Monday, March 26, 2012

Craftsy Visitors

Hi everybody! This past weekend one of my patterns (Flowers of Spring) was one of the featured knitting patterns in the Craftsy newsletter. I was SUPER surprised and excited to wake up Sunday morning to my phone blowing up with new followers and orders for patterns. The crafting community is so supportive of independent designers and we are all so thankful for that fact! So, if you are new to the blog and Brownie Knits or if you have been following us for a bit, I have a treat for blog readers.

From March 26, 2012 through March 31, 2012, buy ANYTHING from the Brownie Knits Etsy shop and use this coupon code to receive 10% off. The code can be used on gift certificates and special orders, too.



Enter this code during checkout: BK201210

www.etsy.com/shop/brownieknits

Happy shopping!!!

Please note that Brownie Knits patterns are also available direct via Craftsy.
(Patterns AND made products are available on Etsy.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Knitter Organization

When I was at the dentist and all drugged up, I apparently asked Patrick to look into high quality but low priced portable scanners. One of my goals for 2012 is to get all my patterns, papers, photos, etc organized and on my iPad. I had no recollection of asking PK about this at the dentist, but he took it for real and I'm super glad he did! We found a really great option and I have been gradually scanning and getting rid of hard copy items.

I started with single patterns. All were scanned in and put into folders by content. The scanner lets you save items as either jpeg/tiffs or PDFs. I LOVE having all my patterns in PDF format to use on my iPad or iPhone and not having to worry about all the papers I used to have to take in my knitting bag.

Next up, I started going through magazines. The thing I found most interesting about this portion of the process is how my taste has changed. Wow. I look at things now and think, "Why the heck did I think that was attractive?" I am scanning in only the patterns from magazines that I think I might eventually make. This also means that I can get rid of all the BULK and WEIGHT so that we don't have to pay movers next spring to carry these along!

After magazines, I switched over to photos. We have several electronic frames and I love how many photos you can put on these and the fact that you get to enjoy pictures you haven't looked at in years. Not to mention that many of the printed photos have a musty smell to them. Good to get rid of those smelly things! The side effect of this process? Remembering how beautiful the places are that we have traveled and wanting to go back to all of them now!!!! : )







Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Plant Creations

After the terrarium party, I went out Sunday night to watch the IU/Purdue game. Got up Monday morning and worked out and came home. I started feeling not myself and went to lay down for a bit. After that, it was all over! I got the worst cold I have had in my life. I feel like I'm just now over it all. Knocked me on my bottom!

So, after getting better, I looked at the leftover plants from the terrarium party and had to decide what to do with them. Right now, I only have two little green guys awaiting a decision. Here are the other terrariums and potted plants that we put together.

 This is a brandy glass. It is such a cute little one!

 My favorite! A punch bowl terrarium!
 Isn't it pretty? I think it will make a great dining room centerpiece!

I admit I was excited when nobody used the MIL's tongue plant. It was on my list to get and have as a potted plant. Here it is in a little blue pot I found at Goodwill for $2.00. LOVE Goodwill for plant containers. I got the blue pot, punch bowl, brandy glass, and the two terrariums below from there. CHEAP! 

 This guy has already doubled in size! Loves his rock-filled terrarium.

 A bit of an experiment with this candle holder. So far, he is a happy camper. I layered it like a terrarium, but it is not very deep at all. He is happily growing on the mantle.


Then, I still had some leftover succulents and cacti. I went with trying out the multi-opening plant container. Not a clue if I planted it correctly, but they are all in there and seem okay. It is enjoying the mid-summer weather we are having in Indiana in March. I even put some pansies on the front porch with the summer chairs. It is gorgeous here and is predicted to be for the next few weeks! All the indoor plants are loving the daily sun and fresh air and so am I. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Modified Flower Pot Hat

One thing I like to do to mix up knitting/crocheting is to combine patterns. This is a great way to shake things up and create a unique piece. For this project, I knitted up the Flower Pot hat from Itty Bitty Hats. Being a bit lazy about making all the little flowers and and also loving the look of a large flower on a little girl hat, I decided to crochet the flower from a diaper cover pattern. 


