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Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange!

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So I finally completed my gift for the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange & I’m really excited about it. I’ve never done this before & I’m a little shy, so I actually didn’t get to know my gifter or my giftee very well – but oh well. Maybe next time.

So the girl I was to be making something for said that she liked useful kitchen stuff, so I decided to sew her a half apron. I’ve been DYING to make myself an apron, but it’s even better when I get to make it for another person! I also decided to make it without using a pattern, which was scary since I’m a fairly new sewer – but it came out great! Of course, it’s not perfect – I didn’t realize that the fabric I chose to use for the waistband/tie was slightly see-through, & some of my top-stitching is obviously not perfectly straight, but who cares! I SUCCESSFULLY SEWED AN APRON! It’s super simple, it doesn’t even have a pocket because I didn’t want to mess up the apron itself. I also decided to also make a few washcloths to go with the ‘kitchen’ theme. Originally, I wanted to make those wooden spoons with the painted handle, but I don’t have any supplies for it, so washcloths it was. I really love working with cotton yarn, & I also love the idea of them being SO useful. The washcloths aren’t in my giftee’s favorite colors, because I wanted them to somewhat match the apron instead. :] Either way, I’m proud of my handiwork & I hope my giftee loves the set as much as I do!

Check out the Craftaholics Anonymous blog, there’s some great stuff on there. I think you can get to her site through the Handmade Gift Exchange button somewhere over there –>

Branching Out

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I’m currently hanging out at my favorite coffee shop downtown with Shawna. I got up pretty early today for having a day off. I’m not a morning person, but I wish I were. My days off would be a lot more productive if I got up before 11am on a regular basis. But last night I was tired & went to bed extra early, so I made sure to set an alarm for 9am.

I haven’t been doing tons of crafting recently, but I posted all my knitted & crocheted items on Facebook & it blew up. I got so much great feedback, and now I actually have a few orders of things people would like to pay me to make them! It’s super exciting, & a great pre-Etsy run, I think.

So last week, the friend I made the Gryffindor scarf for asked me to make her a matching headband with the leftover yarn. The first thing I did was make the flower [a new pattern I found that I absolutely LOVE for headbands], but then she requested that I put an owl on it. At first I was skeptical, not sure if I’d be able to do it or find a pattern for it. The first pattern I tried was unsuccessful, I didn’t understand some of the instructions, but the second one was so easy, and so cute! Turns out, this owl headband may have been one of the best things I’ve ever made – everyone seems to really enjoy it, & I know that I’ve personally never seen anything like it. Plus, the owner of the pattern allows selling the things you embellish with it, which I love and appreciate.

So with the flower I had made, I decided to try a new, simple headband pattern that I single crochet together in the back.

I’m currently waiting for cable needles that I bought last week to get here. They might actually be in my mailbox, I just haven’t checked yet today. I got them from KnitPicks & I’m really excited to try them out. Since I learned to cable using a single double pointed needle, I knew that I wanted a straight cable needle but they don’t seem to sell them in the craft stores. All I could find around here were ones with a dip in the metal to hold stitches, or ones that were shaped sort of like a hook. So these needles are perfect for me, & I’m extra excited because they’re made with Harmony wood, which I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for awhile now.

My sewing machine is also on it’s way. Last I checked, it had left Cali and was headed for Portland, Oregon. The tentative delivery date to my parents house is Feb. 6th. I can’t wait! I know I still won’t get it for a few more weeks, but it was a big purchase – so it’ll be a huge sigh of relief when it shows up safe & sound, & in working order. I’ve been busy on Pinterest & CraftGawker lately, pinning & favoriting as many sewing patterns, tutorials, and ‘classes’ as I can get my hands on. I also bought a couple easy Simplicity patterns at my local Walmart, including some pillow covers & an apron. :]

In my blitz of sewing pattern searching, I found a few different ways to store and organize thread that could also be considered wall art. I sent a few of these pictures to dad & asked him to make me the one that he thought would be most useful to me, and that he liked the most.

He said he liked the last one, with the shelves best. It was also the one that I thought would be the most useful, since it’s easier to see and sort the thread colors, plus there is a place to store bobbins of the same colors! Now I have another thing to look forward to when my parents come to visit!

