Wrapping up 2010: A Trip to Hipster Paradise

Handmade is hip, eh? We're going to wrap up 2010 by taking a trip through hipster paradise! I've noticed this year that hipster trends have spanned both hipster headquarters (Urban Outfitters) and Etsy, among other hip webspots. It gets excessive and a bit annoying sometimes, but the world is flat now thanks to the internet, so it's inevitable. (Yea, I'm reading The World is Flat right now.)

So lets take a look at this year's trends! Look at the pictures before the links and see if you can tell whether it's from Etsy, Urban Outfitters or Apartment Therapy. It'll be a fun game!

1. Owls: Soooo many owlss!!! Owl City, Legend of the Guardian.. They are adorable though.

Owl studs (Etsy)
Owl lantern (U.O.)
Owl pillow (U.O.)

2. Party Banners: This was a pretty hot commodity this summer. I don't know.. people got into outdoor garden parties in the summer and this stuff was allllll over the place.

Paper decorations (Apartment Therapy)

3. Foxes: I admit that I am addicted to Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it also seems like the rest of the world is too. Foxes have gone from dangerous rabid animals to cuddly expressions of art.

Fox shirt (U.O.)
Fox pillow (Etsy)

4. Keep Calm and Carry On: Ok, this one actually pisses me off a bit. I've seen these damn posters and prints EVERYWHERE from U.O. to Target. It's not even cool anymore, assholes. Find a new phrase!

5. Vintage: Uber-hip! The most fun thing about vintage stuff is that it's hard to get duplicates. Everything is of the same flavor, but you have to try hard to find the same thing twice. [I have an addiction to vintage suitcases. I'm trying to kick the habit. It's not working. Because I'm just too hip.]

Well, there it is 2010. We've done it. 2010 was a pretty eventful year for me. Hopefully 2011 will settle down a bit. I need a tame year. 

Still haven't come up with a good resolution, though. So far I've brainstormed improving my vocabulary, cooking more, doing more with my Etsy shop, and I don't know! I need a more specific one. Any suggestions? 

Be safe tonight! 

Mona and Diddley will be spending their time looking out for their nemesis, Zombie Cat. It looks like its blind. They're protecting us. 

So long, 2010! 


Some Scenes from Christmas

Our Christmas tree!

My makeshift Christmas wrappings :)

Mona discovering Owl City! (...again)

Mona eating Christmas wrappings.

Diddley and his owl and bow :)

Diddley eating the building of Owl City

Mona under the tree

Diddley in the Christmas aftermath

Poinsettias at my Aunt's

My Aunt's makeshift Christmas tree ;)

NOT PICTURED: Mona running around like a psychokitty and then throwing up all over the dining room on Christmas morning.

I know I've been m.i.a. for a whole week, but it's because I've been hard at work on my 2011 cat calendar! I've also been brainstorming a new crafty resolution for the year. Last year's was to update this blog once a week, which pushed me to start my crafty business! So as small-time as I am, I made some big strides this year that I'm proud of, despite the four little sales on my site. :) (Thanks, Aziza)

Be back before the New Year!


A Christmas Skirt

A skirt, a skirt, a lovely Christmas skirt!

I made it the exact same way as I made the yellow skirt back in the fall [download the tutorial here] and on the same Brother sewing machine (since I'm home again for the holidays), but I had to make this one in two layers- the outer fabric is totally see-through, so I lined it with a solid red. 

The design is lovely though. It has these raised, sewed-on rosettes or something. I've had this fabric since I was in 12th grade when my art teacher was getting rid of lots of fabric. Finally found a good use for it :)

I'm heading off to the mall tomorrow to find a sweater to match. I saw one at H&M the other day but I didn't get it or try it on, mainly because I was shopping while eating popcorn, and Brad rushes me through girly stores. So I'm going back tomorrow without him ;) 

Toodles, crafties! 
Mona napping in her bed in the corner of the stairs.
And to all, a good-night.

Find the Mona!

I'm in the process of working on my 2011 calendar and while searching through my masses of pictures I found some lovely ones of a hiding Mona, so lets play a quick game of..

Find the Mona!

Yup, that's her in the cabinet, behind all things and under shelves in the pantry, and under my couch (not bed), which is very low laying. I'm surprised she fit under there.

As a kitten, she used to go under my dresser and then got too big to do it, but was still determined to get under there. Me and Rashid have had to lift the dresser and pull her out on more than one occasion. 

