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In restrospect, I realize I ended yesterday’s post with one of my least favorite words in the English language:

Try.

Thinking about that final sentence now, I’m cringing.  I am consistent in jumping upon this word when other people use it.  When you “try” something, you leave yourself a big excuse for failure.  As the wise little muppet said, “Do!  Or do not!  There is no try.”*  So, I am not going to try to balance crochet and digiscrapping.  I am going to find a way to incorporate both into my life in a way that makes me happy.  So there!

Now, let’s leave the serious stuff behind and get back to some craftiness.  I was looking through my projects folder the other day and realized that I never shared one of my Christmas gifts.  It’s not a big deal, but it’s a neat little bag:

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Pattern: Go Green Market Bag by Suzetta Williams
Yarn: Something cheap & scratchy from a garage sale
Hooks: H & J
Pattern Modifications: For Rounds 7-15, I changed the V stitches to each have 2 ch’s rather than 1. Then, I added two more rows of V stitches, each with 1 ch in the V’s, before changing back to the H hook and finishing.

This was a little gift for my mother-in-law.  She didn’t have any reuseable market bags, so I thought this would work nicely for her.  I was really surprised at how much I was able to fit in the bag for the photo.

My current WIP is a poncho for a little girl.  The Knitters for Obama group has chosen their next service project and are knitting and crocheting items for the Mattaponi Indian Tribe of eastern Virginia.  This is a tribe unrecognized by the federal government and in need of supplies.  As one of the ladies said, the things we make them won’t solve their problems, but they will show them that someone cares and will keep them warm in the cold weather.  If you’re interested in helping, either by making items or donating yarn, send me a message for the guidelines, or check out the “New Service Project” thread in the Knitters for Obama forum on Ravelry.  This is open to all.  It is our goal to make our service projects multipartisan efforts, and everyone who wishes to participate is welcome.

*This is an expression that garners mixed reaction in my husband.  On one hand, he loves that I’m a Star Wars gal.  On the other, he’s pretty darn sick of my reminding him of this line.

Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this before Christmas, stop reading now!  I mean it!  I will take the gifts back if you peek.  You know I’m not bluffing…just ask Kalen!

Last week, Kalen opened a bag he found and saw a gift.  Not just any gift — the gift he asked Santa for.  Now, both boys know the rules – you do NOT look inside containers that don’t belong to you, especially near the holidays.  We told him we were taking that item back to Target, and he’d better make extra sure Santa knew he wanted it!  We all like our gifts to be surprises, and he took it really well.  He’s told a couple of people already, in a very matter-of-fact voice, “I looked inside a bag and saw a present, but Mom and Dad took it back.”

Anyway, back to the main gist of today’s post.  According to Nicky, I am “the best gift-maker ever!” I’m not sure I agree with him (my talents are severely limited, after all), but it’s the best compliment I’ve gotten all month!

I’m about done with the gift-making for Christmas, and not a moment too soon.  I have one step left on one gift, and I’ll do that after dinner.  Then, it’s wrapping all evening.  Yay!  I love wrapping.

Some of the stuff I’ve been finishing up:

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This apron is for my mother-in-law.  The skirt is made from the backs of two button-down shirts, and the other fabric and buttons are from my stash.  The ties ended up too short, but they’re just long enough to tie a little square knot at the back, so I hope it will fit okay.  I think it’s quite pretty.

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Here’s the one that kept me up late last night, happily stitching away.  I made Dad some lounge pants (he likes to wear them in the evenings), and they looked so plain and boring.  Since Daddy is proudly USN, retired, the anchor seemed an obvious choice.

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These eyeglasses cases are the gifts from the boys to their grandparents.  I stole the idea directly from Pout on a Whim.  The boys drew their designs last month, and I’ve been embroidering them on the felt ever since.  These are Nicky’s drawings.  Grandma Julie is cooking, Grandpa Wayne is throwing a Frisbee (the boys love playing outside with him), Grandpa Bill is surrounded by musical notes, and Grandma Wanda is making a heart sculpture.

