Crafting Fail

So this has not been a good week for crafting.  I finished two knit hats this week (two!  I can't believe it!).  And apparently I'm not a super-tight knitter anymore -- because both of the hats ended up being too large.  Like, way too large. Maybe I have a freakishly small head?  They both came out really well too!  I guess I just need to find somebody with a large head. 

Then I was trying a sewing project today and that didn't work out too well either.  I'm not totally throwing in the towel, but I'm unsure how to get it back on track. 

What do you do when a craft project goes awry?

I Can Sew!

I've been wanting to learn how to sew for a long time.  When I was in junior high school, you could take Home Ec -- if you weren't in the band or choir.  I was in the band, so I never did all the fun sewing and cooking projects that everyone else did.  At the time, I didn't really care, but as I've been discovering my creativity, learning to sew has been high on my list.

So last week I finally decided to buy the sewing machine I've been eyeing for months.  It's the Brother CS6000i, which I picked up from Amazon.  I don't know that I could have found a better beginning sewing machine.  It's super easy to use; I had the machine threaded and was doing practice stitches within half of hour of unpacking it.  And it's a great value -- there are over 50 stitches and it comes with seven different presser feet, including a buttonhole foot.

I've been spending hours online searching for sewing patterns, and when I came across this pleated pouch tutorial, I knew I had to give it a try.  I suppose I should have been afraid of starting out with a project with a zipper in it, but I just decided not to be afraid of it!  A day after I received the sewing machine, I finished my first project.  Then I did another one a day later. 

My head is bursting with ideas -- can't wait to sew some more!

Knitting Like Crazy

So apparently whining works.  After lamenting about my poor knitting skills a few weeks ago, I've actually finished four projects since then!  They are all small, but significant for me, since I have now managed to do some real lace knitting.

The Honey Cowl was a pretty easy knit -- not that much effort for a really nice finished piece.  I just wish I hadn't chosen a wool yarn; it's kind of itchy.  Maybe someone will get this as a gift.

Next was this coffee sleeve, which I plan to use as a cuff bracelet.  Theoretically, it could be both, but I'm a notoriously tight knitter.  This might fit a Tall at Starbucks, but I doubt it would fit a Grande -- and that's the size I usually order. :)

Then I tried something truly lace -- these fingerless gloves.  I've dabbled in crochet, but not enough to want to do the beaded crochet lace on these gloves, so I just did more repeats of the pattern.  The yarn was so easy to work with, which made the project even easier.

Finally, the one I'm most proud of.  This Blue Leaf Handband had lots of different increases and decreases.  But it was actually a pretty fun knit and has really increased my confidence in lace knitting. 

Next up will be this beret.  I love Ravelry's feature that lets you search for projects by yarn.  So many good ideas!

T-Shirt Fun

Disappeared there for awhile, didn't I?  Had a huge work project that wrapped up last week, so crafting is back on the schedule!

Picked up a couple of plain t-shirts at Target today and then found some wonderful fat quarter collections at Joanns.  Add in a little heat-and-bond and I'll have some unique and adorable t-shirts.  Stay tuned for pics when they are finished.

And despite my hand-wringing about knitting a couple of weeks ago, I've actually been knitting quite a bit.  I'll get some pics of that posted soon too.

What are you crafting today?

My Love/Hate Relationship with Knitting

It took me awhile to teach myself how to knit, but I finally got it.  I've got the basic knit and purl stitches down, I've knit on circulars a couple of times and I've even experimented with cables.  I love buying yarn and have lost count of the number of projects I have on the needle.

But when it gets more complex, like a lace pattern, I just get lost.  I invariably wind up with too many or too few stitches when I'm done with a row, and the thought of  unraveling stitches to try to backtrack makes me cringe.  And even basic knitting can lose its allure; I'm not a fast knitter, so everything takes me quite awhile.

However, as fall descends, I ache to knit again.  There's just something about the cooler weather that makes me want to knit.  So I've picked up a scarf project I abandoned last year.  And I think I'll spend a little time on Ravelry browsing patterns that I'll probably never knit.  Oh well, a girl can dream.

Cheering Myself Up

I totally forgot to post this yesterday.  I was feeling kind of down, so I created a Treasury based on the kitchen photo I found last week.  The seafoam background with highlights of pink, yellow and red just kind of says "happy" to me.

I'm not sure the Treasury made me feel any better, but the comments I received just make me love the Etsy community that much more.

A New Kitchen?

Stumbled across this photo and LOVE this soft seafoam green with punches of color.  I thought I really liked my kitchen (turquoise walls with accents of lemon yellow), but this seriously makes me consider re-painting.