I recently had an itch to take up a new craft. This tutorial was my inspiration. I absolutely LOVE the idea of using patterned fabric as a sort of pattern for embroidering. What a beautiful embellishment! So I thought, well, I used to do cross-stitch and needlework when I was younger, and I have TONS of embroidery floss – I should try it! So I purchased a yard of osnaburg fabric, as well as a roll of some embroidery fabric I found at Michaels, some needles, a disappearing ink fabric marker, and a hoop. I learned the split stitch, the stem stitch, the back stitch, the chain stitch and the french knot from this how-to on the Sublime Stitching blog. So after a few practice runs, I decided to copy a pattern [of jelly beans!] onto my fabric & embroider it. I can already tell that I need to broaden my horizons a bit – my favorite stitches are the back stitch and the french knot, & I really really don’t like the chain stitch, even though it’s beautiful [probably because I suck at executing it]. But either way, I felt really good about my first attempt & I can’t wait to do more.

Please disregard the pink on the top – those were all my practice stitches. & the lower right jelly bean – I tried something new with the eyes & it didn’t really work out for me.

So that’s been my week. I have a few things I have to make for sales, but also on my list are a shrug for mom, finger-less gloves for dad, and a birthday present for my best friend, plus the granny square blanket for my parents and practicing practicing practicing embroidery. Wish me luck!

Disappointing Sunday

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Disappointing Sunday

I got up this morning & took pictures of my recent work in preparation to do a post. I was looking forward to my relaxing day, where I could read and crochet and enjoy my Sunday before my friends & I go bowling tonight & before my Monday starts with me leaving for the bus at 7:15am. I was especially looking forward to it because I got all four of my summer research applications done last night, and the next two days on my calendar are blank, which means I have no homework or meetings or anything except class going on until Wednesday. But then this girl I have to work with on an essay emailed me about a time for us to meet & work on it. After several emails, we got it figured out, & by some miracle, it’s not a time that completely sucks for me [though the first few times she wanted to meet were]. Either way, the whole thing was a lot more complicated than I made it sound & was my ;lksd;flkjsdf moment that ruined my peaceful Sunday, but at least we figured out a time & we’ll be done with it on Tuesday. WHEW.

So, back to the important stuff. I’ve been busy & stressed this week [as usual] and lacking proper crafting time. Either way, I still managed to do a little knitting and crocheting.

First off, I made another coffee cozy. This time, it turned out more like the one I was originally trying to create. It tapers, sort of like a mini-headband, as one of my friends said, so that you can use it either for a hot to-go cup, or for a regular glass coffee mug.

I’ve been carrying this one around with me for when I buy coffee  on campus, & it works great except I think I need to make future cozies a row or two smaller. Once it stretches a little it slides up & I always worry that it’ll make the lid pop off my cup. Also, I still haven’t finished the knitted coffee cozy I was making. I got bored with it & was excited about making other things. It snowed a TON here last week, so much so that we actually got a snow day, which is something that never happens at WSU, since we live in an area that can typically handle the weather. It wasn’t very exciting for me, since it was on a Thursday & I already don’t have class then – but it did prompt me to want to make myself a few more headbands. I made everyone super cute ones for Christmas, but I still only have one or two for myself. So Friday night, I whipped out a red cable-braided headband, but I don’t have any pictures of it because 1. the mannequin head that I ordered hasn’t arrived yet & 2. it didn’t turn out very well, unfortunately. I didn’t want to use bulky yarn, so I used worsted & took the needle size down, & it didn’t really work out.

I’ve been wanting to work on the granny square blanket I’m making for my parents, so I finally dug all the yarn out for it & put it in an easily accessible basket so I could work on the squares while watching TV. I now have 8 squares, & they’re so pretty! I have to say, I picked out some really great colors for this blanket.

I’m really awful at working on this for the same reasons I’m awful at working on the wool-eater blanket – I get bored. I get SO tired when I make more that one of these. It’s just super monotonous work, but it makes me sad because I really want to be able to make more & finish it soon. My parents want it to be a little big on their full size bed, since they fight for covers all the time. I think we figured that I’d need like 80 or 90 squares for it to be the right size. That’s really not that many, & I think once I get past the first 20 or so it will be much easier to see the light. I just know it’s going to be gorgeous & I can’t wait to see [& wrap up in] the finished product.

