Friday, September 26, 2008

Started a new blog today

I started a new blog today, Scrap Paper Scissors, to post all of my digital scrapbooking projects. I'll keep traditional crafting on this blog and digital scrapping on my new blog. If you get a chance, check it out!!


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making Cardstock Pumpkins

So I decided to give making the cardstock pumpkins a whirl.. As with any craft instructions, I modified a few things to work for me.

First, I cut 1" width strips of cardstock from 12"x12" pieces. Then I punched holes in both ends of each strip. If you don't want to waste the time to be sure that the holes match up EXACTLY, keep a blunt tapestry needle (yarn needle works GREAT here) handy to quickly thread the ribbon through the holes. This makes a pretty large pumpkin. For smaller pumpkins, adjust the length of the strips.

Next, I cut approximately 12" of ribbon. I used floppy ribbon here - but wired ribbon would be great for designing a vine for your pumpkins. Knot one of the the ribbon.

Thread the strips of cardstock wrong side facing up onto the knotted ribbon. If you are using multiple designs, be sure to alternate the strips as you thread them onto the ribbon. Use as many strips as you'll need to fill out the pumpkin. You'll notice in some of these examples, I only used a couple of strips to demonstrate the technique.

Punch a hole in your treat bag. Make sure your treat bag is no larger than half the length of your cardstock strips. Thread the ribbon through the treat bag. Now thread the ribbon through the other ends of the cardstock. Pull the the cardstock until you get a 'C' shape.

Arrange the strips evenly and add leaf embellishments. I like to separate the leaves by knots creating a vine. I just stamped my leaves in a copper ink and then embossed them with pale gold embossing powder; cut them out; and tied them onto the pumpkin using the ribbon already there. You could glue dot them on or whatever makes you happy! :) Trim ribbon.

In this finished example, I don't have the treat bag included, because this was a prototype. Your finished project could include the treat bags or not. I'm going to make them with treat bags in funky, bright halloween cardstock for Maddie's preschool class.

If you want to get real particular, you can either stamp the white side of each strip or buy two sided, colored cardstock as not to see the white insides. I used really cheap cardstock here. But the two sided (color on both sides) cardstock would work really well here.

Variations:
You can do a rustic look with shredded edge cardstock that's been inked to look old and worn. You could add rafia to the top.
You could fill the inside with some moss, shredded burlap, or rafia that's been glued to the bottom inside of the pumpkin and let it peep through the spaces.
You could crinkle and ink cardstock strips before using them to make them look prim. (My fave)
You could use fabric scraps for the leaves.
You could cover thinner cardboard in fabric (use fabric glue) and have a sturdier, fabric pumpkin.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Ms. Madeline cut off half of her own hair - so the salon did the best they could to even it up. I thought I'd take the time to scrap it so she can remember this moment when her little lady cuts her own hair. Oh, the mother's curse...


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Steppin' Up to Stampin' Up! / Projects Progress

I have some creative bug right now.. I just have a need to craft, scrapbook, and knit. I contacted a Stampin' Up! consultant in my area and as luck would have it, she is hosting a Stamp Camp at her house on my birthday!! She warned me that stamping can be addictive and I warned her that I am a craft-addict through and through (much to the dismay of my tremendously patient DH).

I'm so excited about stamping.. I almost forgot to mention that I am nearly finished with Ms. Maddie's Magic Shawl!! That's right, I said finished. {Insert giggles and squeals here} I know you aren't used to hearing that word come out of KPG's mouth - but I'm so happy that I have come to the end of that project. As soon as I weave in the ends and add the fringe, I'll post pics. Mads is so excited about it too!! She wants to wear it everywhere - but I keep telling her it's not yet done.

I'm also working on completing my ss shawl and re-working my curly purly pumpkin. I bought some terrific bulky yarn for the pumpkin, but I can't find DPNs big enough for it. I tried working it in magic loop, but my ML must be a tad rusty because I keep twisting the first round of stitches! ARGH! I had to put it down for a bit. Maybe I'll pick it up today and try again.

I also just got a really cool pattern for grungy pumpkins! I can't wait to give them a whirl. But FIRST - I have to finish up the cardstock pumpkins and treat bags for Maddie's preschool class.

I just love fall. Something about this season just energizes me... And to top it off, Maddie is having so much fun helping me with crafts. Now, if I could just find a place for my embossing powders so that she doesn't keep spreading them about the house as "fairy dust", then all will be well.