The Blog Guidebook

Are you listed in The Blog Guidebook?  It's a great resource I found a few weeks ago but only recently had a chance to explore more.  They will list your blog for free and there are TONS of categories.  There are also sponsorship opportunities with prices that seem pretty reasonable.

For a limited time, you can get a free upgrade.  Your button (blog badge) listed on their site for free -- normally a $20 value!  Go to The Blog Guidebook and do some exploring.

Flapper Girl Halloween Giveaway

Christine at Flapper Girl makes some great vintage-y things:  cupcake toppers, garland, aprons.  She's holding a Halloween giveaway right now and you can win a retro apron, cupcake toppers and -- my favorite -- this adorable vampire bat coffee cozy.

Head on over to Flapper Girl to get the details and enter the contest.  Ends September 13.

Oh So Pretty

I have no need for these shoes.  I work at home, and most days I wear jeans and a t-shirt.

But I have been lusting after a pair of Mary Janes for quite some time, and these are just about the most perfect Mary Janes I've ever seen.

From Ruche, $92.99

New Items in the Shop!

I've updated my Etsy Shop.  Two new bracelets and a necklace.  Check 'em out.

The faceting on these beads is phenomenal.  They flash all kinds of colors when the light hits them.

Golden Faceted Bead Bracelet

I couldn't buy these beads fast enough.  A beautiful satin finish, bold colors and a modern feel.

Satin Leaves Necklace

The matching bracelet. 

Satin Leaves Bracelet

Delicious Tape-y Goodness

I received my order from Cute Tape today.  Great customer service!  Super-speedy shipping, wrapped beautifully and a personal note.  Will definitely be ordering from them again. 

It's almost -- almost -- too pretty to use.  But I will anyway :).

Win A Slender Grasshopper Necklace!

The lovely Katie at Heaven Baked Sweets has The Slender Grasshopper shop as her Friday Feature and Giveaway!  Hop on over to learn a little more about me and get a chance to win one of the items from my shop.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Pretty Sticky

I'd heard of Japanese washi tape before, but didn't really know what I'd do with it.  When Jessica posted a cute little project on How About Orange using this super-fancy masking tape to make little packages, I told myself there had to be some way to use it in making jewelry.

And after thinking a little while, I did come up with an idea.  But I'm not going to share it, because frankly, I don't want anyone to steal it before I can get something made! 

In addition to the sources Jessica listed, here are a few more:
Kawaii Tape
Tinted Mint

Tape shown from Kawaii Tape

I'm a Guest Blogger!

The lovely Erica at Green April was kind enough to give me the opportunity to guest post on her blog.  And it's very special because it's my first stint as a guest blogger and her first time featuring a guest blogger.  A match made in heaven! 

Hop over to Green April to read the full post.  And take some time to check out Erica's takes on books and music as well as some fabulous photos.

Is This Me?

I'm dangerously addicted to personality quizzes; I guess I'm always looking for something that's going to help me understand myself -- even though the rational part of me knows that answering a few questions on a Web site isn't exactly deep analysis.

Anyway -- I am trying to discover what creativity means for me, so I couldn't resist this quiz from Psychologies called "What's your creative style?"  Not sure that I agree with everything, but this seemed to ring true:
You like the attention and good opinion of others. When you show people what you’ve made — a birthday cake, or a piece of music you’ve written — it’s your baby, so you are very sensitive about any criticism. You need to be able to distance yourself from the result, and allow others to enjoy it and feel part of it, without it reflecting on you alone.
 Thanks to the wonderful Jessica at How About Orange for sharing another fun quiz.

Favorite Summer Read

Well, the summer isn't quite over yet (although I am looking forward to fall), but I do have a favorite summer read.  I recently read a biography called  Elizabeth and Philip, about Queen Elizabeth of England and the Duke of Edinburgh.  It was really interesting.  She's been on the throne forever, and although many have questioned why she hasn't abdicated in favor of Prince Charles, it's pretty clear that is not going to happen.  Her duty is to her people. 

It was really a fascinating book and knowing more about her makes her seem a bit more human and less a figurehead.

EtsyBlogger Love

This month's featured EtsyBlogger is Patch.  And she has not one, not two, but three Etsy shops!


With a birthday coming up this month, I'm awfully partial to this cute little peridot ring in the shape of a crown.  Adorable!  Be sure to check out all her lovely items.

Joie Magazine

The fabulous Jen of Indie Fixx has created a new online magazine called Joie.  It's a lifestyle mag all about the art of living joyfully.  It's packed with fabulous features and some gorgeous photography.  I've only had a chance to take a quick look, but I can't wait to sit down and devour the whole thing.

