Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas and finals and babies, oh my

Between first semester finals and the increase in baby announcements from friends and family, I've been completely swamped. Add to that the fact that I've hardly done any Christmas shopping and I'm a little stressed out right now.

I've been working on a few patterns and I know I promised an updated pattern for my Mermaid costume, but I haven't been able to get any pictures of it yet. It's all written up, just waiting on a baby model for some pictures.

My cousin and his fiancee just recently announced that they are expecting so I was super excited to start working on some new baby stuff (my favourite!).  They're letting the gender be a surprise so they asked for everything to be gender-neutral, and the theme they picked was owls and elephants (not sure how that's gonna work, but I shall deliver).

I decided to use some baby combo yarn I've been saving to make a baby blanket. It's pretty thin yarn and the pattern I'm using makes the rows quite short so it's definitely taken the longest time out of any baby blanket I've ever made.

The way it's working up makes it a pretty dense blanket but it's super soft. I'm excited to see how it turns out. I'm thinking about adding a sc border of yellow once it's done but we'll see.

Since they asked for owls, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to test out my Hedwig pattern (although I changed the colours). I'm not sure what colour I want to make the blanket part yet (I'm thinking yellow, again, or maybe light green), but so far only the owl is done. I gave it brown wings to make it look more like the owls we have up here.

I've also been commissioned to make baby blankets and such for a few friends and some of my friends family so that will probably be taking up a lot of my Christmas break. Here's hoping that I get everything done on time.

Wish me luck on finals!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Red Riding Hood Inspired Costume, Part 1

The Dress

This year for Halloween I've decided to be Red Riding Hood, with my costume inspired by the movie released in 2011. If you know me, you'll know that my costumes for Halloween are mainly limited to anything I can make from fabric on the clearance shelves, or a witch. Most often than not, I'm a witch. Last year, however, I purchased fabric that would have made for an awesome Rapunzel dress; unfortunately, it was my first time ever trying to make a costume and it really didn't turn out that great (my boyfriends costume was amazing, though). I resolved to do better this year.

For the dress I used the Butterick 4827 pattern (modified slightly) and used a light blue heavy linen fabric that I purchased at Fabricland.

I ended up modifying the pattern to make the end product look more like the blue dress Valerie wears in the movie. Instead of having it lace up in the back, I cut the front and added lacing. I also modified the sleeves to make them 3/4 length instead of full. Before starting, I attempted my first ever fashion design sketch which I think actually turned out pretty nice.

Once I'd decided how I wanted the dress to look, I found a pattern that matched fairly well and picked out the fabric I liked. To be noted: this was the first time I've ever picked out fabric for a Halloween costume that wasn't on the clearance rack. The fabric I bought was 60" wide so I ended up using a lot less than the pattern called for, although I did make the biggest size just in case. I usually have a problem with patterns where the bust and hips are too small and the waist too large. I also didn't use all the pieces the pattern called for. I modified the pieces for the front and back facing so that I could make laces up the front. I just traced the pattern pieces onto paper and cut off the lacing support from the back facing and attached it to the front. I did end up cutting the front facing piece shorter so that it only went down to the waistline.

After I had modified what I need to and pre-washed the fabric, I started pinning and cutting (it was a lot of fabric to work with and it's actually really heavy).

Once I had all the pieces cut out I followed the directions given by the pattern to sew it all together. The below picture is the front of the dress. I ended up cutting a slit down the front center to the waistline for the front lacing.

I don't have any more progress pictures mostly because I hadn't yet bought the eyelets for the lacing and once I cut the slit down the front, it refused to stay on my shoulders. All of the pieces got sewn together, I top stitched around the neckline, and I added eyelets and lacing.

And then it was a dress! A badly fitted dress mind you, but a dress.

I really hated how it was fitting. I saw pictures of dress made from the same pattern and I felt like mine was way too big up top. I do have a smaller waist and this dress made me look much bigger than I actually am. It was really loose so I turned it inside out, pinned it to be a little tighter, and took it in quite a bit. And this is the finished dress!

In my opinion it looks much better now (Shayne agrees although he did suggest I should have made the lacing a little bit looser..... boys.). I say finished but I still have to hem the bottom edge. Doing this project and having to take the dress off after having pinned it does make me realize the need for a dress form. It went on my Christmas list after having been poked by a pin the fifth or sixth time trying to get the dress off.

So that's it! I still have to make my red cloak but I'll make another post for that (I actually already have one made but Shayne disapproved of the fabric and ordered me some new stuff). My friend is a budding photographer and she's been really excited for me to finish the costume so that she can use me in a photoshoot. If she gets some good shots I'll be sure to update with them!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Hogwarts House Loveys

The patterns for these cute Harry Potter Hogwarts house inspired loveys are available on my Etsy and Ravelry shops!

I'm a Gryffindor so I'm really happy with how the Gryffindor lovey turned out, but I'm actually really impressed with the Hufflepuff badger! It's pretty cute, not gonna lie.

I also posted the pattern for my Hedwig lovey.

I've been working on these in my spare time (and by spare time, I mean the time when I'm supposed to be studying or doing homework) and they actually came along fairly quickly. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do in the next few months as I get into Clinical and midterms but I'll keep you all posted!

UPDATE: More Harry Potter inspired Loveys

That's right. More loveys!

I have to admit that I'm obsessed with making loveys at this point. I think they're adorable and they're relatively simple to make so I've been making it my life's goal that, when not studying, I'm working on creating new loveys.

Seeing as my Golden Snitch lovey is my most popular pattern in my Etsy shop, I figured I'd make more inspired by the HP series!