Hat knitted out of Plymouth Jeanne
Flower crocheted out of some Jeanne and some Cotton Classic
Center of flower has a felted ball sewn onto it...a simple way to jazz up a flower.
I put the flower on a pin so that it can be removed when the hat needs to be washed. 
I can't wait to see this one on little E.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cloud Blankets

We have been busy knitting up lots of baby blankets that are perfect gifts for all the upcoming showers and new little ones who are about to join our world. Current available colors are yellow, baby blue, hot pink, yellow, turquoise, and vibrant green. (We will have an additional option in a lighter pink available soon, too, if you need that color.)

Check it out and give a handmade gift at your next baby shower! You can see in the pictures here that Ella loved her Cloud blanket! Click here to go to the Brownie Knits Etsy shop. Blankets are $25.00.




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Little Pig

One of the great things about this online world that we live in is the power to connect with people you might not otherwise. My husband is a great supporter of my work and often will re-blog or share links on FB and Twitter. One of his co-workers saw such a post and requested a pig hat for her daughter. I love a challenge and wanted to make a pig hat that was different from others out there. (Strangely enough, almost all the existing patterns for pig hats are crocheted.)

The pattern is still in testing, but here is the first little pig hat. I think he looks like a Buster, but since it is pink maybe she is a Busterette!






This little girl has already found a home, but we can whip up one for you, too! Sizes are from newborn to adult large. For those knitters, the pattern is in the works and will be released in April. I'll let you know as soon as it is available.

Are you a knitter who is interested in test knitting? Send me an email at brownieknits@yahoo.com.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Auntie Dream

Last night I had a dream about not being a mom. Please, don't say awe or feel sad about that statement. I don't! Never have...you see from early in life I just never had the desire to carry a baby, give birth, see me or my husband in a child, etc. 

I used to have to address this issue over and over with people about not wanting children. "You'll change your mind" and "You'll have a dozen" were regular responses. 

There was a point in life where I thought if I was going to be in love I would have to have a child because my partner would want to be a dad. I see how flawed that thinking is now and thank goodness I waited until I was older before getting married.

Then, as it turns out, I couldn't have kids anyway. And...my hubby didn't want children, either. 

So why am I posting this? Because as much as my dream was about not being a mom, it was about being an aunt. In the dream I was talking to A, J, R, and E. I wanted to make sure they all knew that I didn't want my own babies...I wanted them.

When lots of girls pictured what it would be like to be a parent, I would say it would be much better to be an aunt! I saw myself going to movies with them, riding in a car with the window down chatting, listening to them talk about new old music they discover...grinning ear to ear the entire time.

When I was about 12, I remember riding with my Aunt Dory to a family get together. She had a older car with no ac or radio. There was a battery-operated radio that she sat on the seat and if you held it right, you could get a good station. I remember that drive clear as day. I can see in my head modern day versions of this scene with my own niece and nephews.

I always tell people who feel sympathy that I couldn't have kids not to feel that way. Somewhere, in whatever higher power you believe in, that desire was replaced in me to be an aunt. 

I decided to write this post for a few reasons...

1. A lot of women feel so much pressure to have a baby. It is okay not to want to have a child. Your mom will recover from the shock, you can still get married, and it doesn't make you a bad person. (Btw: My aunt taught me this.)

2. I wanted to make sure that my nephews and niece know that I wanted them...always. From how I saw myself when I was a child to how, in current time, I picture Patrick and I going on adventures with them. 

When A came along it was full of excitement and how do we do this right? He made it easy. Such a loving and easy going kid. I mean what child lays his head down and goes to sleep when you say night night? Uncle Patrick loves the fact that comics and super heros are back in his world again...okay they were always there in the shadows! Getting to see him change into this little guy and talking with him about basketball is fun already. My little snapshot of him is sitting in the back seat during our yearly birthday outing. He was probably 2 or 3 at the time and, when Patrick got out to pump the gas, A said, "Aunt Gina, where did Uncle Pat Wick go?" and raised his hands and shoulders. 

