Happy Blogiversary to me!

Hello everyone! Today I have been blogging for five years, can you believe it? Gee whiz, aren't you sick of me and my shenanigans by now? (I sure hope not!) Anywho, in honor of my half-decade of chronicling my crafts, I want to give away a custom owl pincushion!

(My first owl pincushions ever!)

The owl pincushion was the thing that inspired me to start blogging, crafting more, and selling on etsy, so I thought it would be nice to give one all this time later. I have some on my unfinished projects list, so this will just have to be lumped in there with those. That doesn't count, right (shhh!)? If you win, we will work out what fabrics you like and I will make a special owl for you complete with custom pins. To enter, just leave a comment in this post any time between now and Monday, August 2nd at 8 p.m PST. Good luck everyone, and thank you all so much for reading this thing!

*If you would like to sign up for the Finish It challenge, you can e-mail me at ohthecuteness@hotmail.com or go to this post and leave a comment, and be sure to read all the rules. Be sure to include a link to your blog if you have one, and go join the flickr group here. The list of participants and links to their own unfinished objects is here. And my ongoing list can be found here.


The Grey Areas

Hey there! Crafting progress was interrupted this weekend because Dennis and I got to go on a lovely vacation to Yosemite with his dad and nieces. It was a great time, but I am still not done quilting but I will be very soon. But onto what I really wanted to talk about...

So I was just thinking about something else that goes along with my Finish It challenge. The baby quilt that I have been working on has brought something to my attention:

Since I did not make the quilt top myself, then technically I did not start that project yet, right? I mean, I bought the fabric and batting and had it laid out and ready to go, sitting in my pile of UFO's, but I did not technically "start" it yet, or did I?

Here's the thing I am pondering:
If I have fabric picked out of my stash and set in a little pile with every other supply I am going to need to make the item, does that count as starting it?

It is a very interesting thing for me to think about, because I considered my unfinished projects as things that I had, you know, started to cut/sew/glue/whatever and stopped. But I think I see now that there is this whole other facet to the unfinished project problem around my house.

I have my nice, neat, organized stash of fabrics, trims, etc. on shelves or in boxes waiting to be made into things, but I do not know what things exactly. Then there are these couple of piles/bags that are fabric I have pulled from my stash and paired with notions and such because I know exactly what I want to make with them and how I am going to do it. These, to me, are in the grey area between not started and started, and I do not know what to do about them.

I think I may have to have a round two to this challenge wherein, if by some miracle I actually manage to finish all the started-and-not-finished-projects on time, then instead of starting brand-new projects I have to instead start/finish the projects that have been pulled and are waiting in the queue around my desk. I think that is the only right way I can go about it, yes?

So, in the secondary category I have a pile of fabrics chosen for a 1930's inspired zig-zag quilt, a pile of canvases for more baby bibs, a bag of apparel fabrics that go with designs I sketched out for when I get my dressmaker's dummy, and my big bag of scraps which I am intending to turn into a few different things, including square bunting and a ticker tape quilt. Ugh, I need to get to work!

*If you would like to sign up for the Finish It challenge, you can e-mail me at ohthecuteness@hotmail.com or go to this post and leave a comment, and be sure to read all the rules. Be sure to include a link to your blog if you have one, and go join the flickr group here. The list of participants and links to their own unfinished objects is here. And my ongoing list can be found here.


Living the Vintage Life.

Lately I have been feeling myself revert to a decade long ago, when times were simpler and people seemed to care more about, well, everything. I love old things. I already told you about my record player. How I love her so. It is so much fun to grab a record here and there while I am out with Dennis, then come home and listen to its warm crackly sound. In an age of mp3 players that fit in the palm of your hand and can hold every song you own, something so big is only a novelty to most, but I really do prefer it to my ipod docking station when I am at home.

