Sunday, November 24, 2013

Advent Calendar - Delayed Gratification

I am still working on this Christmas' Advent Calendar.  I've still got a few days of November left to get this done, but miles more blanket stitching to do for all of the edges.  Better get back to it.

Instant vs. Delayed Gratification, Discuss

Well the fam started out Sunday morning by jumping out of bed and heading to the Haselwood YMCA for a workout.  This place is so, so much more than a gym.  The kids get to play in the great "playplace", where they even rebraided C's hair this morning because I didn't brush it before we left home (bad mommy!)(although I did brush my own).  They've got a ton of classes, yoga, a pool with lap swimming sections as well as that whole lazy river thing and a few slides.  There are ballet, swimming, dance classes for kids too!  So worth the membership, even if I do only go once or twice a week.

Lately we've been going on a weekend morning as a family.  Today, Big G and I hit the gym.  I guess he did some running and weights.  I, however, tried something new -  a TRX class.  Holy s***.  This was my first time and I knew I was in for it within the first 3 minutes.   The class uses tension straps hanging from the ceiling to do a series of exercises.  Your own body weight becomes your resistance and how you can make it harder or easier.  For someone with a neurological disease, like I do, with really sh***y balance, I found I was able to do all the moves, but one.  It didn't feel like it was hard on my joints, but it gave me a wicked strength workout.  The leg shaking commenced before I made it two steps down the staircase at the end of the workout.  I feel like I've definitely worked out...but I'm thinking that tomorrow I might be in my own private physical hell, where even squatting down to have a pee is an extreme effort.    This I know, is all for my long-term physical health and well-being.  Can't let my muscles go because I don't have the nerve function to build them back up again - thanks CMT1a!  That's the delayed gratification part of my day.

Now for the instant gratification!!!  I decided to participate in Craftaholics Anonymous 2013 Handmade Holiday Gift Exchange (type that twice!).  I actually signed up for both the International and the U.S. only exchange.  I've been paired with two gals - one from Toledo, Ohio, and one from Lithuania.  I've been working on some crafty items as a result.  I've sewn two portable project bags (I'll have to find pics later), and just in the last half hour I started AND finished 2 super-cozy, knit Infinity scarves.  Why do I knit????  Sewing these puppies took mere minutes, plus the cost of the yardage was less than $14 and it made 2 scarves.  When I knit a scarf, even just a cowl, it takes me days/weeks and usually ends up costing me in the range of $20-40 just for the yarn (I am an admitted yarn snob and only go for the good stuff.)  So in less than a half an hour, Scarf#1 and Scarf#2 came into being.
Squishy, cozy, double-wrapped Infinity Scarves.  Aw, fall is definitely here!  Made with some kind of uber-soft, yet unknown knit fabric purchased from my local JoAnn Fabrics.  The color is a little more teal in real life.  Truly instant gratification.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kid's Chair Reupholstered...

I've only had this chair for about 2 years...sad to say.  Happily, as of yesterday, it's done though!  I had repainted it last summer, but it was still waiting for it's foam and upholstery.  It was for Big Sis, and while she still fits in it, it's more the perfect size for Little G at this point.

 Ready for action!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Advent Calendar Update - a la Purl Bee

Super fast on this one.  No, I have not blogged every day this month -- oh well!

Just realized that I need to be on a ferry to Seattle in a half hour.  Taking the 2 kids to the Seattle Aquarium to meet a friend while Big G works on the closet/my sewing room project upstairs!!  Yay for progress.

This is where I'm at with the advent calendar embroidery/beading/sequinning.  I started out the week really strong, then didn't get much more done.  A sick Little G meant we headed to Grandma's for daycare instead of more nearby daycare. There isn't usually crafting and blogging time when we stay at Grandma's during the week.

