end of the year Blythe haulin'

Lately I've been looking more actively for Blythe clothes than I have been for much of this year. I've gotten this cute sweatshirt from Tinkerina, two adorable dresses from Chubby Whale with lovely colors and pretty bodices, and these two knitted outfits from StorybookBlythe!

I didn't meet my Blythe goals, let me tell you! I didn't do ADAD, I never found a good pull charm for Mallow (though I looked many times on Etsy), I didn't do a closet cleanout! All I did this year was work on my writing project!! But I did take a new family portrait to include Lamb, and I did practice knitting the same hat over and over. I still feel happy and satisfied with my doll family! They are always there for me when I need some quiet companionship. Hard to believe I've been Blything it up for four years now!

Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2014 with more random posts!


Merry Christmas Eve! Tonight, my little sisters and I had our annual Home Alone viewing. We pretty much know the movie by heart, but we can never remember all the McCallister kids' names (Buzz, Lenny... is one of them named Jeff? Yeah, I'm already tapped out, and I just watched it a couple of hours ago).

There's always last-second wrapping to do. I don't know how it happens, but I'm always doing it for someone on Christmas Eve!

I think this holiday is gonna be a good one, but wish me luck anyway!

toadstool ornaments

It seems I've started a small collection of toadstool ornaments this year. These go on the big tree, not my pink tree. They're heavy!

Our tree is pretty much dripping with all kinds of ornaments, handmade and gifted and store-bought. My mom collects snowflakes and there are a number of them on our tree, and she also has a second smaller tree that she fills entirely with snowflakes. Before this year, I've never attempted to have my own holiday decor, as we have more than we can even really fit on our tree -- and I like our kitschy hodge-podge.

I feel like I'm gonna need a tag for toadstools on this blog!

for all the little birds

Alert, alert! My mom, artist that she is, painted these two tiny wooden birdhouses that we found at Michael's in a scheme that would fit my pink tree. Now they look like snow-covered cabins! My Bob Ross-loving heart was pleased. And of course I asked for toadstools.

I can't believe the detail on such a small thing -- it's only two and a half or so inches tall.

Anytime anyone tells me I'm talented I just laugh, since my mom can do anything.

marshmallow world

Last week my pink tree braved the terribly cold outdoors so I could get some pictures of it. This was much harder than it sounds, since I was so shivery-shaky, huddling down on the snow.

My weird color compulsions were given free reign on this tree, and my odd theme was earthy-pastel. It's so satisfying to me. I'm still so glad I found those little toadstools at Target!

Somehow, there's room for a few more ornaments!

We decorated at our house and at my grandmother's this weekend. Today, all the snow has melted away and it's in the 50s! So warm! We're supposed to get another cold snap soon.

I've been hauling butt on a last-minute Christmas writing project, and the holiday feels simultaneously too close yet too far!

keeping warm

Of course, I am digging this winter weather! Everyone else has cabin fever, but I am basically always close to hibernation. I love when it's very bright out at night because of the snow.

Snow makes me happy in part because I know my Ice Rune, Aury, is a winter girl. I don't think I've failed to take her out in the snow once since getting her in December of '09. Hard to believe I've had her for nearly four years! I can remember so vividly the extreme excitement and enchantment I felt when I got her. It's something I have felt rarely since I was ten or so.

the north wind doth blow

I love winter weather! Rather than fluffy snow, we're getting crunchy sleet; you can hear the snow hitting the ground as well as you could hear rain. My area has a history of ice storms wherein we lose power for many days, so we're all bracing ourselves. We carried in firewood yesterday so it wouldn't get wet and we'd have a good stash.

I'll hold out hope that a power outage won't happen, and in the meantime clean like crazy so I won't trip over something and break my face if I end up stumbling around in the dark, groping for a candle.

cool front coming

Man, November sure did slink on by. Hard to believe it's December, even though I've been in the Christmas mood for a while now. Hope your Thanksgiving was great, Americans! Everybody else, psst. I skipped Thanksgiving. I'm with you all the way.

No, but really, I'm thankful for the friends I keep in touch with, the good fortune I have, my best friend's job hunt coming to an end (Yay E!!!), and just having a freaking roof over my head.