I have added a couple new-old analogue technologies to the house recently, one of which being my new Brother Charger 11 typewriter. It is in great condition and works perfectly. I was lucky enough to find this little mustard-yellow beauty at a local antique store for twenty bucks! The man who sold it to me told me it belonged to a retired little old lady who was still doing some typist jobs on Sundays. Cute!
They are around $75 online but most of those still have the hard plastic cover/carry case that made this super-heavy instrument "portable". I do not foresee taking it on the go with me so I figure I will just sew a sturdy fabric box-type cover for it to minimize cat hair. When I got this I was having trouble figuring out a few things since the manual is obviously no longer with it, and I found the information very hard to come by online, so I will offer up some of what I learned.

First off, it needed a ribbon when I got it, and I looked all over online and found some for around ten dollars, but I decided to just go to Office Max and see what they had - you should have seen the look I got when I asked them where they kept the typewriter ribbons, lol.
None of the boxes mentioned that they were compatible with the model I have, probably just because it is too old, but any plain double-spool 1/2 inch ribbon will work (the picture on the box just looks like 2 little film reels), and I grabbed the one they had for about five dollars and it worked great! I had a little trouble figuring out how to put the ribbon in, but all you have to do is pull the cover straight up off the top of the machine (from what I can tell it does not lock), and the prongs/spool rests will be obvious. Press some letter buttons to make sure which way they turn, and slip the spools on so that the ribbon is being pulled, not pushed along when you strike a key. Then gently thread the ribbon through the foot in the center of the typewriter. If you are really gentle you will not get hardly any ink on your hands, but if you do remember that rubbing alcohol will take it right off, even out of clothing.
Also, if you are wondering why there is no key for the number one or an exclamation point, it was omitted for simplicity (tee-hee). If you need to make a one, just use lowercase L. And for an exclamation point, type a period, then back space and type an apostrophe. I just about died laughing when I found out about that as I did not even notice it when I bought the machine!
A lot of people have asked me what the heck I am planning to do with my new typewriter, and I really just want to use it to write letters and songs mostly. It's just good old fashioned fun, and very satisfying to boot, every time you whack the keys with enough force to get an imprint and make it to the end of the line to hear the little bell.

Another addition to my transition into the early 60's is my new Diana Mini camera. She really is new, not vintage, but the retro styling is superb and everyone asks me if it is old. It is tiny, only about as big as my digital pocket-sized one, though a lot thicker. It uses 35mm film and is basically a toy camera, though I am very pleased with the two rolls I have shot so far. it shoots square format and half-frame, and you can switch between formats within the same roll of film. It has a hot seat for a flash and you can connect a tripod, cable release, or any other photographic doodad you want to it. It only has 4 focal ranges and 2 f-stops, plus a bulb mode for long exposures. In short: Best. Camera. Ever. Here's some of what I have shot, and I will be scanning all the really good ones and posting them on my flickr soon.

I shot a bunch of 1/2 frame ones while Dennis and I were having a picnic at the lake. Ths one was my favorite so it is in our bedroom now.

I found this fantastic little photo album at Kinokuniya Stationary in Japantown in San Francisco. The toy camera craze started in Japan so I was not suprised to find the perfect album to store the format in. I have my pictures printed 4x4 instead of the standard 5x5, which is good because I do not think 5x5 would quite fit in the little album (Meant to be right?), and I use the sloppy black border. Having them a little smaller than usual adds a sweet feeling to the pictures when you see them in person.

This one is my favorite from the square-format roll I shot. Oh, did I mention it is super easy to do double exposures with this little camera? You have to wind it after every shot, but you get to choose how much so if you do not wind it all the way they will overlap.

The half frames always get printed 2 to a 4x6 print, and I ask for the sloppy black border on those too. I have an interesting art project in mind for the ones that did not come out, but it is a big one so I will not be sharing it fr quite some time!

