FO Friday: Sunshine and Rainbows for Blythe

Sometimes in the Blythe Swap group I co-admin, someone’s package doesn’t come through for some reason, and we find someone to put together a make-up package. I recently did this for someone and I had a lot of fun putting it together!

Angel Swap: Sunshine and Rainbows

The entire time I was working on this swap, I had the song, “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” running through my head. Of course, mostly in the voice of Chief Wiggum, though clearly Lesley Gore is preferable to have on a loop (also, THAT SWEATER).

The recipient for this swap likes cupcakes and cute things, so it was a natural fit for the swap theme.

Sunshine and Rainbows angel swap

She doesn’t care for super short skirts, so I chose to knit a knee-length skirt. I still made two mini-dresses but kept them fairly modest, and then made two longer-skirted fancy dresses as well. I added some rainbow and sunshine-themed accessories and fun goodies to round out the package. I’m quite happy to report that the recipient was as pleased with this package as I was! 🙂

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New year newness (and some sameness)

Happy new year!

I feel like 2014 was a pretty okay year. We had a lot more stability in our lives, which was a refreshing change from last year. We did move again in the summer, but it was just a couple miles away and we splurged on professional movers who packed everything for us, so it was a lot less stressful and strenuous than our previous couple of moves. We’ve been pleased with our new digs and they’re a lot less expensive, so I feel happy that we’re actually saving a small amount each month now.

In terms of reading, Goodreads says that I read almost the same number of books I did last year.

2014 Goodreads stats photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2015-01-01_130559_zps9f437f3c.png

Except that their stats don’t count a lot of books including knitting and sewing books (many of which I admittedly skim or read only parts of) and picture books. If you count all of those, my number would be 397. I made a concerted effort to read more books by women this year, after noticing last year that my reading was ridiculously dominated by male writers. My fave reads from 2014 include: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, What If? by Randall Munroe, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert (this is actually an 8-book series, which I enjoyed more than I can say – it is cozy as cozy gets), Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling), and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

I also wrote and published 38 knitting patterns!

Ravelry my shop photo Ravelry_AnneArchy_Anne_Heidemann_s_Ravelry_Store_-_2015-01-01_131432_zps43788c2d.png

They’ve been selling fairly steadily and people seem pleased with the clarity of my pattern-writing, so that’s pretty awesome. And I knit 96 things in 2014! That is a lot of knitted items. 23 of those were xmas gifts and 6 were craft-it-forward gifts made to help folks remember to be excellent to each other.

For sewing, I conceived and created my first art quilt, titled Figure and Flock.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

It was featured in the grand opening art show at the local Dreamer coffee shop, which was pretty neat.

Last year I made some resolutions, which have gone pretty well for the most part.

  • Blog regularly: I did this fairly well – I posted 94 times in 2014
  • Continue to attend yoga class once a week at OmBodies: This one I let go (consciously uncoupled from?) – I decided that having my Sunday mornings to myself at home was more valuable to me, and the cost of weekly classes felt like too big a sacrifice when we’re trying to save for a down payment on our next home
  • Take more photographs, especially of Coraline while she’s awake (this will require some effort): This one was middling – I took a good number of photos, but the ones of Coraline are definitely mostly sleepy-face photos
  • Go for more walks/explore Mount Pleasant (this may not happen robustly until spring): Success! Once the harsh winter abated, we took Coraline for lots of walks, especially once we moved into our current apartment where it’s more neighborhoody.
  • Create a couple of websites for folks who could use them: This one didn’t really happen, but only because the folks ended up not really needing them. However, I did create a site for the Blythe Swap Group, which helped us tremendously because we have avenues of participation on three different social media sites and it was getting really difficult to keep track of everything. I taught myself how to do a few new things with WordPress, which was cool.
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times: Done! I did the Baby Animals and Halloween swaps, both of which were super fun.

For this coming year, I’m setting some more goals:

  • Blog regularly (keeping this one)
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times (keeping this one again)
  • Find ways to be excellent to others on a regular basis
  • Write up and publish the remainder of the Blythe knitting patterns I have started working on
  • Complete my current art quilt project
  • Spend time with near- and far-flung friends more often

Feeling pretty good about 2014 in retrospect gives me a pretty optimistic view for 2015 (unsurprising, since I’m generally optimistic anyway). How are you feeling about the last year? And the new?