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The reverse sides of the cases show Kalen’s drawings: a camera for Grandpa Wayne, a dog for Grandma Wanda, Grandma Julie with a book (“The Dog Book”), and Grandpa Bill singing.  The cases are all lined with t-shirts from my fabric stash.  We’re all quite pleased and are looking forward to the grandparents’ reactions.

And on that note, I’m off to brave the holiday rush at the grocery store.  I need apple pie fixings…

Merry Christmas, everyone!

This weekend was busy, but I managed to make my brother-in-law’s and sister-in-law’s gifts.  BIL is getting a Driftwood Hat, like the one I made Jason, but in a solid color.  It’s quite large on me, but I think it should fit him just fine.

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I love this pattern.  It’s from the Fall ’08 issue of Interweave Crochet, and it’s fast, very warm, and simple.  “Simple” is the key when you’re crocheting for men who like little to no embellishment on their wearables.  This is Patton’s Classic Wool in Dark Grey Mix, a pleasure to work with, and (yay!) on sale at Joann’s last week.

For my sister-in-law, I was considering making her a purse, but I couldn’t find a pattern that reminded me of her.  Since they’ve just renovated their kitchen (and by “just,” I mean the floors were finished two days ago!), I decided to make her an apron.  The decision was partially fueled by the fact that she adored the colors of MIL’s birthday bag and mentioned that those are the colors prevalent in her house.  I had some of the pillowcase I lined that bag with left over, but not much.  How to use it?  Trim on an apron seemed like a good idea.

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The body of the apron is the leg of a pair of my jeans that split on the hip.  The ruffle is the wide hem from the pillow case…it was my first time pleating, and I’m thrilled with the results.  I had intended to bind all the edges in the pillowcase fabric, but I completely screwed up my first attempt at making bias tape (um, cut along the bias, Aimee, not the grain!) and didn’t have enough left to make both the ties and the binding.  I had just enough store-bought bias tape in my sewing box to do the sides, and it happened to be exactly the right color ivory to coordinate with the fabric.

The apron ties are made from the pillowcase and are criss-cross, because I HATE apron ties that rub against the back of my neck.  The ties feed through buttonholes on the sides of the apron and are the perfect length to tie a nice bow in back.  All in all, I’m very pleased with the results of my first apron.  I hope SIL likes it.  Cooking is not her favorite activity, so it’s a gamble.  I’m hopeful she sees the connection to the new kitchen.

You didn’t really think I was going to let you off without seeing FIL’s handkerchiefs, did you? (Lauria!)

Of course not!

All ironed and crisp, and sitting so nicely for their photo shoot (so much more cooperative than the munchkins):

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And here they are, nestled snug in their bed, with visions of sugarplums dancing in their…umm…never mind…

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Ready for wrapping!

This evening, I worked a bit more on my mom’s etsy shop.  She’s selling the remaining pieces of her Glass & Gold jewelry.  These are one-of-a-kind Italian glass sculptures she created (all somewhere around 35mm x 40mm) and wrapped in gold-filled wire.  Each piece comes with an 18″ gold-filled chain.  I have a couple, of course, and they are gorgeous.  I mean, beyond wonderful.  I never wear one without multiple compliments from strangers.

Here are some more examples of her work.  Please contact me if you’re interested in any of the ones not yet listed on etsy!

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Easy Three-Step Process for Getting Phone and Internet Service Restored

  1. Drive twenty minutes to your parents’ house to use their computer.
  2. Post to your favorite message boards and your blog that you have no internet access.
  3. Return home and wait patiently.  Service will be restored within thirty minutes.

So, there you go.  Easy enough!

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Posts by Aimee:

Two deadlines for projects loomed this week.  Jason’s aunt is having a baby, and MIL leaves for the baby shower on Friday.  I had begun a project for the little guy in September, but it was far from completed.  Monday night saw me doing this…

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And ending up with this wonky little fellow…

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It’s the Celestine Crochet dodecahedron (Technically, according to Wikipedia, it’s a Small Stellated Dodecahedron.), crocheted in Jo-Ann Sensations Soles & More sock yarn.  It’s adorable, even if none of the points are exactly the same shape as any of the other points.  I think I messed up some of my counting.  I don’t think our new little baby cousin will notice, though!  I had originally intended to fill it with something rattly, jingly, or crinkly, but I just didn’t think about it late Monday night while I was finishing it up.  Oh well.