So I FINALLY got a picture from band banquet of me wearing the shrug I made!

Isn’t it so cute?! I’ve never made an actual clothing item, so the fact that it turned out so well & that I got so many compliments on it & the clutch, which you can’t really see in this picture, was so great! It went so well with the dress & everyone loved it. I can’t wait to make more sweaters/shrugs/etc!

Right now, along with my granny squares, I’m working on making faux boot sock/boot cuff. I’m kind of drawing inspiration from this pattern & this picture/pattern, but mostly making up my own pattern as I go. I really want to make actual decorative boot socks & I’m SO in love with these:

But I have yet to purchase or learn how to properly use circular needles or dpns, so knitting up my own pair is a little unlikely. I’ve been looking for some crochet knee-socks, & found one or two – so I might try them out soon.

So that’s my craftiness for the week. It’s nearly midnight, & tomorrow’s Monday – UGH.

What’s the deal with copyrights?

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Okay, so, I said in my last post that I had a lot to say about copyrights and copyright infringement. Today I was curious about free patterns & whether or not you could sell what you make from them. I know that many patterns are pretty straight forward and tell you whether the designer is okay with it or not, but some don’t. At this point, I would assume the proper etiquette would be to email the designer and ask their preference on the situation. But anyways…

I came across this discussion on Etsy about copyright infringement and how people [not even the designer/copyright owner] contact people who they think might be infringing. That’s just crazy to me. I guess in my opinion that’s a little too much. How do they know the seller didn’t get permission from the designer? Not cool, not cool at all.

But that’s not the main thing I wanted to talk about. Basically, I really want to open an Etsy shop, but I’m afraid of all this copyright business. I’ve been busy making up my own patterns for some of my favorite things – coffee cozies, headbands/earwarmers, & infinity scarves/cowls – so that I don’t have to worry as much about copyrights, but everything I make is pretty basic and has likely been done before, more than once. My biggest worry & question is: how does that work? Everything has surely been done already, and maybe someone has it copyrighted, but what if I’ve created my own item and honestly created my own pattern but someone thinks I’m infringing? I mean, it’s not hard to be inspired by something and then create your own pattern for it, & people do it all the time. So what happens in that situation?

I’ve done some reading about copyright laws, but I’m no law student, I know basically nothing about laws like that. Anyone have any basic pointers to go by, or websites that give the plain & simple, important things to know about it?

Maybe I’m just stressing excessively about this – but copyright infringement is serious business! Help!

Lazy days turned crafting days.

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Sorry I haven’t posted lately, guys. I’ve honestly been putting if off because I’ve been waiting for pictures of something I made & wanted to put in this post. But, I still don’t have the pictures, so I’ll just have to wait & put them in later. Also, my camera is dying & it’s been SUPER snowy here lately, meaning there’s no way I’ll be able to buy batteries anytime soon. :[ Depressing, since I’ve been so busy crafting lately. So most of the pics I post today were taken with my BlackBerry – & if you’ve ever had a BlackBerry, you know that they take surprisingly crappy pictures.

This weekend was a three day weekend for us because of MLK Jr. Day, but for me it’s a four day weekend since I don’t have class on Tuesday! So I’ve been “busy” doing nothing but being lazy & crafting. Really, I should be spending this time working on school stuff, or grad school stuff, or cleaning my apartment [I recently bought a Swiffer that I’m dying to try out], but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve been having so much fun crafting, and when do I ever have time for that these days? I feel like I have to take serious advantage of it.

Friday was “Band Banquet” at my University. The marching band has a big formal, catered dinner where we watch slideshows of the season, hand out awards, & cry because the seniors won’t be back next year. Since I’m not coming back next year, it was an emotional night. This year I really felt like I stepped out of my comfort zone though, and I got my hair done super fancy by a friend, and I didn’t overly stress about the dress or shoes, etc. Mom & I went shopping for the dress over break & found it and all the jewelry on our first trip out, so that really helped with the stress-free vibe.

Pictures from this night are the reason I was putting off posting, because I actually made a ruffly shrug to wear over my dress, and a clutch to carry my phone & cards, etc. The friend who has the pictures of me with those items though, can’t find her card-reader for her computer, and her card didn’t fit in the reader my computer has. SO, that’s the big exciting stuff I couldn’t wait to show you guys, but we’ll be waiting just a little bit longer.