I love how toadstools are everywhere this Christmas!! Is it some kind of belated mori-esque trend? Between you and me, lurker blogosphere, I've acquired several toadstool ornaments. You know toadstools and I go way, way back. Toadstools and kawaii teeth are kinda my weird jams; I have small collections. This little gold one is for my pink mini-tree, so it's pretty small. I got a pair of them at Target for cheapsies.

It was beautiful out today; amazingly and eerily foggy in the morning ("This fog's as thick as peanut butter!" "You mean pea soup." "You eat what you like, and I'll eat what I like!") and pleasantly cool this afternoon. Our weather dudes say that we're in for some sleet, snow, and possibly ice this weekend. It's gonna get cold, cold, cold! So I'm excited to bundle up and stay cozy, have some hot chocolate, maybe watch some Christmas movies... you know, get crazy.

sweet treats wreath

I'm really digging doing a pastel Christmas thing this year. (Yeah, yeah! I know! Thanksgiving first! But Christmas is only a few weeks away!)

This wreath I made is pretty last-era Katy Perry, right? It's not my fault there were so many cute dessert ornaments at Hobby Lobby. I got all of them for under ten bucks the same day I got my pink tree. My house is generally very traditional with its Christmas decor: lots of red and green, lots of red and white peppermint ornaments, lots and lots of Santa mugs. I'm keeping my pastel Christmas junk in my bedroom.

I tried to find a white wreath, which I know exist (you can find them on Amazon for like, $13), but none of the craft stores I checked had them. So what I wound up doing was purchasing a cheap hay wreath for $3. Why hay? A question for the ages. It sure was a mess when I took the plastic wrapper off of it! But since I knew I'd put this white garland over it, I didn't want green foam to peek through. The garland was, like, $6. It's cheap and flimsy, but very good for my purposes!

I got a little bottle of white craft paint and spent an hour or so putting a coat on the front and back of the wreath. It kind of looked like a gigantic frosted Cheerio or perhaps a circular Frosted Mini Wheat when I was done.

Then I wrapped the garland around it. The garland was 18 feet, but even though the wreath is only maybe about a foot and a half tall, the garland barely fit! It took me a lot of scooting to get an even cover. Then I hot glued the two ends down to the back of the wreath... and glued on candy ornaments at random. Just hot glued 'em right on! They're mostly lightweight, except for this clear sucker.

I like the uber-homemade-ness of the look, so I won't trim off the ornament strings or anything. You really can't see the hay wreath underneath unless you're specifically trying to peer for it. Would I recommend painting a hay wreath? Not really. But I still think it turned out pretty well for a seat-of-the-pants pastel candy wreath!

All that's missing is a big bow perched on the top. I think a striped bow in some pastel shade would be the cutest, or maybe even a silver bow. I left a bit of space between the blue and green lollies for just such a bow. I'll be on the lookout!

too early? nah

I'm about to shift into HOLIDAY CRAFTING MODE! For, yes, the little baby pink mini-tree I totally scored for $10 at Hobby Lobby needs some ornaments.

I'm really into the natural, sort of earthy-feeling ornaments I've been seeing. (Not a shock, given my love for mori and natural kei.) I love the knit/wood/linen/burlap ones. Yesterday I got these two little birds, who look like they're from the same line, but are from two different stores.

In the past, I've made some felt ornaments, but not for myself. But I knew I had the perfect oatmeal-flecked, natural-looking felt left over from a couple of years ago with which to make a heart-shaped ornament. I drew inspiration from this one by Shape Moth. (I love these, too!!)

It isn't as intricate or pretty, but it suits my tree's aesthetic and was so much fun! I haven't blanket stitched on felt for what feels like a long time. I used to do it so, so, so much. Still, I managed to forget exactly how to do it till I was off and going.

I'm getting together with my BFF E this weekend, and we're going to go look at holiday decor. I'm excited, because I actually bought a lot of ornaments... to perch on a wreath! Can't wait to make that!

