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Shopping Week! July 1, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Nail Art, WIDTW.
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Not much crafting this week (unless you count the project for what will probably turn into next week’s tutorial). Instead this past week was a bunch of shopping.

First, I went to a surplus sale at my local college. It’s amazing some of the things you find there. And it’s a good thing I’m a DIYer and can fix some of these things. I got a rolling filing cabinet for my paperwork (which desperately needed it). It was bent pretty good at the top and both the top and bottom drawers were having issues because of it, but with some carefully placed wood and a good hammer it was straightened out in no time. I got some candy bins for my pantry (I’ll use them for grains instead of candy). Thank goodness for soap. Then, a turning stand for my jewelry. I put the necklaces on the spindles and then the bracelets on the shaft (I should get a pic). Finally I got a folding chair with a fold-up table/shelf. All the fabric needs replaced and the whole thing repainted, but it will be a fun project. The question is what’s something fun  I could do for the fabric parts? (Macrame spiderweb for a seat? Ugh. No thanks. Fake squashed fruit? That might prevent people from sitting on my seat, but I’d prefer something better. Maybe I could do some Edwardian embroidery? But with what time? Okay, time to open it up for suggestions from you.)

Next, stopped by the dollar store and found a few cute and cheap little craft kits (which I don’t usually buy any more, but they looked extra fun). There’s the picture below, and yes, I got a silly friendship bracelet kit. It has a unique pattern for a bracelet with flowers on it. I didn’t know you could do that with friendship bracelets. Oh, and there’s something called flexible fabric. That will be interesting to work with. And you just have to love anything you can customize, so I got a DIY mug and flower pot. I could trade out one of my little art pieces every day!

Dollar Store Kits

Finally, I stopped by a Walmart sidewalk clearance sale and found too much cool stuff including one-pound baby yarn (I got a couple for a baby blanket), plus I got a gel manicure kit for only $17! Yay! I’ve been wanting to try a gel mani for a while now, but I’m sure it would have cost me at least $30 just for a mani at a nail salon. It’s fascinating stuff. It feels kind of soft, but it’s not going anywhere (yet – I still need to test it when I weed the garden and when I sit in the heat this Thursday). BTW, I think I’ll paint and cure my thumbs separately – the gel ran before it could cure so now I have lumps on both thumbs.

Gel Mani


Writing Conference, Costumes, and Nail Art June 24, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Nail Art, WIDTW.
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So I went to a writing conference last week (talk about a writer’s high). It was so much fun! I learned so much, got at least one story almost ready for submission, found an agent I might want (need to do more research though), and I got another 3 dozen ideas for books – seriously, on Tuesday new ideas just kept coming!

Since I’m a picture book author (and cause I just wanted an excuse to dress up cute) I wore a simple little costume each day, complete with matching nail art (most of the days, depending on how late I stayed up doing assignments). I didn’t get photos of the costumes, or a couple day of nail art, but I’ve included what I did get:

  • Monday – a Pink Kitty with pink kitty ears, a pink flower lacy shirt, and pink flower cuffs
    Pink Kitty Nail Art
  • Tuesday – Steampunk with a mini bowler hat, military jacket, and spats
    (Didn’t get photo)
  • Wednesday – Artist with a white lacy shirt, a fur newsboy hat, and a paintbrush tucked behind my ear
    (Didn’t have time to do nails)
  • Thursday – a Pink Plaid Punk with my pink plaid shirt, plaid fedora, and a crazy-cool blue plaid Aztec necktie
    Pink Punk Plaid with Black Animal Prints
    (In case you can’t see, I did the black with a matte coat and then did a different animal print in shiny on each nail. I love this one, but it took forever.)
  • Friday – a Pirate with the white lacy shirt again tied above the waist over a black shirt and a red & white striped pirate bandana (complete with skull and crossbones)
    Silver Flames Nail Art

BTW, there’s a pattern to all my costumes (besides trying to include nail art with each) – they each feature a hat! And on Tuesday one of my fellow attendees suggested I write a story with hats, so I did! It’s super fun (still has some work though), but you’ll have to wait to read it. Hopefully it will become a printed work.

Besides my costumes, I thought I wouldn’t get any crafting in, but as I was sifting through my photos I realized I had. As a “thank you” to my Aunt & Uncle who hosted me for the week I babysat their kids Friday night, and I got to introduce them to Shrinky Dinks. So fun! Even the teenager had loads of fun and was floored that we could make Shrinky Dinks with plastic #6. I made a couple things (mostly to show them how to do it), but one of them curled in on itself so it didn’t turn out (thankfully the only piece that didn’t turn out well), so I threw that one away. But the other one I made a cute little red diamond with a couple holes punched in it. I think it would be fun to make some more of these and make a necklace.

Red Diamond Shrinky Dink

Anyway, I’m pretty stoked about getting back to writing, so I’ll TTYL!

