Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Card Display

After making my Christmas tree skirt, I had some leftover materials. I grabbed a $1.99 piece of thick poster board and my leftovers from the skirt and the K wreath I made. Hot glued some batting and fabric around the poster board and made a little silver bow with the red berries. Tada...a Christmas card display board. I plan to pin cards to them as they arrive in the mail.

The hardest part of the entire thing was getting it hung up. We used little silver picture hangers that you just push into the back of the board. Getting them just right to hang on the existing nails in the wall was a trial. It took longer to do that than it did to make the entire thing!!! For this project, the K wreath, and the tree skirt I used a low temperature glue stick. I highly recommend this so that you cut down on burnt fingers. I was surprised by how much of a difference they made from the normal to high temperature ones.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Tree Skirt

Last year our tree skirt bit the dust. It served me well for 19 years, so I can't really complain. That meant a new skirt would need to be acquired for Christmas 2011. I searched on Etsy and found so many that I loved. As much as I wanted one of those, I just couldn't use that much of the holiday budget for a tree skirt (some were close to $200). Off to Pinterest I went in search of a craft project I could do myself. Like many others on the site, I was hooked by the skirt from this blog. The idea that it was no sewing was what drew me in.

The beginning look...

Many people made their skirt to match the original (burlap and linen). I strongly considered this option and then saw PK looking at me out of the corner of my eye. I knew exactly what he was thinking. I love shine at Christmas. Off I went to Hobby Lobby to shop for my fabric and I kept hearing silver and gold decorations on every Christmas tree ringing in my head.

You start with an old skirt. In this case, I found a $5.00 skirt at Target. It had scallops that I trimmed off to make the skirt round.

Armed with my glue sticks and glue gun, I sat down to do this thing. I folded the fabric and cut them all to be 3 inches wide. Initially, I pinned the first row. 3 hours later I was ready to give up. I took a break for lunch and then decided not to let this thing beat me! I tossed the pins aside and went freehand. MUCH faster and better.

I worked my in sections versus the entire row first and then the next row. I found this to provide more immediate satisfaction, which was important in keeping me going!

I ended up running out of fabric and had to make a second run to the store. The original blog used 4 yards total. Mine ended up using more like 8. I believe my skirt is larger than the original and I put in A LOT of ruffles.

When all is said and done, I ended up spending $30 and 2 days on the skirt. I'm really happy with the end result and hope to enjoy it for years to come.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Holiday Project

Recently I've become addicted to Pinterest. The other day I came across a letter "wreath" for the holiday season that I thought was super cute. Too cheap to pay the $53.00 for it, I found a blog where someone else had decided to make their own, too. Off I went Saturday morning to Michael's. All of my supplies were 50% off, so I only spent $10.00!!!

A foamboard K...

Sparkle berries...

A glue gun/sticks from my stash and an hour later...tada! 
Other people are hanging their letters with ribbon, but I'm not lucky enough to have a letter where you can easily attach ribbon. So, I'll be using the command strip picture hangers to attach it to the front door. I ended up using 7 of the berry bunches in case you are looking for an estimate on how many to buy.

Now to figure out the tree skirt problem...

Friday, November 18, 2011

KnowKnits.com Bag

As much as I love bags and purses, I was never much of a small knitting project kind of girl. Then, I started working from home 100% on the knitting business. I found that I used my Keep Calm and Carry Yarn small project bag to death. It is perfect for carting around the house as I move from room to room throughout the day. I can toss my notions, yarn, and needles in there and head downstairs or up to the studio. On the rare occasion when I do head out of the house, I can toss it in my purse or in the car seat and I'm off.

The poor thing has seen better days. It is still usable, but it needs some down time to draw out the life span. So, I came across this little number and it matches my purses and 1 knitting bag that I kept in my recent bag destash. It has a fabric (almost sweatshirt like) lining and the outside is like a faux leather print. The combination keeps my needles and scissors from coming through the fabric, which can sometimes happen with my other project bag. The pulls for closure are great and 100% secure so I don't have to worry about it coming open in my purse.

