Thursday, February 28, 2013

Embroidering on the Beach

Today I'm hanging out at Orient Beach in St. Maarten.  I've mostly been lounging on one of these lawn chairs:

Instead of reading my book (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) or messing around on my iPad (7 Little Words is super addicting), I did a little bit of embroidery on the front of my notebook.

It's been a great day.

I'll show you how I did the embroidery in my next post!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The High-Low Dress

I have been admiring high-low dresses from afar for quite some time now.  Some examples of this short-in-the-front and long-in-the-back style are here, here, and here.

I'm happy to say that I finally joined in on the fun.

I bought an inexpensive summery version of the trend from Target that I think will be perfect to wear at the beach here in the Caribbean as well as back in Denver this spring.  (Speaking of which, I'm so glad it's almost spring!)

While the high-low dress's cut is similar to that of the mullet, I really don't think this is going to be a fleeting trend that everyone laughs about a decade from now.  I've been wrong before, though. What do you think?


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hanging Heart Knitting Pattern

Remember the Valentine's Day heart bombing project that I did last week in association with One Sheepish Girl's heart bombing day?  I wrote up the pattern for my little hanging heart today.

Materials used in this pattern:
1.  Two contrasting colors of medium weight yarn (I used Loops & Threads Charisma Baby yarn in yellow and Loops & Threads Charisma yarn in white.)
2.  US Size 8 knitting needles
3.  Stuffing
3.  Scissors
4.  Tapestry needle

Abbreviations used in this pattern:
kfb:  An increase stitch involving knitting the front and the back of a single stitch to create 2 stitches.
k2tog:  A decrease stitch involving knitting two stitches together to form a single stitch.
k2tog(tbl):  Inserting the needle through the back of the loops of 2 stitches to perform a k2tog decrease stitch.

Row 1:  cast on 2 stitches
Row 2:  kfb, kfb
Row 3:  purl 4
Row 4:  kfb, knit 2, kfb
Row 5:  purl 6
Row 6:  kfb, knit 4, kfb

You have now created the top left hump of your heart.  Cut the yarn so that your knitting is no longer attached to your skein of yarn, leaving a long enough tail to weave in later.

Push the existing knitting down the needle, saving it for later.

Repeat rows 1 through 6 again, starting by casting onto the empty needle as pictured below.

Now you should have both humps for the top of your heart on one needle.  Push them together and knit the rest of the pattern as if it were all one piece.

Row 7:  purl 16
Row 8:  knit 16
Row 9:  purl 16
Row 10:  k2tog, knit 12, k2tog(tbl)
Row 11:  purl 14
Row 12:  k2tog, knit 10, k2tog(tbl)
Row 13:  purl 12
Row 14:  k2tog, knit 8, k2tog(tbl)
Row 15:  purl 10
Row 16:  k2tog, knit 6, k2tog(tbl)
Row 17:  purl 8
Row 18:  k2tog, knit 4, k2tog(tbl)
Row 19:  purl 6
Row 20:  k2tog, knit 2, k2tog(tbl)
Row 21:  purl 4
Row 22:  k2tog, k2tog(tbl)
Row 23:  bind off purlwise

Now repeat the pattern again to make a second heart, and weave in all the ends on both hearts.

Stack the 2 hearts on top of each other with the knit side of both hearts facing out so that they are mirror images of each other.  Use your tapestry needle and your contrasting yarn color (I used white) to sew the two hearts together to form one heart.  As you do this, purely for aesthetic reasons, try to keep your sewing one stitch away from the edge of the heart as apposed to sewing right along the actual edges.  When you have almost sewn all the way around the heart, push a small amount of stuffing between the two sides of the heart; this will make the finished product a little puffier and more 3-dimensional.

Once you've added the stuffing, finish sewing all the way around the heart and then make a big loop to hang it from and tie a knot.  Cut off the excess yarn and you're all finished.

Happy knitting!

p.s.  I just subscribed to Gathered by Mollie Makes, which is a cute little iPad magazine.  As I was perusing some back issues, I came across a pattern for a garter stitch heart coaster in issue #16 that's really cute, so if you like this pattern you might want to check that one out as well.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pretty Backgrounds

Have you heard of Design Love Fest?  It's a really beautiful blog by graphic designer Bri Emery that I highly recommend checking out.

If you click on the Downloads tab on her homepage, it will take you to the best collection of desktop backgrounds ever.  Seriously.

I went a little crazy scrolling through all the options this morning, and I ended up downloading a heart background for my computer and a French background for my iPad.

Both of those images are courtesy of Design Love Fest.

Do you have any other favorite design blogs?  I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Yarn Bomb

Happy Valentine's Day!

