Friday, November 30, 2012

a blog challenge for December

For the past two years, I accepted the BlogtoberFest Challenge -- to blog daily during October.  I didn't post every day, but the challenge kept me thinking and my blog activity was definitely increased. 
I recently received a message from Kat at "I Saw You Dancing", regarding another challenge.  This challenge is designed to be a reflective and isn't challenging for daily posting.  The hostess (Kat) is providing daily prompts to "celebrate the successes of 2012, honour the challenges of 2012 and plant the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013".  The participants post as often as desired and about the topic of their choosing (I'm going to try Kat's prompts ... it reminds me of the writing exercises my kids had in 1st grade).  Details of the challenge and a give-away can be found here:

December tends to be a busy month, but I think this blog challenge will be a fun break from the holiday craziness.  And, I won't wait until New Year's Eve to reflect on the year.  Wish me luck.  I hope you will join me, too.


A Little Behind ...

On Thanksgiving Day,  I start to think about the Holiday Season.  I dreamt about how we will decorate the house, which tree we will choose and what I will make for gifts. 
This year, I printed our holiday photo cards and mailed them as soon as the kids were back at school.  Since I hadn't sent cards in a few years and I realized that we have 5 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I thought I was ahead of schedule.  So, I decided to do something for myself. 
While I was putting away the Fall decorations, I found that we still had moving rope from when we moved 14 years ago.  We had rolled the pieces up and tagged them, in case we moved again.  I looked at the items on the tags and saw that we no longer had most of them.  So, it isn't likely that we will need those same lengths of rope.  And, we aren't planning to move anytime soon.  I also found some tin baskets that I had used for my daughter's birthday party 8 years ago.  I had the makings for a project.  I took off the basket handles and hot-glued the rope around the baskets.  I think they (I covered 6) turned out to be cute. 
I was planning to have them hold some small plants, to be placed on my desk and on end tables.

But, I was in the mood for some new desk accessories.  I crocheted some little baskets, using a pattern from The Purl Bee.  The pattern is actually called Jewelry Dishes.  You can find it at
I wish I could say that I followed the patterns, but I really used them for inspiration (and I crochet while watching tv, so I'm not paying attention).  The pattern calls for starching the trays; I used as smaller hook and tightened my stitch instead.  

I haven't gotten any plants for the roped containers and decided to use two of them on my desk.  They nicely contain my pens/pencils and flash drives.  I like to use what I have for these little crochet projects and was lucky that my leftover yarn matches the rope.  The  crocheted baskets hold my erasers and my jewelry (I don't like to wear my rings while I craft).

My daughter walked by my desk and decided that she liked what I made.  She liked them so much that she asked me to make some for her too, but with color.  I agreed to her request, but the same rule applied - I would only use what I have.
I haven't decided if I'm going to wrap the tins. Their colors already match the crocheted baskets.  I would like to try the square crochet pattern and maybe another round basket (with stripes?). Those will have to fingers and wrists need a break.
I would say that I have lost that "extra" week.  Back to thinking about the holiday season.  I have gift boxes to make (for the feather earrings), wine bags to sew (at least the pieces have already been cut), some presents to make, and a house to decorate.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I still have 25 days left. 
Are you on schedule?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

W-I-P Wednesday

There have been a lot of starts and stops, in my blogging journey.  After a four-month hiatus, I committed to the Blogtoberfest Challenge.  The challenge was to post daily during the month of October.  I did pretty well for the first half of the month.  Then, over-scheduling and illness took over and posts have been spotty ever since.  A new strategy is needed.

Since my life seems to be a Work-In-Progress (and whose isn't?), I am going to try to share an unfinished project and post the progress. 

In preparation for holiday gifts, I have taken apart some of the jeans my kids have outgrown, to recycle the legs into gift bags for bottles of wine.  After cutting off the leg portion, I googled jeans upcycling ideas, to use the pockets, zippers and extra denim.  I came across a great tutorial for a pouch to house some of our smaller electronics (phone, iPod, portable gaming devices, ear buds, etc).  Check it out at 

I made a couple of pouches using the jeans leftovers, the zipper from the jeans and the zipper from a fleece jacket, an unused shoelace and an elastic scrap dyed using t-shirt tie-dye (the elastic is on the open-top pocket, instead of sewing on velcro).  I think they're kind of cute.

I thought that my daughter would want the top one, with the cute embroidery.  But, she found the zipper to be too small.  She took the larger one and packed most of the items from her purse.

Below is another pouch I'm working on.  I liked the rhinestones on the pockets and the buttoned flap.  I'm going to try to also use the coin pocket and another zippered pocket from a fleece jacket.

Maybe the finished pouch can be mine.  :)  I'm hoping to have it finished by the weekend.

I'm very intrigued by the idea of upcycling.  There are so many of these projects featured on Pinterest and tutorials on Google.  Let me know which ones you have tried and liked.