Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Crafting is OVER

I didn't knit a single Christmas present this year.

I think this is the first year in maybe 5-6 that I haven't knit for Christmas and I was still a hot, frantic mess on December 23rd. Yup. A big ol' mess. Let me explain a few things about what makes Ashley ASHLEY.

I was an English major in college. This means:
  1. I can drink a lot of coffee.
  2. I haven't read as many Classics as I should have.
  3. I work really well under pressure. Like, really well.
This is why I decided it would be fine to put off most of my Christmas presents until December 20something. Because 2-3 days would be PLENTY of time to etch some glasses and canvas some photos. I could knock each gift out in a few hours and there would be plenty of time for them to dry. Don't these gifts know who I am? The Procrastination Kid, that's who!

Except it didn't go that easily (obviously). Of course the stencil I wanted to etch onto pint classes for Matt's brother would take me over an hour to cut out. Eff you, neverending band name written in old-timey font. Of course the photo I wanted to transfer to canvas would be printed on the wrong type of paper and then, once I reprinted it on the right kind, I would realize that my canvas was an entirely different size. And, after having given up on the canvas/photo nonsense, of course none of the iron-on transfers would work and I would waste another 3 hours on another failure.

I was so glad when Matt picked me up for dinner on Christmas Eve and I didn't have to look at that bottle of mod podge again. Eff you Mod Podge! No, but I'm really, really glad I got the super huge bottle instead of the basic bitch regular sized one. I want to Mod Podge everything...just not at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

In the end, I managed to have presents for everyone. They might not have been exactly what I set out to make, but only one project defeated me. The gift that I was most excited about giving was actually the one that I started months ago, like a wise little lady. And that gift was for Matt's sister's boyfriend, Greg. My very first cross stitch gift that is, uh, mostly done; Penguin and Riddler didn't make the cut this time, but there is always next year.

Batman's Enemies (pattern available on Etsy)
I've bought a few patterns from Wee Little Stitches before, but this is the first one I've actually knit. I love the way they're formatted and they're very beginner friendly. There's a sale on the etsy shop now for 30% off any purchases from now until December 31st! I'm trying to choose my next pattern, but there are so many I want to make. I'm leaning towards the classic movie monsters.

This project was kind of a fail, but I bounced back. Matt's brother just came out with an album with his band and I wanted to make him some etched pint glasses with their band logo on it. I spent over an hour cutting out the stencil I made and it was kind of an epic fail. I had one pint glass left by the end of it, so I ended up using painter's tape to freehand a "P" on the glass and I turned his album cover/band logo into coasters. Tutorial can be found here.

 Matt's sister got some coasters as well (from her instagram account) and some chalkboard martini glasses. These actually turned out really well! I made sure to test them out before I gave them to her and she's crafty too, so I'm hoping she knows how to wash them. No major directions for these, so just buy some chalkboard paint (I used Martha) and dip your glasses into it. I let them dry standing upright on wax paper.

Matt's parents got matching goldendoodle travel/knitting bags. I found the fabric on ebay and the same seller has a ton of different dog options. My mom sewed these for me and they turned out pretty fantastic.

And here is my own homebrew! I brewed it solo, which was pretty tricky and made me appreciate Matt's help even more. It's a Rosemary Oat Pale Ale. I tried it straight out the bucket at bottling time and it was pretty bitter. I accidentally left the rosemary in a day or so too long, but when we tried it last night (one week into bottling), it had mellowed out a whole lot. And it was pretty darn tasty! 

And it's not too often that somebody actually knits for me, so imagine my surprise when Matt greeted me (after 3 weeks of being apart!) with a handknit scarf that he knit me for our anniversary. Most of our nights apart were spent gchatting and watching tv shows together, but Matt told me he was also working on this scarf (and drinking all of the whiskey...) while we chatted. How cool is that?? And it's mostly Alpaca! My man knows the way to my heart. I'm helping him knit a hat now.

Now to plan my 2014 goals. Oh and steek my sweater because that was my *single* knitting goal this year and I haven't even done it yet. Ho hum. One more day for that!

(This reminds me that I still have a few more presents to mail out. Sigh. I'll never be caught up)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Prelude (and a sale!)

I can't believe this year is almost over. It seems like I was just in Philly yesterday, but I moved away SIX months ago. How in the world did that happen? The second half of 2013 has paled in comparison to the first half, but I do believe that things get worse before they get better, so I'm optimistic that 2014 will be better. Hey, y'know what? It will be good.

I've been home for almost a month now (yikes!) and I'm hanging in there. No family members have been murdered and I've managed to reign in feelings of discontent and frustration. At least my klutz of a sister is there for comic relief. Last night I laughed harder than I think I've ever laughed. It's hard being back here, especially with Matt still being in California. He'll be back on Friday (3 weeks apart!) & I'm super anxious to see him again.

I've had a lot of free time the past 6 months (boo, unemployment!), which has been both maddening and freeing. I've sketched up and knit up quite a few original designs and realized that they're all apart of the journey I've been on over the past two years. These design ideas are either inspired by a place I've traveled to or by the yarn I've bought along the way. It will take a lot of time for me to finalize and type up these designs I've come up with, but that's something to focus on in 2014.

Today I'm releasing Prelude, the first pattern I've published in awhile. In releasing this pattern I'm committing myself to seeking inspiration everyday from the things around me. My life won't always be as simple as it is, so I should stop complaining and use this down time more effectively. Because who knows if I'll ever have this lull again?

(Please say no)

Also, as a gift to any blog readers, use code "sweaterweather" to receive 25% off any of my patterns from now until Christmas.