I knew I wanted to make something cute for my friends this Valentine's Day, but I wasn't sure what that would be until I saw that Merideth over at One Sheepish Girl was hosting another yarn bombing day.  I immediately knew that I wanted to knit hearts and hang them on my friends doors!

I jumped right into the knitting with no pattern at all, making it up as I went along, and I ended up with these little guys:

I hung them up for my friends this afternoon.  I really hope they like them!

We live in such an industrial environment, I was happy to make it look a teensy bit more homey.  I know that by "a teensy bit" I mean a very, very teensy bit, but all a girl can do is try...

I hope that your Valentine's Day is full of love, not only for your significant other but also for your friends and family!  Are you doing anything special to celebrate?  We just finished 2 ice shows and are about to dig into some incredibly delicious-looking cupcakes!


p.s. I'll post the pattern for the little hearts that I made soon.  =)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nail Stickers

With Valentine's Day in mind, I put some love note stickers on my nails last night.

What do you think of nail polish stickers? I love them because there's no drying time after you apply them like there is with regular nail polish.  And I also love that they're on sale at target this week.  ;-)


Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Braid Your Hair

When I bother to put my hair up in something other than a 2-second ponytail, there are usually braids involved.  Sometimes there are multiple braids, or french braids, or a braided bun, but there are almost always braids.

The other day someone asked me how to do a basic braid, so I decided to do a basic hair braiding tutorial this week and a french braiding tutorial next time.  I hope you like them!

The main concept to braiding is that you have 3 separate sections of hair and you alternate moving the right section into the middle and then the left section into the middle over and over again until you have a braid.

Here's a step-by-step guide:

1.  Brush your hair and separate it into 3 equally-sized sections.

2.  Move over the section that you are holding in your right hand so that it is now in the middle. Switch it to your left hand, so you are now holding two sections of hair in your left hand and only one section in your right hand.  Notice that I'm holding one section with my thumb and the other section with my pointer finger so that I keep the two sections separate from each other even though they're in the same hand.

3.  Now use your left hand to move the section that is the farthest to the left into the middle, and switch it to your right hand.

You've now learned everything you need to know to braid your hair!  Steps 4 through 6 are really just repeats of steps 2 and 3 so that you can see how it looks as your braid progresses.

4.  Move the right section into the middle and switch it to your left hand.

5.  Move the left section into the middle and switch it to your right hand.

6.  Move the right section into the middle and switch it to your left hand.  Continue bringing the right and then the left sections into the middle until you've braided your hair all the way to the bottom.  Secure it with a hair tie.

Now you know how to braid your hair!  Practice it a few times and it will get easier and easier.  If you have long hair, you now have all the skills necessary to make crown braids as well.

Happy braiding!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Good Book

I've had a cold this week, so I spent the last couple days lounging around in bed reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling and it is so awesome!

Image via Amazon

It's a funny, lighthearted read that is extremely relatable (at least to me, a 20-something non-married girl in America).  I love her writing style because she has struck the perfect balance between actual content and humor.  In her question-and-answer style introduction she writes "This book will take you two days to read.  Did you even see the cover?  It's mostly pink.  If you're reading this book every night for months, something is not right." But man, I wish it had taken me months to read it; then I'd still be laughing.

Have you read this book?  Did you like it as much as I did?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week in Review (Jan 27-Feb 2)

Here's a quick look back at some of the little things that made last week special:

Did you do anything fun this week?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blog Planning

It's the beginning of a new month, which means a new opportunity to wipe off my dry erase calendar and plan out the next month, just like I did the month before that and the month before that.  I love my dry erase calendar because everything written on it is just so erasable.  I like to plan, but I also love to change my mind.  I understand that planning out each month's craft projects and blog posts makes the process much more organized, and I love that it helps me remember all the things I've been hoping to write about, but I also think that too much planning can take some of the life out of a blog.  A touch of spontaneity is always a good thing.  

Here's what my calendar looked like in January:

You may notice that I wrote exactly 3 of those posts on the day I had planned to write them.  Oh well, "the best laid plans" and all that, right?  Even though I didn't stick to the schedule, I still referred to the calendar every day as a general guideline, so it was still useful in its own way.

I also use several notebooks to plan out my blog posts.  I carry the little pink ones with me so that I can write down ideas right when I get them.  I have a terrible memory, so these are like a tiny pair of crutches for my brain.  The big black notebook is what I use when I'm at home; it's less portable but more fun to write in.

So basically, my blogging ideas live in a state of organized chaos, just the way I like it.

Do you have a blogging calendar as well?  I'd love to hear about it.
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