Homemade Holiday Wreaths

Christmas is certainly upon us, and with less than a week to go, I hope you’re all ready for the festivities!

This year, I decided to make everyone on my list a holiday wreath, each with a little (or a lot) of my great-grandmother’s yarn. I love the warm, cozy look and feel of yarn-wrapped wreaths, so I made my own versions.

Some I simply wrapped with a single piece of yarn, others I wrapped with a super long crochet chain. And the ones for my grandparents are grapevine wreaths with yarn-wrapped personalized letters.

I couldn’t post all the wreaths, since not everyone has opened theirs yet 😀 but I loved making them! The process is so easy, and I always like thinking of creative ways to decorate with extra ornaments and ribbons.

Here’s hoping your holidays are full of merriment and cheer, with laughter from friends and family in the chilly winter air!

 

 

Advertisements

Taking Stock #3

 

The new backyard...so many trees!

The new backyard…so many trees!

Making : our new apartment into a cozy home
Cooking : chicken noodle soup
Drinking : coffee, lots of coffee
Reading: about the metaphysical properties of basalt
Wanting: to bask in the sunshine
Looking: at my plant in the window
Playing: Nightwish – Greatest Hits
Wasting: some wilted Romaine lettuce from 2 weeks ago
Sewing: the hem of my work pants…again
Wishing: I could magically summon my slippers from the other room
Enjoying: a bowl of java chip ice cream before dinner
Waiting: for the laundry to be done
Liking: sharing an office with Nate
Wondering: if I’ll get a call about that marketing job
Loving: Nate and Lola and the kitties
Hoping: this holiday season isn’t as crazy as the last
Marveling: at the tiny places cats can hide
Needing: to eat healthier
Smelling: some sandalwood incense
Wearing: a super cozy fuzzy sweater, recently rediscovered during the move
Following: so many new people on Twitter, it’s almost too much to keep up with
Noticing: how all our stuff still fit comfortably into a smaller apartment
Knowing: that autumn is fleeting and winter is coming
Thinking: about making Halloween treats
Feeling: a little chilly
Bookmarking: apartment decorating ideas
Opening: the blinds to let that sunshine in

Check out Taking Stock #2 if you want to know what was going on at the beginning of the year.

From Hobby to Business and Back Again

KN LogoThe News

I started Knitting Naturals as a small business–a way to make and sell my hand knit creations–with the intent to fully work from home and live the dream life. Well my friends, when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which is why I’ve been transitioning from a business back to a hobby, which is how this all got started in the first place.

You may have noticed that items haven’t been listed in the Etsy shop, and the blog has undergone some subtle changes to reflect a more casual style. I’ve been selling off my stock of items to local customers and plan to be fully back in hobby-mode by the end of the year.

Travel Tissue Holder in Trellis Stitch

Why?

Because after giving it my all for almost 3 years, I realized something very important–this isn’t what I want to do with my life. I love knitting and I love sharing my creations with people, but the business was just barely staying afloat, my health and relationships were suffering, and I was forcing myself to knit. And I don’t want to force it. Knitting was my stress reliever that turned into a stress inducer, and that just seemed wrong to me.

Gray Fingerless Gloves

Future Plans

I’ll still be knitting (and crocheting and doing other crafty projects) and I’ll share the results here on the blog, because I like to share 🙂 The Etsy shop will stay in vacation mode for an indefinite period of time, but any past customers are more than welcome to message me if they’d like a special order.

I imagine I’ll still make stuff for family and friends, but mostly I’ll be enjoying the freedom of being able to make whatever I want whenever I want. Whether that’s a pile of blankets or some complicated sweater that’ll take me months to finish, I get to enjoy making them at my own pace.

I’m looking forward to sharing many holiday projects with you as the seasons change, and I’m already working on another blanket for the pile!

Until next time, happy crafting!

A Quick Baby Blanket

I found a curious thing in the stash of vintage yarn from my great-grandmother–quite a few large crocheted squares. I believe they were the beginnings of slippers, but the assembly instructions were unfortunately missing.

So instead of letting them go to waste, I took a few and put together a little baby blanket. The intended recipient is still undetermined :p but you never know when you’ll need a last minute gift!

Mind you, I still need to wash and straighten it up, but I think it turned out quite well.