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S-A-TUR-DAY Afternoon!

Yesterday was just the kind of day I love. We woke up and had some delicious scram with spinach and ham (courtesy of awesome K) and had a leisurely morning doing laundry and catching up on reading and social media. Then we headed out to see some exhibits! We saw the current exhibit at the Baber Room, which I’ll post about separately later this week. We then hit the new exhibit at the Clarke Historical, which is entitled Photography: Process, People & Preservation.

Photography: Process, People & Preservation exhibit at the Clarke Historical Library

This exhibit is really nicely curated. The graphics and displays are eye-catching and convey a lot of information without overwhelming you.

Photography: Process, People & Preservation exhibit at the Clarke Historical Library

Check out this print of the Marching Chips before they were the Marching Chips. Quite a far cry from the 250+ people I marched with when I was a student.

Photography: Process, People & Preservation exhibit at the Clarke Historical Library

The exhibit has a lot of information about a variety of photographic techniques and formats, with examples of many types of prints and negatives.

Photography: Process, People & Preservation exhibit at the Clarke Historical Library

They even included some nostalgic examples like these flash cubes, which I remember just a little from when I was a young kid.

Photography: Process, People & Preservation exhibit at the Clarke Historical Library

Also included are some neat vintage and antique cameras and, like in this case, advertisements and information about them. I love the image of this person being amazed by the photo they’re taking while they’re taking it.

Things have been so busy lately that it was really nice to just have a day to do exactly what we wanted to and not have other obligations or deadlines looming. I recently did a professional thing that I worked really hard on and which came with a lot of nervousness and anxiety, and I am so glad that I did it (and that it’s over). I accomplished a thing that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t even get the chance to do, and it feels good to have done it. I’ve also had a variety of other things going on that were weighing on me (huzzah for mammograms! But even more for follow-up mammograms that turn out to be nothing!) and it feels so good to just be. Anyway.

After the photography exhibit, we attempted to see the current faculty exhibit at the art museum, but apparently whoever was supposed to work there today didn’t show up, as the doors were locked and no one appeared to be around. Too bad, as it was CMU and You day and campus was packed with people who could have enjoyed seeing the art. We’ll try again another day.

Then we did a little retail exploration, including picking up some seasonal brews at a local liquor store (verdict: their selection of craft beers and ciders was okay, but nothing to write home about. We’ll try another shop next time – locals, any recommendations?) and some sausages at the local meat market (verdict: YUM. The market is attached to the meat processing facility, so these were made on site and you can really tell that they’re superior quality). Then on to the fabric store to pick up some crafty bits and fabric as I work on putting together my Halloween package for the Blythe Swap Group. After lunch, I sewed and crafted some of the goodies for that swap package and I’m so pleased at how everything is coming together. It’s not even halfway through the month and I’m almost finished! I’m truly not sure how that happened.

Followed up by an evening of chilling and enjoying some good TV (new Doctor Who!) and the company of each other and Coraline the Wonder Snuggler, it was a really nice day.

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Tea Party

May’s theme for the Blythe Swap Group I co-mod was Tea Party. It was really fun to put together things that aren’t my personal taste but fit the theme.

tea party hatbox

I decoupaged this small hatbox with decorative paper, images, and stickers that I thought seemed tea party-ish.

knit sweater/skirt set

This is a sweater and skirt set I made in tea party colors. I decided to do the ruffle on the skirt hem at the last minute but it turned out really well! The skirt also has pink around the waistband.

spectacular tea party hat

Then I made this hat/fascinator. I didn’t think to take any photos of the underside, but underneath I attached the hat to a hair clip so it would be easy to get it to stay on Blythe’s head (not always the case with Blythe head-wear). I was inspired by Carrie Anne’s DIY fascinator tutorial and I have to say, it was just as easy to do as she said it would be! I used a tube of glue that we happened to have around since I was too lazy to get the hot glue gun, but it worked just as well.

spectacular tea party hat

I glued the feathers, and then used this button on top to give it a finished look. I removed the shank first with some nippers.

tea party dress and hat

I also made a dress to go with the hat. I tried to use similar colors to the feathers I’d purchased and I think that it turned out well. It all goes together without being exactly matchy.

