2012 craft-olutions

Oh hey 2012, didn't notice you sneaking up on me there.  I feel like I barely got to know 2011 and he's out the door already.  typical....

I'm not usually one for resolutions...it's always the same ole stuff we know we should be doing anyway, right?  (exercise, budget, organize, floss)  but this year I have Plans (with a capital P that rhymes with E and that stands for Etsy!)  so I am going to put down in writing here and now that I have some resolutions of the crafty sort for this coming year:

1.  OPEN AN ETSY SHOP.   I mean duh, right?  why has it taken this long??  laziness, mostly...along with a paralyzing fear that whatever I sell will end up on Regretsy.  I'll probably start by selling vintage rather than handmade, just to get my feet wet.  And lord knows I have enough vintage stuff lying around that I need to get rid of.  which brings us to number 2...

2.  GET RID OF SOME CRAP.  Technically this is not a "craft-olution"...except that getting rid of crap will open up space for resolution number 3....

3.  DREAM STUDIO.  ok, I probably can't really have my dream studio in this apartment.  But I can turn the second bedroom into so much more than it currently is, which is white, featureless, poorly lit and full of the aforementioned crap.  Hopefully having an inspiring space to work in will get me to get off my ass about resolution number 1.

I actually made a ton of progress on this one already this week, including about 8 bags for Goodwill (working on number 2 already as well!)  Check out this before and after action:

no, I didn't just stuff everything in the closet and close the door!


boring, but sane!

anyway so those three are biggies.  The rest are small and silly...like get over my fear of lace knitting.  I've already started that one too!  Check out my butternutty soft scarfy scarf in progress...

going well but I need to figure out why the holes next to my ssk's aren't as big as the k2tog's...  it's the Bosc scarf pattern by Robin Ulrich.  I'm really enjoying it, even though the last thing I need is another scarf!  Lace though, man...there is no mindless, "let me do this while I watch Downton Abbey at the same time" kinda knitting there.  I gotta read every damn line of the pattern every damn time.

what else...oh design more knitting patterns, for sure!  My first one, the Watercolor Heart pattern is gaining lots of fans on Ravelry, so now I'm planning more fun intarsia projects to come.

getting better at photography, that's a big one.  those scarf photos above were taken with my new lens (thanks parents!).  but I have sooo much more to learn, especially about textile photography, which seems to be harder than you'd think.  is it the white balance I'm screwing up?  what is white balance exactly??  things to answer in 2012...

and maybe learn something new?  I'd really love to take a printmaking class or take up weaving.  Ooh or start making mid-century dollhouse furniture, I've just learned that that is a thing!  How fun would it be to make tiny molded plywood chairs??  ok, whatev, you have your thing...to me, that sounds super fun.

and last but not least, keep up with the blogging (and Pinterest!).  It's been so fun the past few months sharing my silly posts with you all, and I hope you keep coming back to see how the above resolutions pan out.  Knowing me they will change within a week, but hey that's half the fun of resolutions, right?

oh and don't stop paying your bills this year, thinking the Mayans were right...
have a great new year, friends!


the point of roughness

Happy Winter Solstice!  Tonight is the longest night of the year, which has something to do with the earth being lopsided?  Also something-something azimuth, which is math-y and such a weird word.

Anyway, the cool part is the days will start being longer again, and soon it won't feel like the constant darkness is going to swallow all the joy in the world.

Throughout history people have marked the solstice in all kinds of awesome ways.  For instance, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a festival that included all kinds of tomfoolery including slaves and their masters switching roles for a day.

At this time of year the Saami peoples of Scandinavia worship the sun-goddess Beiwe, who travels the skies in a structure made of reindeer bones.  They cover their doorposts with butter for her to eat on her travels.

The Welsh call the winter solstice "the point of roughness", which is about the best way I can think of to describe it...that point at which you just don't think you can take the cold and the dark much longer.  and then it starts getting better!

All of this is my way of saying, maybe in the 21st century in Los Angeles California, we should mark the mid-winter with our own unique ritual.  maybe something along the lines of modern war paint?

