Monday, March 31, 2008

Grannies with Granny

I had last Friday off from work (yay long weekend!), so I decided to use the extra day to go go visit my grandma who lives 2 hours from me. I left Thursday night after work, spent the day Friday, and came home Saturday morning (I had a Pampered Chef Party to go to in the afternoon). Together, we fumbled our way through the directions in my knitting/crochet book, figuring out how to make granny squares. I got the hang of it pretty well, and I've made 5 more squares since.

(I forgot my digital camera, but I also forgot that Grandma has one, and so we took these pictures of each other, Grandma printed me copies on her hp photo printer, and I downloaded them to my laptop.)

I had great fun having a little bonding time with my Grandma!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monsters are Awesome

Monsters are awesome.
I don't know why, when I think about monsters's not about the scary kind of monsters that you thought lived under the bed or in the closet when you're a kid. Maybe it's because of the movie "Monster's Inc."...maybe it was Sesame Street (or the Muppet Show, or muppets in general)...maybe it's because I'm grown up...or maybe it's because I have developed an affinity for making monsters out of random fabric...I don't know. But when I think of the word "monster", the first words that come to my mind are furry, fuzzy and funny instead of slimy, scaly and scary.

I came across this artist, Jennifer Strunge, lately online.
These guys could seem scary to some kids (the bulgy, slitted pupil eyes and those snaggled, pointy teeth I can see possibly scaring me when I was a kid), but I absolutely love them. They're very distinct. I guess she doesn't use a pattern for them and uses recycled materials, so that means that no two are alike (sound like another monster-making-maven you know?) But her creations seem a lot more advanced, construction wise. She makes puppets too! Check out the "photo album" link on her website( .

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter...

Nothing very "Eastery" to post for today...but I do have another butterfly painting and a picture of my "workspace" (aka: our dining room table-turned-massive coffee table).

So, even though it's not "Eastery" (ie: chicks and bunnies and eggs), it definitely gives a "springy" feeling. It makes me think of beauty and color and new life.

And Easter is about new life...and not just in the general, nature sense...but new life in the sense of Christ's resurrection and in the sense of having new life through trusting and loving Him. And I know it might sound hokey to those who aren't Christians and don't understand, but you end up seeing the true beauty of it all when God reveals Himself and you learn to trust Him.

I keep learning how to trust Him more every day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Butterfly/Moth wing paintings

Ahhh...long weekend. I had today off for the holiday. I cleaned the living room (which was a disaster...CJ and I have both been sick this week) and then took a break to relax and paint. I've been wanting to do these paintings for awhile and just haven't made the time. Painting is something I have to take time to do. It's least with small pieces like these.

And I can't forget about posting my first baby blanket!
I made it for my friend Rachel's baby boy JW. I started it before he was born (he's now about 3-4 months old or so). I did the main part of it on one of my knitting looms. It was one of those projects that I worked on and then set aside for awhile. I had the main part laying around for a long time, thinking it was too small, but I finally finished it by crocheting the border on last Sunday during church. It's amazing how much just a border can do!

Cut Out + Keep Contest

So, I entered my Sweater Monsters and T-Shirt Remnant monsters into a contest at a crafters' community networking site called Cut Out + Keep. The prize is a Craft: t-shirt and an issue of Craft: magazine. I know..."whoopie, a shirt and a magazine"...I know it's not $10,000 or anything, but a pretty cool prize. And hey, what have I got to lose? I just kind of want to see if my monsters are cool enough to win a contest.
And at the least, it's providing me more exposure as well. The morning after I submitted my Sweater Monsters project, I had 5 comments on it and as of now, 7 people have added it to their "favorites list". It seems like every time I check my email, I have a new email from Cut Out + Keep saying that someone has either commented on or "favourited" one of my projects. We'll see if I win!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Everyone's goin Etsy!

Etsy seems to be the place to be! Even The Stupid Creatures are there now.
I always do try to give good old John Murphy some props now and again, since it was his book "Stupid Sock Creaures" that gave me the initial inspiration for starting my foray into plush monster-making. So I gotta give the guy some credit.

Where did my copy of that book go anyway? I let a friend borrow it and never got it back...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cool Books for the Old Timey & Crafty Soul

I got a really sweet book at AC Moore last week with my 50% off coupon (Yay for coupons!). It's called The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life.

"Frontier fun meets a home-spun touch in this heart-warming mixture of pioneer projects and wistful nostalgia. Jennifer Worick teaches readers how to sew a quilt, master the art of bread-and-butter pickles, speak old-time slang, and much much more. This is for the legions of Laura Ingalls Wilder fans who have dreamed of what a pioneer life out on the prairie would be like. Combining step-by-step how-to on crafts, with tongue-in-cheek instructions on prairie slang, winning a spelling bee, and singing a lullaby, The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life allows fans to finally act out their childhood dreams or to simply enjoy the vicarious thrill of reading about it one more time. This is a book that will pull at the heart strings of every childhood Laura and also teach us a few prairie-time crafts along the way. " (description from

I also found the author's blog! That kind of makes her seem like a real person instead of an author. She has a blog and uses blogger like the rest of us normal people who've never published a book!

The Prairie Girl's Guide kind of reminds me of The Daring Book for Girls (the girl's version of The Dangerous Book for Boys), except a little more old-timey. Actually, at, The Daring Book for Girls is on the "Customers who bought this book also bought..." list.

