Friday Favorites 02

Friday, January 14, 2022

Happy Friday! Thanks for the love on last week's Friday Favorites post. I'm excited to have a place to share some quick links with you each week. It was an extra exciting week at our house, so let's dive right in.

- I'd like to introduce you all to Dusty! We've been considering adopting a cat for a while now and the stars aligned this past week when I came across Dusty online. We adopted her through a local rescue, Hisses to Kisses. She's made herself right at home. Purrs 100% of the time she isn't asleep, and follows us around wherever we go. We don't know exactly how old she is, but she has had at least one litter of kittens. Mama cat needed a home and we're thrilled to be that home for her. No one could ever replace George bun, but she's already helping to heal parts of my heart that only the love of a furry friend can.

- In anticipation of Dusty's arrival I needed to do some serious cat-proofing around the house. So many plants, so many breakables! I picked up two of these adorable mini greenhouses from Ikea for some small house plants.

- I love seeing other people's creative spaces. This week Kait Neely shared her studio and it has so many amazing DIY details (found via Instagram). She made that table! I want to make one like that, so clever!

- I haven't had time for much sewing this week, but I did work on my scrappy green nine-patch quilt. I chatted about it in my September Monthly Report. Excited to get this one ready for quilting.

- Speaking of nine-patch quilts, this quilt by All Well caught my eye (found via Pinterest). They have a zine with instructions for how to make it.

- Tried two new recipes this week. First one was for crispy air-fried chickpeas by A Beautiful Mess. We've tried making crispy chickpeas in the oven a few times, but these were even easier and the crispiest we've made! (We're on a serious chickpea kick right now!)

- Next, I baked the Cannoli Pound Cake by Smitten Kitchen. Oh my goodness. This turned out SO good. It was easy to put together and is delicious. I did need to bake mine for about 70-75 minutes. I might try baking it at 375 degrees next time. I think my oven is a little on the cold side.

- One of my favorite internet animals is Rico the Brazilian Porcupine, who lives at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. They feature videos of Rico on the instagram account (@cincinnatizoo) pretty often! He's usually snacking, which is adorable.

- Zipped through this Women in Art Puzzle* this week. It's a beautiful puzzle and it was fun learning more about some of the amazing women in art. There is a corresponding book* by the same name too.

- I picked up a couple new-to-me dahlia varieties from Fivefork Farms. I went with Caitlin's Joy and Lavadandy. I cannot wait for garden season again! Just in case you're interested, here is my growing dahlias pin board.

Have a Great Weekend!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

2021 in Review

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Wow, 2021. I've been thinking a lot about this past year (and about writing this post) over the last few weeks. It's taken me some time to figure out what I want to say about it.

There were definitely some really good things that happened; getting our vaccines, finally seeing our family, and growing closer to Michael being the major ones. On the other hand, 2021 was one of the hardest years of my life. We lost our sweet bunny George in February, and that grief has taken me on a journey this year. I felt unable to do much of anything creative for a big chunk of the year. Beyond that, here were a lot of other personal struggles this year that I decided to keep private. I started seeing a therapist this year, which I've never done before. Honestly, I wish I'd done so sooner, it has been helpful for me. Either way, I'm glad I sought out some extra support. I'm grateful that I have access to mental health services.

On that note, my main focus in 2021 ended up being my phsyical and mental health. I didn't push too hard to make things when I didn't feel like it. Instead I tried to keep busy doing whatever felt right. That ended up meaning a bunch of home projects (would you like to see more of those?), a well tended garden, lots of puzzles, trying out new recipes, and some back to basics crafting. I did still manage to finish four quilts, including two long-term WIPs which felt really good. I vanished from this space and instagram for long stretches of time, but I still managed to post some tutorials last year and hosted another lined drawstring bag sew along. Hoping to avoid those stretches this year, but no promises! Sometimes it just felt too overwhelming to show up, and again, I didn't push it when it didn't feel right.

Alight, now that I've gotten all that chatter out of the way, let's look at some creative highlights from the year and how I did on my crafty goals!

First up, my yardage tracking. For the sixth year in a row, I tracked my fabric and yarn yardage. (See how I do that in this post.) As in other years, my goal was simply to use up more fabric than I bring in. I'm very happy with my numbers this year! I only added 25 yards of fabric to my stash all year. I'm so proud of that! This year I really only bought fabric for specific projects, with a few exceptions. And I used up a decent amount, 123.25 yards. Considering I went for months at a time this year without much sewing, I think that's pretty good.