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Cancer Awareness.. October is almost upon us

My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor of 11 years. Recently, when hospitalized for pneumonia, it was discovered that my grandmother had uterine (endometrial) cancer with additional cells that looked like ovarian cancer. My grandma is such a warm light. She's been my sounding board, my best friend, my inspiration, and my strength when I needed it most. She is undergoing a hysterectomy on Wednesday. The oncologist/surgeon will determine the extent (stage and grade)of the cancer and therefore the course of treatment. We're praying for stage 1 or 2 cancer. The 5 yr survival rate for stage 1 or 2 is 50% - 95%. I always wear an autism awareness ribbon for my son and donate to Relay for Life (ACS), Autism Speaks, and various other organizations for the people in my life.

It's important to continue donating time, effort, and money to these worthwhile organizations. So, please don't forget that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Please support these websites/groups who support breast cancer awareness:
Knit Pink
Knit for the Cure
Knitted Knockers
Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles
The Crazie Daizies
Avon
Be sure to buy items that truly give proceeds to breast cancer research, treatment, and prevention. So many vendors are selling awareness ribbons to raise bucks for their own profit. As one blogger afflicted with cancer wrote, "Think before you pink!" I know there are oodles of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and other gynecologic cancer resources out there. PLEASE feel free to list a site/blog/group/organization in the comments. These resources are important. If you have a free pattern or craft you'd like to post (please only post a pattern or craft you've created. For copyright reasons, it's important to link to patterns or crafts that are not of your own design.) or link to that supports cancer awareness - please leave a comment!

Too many wonderful people are taken every year from cancer. Raise awareness. Donate to organizations that truly give. Knit chemo caps, knockers, scarves, and lapel pins for those battling cancer or survivors of cancer. Life is too wonderful and we're too blessed to stand by and not help.


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Another go at DigiScrapping


This time I was a little more successful in creating a layout. I am still not real happy with the overall effect.. the design aspects (on my end) need some work. But I feel like I have successfully played around with the software enough to know the basics anyway. It's so much fun! Who knew that digital scrapbooking would be this fun? I absolutely LOVE paper crafting: the fibers, textures, inks... but this is fun too. And it's quick and relatively easy. (If I can do it - you can do it!)

Click to play Maddie's Dance Class
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook
This is another digital scrapbooking medium.. SmileBox. It's cute and fine for someone who doesn't want complete creative control over their pages. It had everything in templates in a book. You just point, click, and type. It's a FREE service that I heard about from Family Fun Magazine. Being a scrapbooker at heart - I probably will only use this for super quick layouts where I don't want to spend alot of time editing. I much prefer editing and adding elements myself. But check it out - it's great for the busy mom!


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Overcommitted and underpaid

So I have been zippin' around like a mad woman this past week! We went home to Ohio over the weekend for my nephew's b-day party and to get something done at our house there.. Then we came home late Sunday night in the middle of the horrendous wind storm that was left over from Ike. We passed over Lake Milton in Youngstown and saw oodles of search and rescue. At first we thought a wind gust took a car over the bridge (we had been gusted several times into the other lane), but apparrently it was a capsized boat.

Monday, Maddie had preschool and I had about 200 loads of laundry to wash. Brian's school was on delay due to the power outages and downed trees covering many roadways. Oodles of people in Butler County are without power.

Tuesday, Mads and I went a-shopping for fall stuff. We got some stuff to complete our crafts and to make with her preschool class. We stopped at Knit-One so that I could sign up for Connie's ML Sock class in Oct. We got home and did MORE laundry; helped Bri with his homework; and ordered pizza instead of making the sloppy joes. Mama was tired!

Today, Brian missed the bus, so I popped on some clothes and drove 20 minutes to his school and 20 minutes BACK. Then, Maddie noticed that Brian had left his lunch in the car as we were getting out of the car.. so BACK to the school I went. Then we came home and I showered for like a nano second before heading off to Maddie's dance class. Her class ended at 11:50a and we zipped into town for McDonald's and a quick costume change before preschool started at 12:30p. (I'm sure someone saw me shoving chicken nuggets into my preschooler's mouth whilst ripping her dance attire off and slapping preschool clothing on. Quite the spectacle.) Once I dropped her off at preschool, it was back in the car to run errands and buy tap shoes (mom forgot these for Maddie's class). I then stopped home; ate a slice of cold pizza; checked email; and ran back into town to return library books; mail letters; and pick up the Madster.

We just got home a bit ago and I emailed everyone in the free world pics of my prima ballerina.

Oh - did I mention that I have volunteered to help out as a room-mom for the preschool? Or that I volunteered for SVIP (parent involvement/volunteer group) for Brian's school? Or that I signed up to join MOMS Club and volunteered to help plan the activities monthly?

In all of this excitement, I haven't had my daily dose of knitting. I tried a bit last night, but DH didn't get home until after 8p and I was so tired- yarn was the last thing on my mind. I am going through KNITTING WITHDRAWL!!!!! I need to knit. I can't wait for DH to get home so that I can sit and knit a bit. Who knows? I may be asleep by then. ;P


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Knitting is so much more than just scarves..