This is one of my favorites from the 1/2 frame roll. Dennis just recently bought a sweet little '74 Toyota Corolla. It is a deep tealy-blue and is absolutely adorable. I wish I could drive it but I do not know stick, but he promises to teach me. I took these photos while he was finishing up talking to the guy he bought it from.
Sorry for the kind of bad photos of my kind of good photos, lol. I will work on getting those scans done when I find the time, probably next weekend! Oh, by the way, I used Picnik again to do the top 3 photos. I love that site, I just wish it was a program I could use without an internet connection like Picassa.

*If you would like to sign up for the Finish It challenge, you can e-mail me at ohthecuteness@hotmail.com or go to this post and leave a comment, and be sure to read all the rules. Be sure to include a link to your blog if you have one, and go join the flickr group here. The list of participants and links to their own unfinished objects is here. And my ongoing list can be found here.


Checking them off one by one!

Woot! I have finished a few projects from the list, namely a hat made from soy/wool yarn and a scarf made from acrylic with a bamboo fringe. I forgot to take pictures of these in the state they were found, but really it was pathetic. I think I started both of them around six months ago.

The hat was completely finished except it needed to be sewn up the back seam. Took me, at most, 2 minutes. I think I stopped working on it because I was afraid it would be too small because I only used one skein of yarn. And it is indeed too small for me, but It is the perfect color and size for a 12 year old or so boy, so I will put it on my etsy shop soon in hopes that it will go to a little guy who will like it this winter.

The scarf was also completely crocheted but it only had half the fringe on one end finished. I think I gave up on this one just because of the tedium of making the fringe, I dunno. At any rate I am absolutely in love with this scarf. The colors are not quite right in these pictures, but I used two whole skeins of an amazing acrylic yarn in a bright tealy-blue (sorry, I cannot remember the brand), and it is so soft and slightly shiny. I made it pretty wide and I just wanted to use up all the yarn so it is super long too. The fringe is made from ArtFibers yarn I dyed while working there. It is super-soft, shiny bamboo fiber with a humane silk binder. The colorway I used had the same blue as the scarf in it, along with gold, sage green, purple, and grey. I always think of hummingbirds when I see this yarn. I am on the fence as to whether or not I want to sell this one, it is pretty epic but I have so many scarves already. I need to stop making them for a while, but I have a few more on my list of projects.

And something less exciting I finished is some pants I was supposed to hem for my roommate. She has been patiently waiting for me to hem these for her for who knows how long. And the worst part? I fount them in this state:

Are you effing kidding me? They were all pinned and ready to go. And yet I had them right there and did not just sit down and finish them. Seriously, something is wrong with me and I have to cut this out! Arrgh! Anywho, I did a nice double-stitched hem so the work took me 20 minutes instead of 10, but the result is lovely and Angela is excited to have another pair of pants to wear to work.

In other news I have started quilting one of the unfinished baby quilts and I hope to have it done by tomorrow so I can bind it at S&B, but even if I do not quite get there tonight I will surely have a million other things to bring!

I fell in love with the top fabric at Britex and I bought a yard of it. So yes, it is another cheater's quilt, but I promise the next 3 quilts are all hand-pieced by me. Since this fabric has an interesting top-stitching on the edge of every square I have decided to shadow-quilt it instead of quilting in the ditch and I am loving the way it is coming out and will post pics as soon as I can. The back fabric was a dollar a yard at one of the lackluster fabric departments in a big box store but it was meant to be. I have not decided on a binding yet, though I may have to go with a black with white polka dots. I'm off to check off the finished stuff on the list. Feels awesome!

*If you would like to sign up for this challenge, you can e-mail me at ohthecuteness@hotmail.com or go to this post and leave a comment. Be sure to include a link to your blog if you have one, and go join the flickr group here. The list of participants and links to their own unfinished objects is here. And my ongoing list can be found here.