My best friend Jessica and I are the section leaders of the clarinet section and have been for the past two years. We’re also both Seniors. Last year, our section got us each a bouquet of roses and a card signed by the entire section.

This year, they made us each scrapbooks of our time in the marching band. From Freshman year, with people who haven’t been in the band for years, to last Spring when we got the go to New York City with the men’s basketball team – it was all there. I didn’t cry, but boy I wanted to. What an incredible thing to have, and to be able to show people for the rest of my life. College marching band: the end of an amazing 12 years as a band kid. Thanks so much to the people who made them the best 12 years of my life.

So that was the highlight to an already amazing night an even more amazing Band Banquet. I’ve literally looked at this scrapbook everyday since then. It really gets me in the mood to do some scrapbooking of my own. I’m AWFUL at scrapbooking. I’m way too perfectionist, and in my opinion, it can always be better, so then I want to take the pages I’ve made apart & redo them. I do have some really good scrapbooks, like a mini one I did for the summer after my Freshman year of college, but otherwise I’ve been slacking. I started to do a scrapbook of every year, but I haven’t even finished Freshman year’s yet, & now I’m a Senior, and I have thousands of pictures to wade through. I think what I want to do, is make one big college scrapbook, after I finish my Freshman year one. I also want to add to this marching band one, because they left every other page open for us to do that. When it stops snowing & I can go buy supplies [who knew puff paint was the answer?!] & have the time, I’ll be doing some scrapbooking.

I finished my giant infinity scarf last night. I love it SO MUCH. It’s exactly what I’ve been wanting for so long. It’s so bulky and big around my neck when I double it up, it’s great. It’s really wide [maybe a little too wide…] and really long, but it’s fabulous. I’ll be making more for sure – I’ve actually already started on a brown one that’s 10 stitches less in width.

I also spent a bunch of time last night trying to perfect a coffee cozi pattern. They’re so simple but so hard – I kept making it too long so it was too big for the cup! Originally, I was trying to decrease toward the end & put a button hole in so that it could go around a real coffee mug, but then after two failed attempts at that [which I’m sure I could make work, I just didn’t care enough], I decided just to make cozi’s for hot to-go cups. The pattern is so simple, a double crocheted rectangle and some buttons, really. But they’re so cute & I can’t wait to use them/give them away/sell them. I haven’t decorated them yet, but the last picture shows the potential for that. I also think an oversized flower would look great.

I’m also working on a knitted one, called the Corrugated Coffee Cozy, which I love. I’m making it in this yellow/gold/burnt gold color that looks ugly at first glance, but I think it’s going to make a really great coffee cozy.

I’ve been on a serious baking/cooking kick the last week, which is honestly weird for me. I do love cooking and baking, but I usually just don’t have time for it and, like I think I’ve said in previous posts, I’m really not that good at it & so sometimes it causes me more stress than anything else. Anyways, the night before last, I made lemon pepper marinated pork that I found on Pinterest. THAT was an experience. I have a George Foreman type grill, but I hate using it because the cleanup is such a pain, so I decided I was going to cook these in oil on the stove. Welllll I have a super sensitive smoke detector, and before I knew it my kitchen/apartment was full of smoke because of the hot oil, and I was running around trying to open windows & find a fan to keep the smoke away from the detector – but it still went off. Only once though, which I thought was quite a feat, since there was LOTS of smoke. Either way, the pork turned out great, even if I was totally shaken by the experience – & I have no pictures, probably because I was too busy rerouting smoke to remember to take any.

Last night, I made a lemon pepper shrimp & pasta dish that I also found on Pinterest, which went much better than my pork fiasco the night before [except for having to do some serious cleaning to the stove before cooking, because of the oil that has splattered EVERYWHERE]. It was really good too, easy to make & made the perfect amount for me. I probably could have had some leftovers, but I kept munching on it from the stove after having my first bowl, so there weren’t any, but that’s okay. Super good, & I’ll definitely make this one again.

So that’s what I’ve been up to all weekend. I can’t believe it’s already Monday. I also can’t believe it’s already 3pm on Monday. :/ I haven’t done anything. I didn’t get up til noon and I hate when I let myself do that. What a waste of half my day!

