Friday, January 14, 2011

Crafty DIY in 2011

I was thinking this morning of some things that I want to do make/do in 2011, especially around my house. Since we have lived here for over a year I want to go crazy, or maybe just get stuff done. Here is my "to do" list:

-Reupholster Chairs: I have a set of neat arm chairs that were given to us a year ago. I have one completely ripped apart and ready to go but I have to get over my fear of calling an upholsterer and asking if I can buy some foam. It sounds easy enough but I have a fear of getting phone-chewed out.

-Paint the Stairwells: The base paint that they use on the walls in new home also acts as a magnet for greasy fingerprints. Enough said.

-Make reusable produce bags: I posted about these bags before but I REALLY need to do this! They are awesome!

-Make reusable snack bags: The awesomeness is overwhelming!

-Build this desk for the bedroom nook: We have a distinct lack of furniture in our bedrooms. While I would like to call it minimalism it really is just lack of resources. So, off to the lumber yard! Maybe this can be Andrew's spring break project?

-Maybe if we get really ambitious we can make this headboard?

-Wallpaper the powder room: Does anyone have any suggestions for a place to get nice wallpaper that doesn't look frumpy? I am a huge fan of wallpapering small spaces.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Handmade Christmas

So much knitting in December! This is Andrew's hat made with 100% virgin wool. It was fun learning how to make cables. While the pattern worked up just fine, I couldn't get the gauge right and made it too big.  All of these knitted patterns are on my Ravelry page (talldarkeyes) if you are interested.

I made six of these knitted monogrammed dish wash cloths and they were a perfect project for learning how to knit. They also made great gifts for the grandma's who still wash their dishes by hand.

This hat was made for my sister Rachelle and was the first had I ever knitted. It was knitted in an alpaca blend and came out very soft. I really like the flower accent. 

 My MAJOR project that didn't get finished until Advent was nearly over was this Advent Calendar. I made this up with no pattern using only materials I had lying around so please excuse the poor planning and design. I must say it was VERY frustrating to try to figure this one out with limited sewing skills/design knowledge. It came out all right in the end and we are looking forward to using it next year.
My favorite element was Mary holding baby Jesus. I really wanted to have her holding him instead of him being in the manger because if I had just given birth I would never want to put that baby down.

All of the stars are pockets that will accommodate a slip of paper that will list a scripture related to the birth of Christ as well as a celebratory activity for that day. It might be baking cookies and giving them to a neighbor or for the 24th singing Stille Nacht. I will get those ready for next year and I am excited for the memories I know that this calendar will help our family make.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Recap

Happy New Year! Looking at my blog posts for 2010 the major focus was definitely our family resolutions. I am pleased to say that we did very well. Keeping our resolutions certainly was an inspired goal for us because it helped us become more self-sufficient and frugal in a year that was anything but easy. As a writer I would love to be positive and uplifting like so many of the blogs that I read but I have a difficult time writing positively when things are hard. Maybe that is why I haven't written much the last half of the year?

Last night on our way home from the in-laws Andrew and I talked about the best things that happened for us in 2010. I mentioned learning to knit, improving my cooking skills, and making some new friends. For Andrew it was becoming a Seminary teacher and putting on a German language camp. For both us of the loss of our baby was definitely the most difficult thing we had to go through in addition to other unfortunate events surrounding that time that I won't go into.

Despite it all we are blessed. In some years I recognize that the trials seem to outweigh the (visible) blessings, and 2010 appears to be one of those years for us. With what little perspective I do possess I can see how our trials shaped us and pushed us in directions that we may not have gone otherwise. For example I doubt I would have taught myself to knit if I hadn't needed an activity to fill my sadness at losing my pregnancy. While knitting doesn't seem like much of anything, it has often brought me peace.

We haven't set our 2011 goals in stone yet but I know that we will continue to honor our goals for 2010 because they are working so well for us. I hope that 2011 brings everyone great peace and happiness and that you will be able to make and keep resolutions that will enrich and bless your lives and the lives of those around you.

ETA: I think Laura expressed my hopes for 2011 in this post. She always has a way of saying things that makes them especially meaningful.