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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WIP Wednesday #4

You saw this coming.

Yes, today I'm working on more Swiffer Socks and judging from the pile of yarn I still have I may be working on this next week too. I'm almost halfway through them, but I will be doing some dish cloths too in order to use up the extra bits of yarn. I had hoped to be a bit farther on these, but with birthday partying on the weekend not much got done.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I Did This Weekend: Part III

Here's the last and least exciting project of the weekend:

Remember these? I had just enough yarn left over from the Swiffer Sock to do a dishcloth and I decided to make a couple extras and use up another ball of my stash. As you can see they're not perfectly square, but frankly I don't care that much because they'll still get the job done.

This coming weekend will unfortunately be the exact same as last weekend (aside from making more birthday cake). I've had a couple friends email me asking for some Swiffer Socks and one request for a Swiffer Duster. This means I broke the no more yarn rule again and went to Michaels to buy more yarn, BUT I managed to only buy what I needed for these projects and not fall victim to the irresistible $1 a ball price.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I Did This Weekend: Part II

Any guesses about what these fluffy things are?

A cat toy? A piece of food that's sat in your fridge a bit too long? A lost sock escaped from the depths of under the bed? Nooooo.

It's a Swiffer Duster! Another item that means no more disgusting disposable sheets for me. I am so over opening the closet door where our cleaning supplies are and seeing these nasty disposables still being saved to use "just one more time" so we aren't just throwing out money.

These can be made with any little bits and pieces you have leftover too. There's an inner tube part that's made from a tiny bit of 100% cotton yarn, but the fluffy part of it is whatever you happen to have around that's bulky. This blue is leftover from one of my little spartan's hats.

And what makes them even better is that they trap more dust and icky things than the disposable ones do.

Mmmm look at all that delicious dust:

Did I mention it's "multi-purpose" too? Check out the Fat Shae petter 2.0:

If you want one of these for yourself, check out the pattern here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WIP Wednesday #3

The past few days have been extra busy around here. And sadly I haven't been busy crocheting anything. And I technically no longer even have a WIP to show you, since I finished it this morning.

Right now my kitchen is completely destroyed. Seriously, if anyone plans on cooking anything in there, they can forget it because there is no counter space whatsoever, and I'm pretty sure everything in there is covered with a thin layer of buttercream icing now.

This is what happens any time that I make a cake. The whole clean up-as-you-go thing just doesn't work for me so I end up with a giant mess to clean up at a later time when I am not tired from the lack of sleep that also tends to occur when cake is on the agenda.

Today's mess is due to the fact that I'm striving for the World's Best Girlfriend 2011 award. You see, today is M's 24th birthday (and the start of the not quite two months where he can say he has a hot younger woman on his arm). Since I have an entire closet full of cake decorating supplies, you can bet he's not getting some lame grocery store cake.

Unfortunately I only have a quick picture I snapped before I ran out the door to surprise him at work:

Ignore my ugly writing. Like I said, running out the door to surprise him at work and trying very hard to be there for break time so I don't interrupt too much working. Can you tell what he does for a living?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Eco-Friendly Swiffer Sock

Check out what I made this weekend:

Any guesses what it is? I'll give you a hint.

Got it yet? If for some reason you haven't, it's a Swiffer Sock.

I hate the disposable refills. Someone around here always seems to want to keep these gross disgusting clothes covered in God only knows what because they think that they can get more use out of them, so clearly this was a necessary project. Though the pattern used worsted weight acrylic yarn, I used some 100% cotton yarn because I have lots of little balls of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn (Lily Sugar'n Cream if you're American) and I'd rather use that up than steal from my stash of amigurumi yarn because that is one part of my stash I don't intend to "trash" at all.

As you can see, the completed project has a "duster" side that traps all the dusties in your house in its ruffles.

Isn't that awesomely handy? Much better than the disposables that last for approximately two swipes across the floor, then do little more than push dirt around the floor (in my opinion anyway). Bonus: if I end up in that situation, I just need to wash out the pad and I'm good to go again, though I plan to make a few extras for just this situation.

But do you know what makes it even better? It's reversible! Check it out:

After you finish up cleaning the floor all you need to do is soak the pad in some water with a bit of your floor cleaning product of choice, flip it around, and you're off to the races again. Once you're all done all you need to do is toss it in the laundry and wash. No more disposable cloths that don't even last for the entire kitchen floor for me, and a great project to use bits and pieces of whatever yarn you have leftover.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Valentines and Elmo

After much fighting, I FINALLY finished A's special Valentine's Day hat that I wrote about here.

Let me just say what a fight it was to actually make the silly thing. I've only had trouble with crocheting hats one time when I was making this Elmo hat:

The problem with this one is that I was making it for a near-3 year old that love love LOVES Elmo. Did I mention that this near-3 year old's head was unavailable to me for measuring, and that I was doing it as a surprise so I couldn't exactly ask Mom?

I believe I chose the child size for the hat for optimum long term use. Of course I didn't exactly follow the instructions for the hat, and used two strands of Vanna's Choice yarn rather than what was used by the person that made this pattern. This hat needed to stand up to Minnesota and North Dakota winters, so extra warmth was a must.

