Another day, another year gone by...

Wow, I've become one of those bloggers... you know, the ones that say they want to write and post more, but who never seem to get around to it??? Yep, that's me. Nail on the head, there. And really, I wish I had more to show for this year. I had such big plans, and I managed to screw up a major portion of the year, somehow.

I know that my late vacation this year had something to do with it, but it didn't even feel as relaxing as last year's (it had to be the food. Last year we had a kick-ass waitress and a semi-private table, this one we had a private table and the worst waiter on the ship. Seriously.) And in general, food has been my Achilles heel this year. I'm terrible at just getting enough food in me to not feel sick a lot of the time, and even though I know I'm a picky eater, I think there may be some underlying causes to this. I don't really want to go into them here, though.

Another component I think I may be missing out on is finding new blog-buddies, as it's been forever since I went out and commented on one that's new to me (or new in general!) So, that's definitely going to be a part of my new year strategy. I hate to be the "New Year's Resolution" kind of person, that only makes a goal because it's the new year; but the timing is actually good for this, and I really need some new friends! (Can you sense another contest coming soon?!?!?!)

Do you have plans for the new year? Are you trying to focus on one thing or another in your crafty/personal life? How do you balance the daily grind with your creative life?


Only a Few Days Left to buy Cocoa Stripe print!

Cocoa Stripe print
Originally uploaded by fortune_32
I know a lot of you are probably still in tryptophan-induced comas, but there are only a few days left to buy my custom designed fabric via Spoonflower's Etsy store! Thanks so much to Kim and Stephen for giving us designers this opportunity!

Go buy some and make something with it! I'd love you forever if you do! Hahaha! Such a shameless tactic, begging! Pretty please, though! (With a cherry on top!)



I was alerted recently by a good friend that a LJ user had plagiarized my book review for Yakuza Moon.(Which I wrote over a year ago!) Not juts bits and pieces, but the whole 3 paragraphs, word for word. You can see it briefly here - as I'm not a LJ member, I cannot comment. But, I will however be asking of you - MY friends who happen to be on LJ to tell this girl what she's done is WRONG with a capitol W. I will be filing a copyright violations form against her, but expect that to take several days to go through.

Even if she didn't realize reposting it as her own was wrong, she should have asked for my permission about the review, and posted a link back to my site when I (ineveitable would've) said yes. Because I wouldv'e shared had she asked (nicely, hehe.)

Thanks guys, you are the best. What a Happy Thanksgiving for me. oy.

ETA: This piece was removed either by LJ or the OP. Oh well, at least it's over fast, and someone alerted me right away. Phurfelz - please let me know how I can thank you for looking out for me on this one! Me email addy is K | Fredrickson | AT | gmail | dot|| com (without all the text garbage... sorry, looking out for web spiders!)


Cocoa Stripe - winner!

Cocoa Stripe - winner!
Originally uploaded by salutor
I'm so happy to report that my fabric design won Spoonflower's first ever Fabric of the Week Contest. That means you'll be able to buy it in their Etsy shop for ONE WEEK ONLY - and that's it.

After that, if I sell it myself, it'll be pricier - to cover overhead cost increases (not a lot, but I can't charge the same as them.) I'm thinking of doing a hand-drawn selvedge on it, though... how fun would that be??? That's my only misgiving about Spoonflower, is that there's no selvedge, unless you add it into your design. huh. Maybe some more people will now?

How does -
Smokey Stripes Collection - Cocoa Stripe Copyright 08 Kari Kail Printed by Spoonflower.com - sound? I can't do the color bubbles, like a normal selvedge, but I thought it might be worth a try anyway, i have fun handwriting.


Vote for mine - cocoa stripe - please?!?!?

I was so surprised to read this morning that my Cocoa stripe fabric made it into the top 3 for the first week of Spoonflower's exclusive sale contest!

It really made me feel awesome, so a great big thanks to June, for spotting it for me, and Stephen and Kim for featuring it. Now it's up to you folks! There's 3 choices, and while I might be a little biased, I think they're all great designs!

If you'd like to be able to purchase my Cocoa Stripe fabric - exclusively through Spoonflower's Etsy shop, for one week only! - please vote for it by clicking the link above and scrolling down to the "If you haven't voted yet, you can do that here" part. (Or, you could be lazy and just click the underlined here. Hehe.)

Sorry for all the italics and bold, guys - I'm just super jazzed and excited about this opportunity! (Plus, I love contests!)


Quickie Check-in!

aka - what I'm up to!

I wish I'd gotten around to organizing all of my pictures into a pretty blog post, but I just haven't been able to get to it, unfortunately. 2+ weeks of dirty laundry is a lot to get through, not to mention I haven't had a stitch of good food in my house all week. So, why the post? I wanted to update all of you, my good blog buddies, briefly, with what's up with me!