One more thing I wanted to mention in this post but don’t think I’ll go real deep into right now is that I think I’m almost ready to open an Etsy shop but I’m terrified to. Mostly because of Copyright infringement, but I think I’m going to do a blog post just for this topic very soon. Basically, I Googled some information about Copyrights on patterns and ended up in this like 3 year old discussion on Etsy about it, and it just scares the daylights out of me. I have so many questions, and don’t quite understand it all, and I also have some opinions about it too, one of which being that I think some people are a little to crazy and over-the-top when it comes to Copyrights. Just let us craft and sell what we make from it, you know? Gah. But anyways, like I said – I’ll probably do a separate post on that sometime soon because I have a lot to say on the topic, and have a lot of questions that I hope someone will be able to address for me.

Hope everyone who has today off enjoys it! Happy crafting. :]

Busy busy bee

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I’ve been so busy lately guys! & not all work, but actually some fun as well! Yesterday I finished the hat I was making. It turned out really well! I was worried at first, it seemed so thick & bulky. I attempted to try it on myself, but I’m going to be honest – slouchy hats aren’t my thing. I really wish they were, I love the look… on other people, just not me. Anyways, my friend Reanne was over tonight to watch Grey’s Anatomy with me, so I put the hat on her head & snapped some pics! I really should invest in a mannequin head or something, but in the mean time friends will do. Once again, I got this pattern here.

I was also CRAVING sweets last night, but not anything that’s in the giant bag of Christmas candy I have, of course. So I decided to make one of the recipes I’ve had saved from the days I would Stumble allllll the time. Side note, I really enjoy cooking & baking along with crafting, but I’m not very good at it – especially cooking. I literally don’t know how to keep my head when I’m in the kitchen, & I’m pretty good at panicking when things aren’t going right. Baking though, I’m decent at. I can make that work. ANYWAYS. I chose this Cake Batter Pancake recipe because it seemed relatively quick & easy with very few dishes. They were so yummy! Unfortunately, I don’t have any powdered sugar, so I was unable to make the icing to go with them, but they’re fabulous by themselves. Since I live alone & can’t eat them all myself, I froze the leftover with wax paper between each pancake. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but today I took a couple out & popped them in the microwave for a minute & they were perfect! So fun & so cute to make.

Today was an eventful day. I didn’t have any classes, but I got up extra early for a couple of reasons. First, I had to drive to my work to talk to my manager because I had decided to quit, but I knew I should do it in person. I live in Washington, & was working in Idaho. Not only was it like 15 miles round trip to get to work, but the minimum wage in Idaho is like $2 less than Washington & I was hardly working because of the distance & the scheduling issues between classes & band. They were so great about it & I have really good relationships with my managers & co-workers, so while I knew this was the best decision, it was still bittersweet – especially since I’ve been working with the company for 6 years; it was literally my first & only job since I was 16. So now, I’m on the job hunt again, but that was the plan. I feel like I’ve applied everywhere in this town, but I’m sure I’ll find more. Wish me luck, I need a job!

I also had a meeting with one of my McNair faculty members. McNair is a program that helps underrepresented students on the road to going to graduate school and ultimately getting their Ph.D. I’m supposed to have a faculty mentor [because we have to do our own research project with a faculty member & present it at conferences around the area and country], but I’ve had no luck with this recently. My meeting went really well & we have a new game plan that I’m super excited about & hopehopehope works out. Fingers crossed!

When I got home, I decided I wanted to make myself a real meal for dinner, rather than the usual top ramen or whatever. I made hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes, which is a recipe I got from my mom and absolutely love. I’m sure other people have made this before, but basically all it is is chopped onion, ground hamburger, cream of mushroom soup, milk, & garlic salt, over mashed potatoes. Sooo good. It’s a super hearty meal & it reminds me of home. Yum.

After my amazing dinner, I had the baking buzz again, and wanted to try something new. I found this interesting recipe for coca-cola cupcakes, & decided to try it because my parents sent me home with a 2-liter of Pepsi & half a case of root beer, neither of which I really drink. So, instead of ‘coca-cola cupcakes’, I made Pepsi Cupcakes.

I had so much fun with this recipe. You started by heating the coke, butter, & cocoa, as well as the sugars, which was unique to any other cupcakes I’ve made.