And The Slender Grasshopper shop is proud to be an advertiser in the first issue!  Check out my cute little ad on page 64.

No More Bad Hair Days Treasury

I'm growing my hair out, and that's never fun.  I figure a few cute hair accessories might make it a little easier.  So I made a Treasury featuring some of my favorites from the talented Etsy crafters.

Etsy Bloggers

Yay -- I'm now an official Etsy Blogger!

Why I Read ...

Time for another "Why I Read..." post.  This is where I talk about one of my favorite blogs and why I read it.

I don't know how I found Alisa Burke's eponymous blog, but I'm glad I did.  Alisa is a painter and artist; she also writes books and offers several online classes.  What I like about Alisa's blog is that most of the stuff she talks about -- from sewing to cooking -- looks really easy and do-able.  She genuinely believes in the creative abilities of others and works hard to make sure everyone sees that possibility in themselves. 

One of Alisa's recent additions to her blog posts is talking about the creative process from inspiration to finished product.  Today she talked about something she saw at her local art museum and showed how that manifested itself in beautiful hand-painted mugs.  This kind of post really appeals to me because I'm still trying to find my creativity and what it means to be creative.  Right now, it's making jewelry.  But I'm also thinking about drawing and sewing -- two things I know nothing about but want to explore further.

Alisa's blog has quickly become one of my favorites.  Read her blog -- you'll be glad you did!

Do I Dare?

I've thought about getting a tattoo (good thing my mother doesn't read this).  The problem isn't so much having something permanent.  It's what design to choose.  I'm one of those crazy people who actually likes change.  I've painted almost every room in my house twice, and I've only lived in it for seven years.  I change my hair color, my nail polish, etc.  How could I possibly pick just one design for a tattoo?

Well, this could satisfy my short-term urges.  Tattoo pens!  They last for about seven days.  And they include stencils!  This could be fun ...

Felted Treasures

I really have no idea what goes into creating these beautiful felted items, but I'm quite fascinated by them.  I could easily amass quite a collection, and the variety is just astounding.   Check out this Treasury for just a few ideas.

Why I Read ...

I like to read.  A lot.  A lot.  I've devoured books ever since I can remember.  And I read just as much -- or more -- online.  I have two separate Google Reader accounts:  one for crafty/design/DIY/indie stuff and one for everything else.  All told, I'm pushing close to 200 feeds.  one sydney road's Alphabet Blog Hop was responsible for a considerable addition last week.

I know I'm babbling, but it is leading to something.  I'd like to highlight some of the blogs I read and why I read them.  And the first is The Creative Place.  Ashley is a graphic designer and crafter and loves consignment shops.  I love her blog because she has the best tutorials!  She makes crafting look easy and fun.  Today she posted a wonderful tutorial on making fabric covered matchbook mini albums -- so cute! 

Take some time to browse through her blog and tutorials; lots of good stuff!

Bond, James Bond

Etsy would not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of James Bond.  But you shouldn't be so sure.

Check out this neat set of prints from Etsy shop lillimandrill.  Unexpected and awesome.

V is for Vintage

It's Alphabet Walk Blog Hop Day! Welcome, hoppers!

Piper at one sydney road had this great idea:  Have bloggers pick a letter and then let them photograph that letter any way they want.  Brilliant!  I came a little late to the game and didn't have much choice in letters.  I chose V and have been puzzling for days over what to photograph.

I decided to highlight my newfound love:  vintage.  I've only made a few vintage purchases, but I love them dearly.  And I'm absolutely addicted.

My first purchase several months ago was this vintage Samsonite travel bag.  It is now my laptop/briefcase bag and I feel very chic using it.

The second just arrived yesterday: a  fabulous 1960s dress, which I plan to wear to a dear friend's wedding in early September.

(The pictures are pretty crapstastic, I know.  I was battling an oncoming storm and had very inconsistent lighting.  The close-ups aren't horrible, at least.)

By the way, both of these came from Thrush, possibly the best vintage store on Etsy.

Make sure you check out all the other letters today and from the past week.  I've found some wonderful blogs to add to my feed reader!

I am not a graphic designer ...

... but I sometimes play one on my blog.  After searching through pages and pages of pre-made and free Blogger designs, I found a designer I absolutely love.

Check out the fabulously pretty designs at Rainy Day Templates.  So sweet!  But a little out of my price range at the moment.  So I will have to admire from afar and save my pennies.


So I'm reading all these other blogs for the Alphabet Blog Hop being sponsored by one sydney road.  And being amazed by everyone's photos.  And extremely jealous of everyone's blog design.  Which means I'll be spending hours looking at new layouts for the blog.

