Friday, July 23, 2010

How Many Works in Progress...

Originally uploaded by magscrafts too many? This question came up the other day in the forums on Ravelry, and so I answered just about yarn related WIPs. Even those I had like 9 things in progress. The original poster seemed upset because she had 2, and could not bring herself to start another.

With knitting, and really with nearly any type of project, you end up with different things that you can work on in different limited settings.

I am working on a seamless sweater for my plus sized self, so that large piece of knitting will not be leaving my house, thank you very much.

For knitting on the go, I have the cute little cotton shortie socks shown in the photo. I also have a pair of wool socks in progress, but I can only work on them in air conditioned areas. The cotton socks are perfect for knitting in parked cars while waiting for my kid at school.

Some projects, like lace for example, require focus that I cannot muster sitting in my "office" here at Panera.

Similar issues cause multiple projects in other crafty genres: the huge duvet cover for my niece is not quite a take along item, like a small piece of hand embroidery would be.

So my answer to how many is too many? I guess the sky is the limit!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Reality Gives Expectations a Kick in the Butt

Green Dragonfly
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
This morning as I was driving, a giant dragonfly hovered over my windshield. In that moment, the dragonfly came to embody an idea I was having for a blog post about dreamy expectations, and how often reality comes to whack them down. In popular culture, we see many images of light, flittering dragonflies that are cute, and we hold onto that image. Then what more closely resembles a turd with wings runs into your windshield at 60 miles an hour and you are sucked back to reality.

This happens many times in day to day life. Many times when planning outings with my family, I envision this ideal family who all happily get along and enjoy the excursion. Then before we leave our home parking lot, the kids are arguing in the back seat, the heat index goes over 100 degrees and traffic is already plotting to hinder our path.

In business, sometimes we come up with a product or plan that we thing will really take off, ignoring the reality that these things often take a ton of work.

In crafting, we come up with a design, find the perfect materials, figure out our plan of action, then nothing goes as smoothly as we think, and the item we make is not quite the beauty we envisioned.

Since it is difficult for me to manage reality, I have come to the conclusion I need to manage my own expectations. This idea came to me while I was picking tiny balls of chewing gum out of entire load of wet laundry. It is not realistic of me to expect a 20 year old guy to be either thoughtful to his mother or focused on emptying his pockets, and it is not fair of me to have those expectations, and holding on to them will only lead to disappointment.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Multitasking Means Minitasking

Today starts months of spending large chunks of time driving son #2 to football camps, summer band, workouts, and other things I don't want to think about at the moment. That got me thinking, that if I am going to get stuff done, I need to get to some serious multitasking. The problem with that is that my available time for the foreseeable future will come in small bits. No more will I have the luxury of a whole day ahead of me, thinking "Hmmm what do I want to do now."

So, I already started my "minitasking" - as I type this, I am syncing my ipod for in-van entertainment, gathering crafty items to work on while I have the inevitable wait for the kid to come out to the car, and blog hopping to do my Entrecard drops. (the photo above also shows I need to dust my keyboard very soon as well!) But I have to leave the house again to pick him up in less than an hour, so I have to choose wisely, and be ready to abandon tasks after a short time, whether I finish or not. I have to remember I can come back to them later.I also have this whole box of finished items that need to get decent photographs taken and to be listed online in one of my stores. It is feeling overwhelming right now, but I think if I just tell myself I will go take photos until my card is full or my battery dies, then edit photos and upload to photobucket as time permits, I will be able to get through them all. Then I can convince myself to list X items a day online and I should get through the backlog in no time!

In the true spirit of minitasking, I am going to start knitting on a pair of shortie socks this afternoon while I wait outside of summer band.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Sea Glass Pendants on eBay!

Finally, some new sea glass pendants from Narragansett Sea Glass! Affordable, genuine sea glass jewelry handmade with sterling silver.

Matching earrings are also available. Start your Christmas shopping early with these affordable gems or just treat yourself to something special!

Click here to see more!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Giveaway To Mention

Hi all! Just letting you know that I'm giving away a pair of earrings on my other blog.

Come on over and leave a comment to be entered!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Giveaway Winner

I posted on my other blog that I had a winner in my jewelry giveaway, but forgot to come back here and update!

The winner was Beth from The Stories of A to Z and she chose to have me make a pendant for her from a piece of pale aqua sea glass that I found on Scarborough Beach a few weeks ago. Here is a "work in progress" photo as well as the finished piece:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Jewelry Giveaway!

I am celebrating my 100th post on my other blog, Scarborough Seashells and to celebrate I am giving one lucky reader a piece of jewelry made by me!

You can win a pair of bezel set earrings or a pendant made with your choice of sea glass, pottery shard or seashell. OR I'll custom make something if you have a special piece of your own you'd like me to use.