  • Planning a paper tutorial that'll be super fun and relatively easy! (The biggest secret to cutting thicker paper is a very sharp knife... more on that later.)
  • Redesigning my blog and logo - yeay! But also, kinda (very) scarey!!! Think more refined, but not too traditional - like mid century modern furniture!
  • Designing a whole new career for myself, and I'm so lucky and proud to be working with a very good friend on it! OMG, so not ready to spill on this one yet!
  • Shelving the book plans for now, I'm still trying to collect projects and patterns, but I don't have the right contacts to pull it off in the high quality style that I'd really like to. Maybe later...
  • Working my way through the 700+ rss posts in my feed, I have to apologize that I haven't been able to comment on as many as I'd like yet!
  • Finding all of my old high school friends through Facebook. This I have to admit, I find both super cool and a little creepy - all at the same time. Huh.
What's new with you guys? I'm totally thinking about another contest to bring you lurkers out of the woodwork again! What kind of prize or contest really makes you comment? I must confess, I always feel like I have such a small chance on the big blogs, I don't really bother trying anymore!



... no feature this Friday - I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow! I was hoping to have a bunch of posts lined up and ready, so I could just schedule them to publish, and not leave the poor blog empty for the next couple weeks. But, it just didn't happen that way... I have a bunch of ideas for posts, and even a few already written, but not a lot of pictures of any of it yet. So, when I do get back I'll have lots of fun stuff to share!

I was even thinking I had so much fun doing my last contest, that I should have another round or two - so if you missed out on the last one, or just didn't win it - you'll get more chances! So, stay tuned for a mystery fabric stash giveaway, a bath & body themed gift-box and maybe more!

A great big thanks go out to all of the wonderful commenters recently! You've all been so sweet, and I haven't had the time to thank everyone personally; but I hope I can remedy that after my trip. So, thanks again! You guys are great!


Feature Friday - I need your features!!!

I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off the last few days, because I'm going on vacation - a week from tomorrow! I can hardly believe it, because it's been about a year since my last vacation! This time, I'm headed on a cruise through the Panama Canal; and my husband and I somehow snagged a table for two at dinner! Score! I'm so excited, but I also need a little help!

So, I need your features and recommendations for Acapulco and Huatulco, Mexico and Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We'll be stopping in a couple more ports than that, but we have some shore excursions planned already - how does a helicopter tour of Aruba sound? Pretty good, you say? Yes, yes.

Obviously then, it's not my first cruise; but it will be my first time in those 3 ports, so I need some help figuring out what to do and eat in those places. Give me a good one, and I might even have to repay the favor and send you a little somthing special... (hey, a little incentive isn't bad, is it? Hehehe.)


Feature Friday - Baggu Bags

When I read about these Baggu bags on Not Martha's blog, I wanted to try them out for myself. I've been wanting to buy a set of reusable bags for quite some time, and the fact that I could pick from such a wide range of colors really sealed it for me. Plus, I got a fun storage sack, too!

They really can hold 2-3 times what a regular plastic bag would, and didn't even snap a thread when I stuffed 2 2L pops (I know, hcfs sucks - that's for another day!) plus 51L bottles of water in one bag! I'm seriously impressed, they hold up superbly, look great; and I thought it was pretty easy to fold them back up to put them in in their boxy pouches.

All in all, I have to give these a glowing review. Except for the fact that the bagger looked at me like I was crazy for having such large reusables; I just thought to myself," if you put things in, in the right way - they stand up on their own just fine!"


How I really feel inside...

I really, really don't like sharing this stuff here, but for lack of a better outlet, here goes nothing...

So, it all started a couple years back when my grandmother died. My mom spent a ton of months taking care of her before that, even though my grandma would say the meanest things sometimes. Now, I wonder if that had to do with some sort of pre-frontal cortex damage or issue - that meant she just didn't have that internal censor that everyone else seems to. That's how my family used to always describe it anyhow. Now, I wonder if it was a scientific part of who she was. Part of me feels bad for not trying to be more accepting of it...

After that, my mom went on a last minute cruise to Greece, which I thought would be great for her, and I think it was, although she won't tell me anything but the good parts... so who knows? Thing is...she left my sister in charge of EVERYTHING. I even offered to watch her dog for her (which would have saved her a considerable amount of money,) and she refused. Even when I offered to drive the 25 miles to her house everyday to check up on the house and dog, she brushed me off like I wasn't capable of taking on the task. That really hurt.

Then, when my step-father lost his glasses in Greece - who'd they call to have another pair Fedex-ed over? Not me, it was my sister. Just like it was my sister who I had to talk to during the couple weeks my mom was overseas. And, I'd have to say, that was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mom. All my sister would say is how much they talked on the phone EVERY day, and how she felt lost without that. Nevermind the fact that I was trying to do my best to be there for her, and she's never said thank you to me, for that once. Or anything else I've tried to do for her, or my mom this past year.

After that, she got pregnant (my sister, not my mom - I'm turning 28 at the end of the year!) And that was really hard news for me - because it wasn't long before we found out that it was going to be a girl - just EXACTLY what she was hoping for. I even went to Hawaii last year, and had a bit of escape from my family mess, but as soon as I got back, it went straight back into - "Let's put all of our focus on her, and not you." And, I really struggled with that attitude hanging in the air. But no one saw it, or recognized it.

Just to be clear, here - I've been trying to tell my mother these feelings for over a year, in fact, ever since my sister started trying to get pregnant; but to no avail. She dodges my points, makes excuses why she can't be there for me now. The tricky bit is - she was ALWAYS there for me as a younger child, and even though I'm older now, I literally feel like a bird who was just kicked out of the nest, and left to fend for myself. Totally alone within my family unit.

