Friday, January 15, 2021

Winter crochet projects this week for Creative Idea Friday...

Hi everyone! I hope your wintry January's are moving along nicely. :) I know that I'm in the minority, but I actually like January, gray skies and all. Part of it is that my wedding anniversary is in January, part of it is that I enjoy the cozy feeling of deep winter. Speaking of wedding anniversaries, Mike and I celebrated ours on the 8th (16 years!) and as is the thing this year, it was different than usual. Romantic takeout, cocktails at home, and watching of The Crown marked our anniversary dinner this year, ha ha! But you know, it was absolutely delightful!

In other deep winter news, I've been hard at work on crafting. I started a baby sweater for Allison!


This is a Baby Surprise Jacket, one of my favorite baby patterns of all time. You knit what appears to be a blog, and when you sew 2 small seams, voila! It's a baby sweater. :0 It's moving along quite quickly, hoping to have a finished sweater to show you next week! 

But onto crochet, as that is our main theme for this week! I was listening to the We Crochet podcast this week (which I highly recommend, btw, if you're at all interested in crafts. I listen to their sister podcast, Connecting Threads, even though I don't sew, and really enjoy it!) and they got me all excited for a specifically crochet winter focus. The newest edition of their magazine includes a winter themed collection called Wintertide that I am really jazzed about now:

We Crochet Magazine, Issue 5

I do love projects that are themed after winter, as distinct from the holidays. I love holiday projects too, but they are different to me: there are holiday themed items, and then specifically winter themed items that have a cozy, warming feel, and often inspired by winter colors like blues white, and purples. Needless to say, this magazine is in my cart over at We Crochet. :0

Blankets are one of my favorite winter projects, because they keep you warm *while* you make them, so they do double duty! Each New Year, I am inspired by the Attic 24 blanket CAL (crochet -along) and despite having plenty of blankets in my house, I could not resist this year's edition, especially given our continuing pandemic situation. It's the perfect project to work on while snugged up at home! This year, the theme is a Meadow inspired blanket:

Attic 24 Meadow Blanket CAL

And aside from weaving in ends, I completed part 1 this week!


Once you get the stitch pattern down, this is a great and soothing tv watching project. If you're at all interested in crochet, I encourage you to give this a try! I would say it's advanced beginner level, and Lucy includes a step-by-step tutorial with tons of pictures, so you can do it, I know you can! Any yarn you like will do, but Wool Warehouse has the special yarn packs with the colors the designer picked specificaly for this blanket. Even with the current delayed shipping situation (and Wool Warehouse is in the UK), I got my pack within 2 weeks, which I think is amazing speed! But obviously you could also approximate these colors at your local craft store with a nice soft acrylic in worsted or dk. She just released part 2 of the colors today (it's week by week, but you can catch up super easily and work at your own pace!) and I'm sooooo looking forward to working on this over the weekend!

I've also been busily learning to play my finger cymbals, but that's a post for another day. 🤣 How are you doing this week, dear reader? What projects are you working on this January? Sending you lots of hearts this winter!

Friday, January 8, 2021

Creative Idea Fridays for the winter, and some cute crafting updates!

 Merry Christmas everyone, and happy New Year! I'm very glad to be back with you for another year of fun chatting about creativity, crafty hobbies, wellness, prayer and books. 

🤗

I hope that you all had lovely holidays this year. Ours were quiet, we certainly missed seeing family the way we usually do, but we still made a very nice time of it and truly enjoyed it. The kids are happy and healthy, and that's all that matters!

For my part, I did alot of knitting, and with a white Christmas and everybody home, it was the perfect cozy time for it! In big news, I finished frog and toad!

*trumpets blare*

Aren't they cute?

Let's have a closeup on the outfits, please.

Pattern available via Frog and Toad Cast. This includes instructions for both critters, plus both of their outfits!

I definitely enjoyed the challenges involved in knitting these two, especially the steeking for the eyes! I tell you, I needed a sip of wine to work up the courage to make that first snip into my knitted baby frog. 😂 But it worked out, and it's so exhilerating to try new things!

I've also been enjoying my dancing from home this winter. Looky what Santa brought me this year!


I've been taking ballet classes on Zoom, and this portable, adjustable barre is soooooo much nicer to use than the back of Mike's desk chair. 😁 The feet swivel in for against the wall storage when not in use. It's perfect for me, and I absolutely love it! 

The other new dancey project that I have taken on is something within my main dance passion of Egyptian style belly dance, but is completely new to me: finger cymbals.

😬

Finger cymbals are...scary to me. :-0 As you can imagine, it is challenging to both play a musical instrument (one that is completely new to me), plus dance at the same time. Within Egyptian style belly dance, while you certainly see dancers and musicians playing finger cymbals (called Sagat), they aren't quite as common as in Turkish style belly dance. Here in North America, you often see dancers performing a style of belly dance called American Cabaret, which is a melding of belly dance influences, including Turkish. So those dancers are usually playing the finger cymbals (referred to in this context as zills), and American viewers often become familiar with them via seeing a dancer performing in this style in a restaurant. I've never studied with a teacher who instructs in American Cabaret style (though I've taken a few workshops in Turkish dance, which I LOVED, especially the folk dances, although the finger cymbals segment was a total disaster for me 🤣), so I've never received any long term formal instruction in playing finger cymbals. As part of my goals for the year, I have resolved to learn!

It helps that my favorite online teacher started a session for them as part of her daily drills series, and this format is absolutely perfect for a budding learner of finger cymbals. Everyday at lunchtime, Monday through Thursday, for 30 minutes, I sit in front of my laptop and drill finger cymbal sounds and patterns with her. Yesterday we (gulp) stood up to also do some simple hip drops and traveling steps while playing the cymbals. It's structured as a slow building process, which is exactly what I need. Each day this week, I could feel myself being slightly less bad at it, LOL! But it's coming along. And the thrill of taking on something totally new and intimidating like this has me in a very excited place! 

So! What we'll be doing here on the blog until Lent are a creativity focus that I'm calling Creative Idea Fridays, and then sometime in February we'll turn to Lenten planning and strategies. Maybe we'll do a Lenten book club? We'll see! I'm excited to see what kind of inspiration strikes! 

Do you have any goals for the new year? I would love to hear about them in the comments!