Crafting | Somewhere in Middle America

Well, friends, we made it through another week! And this was a particularly memorable week–one of my closest friends in Omaha gave birthday to a big, beautiful baby boy yesterday. I’m especially giddy this morning because I get to meet him today, and his parents asked me if I would take his first “professional” portraits next week. What an honor! I’ve been doing my research on newborn photography, learning the best positions for the baby and what equipment I’ll need. But if you have any experience photographing newborns, I’d love your suggestions.

On another note, do you enjoy these weekly round-ups? I know I don’t do them every week, and I’m debating whether to continue with them. I come across so much great content on the web every day that I want to share with you, but I’m wondering if these types of posts disrupt the “flow” of my blog. (Does my blog even have a flow?) I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your comments below. Or email me if you prefer: pj at somewhereinmiddleamerica dot com.

And now, the list:

From honey-colored waves or a bleach-blond pixie, Michelle Williams can do no wrong with her hair.

Am I jealous that this talented photographer is only 19? You bet! (via Creature Comforts)

I have never been to Maine, but I would go just for a McLobster.

These book clocks are so brilliant. One would look terrific in my living room. (via A Merry Mishap)

Free downloads for fellow list-making lovers. (via Elizabeth Anne Designs Living)

I’m in the mood for A Little Romance.

When was the last time you had a really good cry?

Have you ever seen anything as darling as this embroidered cake? (PS: Happy birth day, Spencer!) (via Oh Happy Day)

Knitting takes too long; I need to learn how to crochet. (via Design*Sponge)

Again, please let me know what you think about this weekly series (or any of my posts). I’m in the process of considering a blog revamp and could use your good advice.

Remember making friendship bracelets as a kid? We used to use embroidery thread or lanyard (which my friend Jamie and her camp friends called “gimp”–what?), but part of the fun of the craft was collecting a rainbow of colors.

At Tuesday’s Craft Night, Jessie brought her embroidery thread with the intention of making bracelets but spent most the evening organizing her thread box instead… until she had the brilliant idea to use the thread for hair wraps. Using Jamie as a model, she showed us how it was done. If Jamie didn’t have a haircut appointment the next day, perhaps she would have kept it in. (It also would’ve helped if Jessie braided Jamie’s strand of hair first. We didn’t think of that.)

When was the last time to made a friendship bracelet? Do you think you’d remember how?

Last night my friends and I got together for craft night, which we try to hold every couple of months (although I wish it took place more often). Rather than work on the scarf I’ve been knitting for over a year and a half, I decided to take on a project that I could start and finish within an hour or two.

Inspired by Maggie’s post on EADL (and because I need them), I chose to make magnets. I picked up the supplies at Michael’s for about $15 that afternoon. Sidenote: I hate going to Michael’s. There is just too much junk in that store.

I didn’t have a game plan going in. I figured I’d flip through an old magazine and look for text or images that struck my fancy. I made 10 magnets (I did a lot of chatting and drinking in between crafting) and have enough supplies leftover to make about 40 more. Anybody need some magnets?

Sad but true: I have not done any work on my scarf since my last Craft Night in early April. I like to imagine myself as the kind of person who can knit while watching primetime television, but that hasn’t proven to be the case. Mostly I just forget to knit. Other times I’d rather use my two hands for snacking rather than crafting. You know what that’s like.

Perhaps the problem is that when my knitting is out of sight, it’s out of my mind. I stash my scarf and my extra yarn in a big, brown tote bag I once got a book trade show back when I worked in publishing. However, if I had this fabulous bucket by Inklore, I could keep my yarn in the living room without it being an eyesore, allowing easy access to my projects. I really love the block print of the ball of the yarn ball with needles, don’t you?

(via More Ways to Waste Time)

Last night I hosted my second craft night. This time there were five of us knitting, embroidering, making stationery and creating decorations for a baby’s room. I am 1/3 the way through the scarf I started at the end of February. I wish I was inspired to (or remembered to) knit on a daily basis, but, sadly, I don’t pull it out of the bag as often as I should. My mom frequently suggests that instead of noshing on sweets and treats while watching TV in the evening, I should keep my hands occupied by knitting. But I can’t multitask like she does. I’d miss everything happening on screen because my eyes would be glued to whatever I was knitting.

I learned an important lesson last night: When hosting a craft night, make sure you invite somebody who actually knows what she’s doing! I made several mistakes while knitting my scarf, but one of the gals around the table was able to tell me how to correct them. She saved me a trip to the knitting store today because I was able to get myself back on track. Thanks, Julia!

When do you like to craft? Are you able to multitask like my mom?

(image source)

This evening I’m hosting my first ever Craft Night. I’ve invited my most crafty friends to bring whatever projects they’re working on — be it knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, beading, etc — so we can craft together. I find that doing things in groups helps motivate me and inspire me to be more creative. I’m so excited to see what results we produce tonight! If all goes well, this may be the beginning of a monthly tradition at my house.

I’m trying to decide what project I’m going to work on. I could practice my knitting and purling for a scarf I want to make. I could sew another sweater toy for Briscoe. Or I could make the beaded earrings I promised my mother-in-law I’d give her for Hannukah — and then forgot all about. Oops. They were meant to match a necklace I made her for her birthday over the summer. Yes, maybe that’s what I’ll make tonight. Sorry, Mom #2!

(image source)

Inspired by a recent Craftstylish post on dog toys made out of sweaters, Lynn and I decided to get crafty on Sunday. She brought over her sewing machine; I borrowed one from another friend. We hit up Goodwill for some sweaters and Mangelson’s for some fill. When we went to PetSmart for the squeakies, we were disappointed to learn that they were all sold out!  The salesgirl said they very rarely sell but that a women had just been in and bought them all. (She must be a Craftstylish reader, too!)

Read more…

Craftstylish recently featured some fantastic crafts you can make for your pup, including the sweater shown above and the toys below.

A friend and I talked about tackling the recycled sweater project this weekend using her sewing machine and sweaters from Goodwill, but I think making sweater bones might be a more feasible task–at least for me. I’m much less crafty than my friend!

How gorgeous are these handspun yarns from Larimeloom? I’m inspired to finish up with my practice ball of yarn so I can move on to more beautiful materials. I have a pattern for a scarf I’d love to complete while J is deployed this winter, but I need some help because I don’t understand all of the instructions. I can knit and purl just fine, but when it comes to those fancy stitches, I’m completely lost.

I believe Julia Roberts played a large role in making knitting trendy several years ago. Do any of you knit or crochet? How did you learn your craft?

(via perch)

When my mom came to town last week to help me unpack, we made a special trip to String of Purls at Countryside Village.  I had fallen in love with a pattern for a scarf from a scarf pattern book and wanted her to help me get started.  First on our To Do list: Buy Yarn. Forty dollars later, I was all set to start.

However, my mom thought it’d be best that I brush up on my knitting and purling skills before playing with my new yarn, so she gave me the world’s largest ball of yarn and knitting needles with which to practice.

Yarn-loving cats everywhere are totally jealous of me.