Then we had sweet J join the clan. The little model of the family! He came out ready to take on the world and learn, learn, learn. So adventurous and inquisitive...he keeps you sharp! His love of books...yeah!!! I will forever picture him with his white blond hair sitting on the little beach and offering me a bite of his sandwich...hair standing straight up and one eye closed. I find J inspiring. I don't know how many times I've seen or heard him do something and I think to myself that I need to be more like that kid. Fearless, full of life, and not a day goes by that he doesn't learn something new, ask questions, and fully enjoy life.

Then, my brother--my BABY brother--had R. After accepting that my brother didn't remain 8 while I grew up, I found myself with an entirely new set of excitement. The night R was born was our 9th anniversary. We had been out at a picnic on the beach in Florida and came back to the room to find a message that he was on he way. I sat there shaking with excitement. Literally, I was a nervous wreck. Maybe there is a link between siblings and that's what I was feeling because I didn't freak out with the other three. A few days later, he was curled in our arms looking at us with such calmness. The most chilled out baby I've ever known. He would just check it all out and stare at you with those beautiful eyes. He's a chatterbox of his own language and I am so amazed by how his actions are the clear actions I remember of my brother when he was a baby. Nothing can beat a good car or truck toy. Content to play along and invent his own world, but happy to let you join in at any time. He brought a lot of comfort to me during his first few years with his hugs, grins, and his dimple that is just like my mom's and mine.

Finally, E arrived to shrieks of excitement as she is the only girl! She will most likely despise pink and ruffles given how girl crazy we all go with her. She was this little nugget of a baby the first time I held her. The only one who was actually sleeping the first time I held them, come to think of it. Then again, I think she slept 22 hours a day those first few weeks! She is still figuring all of us out and finding her voice. She loves to see see see. She watches everything with such interest. I tell her every time I see her that she is my favorite niece. Why not?!? Girl needs to know she is special! She is someone I expect great things from. Not that I think the boys won't do great things. I just feel something special when I'm around her. Like she is going to achieve something magical. And I will never let her forget that she created her own spit corner at her first holidays. ;)

They are each so important to me and I hope I can be to them. I've had amazing role models in my aunts and uncles, all 19 of them (plus more that I inherited via PK)!

So, anyway, it was a dream I thought important to write down so I thought I'd share. Long live all the women who are strong enough to spoil and love the child and then send then back to mommy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Succulent Wreath

As you can tell from my recent posts, I've become obsessed with plants as of late. As one of my house decorations for the party, I ordered a succulent wreath kit off of Etsy from Succulent Designs. I was so excited when it arrived. I laid out some plastic and went to town putting it together.






Here is the finished wreath! I have since added a clear glass plate (a centerpiece plate from our wedding reception) under it to catch water when I soak the wreath once a week. I love how it looks. I do want to get more cuttings to fill in the outside of the wreath. One note, I left off the brown moss that was packaged with it. I found it bothered my allergies, so I skipped it.

I'm waiting until we are past this crazy warm spring weather one day and frost and snow the next before I put it on the door.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wingspan

As part of my terrarium party, I decided to knit a shawl I could use as a centerpiece and then have available to wear later. Like many knitters (judging from the number of projects in Ravelry), I found the look and concept of Wingspan interesting. This is a free pattern available for electronic download in Ravelry. I grabbed the one skein of Three Irish Girls that I bought during my trip to Simply Socks with the ladies. PERFECT colors for a garden-themed party.









Don't you just love the color? It is Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino in color Aiden. I only six wedges because I didn't have as many yards as the pattern recommended. However, it fits nicely around my shoulders/neck, so it will be great to wear. (I'll also admit that I tucked back just enough yardage to make a pair of baby booties for the Etsy shop. The color was just perfect!)

This is a fantastic and fun knit that uses garter and short rows. Don't be scared off by the short row concept. In this case, because it is garter, you don't have to wrap or pick up wraps. You simply knit to a marker, turn the work and knit back. Simple and elegant.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Terrariums

As promised in Sunday's post, here are the terrarium pictures! I love how each one looked different and shows the individual personalities of my friends.