Now I must go search out inspiration for a tree skirt!

sister's ripple: dunzo

According to Ravelry, I started this on Septmber 16. I finished today, November 8. Unfortunately on the very last green row I ran out of green yarn, and it took me two weeks to get one more green skein (most of which is just sitting here now, since I needed only one more row's worth), or I would have had this finished in October.

I hope my sister likes it!

Satisfied selfie.

November must-haves

It got very cold this past week. Colors are really starting to show in the leaves! When I've been out and about, I'm always in the ol' boots and often in this fox hat. I always gotta have an animal-eared hat.

The air is so nice and crisp right now that Nina is my perfume of choice. (In warmer, sweatier weather, this can be too heavy a scent for me.) And while I almost always gravitate towards either neutrals, cool tones, or very dark colors on my nails, I've been using this orange-toned red polish from American Apparel called Lopez Canyon. I've never used American Apparel polish before, but the application of this stuff was super-smooth. I feel so... red...!

Also, I don't know about you, but I've gotten started Christmas shopping...

Of course, my sisters and I have to have matching Home Alone-inspired t-shirts!! (Black because both of my sisters are so much more stylish and cool than I.) They're getting these babies on Thanksgiving Day so they'll have time to wear them during the holidays. When I was little I always wanted to dress matchy-matchy with my little sister. Some desires never die.

look down; look up

Nothing's better in the autumn than boots. Of course, boots are good all year!

Trees here are only just starting to change color and still mostly have their leaves. It's crisp outside, clear, and a temperature between cool (sweat weather!) and cold (jacket weather).

I finally bought a table for the sewing machine I got for Christmas -- which is so long ago, now! According to all the stores, it is Christmas time already! I haven't even gotten to use it yet because I'm so shy, I just want to huddle in a corner in private where I won't feel like I'm disturbing anyone and I won't feel like anyone is watching me or listening to me. I'm excited (mostly nervous, really) to set it up and learn how to use it. It's my November goal!

I spent my October days writing, knocking out granny squares here and there, finishing up my sister's green and white ripple, and snacking way too much on Goldfish crackers. I can't help thinking about color patterns for more ripples I want to do...

Stuff I've been enjoying:

  • Danny Elfman (composer of everything Tim Burton -- as well as Jack Skellington's singing voice!) singing Jack's Lament, What's This?, Jack's Obsession, and Poor Jack in concert!! So impressive. I love his voice so much. Jack's songs, and indeed the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas, are the single best thing about the film.
  • Boots!! I bogo'ed these mofos.
  • rewatching Adventure Time!

green/white ripple progress

This ripple throw for my sister is coming along nicely. On Saturday I did an entire white swathe. It's really about half the size of my ripple blanket! But it's still a nice size that will easily cover her lap. I think there will be four green stripes total and five white.

Soon I'll post about a project that I've had in the works for the past several months. It's come together, but I'm still tweaking things!

my September

Yes, friends! I'm rippling once more! Do I sound crazy for never wanting to let another year go by without rippling at least once?? It's just so nice to have a project that I can pick up, make progress on, and just sail along with. I'm still writing a ton, so when I'm not wrapped up in a Word document, this is mindless enough to let me think about my story -- but not too hard.

This throw is for my little sister, and it's about half the size of my epic ripple blanket. It only takes me about twenty minutes a row (about an episode of The Big Bang Theory; my ripple blanket's rows took me about an episode of Gilmore Girls) so I feel like I'm chugging along.

By the end of the year, I hope to have made this throw and my granny throw! Too daring a goal?? We'll find out!

Petaline and Plummery got some new dresses!

grannies, continued

I started crocheting these mustard-and-white granny squares at a friend's house during May. Making granny squares is rhythmic, relaxing, and doesn't take very long. Perfect to do while watching TV or listening to a podcast! I did perhaps 18 or so that weekend, and kept the yarn sitting on my desk for when I felt like doing some more. Now I have 62.

As you can see (pardon my "foots," as Bob Ross might call them), that's actually not very much, all laid out. I do have small feet, but I would estimate I need double -- if not more -- the amount of squares for a little throw. As these don't take very long and are a pleasure to make, that doesn't sway me a bit! It's joining them that I find daunting...