Big Projects & Going to a Conf. June 10, 2013

Posted by Sindy in WIDTW.
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This week I’ve been trying to finish the keys tutorial I promised a couple weeks ago. (Go figure, the one tutorial I mention ahead and it’s taking forever.) It’s looking like I won’t get it done this week either.

You can’t blame me too much though (although I stink at predicting how long something is going to take me). In prep for a conference I’m going to next week, I’ve been working extra hours at my “day job.” I’ve been working my tail off at a job that’s only supposed to be part time so I can work on my books. Oh well, the books aren’t paying me anything yet.

Besides working on what was supposed to be tomorrow tute, I bought an awesome crocheted flower necklace at a local farmer’s market, and of course I haaad to wear it to church yesterday, and I haaad to do matching nail art with cute little red flowers (sadly I couldn’t get a good clear photo of my nails this week – so need a better camera). It was so fun, and I got lots of compliments, except everyone thought I had made it. Sigh, one day I do want to.

Anyways, got to get to my “day job.” See you tomorrow (and yes, I do have a tute for you guys).

A Weekend of Service June 3, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Nail Art, WIDTW.
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Twice a year I help with a couple ultra marathons (we’re talking 50+ miles), and that’s what I ended up doing this weekend. Unlike what usually happens, we didn’t come back with many stories. I do have one though: As the station helpers and I were on the way back to race headquarters (start/finish) after all the runners had been through our station we happened upon a motorcyclist who hadn’t stayed on the road. He wasn’t too badly hurt. He had several random scrapes and bruises and his knee got it pretty good (I don’t think it was broken or anything). We tried to offer him some of our extra ice (okay, so our station didn’t use a single ice cube from the 6 bags we brought), but he declined. BTW, soapbox moment: If someone offers you assistance, be a man and accept!!!!! Don’t rob them of a chance to serve and suck the joy out of their day (yeah, I was on one for the rest of the day). I was able to direct some of the traffic around the accident and a school bus that parked in the road to help.

Besides that, I got another cute mani done. This one is silver with pink tiger stripes. I got lots of compliments on this one. 😀

Pink Tiger Stripes on Silver Mani

As for the rest of the week, I continued repairing that vest I mentioned last week and it’s almost done.

Learning Nail Art & Mending Button Holes May 27, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Home Decor, Nail Art, WIDTW.
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WIDTW (What I Did This Week) – Well, mostly I’ve just been working on a bunch of mending. Now that I know how ridiculously many unfinished projects I have, I need to get going on them. Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing Tutorial Tuesdays, I’ll just try to do tutorials on projects I need to do or finish. (Might as well get two birds with one stone – post to blog and finish projects, right?)

Among these projects I’ve been working on I have an old vest. It started as a wrinkly mess. The vest had shrunk while the facing hadn’t so it didn’t lay right at all, the button holes had lost their stitching and the fabric was unraveling, and there was a bug-chewed hole right in front. I’m sure most people would have tossed it without even blinking. Even a seamstress would have thought twice about rescuing it, but I wanted to learn how to do ALL kinds of mending so I took it over my Mom’s. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve been learning how to use a pressing cloth on polyester, how to do an invisible hem on the facing, how to hand-stitch a button hole, and even how to readjust the facing without taking the vest apart and re-cutting the piece. Phew! A lot of great lessons, and the vest is starting to look so much better.

And while I was at my Mom’s, she did a little wood project for me (since I don’t have woodworking knowledge – yet). She made me sword hangers! Yay! I’ve been wanting some for years, and now I have them. They’re a nice simple design too. I was thinking they’d be thinner (my swords are just wood anyway), but this is the scrap wood she had.

Sword Hanger

Sword on hanger

Um, what else did I do this week? I put buttons on some of my sister’s kitchen towels so she can hang them on her oven door. I bought and painted a closet door that my Mom was going to use as a wing on my sewing cabinet/table, but she decided to use something else (oh well – it was at a building thrift store so it was cheap). And I painted my nails again. My nephews helped me with the pink part (except for a little over-painting, not too bad for a 3-yo and a 4 1/2-yo). The diamond pattern on them didn’t turn out very well though. After watching a bunch of videos by CutePolish on YouTube, I think the problem was that I let the polish dry too much before removing the masking tape (aka stencil). BTW, dollar store makeup is hit and miss, and I think I’ll just use the pink as accent from now on.

Silver diamonds mani

Well, back to mending and I’ll see you tomorrow with a project you’ve asked for and I’ve been meaning to do anyway.