They were super good. I, once again, didn’t have powdered sugar, so I couldn’t make the frosting that goes with it, but I experimented with store-bought frosting & pepsi & it actually turned out pretty tasty! I gave a bunch of these babies away to Reanne when she was here, because she has a boyfriend and two roommates. It’s unfortunate that I love to bake so much when I live alone – 24 cupcakes is a little much for me.

So now I’m working on a giant infinity scarf for myself in a heather grey color. I’m pretty excited for it to be finished, even though I’ve been too busy baking to crochet! Next time you hear from me, hopefully there will be some progress!

Sunday: The best & worst day of the week.

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Sometimes, I adore Sunday’s, & other times, I hate them. Today, it’s a little bit of both. I accomplished things I needed to accomplish today so I’m thankful for that, but I also start Spring semester tomorrow at 8am, & I’m so unprepared. Either way, it’s only 5:30pm, I got the one big thing I really needed to get done today done, which was to finally get a real start on my applications for summer research programs. Well, all I really did was write out my personal & research statements, but you’d be amazed at how difficult it is! Not only am I supposed to sell myself by talking about my research experience & what I would like to accomplish, etc., I also have to do it all in under 250 words! It’s awful, but I did it, finally. I’ve been putting it off for weeks, because I was dreading it so much. I sent them off to the director & assistant of my university’s McNair program to look them over & give them the okay, so basically I think I’ve gotten as far on the applications as I can for now. Now I can do some crafting!

So I’ve gotten a lot done the last few days. I went through my storage closet and dresser drawers & donated/threw out a TON of stuff. It’s so satisfying to do, but it was so much work. I reorganized the closet & got it rearranged so I had easier access to the things I had in storage. I have a dresser in there that was on the back wall originally, making it so I had to crawl all the way into the closet to access it – so I moved it around to the side of the closet by the door. Now all I have to do is hop up & sit in the doorway to get into the drawers. Much, much better!

I also purchased two 18 gallon tubs for more storage. Turns out, my yarn wouldn’t even fit into one of the tubs. So I made a ‘loose yarn’ bin, & a ‘projects’ bin. Now, I have these bins sitting together underneath my storage closet door, with a blanket over them to be used as additional seating, since I live in a studio apartment & my bed is the only real seating. Someday, I want to have a granny square blanket or my wool-eater blanket done to have there instead of the polk-a-dot one, but it works for now. I also think a lovely, colorful crocheted pillow would look fabulous on the ‘bench’. We’ll just have to see about that.

So lately I’ve been so everywhere with my knitting & crocheting. I feel… paralyzed, almost. I can’t make anything because I want to make EVERYTHING. Literally. I can’t stop looking at/saving blogs & patterns, even though I already have at least 15 things I would really like to do, & I don’t need more lined up. I think this has something to do with the fact that I’m in complete denial of my break is over & soon I’ll have to focus on school-work over my craft projects. How depressing.

I’ve been working on granny bunting lately, because I want to decorate my windows with them. It’s so adorable, & so fun. It’s taken me forever to finish though because I get bored after one triangle. No wonder I can’t pick a single project, I can’t even focus on one! Anyways though, I have 4 of the 5 triangles done, & after I finish this post, I plan on completing the final one. I can’t wait to see what they look like on my windows!

Aren’t they pretty? I feel like I’ll be making lots & lots of bunting in the coming months. I can’t wait to make holiday colored ones for the different times of year. I think something like this would be a great door decoration.

I also started a t-shirt rug. In my cleaning frenzy, I saved all my old t-shirts, tank tops, etc. that I thought were the right material. I decided to cut up 3 of the prettiest colored ones & start on this rug. & decided I wanted to make it a giant granny square, instead of the typical circle I usually see. It’s not very big yet, I think it’ll take many, many t-shirts before it’s the size I’d like it, so I plan to put this project aside for awhile until I can plead my friends to give me things they don’t want, or until I can go to Goodwill & buy some more. I’m pretty excited about it though, I think it will be nice & cute when it’s done.

I think I’m going to write myself a crafting to-do list. I have a lot of stuff I want to/need to make, & obviously I’m getting a little overwhelmed by it all. In the coming weeks & months, I’d like to make some progress, at least, on the things I want to make the most. Suggestions of fun, easy, & quick little in-between projects are always welcome – I will need something to keep me fresh & having fun.