In an interview with Meg Swansen, daughter of the late, great Elizabeth Zimmermann, Meg describes the early introduction to knitting her children had while attending a Waldorf School:

KBTH: You have mentioned that you sent your children to Waldorf schools. Part of
the Waldorf curriculum is to teach the students to knit at a young age. What do
you think that knitting has to teach us? What has knitting taught you?
MEG:
The founder of the Waldorf system, Rudolph Steiner, believed handknitting could
be responsible for teaching positive, useful and even essential skills: manual
dexterity, math, hand/eye co-ordination and intellectual development in general
- not to mention artistic creativity. I would list all of the above for myself,
plus the additional benefits of personal satisfaction and enormous comfort.*

I am so happy to hear that children of all ages and sexes are being exposed to knitting. When I read articles about knitting and it's therapeutic properties for children with anxiety, dexterity issues, and problems with math and problem solving, I immediately sought to learn and teach knitting to my Asperger's Syndrome and learning disabled (dyslexia, ADHD, & Auditory Processing Disorder) son who was dealing with all of the above issues. I learned to knit and taught Brian to knit and it HAS helped him with all of the issues in some way. Of course, even certain family members have ridiculed me and humiliated Brian for learning these "girly" arts (knitting, sewing). But really - I could care less. Because honestly, if you're not willing to put aside your pride and explore every opportunity to help your child, then YOU should be the one to be ridiculed. And my son and I not only have a real bond over these simple crafts, but he genuinely enjoys creating and making things for others. I guess you can say that knitting has touched our lives in a unique way. And thank God it has.


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Dabbling in Digital Scrapbooking

I am a paper crafter through and through but I use the computer so much I thought I'd dabble in digital scrapbooking. Keep in mind, I had limited sets to work with because I am using a trial version of Scrapbook Max. (I ordered the full version and it is in the mail. You also have the option of downloading it and then inserting the disks once you receive them for additional items.) I spent a whole 3 minutes creating this page. I could see how this could be addictive and seemingly much more cost effective. I almost stopped myself from trying it as I definitely do NOT need another hobby. But then I thought to myself: this isn't another hobby, just another way to accomplish one of my established hobbies. Besides, who could resist the yummy goodness of another craft medium?



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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shawl-Happy

Well, I had started a shawl with the Magic Ball yarn and FROGGED (see previous posts). I then started a lovely SS shawl with LanaLoft in Orange Confection and was thrilled to learn that the reason my YOs don't look the same on either side is because of curling and that it will correct itself with washing and blocking. Well, Ms. Madeline (my 3 yo) decided that she wanted a shawl too. So, I rummaged through my stash to find some inexpensive yarn that could hold up to a 3 yo and have colors befitting a princess. I found some skeins of Bernat Satin Sport in Meadow colorway and decided to knit her a garter st triangular shawl. I'm using the Alpaca Prayer Shawl Pattern from Ravelry with a few obvious modifications. It is knitting up so cute and will look great on her. Plus anything with pink in it is a winner! I'm finding the pattern is so easy and mindless that it makes a great project to work on while watching TV or at knitting group. She's so excited about this! I only have a wee bit finished, but you get the idea. I think I may use the same pattern with my Magic Ball yarn - it's simple enough to be mindless and showcase the intricacy of the yarn.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Getting Creative.. Or At Least Attempting It

I tried to knit a shawl with the Magic Ball yarn I got.. but the shawl pattern was far to complex for such a busy yarn AND because the yarn is so varied in fiber, I tended to have problems with stitch count because the definition is not so good on some parts of the yarn. So busy pattern with lots of increases, YOs, and pattern work combined with a yarn that has oodles of fiber variation = FROGGED project! Oh well. To top it off, when frogging, the yarn in certain areas knotted so badly, I actually had to CUT {insert grimace here} some of the yarn away to save the majority of the yarn.

I started a new shawl pattern (easier) with LanaLoft from Brown Sheep in Orange Confection Colorway. The only problem: for some unknown reason my YOs on either end look completely different! Facing the RS of the work, on the right my YOs look like holes (normal) but on the left side, they are barely visible. At any rate, I've put the project on hold until I can figure out what I am doing wrong. I'd like my work to look the same on either side.