On the yarn side, 0 yards of yarn came through my door, for the second year in a row. I still have SO much yarn in my stash, and I made a good dent this year, using up almost 2400 yards worth!

2021 Fabric Stash:
Brought in: 25 yards
Sewed up/destashed: 123.25 yards
Net: -98.25 yards

2021 Yarn Stash:
Brought in: 0 yards
Knit up/destashed: 2319 yards
Net: -2319 yards

Okay, let's dive into some favorite projects from the year!

My favorite quilt finish:
Double Gauze Plaid Quilt (still need to blog this one!)

My favorite lined drawstring bag finish:
Present Quilt Block Bag

My favorite garment finish:
A double gauze lightweight jacket (need better photos and to blog it!)

My favorite knitting finish:
Astra Hat for Michael

My favorite weaving finish:
favorite scarf
Hi Lo Scarf

My favorite crafting finish:
Spooky Halloween Village

My favorite woodworking finishing:
Outdoor Sofa

My favorite home project:
Painting our stair risers and hanging a gallery wall.

I managed to publish seven tutorial/informational posts this year!

- How I Organize my Digital Sewing Patterns
- How I Organize my Paper Sewing Patterns
- Golden Afternoon Quilt Free Tutorial
- How to Customize Wooden Beads with Paint, Stain, and Dye
- Present Quilt Block Drawstring Bag Free Tutorial
- Reusable Gift Tag Ideas for Drawstring Bags
- How to Use Trim or Ribbon to Embellish Your Drawstring Bags

I didn't publish any new patterns this year, but I did start carrying Round Wooden Beads and two colors of Nylon Paracord in my online shop!

A look back at my 2021 Crafty goals, and how I did. I would say overall, not great. But I'm okay with that! Every year is different and I never could have anticipated what this year would bring. Glad I managed to complete some of them!

Sewing & Quilting Goals:
- Use up more yardage than I bring in. I'll track my yardage each month to help me stay on target.
Success on this goal again! Decreased my stash by 86 yards this year.

- Complete one long-term quilt project (kaleidoscope, double wedding ring, HST book quilt tops, etc.).
I finished my kaleidoscope quilt! Still need to blog about that one. I also finished my Golden Afternoon quilt which was a very long-term WIP too.

- Sew four new-to-me patterns, ideally one per quarter.
Didn't do so well on this goal. I only made a project from one new-to-me pattern, the Sit 'n Sew Pincushion Pattern by Shannon Fraser.

- Complete one small scrap project per month.
I fell off this goal pretty quickly. I feel okay about it though. I am itching to make a scrap quilt this year.

- Finally sew the Kelly Anorak Jacket (ideally in time for Fall).
This one didn't happen. I've decided it's time to destash the pattern/hardware this year.

- Practice techniques that are unfamiliar or new to me.
Didn't make time for this in 2021.

Knitting Goals:
- Use up more yardage than I bring in. I'll track my yardage each month to help me stay on target.
Giving myself an A+ on this goal this year. I didn't bring in any yarn and I used up a lot of yardage (for me!).

- Knit a matching hat and mitten set.
Sort of completed this one. I knit myself a hat to match the mittens I finished on the last day of 2020.

- Start a new weaving project.
Very happy to say I really exceeded my goal on this one! I wove four scarves this year and really found it soothing especially in early 2021.

- Finish or frog one long term knitting project (Briochealicious, Daybreak, Sundial, or Hitchhiker shawls or machine knit socks).
Did not tackle this one. I knit some on Briochealicious, but I have a long way to go. I am considering a few frogs though early this year.

I have one more 2021 wrap up post, and it will be up next week. A dedicated post to my 2021 garden! I can't wait to share it with you. Then hopefully I can get my 2022 goals figured out next!

Happy New Year!

Friday Favorites 01

Friday, January 7, 2022

Happy Friday and Happy New Year! I thought it would be fun to start a new series of posts that will go up each Friday. I want to sort of combine two different things that I used to post regularly, years ago. First, I used to do a Friday Favorites post where I would choose nine photos from Flickr to showcase each week. Second, I used to end my posts with a little "what I'm loving right now section" which included things I was eating, listening to, watching, etc.