If you’d like to make one, you’ll need 4 squares in single crochet, in alternating colors if you want. Then in a third coordinating color, sew the edges of all 4 together. In that same color, single crochet around the entire outside edge to create a border. I added 5 single crochet in one stitch at each corner, but I think 4 would do just fine.

Yes, that’s right folks, the cookbook Fend For Yourself is now available on the Kindle store. Feeling pretty good today about this.

The “look inside” preview for the book won’t be available until next week, but you can still have a sample sent to you before you buy it.

As always, if you have any suggestions or comments I’d love to hear them. The beauty of an e-book is I can still correct myself if I made a grave error somewhere in there.

Fend For Yourself Cover

Overcoming Fear – I’m Publishing a Cookbook!

2lb Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

I don’t talk about cooking much on this site, mostly because I have an entire other blog devoted to culinary creations, but I wanted to let you all know about some big news–I’m publishing a cookbook!

Five years ago, I sat in my desk corner of our tiny apartment and wrote a cookbook. I picked my favorite, most used recipes and set up an amateur photo shoot of my dishes. I tested, edited, and completed my book, feeling quite accomplished.

Then it just sat there–for five years. Why? The usual culprits (life, work, adulthood) come to mind, but really it was fear of rejection and lack of knowledge. I didn’t know what to do next, and even if I did, I was really worried about people finding my book useless. Too simple. Nothing special.

But a few weeks ago I dug it out from the old files on a flash drive and started to work on it again. I updated it with a few new recipes, took all new photos, and am finally in the last stages of editing it before publishing it as an e-book on Amazon! I don’t want fear of failure to guide my decisions in life–I’m happy with the work I’ve put together and want to share it with the world!

It’s a small cookbook (about 60 recipes) and meant for young adults just getting started. After all, that’s the stage of life I was in when I started writing it. So whether you just started college, graduated with a degree, or moved out on your own, it’s got what you need to feed yourself something more than boxed mac’n’cheese.

It’s short and sweet but offers a little bit of everything. Need a snack for a party? Try Crispy Nibblers. Or 2-pound fudge, it’s always a winner. Want pancakes on a lazy Sunday morning? No problem, you don’t even need any eggs. Maybe you need a quick meatless dish for a vegetarian friend–Bean Tamale Pie to the rescue!

Best Eggless Pancakes

Best Eggless Pancakes

I’m so excited I can hardly wait! I truly hope it helps people learn to cook at home and realize good food can be easy to make in your own kitchen. It’ll be available in the Kindle store by the end of the month, with a paperback version available before the winter holidays, but that’s still in the works.

Moral of the (long) story–don’t let fear run your life! Sure, I didn’t know anything about making a cookbook, but I learned. I stayed up late and I researched like crazy and read article after article on self-publishing. I’m certainly no expert but even if my book isn’t successful, I’m really glad that I tried instead of wondering “what if” for years. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do in your life, go do it! Get started!

P.S. The title of the book is Fend For Yourself: 60 Simple Recipes for the Beginner Cook. I’ll be sure to announce when it’s available, but keep an eye out!

P.P.S. My crafting time has been consumed by the cookbook lately, and though I consider cooking a craft in itself, I should be back to my yarn very soon. Winter is coming and I have gifts to make!

Rag Rug Woes and Other Crafty News

So I had a bunch of old sheets that we weren’t using, and had the brilliant idea to use them for a rug. It’s resourceful and eco-friendly to upcycle something, right? Then I learned a valuable lesson–I don’t like making rag rugs.

I didn’t like tearing up the sheet and all the strings I then had to individually clean off each strip. I didn’t like the ancient fiber dust that coated everything in the room from all the ripping. The weaving itself was OK, but still not my favorite activity. Then I was running out of strips and realized I’d need more than one sheet to make a decent sized rug. That was disheartening considering how much I disliked the ripping and tearing process.

So I just finished it and it’s too small. But I do look on the bright side. I tried something new and I didn’t care for it. That’s ok. Trying new things always teaches us more about ourselves, and for that I am thankful.

Here is my itty bitty rug. I added more fringe to try and make it look bigger. I’m not convinced that did much for it.

rag rug

 

I did have some crafty successes this week though. I finished a kitchen puzzle, glued, framed, and hung it in our dining area. AND I made a cozy blanket as a house-warming gift for my brother and fiancée. They just moved into their first place together! I can’t wait to go visit! Until next time, keep crafting! 😀

Crocheted in the V-stitch

Crocheted in the V-stitch