See - here's the other side of the story - my dad was always there physically, but not ever in an emotional sense. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old. That is to say, my visitations with him were sitting in front of the tv, not talking to him at all. In fact, I could say something, and he just wouldn't hear, or process it - to the point that I sometimes wondered if I'd ever said it all. This left me feeling pretty damaged and alone as a child, and the fact that I never felt my sister wanted me as her sister never helped. I just wasn't good enough of a daughter or a sister to either one of them, and I've felt shunned most of my life.

So, when I told my dad just how angry and upset all that crap made me (like at 25, a few years back,) instead of saying, "Kari, I want to have a rational, real conversation with you about this," he told my sister he disowned me. The dickhead didn't even have enough cahones to say it to me direct. He just said "I only have one daughter." - even though we're twins. Great parenting skills there.

So, at the beginning of this year my mom asked me to help plan my sister's baby shower, and at that point - I was just starting to feel like my jealousy was coming from a place of perspective - that I felt like the whole world was saying. "Yeay Jenn, you'r pregnant!" When I didn't have anyone telling me, ""Yeay Kari, you're following you're own path, even if it is non-traditional!" Well, except my husband, and one very, very close blog friends. Thank you both, from the bottom of my heart. You've kept me sane this year, really.

Oh yeah, and even though I stifled all of my feelings until after the baby shower, because i wanted my sister to have an enjoyable one, no matter the relationship we share - here's the kicker... my mom left for a week's vacation the day after the baby shower - without telling me she was even going. I had to find out from my sister - who I certainly didn't feel comfortable sharing those negative feelings with, especially then (she was 7+ months pregnant!) I really needed to be able to share my feeling with her (my mom,) that week, and she made it perfectly clear through her actions, that she wasn't interested in listening to them. Then, or now, (it's been 6 months since the shower.)

But, it doesn't 't help alleviate the pain I feel that my family thinks baking a baby is more valuable than trying to define for my OWN self what's going to make me happy. Can't I be my own person, with my OWN desires and goals, and aren't they just as valid as everyone else's???

Maybe, it will be a child someday, I can't say it's something I'm totally disinterested in; but after this experience, with my family that I get to say on paper is my family - even though I barely ever felt, and now I totally don't feel - a part of them, in any way. I've said to my mom that I feel extraneous and worthless, in my role as her daughter, and she won't/ or can't address it as a point - which makes me feel like my feelings are completely invalid, and wrong.

She wants to talk in person or on the phone, and basically said that she doesn't think we can work on anything regarding our relationship through email. But, I'm a very guarded person with my feelings, and if I keep trying to share them with someone who I don't feel is listening, or really hearing what I have to say... I don't know any other coping device than to shut down, and pre-reject them all, because rejection is all I've felt from them for years. My dad, sister, and now - most painfully of all - my mom.

Mom - I can't see you, or talk to you on the phone right now. I NEED it to be through email, because I'm so hyper-sensitive to everything you say, and every inflection in your tone and body language. I know you're not trying to take your life stresses out on me - but that's what it's felt like for a long time. You always made a point to make the other twin feel special when something great was going on in the other's life... but where are you when I need you? When the whole world is cheering her on for something almost every woman on the face of the earth is doing - whilst I'm toiling, trying to find my own meaning of happiness and fulfillment. Why is that less valuable to you? Why can't you show me the support I need, especially right now? And, especially in the way that I NEED it, instead of just the way you're willing to give it to me...


Feature Friday - Planet June Amigurumi

I might be biased, because June's a very good friend of mine... but I just can't help but include her blog & store in my Feature Friday posts. She's a very talented crafter who makes things out of lots of different materials (a crafter after my own heart!) But, her main focus is crochet patterns done in a certain style, called amigurumi.

Aren't these guinea pigs adorable?!!!

There's lots of people who make amigurumi, but I'll tell you why June's patterns are different. First off - some are in fuzzy/fizzy yarn which lends such a wonderful finished effect. Not many people tackle this kind of novelty yarn - especially in crochet! Secondly, her instructions are clear and concise, with lots of pictures (which is my preferred learning method.) And, the range! She's published so many patterns, and she's only been crocheting since 2003! I find that pretty inspiring and amazing, and I hope you do, too!!!

Please do go check out her pattern store, she's just updated with these Halloween themed cuties! She has such a wide range of animal patterns available, though - there's enough there to please anybody I'd bet!

My favorite is the Polar Bear, they're so endangered and special - they may be gone in as little as 60 years! (I have to say a very close second goes to AmiDog Shiba Inu. June was sweet enough to make me one to match my Shiba Inu, Ginger. Trust me, having a cute little dog that doesn't poop or talk back, is awesome! Hehehe.) She has many more breed styles as well, though.

*All images are copyright June Gilbank, and used only with her permission.


Rip It... Rip It Good!

These days I find myself needing to rip back large portions of a knitting project, for one reason or another; and I thought I'd share what I've learned (so you don't have to spend hours untangling an unholy mess of one ply lace weight wool. ugh.)

Tiffany Skinny Empire - ripping back
I'm not even done ripping yet... I'm going all the way back to the armholes!