I'm so happy that the hat is working out and I'm actually keeping count of my rows and then I realize it: the hat will fit on my head. Ooops.

Long story short, I pulled out the entire thing, started from scratch with the toddler size, and it worked out. The hat fit, the near-3 year old loved it, everyone wins.

The Valentine's Day hat on the other hand, turned out to be a little monster in disguise. It looks all cute and adorable, but it really wasn't.

The first time I made it, it was too big and too open. The second time I made it, it was too small, but the openness of the hat was improved by working with two strands. The third time it was still too small. There was at least a fourth and a fifth time after that, but honestly I can't even keep track of all the problems I had.

After the sixth or seventh go at it, here's what I ended up with:

Cute right? The only problem is that it still ended up too big. I am quite confident this will be great for Valentine's Day 2012 or 2013, but for V-day 2011, not so much. But after starting over a half dozen times, I wasn't up for starting over just one more time.

I should also add that when I was making the heart I pulled everything out 2 or 3 times and that I spent more hours than I am willing to admit to myself untangling the two balls of yarn I was using. And I didn't just untangle once nooo, I had to untangle everything twice just because I love to make a mess and make work for myself (apparently).

At the end of the day though Mom will love it and think it's adorable and A. will wear it (someday) and be super cute.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Draft Snake Pattern Update

I hope everyone is already working on their five resolutions and trashing some of their stash in the process.

Before you all get too excited about them and finish all the projects I suggested for you, Vashti, the creator of the draft snake informed me that she's updated her pattern since posting it on her blog.

The updated pattern for this cute little fellow that will help keep your house draft-free, keep some cash in your wallet, and use up your scraps of yarn can be found here for free on Ravelry. com. The updated pattern includes instructions on how to crochet the forked tongue that you see in the photo.

Thanks again for a great pattern Vashti!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WIP Wednesday #2

Unfortunately Christmas kind of messed with my ambitious (for me at least) WIP Wednesday plans. For most of November and December I switched from crocheting to sewing.

Have you ever seen fabric panels like these?

I went on a spending spree at Joann Fabrics at the end of the summer and again in September or October on these panels. After several hours of labour and love, they sew up into the cutest little story books, perfect for a special little boy's first Christmas. This Night Before Christmas panel by Mary Engelbreit is one of about five or six I made for little A., who coincidentally was 100% not interested in Christmas presents by the time I got to see him. Even though he's only 9 months old, he figured out it was a special day and decided naps were a waste of time, so he was getting pretty tired by the time his Godmama got there with presents.

On the bright side, his Nagypapa was pretty excited about the books once he figured out that they were a) books and b) I had made them from just a piece of fabric. I would say he spent a good half an hour looking them over and reading them several times.

While we're briefly talking Christmas, I may as well show you the special surprise that A. and I made for Mom and Dad, as well as Nagymama and Nagypapa, Nonno, Nonna, and both his Godmamas because we all just love him to bits. Plus I was not fighting with a 9 month old to do handprints and not reaping the benefits myself and well, I don't think I could get away with doing one for me and one for Mom and Dad and not everyone else.

Before you ask, why yes I am superwoman. I got a 9 month old to make half decent hand prints while he was awake, and with him eating minimal amounts of paint. Usually the snowman handprint ornaments are made with the child grasping the ball so the palm is on the bottom of the ornament and you just see the "snowmen," but overall I'm pleased with how this turned out. My only regret was not using white-white paint for the handprint and instead choosing a pearlized paint because I think that would have shown up better.

Of course the ornament came with a little poem too:

These are five little snowmen as anyone can see,
I made them with my handprint which is a part of me.
Every year I'm growing and I'll be grown someday,
But these five tiny snowmen will never melt away!

Upon opening it, Mom immediately thought I had broken into their house in the middle of the night and covered her baby boy in paint while she was asleep across the hall. Fortunately for me though Mom leaves little A. with his Nagymama fairly regularly while she goes to the gym, giving me an ample window of time to sneak in, handprint, and sneak out.

Needless to say it was quite the hit and I think it will be a very special ornament for the rest of their lives.

Hmm now why are we here again? Oh right. WIP Wednesday.

Here's what I've been working on lately:

This project has been on the back burner for a long time. I bought the yarn over a year ago on one of those days where Michaels had an extra 20% off your entire purchase and they actually put something on sale for a good enough price to make a trip worthwhile. I'll take $3.25 a ball over $8-$9 a ball any day.

When it's done it will be a Five and a Half Hour Afghan. Now you may ask, if it's supposed to take only five and a half hours, why haven't I finished it already? It's been pulled out at least two or three times entirely. In fact the first time I was nearly finished, but then decided it was too skinny and I didn't like it. I can't remember the other times I've pulled it all out but I definitely know I've done it more than once.

Other factors impeding completion are the fact that I've made this same blanket in 3 other colours for a birthday gift last February and two Christmas presents this year. It's quick and easy and makes a cute afghan so it's a perfect pattern to keep in your back pocket, though I think they lie when they say five and a half hour. I think it took me closer to about 12, but maybe I'm just slow.