So Much Crafty Fun! :D May 20, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Home Decor, Jewelry, My Original Ideas, Sewing, WIDTW.
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This week was busy and fun! I got lots of crafting done. I think I’ll show you in order of completion:

1. Ruffle Yarn Necklace

I had some extra ruffle yarn left over after making a scarf for a customer (which usually doesn’t happen, but this little bit wasn’t tied to the rest of the skein), so I made a necklace. Turned out kind of fun! Sadly it’s not my colors, so if anyone wants to buy it… 😉

Ruffle Yarn Necklace

2. Black Ice Cool Necklace


Too Little Excercise Leads to Too Much Aching May 13, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Journal, WIDTW.
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Confused about the title? It’s like this – I used to help my Mom a lot. We’d work hard in the yard, the garden, and other places like the wood shop. Even when I became a web developer, on my days off I’d help her or my landlady. Then I became an author & illustrator, aka a desk jockey. Most of my days are now spent on the computer. I help out when I can, but that’s not very often.

Anyway, so one of the things I did this week was to help my landlady scrub a bathroom. The previous tenants didn’t open the window or have the fan going when they showered, so the walls were covered in mold. Talk about gag! And talk about sore shoulders. Correction, I don’t have shoulders, I have a couple of painful rocks on the top of my arms. And the job isn’t done! We only got through about a third of the scrubbing, and it’s a good thing we stopped when we did. Besides my shoulders, my head was hurting pretty bad from the fumes and the mold. I ended up taking three naps over two days and I still feel so tired like I’m trying to get sick.

BTW, after we get the rest of it scrubbed off (and I think I’ll wear a dust mask to reduce the fume intake), and we’re killing it with hydrogen peroxide as we go so it won’t come back, then we’ll paint the bathroom with some special mildew killing/preventing paint (2 coats), and she’s talking about connecting the fan to the lightswitch so it turns on automatically.

So, do you get the title? It’s simple, I had been slacking on my excercise and put myself in a position where I was too weak to be of much help and I easily over did it. Oh, and I found out this Sunday that I can’t fit in one of my favorite dresses anymore. T.T So note to self: crafting and drawing and writing are all very fun, but regular exercise is essential (and good hard work builds muscles faster and better than walking). I just need to find a way to do it regularly and make it super fun (besides playing with nephews 😉 ) so I want to do it.

On another note, I didn’t do much crafting this week except I made and sold three ruffle scarfs (and one of my customers is talking about purchasing some more for future birthday gifts) and my tatting class covered insertions (mine stunk, which doesn’t happen very often, right?).

And for the request-a-comment part of this post, my sister is planning her son’s birthday party. He’s a very precocious (aka rambunctious, hyper, etc.) four-year-old, and right now he loooooves rockets (not aliens or robots). Oh, and many of his friends have food allergies so my sister is going to avoid food at this party. Any great ideas out there?

The Internet Needs More Preemie Patterns April 15, 2013

Posted by Sindy in Internet Resources, Journal, Patterns, WIDTW.
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What I Did This Week: Besides finally catching up with my tatting homework and learning needle tatting in my class (I’m so excited!), and not touching my book at all this week, this past Saturday was my cousin’s baby shower, so I had to make something for her. And since the little cutie is a preemie, I just had to make something extra special.

I have a soft spot for preemie babies. I was a preemie myself, born four weeks early and only 5 lbs. I wasn’t the tiniest thing, but my Mom tells stories of cutting a third off the preemie diapers the hospital gave her and tiny doll dresses that my great-grandma made for me. So when my cousin had her tiny four lb baby five weeks early I imediately thought about making a little dress that would fit her.

I had already researched making preemie clothes for a friend who started an organization called Angel Babies that helps parents who’s tiny tikes don’t live long. Many of them didn’t develop enough to survive, and many of them are tiny preemies.

Sady, my great-grandma was lucky when she made my little doll dress – most doll patterns aren’t the right proportions for a preemie, so I went on a search to find some preemie patterns online. According to some medical study (of which I can’t seem to find right now) the rate of preemie births is increasing (mostly because of the behavior of the parents, but that’s another topic), and even full-term babies tend to be skinny little mites when they’re first born, so this should be easy, right? Apparently not. According to the clothes in retail stores “preemie” size just means an inch shorter. That’s not going to do.

I did find a couple good resources though:
– For people who sew, my friend’s Angel Babies website has a few patterns
– And for people who crochet, Bev’s Country Cottage has some great patterns
– And a couple sizing charts (Note: Sizing preemies is just an “averages” game. Sizes and proportions can vary widely.)

Preemie’s have special requirements when it comes to clothes. Their little furnaces don’t work yet, so a warm hat is almost required. The smaller the baby the thinner their skin so they can’t wear booties or socks and you have to design clothes to be easier to get the baby in. Oh, and the fabric or yarn needs to be super soft, and no big lumps from things like buttons and bows in the back. I like to use fingering size yarn (super skinny), which I’ve only found in yarn specialty shops, and flat buttons, and it’s good to have clothes that open all the way down the back to make it easiest to put it on.

If you know of a great preemie pattern online, let me know! Also, you’re welcome to donate handmade items to Angel Babies.