I use this technique when I'm mid-project, and don't want to rip the whole piece out, just a large enough section that would undoubtedly tangle, were I not to utilize this simple method. In fact, it's just a piece of card stock (letter sized, 8.5"x11"",) rolled into a tube and taped shut. I place a cut on one end to hold the end that's closest to the ball, that's not being ripped, to hold the yarn in place.

Then, I just rip back and wind the loose yarn onto the tube, being careful to pull tight enough to slightly pull the curl out, but not so tight that it actually constricts the tube. I try and start at the end of the tube closest to the ball. I work my way towards the other end of the tube as I go, so when I knit it back together, I can just pull a few loops off the tube at a time. Jeez, I hope that made sense! If you have any questions, or just want to call me wordy - feel free! And wish me luck while you're at it, I still have a ton left to rip out!


October, already?!?!?!?!

I can hardly believe it! Partly because I'm going on a cruise in a few weeks, and partly because by the time I get back, it's going to be the holiday season again! Ack!

So, does anyone remember my contest? Well, I still haven't heard from one of the winners - Vickie S. who's blog is Red Hot Polka Dots. If you don't email me by the 8th, I'll have to redraw another winner.

Tsumami Kanzashi Flower Snap Set

I want to be able to have all my contest winner's packages out and on their way before I go on vacation! So - anybody craving a cashmere tsumami kanzashi bracelet, or a pair of tree branch earrings - stay tuned! If I haven't heard from Vickie in a week, I'll put up another contest post and redraw another random winner.

Where did this year go, I mean... I know it's mostly gone - but damn! I wanted to get so much more done already by now. So many goals and ideas just floating in my brain, getting crammed into little corners here and there. I really hope I can get more of them out of my head and into reality from now on...


Who needs sleep?

Yeah, you're never gonna get it,
Who needs sleep?
Tell me, what's that for?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the second world war.
One of my most, and least favorite songs by Barenaked Ladies. Favorite because I'm a chronic insomniac, and least - because it keeps me up a lot at night. Literally, my brain will just repeat the chorus over, and over again. I'm not sure if that was what kept me up last night, as I worked hard on Friday so I'd sleep well, and I did, (relatively.) Last night though, I was up every 3 hours, and it leaves me feeling so frustrated and irritated that seemingly everyone else can get a good night's sleep. Why can't I? My dog is snoring at me right now...

I have a theory, that it stems from some emotional stuff I've been going through; but how do you talk to someone who won't or can't listen to what you have to say? Someone who denies the very basis of your feelings to the point of total alienation? How do you, if you've built your very existence on the principles and values this person's taught you, cope - when they change the very core of who they are (or at least are to me?)

I wish I could find answers to these questions, as they're probably what plague me each night as I lay awake in bed and try to fall asleep. My mind drifts on how I feel so much less valuable to this person in my life, and how no matter how I try and tell her, she won't or can't hear what I have to say. She's in her own bubble, that I can't even enter, much less burst it. Not that I'd want to shatter someone else's method of coping with hard times in life. But how am I supposed to have a relationship with someone who I can't communicate with, especially on the genuine and real level that I really want.


WIP Wednesday - Tiffany & Co. Empire

I must admit - I was so hurried to start this project, I actually bought the wrong yarn for it! Haha! For some strange reason (that still escapes me, because I questioned the needle size,) I thought this project called for Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted, instead of Shepard Sport - which is in fact, the real recommended yarn.

Tiffany Skinny Empire1

So, needless to say I was pretty upset with myself when I realized that even though the yarn had arrived, I couldn't cast on for this delicious little knit t-shirt. I spent a little while feeling sorry for myself, and then I wondered if I had anything on hand that would fit the bill. Surprise, surprise - I did!

Tiffany Skinny Empire - Detail Horizontal I-cord

I bought 8 balls of Sirdar Snuggly last summer, when the Stargazer Kimono pullover came out in MagKnits*. I knit both of the sleeves up fairly quickly, but then realized I didn't like the side-ways knit construction of the top. My sleeve edges were too tight to function as a bodice top, and so I let it all sit in a bin for over a year. When I realized that the Snuggly might work for this, I dug it out and swatched immediately. Another huge surprise - I actually got gauge with the reccommended needle sizes! I almost always have to go up, and so I was a little shocked when I checked it and then double checked. Hehehe.

I was a little worried that my cast on was a bit too tight, and it probably is. Next time, I'd go up a needle size for the long tail cast on, then go back down to continue knitting. I'm not sure if I'll add the ruffle at the neckline or not; but I am planning on lengthening the sleeves to just above elbow length. I may add the ruffles to the sleeve edges, too. We'll see...

Now I'm thinking it's too big, but the tricky bit is, there's no size in between small and medium, and I'm a 32" (under) bust. Ugh. It means I'll have to rip back to just below the armholes, and start decreasing. I should do some math so I know just how many stitches I'll have to get rid of. The I-cord empire waist should be 16" (for me,) and this one measures 19" laid flat right now. Oy.

*Yes, unfortunately they're closed now, and they didn't even keep an archive up. Ravelry is a good resource for finding old Magknits patterns, otherwise the best method for obtaining unavailable patterns is to contact the author (if you know their name.)