Although small in size, it fits a lot! I put three full skeins of sock yarn into it for the above picture (about 1500 yards). Here is a picture of the tag in case you want to check out the other options. I believe this one is a newer design, so they may have other new releases that you haven't come across yet in your LYS.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Girls Trip to Simply Socks

This past weekend we loaded up Bonnie's car and headed to Fort Wayne for a visit to Simply Socks. Christina had given us a rundown of sorts based on her trip last month, so we were all very excited to check it out. It was fabulous! The lighting in the restored building was fantastic for showing off the gorgeous colors. I must have picked up and put back and then picked up other yarns a zillion times while I was trying to decide what to get. In the end, I settled on two skeins of Madelinetosh, one from Three Irish Girls, and one from Pagewood Farms. I can't decide which one I love the most. I'm currently tossing around project ideas for them.

For some reason, I keep thinking about making leg warmers out of this skein. Not sure about the yardage though, but I do have super short legs!

The beautiful custom Madelinetosh color just for Simply Socks. LOVE it. 

After I got home, I realized that this color is called Aidan. As much as I love the kid, it will probably be knitted into something for me instead. :)

And this just screamed at me from the shelf. I'm thinking about some fun mittens/gloves and matching cowl to go with my red coat. Something a little bright for the upcoming Indiana winter days.

In addition to the yarn shops, it was just great to spend 4 hours in the car chatting away. We didn't have one moment of quiet and we covered so much catching up. One of the things I miss the most about Stitches having closed are these ladies that I worked with. I think it says a lot that so many of the staff continue to get together for a knitting day each month. Not to mention the fact that getting out the house helps to restore my sanity! 

So, if you live in the Midwest, check out Simply Socks. She has an online store, but is open a few days each week. (Be sure to check the store site for specific dates.) Even this non-sock knitter found more than a few reasons to be excited about this store!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


As we enter the holiday season, I thought we would do a little blog giveaway. To enter, simply become a follower of the blog. (See that little Follow area on the right-hand side of the blog?) If you are already a follower, you will be automatically entered. I'll random draw on 12/11.

What will you win? A custom order What the Slouch hat. I'll knit it and deliver it to you in the color and size you select! (If you are a knitter, you will also get a free PDF copy of the pattern.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Freshen Up

In addition to some fixes here and there, we have been updating flooring and paint. My yarn studio got a face lift, as did the bathrooms. I love that everything looks and feels fresh and clean now.

The yarn studio...all organized and cozy.

Patrick's bath...he even let me toss in a little pink in the shower curtain. What a secure guy!

My new bathroom floor courtesy of my hubby. So much better! 

I went for a clean and white hotel feel. The only color is my needlecraft project from 1st grade and a matching daisy painted soap dispenser. Ahh.......

Okay, here is a HUGE pet peeve I developed over the last year. I HATE towel bars. The stupid things don't stay on the wall right and I got so tired of fighting them. No more towel bars in this house! We went with hooks everywhere. Mine are the straight ones pictured here. I put some curly fun ones in PK's bathroom. AND, I mean I put them in!!! All empowered by all my newly found toolkit skills.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Brownie Knits Pattern: What a Slouch! Hat

I am excited to release this new hat pattern from Brownie Knits: What a Slouch! It is a adult sized hat with Small/Medium and Large/Extra Large sizing. It can be knitted out of one solid color or as a striped version with three colors. The pattern provides you instructions for stripe set up and how to make the hat as slouchy as you want. You can purchase the pattern from my Ravelry shop or my Etsy store (see the Etsy tab or Pattern & Pattern Support pages of the blog). The pattern retails for $1.99.

Not a knitter and want a hat? Email me at brownieknits@yahoo.com or convo me via the Etsy shop. Prices for finished hats vary on yarn selected.

