My Craft Calendar

My dream job is to really be able to schedule time to work on my crafts between trying to keep a presence here, write what I want to write, and stay on top of my almost 12-year-old.  Right now, my days revolve around a day job that pretty much takes up my whole day from 8am when I am usually on the bus to Manhattan, to 7:30pm when I walk in the door.  After that, 80% of what’s left of my moments awake are devoted to motherhood.  The usual chat and hugs between homework and dinner leave me very little time to sit down and unwind and fiddle with my projects.  What happens is that I end up sleeping at or just past midnight, but it doesn’t mean waking up later.  I will get up before 6am to start my day over the following day, no matter what time I slept the night before.

#craft toys just arrived!  Working on some #invitations using my #spellbinders #grandcalibur machine.  Just waiting for my #paperstock to arrive.  #crafthappy. And can't wait to get started!  Love these #dies..I found it rather frustrating that I came up with projects last year which turned out okay, but which would have really been “great” if only I had found the time to work on them way in advance.  So four months into 2016, (late, I know..),  I thought I’d plan ahead for the rest of the year.

So for the most part, only I can really understand what the calendar is about, but the point is for it to remind me of what I plan to do and keep me focused.  And yet again, I’m hoping to start posting here more regularly, not monthly.

Here’s what I hope to focus on in the coming months:

April

  •  Get started on my fabric clutches.  (Something I’m currently working on.)
  • Create more pieces and post in the shop. (Ongoing)
  • Start taking sewing classes at Mood Fabrics. (Free, already enrolled, due to begin end of the month.. Yay!)

May 

  • Get my tour guide license.  (More on this later.)
  • Start making pieces to wear and bring to Fiji.  (Trip planned for end of June  with bestfriend, Donna.)

June

  • Start planning my halloween costume, another paper fairy gown.
  • Design my holiday card for the end of the year.  (Need to determine materials.)
  • Create pieces to bring home to Manila in late July or August.
  • Launch bead tours.

July

  • Work on throw pillows (if the living room renovation has already started, if not, just make designs.)
  • Post a clutch for sale in the etsy shop.
  • Launch first postcard set project.
  • Take photographs and source materials in the Philippines.

August

  • Start creating the halloween costume.  (Will try to actually sew one instead of pinning one together like last year.)
  • Create paper boxes.

September

  • Work on Christmas decor.
  • Produce holiday cards.
  • Create gifts to give for the holidays.
  • Launch second postcard set.
  • Stock up the shop and launch holiday promo.

October

  • Finish holiday card.
  • Handmade gifts.
  • Put up my Christmas tree last week of October.

November

  • Mail out holiday cards.
  • Decorate tree first week, deck out the house.
  • Create wrappers for the holiday gifts.

December

  • Create and make gift packaging.  (Wrapper, embellishments, tags)

The calendar is obviously not set in stone and is meant to just be a guide to help me focus.  As crafting is not my number one priority, it usually becomes an afterthought and then a cause for a flood of “should haves” and “if onlys”.  I’ll revisit the list from time to time to report on how I’ve been doing.

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Crochet Pieces

Disclosure: The post below provides links to the products I am using in my project which will take you to Amazon’s website in case you are interested in looking up the product.  I have also provided suggested sites you can visit if you are interested to learn more about Crochetting or purchasing Crochet kits. Please note that clicking on the link might mean a commission for me if you do purchase it from the vendor.  

Crochet has been a new-found passion the last couple of months.  I have been working on smaller pieces I hope to eventually “stitch together” later into something wearable for the coming fall and winter.  I have actually been knitting and crocheting my scarves in recent years, that is why I only buy fabric scarves, but I haven’t really gone beyond that.

I think I’m finally ready to try and craft something from the bits and pieces I have gathered in various ziploc bags, but I am a bit wary of how it will come out.  I have grouped them into patterns based on color and type of yarn and hope to create a good mix of the many pieces instead of just pulling in similar ones for a project.  I bought a grey fleck (speckled?) yarn that I hope to piece the rounds together with against an all black background.  (I am hoping to post the work in progress after the weekend.)

Meanwhile, I have been intrigued by this Icelandic sweater crochet pullover I’ve been seeing online, but a pattern for which I cannot find.  I am hoping to mimic it for the sweater tunic I’m making out of the Bernat blanket yarn I am experimenting with.  I also stocked up on the Caron one pounder which went on sale over at Michael’s around two weekends ago.  That, plus an additional 25% off coupon, allowed me to buy it at half off the original price.

I try to stick with the cotton and acrylics so that I don’t have to worry about fabric care later on.  When working with yarn, it’s always a good idea to check fabric care before purchasing it so you know it’s I remember knitting with some fancy wool-blend yarn years ago and when it was washed, it became a rag. (I had given it as a gift to my mother-in-law.). Back then and even now, I worked with fancy threads and yarns for my knitting projects because I couldn’t do the complicated stitches.  I would work designs into the scarves by switching yarn or needles.  Crochet is a different matter altogether, because I had learned this firsthand in grade school.  I can even read patterns in both the word form and diagram.