Also, I keep sensing her in my room, but I can't see her. I think she's under my bed right now.. I'm going to start jumping and see if she runs out.

Orrr I could lure her out with her Christmas present, which she did find, by the way. I walked up to my room and found her in the doorway gnawing on the brown owl. I even wrapped up the toys and she found them in my stuff and RUINED CHRISTMAS!

We'll be around..


Steven Colbert Gets Crafty Again!

I meant to post this last week, but with finals, nothing gets done. Remember? I've just finally cleaned half of the dishes from last week.

Anyways, Amy Sedaris was on The Colbert Report last week promoting her new book-

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People

It's full of great tips! Like stuffing an old tie with lint to stop the cold air from getting in your tiny terribly insulated basement apartment. This is a problem Brad and I really have. It's terrible. We've basically boarded up all our windows because so much cold air gets through. Our kitchen window is busted and was busted before we even moved in, so it doesn't even close all the way and lets in ridiculous amounts of cold air. 

The interview was a million times better than the Martha Stewart one- just because Martha Stewart sucks and Amy Sedaris is awesomee. :)

Here's the full clip:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Amy Sedaris
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>March to Keep Fear Alive

But, as Stephen Colbert said, poor people [like me] can't afford books! Soooo maybe someone will get it for me for Christmas, or else I'll just steal it. ;)

Holiday Link Love and Sweat Shop: For the lovely cat

I've been sad for the last few days. So as I was studying for my last final, Brad was sitting on the couch next to me searching for cats in College Park and announced that he would be totally fine with us getting a cat. I could notttt contain my excitement. I was sooo excited and giddy (and no longer studying at this point), so we sat on the couch together that night and looked for the most purrfect cat out there.

Brad's requirements: a boy cat (because it's ironic) that looks "tough" -- a tough boy cat- not like Diddley. Diddley's too sassy and prissy for Brad, apparently. (Diddley just likes to be held and to eat. He's an indoors boy- he can't help it!)

But we found it.

The most purrfect cat.

Tell me that isn't the toughest cat you've ever seen? A one-eyed black cat! And guess the name? Yes, you got it- Blackbeard. Argh!

We got so hopeful, so excited and emailed our landlord to get the OK. He said he'd had tenants with pets before, so we didn't think that one cat in an all tile-floor/cement-walled basement apartment would be a big deal. But apparently it is, so there go all my dreams and happiness. (What a dick!!!!)

I'm slowly getting over this hard hitting blow, but looking at this poor little baby's face is making me upset all over again :( But anyways, I still have the most purrfect Mona and Diddley! I just wish I was with them always. I need cat companionship.

But onwards with the gifting, don't forget about your cats this Christmas! My Christmas cats love having gifts. I could probably just give them a bag full of paper and they'd be perfectly happy, but I have to go the extra mile, duh! It probably satisfies me more than it does them ;)

Lovely Kitty Links and Ideas:

1. This is a tutorial for a "dog sweater" -- I don't understand why it has to be so species-specific. There's no reason it can't work for a cat! [via craftstylish]
2. Yet, another species specific tutorial-- this one is for a "dog collar" [via Keyka Lou]
3. Adorable felted wool organic catnip toys from Cattitude Creations [via Etsy] -- check out this shop's other awesome cat toys too!
4. Luvable Luggage Pet Bed from Love~Nostalgia~Whimsy [via Etsy] -- $2 goes to TLC Cat Rescue with your purchase! Their other pet beds are adorable and to die forrr :) and if not to buy, at least to give you great ideas. I, for instance, basically collect that kind of vintage suitcase. I have more of them than I have uses for.

Sweating It Out: Catnip Toys
I spoil my kitties. For Christmas, I made them an awesome cat toy collection, something I am thinking about expanding for my Etsy shop- thematic catnip toys! Their Christmas gift is.. shh don't tell them!..

Owl City! 

Hilariouss, right??? My brother, Rashid, likes the band but NOT the song "Fireflies," which he says is a terrible song from an otherwise good band. Or at least he used to say that. Now he's into Industrial House music -- Note: they are two separate links because they are two separate Wikipedia pages. I was under the impression it was one thing.. I don't know. He sends me music on Facebook and forces me to listen to it and read the Wikipedia pages, but I still don't understand. 

