Thursday, July 3, 2014

app spotlight : studio

I have a new favorite App to share with you.
Studio Design by Overlay Studio, Inc.
It's a social media app for photos (much like Instagram), with the added bonus of graphic design.  You can create an original "mix" using their ENORMOUS library of trendy design elements.  There's hundreds and hundreds of graphics, shapes, frames, words--all available for free.  It has an incredibly easy user interface (I'm geeking out here!) where you create your design in layers, making it easy to edit, arrange, and delete as you work.

Here are some of my designs #madewithstudio:

I love using it to create little inspiring pieces of quote art:

Not feeling creative, Studio has you covered.  Simply hit the "Remix" button on any other user's design and fill in the background with your photo:

You can use the hundreds of elements included in the app to design your own little unique pieces of art:

Or create tools to document your life

Others invite you to remix their designs and share a piece of yourself

Mostly I love this app to design and document our memories

Currently it's available on the App Store and Google Play.  And it's free!

Monday, June 30, 2014

crochet mood blanket : april, may, june

I just wrapped up the final month for my crochet mood {turned un-mood} blanket.  
Like many New Year's resolutions, I began this project highly motivated and with all the possibility a new year has to offer.  Each square took me less than 10 minutes to complete, surely I could take 15 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on my mood, choose a color to match, and then stitch up a block.
And I did, for a good 2 and a half months.  Then you miss a day {or 4).  And you try to remember what mood you were in 4 days ago. And you try to pick a color that goes with that mood, but one that would still look good in your blanket.  And it's feeling more like a chore than a fun hobby.
April 1st I decided to ditch the "mood" part of my mood blanket and just use colors I liked.  It was fun playing with colors--April went along great.

But now that I wasn't tracking moods, the blanket kind of lost its meaning.  It was turning into "just a blanket."

I was getting bored doing the same square over and over.  And the ends.  Oh the endless ends that needed weaving.

 Sure it was great to be able to take this project anywhere, and I did: the orthodontist and dentist appointments for the boys, the ice hockey rink and lacrosse practices, lunch breaks at school, and outside in the sunshine. 

 The fun was good while it lasted, but I could tell it was time to call it quits.  So I made it through 6 months, half of a year, and will end up with half the blanket I originally set out to make.  I'm ok with that.  The way I see it, I can now work on a second blanket for the other half of the year.  A sort of two-for-the-price-of-one deal!

Made with Collect and Rhonna Designs apps

Made with Collect and Studio+ apps.

Monday, May 26, 2014

boredom jar

Summer is quickly approaching as we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend and the unofficial start to the season.
I am very much looking forward to relaxed mornings, carefree days, outdoor evenings and, of course, no homework.  What I am not ready for is, "Mom, I'm bored."

Honestly, my boys don't use this phrase too often.  It's not because they can easily find hundreds of things to keep them busy.  It's because they each own one of these:
or these:

But this summer we plan on putting this agreement into place thanks to the idea from Rebecca Cooper at Simple As That:

So I'm thinking we might have a record number of "Mom, I'm bored's" this year.
I'm ready with this:

A simple jar, filled with simple tasks/acitivities, and some simple rules:

The slips are color-coded for individual activities, partner activities (when two or more are bored), and outdoor activities (when it's not too hot or stormy).  They range from chores (clean your junk drawer) to crafty projects (sculpt with Fimo clay), academics (write a cooperative story) to physical activity (run a mile on the treadmill).
There are extra strips so we can add other ideas as we come up with them throughout the summer.

I've got some pretty high hopes for this little jar.  Hoping it's going to keep the boys busy, me from losing my mind, and all of us happy!

{ crochet } a banner

There's something about banners that puts a happy smile on my face.  This little project combines three of my happy's: banners, crochet and rainbows!
It is made of single crochet triangle motifs trimmed in a scalloped edging.  

In case you would like to make your own, here's the pattern I made up as I went along:

I used an F hook (3.75mm) for the triangle, and a D hook (3.25mm) for the edging.
ch2, sc in first ch made, ch1, turn (2 stitches made)
sc in same stitch, sc in each of next 2 stitches (3 stitches made)
Continue this way, increasing by one stitch in each row until you have 20 stitches.

Here is a close-up of where you will put the last stitch in each row before doing the ch1, turn.  You will see 3 horizontal loops and then a vertical loop.  Insert your hook at the vertical (arrow) to make the last sc in each row.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Along the edging you will see small holes created from the first chains in each row (9 clearly visible on each side). Use this photo as a guide for where to work your edge scallops:

Join trim color to top left corner of triangle and work 1sc, 1hdc, 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc in each hole along edge (10 scallops in all).
Continue working 10 scallops up the other side (shown above with black dots).
At top of triangle, work a sc in each stitch across (20 total).
Ch1 and work another row of sc.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Continue making triangles until you have as many as you like.  I recommend blocking them--it just helps them lay nice and flat when hanging.

Joining the triangles:
I created a separate piece and stitched my triangles to it.  You may come up with a more genius way of joining them, but I went with what was easier for me.  
To figure out the length:
I led with 20 chains on each end, 10 chains in between each triangle, and then 20 for the length of each triangle.  So for my 5 triangles, I needed a chain of 181 = 40 (ends) + (20 x 5) + (10 x 4) (plus 1 for turning ch)

Ch181, work a sc in each chain across (180).
Fasten off.
Using a whip, stitch attach each triangle to the length.  I used stitch markers to temporarily and evenly attach my triangles for stitching.
Weave in all ends and hang your new banner!

Currently, ours has made his home in our guest bathroom:

Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

{ crochet } dodecahedron

One of my nursery families recently welcomed Baby Boy Number 2 into their family.  I was trying to figure out what I could crochet for him (not a hat because summer is coming), when I saw this on Pinterest:
source: Lots of Loops
  How perfect!  Baby's first ball, and the perfect thing to give a baby and his big brother.  After all, big brothers have the all-important-job of teaching their little brothers, among other things, how to play catch.
So I set off in search of a crochet pentagon pattern and turned up this from Heidi Bears.  I followed her pattern, making one small change to the final round (in her diagram):
ch3 in first of the 7sc from previous round (counts as first dc), 1dc in each of next 3 sc, [ch2, dc in each of next 9sc] repeat around, ending with 1 dc in each of last 5 sc
Crochet a total of 12 motifs.  With a 3 color scheme, this came out to two of each motif scheme.
Join the pentagons according to this drawing:
I started by joining 5 pentagons around one pentagon (6 pentagons total) to make 2 of these:
Then I joined the two pieces together.  This looks easier than it is.  After ending up with a completely wonky shape, I pulled out my join and used stitch markers to join the point (vertex, for all you geometry buffs) at which the three pieces meet:
With the stitch markers in place, it was sooooo much easier to see what connected to where (or maybe it's just me...geometry was not my best subject)

Just before you join that last edge or two, fill your shape with stuffing.  Here's where I realized it was going to be less of a flat sided "dodecahedron" and more of a "sphere" ball shape.  
 Still adorable, right?

And for those who might wonder, I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease yarn in Maize, Lake and Lime.

Happy crocheting!

Tiny Sidekick