Craft Disaster!

Rock Candy - Blue Green

Normally, I don't post my crafts gone wrong. They tend to bring my spirits down, and I like to keep that separate from my candy-sweet-coated blog world. So, that being said; I just had to share this one. It went so spectacularly bad, that I just can't keep it to myself! I found the link on Craft:'s blog, and they looked so tasty. I just wish mine had come out so lovely looking!

Rock Candy - Sticks

I followed the recipe as best I could (I thought,) and even still - ended up with Rocky Candy, in a glass. Only the smallest crystals formed on my pretty sticks. (I even glued wood beads to the ends of a few to make them that much more Old fashioned!) Oh well...

Rock Candy - Coral Pink

Oh yeah, and the sticks still in the glass? Rock-candy cemented in there. At least all I have to do to clean them up is soak a while!


Feature Friday - EmilyMe

Purple Fabric - Mod Swirly Dots

I first saw this fabric over at True Up (a great fabric & sewing blog!) I knew I wanted it, but I wanted to decide what to make with it before I bought any - so I knew just how much to purchase! That's always tricky when you fall in love with a fabric. For whatever it's worth, I like a quantity of 3 yds. It's enough to make a knee length skirt (even with some pre-shrinking with cotton,) and plenty of Home dec items, and I guess that's what I enjoy sewing the most.

Rachel was very good about communicating with me, even though we're a half a world away - literally! She's 12 hours ahead of me, so I thought her communication was better than most, considering her time zone! She quickly gave me a private listing for my 3 yds, but I had to wait while it was in transit to me! It was a hard wait, because I really love this print! Check out the selvedge - it's in Thai, and I think it's so beautiful.

Purple Fabric - Selvedge

It actually came a bit quicker than I expected, for as far as it was coming from! That's always a good thing, though. I haven't made all of my design decisions about my skirt yet, so I think I'll sew a muslin first; this fabric is just too limited to play around with, design wise. There's only 20 yds of it anywhere, and less than 5yds available through EmilyMe on Etsy. I don't want to cut something wrong, and then hate myself for it! Hahaha!

Purple Fabric - with buttonsI also received a package of buttons with my order, and aren't they pretty? I know I'll have to save them for something really special, they're chunky, shiny and awesome! I love getting freebies with my Etsy orders, and I really liked sending them out, back when I was selling. Do you guys like getting a little something extra when you buy handmade? Is it an expectation, or a hope?

If you missed the link above, here's her shop!


WIP Wednesday - Hanami Stole

Originally I thought I'd use a different yarn for this, Skacel Merino Lace, but my gauge was way off and I didn't like the way it was looking at all. So, I put it down for a while, and didn't think too much about it until recently. Then, I started my Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole - my first wrap using 2 skeins of Malabrigo Lace. I didn't know how the colors would work up, or how carrying the yarn up the edge would look, so I'm happy to be past some of those first few hurdles.

Hanami Stole

I decided that I'd really like this wrap in dark purple, and I had just the right beads for it. (They don't look nearly as good in this picture than in real life!) I knit a gauge swatch and realized that I'd need to go way up to get the right number of stitches per inch. I probably could've used 6's instead of 7's, but the aforementioned Lavanda Stole was still on them (at least when I started writing this post! Hehehe!)

At first I was regretting my decision to go so far up in needle size, but now I'm liking it a lot more (this project sat in it's bin for a couple weeks while I finished up the first wrap.) The colors are so pretty, and the beads look great - I think!

Sorry for the not so great pic, I procrastinated this photo-shoot til the last minute today, and this was the best of what I got. Win some, lose some - I guess, eh? :)


Rain, rain - go away!

Blackberry Lake

The creek behind my house has overflowed, and is flooding the basin it sits in. I really hope that the rain stops soon, it's been going nonstop for 3 days now! It's only been a light drizzle for the most part, but because it hasn't let up for even a minute - it's totally flooded. Oy.

Oh, this is also the famous Chicago grey I'm always complaining about. It's a bit early, normally it starts closer to winter, but it's nice and drab, isn't it? Hehe.. Great for the grass, though - look at how pretty it is!


Feature Friday - what is it?

I didn't really explain my new Feature Friday post last week, I just dove right in! So, I'll take a minute to explain what I'd like to accomplish with this new series. A while ago, I used to spotlight bloggers and Etsy sellers that I found inspiring and awesome, but it was tough to keep up with it every week, as I was doing them separately.

So, I thought I'd take the idea and tweak it a bit to fit my current thoughts and inspiration.
So, every Friday I'll be featuring sellers or products, projects, sites or tutorials that I really like, and that you need to check out! Hehe... Some, I may have featured previously, but they're still in business and making things (go you guys, years of selling is tough!)

They'll probably run the gamut as far as what kinds of crafts, so all you multi-crafters out there like me will (hopefully) get a lot out of them! I love feedback, so comment or email me with your thoughts or reccomendations - I'd love to hear them! Also, if you'd like to be featured here, please email me. I'm a little sensitive to people pitching their site/products in my comment fields - thanks for understanding!


WIP Wednesday - Plumeria Scarf

... and of course it's in Malabrigo lace! Haha!

