What’s on the Needles and Hooks – January and February Edition

The last couple of months have been busy busy busy, and I even started my January edition in January (!) but then it never got finished. So here’s what’s been coming off of my needles and, for the first time, hooks!

I finished a couple of pairs of fingerless mitts for myself.

These are the Mittens with Pints On by Spilly Jane in KnitPicks Palette. I knit Paul a pair of these for Christmas a couple years back and decided to make myself a fingerless pair.

Mittens with Pints On

I also completed these Welted Fingerless Gloves by Churchmouse Yarns. They’re in Caron Simply Soft and a bit of pink leftover from Madelyn’s blanket (which I talked about in the December edition.)

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I am oh-so-very close to being finished with my Cool Wool Hat and Cowl Set. I just need to find some buttons, sew said buttons on, crochet a couple of button loops and block the cowl.

Cool Wool Hat

Cool Wool Cowl(Sorry for the major flash blowout. Nighttime pictures.)

I also whipped up this cute little guy. I’ve tried to learn to crochet several times and it had yet to stick, but I think this time I might actually have it! His ears are a bit wonky, but I think he’s a good attempt for my first toy for which I was been pretty confident I was crocheting it right. He still doesn’t have a tail because the instructions are a bit confusing to me. I’ll have to wait until my wonderful teacher Claire can help me through.

MicropigThe pattern is Amigurumi Micropigs by Studio Ami.

The most exciting project I’ve been working on is my first sweater!

Shapely BoyfriendThis is the Shapely Boyfriend by Stefanie Japel. This pattern was definitely easy to follow, and once I got into it, modifying it slightly was really simple. I decided to go with inexpensive yarn just in case it turned out terribly. It turned out great, so of course now I sort of wish I’d got something a bit nicer. We’ll see how well it wears. This pattern was also super quick. It was easy to sit down for an hour or two and see my progress.

I added an extra repeat at the hip increases because I wanted it to be nice and long and based on my measurements I thought it would fit better around my hips. I also added 5 rows to the ribbing. I think my row gauge was a bit off, because it turned out really long (as you can see) but definitely not longer than I like to wear. My buttonholes also turned out a bit wonky but I was able to fix them. I sort of just decided to wing it and didn’t actually look up the best method to put buttonholes into a buttonband. The pattern definitely doesn’t walk you through every single step. I also worked 8 buttonholes instead of 7 like the pattern calls for the extra hip repeat. I also added some length to the sleeves so I could turn up the cuffs a couple of inches. I used this method for knitting clean stripes in ribbing.

I used Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off to finish all the edges.

Now all that’s left is to put my grosgrain ribbon, buttons and backer buttons! I should have some time to work on that on Saturday.

Tucker hopes you enjoyed your Mardi Gras!

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What’s on the Needles – December Edition

September, October and November were not without knitting. But they were mostly consumed with one big secret project that is now in it’s recipient’s hands, so I can tell you all about it now.Crocheted Flowers on Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket

Paul’s brother and his wife are expecting their first baby in January. We’re so excited to have our first niece! They are decorating the nursery in gray and pink and chevrons, so naturally I had to hunt down the perfect chevron baby blanket. I liked how crisp the stripes were in this lacy variety. I added some little flowers to the corner for a bit of girly flair. Thank goodness I have crochet mentors at Knit Night! If you want to know the specifics, here’s the Ravelry page.Baby BlanketSo expect lots more baby knitting in the future. :)

When I finished the blanket, I decided to finish something up for myself!

Sarah's Fingerless Mitts with Pints OnI knit Paul a pair of these Mittens with Pints On for Christmas last year. I had purchased yarn  to make a fingerless pair for myself and I finished those up when the blanket was finished!
Right now I’m working on this hat and cowl set for myself. I wanted a hat that was a bit large so it doesn’t make my curly hair go flat when I wear it. The hat is done, the cowl is started. I’ll post some pictures once it’s finished.

We’re very much enjoying our first Christmas season in our new home! To celebrate we made custom matching ugly Christmas sweaters!

Happy Holidays!

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What’s on the Needles? Aug Edition

In a word (or two)? Baby gifts.

5 dear friends and relatives are expecting babies in the imminent future. So here’s a quick photo blog of what I’ve already finished and gifted.

For Baby Rossel:

Baby Rossel hat

 

This is a little pattern I made up. I have a basic baby hat pattern I developed. I made that in a white cotton yarn with a yellow fuzzy carry-along yarn. The rose is made out of a wavy piece of knitted fabric coiled into a flower and stitched in place.

For Baby Zoe Baker:

Princess Leia HatI like to make fun baby hats for my close friends. For Seth and Amanda, I knew I wanted to do something Star Wars themed, so when I found out they were having a girl I designed this Princess Leia hat.