Weird Hat

Alrighty, I have been sticking to my plan of finishing old projects and this is the first one I did, my weird kitty/Yoda hat. I picked it back up in this state:

It is knit from Lion Brand organic cotton on size 8 needles (yes, I know that is waaaay too small for this semi-chunky yarn but they were yellow and looked so pretty as I was knitting :P). I started a crocheted kitty had a while ago but crocheted hats never seem to turn out right for me, so I decided to abandon it (added it to the list), and finish this one instead. This started out as one of those "I love this yarn but have no idea what to do with it" kind of projects. I cast on a multiple of three stitches and set to work making a diagonal 3x3 rib stitch. I was hoping to get a short scarf but since my needles were too small and I cast on too many stitches I ended up with a longish rectangle.

I did not want to go buy more yarn so I decided to add an inch of rib stitch in the white version of the same yarn to each end and sew up the sides to make a hat. I knew it would look like ears because I have seen the same rectangular hats made from fleece. So now I have a Yoda hat I guess. The only admissible places I could think to wear this to would be a cosplay event or Japantown, both of which I frequent, so at least it will probably get some use.

In other news, you may have noticed I gave my blog a face-lift a couple days ago. It sure needed it, I love this new blogger template designer and I used Picnik for the banner. I realized that my 5th blogiversary is coming up and I want to do another giveaway, though not as big as last year's since I am not playing catch-up, on the 31st so stay tuned!

*Don't forget, if you would like to join this challenge, go join the flickr group here. Also, you can leave a comment stating you would like to join on this post. And visit my list of unfinished projects here. And see the full list of people determined to finish projects with links to their blogs here.


The List...

Alrighty, I have finally been able to compile a list of all the finished projects. You can find it here at my listography. Items with check marks have already been completed, and items with strike-throughs have been abandoned. I will add links to the posts containing finished items. If I was working on a group of items that are the same idea them they will be counted as one. I think I found them all but I will be constantly updating the list so if I find any more lurking around the house I will add them. Seeing the list completed just rams home how many unfinished projects I really have. I blame it on too many good ideas. But not all were good ones, obviously, as I have already weeded out and abandoned 5 projects that I did not think were worth finishing.

Some wasabi knucks like the ones for sale in my etsy shop for me to wear (I think I may just take them out of the shop instead). Some crocheted maryjane slippers which were far too pink and usurped by a cute sewn tie-on version I recently found, which I will start once I finish this challenge. A very old basket purse project that was coming out okay but the basket turned out to be too heavy. A sock dog from ages ago when I used to make a few here and there. I have since lost the pattern and it is another hand-sewing project I do not want to do.

And lastly, the giant pile of felt teddy bears. The first one I made came out really cute, and I have another one nearly done and I will finish him too. But really, what was I thinking cutting out that many? I had intended to machine-sew them, but I messed up the size of the template and it came out way too small so I started hand-sewing them. And I really just do not enjoy hand sewing enough to commit to 2 dozen of them. But, would anyone like to have the big stack of pre-cut felt teddy bear shapes for appliqué or something? I will mail them to you for free, just leave me a comment here and a way to contact you.

You will notice I have checked off some things too, and I will share them next time. Happy crafting!

*If you would like to join this challenge, head over to our flickr page here. And see the full list of people determined to finish projects with links to their blogs here.


Finish It!

Well, hello there! Sorry it has been so long, but I have been very busy lately. Many big plans are in the works right now, but things are starting to come together and hopefully I can spend a little more time around here again. Anywho... I have quite a story for you...

This past weekend I had a very successful yard sale in hopes of cleaning out the house and the garage. The garage is now as good as it is going to get, but today I was sitting in the house surveying my surroundings, and I realized that it didn't even look like I made a dent in the stuff in here. I got rid of everything I could bear to let go of that I thought people would buy, but there was still so much stuff.