These posts will be a mix of sewing/crafting stuff as well as just regular life stuff. Rather than spend tons of time trying to figure out the perfect plan for this new version, I figured it would be better to just start. I'm sure it will evolve over time or it might not stick! It may also end up changing what I include in my monthly report posts, we'll see! Hopefully you'll find them enjoyable.

- My favorite (and only finished) make of the week is a lined drawstring bag. Shocking, I know! I needed an Artist size to wrap a gift in, and I didn't have any in my stash I wanted to part with. Pulled out some of my Geometric Bliss fabrics for it.

- Loving the simplicity of the Gum Blossom Quilt by Hopewood Home (found via Pinterest). The mix of prints is really appealing to me.

- These paper pieced blocks by Amy Friend are so striking (found via Instagram). I love the color she chose!

- How cool is this giant peg board in the Megan Nielsen Patterns studio? I would love to make something like this one day! Their whole space is lovely.

- The week of Christmas I got an incredible surprise in my inbox. I won a giveaway from Leckerlee! A puzzle featuring their 10th anniversary artwork and a giftcard to their shop. I was (am) legitimately giddy. I have been a huge fan of their lebkuchen and tins for many years. Combine that with my puzzle craze of 2021, and I couldn't have won a more perfect giveaway!! Thank you so much, Leckerlee.

- I made this Cauliflower Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Quinoa by Platings and Pairings for lunches this week. This is maybe the fourth or fifth time we've made it? It's so good.

- Baked my first batch of rye bread! It turned out really nice. Soft and falvourful. I used the Caraway Rye Bread recipe from King Arthur Baking.

- Currently burning a new-to-me candle scent from KSM Candles, East African Amber. Love their soy candles. Americano is my very favorite from their range.

- I'm giving our upstairs bathroom a little facelift with some colorful textiles. I ordered the Molly Folk Floral Bath Mat, which I saved a link to years ago. Can't wait to pull it all together.

- Ordered some flower seeds from Floret Flowers this week. Excited to grow strawflowers, zinnias, and rudbeckia in 2022.

Have a Great Weekend!

December Monthly Report

Monday, January 3, 2022

It's time for the December monthly report. See past reports here.

December was full of a lot of sewing! I mostly made drawstring bags for wrapping gifts. This is my second present block bag. I love how it turned out! Here is the tutorial if you'd like to make one too: Present Quilt Block Drawstring Bag Free Tutorial

This year I really wanted to use up this Cozy Christmas Panel by Lori Holt. My Mom gave it to me a few years ago and it's just been waiting in my stash to be used for something.

I ended up squeezing SEVEN bags from it! I used a solid for all the linings, but the exteriors were all cut from the panel. I made two Everything size bags and five Snack size bags from my Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern. Feels so good to have used it up. There aren't even scraps left!

I made a some Christmas gifts, but managed to take almost no photos of them somehow! I did snap a photo of this special project. My Mom and I have been really into puzzles this year, so I decided to get a custom puzzle printed for her. At first I wasn't sure what to have printed, but ended up doing a giant vintage star quilt mocked up some of my Dreamin' Vintage prints. I used I choose the 675-piece 20" square puzzle, which came with their standard box. I wasn't crazy about the box, so I ended up picking up a kraft paper box from Michael's and designing my own box cover. I think it turned out pretty cute, and she loved it!

I started a new knitting project! Another pair of colorwork mittens. I'm using Emma's Ice Flower Mittens pattern. More details on my Ravelry here.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in December:

December Fabric
Used up: 21.75 yard
Brought in: 2 yards
Net: -19.75 yards
Year to date: -88.25 yards

December Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: -2319 yards

Pretty happy with my fabric output this month! I made a bunch of drawstring bags which was a good chunk of the yardage. I also made myself a coat! I'll be sure to post about it soon, but that used up 5.5 yards. No yarn out this month, but none in, so that's good!

Did a little antiquing while we were back home in Ohio. Managed to find some really nice vintage Christmas goodies!

I finally tried making milk bread! I've wanted to try this bread for a long time and it did not dissapoint. It turned out so delicious, and had the most amazing soft texture. I'll be making this many more times! The recipe is from the book Mooncakes and Milkbread by Kristina Cho*. I bookmarked so many things to make in this book.

Have a Great Month!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.