Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Hello, it’s me…

… I’m in Connecticut knitting, with new yarn very happily.

HA!  Nothing like a little Adele parody to start off the new year right?  I have so much to share too!

Yes, I have been lacking on posting, but I was creating a Pinterest-worthy birthday party for my 2 year old; who proceeded to get sick with Coxsackie (aka hand-foot-and-mouth); which my husband got; then my brother-in-law got when we traveled to California (we thought we were over it when we boarded the plane) for Thanksgiving; followed by a few short weeks at home recuperating; then having a low-key Christmas; before getting on a plane to travel to the other side of the world so my son could meet his great-grandparents; before coming home just a few days ago to battle jetlag and a blizzard.  That would keep anyone busy, right?

I plan to write a separate post on the Under the Sea themed birthday party and our trip to Japan. For now, I’ll keep this post short just by showing you the photos of the knitted projects I have completed in the past three months, so that we can get back to our sharing our love of knitting.

I managed to do two Christmas Stockings – one for my husband and one for my son – by December 25th.  I have to finish two more by this December. The bottom left pattern is Foliage by Emilee Mooney from knitty.com; but I think I am going to have to frog it.   The Ecolã Hand Painted yarn I got from Brazil a few years ago isn’t a good match for this pattern, the thick and thin texture and the beautiful colors take away from the lace pattern.  The cowl on the bottom right is the Bee Keeper’s Cowl by Grace Ahkrem (free download on Ravelry) – with two bulky yarns it is really warm and perfect for New England winters.

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Trial and Error Gardening

I was so surprised to see some beans growing in my old cooler!  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and am really happy that it has.  Now the question remains, when do I harvest the beans?  I did a web search and found a lot of information about planting and drying them, but no real descriptive instructions on when to pull the pods.  Some YouTube videos showed the gardener pulling up the entire plants by its roots and drying it, but I only have a dozen plants in my container, not a whole field to test it out.  On Wednesday,I pulled pulled a handful of pods, some green and some dark, to try drying them out.  I left most of the pods on the plants in case my little experiment fails.

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My feijoada plant


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Beans!


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Drying experiment

My herb gardens started out well, but now I’m not sure if they will continue to thrive.  OK, well the mint I’m not worried about – that’s a weed that even my baby can’t mess up.  But my cilantro started out with so much promise and now the stems dried out and I am left with a very pathetic pot.  Similarly, the chives grew and we ate them with eggs, but once I trimmed them, they didn’t regrow.  My basil looks like it has had its growth stunted.  Luckily, I moved some of my original seedlings to my friend’s shared garden, and they are doing much better there.  I haven’t harvested the oregano yet, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to grow much more than what it is now.

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My row of basil in the back, my mojito plant to the left, and two more bean sprouts

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My cilantro is all sad and gone

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The oregano and chives that have stopped growing

The latest addition to my container garden is a Meyer Lemon Dwarf Tree.  I dreamed about having one for weeks and weeks after finding so many growing tutorials on Pinterest.  So I went to a local nursery and bought the last one they had in stock.  I think I’m failing there too. The three fruits on the branches were already there when I bought it and I think I’ve lost more leaves.

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My lity little caipirinha tree

Even my beautiful calla lilies that I got for Mother’s Day seem sadder.   I was able to give some of them away to a friend that is moving and ever since then it seems as though the rest of the plant is mourning the loss of its fellow flowers that were clipped.  I plan to repot them onto a prettier and larger container, hopefully that will help them bloom again.

That’s what’s happening in my little balcony, thankfully we are helping friends maintain their raised bed gardens and so we are getting quite a lot of delicious vegetables from them.  We’ve had radishes, peas and green beans before and this week we got beets, carrots and Swiss chard!  I found a recipe on Pinterest for pickled Swiss Chard stems and did two cans – one for us, one for our friends.   I’m excited to try more new recipes for all the delicious foods we are growing!

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Fresh carrots!


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The three garden beds before things really started to grow.