But anyway, my sister says that she always thinks of Rashid when she hears that song like prancing around like a fairy dancing- don't ask me why. So she always is singing the song, but she's altered the lyrics to make them all about Diddley.

I'd like to make my cat believe
That planet Earth turns Diddleyyyy 

It goes on and I'm not really sure of the exact lyrics, but it is something like that. So anyway, I thought Mona and Diddley would enjoy the play on felted toysss ;) [not words] while they try and suck the catnip out of them and get lit upp. 

And a Merry Christmas to all ;)

I made the owls using this sweet owl-making tutorial. Only took about five minutes. I just didn't put anything on the bottom (because Mona and Diddley don't need them to stand up) and stuffed them full of catnip! Yummm! The building and the taxi are out of felt, just like I did my pumpkin catnip toys in October [see here].

But of course, they will smell the catnip through my suitcase as soon as I arrive home, so I made some pre-Christmas ones to hold them over..

So I'm hard at work finishing up gifts and wrapping them awesomelyy, so stay tuned my friends.

Diddley assaulting his pumpkin catnip toy. I can only hope this round is just as successful.


FINALS WEEK: Hittin' the Sewing Machine, er I Mean Books.. right...

It's finals week. See the condition of my apartment?

Beer, craft projects, books, dishes and fast food remnants everywhere. My boyfriend copes with finals by playing video games, drinking fancy beers and listening to cool music. That is our mode on BMore Ave- music, beer, crafts, vid games. Oh, and caffeine and sugar- as much as possible. Proven to work!

I used to be really into school and learning- like realllyy into it. I was always so prepared for class, always so excited to learn something new and then change my major to it.

[I have been a Journalism major, a Journalism + Art History double major; a Journalism + Environmental Science and Policy double major, and an Environmental Science and Policy major. I have considered Anthropology, English and Sociology- probably more, but I can't remember them all right now. But now I'm so tired of school that I'm sticking out ENSP and getting the hell outta here! No idea where this road is taking me.]

But those days are over for me. This is Finals Week of the first semester of my Junior year. Only three semesters left to go, which is really bittersweet. I'll be glad to move on with my life, but I'm not really ever going to get any other situation in life that will allow me to arrange a daily schedule of two hours worth of classes that don't start until 2 p.m. Oh the problems of the real world.

So right now, in the middle of writing a final paper that is due at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (less than 11 hours away), I figured I'd show you a piece of my life that maybe you've guessed at..

I am addicted to crafting.

It's really bad.

I've had four finals and a final paper to study for this week, but my mind does not stray from crafting.

Today I knitted. Which is why I'm writing this paper right now, or at least should be..

Yesterday, I dyed t-shirts.

And when I'm not crafting, I'm constantly writing down plans and sketching drawings for what I'm going to be making as soon as I get 30 seconds of doing nothing, which will inevitably turn into an afternoon of crafting when I should be studying.

Just tryna make love and get paid. So when is that degree coming?

Diddley's pretty sick of studying too.

See him -- literally hittin' the books.

I bid you other procrastinators good luck.
And for you non-procrastinators.. 
I won't say it.
Stayin' classy.


Coffee Press Cozy with matching Teacup Cozy Freebie

Okay, I've been working on perfecting this pattern for WEEKS now. Remember my original prototype? Well, it has been scrapped for a much preferred version. After much deliberation and painful unraveling, this is what we have come up with: Download the pattern pdf here. Oh, and this is my Grandfather's Xmas gift soo keep it hush-hush ;) 

This is actually a really easy, cheap and doable Christmahanukwanzaka gift. It's a good idea to include the cup and press with the cozies though because guessing sizes of your giftees' presses and cups is not a great way to go about gifting. Luckily for me though, everyone in my family is just as obsessed with Ikea as I am, so we all have the same coffee press. The cup is included in the gift, but was also an Ikea find. 

See the press here: the Kaffe coffee/tea maker

And the cup here: the Charmor mug.

This is my first attempt at writing out a knitting pattern, so here goes! If you are familiar with cabling already, braided cabling is not too much different. The tricky part is that you're working with three strands instead of two, but you're still only moving one strand at a time. If you know how to braid, this shouldn't be too hard to get the hang of. 

Essentially, you're going to be alternating crossing over the left strand and the right strand to the middle. What matters when cabling each side is where you position the stitches on hold because you always want the effect of the outer strand crossing over the inner strand. For the right side, keep them on hold IN FRONT of the piece; for the left side, keep them on hold BEHIND the piece. [Here's a cabled baby vest by Purl Bee if you need to understand cabling more.]

