Saturday, December 24, 2011

stitching saturday: monkeys move out

newest monkey

Well, I finished my last monkey of the year on Christmas Eve, knitting up a mouth, ears, and stitching him up with a whole lot of stuffing. I watched the Radio City Hall Christmas Spectacular on Netflix with my mom, then my two personal Christmas faves: Edward Scissorhands and Die Hard. It was nice to have a low-key Christmas Eve - just shelling pecans and baking cookies.

Then Christmas morning I popped out of bed for a last-minute photo session with my two remaining monkeys (my first stripey monkey went home with an adorable little boy from church).

These two monkeys would soon be on their way to my sister and my nephew:

new and newer

I must admit it's hard saying goodbye to monkeys this adorable. But I know they'll be well-loved and well, it gives me an excuse to make new monkeys. :) In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll be starting a new monkey soon - any votes on colors? :)

monkey stare


I hope everyone had a great Christmas with family, friends, and all the people who make your life special. I know I did.

Here's our skinny tree filled with at least 20 years worth of handmade ornaments: IMG_2627
And you know I wrapped all of those gifts. I have a thing for wrapping presents. :)

Time to get back to your end-of year - hope everyone is happy, crafting, and warm. Merry Christmas, everybody! :)

merry christmas from a couple of monkeys

Monday, December 19, 2011

mosaic monday: holiday favorites

   1. merry and bright by Nanacompany, 2. little red holiday tree garland by stitchinnetka
   3. Christmas Pudding Ornament by wildolive, 4. romy_rotkaeppchen by revoluzzza

Some more wonderful holiday favorites I found on Flickr. It's right around this time that I start to really enjoy the season, and wish I could curl up with a cup of cocoa, and just make holiday crafts all day and night...

The lovely photo layout you see above comes from Pugly Pixel, a site I have a serious crush on. It's so clean and beautifully designed, with an eye to every tiny detail. I used the free glitter texture samples, which are pretty irresistible. I mean, they're glitter. I love that I'm not the only one with glitter on the brain.

I added a few of the free elements to Feeling Stitchy (for a more holiday theme) and I'm thinking I'll be spending my winter break with a cup of coffee, bloodshot eyes, a blog bling kit, and a $5, 30-day subscription. I seriously have not seen a site I love so much in a long time. One of the nicest things I've ever found via Pinterest. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

mosaic monday: Christmas spirit

Christmas spirit
     1. timmies in sweaters, 2. Century Gothic A-Z, 3. wreath, 4. ipad wallpaper

Here's a few faves on a Christmas-y theme. Any of you doing holiday crafting? This is about the time of year when I notice the list is long, and the time is short. But if you have a spare minute or two, there's a December Stitchalong on Feeling Stitchy with vintage holiday patterns (some of them scanned by yours truly). Check it out! :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

stitching saturday: monkey time again

Well, I did it again, I made another monkey. This little guy has been in the works for a few weeks - I like to rotate my projects so I don't get too bored. They come together the fastest at the end - because when you see a pile of monkey parts it's hard not to want to put them immediately together.

and then there were two

And yes, looking at them side by side, I can appreciate just how wonky my first monkey is. They were knit with the same yarns, on the same needles (the mouths and ears and feet are different colors) - but tiny details like the placement of the ears, eyes, and how much you stuff the body and the mouth make a huge difference. I don't care, I love my wonky monkey anyway - he has a certain charm. Let's just say he's like the James Cagney of knitted monkeys.

But the new monkey is pretty adorable, I just have to say:
shy fellow

Naturally, after all this picture taking, the monkeys were pretty beat...