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My Crafty Evolution

I am evolving as a crafter, I am no longer limiting myself to the fiber arts.  I am getting a taste of sewing and gardening and other miscellaneous hobbies (how have I gone so long without knowing the wonders of Mod Podge!?).  Having created a Pinterest account in the last few months might have something to do with it, but I have also made new friends who are just as eager to try different things and so we are exploring these new creative outlets together. I’ve already shown off the off centered bib and I don’t know what will be my next sewing project but I look forward to it.  My new friends and I have started a little vegetable garden in one of their yards.  Since I am restricted to apartment living I have started an urban garden that includes: black beans, raspberries, some flowers and herbs.  I never thought I would enjoy playing in the dirt so much, but it is exciting to see the little seeds sprout!  Here is how they are this morning, and since I am a mom now I couldn’t help adding the garden decor  (forget the gnomes):

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Off Topic: Super Mario Changing Table

Here is a post that has been sitting in my draft folder for a few months, if I don’t publish it now, it might stay there forever.  It’s not as detailed of a tutorial as I had originally intended, but life got busy once the baby was born, so use it as a guideline and get creative! 🙂

Once we were done with our move from Virginia to Connecticut, the baby’s nursery proved to be a good source of inspiration especially because we chose Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers as our theme.  Well, we are renting an apartment so I couldn’t do anything permanent to the walls and (unlike Disney) Nintendo hasn’t really cashed in all things baby products, so I’ve had to get creative.  The result is converting our old tv stand into our diaper changing station, here is how it turned out:

Now I’m not a great painter, but I can give you some tips on how to make something similar to this by using some basic things.  And yes, all you die-hard Nintendo geeks, I know that the backgrounds I painted are from the old school Mario Brothers game, not the ones to which you would find the Wii representation of the characters I used.  I’m crafty, not artistic – there is no way I could replicate more than an 8-bit pixilated image.

First things first are your materials:

  1. You need an old piece of furniture – we got our old tv stand years ago for free from a friend of a friend.  Check your local Craigslist or start frequenting yard sales and flea markets for something suitable.
  2. The characters are wall decals that you can find on Amazon.com or some other specialty website (i.e. Thinkgeek.com), order them from one in which you feel comfortable shopping
  3. Paint –  The two main colors I used were the blue and the green for the background.  Because I knew those would be the colors I used the most, we went to Lowes and bought them in the sample size from the paint department.  You absolutely don’t need a full can of paint unless your doing a much larger project with it.  I still have plenty of paint left over just from the small tubs of paint.  For the other items in the background I went with small tubes of acrylic paint from a major craft store which were less than $2 each.
  4. Brushes – While at Lowes I got a brush used for door trims and window sills, and while at the craft store I bought a variety pack of different sized brushes.
  5. Empty Egg Carton – this is helpful to mix your paints
  6. Scrap Cardboard – this is helpful for cutting out templates, which is what I did for the hills
  7. Plastic tarp or a LOT of newspaper – unless you have outdoor space in which to paint and to leave your piece of furniture outside while the paint dries, you’ll want something to protect your floor
  8. Small fan – you’ll want to have a fan blowing all of the paint fumes out of the room, especially if you’re pregnant like me
  9. Painting mask – another good protection against the smell of paint
  10. Ruler or straight edge – if you’re a perfectionist or just become obsessive about the details like I did
  11. Question Mark Candy Tins – used for the knobs on the drawer, found on Amazon

Read the rest of this entry »

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Off Topic: The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

TiggerHere is another random little craft project I’ve made, this one is for my friend’s Winnie the Pooh themed nursery.  I am loving Pinterest more and more everyday; I found the tutorial for this project there from another blogger: This Lil Piglet.  It was very easy and a lot of fun to make, but I should not pick up painting as a hobby, I have a weird tendency to obsess over the details which is very uncharacteristic for me.

I got the image of Tigger (my personal favorite character) from a book I bought at Goodwill.  The other materials I bought from a major craft store: small canvas, two bottles of acrylic paint, and some paint brushes.  I did not buy a bottle of mod podge as recommended by the tutorial.  Instead I made my own because it was for just one quick project.  Doing a quick web search and all you need to make your own mod podge is some white glue and half the amount of water – easy.  I diluted the orange paint in order to give it a water color feel to it, I didn’t want straight edges.  For the black stripes I just winged it as best I could.  And though you can’t see it from the photo the  sides of the canvas are also painted with the orange and the black of each stripe so as not to stay white.

