Saturday, October 12, 2013

Zentangle challenge

This weeks challenge: learn and use eights part dos.   This was a little tough to figure out, but I like the finished product.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Works in progress

My weekly zentangle challenge. The challenge this week was circles vs squares. This was fun and easy and Phil says "WOW!" He wants to use it for an album cover :)  Jeremy started on one, but got distracted and never finished. So maybe he'll join me again for next week.

Next up in my projects this week. A crochet project all for me!  Most of my crochet goes to other people. One of those funny things. I crochet a lot, but hardly have anything crocheted of my own. So I found this hook case on pinterest. It's a free pattern on Ravelry and I'm loving  the way this is made. All in one piece, no sewing together.  I'm adding a couple more pockets than the pattern has and making a few a bit bigger for my bigger hooks.  I finished the inner part this morning and you can see several hooks have already found their way in. working on the outside tonight!

I'm also working on using up some denim fabric I was given. Have been wanting to do some hotpads for stocking stuffers and found some cute patterns for little microwave hot pads on pinterest. Not actually using a pattern, just making up my own as I go. That's a lot of pinterest stuff I see. I use the idea to make my own or mash a couple of things together. Best of both worlds!
I still need to get heavy terry cloth for the insulating layer and some bias tape cut to bind it all together, but I think they'll be cute when they are finished.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I've recently discovered Zentangles... or rediscovered... this was what my mom did to help us keep quiet and calm during church. She would draw a loopy figure on a piece of paper and then handed it to me to fill in each space with a different design. It was a great way to occupy your hands yet still be able to listen to the sermon. I've found myself often, through the years, grabbing a piece of paper and a pen to doodle and listen. I've never really thought of myself as a doodler. You know there are some people who just always have drawings/ fantastic, amazing doodles in the margins of everything! I was never one of those. My doodling consisted of either the exercise mentioned above or if I didn't have plain paper, go through the text (on a church bulletin) and fill in all the circles - o,p,a,e,d,b, etc.. Not super exciting stuff.
My 2 older kids are now 9 & 6 and I recently, needing something to help them sit quietly, pulled out some paper and pens and introduced them to my mom's old "game."  In a rare moment of quiet, I googled doodling and came across zentangles. It's a "thing" now. You can be a certified teacher. You can go on retreats and seminars to learn all about it. You can by zentangle kits and books. WOW! I'm hooked all over again.
So, what's so great about this Zentangle thing?

1. Small format - They use a small "tile", about 1/4 of letter paper. This smaller size is much easier to tackle in a shorter amount of time. It's also not quite so overwhelming!
2. Official tangles - Zentangles has about 120 "official tangles." This very nice website Tangle has hundreds of patterns.  These are designs that are simple to draw, simple to teach and don't require any "predrawing." The cool thing here, especially for me, is all these designs that are shown step by step how to draw and then you can go from there and play with it and make it your own or use it as it is.

 I love this because my repertoire was pretty small. I had stripes, staight, wavy, zigzag, thick and thin. I could go wild and do plaid! Then there were polkadots and spirals and checkerboard. Throw in some flowers and maybe some leaves, but that's about it for me. So I'm really loving seeing all these beautiful designs that I can learn and play with.

3. Community - Since this is a "thing" now there are people all over the world doing zentangles and sharing with each other and doing cool things with it, like decorating shoes and wooden bowls!
This is my first finished tangle!

I was finishing up my drawing for this weekly challenge and my 6 yr old son sat down beside and said "I want to do that too!" I let him pick out a paper and handed him my pen and showed him how to draw one of the patterns, then another and another. He finished his own tile pretty quickly and added color to it. He's very proud of his artwork and I am too. We also really enjoyed Mom & Son time! I'm definitely going to have to make this a regular date!