Hope you like my new monkey! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

flashback friday: one year of knitting like a fiend

Hat #7, or my first beret

starting Hat #6

It's hard to believe, but November and December mark one year of knitting like a fiend, for me. :) I started knitting, in all truth, to adjust to my new life in Texas - San Antonio is so unlike New York - the energy is different, the people are different - and after 6 years in another city, I was different. Knitting helped calm me and gave me lots of time to think, or, when I needed to, not to think. It's been a comforting companion through many a TV series, too. :)

Another reason I was knitting so hard last year was because I was jobless and Christmas was coming - I had no money, but thanks to my friend Linda, plenty of yarn. So I knit 11 hats (in 1 month!) for family and friends. I've said it before, but I love things like my once a month Photojojo email and Flickr. Because I have these moments when I feel convinced that I haven't done anything - but then I look over all the photos of everything I've made, loved, and given away to people I love, and I feel a great sense of joy and peace. I may not be perfect, and I may not create like a machine, and I can be disorganized, but I can create, and I can share happiness with loved ones with the things I create. How much more blessed can you be in life? :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

three things thursday: holiday greens

holiday green
   1. Evergreen tree stocking, 2. green eyes, 3. crochet wildflowers scarf

A few Pinterest and Flickr faves for today - I love that odd, sea, forest-y, wintery green. And since I'm sure I could never pull off green eyeshadow without looking like a David Bowie wannabe, I'll just let the lovely Keiko Lynn do it for me. :)

Lately I am fascinated by the energy of prolific bloggers. I know firsthand how much energy and dedication it takes to put even one post together - so I'm in awe of people who create new photos, makeup, tutorials, and stitch projects, every single day. I'm looking at you, Alli, Keiko Lynn, Mollie, and lucky jackson. Ok, I may not ever have that level of energy and just - organized-ness. But thank you, you guys, for being so prolific that every day you inspire me. :) Does anybody out there inspire you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

wardrobe wednesday: a green knit suit


A little sketch of a woman in a cute knit suit I saw last week. I was fascinated by the bright colors and the intricate print. It had black piping along the collar and edges, sort of an almost Asian style to it.

knit suit

Here's a palette of the colors as I remember them:

I have all kinds of ideas about photographing my own wardrobe and uploading it here, but I inevitably hate 98% of the photos I take of myself. So maybe I'll do a sketch from time to time? It occurred to me that I sketch so infrequently now - I need to keep up some practice or I'll get totally rusty...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

typography tuesday: color and site design


Here I am again with a few typography related tidbits...

Found this wonderful site design that was featured on one of my blog subscriptions recently:
It's super-fun to scroll through, I highly recommend investing a few seconds to click over. I loved their choice of fonts, which you can see here. s3
I love imaginative designs like these - what is it about people who just think in a unique way and do something totally different? That inspires me. In a world filled with endless repetition, it's unique things that call out to me.

I also loved the vibrant colors they chose - just a few basic bright shades that are repeated over and over:
Here's another featured "parallax scrolling" site I loved:

Check out the little rocket! :)

Looking at the colors on that site I saw again there's a common theme to site colors I enjoy - again that blue and orange:

Here's another nice site design - I love how clean and stark it is: playlists

And, once more, I notice a familiar color scheme I enjoy: playlists
I'm starting to see how important color is in (at least my) enjoyment of a design - I'm seeing that it's every bit as important as typography and where things are on the page...

And lastly, here's a really nice spot for design inspiration:
I love that she also includes a color palette at the top of each page generated from the posters - so even if the designs don't strike your fancy you can still be inspired by the underlying colors.

Speaking of designs not striking your fancy, I'm very on the fence about my Pinterest account lately - I was super inspired when I first found it, but lately I find it tiresome - there's so much repetition - a lot of people re-pinning Lauren Conrad's hair or the Olsen twins' makeup and baggy sweaters. I really am tired of the past 3 years of fashion and just wish tailoring would come back in style! Do any of you follow anyone interesting on Pinterest? It's just not inspiring me so much right now...

Enough grumbling - hope you enjoyed today and that your Thanksgiving holiday was wonderful! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday: leaves love

three things + palette
   1. Celebrate Color! Napkin Rings by Mollie Johanson
   2. hello harvest by elsie*cake
   3. cross stitch heart by Jessica Decker

Just a few faves and a palette I put together on the theme. I love how fall feels warm and cold, both. These cold mornings have been reminding me of New York - the chill that makes all the warm smells of kitchens and restaurants swim up to your nose in one long, delightful parade.