UPDATE**** Suseeq, a moderator from KnittingHelp.com, says not to worry about it not looking the same. She says that on the one side, the stitch is curling and it will look like the other side after I've washed and blocked.. SO a BIG thank you to Suseeq!! I'm so relieved that I don't have to frog this project.
I made homemade Mac & Cheese with my daughter the other day. We had so much fun cooking together. We actually made Balsamic crusted Pork Loin Roast with roasted sweet potatoes last night as well, but we didn't think to take a picture (we were so hungry). Oh, and I made a 3# pork loin roast.. Me, Brian, and Mads each ate 1 slice and Rob ate the other 2.5#! There was nothing left to take a pic of anyway. I guess that's proof that the cookin' is good! I can't take credit for the recipe though. I got it from allrecipes.com. The Mac & Cheese recipe was courtesy recipezaar.com.
Being home with my daughter every day has been so magical. It was so difficult for me at first (adjustment to not working), but now we have a rhythm and it's alot of fun! In the mornings, (after we make breakfast together), she watches Nick Jr. while I check email or knit. Then we make the beds, work on some crafts or reading together, eat lunch, and run errands. It's really working out well. Now if only I could become a better knitter so that I could knit (and finish) some projects!! :)


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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Political Stuff

I just want to briefly address all of the political 'stuff' happening in our country right now. It is no secret that I am a democrat and Obama supporter. But, I wanted to say a few things about our political process right now.

I dislike HATE-MONGERING. It doesn't matter from whence it came.. left or right. It's plain wrong. I don't like it in my own party and don't like it in the Republican party. This race for the presidency should be about the fundamental beliefs and stategies of the candidates to better our country as a whole. They should be discussing THAT in the media and in ads. There should be no liberal press or conservative press. There should just be facts.. period. Both parties are guilty of this and should be ashamed. As intelligent adults, we should all listen to BOTH sides and their stands BEFORE voting. I am watching the RNC just as I watched the DNC. Even though it is highly unlikely I will change my vote - I need to be wholly educated on both candidates as to make an informed decision.

My husband and I have always said that we are in a 'mixed' marriage. He is a republican and I am a democrat. We both respect one another's viewpoints. We listen to one another. There are times where I break with my party on issues and he breaks with his party on some issues. This is what it means to be a thinking person. We do not put down each other's candidate. We each examine what it means to us personally to make the country a better place. We agree to disagree. And that's why our country is so wonderful. We CAN disagree. There are countries out there where there is only ONE way you are allowed to believe.

To touch on Gov. Palin... I do not know enough about her to make any intelligent comments on her political career. What I can say is that I feel for her family. I agree that her daughter's pregnancy should have no bearing on the job for VP. Afterall, how many interviews have you gone on where someone asks you if you have had a pregnant teen? I think the media should STOP reporting that they will respect the family's privacy. RESPECT it then! Stop reporting it. Start reporting about the facts on why she would or wouldn't make a good veep.

Every one has a right to their opinions in this country. I have very close friends and family who have completely OPPOSITE opinions than I do. Opinions are just that: opinions. Opinion is not fact. It is not right or wrong. It is opinion and every American is entitled to one.

Whether you vote for McCain, Obama, or Dolores.. let's all ask ourselves this important question: Will this candidate support my yarn stash? 'Nough said.


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Yarn.. the creative gal's 'shoe fettish'

There are women out there secretly purchasing thousands of dollars worth of Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks.. (and honestly, if I could afford to adorn my tootsies with these masterpieces I would too). Women who worship their shoes and feed their shoe fetish. And then there's me. I feed my yarn fetish. As hysterical, sad, or reasonable as it may sound (depends on the perspective), I LOVE yarn. And although it can't make my toes all tingly with joy like a beautiful pair of Manolos, it makes me fingers flutter with excitement. Today for example.. did I go out and shop at the wonderful high-end shops about town? No sir! I shopped at my Fave LYS, Knit One! Instead of fondling leather, I fondled cashmere. And like any worthwhile preoccupation, I bought things I did not need and may never get to enjoy (given the status of my ever-growing, dare I say, out of control, yarn stash). Of course the voice in my head and the flutter in my heart says that buying 2 hanks of Magic Ball in Halloween colorway is entirely practical and most assuredly necessary to sustain life... Okay, perhaps a bit dramatic.. but then again, maybe not so much. Those out there with secret stashes can all relate to the "gotta have that yarn.. don't know why or what I'll knit with it " moment. To defend myself, I have to say that the $60 yarn purchase is so much less than a pair of designer pumps... AND while I knit, I get at least $350 worth of therapy (estimated) from an hour with my yarn. While walking for an hour in those functional Picasos may require dropping another couple of thousand on foot surgery. So I am actually saving money, improving my mental wellness, and creating things of beauty all by myself. Of course this requires finishing projects, but I digress. So next time you see a savvy lady sporting her fabulous Manolos, don't hestitate to reach into your knitting bag and flash your Tilli Tomas. Oh, and let your spouses know just how much money you are saving THEM. I mean, you deserve extra yarn time for that alone, dontcha think? ;)

Below is a pic of my latest acquisition:


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