I hope my friend likes this gift for her little girl because Tiggers are wonderful things! 🙂

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Off Topic: Miscellaneous Crafts for the Nursery

Generally speaking my crafting abilities are somewhat limited to yarny goodness, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally venture out to try something new.   This has become especially true since I have gone down the Pinterest rabbit hole – I never thought another site would allow me to waste away the day as much as Ravelry, but I was wrong.  (FYI If you want to follow me there, my user name is also Procrastaknit)

I have especially spent a lot of time looking for non-permanent ways in which to decorate our nursery.  As much as I would loooooove to paint the walls of our rented apartment I know I’d hate to paint it over it whenever we decided to move out.  So I am settling for the smaller crafty projects and that’s what I wanted to show you.

The first Pin that I found and loved was turning a birdhouse into a little night light (Click here for the link to the blogger that has that tutorial).  But did I mention that the theme of my nursery is Super Mario Brothers?  So I while browsing the aisles at Michael’s one day I was so happy to find one shaped like a little castle just like the one at the end of every Super Mario stage.  I bought it, painted it and got two key characters from of Amazon.com to put on top.   My husband was also pretty happy about the look and even wanted to get involved with this project, so he got the light kit from Lowes and drilled the holes needed to install it.  Here is how our collaboration came out:

I bought the two little figurines from Amazon and glued them down tot he top

I bought the two little figurines from Amazon and glued them down to the top

Husbands are always happy to help with a craft project if they can use a power tool

Husbands are always happy to help with a craft project if they can use a power tool

The next project idea I am not sure if I found it on Pinterest or just off of a Google image search while prepping some of the decorations for the nursery.  I don’t have a tutorial pinned in any of my boards, so I had to improvise to recreate the framed cameo portraits of Princess Peach and Super Mario that I had found on my web search.   I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, but I would like to contribute to the crafty community, so here is what I did:

Super Mario & Princess Peach Framed Cameos

Super Mario & Princess Peach Framed Cameos

Materials:

  • 1 Sheet of Black Felt Paper – got mine at Michael’s for mere pennies.  Plain cardboard or foam paper would also work for this project.
  • 8×10 Photo Frame (or larger), one for each character – got mine at the dollar store and I’m OK with that
  • Pins
  •  Scissors

Step 1: Do a web search for the character of your choice in a profile position

Step 2: If it’s a small picture enlarge it to fit it into a regular sheet of paper.  I copied and pasted the image I found onto Microsoft Paint, cropped out Mario’s head from his body, pasted it onto a new document and enlarged it.  Then I did the same with Princess Peach.

Step 3:   Print out the enlarged heads and cut out the shape of it.  Don’t worry if the enlarged image is blurried or too pixilated, you don’t need the fine details just a general idea of the shape.

Step 4: Use your pins to hold your paper cut out onto the felt paper in place.

Step 5: Cut out the felt sheet of paper by following the outline of the character print out.

Step 6: Remove back from frame and center the felt cameo onto it giving it an equal amount of white space around the figure.  Flip the cheesey family photo that came with the frame onto the white side (or just grab a piece of paper from your printer) place it over the cameo and then reattach the back of the frame.

Step 7: Step back and admire your ability to be crafty and then go hang it on the wall. 🙂

Optional Ideas:

Instead of just the plain white, you can get a different color sheet of paper or a mat (if you have a larger frame) and use it as the background color.  I thought about making the Mario’s background red and the Princess’ background pink, but in the end I thought that the more classic look would be best.

Similarly to the background a different color frame would be another great way to better identify the characters.

Adding a ribbon or a lace border would definitely make it cuter.  I considered using a lacy ribbon around the edge of the Princess’ frame, but I didn’t think that would go over well with the hubby.  Plus, I am a Libra, I prefer for things to be uniformed and balanced.

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