffington Post article?  Do you already do the things they suggest? Do you have other ideas for sparking creativity?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy reading!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Risotto-Stuffed Zucchini Boats (A GF Kitchen Adventure)

I've never been very good about eating my vegetables.  I know they're important, and I try to be diligent about eating them, but I often end up with a giant bowl of gf macaroni and cheese instead.

Recently, when I started seeing recipes for zucchini boats all over the internet, I tried a sausage stuffed zucchini boat recipe from Skinny Taste.  I thought it was a pretty tasty and inventive way to eat a sizable serving of veggies.

All the recipes I've seen for zucchini boats include some sort of tomato sauce, though, and I'd take a cheese sauce over a tomato sauce any day of the week.  That's why I decided to try filling a zucchini boat with risotto!

1 large zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
A dash or two of salt and pepper
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f.
2.  Slice the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out its insides to make 2 boats with 1/4 inch thick walls.  Place the boats on a cookie sheet and set it aside for later.
3.  Pour the olive oil into a pan over medium heat.
4.  Add the onions to the pan and let them cook for 2 minutes.
5.  Add the garlic and the salt and pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
6.  Add the rice and stir it so it becomes coated in the olive oil.  Cook it for 3 minutes. stirring occasionally.
7.  Add the chicken broth, turn up the heat, and bring it to a boil.
8.  Once the broth begins to boil, pour the contents of the pan into the zucchini boats, making sure to have the same rice to liquid ratio in both boats.
9.  Cover the boats with tin foil and bake them for 20 minutes.
10.  Remove the boats from the oven and carefully stir most of the cheese into the risotto in the boats.  Re-cover them and return them to the oven for 5 more minutes.
11.  Take them out of the oven, top each boat with the remainder of the grated cheese and serve.

I think this recipe was a success and I'll totally make it again.

I will admit, however, that about 2/3 of the way through my boat, when I started to feel full, the non-vegetable-eater in me came out and I ditched the boat and just ate the risotto.  Old habits die hard, I guess..

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pom Poms

I popped into Pat Catan's on my way home this afternoon because I was hoping to pick up a set of US size 1 double pointed knitting needles.  They didn't have them.  

They did, however, have a cool looking set of pom pom makers on sale for $2.  I was extra enticed because I had recently been reading about Erica's adventures with pom poms over on her blog.  I know I could easily make pom poms with 2 pieces of free cardboard, but this seemed like an opportunity to have way more than 2 bucks worth of fun.  I bought the set.

The instructions were pretty straightforward but I'd be lying if I said my first attempt didn't end up as a useless pile of 3" pieces of yarn.  Oops.

I only had one failed attempt, though, and then it was smooth sailing.  

I'm super excited about using some pom poms in a knitting project now!  I'm not sure what that project will be, but I'm sure I'll think of something.  Do you have any suggestions?

Happy (unofficial) pom pom day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Circle Skirt

I successfully finished my first-ever sewing project!

I made a circle skirt that looks totally legit and that I fully intend to wear in public all the time. I'm so excited about it!

Look how fun it is to twirl in:

I used this circle skirt tutorial from Made to make a prototype of my skirt out of muslin.  When I tried on the prototype, I decided to add an inch of length all the way around the skirt as well as an extra 1. 75 inches of length in the back so that the skirt would look like it's the same length in the front and the back even though I have more to cover in the back.

When I was drawing my pattern and I was making the back of the skirt longer than the front, I made the entire back half of the circle one length and then gradually made the other half shorter, so only the front quarter of the skirt was the shortest length.  This made sense in my head while I was making the pattern, but once I tried on the skirt I realized I had made a mistake; the front and the back of the skirt look like they're the same length, but the sides of the skirt look longer than everywhere else.

That's how I learned that I should have made the entire front half of the skirt the shortest length and then gradually transitioned to the longest length in the back half of the skirt.  If I had done that, I think the sides would not look longer than the front and the back.

Have you ever made a circle skirt that was a little longer in the back than the front?  Do you think that the lesson I learned from this project is correct?

Oh, and do you see that serged edge on the bottom of the skirt?  Once I made a pattern out of muslin (using the math equations from the awesome Made tutorial plus my own 1.75 inch addition to the length of the back of the skirt) and once I had traced the pattern onto my real fabric, I cut out the skirt and serged the bottom edge of the circle as well as the top edge that would go around my waist.  Then I measured the length of elastic I needed to go around my waist and sewed it together to make a circle.  I finished it off by pinning that elastic waistband onto the skirt and sewing it all together.

I used a 1 inch elastic for the waistband because it was navy blue and matched the fabric, but if Joann's had had 2 inch elastic in the correct color, I would have preferred to use that just for aesthetic reasons.  I don't love the feeling of an elastic band digging into my stomach, so I made the waistband fairly loose.

I love that sewing my own skirt meant that I could make that waistband as loose as I wanted it to be, and that the back of the skirt could be a little longer than the front so it would sit properly on my body type.

I'm totally addicted to sewing now!

I'm thinking of making a high/low skirt for my next project...

Happy stitching!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Link to Love: Stitched Magazine Covers

Have you heard of the artist Inge Jacobsen?  She's cross-stitching and embroidering magazine covers and other cool photographs.

Today's link to love is her website.

Wondering why someone would go to the trouble to recreate these photos with thread? Jacobsen says "With the over saturation of images in our world today, this is a way for me to 'hijack' this overwhelming consumption from the mass produced and alter it to create something unique."

Image via Inge Jacobsen
Pretty cool, huh?  Check out her website for tons of other cool images and a much more in-depth explanation of her work.

Happy reading!

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