Cathy of California's DIY Pincushions

So, for the someone who might actually be reading this, I'm not a very good blog writer. I'm trying, but it is not my forte. Possibly because keeping it focused on my crafts means actually getting projects done, photographed, photographs downloaded/uploaded, and so on and so forth...a lot of steps for a procrastinator. In an attempt to be a better crafty blog person, I will share with you some super cute things I find that are craft related - and hope that we aren't all reading the same blogs.

My first item for show and tell...let's call it "show and tell wednesdays"...is these adorable pincushions by Cathy of California. I think they're quite lovely and if I had money, I'd totally buy one of these kits. Actually, I'm more in the market for a wrist pincushion, but that doesn't make these any less adorable. I'm also a huge fan of her mushrooms, but what I really dig about these is the make it yourself-ness of them. I also really dig her fabric choices. I'm a sucker for pretty fabric, even if I don't have a specific project it. I just like owning it. Same thing for pretty yarn, which explains my yarn stash.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, January 31, 2008 0 comments  

Plush You (and me)

I am an expert at procrastination. This means I rarely, if ever, enter my stuff into exhibits, get my work online, sell at craft fairs. I'm my own worst enemy. When it comes to my crafts, my put-it-off-ness is partly because I'm new at this sort of thing and partly because I'm still trying to write a thesis (also subject to procrastination). I could be submitting stuff into faculty/alumni/student/staff shows at my current school and my alma mater, but haven't. I mean to, but something always comes up and I miss the deadline. But this time! Well, it might have been last minute, but I did manage to submit an entry into Plush You 2008. Because it is last minute, my photos aren't the best and there's a good chance I won't make it this year - but you never know. Stranger things have happened. This is what I submitted:

Luck Cat:
luckcat1.JPG
crochet octopus:
octopus playing the bagpipes

Sock Monkeys:
100_4123.JPG

outdoorsy monkey

and my most recent work, the peacekeeper potato:
Mr. Peacekeeper Potato-head

Who knows what will become of my entry...but my fingers are crossed.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Monday, January 21, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Somewhat Political Pineapples: Stuffed (Peacekeeping) Potatoes

Recently, I heard that the UN declared 2008 to be the International Year of the Potato. It struck me to be a little ridiculous, considering all that is going on in the world - wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, crises in Darfur and Kenya, to name only a few.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy potatoes. I enjoy them mashed, fried, roasted, boiled, stuffed, and au gratin. I even understand the importance of the potato to people and cultures - I know all about the Irish and the potato blight. I've been to PEI and I know how important it is to that Island. Stompin' Tom taught me as much with his classic song, "Bud the Spud".

Looking at the website Potato2008.org, I fear that this "year of the potato" has been created more for the financial gain of countries that grow potatoes and companies that sell them. I also fear that this declaration lessens the importance of other "international years" just a little bit - such as the years of women, the child and the girl child.

Now to bring this rant back to crafts: when I heard about the year of the potato, it gave me an idea for a plush toy. And so I present to you, the Peacekeeper Potato:

Mr. Peacekeeper Potato-head

He's made out of that wretched flannelette I had used for my gingerbread men and his beret is felt. I employed the services of the lovely Mrs. Downstairs and she sewed him up on her sewing machine. My thesis proposal was due to go to my second reader on Friday and there just wasn't the time to hand stitch the little bugger.


here he is next to a Yukon Gold from PEI:

100_4494.JPG

and for a back view of his little beret:

100_4489.JPG

Portrait:

100_4493.JPG

To be truthful, his moustache was inspired by LGen Roméo Dallaire - but out of my admiration for him. While a plush potato may seem ridiculous, my thinking behind it was that as silly as it looks, it is no more ridiculous than dedicating this year to the potato. I'm not saying that people shouldn't celebrate and promote the humble potato, I just think that the UN has better things to do with its time and money.

