The decorations are all packed away, the post-holiday dust has settled, and a slew of home repairs have been accomplished. Time to catch up on some project blogging!
Though my mother taught me how to crochet when I was a kid, I never did learn how to read a pattern. I could make wobbly squares and long strands that looked like worms (which I gave to friends as bookmarks. Get it? Book worm?) but that was the extent of my yarn experience. A few years ago I picked up a pattern for an infinity scarf, which I was able to complete, but once the arthritis began to set in to my wrist joints, I figured I'd have to give up on the idea of crochet all together.
Then I discovered they make hooks with padded handles for arthritic crafters. So I owed it to myself to pick one up and see what I could do with it. Also, the Seahawks colored yarn was on sale. With the help of YouTube I was finally able to decipher the pattern for a simple granny square.
The hook works great! Though I failed to take a photo of the end project, I ended up putting about 9 granny squares together into a scarf, which was given away as a Christmas gift.
In my early season "look how much time I have!" days, I attempted a few "simple crochet snow flake" patterns, which I had intended to stiffen up with starch and give away as ornaments. I completed a few, but upon realizing those patterns required tiny stitches and precise counting, and as I ran out of craft time, I put them aside and concentrated on larger gifts.
This scarf was from a pattern called "Shawl in a Ball" - once the first row was completed, it was just turn, repeat, turn, repeat until I ran out of yarn.
My daughter had actually picked the yarn out while we were shopping together, so I made this for her for Christmas. She was very surprised when she opened it, as she'd seen me work on it all season.
Speaking of my daughter... she taught herself how to knit this fall, so I found a pattern for a knitting needle holder and picked up some specially printed giraffe fabric (giraffes are her favorite animal) as another Christmas gift for her.
I have a friend who loves - and collects - pink flamingos. When I saw this fabric in October I immediately thought of her. I wasn't sure what I would make out of it, but I bought the whole remnant and took it home. I started out by making the tote bag, and originally thought I would make a whole series of bags, but as holiday deadlines loomed and I had a solid 2 yards of fabric leftover, I decided to put it together in a big table cloth/blanket.
The tote bag pattern was so fun to make, I decided to buy specialty fabric and make bags for some of my other friends... one is a math tutor, one is a Zentangle teacher who loves otters.
When I found that my soldering iron needed to be replaced, I decided to pick up a multi-use tool, one that could also be used for wood burning. Inspired by ideas on Pinterest, I decided to do a series of wood-burned ornaments as gifts and as my Bunco ornament.
I started with a pile of wood discs, and a couple of designs... landscape and birch trees.
I penciled the designs on the discs, incorporating any interesting wood knots etc...
After finishing the woodburning, I then painted features with slightly thinned white acrylic paint.
Most of these ornaments were given as gifts to friends and family. I saved one of each design for my family.
Speaking of ornaments... this is officially the year where I amassed enough bird ornaments to have a whole tree dedicated to just birds.
I made this drum ornament to commemorate D's experience marching in the Santa Clara Vanguard Alumni Corp. The original drum was red, I covered it with copper paper to match the drum he marched with. The sticks are painted to match how his were taped for the performance. The Vanguard star is made out of Shrinky Dink, which I punched with a large 8 point punch, then colored, then shrank. I made the Aussie (hat) by taking a pattern for a toy's cowboy hat, I shrank the pattern to scale, then cut the pieces out of green felt and hand stitched it together. The star on the side of the aussie is made from two sequins and a bead. I painted the top of the drum head black, to match his marching drum, and the bottom reads "2017 SCVAC"
Having been so busy with gift projects this year, my village additions were not completed until after the New Year. This year I painted the kids sledding on the hill, the ice house and ice salesman, and a little bridge. The sled hill and ice house are the final larger pieces I have from the original set that I purchased about 15 years ago. I have two sets of village people with some overlapping characters, so next year I will sort those out and probably just finish the people I haven't painted yet. A couple years ago I came across another brand of unpainted village buildings that are the right scale for my village, though a slightly different style, so I'll begin adding those to my little town next year.