Linking To:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5 Resolutions You Can Make

For most people, a new year means new resolutions. I will openly admit that I break resolutions about ten minutes after I make them for the most part. In elementary school the first assignment we had when we were back from Christmas vacation was always to write down our resolutions for the new year and every year I resolved to write neater.

Guess what? Not only is my writing still messy, but it's probably gotten worse over the years. Good luck if you ever wanted to borrow notes from me in university, all you're going to get is a few pages of chicken scratch comprised of my own unique blend of printing and cursive writing.

Needless to say, I've kind of given up on this resolution business. Especially now that my marks don't depend on it like they did back in the day.

However, those who are resolution inclined I have good news for you. Even though I don't really do resolutions, I can certainly help you out with yours! And another bonus, a lot of these ideas are good stash busters too.

Resolution #1: Get More Organized
You've decided. This is the year you're going to go through all your junk and finally get rid of it. You're going to go out and buy cute baskets and bins and actually use them. But wait, why buy baskets and bins when you can crochet some instead?

Side note: I can only dream that one day my stash will fit in this stash basket.

Resolution #2: Lose Weight
Sadly, while crocheting all night might keep your hands busy so you can't chow down on unhealthy snacks, it isn't a big calorie burner. This is proven by the fact that I've gained about 10 pounds in the past few months. For those of you that have resolved to slim down this year, what better way to inspire you is a cute bag to carry around your yoga mat?

Resolution #3: Save Money
Saving money is another very popular resolution to make because well, who wouldn't love some extra cash in their bank account? This project saves you money on two fronts: it uses extra leftover yarn from your stash, and it helps to keep your house warmer and save on those nasty wintertime heating bills that creep higher every year it seems. This little critter will use up any little bits of yarn you have left over and keep drafts from sneaking in under the door.

Resolution #4: Be More Eco-Friendly
We all know that if everyone in the world made some small changes our planet would be much better off. Obviously everyone in the world will not drop their habits and instantly change, but you can help this change happen. There are lots of crochet options out there to replace disposable items we use every single day. The best part? A lot of these things are quick to whip up so you can make some for yourself and your family and friends.

First off, raise your hand if you use paper towels for everything. Guess what? You don't need to. You can crochet yourself some basic dish cloths and save money and the environment.

Plastic bags are another bad guy. They take a ridiculous amount of time to actually biodegrade and everyone ends up with a huge mess of bags shoved in a closet at home that just take up space and never get used or recycled. Not to mention that the 5 cents a bag most stores around here are charging for a plastic bag adds up.

The solution? Reusable bags. Reusable bags that you a) don't have to buy from the grocery store and b) you can toss in with your laundry when they get dirty. (Really, what are all those stores selling the reusable bags made out of that heavier plastic thinking?)

Finally, how many of you are guilty of using lots of cotton balls or kleenex to remove your makeup at night too? Why not whip up some makeup remover pads and their storage bag. Just like with a cotton ball or kleenex these are still use and toss, only instead of tossing in the garbage, you toss into the laundry.

Resolution #5: Finish What You've Started
I'm pretty sure that this one comes up for a crafter of any sort. If you're anything like me, you have about a million projects on the go at one time. How about starting one more small project that will help you finish up all those other WIPs? A perfect size to grab as you run out the door to your appointment, use on your commute to work (so long as you aren't driving!), or to pull out of your purse when your friend is late for your coffee date and it holds all your crochet essentials.

So there you have it. 5 good resolutions. 5 good solutions. In the meantime, I'll still be working on writing neater.

Linking to:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year, New Start

I'll admit it. I'm a bad blogger. I always start off ambitious and then lose momentum. I'm also bad at following my own goals for myself.

Yes, this means I caved to the Michaels Boxing Week flyer and bought more yarn. About 12 balls, with a plan for them at least. Hopefully I can use them up quickly.

Worse yet, I got a subscription to Crochet Today for Christmas. This was a good gift and a bad gift. You see, I am a complete sucker for making hats for little A., and clearly this Valentine's Day one was too cute to pass up:

He'll be having a blue and white version of this hat because you know, he's a boy. Thanks to some incorrect signage at Michaels, I got the yarn half off too and I should have plenty left over for other hats or who knows what other projects I'll dream up.

As for the good side of receiving the subscription, I found a pattern that will help me use up my oodles and oodles of Red Heart Baby Clouds yarn:

I love this kind of yarn. I was actually skeptical about it at first because I don't think it looks that nice when its in a skein, but once you start making it into an afghan it turns out so beautiful and soft and fluffy. Another plus about it? It's very bulky and works up quickly which I love. I'm definitely glad I grabbed some on clearance to try out. Little man got a blanket made from it when he was born, and most recently a friend's baby girl got a flower one made from this yarn too. Sadly, pictures of those blankets are on my old laptop that decided one day it wasn't going to turn back on and lazy me hasn't tried to recover data off it yet.

I also managed to find my pattern book made specifically for this yarn at my Grandparents house over the weekend, so hopefully I can get some cute baby things made up and I can make myself stop buying yarn and using up what I have.
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