Plumeria Scarf - WIP

I love this yarn, and all of the fun colors it's available in. I really like the fact that I can make a good sized scarf from one ball; that allows me to play with stitch patterns and how they look with the colors I've chosen. It's all very conducive to designing for myself - something which I've been wanting to do for some time now!

This is actually a snowflake pattern, from the Harmony Guides - Lace & Eyelets (snowflakes 1, for those who might be curious.) But I think with these colors you can tell I meant them to be flowers instead - at least I hope! Hehehe! Snowflakes in yellow, pink and orange, ha!

Plumeria Scarf

I wish I was feeling a little better about this one, but I'm just not sure... The cast on seems a tad bit tight, and the lace seems to need opening up to really resemble flowers, like I'd wanted. The colors, while juicy and delicious, are a little out of my comfort range, if you read my blog you'll know, I normally stick to cooler colors - aquamarine, turquoise, purple and lilac are my faves.

So, I'm just not sure... what do you guys think? Can you tell they're flowers, or do they really look like snowflakes? Does the cast on look too tight? Should I frog it and add a beaded cast on? I'm so tempted to, but I've knitted quite a bit already, and the wool doesn't like to be ripped out! I would like to make it more my own, than just a stitch pattern out of a book, but I'm not sure what to do.


...and the winners are...

...drumroll, please!...

So, after 70 comments, the Random number generator has come up with three winners, and three runners-up (for the pops!)

Third prize - Stash giveaway - Sarah

Second prize - Tsumami kanzashi flower wristlet or tree branch earrings - Vickie

First prize - Mystery Flat-Rate box - Jenn

I swear this was a fluke, I had no idea my twin sister was going to win. Seriously, when I looked through the comments after I numbered them I was literally floored. But she just had a baby, and so I figure you guys can't be too jealous of a new-baby-momma!?!?! Hahaha!

And the three cupcake pop winners are -
Annemarie, June and AuntKathy

Vickie S. and Annemarie, I don't have an email address for you, and can't contact you! Please let me know how to get in touch with you, so I can end your prizes!

If you haven't already, I'll need your mailing addresses and preferences in color & craft choices.
Thanks to each and every one of you who entered, I really appreciate that you took the time to comment! I also do swaps, trades and personal commissions, for anyone who's dying for their own tsumami kanzashi set or earrings. Inquiries always welcome!


Last Chance!!!

Cupcake Pops

Today is the last day to comment on my 200th post and enter my contest! I've been really amazed by the recent comments, so I have to say thanks to Polka Dot Pineapple for referring a bunch of you here! Thanks a bunch, Arlette!

Since there's been such a great response, I've decided to add 3 more winners! These will all be for cupcake pops - approximately 1/2 dozen, or as many fit comfortably in the box! (They need to be packed carefully, and I don't want anyone to receive crushed pops!)

Comments will be closed as of 11:59PM
Central Standard Time (-5 GMT) and I'll use a Random number generator to come up with 3 winners. Winners will be notified by email first, then here (on Monday, for anybody waiting to see if they won!) - so make sure you've left a contact email, even if it's plain text in the comment. I have to be able to tell you, you won! Hahaha!

Once again, commenting here is not a valid entry in my contest. You must click the link above and comment on my original 200th post to be entered. Good luck to everyone who's entered! I've really enjoyed reading all of your comments! Thank you all so much for your kind words!


Feature Friday - Pearl & Marmalade

Way back when, I posted about my first purchase from Pearl & Marmalade. I knew I'd be buying from them again, I just didn't have any clue it would take me so long!

Honey Bees Letterpress Notecards

I absolutely love their letterpress designs, and am so happy to finally have a set of their Honey Bees for myself. Actually, they're probably for you guys, because I love using letterpress notecards in swap and care packages! Haha! I think the color combination with yellow and grey is so current right now; it's not one I'd normally go for - but I love them. They feel trendy, but not overly so. I think the design elements balance the yellow & grey perfectly.

I also picked up a couple gift cards for someone special, but I won't share those until they've arrived! :P


Gift Tag Tutorial

Gift Tag Tutorial - All Finished!

Lately I've been knitting a lot, so my other crafting has been left on the back-burner, so to speak. I've been focusing on smaller projects that take less time, that I can fit in a few minutes. Paper projects are great for this, because they don't take up too much space to work on, and because let's face it, you can get any color & texture paper you want. Those scrap-booking sections in the big craft retailers are huge!

So, I came up with this super fast and fun gift tag tutorial. It requires a couple sizes of paper punches, but they can be any shape you want (and really, you could do this with scissors & patience, too.)
The hardest part here is deciding which shape and size punches look best together. I was slightly limited by the fact that I only own a handful, but I still think I picked the best coordinating pair.

Gift Tag Tutorial - Materials

  • Paper punches in two (or more,) sizes. Can be complimentary or contrasting shapes.
  • Sticker machine, glue stick or double sided tape
  • Hole punch (size is your preference)
  • Coordinating ribbon or twine to attach to package
  • Regular or decorative pens (for names, you can also use rub-on lettering, but I'm not that good with getting it lined up right!)
Large Paper PunchFirst, use the larger punch to create a base. I recommend simpler paper, if you're using the more decorative on top. But really, you can use any paper or card-stock that suits your taste. Here I used simple brown, light weight craft paper.