Zoe's DressThis is the second time I’ve knit this pattern. I wasn’t super thrilled with how it turned out at first. It was really wide and short. But I added the white ribbon to use as a drawstring, which improved it greatly.

Maile SweaterThis is the first sweater I’ve ever knit and I love how it turned out!

If you’re a knitter and want to see more about the patterns and materials I used, come visit me on Ravelry! Username: loveinindy

 

 

 

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The Front Room

I’ve showed you the (mostly) finished built ins. We finally got some pictures hung (cough*a few weeks ago*cough) so here are some pictures of the room as a whole. The built ins still need their lights, but the rest of it is pretty darn close to being done!

Looking in from the great room

Looking in from the great room

We actually didn’t have to buy anything for this room except for the lamp shade and the rug for the front door. That large suitcase was given to us by our friends Marcie and Joe. We had a couple that matched, and Marcie had two that matched those she wasn’t using.

From the hallway

From the hallway

A library card catalog is something I have wanted for a very long time, but they got hip and are often very expensive. We’re talking anywhere from $700 to $1,000 for one this size. I got lucky that a good friend who lives in Champaign found out that the Preservation and Conversation Association in Champaign County, Illinois was getting a shipment from the University of Illinois. A big shipment. So I called and put my name on the list and waited (impatiently) for a few weeks. Eventually I called to see if I would get one and they told me I was close enough on the list to consider that my call and to come get one! So Greer and I road tripped over to Danville, where we picked up my father in law and his truck and headed to Champaign to choose one! For a mere $107. AKA, a steal. Are the drawers full? Absolutely not. But you’d be amazed by how many small things don’t have a given home. Like flashlights and batteries and chip clips and lighters and … you get the idea.

The to do list in this room actually only includes adding the lights to the front of the bookshelves. Which is pretty awesome, if you ask me.

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The Gallery Wall

I decided this wall in the great room needed something awesome. The thermostat and air intake just weren’t doing it for us.

DSCN1603I decided I wanted to put up a gallery wall full of fun photos and even items. But I wanted to do it on the cheap. My first step was digging out every picture frame I owned. These went into four piles:

  • Use as is
  • Paint, then use
  • Save for another room
  • Donate

I decided the easiest way to keep this low cost was to use the frames I already had and find art to fit those frames, rather than coming up with a collection of art and then framing that. The bloggers over at http://www.younghouselove.com are veterans of the free/cheap/unique art, so I’ve taken some tips from them and started scouring ads in magazines and even the good ole Internet.

First steps first. Paint up those icky/outdated/un-color-coordinated frames. Some of these are pretty cheaptastic. But I already own them. So they’re free, and low budget is the name of this here game. Also, we all know how much I love to spray paint things that are less than pleasing to the eye. Or at least you’ll soon find out. :)

Before their makeover

Time for a new coat of paint

I roughed them all up with a bit of sandpaper, except for a couple that had a lot of detail work on them. Then I ran all of them over with a nice coat of liquid deglosser. I let those dry for about 10 to 15 minutes, then hit them up with some Rustoleum white primer. About half of the frames were metal, and I didn’t want the metal to have an adverse reaction to my paint. Then I hit them up with a few coats of Valspar Gloss Tropical Oasis (ironically the same color used on the stools I mentioned in the post about the great room … hmm … maybe we do need teal stools.) I love Valspar paint. I used it when I painted these lamps a couple years back. The paint goes on nice and smooth (the Rustoleum spray can was a bit … overly enthusiastic … shall we say.) With the lamps I just roughed them up and sprayed on a few good coats of Valspar in Satin Indigo Streamer (another color I adore.) They have held up quite nicely. Some day I might go back and hit them up with a coat of clear gloss, as they can be a bit difficult to dust.

We're halfway there!

I forgot to take a picture when they were all white and clean-slatey. Just imagine them all primed and ready for endless possibilities.

I also painted some tiny pots for a feature on my gallery wall. More on that later. :)

Teal-tasticI decided I was going to go with a black, white and teal theme. There are no rules to what can be in the frame, but the frame and/or mat must be black, white or teal. (I was in the garage and it got windy, thus the shoe.)

I had a lot of black frames already, as that was something I asked/registered for when we got married. I had two white shadowboxes. I decided to add a bit more balance by leaving a couple of the frames white. Rather than buying another can of spray paint, I primed them three or four times and then sprayed them with some clear gloss spray paint leftover from this project. The primer is pretty matte, but the gloss makes it look like it was actually a glossy paint. And I didn’t have to buy anything extra! Score. I primed all the frames before deciding which ones I liked in white and which I wanted to be teal.

I left those suckers in the garage for about 20 hours to destink/destickify. After about three hours of drying they were pretty much done with the smelling, but I had time to leave them in the garage, so I did. I also just know that, had I brought them in the house, Tucker would have licked one or all of them. Earlier today he licked a doorframe and then a shelf that was laying on the ground. Nothing is off limits for this dog’s tongue.