Jeremy's very colorful first tangle!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crochet star blanket tutorial

A dear friend of mine wants to learn the star blanket pattern. Bonus, I've been wanting to learn this one too.  She printed out the free pattern from and I brought it home to work on. It's a beautiful and simple pattern.  Once you figure out the pattern it's easy and one you can work on while watching tv.
I found some nice mohair, baby weight yarn in my stash and had enough blue and white for this pattern.  This is a pretty flexible pattern.  Since you are doing rounds until it reaches the appropriate size, you really could use any yarn you like and it should work fine.

This is my very first video tutorial and I was reading the pattern for the first time while doing this video.  Give me some feedback, let me know how I did and if you would be interested in any more.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Origami paper


The kids have been wanting to do more origami lately and I don't have money to buy special paper for them.  I also don't want them using up all the notebook and printer paper.  I do, however, have a plethora of old magazines waiting to be used.  Origami paper from magazines!  Coming right up!

I tore out a bunch of colorful pages from a magazine.  I could have used the print pages too, but thought they'd enjoy colorful squares for now.  Next I folded and cut the pages in half to make squares a little smaller and also to give me three straight edges to fold squares.

This can be done one page at a time, but I found it went faster doing it production style.  One step on all pieces, then move to the next step on all pieces.

Next was to do the diagonal fold to establish a square so I know where to cut.

Almost done, cut the squares out.

And finally, flatten them and put them in a box.  Yay for free origami paper!!
I got pretty consistent squares using the half sheets and they are a good size for folding. I did cut a few pages at 2/3 or something other than 1/2 to capture different colors. Those are the bigger squares you see in the box.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What are you doing?

Found this book at the library.  Some of the techniques I'm familiar with (beaded, Tunisian, hairpin lace),  but there are a few new things I want to try out.  

First I'm trying entrelac.  This was chosen first, cause the other project i want to try requires multiple colors.   I've seen entrelac in knitting, but have never tried it before.  The whole squares are pretty easy once you figure out what's happening, but I'm struggling a bit figuring out the edge triangles.  

I really want to try the overlay crochet shown on the cover, so pretty!  Anyways, the book has lots of neat projects in it, check it out!

I'm trying this new thing. Actually doing some of the cool patterns I have pinned on Pinterest. :)  The winner this week is this cute little owl purse pattern at Maggie Makes Stuff  and had to try it out. I still need to add the zipper and lining. But isn't she cute!! I might add a little strap too, but haven't decided yet.

Lastly,  I joined The Crochet Crowd Amazing Shawl challenge this month.  It was a lot of fun to work on.  Once I got used to the pattern it was easy to work on while sitting with the kids at bedtime.  The nice thing is this pattern is a "join as you go" which means no sewing when you finish crocheting everything. Just hiding your tails, which you should be doing as finish each element anyways. But sometimes we get lazy and just want to finish the project already!! Yes I spent a couple days of just weaving in ends, Blah!

Close up of the design.  Can you tell I'm on a purple kick this month?
Finished shawl!  It's huge, about 6 1/2 ft long!  So proud of myself for finishing the whole thing!!

So that's what I've been working on.  How about you?  What projects do you have in the works?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Farmer's market craft booth

Got to go set up a booth at a little local neighborhood farmer's market a couple weeks ago.  It was kind of slow that day and not a lot got sold, but I did get a little bit sold and had a lot of fun hanging out with my best friend and crocheting . 
These are the main attraction.  I'm making these beaded lace headbands for $15. I have made these with a loop of elastic at the back so they are stretchy and adjustable to fit most heads.  I have some already made or I am always willing to make one in colors you would like.   I can also add a jewelry clasp instead for $2 extra to be worn as a choker or wrap twice around your wrist as a bracelet.

I also enjoy making cute flowers in between projects or just to use up ends of yarn.  I put them on elastic loops for hair ties.

This is my latest project.  Learning some new bead crochet techniques. Starting with basic beaded chains, this one ended up being about 18 inches long. I love the fluorescent beads on the black chain. Reminds me of the 80's!

I also have one super cute newborn crown in light pink.  That's it in the bowl with the flowers.