12 (I think) pieces embroidered, 18 more to go.  My advent calendar is going all the way to New Year's  Eve.  The one we grew up with was that way and I like counting down all the way to the New Year. I still need to blanket stitch all the fronts to the back and perhaps add a week bit of stuffing to each to make them a little more dimensional.  We'll see.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Advent Calendar Prep

So I've been wanting a homemade advent calendar ever since Big Sis first arrived.  Now that she's 3, I feel like I better get on it.  My inspiration is this advent calendar from the Purl Bee blog.  It fairly similar to the one that I grew up with and feels like it would be the start of a great family tradition.  Of course they sell a fabulous kit, but the price of $98 made me stagger a little.  I already had 4 100% felt bundles purchased from Purl Soho on a trip to New York 2 years ago.  What more could I need???
Inspiration photo, Purl Bee blog.

Hmmm, well the $98 would have been a bargain!  It included the backing, beads, sequins, felt, embroidery floss, everything!  By the time I scoured both JoAnn's and Pacific Fabrics today, I am out  more than that.  Little G did get to have a great time swinging the dowel around like a club as I wandered the aisles of JoAnn's, but I don't think that made up for the $$ I spent.  This is going to be a fantastically amazing advent when I get it done.  What made it so pricey?  I separate packages for all the different sequin colors, more wool felt, duck cloth for the backing ($11.99/yd) and for the tree, multiple colors of embroidery floss, and even a few Swaravski crystals for the star on top.  I've been alternately printing and hand-drawing all my shapes, then I'll cut them out of double-layers of felt.  I am thinking I am going to blanket stitch the edges together.  The 2 layers should give the shapes a little body so they don't just flop around.

We'll see.  Here's to a VERY pricey advent calendar.  Hopefully to become a family heirloom for decades to come.  Since so much of it is wool I plan on storing it in a large Ziploc each year.  The backing and pockets are going to be duck cloth, natural for the background and pockets, and some shade of green for a tree.  I have two colors of green...we'll see which I end up using.

Templates: some via the internet and some drawn by hand.  Actually only the snowman and angel are from the internet.

Inspiration pieces from Purl Bee blog.

Felt bundles purchased from Purl Soho.

First two pieces embellished.  Not done yet.  Need to blanket stitch them to their backs.  I am sewing each sequin with a bead as opposed to gluing them on.  I've had glued on sequins fall off before and I want this advent calendar to withstand the test of time (and little kids).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

FO: Birthday Cowl

Whew, so far so good on NaBloPoMo -- 2 days down! (can I just say that I have to figure out what that stands for every time I use it!?! - not an intuitive acronym!)

My finished, knitted object (FO) is another Birthday Cowl.  I think I've knit this at least 10 times.  It's easy to memorize and takes exactly 1 skein of Manos Silk Blend -- a great and fairly quick gift-knit, although I did keep 1 for me and wear it frequently.  My local yarn shop closed this month (Linda of Linda's Knit & Stitch retired) and I stocked up on a bunch of Manos before the end.  This colorway reminds me of peacocks and is a Christmas present for my brother-in-laws girlfriend.

I tried to photograph this right after typing the above.  Two cameras we own had dead batteries.  I had to steal my phone back from the 3-year old who had earned a few minutes of PBS Kids, then dodge her and Little G as they continuously photo-bombed the pic.  Little G kept coming in for the grab and Big Sis kept shoving him aside and trying to straighten the cowl for Mommy.

Edited to add:  Ha, ha, this didn't get posted yesterday because I started it, couldn't get the pictures downloaded, and then went to bed.  I guess my NaBloPoMo pledge is already kaput!

I still can't get the Birthday Cowl pictures to cooperate.  So here's one last Halloween pic...Big Sis looks like she's got a pumpkin for a head.

Finally, a cowl picture.  The colors are not at all accurate in this picture.  Umm, our rug is definitely gray, not yellow as it looks.
Shooting in a rush...

Let out, as a barrier.

No luck!  Photobombing commences.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaBloPoMo - What the hell is it?

I just learned a new-to-me and weird acronym...National Blog Posting Month a.k.a. NaBloPoMo.  And what did I do once I learned of it?  Sign up, of course.  Because I need more to do, eh?  My hope is actually to document a little more via this blog, and a daily entry for the month of November definitely ramps things up.  My goal isn't so much about massive posts, but more about documenting life, and participating more in the online community...more than just reading.

What can I post tonight?  How about a Halloween shot of my cuties?