I only hope that other tubers get their own years. Otherwise, the yam and the cassava might get jealous. (rice, being the number one food crop, got its own year in 2004).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Sunday, January 20, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Love, Me + Ravelry

On my way to the market for a cinnamon roll, I checked out Love, Me Boutique. It's a fantastic shop. I really wish I had tons of cash to spend there - so many pretty things. Funny thing was that after posting about the shop, I came home to find an article about it in the Community Herald (a paper I almost never pick up!). I'm making it my mission that everyone I know in Halifax starts shopping there. And! Exciting news - she seems interested in selling some of my monkeys on commission. I didn't intend to go in there and get her to carry the minkeys, but I'm certainly happy about the situation. Hopefully it all works out and the monkeys charm the pants off of her customers.

http://lovemeboutique.wordpress.com/

In other semi-exciting news, I received my invite to join Ravelry today. It came really quickly. I think I requested my invite less than two weeks ago. It's a neat site and really well done. If I remember to use it, I think I may actually manage to keep my knitting, maybe even my yarn stash, somewhat organized!

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, January 12, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Local finds: LouLouBell and Love Me Boutique

Even before I took the "Handmade Pledge" this holiday season, I was a fan of shopping for not only handmade items, but locally produced handmade items. I've always been a sucker for a Christmas Craft Fair. And even though Etsy makes it so easy to find awesome handmade goodies, I still love to troll around craft fairs and farmer's markets for the perfect gift.

This Christmas, despite being on a strict budget, I set out looking for something (a) awesome, and (b) available within walking distance as a gift for my best friend. Although I've known her since we were 11, shopping for her is a challenge as we live in different cities in different provinces. It's not always easy to buy something that she'll want or use. Since we dont' get to see each other all that often, I'm not always sure what her style is these days and I've never been inside her house to see her decorating style. So when I happened about the craftiness of LouLouBell at the Halifax Farmer's Market, I was pretty excited. She makes the cutest little bags/pouches and felt birds. Her fabric choices are super fantastic and the pouches were all lined in denim. It was hard not to pick out the fabric that would suit me best (as opposed to suiting my friend), but I think I managed:

louloubell.ca

louloubell.ca

It's one of those gifts that you want to keep. And not only are they super cute, this one cost only $10! I know that I'll eventually have to buy one for myself.

I also liked her felt birds, although I wasn't able to buy one as it looked similar to some things I've made. I haven't actually made bird ornaments per se, but I have started to make some felt crafts lately. I'm a little weird like that - if I think I can figure out how to make it, I probably won't buy it (whether or not I will actually get around to making it). It's the reason why I haven't been able to buy any hats/scarves/mittens since I've learned to knit. No matter how cute, I just cannot justify spending my money on something I could do at home. The only thing I do give into is sweaters - while I can technically knit a sweater, it's a project that I'm unlikely to finish in a reasonable amount of time and there is no way I could knit most sweaters for a reasonable price. (Nice yarn doesn't really fit into my budget these days).

Regardless, her stuff is great. And I was also excited to see that she sells them at a local shop - one I hadn't heard of before. I really need to get out more. If you're in the Halifax area, it's Love, Me Boutique on Birmingham. I only found out about it yesterday, so I haven't actually been yet - but they sell only Canadian handmade products and they're located downtown, which already makes it awesome in my books. I'm really excited to check it out.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, January 11, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Pineapples and Monkeys on the internets

Seeing as I am a fan of pineapples (particularly in french) and sock monkeys, friends often send me internet finds from those two categories. The latest are as follows:

ananas by marimekko @ reprodepot.com

Ananas fabric by marimekko. Really pretty stuff, although, not terribly pineappley. I heart most designs by marimekko and wish that I were made of money. If this were the case, I'd go drop a ton of cash over at the fabulousReprodepot, where all the marimekko is on sale until January 15th. Alas, even on sale, it is well out of my budget.

Another pineapple find that was sent to me by Mrs.Downstairs is this gem:

pineapple_afghan

wow. that is quite the afghan. I can't see me knitting that sucker, but if it's your kind of thing, go get it at Free Vintage Knitting Patterns.