Small Paper PunchNext, use the smaller punch and a more interestingly patterned paper. It can be contrasting or complimentary, again anything that suits you! I like re-using gift wrap paper for this, I always hate to throw away pretty paper like this!

Sticker Machine + Stickers

Applying Smaller PieceWhen piecing the two together, you can use a sticker machine* to add a thin layer of adhesive to the back of the top paper; or you can use double-sided tape to adhere them. If you're thinking of using glue for this - I'll caution you - don't use too much, or you might get rippling in one or both layers of your tag. You can also use a glue stick for this, it's probably easier to handle than regular glue, anyway!!
*If you're using a sticker machine, I find slightly thicker paper works better than thinner. I've had some rippling issues, and who likes ripply-weird abnormal stickers?!? Hehe.

Holes Punched!To finish, punch a hole through both layers of the tag, and use ribbon or twine to attach it to the package. Add your to: and from: names and you're done! Easy peasy! Here's a couple more examples, and I'd love to see how you use this tutorial!

Gift Tag Tutorial - More FInished Tags


FO - Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole

Lavanda Lace Ribbon StoleProject specs - see it on Ravelry!
This was a super impulsive cast on, and after I started I really wondered to myself why I would knit another lace ribbon project. I was happy to finish it up before the Ravelympics, though - even though I'm only posting it now.

I was trying to decide if I wanted to block it or not, I think it's got great texture unblocked - and I really like it this way.
I love in that first photo, that you can see the art. It's a piece by Christian Lassen of a purple Hawaiian sunset, and it's one of my favorite pieces.

Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole

I don't know why I've been so interested in knitting scarves and wraps lately, maybe because gauge doesn't matter quite as much. Maybe because if I don't like it for myself, I can always hang onto it and gift it to someone later (who'd do that with a sweater, hehehe?!?!?!)

Lavanda Lace Ribbon Stole

See what I mean about the texture? It's kind of nice this way, I'm leaning towards not blocking it. Any thoughts?


Contest prizes!!!

There's only a dozen comments on my 200th post giveaway, so I thought I'd sweeten the deal a bit!
Crafty Ginger Tsumami Kanzashi
You won't be getting ALL tsumami kanzashi, but I didn't have a better box photo! Haha!

First prize will be a flat rate priority mail box with goodies either sewing or knitting related (I canTsumami Kanzashi Flower Snap Set do other themes too, like bath & body, if you prefer!) Trust me, this will be worth the comment-spam-annoying-thing! Just a comment could get you a whole box of fun crafty supplies and finished items! (Oh, and there will be cake pops, too!)

Second prize will be a cashmere button bracelet with tsumami kanzashi flower snap (or permanently attached, your choice.) Alternatively, a pair of Tree Branch Earrings - custom made for you.Tree Branch Earrings - Robin's Egg Blue (These are my favorites, with vintage robin's egg blue faceted beads.)

Third prize will be a mystery stash giveaway. Basically, I'll send either fabric or yarn from my stash, in colors you like. Depending on my stash, of course - it's small, but it's fierce! Hehehe.

I hope to get more comments for my contest, if there's only a dozen I could make a batch of cake pops and send about 3 to all of you! Hahaha!

To enter, you'll need to use the link at the top of the post to comment on the original 200th post. Comment here all you like, but I'll just consider it flattery!


Peanut Butter Gelato

Peanut Butter GelatoWhen I was in Spain on my honeymoon a few years ago, I had this amazing mint chocolate chip gelato on the pier in Puerto Banus. Amazing almost doesn't describe it properly, it was velvety and sweet, but not super sweet. The chocolate bits were actually shaved chunks, and they blended perfectly with the mint. Plus, it was green! I can't stand it when mint chocolate is white, don't ask me why!

So began my quest for an ice cream maker to replicate gelato at home, since you can't find it anywhere around where I live. For those asking "what's the difference between gelato and ice cream?" Ice cream contains quite a bit of air, churned in to increase the volume - sometimes 100% overrun, which means it has as much air by volume as ingredients. Gelato on the other hand, contains much less air, and is significantly denser. There's quite a debate as to whether some gelato recipes are authentic or not, some call for egg yokes and some don't… but I won't go into that here. Eat what you love, and make it however you want - that's my philosophy!

It took me a while to settle on which machine I wanted, and which recipe book to go along with it; but I ended up getting a Cuisinart ICE-30BC and Bruce Weinstein's, The Ultimate Frozen Dessert Book. It contains a ton of gelato recipes, which is exactly what I was looking for. It also has sections for sherbet, semifreddo and other frozen delights; my concern was mostly for the gelato flavors, and there's no shortage of them here! Plus there's add-ins to every recipe, suggestions to make it more interesting like chocolate chips, fresh fruit or ribbons of caramel sauce.