 In other words, I needed something to brighten these cold dark mornings, and a little Manic Panic is just what the doctor ordered.  All I need now is a chariot of reindeer bones and some butter.



up against a wall

ugghhhhhh.   the holidays and the job, they have taken over my life.  crafty business has slowed to a crawl...no improvements around the casa, not even a thrift find to brag about.  all I can do is desperately pin things on Pinterest in hopes of someday having the time to turn inspiration into reality.

I have an accent wall in the kitchen, and I have every intention of doing something wonderful with it...someday.  Here's some great walls I've pinned for when that day comes along...

I'm really wanting to do something more interesting than just a solid bright color.  I can't put up wallpaper, but I could paint something like it.  this, however, would take a week.

love this but I'm not this "literary".  I think it would be great with LA street names instead!

Source: 79ideas.org via Jody on Pinterest

but right now these two are both high on my list:

it says a lot that right now the idea of spending days painting a zillion tiny triangles on a wall sounds totally appealing to me.  Once I'm in a better state of mind, I may just go with that solid color idea after all!


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas (tree)

have you heard about the Paradox of Choice?  maybe the term "maximizer"?  I am what you might call a Classic Maximizer.  when faced with a decision I am not happy unless I can examine and weigh every single option possible, and then even after finally making a decision (if I ever do) I'm still not happy.

this is the reason why I still don't have a christmas tree.  well, I have one...a crappy little silver one that I got at Ikea for $20 years ago and has really seen better days.  for ages I have searched for the perfect tree...every year around November, I start thinking: "this is the year.  this year I'll buy a tree"....and yet still no tree.

this year the problem is compounded by the fact that I now live with Mal, Josh's cat, who promptly tackled the Ikea tree to the floor when I put it up.  then, she crawled inside it and got stuck.  so now even if I found the perfect tree, I don't know how long it would survive.

here's the dream tree:
Source: flickr.com via Jody on Pinterest

yea, that wouldn't last a day.  Mal would climb it like King Kong.  this one hangs from the ceiling, but costs $350.  for some sticks on a pole?  sorry, I meant for a masterpiece of modern simplicity?
Source: inhabitots.com via Jody on Pinterest

she couldn't hurt this tree, but our guests might think we just have termites...
Source: google.com via Jody on Pinterest

or there's this one, which, while it's literally the saddest and least festive thing you could put in your living room and call a "tree", at least you'll be able to reach the smoke detector when those candles set the greasy takeout containers on fire.
Source: google.com via Jody on Pinterest

ah hell, maybe I'll just do this.

happy friday! 


highly classified crafts

there is craftiness happening at Casa Craftnik, I promise...but I CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT, because of Christmas.

usually I wait until the absolute last minute to make gifts, but this year, with the new job and not a ton of spare hours, I decided to just make a couple things that are easy and can be accomplished in a short amount of time.  I feel bad about this, but still better than I would feel about just going to the mall and not making anything.

so I can't show you what I'm knitting, but I can show you what I'm pinning!  here's a few things I pinned on Pinterest lately...

Source: etsy.com via Jody on Pinterest

kind of a theme here of "things you never thought to cover with yarn but look really chic when you do"

are you on Pinterest??  let's follow each other!  just click on any of the images above to find me!


I could make the prettiest parachute...

you know how sometimes you don't remember how a collection started, but slowly it grows and then it kinda takes over and becomes bigger than you and you are powerless to stop it and even if you could you don't really want to?

you're like that, right??  no?  it's just me?  hmm.

well anyway, silk Vera Nuemann scarves...I've got...a few of them.

at least this obsession is pretty cheap, as obsessions go?  I pick them up at flea markets and (when I'm lucky) thrift stores, and I usually pay one or two bucks a piece.  I've never paid more than $4, and that was a really special one.  I never feel bad about walking away from ones that are priced too high because there are just so many of them.  this lady was seriously prolific!  I dig for them all the time and I have never come across the same one twice.

for $1 I'll pretty much buy them no matter what the design, but I found a few pretty nice ones at the Pasadena City College flea last weekend...this pink and orange sheer one is classic Vera, and how cute is the aqua donkey print??