(Left to right: Hedwig, Raven, Lion, Snake, Badger)

(Left to right: Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor)

As posted a while ago, I do have a Sorting Hat lovey in the making but I seem to have misplaced him at the moment. Also, I realize that Ravenclaw's animal is not, in fact, a raven, but it bothers me and I decided to change it.

While these are all in the process to being made into loveys, I had the idea to make them into a mobile for a nursery (how cute would that be?!).

All of the patterns are completed and the blankets are made, I just need to find the time to sew each of these little dudes onto their respective blankets and then post the patterns.

Which one is do you guys like the best? Let me know! (Shayne's favourite is Hedwig even though he doesn't like the series)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Mermaid update!

As anyone who really knows me knows, I am the worst procrastinator when it comes to literally anything. I've been known to put off writing a single paragraph for an assignment by writing two page family newsletters about the proper way to grow pumpkins and watermelons. Currently I am procrastinating getting ready to go back to school. Honestly, I really should get on it seeing as I'm pretty much back to school next Tuesday but as I've already mentioned, #1 procrastinator right here.

The newest means of escape I have is actually something I've been meaning to do for the last few years anyways; update my Mermaid costume pattern!

My Mermaid costume was the first pattern I ever made so I know it has some flaws but I also don't necessarily like revisiting patters once I've finished them, so it was put on the back burner. For one, I know the stitch counts and increases are terrible but when I made it I honestly wasn't too worried about re-making it so to me it didn't matter (I didn't even write down the pattern). I actually had to wait months before I could get the costume back from my aunt to count my stitches and try to remember what exactly I'd done.

Seeing as how popular the pattern has become though, I wanted to try to update it and create a better pattern to follow and also include ways to increase the size. I'm not going to be redoing the Starfish top as I haven't had any complaints about it but I've definitely been reshaping the tail and making more even increases. I'm actually about 3/4 of the way through the tail so I'm going to promise to have the new pattern up at the very most in two weeks.

After this I'm going to be low on crochet pattern ideas; is there anything you guys would like to see me make? Anything I need to fix on my old patterns? Let me know!

~* Courtney

Thursday, 6 August 2015

I'm a college graduate!

This announcement may be a little late seeing as I graduated in April but I literally finished my practicum at the end of June and I've been on various camping trips and holidays since then. It's also the reason I've been unable to update any of my projects and patterns (I promise it's coming soon!).

I was on a waiting list for a year before I got accepted into my program literally the day before classes started. The program I took (Unit Clerk) was only three and a half months long with a one month full time practicum. Most of the time, it was crazy. It was a lot of information to fit into three months of schooling and I found most of what I learned was actually on the job while I did my preceptorship. It was a busy few months but I enjoyed it immensely. I've realized I missed being in school.

And that brings me to my next announcement . . . I'm going back!!

I've been told I'm an overachiever and that I'll be in debt until I'm 40 but honestly, I love being in school. Even if I have to pay for it.

About a week before I graduated the Unit Clerk program, I got confirmation that I was accepted into the Nursing program and, while I've been freaking out about the cost of my first semesters tuition (almost $2,400), textbooks ($646) and equipment ($538), I'm so ready for the challenge. I'm the last graduated woman in my family to go in to Nursing (my four year old cousin is already telling people she's going to be a nurse just like her mommy). My mom, aunt, and both my female cousins all work at the hospital. In addition, all the women in my boyfriends immediate family work in a medical clinic (his mom is a nurse also). So I was kindof pushed into the program but I could not be more excited. I've heard Nursing school is a lot about being organized and having the right kind of system for studying so I'll probably be making a few posts now and then about what I find works for me and what kind of advice I've received from my family of nurses and my peers.

Wish me luck! I'm probably gonna need it

~* Courtney

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Thinking Cap!

It seems I get into this mood around this time of year: a Lovey-making, Harry Potter kind of mood. I don't know exactly what it is that makes me feel this way but I'm putting all my money on the fact that I'm cooped up inside all winter and I literally have nothing better to do.

Fortunately for me, this leads to some of my best ideas. Especially when it comes to crocheting Harry Potter themed Lovey blankets (I literally have a list of ten or more but finding the time and motivation to make them is the hard part, especially now that I'm in school again).

For all those loyal people out there (who could probably care less about my rambling), a sneak-peak at my newest Lovey . . .

The Hogwarts Sorting Hat!

It's turning out far better than I imagined it. I'm still not sure though if I'm going to try to make him look all grumpy or if I'm going to cute-ify him up a bit. We'll see what popular opinion tells me.

Pattern to be posted soon!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

My boyfriend is a secret paleontologist

In my last post I mentioned that my boyfriend, Shayne, had made me some pretty cool dinosaur things for Christmas. I was hoping to get them installed so I could take some pictures but I thought about it some more and I really want to save them until we move out together.

Before I get to the pictures, I just want to mention how freaking talented Shayne is. These projects required molding, sculpting, painting, and a lot of creativity. It's so not fair how much better he is at painting than I am; I had four years of art classes and he's never had a single lesson.

Here we go!

The first thing Shayne made for me was this Tyrannosaurus rex shower head. Yup! It's a shower head! I saw one a while ago on Pinterest. I got really excited and showed it to Shayne but apparently it was made from one of those 3D printers and there's no place online that you can actually buy the printed shower head. I may be biased, but I think mine is cooler anyway.

Plesiosaurs are my absolute favourite dinosaurs. These are actually shower curtain hooks (Shayne mounted them on some cardboard so they aren't tumbling around together). Apparently my boyfriend carved a negative and made a mold of them and hand painted each one (I feel so incredibly lucky).

Shayne's told me eventually I will have an entire bathroom accessory set but he's still working out how to make them. I'll post pictures when they're made!