For more details and to enter the giveaway, click here!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Glass Tile Pendants

Glass Tile Pendants
Originally uploaded by mornindew2822
I'm so excited to finally have these made, I've wanted to do them for so long!

I think they came out really cute- I wore one out today and so many people complimented me on it!

Now for sale on my website at an introductory price of $8, including the chain!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More brand new jewelry just listed to Scarborough Seashells!

Hand forged sterling silver bangle style bracelets made from sea glass, beachcombed pottery shards and genuine seashells!

Available now at Scarborough Seashells!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New pendants made!

New pendants
Originally uploaded by mornindew2822
Just a few of the pendants I've been working on for an upcoming craft show at the end of the month. Currently listed for sale on my website (until the day of the show)!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And The Cobbler's Children Had No Shoes

clapotis 020710
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
I started the project pictured about a week ago. It called for 18 stitch markers. Now, in my lifetime, I have probably made at least 500 stitch markers, in two different styles, and infinite colors, which I usually sell in sets of 6. I sold a ton of these before I was ever even a knitter! I did not want to pull any out of my inventory, and I wanted to start this project NOW! So I grabbed my new box of pretty paperclips my husband gave me at Christmas (before you worry about HIM, you have to know that I was thrilled with these!) and started slipping them onto the needles. They marked my place, so they served the purpose, right?

Wrong! First of all, I got some serious laddering at each marker. For those non-knitting readers, laddering is when you get a space between the knitting stitches that shows the yarn between them like the rungs of a ladder. The ladders were caused by the fact that the paperclips are so large and cumbersome, and the yarn is very thin. In this case, I was thinking I would live with it, because the pattern called for me to drop those stitches anyway, so it would not show in the end product.

But then yesterday my friend Karen mentioned that she and her mom had gotten a chuckle out of the fact that I was using paperclips. Then I got a message from my knittting mentor, who also happens to be one of the owners of The Shops at Fabian House, where a nice assortment of my stitch markers are available for sale. I guess I was hoping she would not notice and I would just not take that project to the shop. Well, um, she noticed alright!

So this afternoon after I finished making some jewelry to fill orders, I made myself this large set of stitch markers. They are on sterling silver wire, and I made 8 each of three different shades of blue, which are also different shapes and sizes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Good Stuff

cable scarf 020310
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
Tara has lately been on a use what you have kick, and I have to agree with her that it is a great idea. For some time, I have been collecting supplies for techniques or materials I want to try, and then either getting in a rut where I just do what I have always done, or being afraid to touch said new materials, wanting to save them for something "special".

I decided I need to get over that, to not let materials or techniques intimidate me any more. To that end, this morning I woke up and frogged (ripped out for the non-knitters) 2 feet of scarf that I was knitting too tight and started in on a scarf on huge needles, which will incorporate my very first cables! I have been avoiding patterns with cables, thinking they were too hard for me because I have not been knitting very long, but you know what? They are easy!

I am going to work on some pillows this afternoon, incorporating little experimental pieces I was saving like they were 6 inch squares of gold and fabric combinations I keep thinking about, but never get the nerve to cut into. I have had a box of pillow forms in the corner of my bedroom (oops, I mean "sewing room") because I was determined to make pillows, but intimidated by them at the same time. (Why? Didn't every middle school girl of the 70s make some kind of pillow as her first project in home ec? I had made myself whole outfits by that point, but I still had to make that pillow!)

I invite you, readers, to use what you have, even the "good stuff". What are we saving it for, anyway?

Monday, February 1, 2010

New jewelry listed to my shops!

Just added to my Etsy shop and website.

Some cute polymer clay sea inspired pendant and earring sets

I've hand marbled aqua and white polymer clay and made it beachy with impressions of real starfish, seahorses and seashells. Accented with gold craft paint and 14k gf bail, beads and ear wires.

And another "use what I've got" challenge-
Made with more of my favorites- turquoise and Hill Tribe fine silver beads, including the adorable fish pendant. Adjustable from 20-22 inches.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sea glass shelf/ coat rack for my bathroom

Sea Glass Shelf
Originally uploaded by mornindew2822
I wish I could find the "before" photo of this little coat rack. I bought it in the clearance section after Christmas for $.75- it was white with 4 large plastic snowmen on it (one over each hook). I pried them off, filled and sanded the holes they left behind and then added a little mosaic of sea glass, sand dollars and starfish. It now lives in my (very green) bathroom helping to make the green a bit more bearable until I can get around to toning it down some!

Took me a Sunday afternoon football game to go from before to after. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Joining the Challenge

cuff in progress
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
I have been reading Tara's posts lately, reading about her "use what you have" challenge. I admit that I have had little twinges of guilt, because first, I have been crafting, but stuff totally unrelated to business, and two, I have been spending way too much on supplies. I think my knitting and other leisurely crafts has been a help to my sanity, but it is time to buckle down and get back to business related work!