Switching yarns and needles is a little trickier for me in crochet, because I worry about how the finer and softer yarns would hold up against the tension or pull of the actual piecework.  It would be horrible to see parts of the final project fraying or hanging loose because it was carrying too much weight. But then again, I wouldn’t know until I finally pulled it together.  I am trying to confine the finer yarns as embellishments to the chunkier, hardier spools.  The set you see below will be part of a bigger crochet collage.

I will try to focus on getting a “draft” layout of the collage going this weekend, and trying to work piecing them together as I have envisioned it.  Sometimes planning one thing turns out another way when you actually execute it, and I want to see how it works on a small piece before going for the entire thing.  I guess my weekend is cut out for me.

If you’re interested in buying crochet kits, Craftsy has Crocheting kits around $10 or less, excluding shipping!. You can also visit their site below to look at available classes.
Craftsy

Freeform crochet, anyone?

#crochetProject: #tinywheels to be stitched together as part of my foray into #freeformCrochet .. Still trying to find the right shade of #Fiuschia #yarn #crochet #crafts #craftproject #pinkandpurple #stitchesI had started drafting this post more than a month ago and it has remained unposted due to difficulties uploading the graphics.  Well, I’m determined to do this today.

I learned how to crochet in fifth grade with the nuns.  Even back then, I already loved crafts and was drawn to the lure of wanting to create.  I have written about how I had once upon a time taught myself how to knit, using the how-to in our encyclopedia — way before the advent of the Internet.

While I can only knit and purl the regular way, I have been fortunate to be able to “read” crochet patterns and actual word instructions.

A former high school friend of mine whose Pinterest board I follow had started pinning crochet patterns and pieces which spurred a new interest.   I found myself  hooked! (Pardon the pun!). I stumbled into other like boards, and I was immediately curious about free form crochet.  It was, literally, an abstract creation of shapes, patterns and textures.  You just went and pulled together a patchwork of color, stitches and different yarns.

I went to YouTube and found various instructional videos and I was learning again!  One of the things I like about crafting is that it is a continuing journey of learning.  There are always new techniques to learn no matter how good you have become at a certain pursuit.  There were new stitches and techniques to begin the whole piece and bits and pieces to improve on tightening a look, or producing a certain shape and form.

I knew what I wanted to create and what colors I needed, so I hied off to grab some yarn.

Trying freed form crochet

Sine I started on this project, I have had a couple of trips to different stores, just eyeballing the various offerings and deciding right there and then when a color appealed to me.  I am still in search of the elusive right shade of fuschia pink, but I am not giving up.

In the meantime, I’ve created and experimented with bits and pieces, until I can get comfortable enough to piece them together.  Still trying..

Knitting away

Bliggraphics

I had taught myself to knit using chopsticks and the illustrations in our encyclopedia back in my early teens.  I am not even sure I am doing it right right but I do manage to knit and purl through a piece as I go along with even stitches now.

All bundled up: Scarf done!  A pop of color with my off white coat.  Just what I need to brighten up another cold winter day in New York. #Knitting #scarf #popcornyarn #handmade #popofcolor #allbundledup #finishedproject #handcrafted #madebyme #gothamchic

To make up for my lack of skills in doing stitches, I’ve taken to working with fancy yarns and a variety of larger needles.

BloggraphicIt takes a little imagination to “see” how a piece will come out after I finish knitting it, but I try to focus on the colors and texture.

Last chance to wear this newly-knitted fancy yarn scarf.. Second piece finished this winter, ready for wear next year! Feeling #productive! #handmade #knitting #fancyyarn #handicrafts #knitted #madebyme #madeforme #winterscarf #bundleup #gothamchick #pina

Mostly, I get lucky.  This winter has been very productive — two scarves done!  I’m also working on “fixing” two other previous pieces, and I’m looking forward to that.

I like knitting because it’s very relaxing for me, and I like receiving compliments from people who notice the unique colors and texture of the pieces I wear when I do.  My fallback piece is a native woven scarf from Baguio care of “Narda’s”, a famous native weaver in the Mountain province, and it’ll come in handy as it starts to get warmer.  Still need to bundle up, though.

Happy Friday!

Splashes of Color

In Mags: splashes of color
I take my everyday inspiration from splashes of color I see in magazine layouts or in everyday things I come across when I go through my day.

I don’t pretend to know the best color schemes. I am a consumer like you and I take inspiration from artists and other creative people. I often browse the colorful ads in the magazines and I take my cue from there. I look at the overall tone (dark, warm, bright) and then I look at the individual colors present.

These days I’ve been busy twisting and threading wire. I’m trying to come up with color compositions to make the stones compliment the one next to it. Sometimes I simply play it by ear.

Work in progress: agate beads and wire-wrappingBeads and color

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting but also recognize that I have to start producing my regular pieces along the way. I am hoping to post a few soon as Mother’s Day, after all, is just around the corner. At least I’m focusing on my store again.

There are also some very good sales at the moment, but I’m trying not to purchase anything beyond what I need for my experimenting.

My gauge 28 wire is a current favorite. It’s thin enough to manipulate and molds nicely to take the shape of what I’m trying to wrap. It’s getting easier but like any skill, it takes practice.