"The Daring Book for Girls is the manual for everything that girls need to know—and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note-passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers—although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly-girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure." (description also from

I think it's so funny how I'm drawn to these kind of books. I'm this contradiction of a very modern technology and media oriented woman (I love my laptop and cell phone)...but deep inside I see myself as having a heart for an older and simpler evidenced by my love of Rennisaisance Faires and period piece films (I love almost any movie set before the 1900's). And I'm intrigued by learning to do the things that people did in the days before modern technology (even though I still love my modern technology...I feel naked if I leave the house without my cell phone!)

My husband and I first found The Dangerous Book for Boys at Sam's Club. I was walking past the books and the title caught my eye. We thumbed through it and thought it was brilliant. We bought 3 copies, one for us and two to give to friends. A couple months later, around Christmas time, I spotted The Daring Book for Girls and swapped a pair of pants I got as a present, which didn't fit, and was returning for it.

But these kind of books are the kind that make me look forward to having kids and teaching them all this cool, fun, productive, and useful stuff.

I'm really into knitting/crocheting right now (as anyone who actually reads this blog probably knows by my previous posts) and I'm really having a hankering to either go visit my grandma again for anoyther knitting lesson, or have her come visit me and have her as the guest of honor at a knitting party with my friends from church who knit/crochet or are learning to knit/crochet. I've been passing out my extra AC Moore coupons to my friends who are just starting to learn so they can get the materials.

I knit/crochet most often in church. There's just something about keeping your hands busy. And it's's become inevitable that during church, at least one or two people around me end up borrowing a ball of yarn and knitting needles/crochet hook. I'm contagious!

A couple weeks ago, my friend Paulina who was born and grew up in Kenya (she came to the US when she was in 7th grade) asked if she could pick up my knitting needles and I was amazed at how fast she was...and how she didn't even have to look at what she was doing! But she told me that she learned to knit at a young age because in Africa, it's not like you can just go to the store and buy clothes. Just hearing that kind of puts things into perspective.

Bitten by the Spring Cleaning Bug

CJ and I cleaned out one of the spare bedrooms last weekend (to make room for babies to take naps during church downstairs). It was previously a kind of junk/catchall room that before that was CJ's office. We'll be doing more to it (painting walls, bed frame, nightstands, etc), but now we finally have a decent guestroom if someone needs to spend the night.

So after last weekend, this Saturday we got the bug to rearrange our bedroom, since it's been in the same configuration for a year. It;'s so nice and refreshing to have such a simple change as rearranging the furniture. And CJ made an upholstered shelf for our headboard, which looks so professional (his first time upholstering anything!)

...picture coming soon...

I have to say, I can't wait to paint these two rooms though! Guess what I'll be working on come summertime!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dreaming of Spring Sunsets...

Anyone notice my new blog title image?
I originally orchestrated it in photoshop for a new wallpaper for my laptop. Here's the old one...

And the new...I love my new background. My husband said it looks like a photograph the first time he saw it...but the truth is that I made it entirely out of elements in photoshop (special brushes I've downloaded, gradient tool, cloud rendering filter).

I've had the first one all winter, and although pretty, I was bored with it and it seemed a feeling...too wintery. I was craving something warmer, so I made the new one to encourage thoughts of spring. By the time March rolls around, I think everyone is sick of winter and yearning for spring and summer. The last few days, seeing the sun makes me happier. Whereas, last week was so cloudy and snowy, I felt tired and icky all week. I'm craving sun and blue skies.

And the purply orange skies too. I haven't taken the time to watch a sunset in forever. I used to watch the sunset every night when I was a teenager through my bedroom window (before my I moved to basement and became the "cellar dweller" as my Dad would call me).

Monday, March 10, 2008

On to Crocheting!

I went to AC Moore today and bought yarn. My favorite Lion Homespun yarn was 2 for $7 and Red Heart Super Saver yarn was $1.79. So I bought 2 skeins of the Homespun (one in a rusty fallen leaves orange and one in a gorgeous peacock turquoise) and two skeins of Red Heart (one in a similar rusty orange and one in a deep scarlet red)...expecting my husband to say something along the lines of "You bought MORE yarn? Don't you have enough?" (but honey, it was on sale!), but he barely batted an eyelash. More yarn for him to use as well, since he can crochet (much better than I can)!

Speaking of crochet, I've moved on from knitting to crocheting. My grandma told me when she was teaching me to knit that once you start crocheting, you'll never go back to knitting, since it's quicker and easier. I think I'm inclined to agree. Not that I'll totally give up knitting...I know I'll get back to it eventually.

My husband and I watched "Ratatoullie" on DVD tonight and I crocheted. I'm crocheting myself a scarf out of the rusty orange Homespun. It'll be gorgeous when it's done! I learned about double crochet stitch tonight too and incorperated it into this scarf. I single crochet one row, then double crochet the next.

I think I might be better off crocheting a baby blanket instead of knitting one.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Knitting Kick

I've been on a knitting kick for the past two weeks or so. I'm actually not despising knitting with actual knitting needles. I'm still going pretty basic...strictly purling, no increasing, no decreasing...nothing "fancy" yet. I started knitting with this bright green, blue, and yellow verigated yarn with the intent on simply practicing with it. But I was liking how it was coming out and first was deciding it was going to be a scarf...but then decided I would try to make it into a strip in a baby blanket. It's taking me a week for each strip so far. I just finished the second coordinating green strip today during church and crocheted the two together. But it's not quite right because although I did the same number of rows in both strips, the yarns are different gauges, so now they aren't lined up right. But my hubby says we can make it work and make it look intentional in the end.