Kristy's is so cute! She went with one little plant and a cover on her container.
When doing this, make sure you select on that will sit below the cover. Love it!!! 



Lori's is green and with lots of interesting texture on the plants, which plays nicely against the pebble topping she selected. Love the round shape, too.



Carol went with a beach look. At first, she was hesitant about if she liked it. After adding the moss ball, it all fell into place. If you are making one and feel like it doesn't look finished, keep adding to it. It's just like a painting, you can layer onto it and take off of it until you are happy. Notice Carol's jazz hands!



Tonya's was adorable!!! Although I loved all of them, I think her terrarium was my favorite. The shape of the glass combined with her selections just really worked well. Nice use of color with the rocks, too!



Christina also went with a circular container. Her plant size variation and texture was great and looks SO good next to the moss topping. I really like the moss as a topper and plan to do up one with the leftover plants! Christina also plans to have her little son participate in caring for the plants by putting the ice cubes around the plants to water them. How fun for him!



Nancy's is full of interesting layers and texture, as well. 
I think she should add a little reptile sunning itself on the rocks!


I ended up over buying on the number of plants, so I have a bunch left. I'll be making my own additional terrariums over the next week. Well, those that Patrick doesn't steal to make his own! He informed me the other day that he envisions his office full of them!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Terrarium Party

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the family room thinking about how much fun Patrick and I had putting together terrariums. I was also thinking that I missed seeing various friends. Tada...the terrarium party was born. After finding a date a that would work for the majority, I headed to eVite to send out the invitation and started my planning.

We had SO MUCH FUN! During the party, one of the ladies suggested that I post on the blog how I put the party together in case others want to host one. So, here we go!



As mentioned earlier, I used eVite for the invitation. In today's world of social media and email, it was the better choice. Fast, free, easy to use, and it tracks your responses.


I used all my spring/summer dishes to create a spring/garden theme.

Next up, I called up my local nursery to see if they would still have all the terrarium supplies in stock within a week of the party. They assured me they would. (I will admit that I still went one week prior to the party to purchase the supplies so that I had time to hunt them down if necessary. Nightmares of hosting a party with no plants ran through my brain!)

Having put together terrariums at said local nursery, I knew the steps involved so I typed them up and then printed them on scrapbook paper from my paper stash. I then cut those down to size and cut some stash card stock to a slightly larger size. After punching holes in the top, I threaded ribbon through to hold the pieces together. It gave it a nice spring feel to the instructions and each participant was able to take the card home in case they want to make more terrariums.


On the invitation, I asked each lady to bring their own glass container. You can find these at Michaels/Hobby Lobby/Goodwill/etc. I even made one using a brandy glass. If the container is an interesting shape, it will work.

I arranged a table in the corner with the plants, instructions, and plastic gloves. This was the first stop as they selected one to three plants or succulents/cacti. Inside one of the plants was a WINNER tag, which served to announce who won the "door prize"-- a pretty glass mister bottle. It was the first plant picked!

Then, we moved to the long table with all the goodies laid out. One big bucket contained plant soil and pebbles and the other the succulent soil and pebbles. The middle bowls housed moss, sand, and charcoal. I spread decorative items (rocks, glass gems, shells, moss, etc) around all the bowls. (If you look at the earlier picture, it provides instructions on how to use each of these components.)


Don't forget to set out a mist bottle, paper towels, and some trash bags.

One of the items I didn't mention on the instruction card is that you can use artist brushes to clean up any sand/soil/etc that gets on the plants as you work. I displayed these and plastic spoons in two flower vases on the work table. Also be sure to lay around lots of plastic cups to make pouring easier. Between the cups and spoons, most people were able to work around the plants.

As a take home, each woman was given a card with instructions on how to care for their terrarium. I attached these to a plastic bag (with a hole in it) that contained an air plant. I ordered the air plants via Etsy as the prices were better. The care card also told them how to care for their new air plant...such amazing plants!


Of course, we also had some yummy food and drinks in the dining room. I whipped up a little knitted scarf as the centerpiece for the table to carry on the green garden theme.


Tune in on Tuesday to see the results of the party. I took a picture of each person's terrarium as they finished them up!