Sometimes I miss you, New York.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mosaic Monday: more green

Mosaic Monday: more green
    1. castle ruin by mju.tabor, 2. picnic by Daisy Pink Cupcake
    3. uncredited Pinterest fave, 4. bear poster

I have green on the brain lately. It's funny because green is a color I rarely wear and pretty much never craft with - but it's a color I love in nature.

When I was a recent college graduate (many years ago!) I remember striking out to get my first apartment on my own. Aside from the interior being in basic working order, I had only one requirement: I must be able to see green from the window. There's something about trees that make me absolutely calm - I love the sound of wind moving through leaves and the way green looks especially green on a cloudy day wet with drizzle...

Here's a color palette I put together from these pics - predictably of course - I included only a teeny bit of green. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stitching Saturday: knitting catch-up


I've been knitting pretty steadily lately, even though I haven't been updating you - so here's a catch-up post with accompanying crappy indoor photos. :) Up above you see my baby blanket progress - I've knit at least 12 squares over the past week - I find each square takes me about 30 minutes, start to finish.

Those 5 colors along the bottom I am least sure about - so you see I am dawdling about knitting those up. One of the most frustrating things about putting together colors is the way they change in different light - one combination looks great in the daytime - but not so hot at night, and vice versa.

I might just stick with some variation of only these 4 colors...
quilt progress

Next up is my mom and I's wonky patchwork quilt - as you can see it almost covers the top of my full size bed, so I guess it's small-throw size:

It looks a bit crazy in my room, but it's actually nice and cozy looking when it sits on the living room couch...

Finally, here's the Watson scarf - hooray, I finished!

Not so hooray - look at all those little white yarn ends to weave in - ugh. The blue and brown were time-consuming enough but the white ends are extra hard to weave in - no matter how I do it, it looks wonky and I get really cranky.

Other thing making me cranky - how my bind-off edge (left) looks so much wider than the edge I started the scarf on (right):

ARGH! OH well. If anyone has any end-weaving-in advice it would be much appreciated.

On tap for my knitting mayhem was season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer- which started off slow and a bit dull and repetitive, but ended with a real punch to the gut. The show where Buffy's mom dies? Incredibly well-done, and terribly depressing! And the last episode, where Buffy dies? I'm always surprised at how many really good episodes are hidden in there. I've also been watching Vampire Diaries, season 2, but not with as much relish. It's an ok show, but it's a lot mopier and soap-opera-ish. There's a whole lot more angst and less plot advancement. I finished season 3 of Veronica Mars, and although the last season was the least interesting, I still felt sad to see all the familiar characters go without any resolution. Not a huge fan of the Veronica-starts-the-FBI pilot, but the show as a whole had a lot of potential. Okay, I admit I feel dumb coming clean about my teen-show tv watching, but there's a reason - I'm working on a teen novel. Really - it's research! :)

What have you guys been up to? :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three Things Thursday: a little pop of yellow

Three Things Thursday: little pop of yellow
    1. Knitted bow collection now by Tea at Weasel's, 2. fingerless mittens by oneworldmj, 3. StoryBook5 by Mollie Johanson

Lately I've been enjoying the sunshine in the morning since the time change. This time of year I am most grateful I no longer live in NY - because right now I'd be looking forward to the bleak 5-6 months until spring, when it would be dark on my way to work and dark on my way home. That kind of night is a bit glamorous, it's true, but ultimately bleak. I remember sneaking out each day at lunchtime to get a glimpse of bright yellow sun. Now - I have it all winter long. Sigh. I am grateful!

I've still been tweaking my little palette layouts - today I thought I'd do both new:

And old! A strange assortment of colors popped up in the palette generator (below) but there's something about its odd contrasty-ness that I like: