Monday, July 7, 2014

Have knitting, will travel

I do most of my knitting on lazy Sunday afternoons, and sometimes while my husband is driving—but really, knitting can be a very portable craft! I remember one woman who'd bring her knitting to the gym and work while she walked!

Adapting your knitting to the road: use the right tools
You might not be planning on walking and knitting at the same time, but seriously: carrying your knitting is an essential part to taking it with you! You might want a bag with handles, if that's all you're planning to carry (or you'll put your wallet inside your knitting bag—make sure it has pockets!), or you might want another container that fits inside your purse or other bag. Either way, water-resistant material is handy for keeping your knitting clean.

On my trip, I put my knitting in a plastic grocery bag to keep it clean and grabbed a canvas market bag that was a gift from my sister-in-law, but the needles kept poking through the plastic bag, market bag, and my backpack!

Fortunately, they make tons of bags especially for knitting! Most of these include a good system for keeping the yarn safe while freely feeding yarn to your flying fingers.

This one has accessory pockets and a needle pouch. It holds up to 8 skeins of yarn and has a hole in the lid to feed the working yarn through—with a slit to be able to remove the yarn!This one has a stand, a large pocket for knitting books, and lots of storage space for yarn, needles and accessories. While it's a travel bag, it may become the only storage you use (if you're not a yarn hoarder).This one keeps your yarn very clean and portable, and fits into a larger bag. However, once you're working, you can't remove the yarn from the container unless you cut it.

Whether you're working on double point needles or single, the more you move your knitting, the likelier you are to lose a stitch or two hundred. To prevent this, consider using point protectors:

They slip on to the tips of your needles and (hopefully) keep your yarn from slipping off while you're not knitting. I also hear rubberbands can work well (but obviously that will depend on your yarn and your stitch size).

Keep it simple
I happened to bring fairly easy projects to work on, so I was also able to read while knitting. Two hobbies at once!

However, keeping it simple has another benefit: for me, I only had one page, front and back, to keep track of for each project with my pattern. I didn't have to keep a cable needle handy. I had stitch markers already in place on the projects—really, all I did was grab the project and some extra yarn if I had it, and go. I didn't even bring scissors!

You don't have to go that minimal, but the less you bring with you, the less you have to manage, and the less you stand to lose. Plus, constantly shuffling through all the loose pages of your pattern is a pain!

For more complicated pieces like lace, you might consider getting a pattern holder like this one (or its smaller counterpart):

It folds to keep your pattern clean and portable, and can lay flat or stand up to display your pattern. It also has magnets to not only keep your pattern in place, but a magnetic bar to help you remember what line you're on!

Knitting that isn't well suited to travel
Knitting with extensive colorwork may not be well suited to travel. It's highly likely that your bobbins and skeins will get tangled—but if you're always very careful about managing them, this may not be a problem for you!

I went on a trip last month and I brought two WIPs with me. One of them was done with finer yarn (fingering weight, I think) on US #2 or #3 double point needles. This often lead to stitches slipping off, so this might not be good for travel unless you take the precautions above.

What's your best tip for knitting while traveling?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Frozen Party: Food, Favors, and Outfit

This is the last installment of the three part series about PB's Frozen: Melted 3rd birthday party. See posts about the decorations and games.  Let's get down to the good stuff- the food!

We had turkey and cheese sliders. With the quote "We finish each others...sandwiches!" (idea from here) We also had fruit and veggies, pigs in a blanket, and "reindeer chow" (muddy buddy chex mix).  We had marshmallows (snowballs) and powdered doughnuts.

 The punch was blue Koolaide, sherbet, and lemon-line soda. We put some of the "ice" around the bottom. This was my grandma's idea :)

So the cupcakes were super simple but looked awesome. I used a white cake that I put food coloring in to make purple, blue, and left some white to go along with the color theme. I used store bought frosting and them I added the ice. (For a tutorial go here. It was simple, had a great effect, and was tasty!)

Favors: I was thinking about quotes from the movie that talked about food and I remembered how much Elsa and Anna love chocolate. I made Oreo truffles and put them in baggies and cut off the top of the bag. I tied them with teal ribbons.

Outfit: There is a noticeable lack of 3 year old in these pictures. My angel has told me repeatedly that is is "dis-gussing" and she refuses to wear it. I got a text from my amazing sister-in-law this week with a picture of an awesome costume she made her 4 year old who also refuses to wear it. It must be genetic.

I made her a towel poncho for the pool that has an Elsa dress on it. I bought a bath towel at Walmart along with light blue and teal sparkly tulle. I used teal felt I had on hand.

To make the poncho part of the towel I folded the towel in half and measured my cutie. I measured the width of her shoulders and the length to just under her arm pits. I cut a hole in the towel width wise centered on the crease of the towel. I cut it two inches shorter than her shoulder measurement. I cut a three inch slit to accommodate her head. Around the opening I folded it down 1/4 of an inch and sewed to finish off the edge.  On either side of the towel I sewed about a 5 inch long section on either edge to leave arm holes. It was about 5 inches from the top of the fold.

I pieced together the dress and used the measurement of the length to her chest for where to put the gathered section on the front. The light blue was very light to I had to layer it a few times to see the color. I zig-zagged around the felt and the completely tacked down sections (sleeves). The cape on the back is only sewed on the top and the two bottom corners. The dress on the front is sewn the same way except there is gathered fabric above the felt.

Phew! It was quite the party! I was thinking of writing up some tips about how not to go insane (like I did) while throwing a birthday party. Have a great 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Banana and Macadamia Nut Topped Bagel

I went to Hawaii in June and while I was there created this delicious breakfast, which can be enjoyed anytime you need a tropical start to your day.

Start with a plain bagel (although a fruity or cinnamon flavored would be tasty too). Toast until desired doneness.

Spread on whipped cream cheese. Then top with sliced apple bananas. 

These are apple bananas:

Top the bananas with sliced macadamia nuts and drizzle with honey. I used Mac Nut brand honey, purchased at the local farmers' market and honey roasted macadamia nuts. 

Enjoy! And if you can't enjoy your tropical breakfast with a view, here's mine :)


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Frozen Party: Decorations

I noticed the quality of my images on the last post was lacking so I updated the pictures. 
This is post number 2 out of 3. To view the games we played see here. To see the party invite see here

The color scheme I went with was light blue, purple, white, turquoise, white, and silver. Some of the decor items included:

  • Plastic table cloths. I found these at Walmart. I have used plastic table cloths for pretty much every party I've thrown in the past few years. They can be used in so many ways! This year I used them on the deck swooped as well as on the table. 
  • I used paper poofs on the deck and on the backdrop behind the cupcakes. Both years we have lived at this house and had PB's parties here I have used the window in our breakfast area. It's hard to photograph though because it has so much back light.
  • I put signs with cute quotes everywhere. 
  • I made a Love Experts corner. I wish I had more time to make this area. I was going to fill balloons and use them as water pinatas but it was one thing I had to let go. I used gray balloon, paper, and a sharpie to make this cutie. ("I'm going to keep [him]" -yes, we watch it too much)
  • I made these snowflakes
  • For the backdrop I used the puffs mentioned above, a silver "P" from Walmart, turquoise tulle, and purple streamers.

Through a little bit of research (yes, this is the way over the top I should have majorly toned it down part) I discovered that the decorations on all of the clothing, buildings, and pretty much everything in the movie is called rosemaling. I tried to replicate that on some of the posters. 

Only one more post to go! Stay tuned for the party food and favors! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fun and Easy Baby Shower Game: Baby Bingo!

I think this is the best baby shower game ever. Why? It's low key, people can still visit while it's happening, the honoree gets to open presents and it gives people something to do while opening presents. I like watching the honoree open presents but it can sometimes be a little long or awkward...Am I the only one who feels this way?

So at the shower I helped with the day before I gave birth (humblebrag) we played this game and it was a hit! Not everyone played but those who did had a good time. Those who don't like games just visited and it was great. The only downside is that you wouldn't want to play this game at a small shower: the honoree needs to get a lot of gifts!

Here's how to play: Guests fill in the blanks with different gifts you think the mom-to-be will receive at the shower. Ideas: Bibs, socks, books, stuffed animal, diapers, etc. Each board will be different! As the mom-to-be opens gifts, the guests mark off the corresponding box. Once a guest gets 5 gifts in a row it's a BINGO!

Download the Word Document Here!

Don't forget to pick up a few prizes! I just bought some candy bars and wrapped them in scrapbook paper and twine. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

5-minute necklace refashion

I don't know why, but I've really been wanting an infinity necklace. However, I didn't want it to be horizontal, and I wanted the infinity sign to be silver, BIG and bold. The biggest I found on Etsy was about 1.25", and I went ahead and ordered it. I thin it's gorgeous, but it really wasn't as big as I wanted.

When I was shopping for my writers' conference in April, I happened to check the jewelry rack, and there was a big, bold, silver infinity! Of course, it wasn't quite what I wanted, so I had to redo it a bit. Because two shoe refashions the busiest week of my year weren't enough!

The original chunky chain wasn't what I was looking for, and it was oriented horizontally. Both of those things were easy to solve! I used two pairs of pliers to twist open the jump rings connecting the pendant to the chain. (NEVER pull a jump ring open! It loses its spring.)

That freed the necklace from its chain, but there were still little loops soldered onto the ends of the infinity sign that connected it to the necklace. I used the wire nipper part of the pliers to cut those loops right off! (The picture above was taken after I'd done this).

After I cut them off, of course, I realized that ∞ sideways is really an 8 . . . . Oy.

This left a little bit of an edge and a burr, but I think a metal file should smooth them out pretty well. I kept one of the jump rings since it fit on the body of the infinity sign. Then I just had to find a chain. I tried it on with a few silver chains I had around and took pictures to help me decide. I picked this one:

And here it is the night of!
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