I suddenly felt the urge to figure out the source of the continuous clutter. Granted, a lot of what fills my house is craft supplies, obviously, but I do my best to keep them all neatly organized and put away so the cats to not thrash them. You have seen my bookshelf of fabric many times in the background of my pictures, and most of my other supplies are neat and tidy as well. But lately I have noticed a few looming piles of stuff that sort of blends in with the supplies, though it is no where near as organized and is starting to take over. I refer, of course, to the dreaded piles of unfinished projects. *Bum bum buuumm!*

Now, I will be the first to say that I am one of the world's best starters, and one of the absolute worst finishers. I have projects that are many years old and are so ridiculously close to completion that I am thoroughly embarrassed to even think about them. I have some things that have been waiting for a button or two to be sewn on for literally years. Oh the shame of it all! I wrote a post a little while ago about discovering my forgotten bag full of unfinished amigurumi. I have many such bags full of unfinished projects that have not been long forgotten in the closet, but sit out staring me in the face every day.

I think I have finally had enough. So, I propose a challenge, both to myself and to all of my friends out there who feel the same way I do about their unfinished projects: Finish It!

Me-Made-May went so well that it has inspired me to host my own craft challenge. The sense of accomplishment from finishing the challenge and the largest fiber art project I have ever set out to do was one of the best feelings in the world. It lit a fire under my butt and now I just want more and more of it. So here is my idea, and please let me know if you would either like to join or think I am completely nuts...

Finish It!

For this challenge, I propose that we all gather together to support one another as we work through our lists of unfinished projects. It is a daunting task to come back to projects that have been hidden away for a long time, but together we can do it! There will be a few rules, but everyone can customize them to suit their needs:

1. The challenge's deadline will be the 15th of December, just in time to give those gifts for the holidays that you started and meant to finish years ago. You can choose how many projects you think you are capable of finishing in that time frame, or you can go whole-hog and try to finish them all.

2. I have created a flickr group for this challenge, the link to which is here:http://www.flickr.com/groups/finish-it
One thing everyone should do in order to properly start this challenge is to gather every single one of your unfinished projects into one big lot and take a photo. Do not be embarrassed, we are all in this together! Then post it to the flickr group, because the first step in solving the problem is admitting you have it! And if possible it would be great to include either a list of projects in the description of the photo (best for people who have a lot of them), or tag them all with notes.

3. One of the most important rules is that you are not allowed to start any new projects until all of your old ones are done! This is probably the hardest part, since we all love a new project. But we all love a finished one just as much, right? Good incentive to get them done faster too.

4. Document your progress however you like, and be sure to post pictures to the flickr group. You can do before and after photos or just photos of the finished project. And if it is a large one like a quilt, feel free to post updates. Showing off your progress will inspire others who will in turn inspire you! And it would be good to keep a list of finished project somewhere we can all see it as well.

5. Set small goals if you feel overwhelmed. Go for one project a week, or even one a month, and do not worry if you do not meet your goal exactly on time, this challenge is meant to be fun as well as difficult! Also, if there are projects that you do not think are worth finishing, then either take them apart, unravel them, or donate them to a thrift store. There is no shame in doing so - I know plenty of crafters who have bought half-finished projects from a thrift store and were delighted that they had to do only half the work. Keep a tally for us to see how many projects have been abandoned.

6. If you would like to participate in this challenge, leave a comment in this post with a link to your blog, if you have one, and be sure to copy the link to this post and either put it up on your blog or e-mail it to friends you think could use some help getting their unfinished projects off the ground. The more people we have the more fun it will be!

I sincerely hope some of you will be up to the challenge, but I will be doing it whether others join or not, if only to save my house from the clutter!

So here goes nothing, I submit my gigantic pile of unfinished projects, and I will be thoroughly surprised if anyone out there has a bigger lot than I do:

Ho-ly-crap... I am ashamed I have let it get to this level. I have so many that it will take me a bit to make a complete list for you all, but I can say that there are at least 4 quilts in various stages, an entire laundry basket full of crochet and knitting projects, and a million sewing projects that are cut and pinned and ready to go. I have actually already finished some and abandoned some, so I will give you all the details in my next post.

Good luck everyone!

*Edited to add:
You can find my complete list of unfinished projects here. And see the full list of people determined to finish projects with links to their blogs here.