Here's where it got interesting… I was flipping through pages, trying to decide which flavor gelato to make next (I had tried strawberry first, it was ok.) I was specifically looking for one that called for ingredients I had on hand, so I didn't have to run to the store. I landed on peanut butter gelato, and said it out loud. My husband's head perked up, so I figured it was worth a shot. Grin. If only you knew what smooth, creamy goodness this stuff is! Actually better than real peanut butter if you ask me, I keep wondering if I should make a dessert pb&j with gelato and french-bread toast. I know, I know… it sounds weird, but if you had a taste of this stuff you'd want to put it on everything, too!

It's made with an egg custard base, which sounds intimidating; but once you get it right, the gelato just melts on your tongue, velvet-ey and perfect. You can't taste the eggs in the final product, just peanut-ey buttery sweetness (not too sweet though, I sort of hate that.) I've also picked up a few tips for making it even better, too! Working with ingredients at room temperature produces a much smoother balance of flavors, but you'll need to refridgerate the base custard overnight before you churn it in your machine. I know, it seems counter productive, but if you try and make gelato out of just-cooked egg custard, it probably won't turn out well. And while you're at it, transfer the custard base from the fridge to the freezer just before churning, and let sit for no more than 10 minutes. This blast of chill helps prevent air from churning in, and ice crystals from forming. (Ice crystals in gelato are not cool. They really interrupt the flavor on the tongue. And they give me brain freeze somethin' fierce!) The end result is creamy smooth, and oh-so tasty!


Ravelympics Wrap-Up

Well, it's all over now. I completed 4 out of my 5 goal projects, and I feel pretty good about it. I won a few medals, lost a few more; but overall I had a great time. I can't believe I knit a sweater in 9 days! (Even if I did make a few mistakes in it! Hehehe!)

Elinor's Dress was a WIP Wrestling project, the Dolphin Shorty Shrug qualified for the Sweater Sprint, Glacier Diamonds Scarf was another WIP Wrestle, and my Lilac Bamboo Handtowel got me two medals, for Homestuff Hammerthrow and Designer's Discus.

Maui Waters Stole - Swatch

The one loser was the Maui Waters stole, which I'm designing myself, so I can't feel too bad - especially with the shrug taking more than half the number of days I had. I'm still working on it, as you can see - it's just a big swatch now!


FO - Elinor's Dress

...or tunic, I'm not really quite sure yet! Haha!

Elinor's Dress

I only had a bit of finishing left on this for the Ravelympics, but it was kicking my butt! Thankfully it's all finished now, I just hope my new niece and her mom like it!

I used single crochet around just the opening, and for the button loops, but didn't carry it all the way around the edging. I just didn't think it needed it,
(plus, it's easier to weave the ends in on the long tail cast on for me, at least!)

If you'd like more details you can see my previous post about it, or just ask! Yeay! I got my medal for it! Woo-hoo!

Elinor's Dress - Buttons


FO - Dolphin Shorty Shrug

Dolphin Shorty Shrug

I love this pattern, even though I didn't get "it" exactly, the first time through! Hehehe, anyway it's pretty easy, and went fairly quickly for the Ravelympics - yeay!

Dolphin Shorty Shrug - Shoulder detailSpecs. - see it on Ravelry!

Adonis Bobicus DionysisI picked up the stitches and knit them from the wrong side around the collar, but I did it correctly for the armholes. It doesn't seem to make too much of a difference, such a cute finished object!

Yeay! I finally got my medal for this! Hooray!


My 200th post, with prizes!

Cake Pops - Baby ShowerIt's hard to believe I've been blogging for more than two years now. It's even harder to believe that this is my 200th post! I didn't start off really thinking too much about the writing, just sharing my crafts and ideas.

Now I realize just how much hard work goes into a great blog. It's so much more than what you see on the surface!!! Great writing is part of it, as well as photography, but even more important is to be yourself, and develop your own style. Your blog is the universe the way you see it, and your chance to express that. I feel so lucky to be a part of it, and to have found such great friends along the way!

So, enough with the chatter, what's up for grabs - you ask? It'll have to stay a mystery until after the 25th - because I've caught Ravelympic fever! Trust me though, the goods will be good. Seriously good. There will definitely be cupcake pops!

To win, leave a comment on this post (by Sep. 6th 2008,) and I'll use a random number generator (don't we love/hate those suckers?!?!?) to pick a handful of winners. The more comments I get, the more prizes will be shared, so feel free to share the linky-love with your friends. You can only enter once, though. Please play nice!

Stay tuned for prize updates - after the 25th! Also, I'm going to try and make sure all the winners get something that makes them happy, but I can't promise everyone will get the exact gifty they have their greedy green eyes on! Drool on!


Ravelympics - Dolphin Shorty Shrug

Dolphin Shorty Shrug

Another Ravelympic entry here, what can I say? (This was supposed to be WIP-Wed post, but oh, well...) I caught the fever! I know now, how Star feels when the Tour de Fleece rolls around. Maybe I'll even be spinning by next summer?!?!

Anyhoo, The Shetland Shorty is a cute little shrug/bolero. And, I'm shrug obsessed lately, so there you go. Plus, I love grey for my wardrobe as well, so really how could I resist?

After a false start on the medium size, I rethought and frogged back. Annoying, but hopefully it'll mean a finished object that isn't baggy or bunchy. Re-knitting the 264st ties was really annoying. And then, I screwed up the short row working! Ugh. So yeah, it's not Wednesday anymore... hehe.


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