Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Robot Love Stamp Art

The other day I was playing around with my robot stamps and I made this funny little picture.  It was a really simple idea: make a stencil, stamp like crazy, then remove the stencil to reveal the stamp-shape.

Here's how I made my heart stencil:

1.  Fold a piece of paper in half.
2.  Draw half of a heart on the paper.
3.  Cut along the line you've drawn.
4.  Unfold the paper and you'll have a perfectly symmetrical heart.

And here's how I used the stencil and my stamps to make the artwork:

1.  Tape the stencil to a piece of paper.
2.  Stamp away!  The more you stamp, the better.
3.  Remove the stencil, and you're all finished.

I hung my artwork on my wall and surrounded it with a washi tape frame.  I got the idea for the frame from this post on Design Sponge.

Happy stamping!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Photo Toaster

This week I'm loving the Photo Toaster app for the iPad.  I payed $1.99 for the full version, but there's also a free version with a few less features if that's more your style.

I love this app because it's like a cuter, simpler version of photoshop for the iPad.  It makes it really easy and fun to change the look of the pictures that I've been taking with my iPad's camera.

Here's an example of a picture that I was messing around with today.  First I cropped it.

Then I picked which filter I wanted to use.  These filters change the color and lighting in the photo, and there are little thumbnails at the bottom that show you exactly how your picture will look with each filter.  For this one, I chose the "happy" filter.

Then I added a fun outline to the edge of my picture.  Again, you can see how all the edges will look in the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.

How cool is that?  In less than 1 minute, I took an iPad photo from plain to adorable.
I seriously can't recommend this app enough!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Past Week In Review

I'm happy that it's finally Sunday because it's time to reveal a picture journal that I've been working on for the past week.  There's one picture for every day, celebrating the little things (and a few big ones) that make every day special.

Did you do anything special this week?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Wishing

I'm in sunny Mexico today, and I'm happy to be here but I can't stop daydreaming of snow.  I've been yearning for sledding on the hill behind my house and reading by the fireplace and wearing all sorts of warm, snuggly clothes.  Here are some wintery things I've been dreaming of buying on Etsy.

1.  These old school legwarmer/boot socks from Yoyo Vintage Life.

2.  A soft and floaty screen printed infinity scarf from Little Minnow Designs.

3. These insanely cute fingerless bow mittens from Gertie & Baxter.

4.  A big, chunky, soft, cable knit blanket from Lucky Hanks.

All of the lovely photos above are courtesy of their respective Etsy shop owners.

What are your favorite cold weather accessories?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Knit Bow Tie

Lately I've been really interested in mixed media knitting, a.k.a. knitting with other materials in addition to yarn, so I decided to incorporate some ribbons into this big, fun bow tie that I made.

Here's the what you'll need if you want to make one too:
Less than 1 skein of worsted weight yarn
US Size 7 knitting needles
Less than 1 spool of 1/4 inch ribbon
2 hooks
Tapestry needle

Abbreviations used in this pattern:
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together (decrease stitch)
yo = yarn over (increase stitch)

Pattern for the bow:
Cast on 15 stitches
Row 1: k2tog, yo, knit 3, k2tog, yo, knit 1, yo, k2tog, knit 3, yo, k2tog
Row 2: purl
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until your work is 11.5 inches long.
Bind off

Your work should now have 4 rows of holes in it, like the second picture in this post.  Thread a ribbon along each of those 4 rows, in and out of each hole until your work looks like the picture below.

Now cut the ends of the ribbons so they are about 2 inches long. Fold the ends over the edge of the knitting and glue them down on the back side of your work, as pictured below.

Once the glue dries, seam the two edges of the knitting together (where you just glued the ends), forming a loop with the knit stitches facing out.

For the neck band:
Cast on 5 stitches
Row 1: knit
Repeat row 1 until you have a strip of garter stitch that is about 16 inches long (or the circumference of the neck you're making the bow tie for, if you know it).
Bind off

For the center of the bow:
Cast on 8 stitches
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have a strip of stockinette stitch that is 4.5 inches long.
Bind off

Lay the big loop flat on a tables with the seam in the center.
Lay the neck band on top of the loop.
Wrap the center strip for the bow around the big loop and the neck band and sew it all together using matching yarn and your tapestry needle. It should now look like a bow tie!

To finish it off, sew two hooks onto one end of the neck band so that the new owner of this bow tie can hook the back of the neck together anywhere along the knitting that he would like.  This will make it fit just right even if you made the neck band a little too long.

Here's Justin modeling his new look:

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments section!

p.s. This bow tie is what I was knitting in this post.  Did you guess correctly?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I love this quote from Salvador Dali because it applies so perfectly to knitting, crafting, and the writing of this blog.  