And now for something completely awesome:

sockbattle (threadless.com)

That cornucopia of awesomeness is the Sock Battle t-shirt, a new design over at Threadless. Should anyone feel the need to buy me said t-shirt, I think I'd need the girly tee in large.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Guess that project...

I'm getting back into knitting these days. I'm messing around with some mittens for my mom (who lives in California. In the desert. No idea why she needs mittens), as well as plans to knit hat/mittens for myself. Actually, a friend recently bough a fabulous hat at Banana Republic, so with the help of Craft magazine, I plan on making my own version (although, it is technically crochet). The funny thing about that hat, that both my friend and I noticed, is that the crochet pattern looks an awful lot like an octopus I recently crocheted. Check it out:

hat:
jbananahat.jpg

octopus:
sans pipes

Should make coming up with a pattern much easier. I'll just knit a cephalopod, but without the legs. (I suppose I could put the legs on, but that would make for a really silly hat)

I hit the yarn store this afternoon and picked up yarn for my next big project:
new_yarn.JPG

What am I knitting? A Bastille day scarf? An American Flag? Guess again. It's going to be a Montreal Canadiens sweater. Since it is being knit for a friend who is about to give birth any minute now, you'd think it would be for the baby...but no! It's going to be a dog sweater for this little guy:

rydersweater.jpg

His owner isn't a fan of dog sweaters, but even she can get behind a Habs doggie sweater.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Happy Crafty New Year

It appears that I am not very good at this blogging business, although I do have some reasonable excuses. Early in December I came down with the Worst Flu Ever, which included a nasty bout of strep throat. Good times. I was down for at least a week and when I finally started to feel better, I had to catch up on work (both the thesis and the stuff that pays). Any remaining time was devoted to the holidays: cleaning the house and decorating around mid-month and then some serious baking/crafting closer to Christmas.

It's been a bit of lean fall semester for us, seeing as we're both students and there hasn't been a student loan. We managed Christmas by selling books (almost $300 on books we didn't want or didn't need. Not to mention the extra shelf space that created). We ended up buying books for each other for Christmas (we are hopeless). For friends and family, gifts have all been homemade. So while it's been a busy season, it's been a very Crafty Christmas.

I went on a crazy baking spree, baking sugar, shortbread, and gingerbread cookies, rainbow slices (a freezer cookie that we had every Christmas while I was growing up), and five star squares (a delicious and ridiculously easy concoction of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, butter, condensed milk and aero bars. Other than taste, nothing redeeming about them). All of these cookies made for tasty presents. To make the presents extra special for friends, I made some ornaments:

Gingerbread Man

The idea for that little guy came from one of my favourite craft books, Plush-o-Rama. They're meant to be made in felt, and frankly, felt would have been much better than flannelette. The fabric is the perfect colour, but a real bitch to work with in such detail and at that size. Alas, I couldn't actually find felt in a gingerbread-esque colour. I did make a "christmas pickle" ornament with felt and that turned out fantastic (I'll post a picture later - my camera is in Ontario right now). I need to investigate where I can buy felt in more colours and in larger quantities.

Anyway, I have made a crafty New Year's resolution: I'm going to learn to sew. This may sound odd on a craft blog, but I can't use a sewing machine. I particularly cannot use my own sewing machine. And I am determined to learn this year. So far, my downstairs neighbour has been helping me out by doing some machine sewing for me, but I really need to do it myself. It really speeds up the monkey making process. In November, I set up the craft desk and last week I tidied it up and found an extension cord for the sewing machine. All I have to do now is figure out how it works or buy a new machine. As you can see, the sewing machine is featured prominently on the desk. I am determined to figure it out.

craftdesk.JPG

And as pseudo-resolutions, I hope I'll get better at this blogging thing and manage to find more time in my days for crafting.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 0 comments Links to this post