Please let me reiterate though: when looking at the good side of the piece, while knitting it -

The outside stitches on each side are in the pattern of what is called the seed stitch. [See an example of a seed stitched scarf here.] On both the good and bad sides, you will knit/purl each individual stitch the same way. For example, the first stitch on both the good and bad sides will always be knitted. But if you're still not getting it, the pattern is spelled out in its entirety below. 

I broke this pattern into 3 parts on each row: (1) the seed stitch area | (2) the cabled area | (3) the other seed stitch area. 

And for those of you not familiar with knitting patterns, here are the definitions of the abbreviations I use in this pattern:
C.O.= Cast On
K= knit
K2= knit 2 stitches. Whatever number follows means knit/purl that amount. (P12= purl 12)
P= purl
Rpt= repeat
slip= move sts from one needle to the other WITHOUT knitting them
sts= stitches
| = just a division between the different sections of the piece

Materials: (for both cozies)
- Lion's Brand Wool-Ease Yarn - Ranch Red (102) [here]
- U.S. Size 8 needles/ 5 mm
- Cable needle
- Button
- Felt - red [here or $.29 at Jo Ann's]

Tea Cozy::
C.O. 28 sts
Row 1: K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P | K12 | P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K
Row 2: K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P | P12 | P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K

Rpt rows 1+2 until piece measures 1.5"

Cable Row: (bringing over the right side)
Good side: K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P | slip 4 sts on hold on cable needle- DO NOT KNIT! (in front of piece); K4; K4 from cable needle; K4 | P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K
Bad side: K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P | P12 | P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K

Rpt original rows 1+2 for 1/2 inch more

Cable Row: (bringing over the left side)
Good side: K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P | K4; slip 4 on cable needle (BEHIND piece); K4; K4 from cable needle | P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K
Bad side: K, P, K, P, K, P, K, P | P12 | P, K, P, K, P, K, P, K

Rpt pattern until desired length - about 11" for this coffee press.

Start bind off: 
Bind off 1 stitch from each end until 7 sts have been bound off from each side, so 2 sts each row/the ends of each row. It should look as if descending in a triangular shape. Keep up the cable pattern.

Keep up cable pattern for two more inches:
P1 | K12 | P1
P1 | P12 | P 1

Bind off.

Sew on a button and some sort of string to tie around it -- I crocheted some yarn into a loop (just a foundation chain- see how here, thanks Purl Bee!)
Sew felt to the back.

And voila!

Final measurements: 5.5"x13"

And now for the matching Cup Cozy::

This is different in that there is no descention- the piece is basically a rectangle and will be sewn together to become round. It just slides onto the mug.

C.O. 20 sts
Row 1: K, P, K, P | K12 | P, K, P, K
Row 2: K, P, K, P | P12 | P, K, P, K
Rpt rows 1+2 until piece measures 1.5" 

Cable Row: (bringing over the right side)
Good Side: K, P, K, P | slip 4 sts on hold on cable needle- DO NOT KNIT! (in front of piece); K4; K4 from cable needle; K4 | P, K, P, K
Bad Side: K, P, K, P | P12 | P, K, P, K

Rpt original rows 1+2 for 1/2" more

Cable Row: (bringing over the left side)
Good side: K, P, K, P | K4; slip 4 on cable needle (BEHIND piece); K4; K4 from cable needle | P, K, P, K
Bad side: K, P, K, P | P12 | P, K, P, K

Rpt pattern until desired length - 10.5" for this cup.

Bind off. 

Sew felt to the back and sew ends together. Slide onto your cup.

And voila, again!

Final measurements: 3"x10.5"

Really, the two pieces together should only take you about an afternoon to make. Put on a good movie, make a press-full of coffee and relax :) I find knitting to be incredibly therapeutic. It's one of my rediscovered favorite things to do. Maybe that makes me nerdy or old crazy cat lady-like, but it's really so fun! It's a quick, non-intensive, instant-gratified project.  Since my now-not-later knitting brainstorming, I haven't been able to kick the knitting habit in me. I've got about three different projects going on right now with strict Xmas deadlines! 

Hopefully I'll be able to meet them. But for now, onward to finding my much-looked forward to used book store!

See you soon, crafters. Enjoy this free knitting pattern,

and good luck..
keeping your yarn away from your cats!

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