Anyway, I am taking on Tara's challenge, and I am adding for myself that not only will I use what I have on hand, but I will work on finishing some stuff that I had already started. I also want to make a little headway every day. So today I walked up to my sewing table, and dug around a little bit looking at what was in the heap, and found some pieced patchwork made by Karen of Chickadee Friends Studio. I had intended to make a quilted, beaded cuff, but had fizzled when Christmas approached. This morning I quilted the piece of fabric, fused it to a lovely green batik fabric backing, and finished off the edge. I hunted the button box for a great vintage button, made the buttonhole to fit. Now I need to sew on the buttons and add the beads, but all of the machine sewing is done!

Thanks for the inspiration, Tara!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sea Inspired Jewelry

Sea Inspired Jewelry
Originally uploaded by mornindew2822
Another of my "use what you've got" challenges. I made these without spending one red cent- it amazes me the stuff I collect and then don't use! Can you imagine every single ingredient that went into making these has been sitting in my supply boxes for close to two years now while I was totally uninspired to anything with it!

Necklace and earrings set made using various greenish-blue turquoise beads with lots of matrix (the more mottled the better, I love it!) , bronze freshwater pearls, Hill Tribe fine silver beads (starfish, nautilus and scallop shells) and sand dollar toggle style clasp.

Up for sale in my Etsy shop this weekend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tiny Sea Glass "Mosaic" Pendants

This is some of the pieces I've been working on this week. I have a self-imposed "use what you've got" challenge going on and all the stuff I'm making this week is done without spending a single penny for anything new.

I've taken bits of beachcombed pottery where the pattern was too worn for it to be used on it's own for a jewelry piece and decorated them with teeny, tiny bits of beautiful sea glass in rich, vibrant colors. The end result is, I think, mini mosaic art pieces you can wear!

My favorite is I Feel Teal. The shade on the (perfectly round) sea glass ball is so rich and soothing while the pottery shards are a cool robin's egg and almost Tiffany blue.

These can all be found in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Finally back to being crafty!

I can't believe it's taken me this long to recouperate from the holidays but indeed, this is the first week I've been able to get back to work and start making things again. At first there was the chaos of kids home on vacation, then it was cleaning up and putting away all the decorations, then it was sheer exhaustion from all the previous weeks' hullabaloo.

The nagging reminder gentle nudge of a waning bank account forced me back into action this week and I've managed to start producing again. So far I've added two new colors of my sea glass wine charms
Blue Set

Green Set

and a sea glass bottle stopper (custom order).

I am trying to decide if I have time to produce enough stuff to do a small local craft fair in a little over a month's time... hemming and hawing over this one...

Also have a sea glass window on my agenda due mid March to the customer and likely a fundraiser coming up in April. Spring is looking to be busy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm Knitting and I Can't Stop!

headband picture
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
Many moons ago, when I was a teenager in the 1980's, I taught myself how to knit from a book so that I could knit myself a pair of legwarmers. Unfortunately, knitting was the one craft where my usual teach myself from a book methods pretty much failed me. I managed to finish those legwarmers but all my stitches were twisty and it took me forever (that one pair of legwarmers took me a year- I'm very tall, but not THAT tall!)

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and I met my good friend Ruth, who is a knitter extraordinaire and offered to help me. So I went to her with yarn and needles and she tried to straighten out my bad habits. I practiced and practiced, but still somehow felt like I was so slow I would never finish anything. My stitches looked way better though.

Then a dear friend passed away at Thanksgiving time. I had lived at their house the summer after college graduation, and called she and her husband my "parents for a month". At her celebration, people commented about her knitting, and I had sort of forgotten that she was an amazing knitter. Back when I lived there, I was so amazed at the items she could crank out, with almost a zenlike peace involved in the process. As I remembered her, I regretted that I was too busy planning my wedding and hanging out with my fiance to sit down and get her to help me with my knitting that summer, but I felt a renewed resolve to become a knitter.

So I picked up my practice piece that I had been working on with Ruth, watched some online videos of knitters to help me remember what I was doing, and I was on my way.
Here is that practice piece knitted into a scarf! Then I knitted these cotton dishcloths:

Next, on New Year's Eve, I started the scarf below. I have 5 skeins total of this yarn, which I bought at a yard sale. I am not sure what it is even made of, the label is in Turkish. Anyway, to be sure I could get a hat and mitts out of the yarn on hand, I left the scarf after one skein and made a hat.

I switched gears over this weekend, and knitted the headband I am wearing in the photo above. It was supposed to be lacier, I modified the pattern because I was not used to the thin yarn or the small needles.

My current project is a pair of fingerless mitts. I am nearly done the first of the pair and I just started them today! Knitting is a nice craft to carry with me to work on while I wait for my son at school or church or whatever. I think this crazy knitting break will let me get back to my jewelry and sewing with a fresh positive attitude.