Drew is dressed to match! She's like my little mood board/muse for this throw in progress.

summer days, drifting away

I've been remiss with posting, but honestly, I don't mind at all, as this is my hobby blog.

In June, I strained my wrist knitting hexipuffs with such clumsy concentration! They are outside my skill set, for sure. However, this does happen to my wrists if I am crafting too much or holding myself quite tensely, as I tend to while I'm knitting. It's happened twice since I began this blog, and I'm sure it will happen again.

For most of 2013, I've been concentrating on a large, ambitious writing project. Honestly, I've spent so much time thinking about it and working on it the past six months that I need a break now. Summer has been sort of traumatic, so I'm taking a little break from writing. Really, I ought to be happy to be scraping by.

This past week, I've been getting back in the crochet saddle. Reunited, and it feels so good~ I took some pictures of my girls today for the first time in a while, and am reminded how therapeutic it is.

Stuff I've Lately Enjoyed:

  • the Bibledex channel on YouTube -- interesting! I came to it by...
  • the Numberphile channel, which I believe I got to...
  • by Vsauce.
  • Dexter!! It's the final season, weep

sweetest of valleys

I don't consider myself a collector of anything -- not Blythe dolls (although I have nine Neos and a Middie) or yarn (although I have a stash) or owls (although I have many owls and things with owls on them!) or anything, really. But now that I think about it, I sort of do have a collection... of Sweet Valley Twins books.

Maybe you're familiar with the Sweet Valley High series, or you've at least heard of it! It chronicles the soapy, early-80s-tastic adventures of sixteen-year-old identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica. They look the same but are so totally different, et cetera. Elizabeth is the more sensitive, goody-goody twin who likes reading and writing and always does the right thing. Jessica is the fun-loving, more outrageous yet superficial cheerleader who cares about popularity, clothes, and boys. It's very id/ego, and their interactions and the way they play off each other and how often the fact that they are twins becomes a plot device (switching places, mistaken identities) is all in good fun.

However, as a girl, I missed out on the Sweet Valley High thing; they were before my time, and just too soapy and dramatic for me, even when I was a ten-year-old! Sweet Valley Twins (which takes place during the twins' apparently endless sixth grade year, making them eleven-ish) is what I liked when I was a kid, and still buy from used bookstores occasionally even today. The Twins books are great because it's rare that anything very dramatic happens, but they don't tend to be as cutesy as BSC books. They have just the right amount of cheese for me. So although I have read quite a few High books and some of the other many spin-offs, Twins holds my nostalgic heart.

Lately I've bought a handful more and realized that I have at least 60 Sweet Valley Twins books! Only about a third of them are from my childhood, but in either case, they were purchased second-hand. Others were given to me by friends. I don't even know how I came by some of them, let alone duplicate copies. I haven't even read a few of them!

Here are the titles I picked up today: The Twins Get Caught; Booster Boycott; Big Brother's In Love! (anything with Steven is an automatic buy); Jessica the Nerd; The Charm School Mystery; and The Middle School Gets Married. In my humble opinion, the 40s-70s is prime Twins, so I really scored big. (I also caved to one single Sweet Valley High book: Don't Go Home With John. I hear it's pretty much an epoch if you like the character of Lila. And who doesn't?)

wearing my fingers out

My left fingers sure are tender between hexipuffing and guitar-playing. I didn't play my guitar too much last month, so now my fingers are letting me know it.

I managed to make another hexipuff today and I think I improved! I also managed to bind off, which involved a crochet hook... perfect. My comfort zone.

I'm not sure I'm doing the very last bit of the bind off right! But my knitting's often lumpy, so who knows?? I'll just keep practicing! Right now it takes me 4-5 hours to make a single hexipuff. I have seen people talking about making one in, like, half an hour. Since comparison is the thief of joy, I won't compare my time to anyone else's. I just hope no one out there takes their skills for granted.

Yesterday I also finished off this rust-colored slouchie hat. It's the fifth time I've made the pattern and I intend to do it again since I'm still so likely to muck it up! Gotta practice, practice, practice!