Thursday, December 31, 2015

Peek in my Art Journal: Link-up #8

This week I have four pages to share.  Unfortunately, I used my phone for the pictures, thus they are super blurry.  Boo for phones with crappy cameras.

First, I completed the Fortune Favors the Bold page.  I filled in the background with different tangles and tried to make the bottom look like peacock feathers.  I wanted it to feel bolder towards the bottom of the page.  I think I achieved that.
 My second page was inspired by a Journal52 prompt.  The prompt was "Just add a Dinosaur  think of a time when having a sense  of humor was important, or something that really makes you laugh – maybe a comic strip or a joke you’ve seen somewhere in a book or magazine or newspaper or online."  I immediately thought of the Was Not Was song "Walk the Dinosaur," so I copied the lyrics to the song for the background and then pasted a cool picture of a dinosaur fighting a crocodile on top.  I like it!
 My third page is a quote page.  The quote, "Forever - is composed of Nows," is from an Emily Dickinson poem which was featured in the book Paper Towns.  I have been wanting to try a flower background, so that's what I did here.  I decided to color the letters and leave the flowers in black and white.  I'm still not sure if I am happy with that.  I might end up adding more color at a later date.
 That last page showed me that I need more practice with my lettering, especially my bubble cursive lettering, so I decided to practice.  My fourth page is not complete, but it is a practice of some lettering.  I need a lot of practice with this still.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tricks: New Year's Goals

Most of us have heard the following quote:

...but I really like plans and goals.  They give me a purpose, something to reach and work for.  Every year I make goals for different areas of my life and I post them on my blogs for everyone to see.  I work all year on those goals: some I achieve and some I do not.

The past two years I have not met any of my crafty goals.  I believe that there are three reasons for not reaching my goals: 
1. They are not specific.
2. They are not attainable.
3. There is no plan to achieve the goal.

For example, one of my goals for 2014 and 2015 was "Start an Etsy store."  It sounds like a great goal.  Lots of people have done it before me.  It should be easy.  Unfortunately, the goal is not specific and has no plan attached.  I need to answer a lot of questions and do a lot of planning before I can actually start an Etsy store.  For one thing, I need stock to sell.

Another goal of mine was to complete a sweater, an afghan, and a skull shawl while also completing all the other projects that I pick up throughout a year.  That goal is unattainable for me, and I know it.

It's funny... at work I set attainable and specific goals using the SMART goal formula.  

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound

Going through the 5 parts of a SMART goal forces you to create a plan to help you achieve the goal.  This year I will be using the SMART goal formula when setting my New Year's goals.

Here are my goals for 2016:
1.  Each month, choose three projects to focus on: one personal, one gift, one to sell
I do not have to complete the three projects in one month.  I just want to focus on three specific projects each month.  Hopefully this will help me to build up stock for a future Etsy store or future craft fairs while also allowing me to gift handmade items throughout the year.  I am also hoping this will help me finish some projects instead of just continually starting new projects.

2.  Each month, choose one project from my Pinterest boards
When I am choosing the projects I want to focus on each month, I will consult my Pinterest boards.  I have been collecting ideas for gifts, for myself, and for items to sell for years now.  Now it is time to follow through with some of those plans.

3.  Each week, stick to my blogging schedule: Tuesday Tips and Tricks, Thursday Peek in my Art Journal, Friday FO
I have been following this schedule for a little while now and I like it.  It is not too much and it gives me opportunities to build community and share my crafty experiences.

4.  Teach a crochet class
I am working on the Craft Yarn Council Crochet Instructor Program and have been student teaching.  I am now looking forward to putting my new knowledge into practice.  I plan to approach my local yarn store about teaching a beginning crochet class.  If that does not work out, I will approach other local organizations and groups.  I want to teach.

5.  Send all birthday gifts on time
I have a very bad habit... I am almost always late with birthday gifts, like months late.  This year I want everyone to receive their gifts on time, hopefully with something handmade included.  

My word for the year is... Achieve.  I will achieve all the goals :)

Have you made goals for 2016?  Have you made SMART goals?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays!