Maryanne really liked the package, too! Here are some of her photos:

a lovely handmade teaparty box

You can see the dimensional stickers I used on the box in this photo. It was fun to have an excuse to buy a bunch of scrapbooking stuff that I would normally not have a good use for.

prettily wrapped items inside

Here’s the package being unwrapped.

cute feather hat and other goodies

And all the goodies inside!

unwrapped! beautiful dolly clothes

Unwrapped.

Zoey insists on modeling the new swap items

Here is Maryanne’s Zoey modeling. I think these colors suit her very well!

Zoey with teaparty swap items

A tea party picnic on the patio! Sounds like a good time to me.

Maryanne’s package for me was totally awesome!

tea party box decoration

She decorated the box with cute illustrations.

wow! that's a lot of awesome!

And filled the box with a load of goodies! She paid attention to the fact that purple is one of my favorite colors.

!!! So many neat things!!

So much neat stuff!

Dahlia modeling so sweet tea party hat and frock

Including a lovely tea party hat (I’m so happy she included one, too!) and coordinating frock, modeled here by Dahlia.

undescribably cool vintage Boston Terrier card - originally included in tea!

One of my favorite things she sent is something tangentially tea-party-related, but again, she clearly paid attention to my likes list: just look at this vintage Boston Terrier tea card! Apparently a tea company named Hornimans included these cards in their tea, and you could pick up an album at your local shop to collect them. It’s so cute and cool!

I’m so pleased with how this swap went. I received a terrific package from my partner and I had a lot of fun making the things for the package I sent. This next month’s theme is Cool Britannia and I am mega-geeked about that one.

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Blythe Swap: Carnival/Circus

Last month’s Blythe Swap theme was carnival/circus/fair, and I got an AWESOME package from my swap partner Kristal.

carnival/circus swap goodies

Check out all these goodies!!

carnival/circus swap goodies

Stickers! Lollies! Cotton candy! A pull ring! Clothing! A stuffie!

Here’s Willow modeling this romper set with matching bow. It’s so cute! I love that the fabric combination absolutely reads circus/carnival, but it’s not too clowny.

Willow modeling and sampling the goodies!

Also, get a load of that handmade cotton candy! It’s so creative and such a neat idea!

Willow modeling and sampling the goodies!

In addition to the romper set, here we have a lovely dress, too! Kristal mentioned that her sewing machine wasn’t cooperating fully, but you cannot tell AT ALL. Everything is flawless!

Willow modeling and sampling the goodies!

And check out this little guy!

Willow modeling and sampling the goodies!

What a cutie! I love that he’s kind of a little bit spooky – totally my style!

cute little guy!

Thanks, Kristal! You are a tremendous swap partner!

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Road Trip Swap!

I participated in the Road Trip Swap through the Blythe Swap Group and I got an awesome package!

swap goodies!

How cute is this tag? I love it.

swap goodies!

What a haul! My swap partner included so much awesomeness.

swap goodies!

This. Hat. Rules.

skully hat

And a punk rock princess dress!

punk dress

Plus bags and coffee and lip gloss!

bags, coffee, and lip gloss

And last but certainly not least, the cutest amigurumi Boston Terrier evar!

cutest amugurumi BT ever!

 

Dahlia is impressed. (Not to mention dressed to the nines.)

Dahlia checking out the swap goodies

Dahlia checking out the swap goodies

Thank you supa mega, Bunny B!

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Fun in the Sun!

I just got my swap package from the June Blythe Swap and it is AWESOME! I was so excited that I got paired up with Holly, who I met last summer at Angela‘s Blythe meetup. Holly also has a Boston Terrier, likes skulls, and has probably a bunch of other stuff in common with me.

Fun in the Sun picnic goodies from Holly

She put together a picnic package! How cool is that?

Fun in the Sun picnic goodies from Holly

Check it totally out! She included a ton of supa cute stuff:

Fun in the Sun picnic goodies from Holly

I had noticed this dress in Holly’s photostream recently and admired it greatly, and she totally sent it to me! I love it. I think that I especially like it because I wouldn’t necessarily think to put these two fabrics together, but they work together really well.

Fun in the Sun picnic goodies from Holly

And check out these sneakers:

Fun in the Sun picnic goodies from Holly

Skully! Totally my fave. Here’s Willow modeling the shoes, hairband, and dress together. And with a cupcake in her pocket!

Fun in the Sun picnic goodies from Holly

Thanks mega, Holly!

The July swap sign-up is open right now, and the theme is “Road Trip” – I’m looking forward to it!

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