When I really should be making jewelry or promoting my Etsy shop or doing something else far more productive.  Sigh.

Etsy Shop and Blog Hop

Oh, this is fun.  The Helping Others Street Team on Etsy is doing an Etsy Shop and Blog Hop. 

Here I'm posting the items I like from the two shops above me:

These business cards from SpellPages are pretty and useful.
My sister is a fan of Chai Tea, so I'm sure she'd love this blend from IvyKeep.

Want to play?  Here's the code to join. It's fun!

Etsy Saturday

I'm starting a new series:  Etsy Saturday.  Just interesting things I find on Etsy.  I've been buying on Etsy for a couple of years, but only since I opened my shop have I been spending more time there.  And I'm constantly amazed by what you can find.

This is one of my latest finds.  I'm a huge fan of  Aquolina's Pink Sugar perfume.  It's sweet and light and I often get compliments on it.  But it's expensive.  Do you know there are people on Etsy who sell dupes?  And they are exactly the same and a fraction of the cost?  It's true.  I bought an exact duplicate from Caribbean Scents and I love it. 

The beauty section of Etsy is enormous; definitely worth your time.

Heat Relief

Too hot to do anything here except think of ice cream.  So I created a little Etsy Treasury in celebration of that wonderful combination of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla!

The Ultimate in Creativity?

This is a place you could easily kill a couple of hours -- and subsequently gain a few pounds.  It's Chocri -- where you can design your own chocolate bar.  Choose your chocolate (only dark for me), then add your choice of fruit, spices, nuts, confections, decor and grains.

The choices are truly amazing:  everything from candied lilac to ground chili.  You can also purchase Recommended Creations.  Instant Wealth looks positively yummy!

Adventures in Shrink Plastic

So I have some ideas for some new kinds of jewelry using shrink plastic.  Today was prototyping.  The big thing I learned?  This stuff is hard -- even before you bake it! I tried using a regular craft knife to cut it -- barely made a scratch.  I had to break out the big utility knife from the basement.  Still, I had fun playing with it.  Hope to incorporate it into some new jewelry soon.

Playing Junior Stylist

Nicole over at lillyella has a fun feature called Couture du Jour.  And today she's featuring the outfit I put together!  And it all started with this top from ModCloth.  Click over to lillyella to see the post.

Super Easy Light Box

Still no official sales in my Etsy shop; I'm not counting the one "practice" sale which was just for me to see how the process works.  And I still think my photography is a big issue; you've got such a short time and a small space to capture a viewer's attention. 

So I built myself a light box, using these super easy instructions.  Highly recommended.  I think my photos look much better.  Now everything needs to be re-shot!

Fossil Giveaway

Ez over at Creature Comforts has a Fossil Giveaway on her site.  A Fossil watch up to a $125 value!  I have a Fossil watch I bought for myself several Christmases ago and I absolutely love it.  It makes me feel polished and chic whenever I wear it.

Certainly wouldn't mind having a new one though!  And this watch has purple in it -- my current color obsession.


Holly over at decor8 found this fun resource: Olioboard.  It lets you not only create -- but share -- mood boards online.

Now, I'm so left brain, but I'm really trying to cultivate my right brain.  I've never made a mood board before and really wasn't sure what I was doing when I started this one.  I found one of the green images, then a gold one and suddenly I had the ubiquitous harvest gold and avocado green of the 1970s.  But completely updated with modern furnishings.

I'll be spending lots of time here.

Photo Practice: Abundant Pearls

Last week's photo practice turns into this week's finished product.  A little bracelet overflowing with multi-colored pearls.  I think I'm kind of getting the hang of the photography.

Photo Practice: Dessert

I have a new (to me) digital camera.  It's got way more bells and whistles than I need, but I'm trying to practice using it so I can get better.  I read somewhere that using portrait mode is a good idea -- it gets you that nice close-up with a blurred background.

This was a shot of dessert today -- fresh brownies with hot fudge sauce topped with a strawberry.

Seeing Stars

Vintage mid-century star glasses
:  $22
Mid-century modern star platter:  $65
Atomic dinner plates:  $6

If I could afford it, my entire house would be mid-century modern.  I love the simplicity and cleanness of the look. 

These star motif items recently caught my eye.

(And Blogger sucks big time at placing photographs in a post.)


By day, I am the executive director of a museum association.  I need to be organized, efficient and do lots of planning.  But the (tiny) part of my brain that's creative needs more of an outlet.  So I'm starting to make jewelry to sell on Etsy, and I want to see how else I can express myself creatively. 

It's going to be a big ol' experiment.  Should be fun!