I often struggle with my own perfectionism, but if I succumbed to it, I honestly don't think I'd ever finish a craft project. I would just keep starting over and over again every time one little thing went wrong. But the thing is that I'm human and something always goes wrong, so why fight it? It could be a dropped stitch that just requires a deep breath and a little bit of tinking (knitting backward), which is a phenomenal exercise in patience, or it could be a misplaced dribble of paint in a craft project that leads to an alternate plan that leads to a cooler aesthetic anyway, which is a great exercise in creativity. Either way, there is still a pretty good finished result and I've practiced some coping skills along the way, so it's a win-win situation, as long as I can ignore the urge to be perfect.

The same goes for my blog. There's only so many times a girl can proofread a post before she has to send it out in the world and hope for the best. I seriously have to remind myself of this every time I'm writing my blog, because if I never clicked that "publish" button unless it was perfect, I would never publish anything.

Are you a perfectionist too? Do you think it helps or hinders you?

p.s. I used my new stamps to make the picture for this post.  =) 

Monday, January 14, 2013

My New Toy

I could not be more excited to introduce you to my new love this week...

It's my brand new iPad mini!

I can't wait to start downloading apps for it!  Do you have any recommendations?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Can you guess what I'm knitting this time?

Last time I asked you guys to guess what I was knitting you were super good at it.  Do you think you can do it again?

Here's what I'm knitting right now:

Here's a hint: when I finish the project, those rows of holes will have ribbons threaded through them.

Happy guessing!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pretty Craft Supplies

This week I'm in love with a big, white box of craft supplies that my sister sent me for Christmas.  

They aren't just any craft supplies; they're craft supplies that are so pretty in their natural state that I almost want to leave them alone and use them as decorations just as they are.  (Almost.)  I can't wait to think of the perfect projects for each and every one of them!

I'll definitely be using these stamps on the next cards I make.

And maybe I'll make some bracelets with these pretty paper strings?

I can already think of a million things I'd like to decorate with this washi tape...

And these pom poms will most likely be making an appearance in my next knitting project.

But this spool of yarn may end up being the one craft supply I succumb to leaving on the shelf as decoration.  I love the wooden spool so much!

I'm feeling very spoiled and lucky at the moment.
Thanks Kate!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Crown Braids

I sometimes like to wear my hair in a crown of braids like I did in this post back in September.  I think it's a fun look, and I don't think I'm the only one.  I find some of my other favorite bloggers rocking similar hairdos from time to time, like Elsie at A Beautiful Mess.

I used to struggle with the mechanics of these braids.  I couldn't make my hair lie flat when I pulled the braids up and over my head, and I always ended up with awkward poofing around the base of the braids (and everywhere, really). I used to give up and start over and over and over again before I could get it looking right.  That is, until this week when I had a bobby pin epiphany that's the key to getting this hairdo perfect on the first try every time.

Here's the deal:

1. Brush and part your hair.
2. While holding your hair tight against the first side of your head, insert a bobby pin behind your earlobe to hold your hair in place.
3. Add another bobby pin so that your hair is secured with an X.  I've highlighted the X in white in the picture above so that you can see how it should look.
4. Make another bobby pin X on the second side of your head as well. 
5. Braid the first side of your hair, holding it straight out instead of down, and secure the end of the braid with a small clear elastic band.
6. Pull the braid up and over the top of your head so it looks like a headband and secure it to your head with a bobby pin.
7. Braid the second side of your hair in the same manner as the first.
8. Pull the second braid up and over your head also, making sure to cover up the elastic band and the bobby pin on the first braid.  Secure the second braid with a bobby pin (or three) as well.
9. That's it!  

I hope the bobby pin X works as well for you as it does for me.  Suddenly this hairstyle only takes me 5 minutes to do, and it used to take me 20.  It even looks nice from the back, see?

Happy braiding!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Have you been thinking of some resolutions for yourself for 2013?

My #1 resolution is to take more pictures.  I love photography and I have a fancy new camera, so there is so much practicing to be done!  I usually feel tentative about having my camera with me, though, because it's big and pretty and breakable and I don't want to mess it up, but there's no point in having it if I don't use it, right?

I took it out with me on New Year's Eve (which I previously wouldn't have done because I would have been too nervous about it) and I'm so happy I did!  Had I not brought it, I probably would have still ended up with this first picture from one of my friend's cameras, but I definitely wouldn't have been able to take the other two, and those are the sorts of pictures I love the best; the candid ones where personalities really shine.

Aren't my friends adorable?  I love them.
Here's to a great 2013!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Did you know I love glitter?

I hope your New Year's Eve absolutely sparkled!

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