Saturday, December 27, 2014

A New Season Gets Underway....

Had a little flurry of sales for Christmas in my Etsy shop, JeanBeanGifts. I was really happy about that! My little bottle toppers were popular, along with my owl ornaments ("owl always love you"), also people bought my steampunk snowflakes, so that was wonderful, too. And I sold a cowl, so I will definitely keep making these things for next year, too.

So it's on to new things, thinking ahead to Valentine's Day and beyond that, spring! The days here in Bradenton are just about all like summer days, (it was 80 degrees the day after Christmas!) so it's hard to visualize the seasons and to motivate myself to making things that are pertinent to each season. But I try....I change out my dishtowels every month (I do wash them several times a month!) in some sort of theme...Like for February, I will be putting out my Valentine towels. 

They are not made by me, but some day I hope to get back to making appliqu├ęd towels for my little shop. This is one I made for October a couple of years ago....
On a whim, I decided to make a little charm dangle or key chain/key fob that reminds me of one of my favorite animated movies by Pixar. It's called "Up." The movie is heartwarming, funny, and very well done. It's a love story, too! Carl, the elderly gentleman, who's pining the loss of his many years of happily wedded bliss to his Ellie, decides to tie a bunch of balloons to his house, and take off on an adventure. Little beknownst to him, a little explorer scout accidentally tags along. So here's my little charm/movie memorabilia piece.
It makes me happy to think about this movie, so I'm glad I made it. I'll probably put it in my little shop in case someone else wants to remember this movie, too.

I tried to knit a hat for my daughter serving overseas. It's getting cold at night where she is, but for some reason, I am having trouble with lace patterns these days. After tearing out the hat twice, (once for not doing a gauge and checking to see that it was going to be HUMONGOUS), I decided to give it a rest. But I do love this yarn, and I'm going to try again this week to find a different pattern that's not quite as frustrating. The worsted yarn I found is really pretty. It's a deep dark cherry with flecks of blue and gray in it...A Vanna's Choice yarn called Plum Jam.
Hope I can get this hat done soon! Before spring and warmer weather come her way!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Steampunk Holiday Knitting

WHA-A-A-T???  What the heck is that? Is there really such a thing as steampunk holiday knitting? Probably not...I just threw all those together because that's what I've been doing all at the same time, well sort of....Steampunk has to do with electronics, mechanical parts, fantasy, and steam machinery. It was originally a part of literature--science fiction set in Victorian times. Now, steampunk style loosely refers to using mechanical parts and machinery images, pieces, or themes with those science fiction elements in clothing or decor. So-o-o, I decided to use some clock parts and Tim Holtz gear pieces and make some snowflakes! Here is just one example.....I used Super Glue, which I was not too thrilled with, as if you are not really really careful, you might see a little white residue left behind after it dries...OR.....you might accidentally fuse your fingers together, not realizing you are getting the stuff on your fingers. (Ask me how I know....) I had one scary moment where SOMEHOW I got a tiny bit on my fingers and it ended up on one eyelash. I could feel the eyelash drying and I was screaming inside myself--"DONT' SHUT YOUR EYE, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T SHUT YOUR EYE!!!!!" I didn't....for enough seconds that it was ok...WHEW! I think I will use some different type of glue for more snowflakes, ya think?????
The gear pieces are widely available in packages at Michael's and Hobby Lobby and aren't necessarily Tim Holtz ones, but he is kind of the essence in the steampunk/grunge look scrapbooking supplies at the moment, in my humble opinion. He's got a lot of cool clock faces, hands, screws, nuts and bolts, and more stuff for scrapbookers looking for that sort of style in his "Ideology" design line....Here's a link to his cool stuff:  http://timholtz.com/new-2014-products-idea-ology/

OK, for the holiday stuff...I knit these cute bottle wine bottle toppers for my Etsy shop, JeanBeanGifts, just to see if anybody was interested. The pattern is from a blog called Simply Notable. A lady wrote and asked, "Can you make 36?" Can I? SURE! Can I do it within a certain time frame? You bet! Did I get carpal tunnel syndrome from knitting 36 of these little dudes in a week and a half? Almost!

Here is a photo of them on a trio of bottles. And yes, I did drink the wine for these!

I am making more of these as we speak, because....ANOTHER lady who purchased ONE bottle topper, bought it for a relative who runs a bottled water company and THAT lady wanted to use my photo of the hat on a water bottle. She asked if she could use the photo in a company newsletter that goes out to over 300 customers. I said, sure! WHAT WAS I THINKING???????  So far, no repercussions. I told her it's just little ole me knitting these little toppers, but I could make more, no problem.  Hahahahahaha...But I am going to make some more, JUST IN CASE.....

Speaking of drinking wine, I got some ideas from Etsy about using wine corks and decided to make some key chains from them. Here's a quick look at some I came up with, hard to be original with a basic wine cork and a key ring, but I'm going to try...I sealed the corks for better resiliency and popped a couple in my shop, JeanBeanGifts. http://etsy.com/shop/JeanBeanGifts

Now, being the ADD adult that I am and substitute teaching and having company come, in addition, I have to have lots of projects going at one time, so I do...My youngest daughter, says, Mom, can you make this hat I saw in Anthropologie's catalog? (It was EIGHTY-EIGHT dollars!) Yikes! I thought, well, of course I can make this hat, but of COURSE she wants the exact same yarn. The yarn was mentioned in the catalog description. It was a hand dyed Knit Collage yarn. I tracked it down. It ended up being 40.00 for ONE skein including shipping cost. YIKES! But---I am HOPING I can make a beanie with just the one skein. Otherwise, it's going to be ripped out and a headband will be made instead.
The worst thing about this yarn? I'm thinking it was made in the U.S. Nope! I can't remember where now, but it's NOT made in the U.S. I was so bummed!

Anything else on the table, Sparky? Yep! Thought I would make some of these cupcake hot pads and put them in the shop.
After sewing this one from the cutest little pattern ever, I couldn't sew through all the thicknesses with my little Brother Runway sewing machine. The pattern called for three thicknesses of Warm and Natural batting, OR one thickness of Warm and Natural, one of Insulbrite (the stuff that protects your hand from burning) and the two pieces of your fabric sandwiched together. Well, I had the brilliant idea of using TWO pieces of warm and natural with one layer of Insulbrite, and by the time I got the final topper part onto the bottom, which has the same thicknesses as the topper part, there was no way on earth I could join them together without breaking my machine needle. (Ask me how I know...) So now, I am sewing the two sections together by hand with blanket stitch and to me, it looks bad. No more fabric like it to give it another try and besides, I'm disgusted with how hard it is to pull the needle through with a pair of pliers. No joke, folks, I'm pulling the needle for the blanket stitch through all those thicknesses of fabric with a pair of pliers. It's slow going for sure...I'll just keep it for me for the holidays...sigh....

Almost time to think about making some things for Valentine's Day!   Geesh! One holiday at a time, Jeannie!  But I AM having fun....(she says....)  I probably won't post till after Christmas, so have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones!     Happy crafting!