I am taking a week-long break from blogging for the holiday season, but I will be back next week with more tips and tricks and other crafty goodness. 

I wish you all a happy and peaceful season and leave you with my new favorite nerdiness :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Peek in my Art Journal: Link-up #7

This week, I have two pages to share.  The first page is a collage page.  I have an envelope in the back of my art journal where I save leaflets, receipts, and scraps of paper that I think might be useful for a collage some day.  I made this collage with pieces of a shopping list, scraps from a magazine page used in a different collage page, a plastic flower I found, a scrap of a Tibetan prayer flag, seat cards from a wedding, a business card that I found in a library book, and some raffle tickets.  I really like how it turned out.
 The second page is a work in progress.  I started with some curvy lines, then added the lettering.  Now I am beginning to add color and background patterns.  So far I think it looks great and I am excited to see how it ends up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tricks: Quick Holiday Gifts

If you are anything like me, you often find yourself running around last minute trying to make/put together gifts for family and friends.  Whether it's a birthday, Christmas, or some other gift-giving occasion, I always seem to run out of time... so I like to have some quick and easy gifts I can turn to and make in a pinch.

Fingerless Mitts are a great, speedy gift.  Two patterns that I love are Danyel Pink Designs' Crochet Wrist Warmers...

...and Daphne Bekiari's V-Stitch Fingerless Gloves.
One is crocheted flat and seamed; the other is crocheted in the round.  Both are quick and easy and make great last-minute gifts.

Cowls, or infinity scarves, are another great last-minute gift.  Just choose your favorite stitch pattern, crochet or knit a flat strip, then seam it up.  Or you can knit or crochet in the round.  One of my favorite gift cowls is Jane Richmond's Marian Cowl.
I've already knit 5 of these cowls and I don't plan to stop.  Big needles and bulky yarn make it a quick and easy knit.

Earwarmers are another great gift.  I really like the Valentine Romance Headband.
It is a quick, easy crochet project and is easily jazzed up with some bling.  I found these crystals in the jewelry department of the craft store, but you could also crochet some flowers or motifs, add pretty buttons... the options are endless.

Well, I better get back to making my last minute gifts.  Hopefully I have inspired you to pull out your hook or your needles and get some gifts together.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

FO: Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat

Hook: G
Yarn:  Acrylic

I made this hat for a friend who loves the FSM.
The pattern was easy to follow and even included a diagram of where to place all the different parts.  I really enjoyed making this hat and especially enjoyed my friend's reaction when he first saw the hat.  He loved it!  I would definitely make this hat again.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Peek in my Art Journal: Link-up #6

I had this great idea to create letters from the tangle Mak-Rah-Mee.
This is my first attempt, L.
 Diva Challenge #245:  Hollibaugh
I really like this one.
 This page was inspired by Hollibaugh, but I think it is more like Quib.
 Diva Challenge #246:  Morf Tree

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tricks: Temperature Scarf

With a new year approaching, I am already thinking of interesting projects to start, so when I saw a recent post by Underground Crafter about her temperature scarf, I was enthralled.  I immediately did a quick search of FOs on Ravelry.  Just look at some of the beautiful results that I found:
The temperature scarf is a project that involves knitting or crocheting one row or motif every day based on the low/high temperatures.  By the end of the year, you have a unique project that records a year of weather history.  Knitters and crocheters have interpreted this idea in so many ways: cowls, hats, blankets, etc.  It is amazing to me how the random color combinations work so well together.

If you are thinking about starting a project like this, Marie from Underground Crafter offers some great tips:

*Choose your project carefully.  Different project and stitch combinations should be considered carefully to make sure they go well together.

*Choose yarns with similar care instructions.  She even suggests choosing yarns from the same company because the colors tend to go together better.

*Create a color key.  Once you decide on a project and yarn colors, create a key of which yarn colors correspond with which temperature ranges.  

Most importantly, Marie reminds us to not give up.  While it may be overwhelming to crochet/knit one row every day, it might be easier to complete 30 rows at the end of each month.

Have you ever tried a temperature project?
Will you try one this year?