I really dug this one with the fruit, I love the really painterly ones and they are harder to come by.  and this has a bunch of her signature ladybugs on it!

  the blue patterned one is stylized peacock feathers.  and I rarely come across black and white prints of hers, so I had to grab this cool abstract one:


if you don't know about Vera Nuemann, she was a really inspirational artist and businesswoman who made quite an empire out of her handpainted designs.  her designs have experienced a big resurgence in the last couple years and fabrics with her patterns are back in stores again, including Anthropologie and Bloomingdales.

there's even a book all about her that came out a while back, which I can't believe I don't have, but I would love to get.  maybe for Christmas?  just sayin.  

either that or more scarves.


boys who like purls

I read this awesome article about a woman who introduced knitting to men's prisons, and the calming effect it had on the prisoner's lives...and then I somehow ended up bookmarking a bunch of photos of old-timey men knitting.  I don't know, the internet.  sometimes it's like that.

(p.s. I'm working on getting the Watercolor Heart pattern ready to upload, so if you like it stay tuned!)


watercolor heart pillow

I've been doing this thing lately where I force myself to try new knitting techniques that scare me...and it's working, in the last 6 months I've gone from not knowing how to knit anything but a solid rectangle to doing striped scarves, hats, cables, mitered corners, and now color work!  

I started with the stranded style of color work in the Bergen Cowl, and I realized that wasn't as hard as I imagined.  but I was scared of intarsia...and when I had tried it without doing some research first, I ended up with holes in my work.  then I found this tutorial on youtube and it helped a TON, if you're new to intarsia I really recommend it.

I wanted to start with something simple so I made my own chart (also new for me) of a simple heart shape, and figured I'd let the lovely color changes of Lion Brand's Amazing do the rest for me.  this colorway is Strawberry fields.  (I have a lot of Amazing in my stash, I can't resist it when it's on sale!)  The background is Fisherman's Wool in Oatmeal.

I figured a pillow would be quick and easy, and it's the time of year when a knitted pillow makes sense.  for the back, I just did a 2 row stripe, but then I really liked the reverse stockinette side, so I used that as the right side.  I think it makes a nice contrast with the front.

the pillow is 12"x12", and to join the front and back I used a row of single crochet, which gave it a nice crisp edge and corners.

now that I've dived into intarsia and making my own charts, I'm getting all kinds of ideas for more designs...stay tuned!

UPDATE:  get the free pdf pattern by clicking "download now" below!


great moments in toilet paper

this last weekend my mom noticed this photo in my bathroom and so I thought I'd tell you about it...

I saw it in a goodwill and thought it was funny but didn't buy it...that night I told Josh about it and he insisted we go back the next day to see if it was still there, which thankfully it was.  so now it's displayed in my bathroom and makes me laugh.

oh, I'm sorry, why did we go back for it?  it's just an old photo of some dudes in suits, standing around a table...oh HELLO rolls of toilet paper, I hardly noticed you there!

what is even happening here??  they seem so proud, and this was obviously such an important moment that they needed to pose very formally, for a professional photographer, with rolls of toilet paper prominently displayed in front of them.  this could be some important moment in the history of tp, and nobody knows it exists!

(cut to me wasting a good hour trying to research the history of the MD toilet paper brand.  this leads nowhere except that now all my google ads are for toilet paper.)

this gentleman sees nothing funny at all about this moment, and thinks you should wipe that smirk off your face, smarmy guy in the front row...

I've considered taking it out of its frame to see if there's any info on the back, but that would mess up this little gem of a label...

omg when did they even still have phone numbers like this in LA?  

this is why I love thrifting; in the midst of all the mass produced crap from China that people toss out, sometimes you uncover something like this photo, and it's a little window into the past.  a past that probably even these guys had forgotten about...The Great Toilet Paper Summit!