My other deadline this week is for a gift exchange in my June Mommies group.  I don’t think my recipient reads this blog.  I hope she doesn’t, because the pictures are going up!  (If you are a June Mommy, and your name starts with ‘C’, stop reading!  Close this window!!)

I began working on this right after I finished MIL’s birthday present.  It’s the same pattern, the Easy Peasy Crochet Bag, but this time worked in Crazy Yarn.  (Leftovers from odd skeins, cut into lengths between one and six yards long each.)  Again, I held three strands together.

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I got ambitious and went for the embellishment on this one, too.

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The felt and embroidery floss I had on hand for another holiday project, and the button’s from my stash.  The lining this time is from an old button-down shirt Mom gave me.

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I’m pretty thrilled with the whole project.  If my name started with a C, I’d be half tempted to keep it for myself and find something else to send to Cheryl.

Lots on my mind today, but nothing really ready to hit cyberspace.  So, I thought I’d post a little tease of some of the holiday gift-making going on in the house.  Enjoy!

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(Note: I can’t bring myself to blog about the election just now.  Maybe later today.  Maybe tomorrow.)

Recent events have forced us to eliminate most of our holiday budget…but I’m actually kind of excited about it.  I had been planning to make a lot of gifts this year, and now I get the added challenge of making them using only the materials I already have.  Wow, talk about a stash-busting opportunity.

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I have one of my mother’s gifts made already.  My MIL’s birthday (tomorrow) gift is almost finished.  I have already purchased Dh’s birthday gift.  As for the holidays…I have many out-grown and otherwise unwearable garments in my “fabric” stash.  I have yarn reclaimed from five sweaters, and two more sweaters to frog for yarn, along with access to hundreds of free patterns on Ravelry and several pattern books already in my stash.  I have a sewing machine and a hell of a lot of imagination, and a teensy bit of talent to back it up.

The one hiccup in this is going to be my Secret Sister.  If I start giving her handmade gifts, I will out myself immediately.  (I’m the only consistently crafty person in the group.)  I mulled it over today, however, and given the choices – non-secret gifting, or full-secret non-gifting – I decided to let myself be outed.  It’s ever so much more fun to make things you know the receiver will love than to buy trinkets and doo-dads, anyway.

My hand still isn’t at 100%, but I’m working on things a bit here and there.  In an effort to do something crafty this week, I decided to try my hand at these gift bows, made of magazine pages.  Easy peasy!  Not that gift bows are expensive…you can get a bag of dozens for just a couple of dollars, but I love the reused quality of these, and they’re so colorful.  Each one is completely unique.  And they look great with my favorite models.

A close-up of the bows themselves:

This first batch was made from an educational software catalog and one of those coupon magazines that come in the mail.  Apparently, Mom’s been busy over at their place and has knocked out quite a few as well!

I’m easing myself back into crochet, too.  I followed a link from one of my favorite blogs to a newish group on Ravlery, devoted to devotees of Lisa Gentry’s crochet and knit designs.  I wasn’t previously aware of Lisa’s designs, but she has some cute things, as well as the distinction of holding the world record for fastest crochet!  They hold a monthly contest in the group, and October’s contest is for Lisa’s design of a spiderweb and spider.  I adore Halloween.  I love decorating for Halloween.  I decided to use Lisa’s design as inspiration for a set of spiderweb curtains for our sidelight windows.  I’ll need to do about twenty of these small webs, soak them in fabric stiffener, then put them together.  (Still not sure how that’s going to happen.  I want them to be able to fold up, accordian-style, for storage.)  Of course, there will also be spiders.  But here’s what’s done so far.

I’m using Bernat Baby Coordinates.  Because I had it.  😉  And because I like the bit of shimmer the yarn has.  Thread would have been ideal, but I’m trying very hard not to buy anything new unless we need it.  Reminds me of a verse I read a couple of years ago:

Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do, or
Do without.

I’m not going to go too far, but “making do” seems particularly appropriate these days.

My boys

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