My SIL modeling her hat...knitted out of Dream in Color Classy with a US 7 needle (S/M size)

Patrick modeling his hat...knitted out of Berroco Vintage on a US 7 (L/XL size)

 A full view of the Dream in Color Classy hat...

Madelinetosh DK on US 7 (S/M size)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Progress on a Stocking

In between house updates, I have been working on some Christmas gifts and Ella's stocking. When Ella was born in April I thought, "I have all this time before Christmas that I should do that stocking I've been looking at for ages." Well, you guessed it. Here I am in November and the darn thing still isn't complete. However, I am making lots of progress and finally made it past all the fair isle and beading. This pattern has it all...

  • Fair isle (round and flat)
  • Beading
  • Latvian braid
  • Size 2 and 0 needles
  • Sock weight yarn
I was overheard saying that I was glad this was the last niece or nephew stocking since it is burning me out. (I'm sure if a surprise came along I would instantly be game again!) But...it is beautiful!!! And, it is from stash yarn and beads!

Pattern: Victorian Christmas Stocking by Donna Kay (Knitting Daily pattern store)
Yarn: Ella Rae is the teal and Sterling is the cream with silver threads
Needles: US 2 and 0
Beading: I am using seed beads with a crochet hook (because the pattern is written to use beads pre-strung on the yarn, so you would place the beads on the following row if using the crochet hook method).

I'm off to knit my remaining 5.5 inches on the foot before working the toe. Hope I have enough yardage!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hey, Little Cowboy!

Way back in the spring, a friend of mine from grade school/high school asked if I could whip up a cowboy hat for her baby to be. I thought that sounded like fun since it was a bit different from most of my daily projects. Little Hank joined the world in the summer and he wore the hat over the Halloween weekend. Isn't he adorable?

Pattern: Child's Cowboy Hat from Rainy Day Crochet
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Hook: US G

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where the Heck Have You Been?!?

I know I've been AWOL from the blog for the last week or so. In this case, I have some really good reasons. As previously posted, we started some work on the house and that wasn't isolated to a weekend. We've had lots of workers in and out of the house doing little fixes and some major work, too. The most exciting for me was new carpet in the upstairs. It was seriously needed. Of course, our upstairs is where all the yarn and books live, so that meant packing it all up to be stored during the install. I could have gone my entire life not knowing how many trash bags it takes to hold my yarn stash. Alas, I now know it is 12!!!! I feel like a drug addict admitting that on here, but I know that many of you can relate and might even beat me.

So the carpet is installed, along with fixtures throughout, and fixes, and paint...So that meant all the workers left, which is both bad and good. While I was happy to have my house back to the four of us, it also meant all the rest of the work was for Patrick and I to do. PK had a lot of unused days of work, so we scheduled a few and plotted how to get all the rest of the updates out of the way. Sunday and Monday were painting the yarn studio, trim in the office and hallway landing (LOTS of trim with 5 doors and it took forever!), and Patrick put in a new floor in the master bath. I felt like a horrible wife when I asked to see the floor midway through and PK got stuck with a rusty staple trying to move for me to see. This led to a tetanus shot...bad wife. Friday is set aside for painting the two upstairs baths and the master bedroom. After that, we have agreed to stop until spring. Our friends at Lowe's might send out a missing person alert given how much we have been there the last month.

Between the fall weather and the dust that has been stirred up in the house, my allergies have been keeping me down. I wake up with horrible migraines and my eyes severely swollen. I take meds and they make me sleep. Ugh. In an email yesterday I wrote that the month of October was a blur and that I missed most of it. It really was a missed month and I am determined not to let life take November from me.

On the knitting front, I have worked and finished many a project in the last few weeks but most are of the holiday gift variety. : ) But, stay tuned because there are other projects, a new pattern, and a stocking update upcoming in the next few days. AND, because the holidays are soon upon us, there will be a giveaway as well!