Once everything was painted and dry, I started laying them out on the floor. I had a thermostat and an air intake to deal with, so I also decided to make paper templates of all of them and used painter’s tape to lay it out again on the wall. I had to adjust a few things for the air intake, but overall it stayed pretty much the same.

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The next step was marking Xs on the paper where my nails needed to go. I used finishing nails for most of them, but I used drywall anchors for the large shadowbox and the shelf.

Then up on the wall they went!

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A lot of the frames are still empty. So the next step, of course, is filling them up! Inexpensively …

Want to see my inspiration for this project? Check out my Gallery Wall board on Pinterest!

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The Great Room

Well, it’s not perfect yet, but here’s an update on one of our favorite features of our home … the great room!

BeforeHere’s a nice before photo of when we just moved in. Oh how far we’ve come.

And here’s the same view after a little bit of cleaning. Oh, and new furniture.

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Here’s the dining room portion of the great room.

Dining RoomAnd the kitchen!

Kitchen(I just realized Tucker was being a creeper in the corner over there.) (The dining room is behind me to the right in this shot.)

And finally the office corner!

The OfficeDon’t mind the big pile of Goodwill donations next to the bookshelf.

So, of course there’s still a to do list. Here it is!

  • Hang our large clock above the bookshelf behind the desk.
  • Find some sort of piece of furniture that can adequately hide the mess of cords hanging off the front of the desk. Ugh. Some thoughts. This (two side by side in yellow with rice paper or wrapping paper or fabric or something attached to the backside of the glass) or maybe this. One piece of furniture would be ideal. I know for sure I would prefer something with doors or drawers. I would have some room to display things on top of it, and room to hide ugly office stuff behind said doors or drawers.
  • As you can see on the floor, I’m working on a little project for the wall between the picture window and the basement door. (The one the cherry poster is propped on in the first photo.)
  • I also really want a wicker chair to put in the corner behind the desk. The papasan chair is filling that space nicely for now, but I’ll keep my eyes open when I hit up the thrift stores this summer.
  • I want to find some bins to go on the square bookshelf behind the desk, so we can hide ugly office stuff in it.
  • I need to find some sort of art to go between the tv and the sliding doors.
  • Oh, and that stuff needs to find a new home via Goodwill.
  • Switch out the yellow stripey curtain for a gray set that matches the rest of curtains in the room. (My dear friend Amanda picked a pair up last time she was at Ikea, and I should be seeing her Sunday! So that should be happening soon.)
  • I’m not in love with the light fixture above the couch.
  • Find some solution to hiding the cords hanging down from the TV to the outlet. The bookshelf there helps, and I plan to put some sort of curtain/fabric backdrop between the shelf and the cords, but as some of the cords come out of the back of the shelf, I am going to have to get a bit creative.
  • Find stools to go at the breakfast bar that don’t break the budget. We’re leaning toward the stools they used in this blog. Not sure if we’d paint them or leave them in their grey metallic state.
  • Hang tiebacks for the curtains on the patio doors and the picture window. The curtains now tend to get a) sucked out the door or to the screen or b) blown into the doggie bowls. We’re adding them to the picture window for symmetry.
  • Find a new rug to go under the coffee table that matches the color scheme. Possibly DIY this from a remnant of carpet I own?

So that’s it, as it is now!

Want to see my inspiration for this room? Check out my Great Room Inspiration on Pinterest!

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Buffalo Chicken French Bread Pizzas

This is something I kept seeing on Pinterest and finally decided it was time to try it out.

I sort of used this recipe, but I knew I wanted something a more vegetabley than this recipe, so I kind of added my own twists. I also used boneless skinless chicken thighs rather than breasts. We just like the dark meat better, as it stays moister. It’s also cheaper, which I’m not complaining about. :)

My first step was to lightly saute some green peppers and red onion in a bit of vegetable oil.

Green Peppers firstI then added my cubed chicken and continued to saute until the chicken was pretty much done. Once the chicken was sauteed I added buffalo sauce to coat the chicken. I didn’t want it to be soupy, but I knew we wanted it to be good and buffalo flavored, so I added a bit at a time until it was pretty well coated.

DSCN1564In the meantime, I sliced up some french bread, lightly sprayed it with olive oil and lightly toasted  it in the oven. When the bread was toasted, I piled the chicken/pepper mixture on the side that had been down in the oven (the one that was more toasted), sprinkled some mozzarella on top, and put it back in the oven for a few minutes to get the other side of the bread more toasty and the cheese melty.

DSCN1565Once the cheese was melted, I plated the pizzas, drizzled them with ranch and sprinkled sliced green onions on top.

DSCN1566They were delicious! Next time I make them I will probably put more green pepper in them, as they do tend to cook down quite a  bit.

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