Thursday, November 30, 2017

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

Hi, gang! Long time, no write! Ever since I returned from Vermont, I've been a little blah. Normally I am in pretty tip-top shape, but it was one thing after another for a while (I actually met my deductible this year, soooo.....yeah). Anyway, I felt fairly ornery and unmotivated, and the one thing I did finally finish (a sweater) took me so long and was so underwhelming I literally sneered at it when I picked it up to work on it. Hopefully that will be changing as we are in my favorite month of the entire year. We're finally allowed to talk about Christmas!

But not right now. Right now I wanted to share something that, to me, feels like a little bit of a big deal. When I started blogging in 2009, I had delusions of grandeur, if you will. Other bloggers made blogging look so effortless, and made me think gaining followers and visitors would be quite simple (and we know how wrong that is, in the grand scheme of things). I have definitely neglected my little space here (I almost had to literally wipe some cobwebs off as I logged in tonight), but in the background people have still been coming to visit--following my sew-alongs and tutorials, asking questions, reading old posts, saying "Hi!" and all that jazz.

One of the comments I recently received was "Hey! Congrats on being number fourteen on the top twenty bag-making blogs on the web!" What the...what?? How did I not know this? You know how I didn't know? That fun old spam folder, wherein resided TWO emails alerting me to this...I'm going to go with honor, because that's how it feels.

Making the list was based on Google search metrics, social media popularity, quality and consistency of posts, and then a review by the editorial team. I am in some mighty fine company on this list, so I feel quite proud that my little corner of the digital world received enough visits to even warrant further review. You can see the list here.

It even comes with a fancy gold medal, which is great since the Olympics season is around the corner and I can be all "Downhill skiing? Pfft. Try pattern writing."

If you're reading this, it's unlikely this is your first visit, so for everyone who keeps reading, and clicking, and following my tutorials, and generally just being a wonderful part of this great crafting community that exists on the internet, thank you. I love you. And if this is your first time here? Welcome. Have a seat. I'll make you some tea, and we'll chat. I love you, too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Christmas Paper Crafting

Last year I spent a highly enjoyable day making Christmas cards and gift tags and envelope liners and all sorts of things. With the way this year is steam-rolling along I don't think I'll have the time to do it again. So when I was contacted to review a book that would give me cuteness and save me time I figured I'd take a look.

I don't send many Christmas cards anymore, but I spend plenty of time perusing the boxes (and gasping at just how pricey they've become). This book is chock-full of all sorts of tear-out cards (my only complaint is you can see the perforations) that are stinking adorable.

There are lots of cozy designs that have a touch of folk art about them, and a lot of cuteness.

As coloring is such a craze right now, there is a decent amount of cards to color in as well if that's your jam.

In addition to the cards, there is a section of printed papers in the back for use with the provided envelope templates.

And let's not forget all of the gift tags (this is just a sampling):

With the popularity of e-readers, most people don't find much need for bookmarks. But I love them. I have squillions of them, as I still read book-books (in addition to digital books). And since one of my favorite gifts to give is books, bookmarks would be a cute little addition, especially with the crafty tips the book gives on how to cuten them up.


And if you're looking for a fast and easy way to add to your holiday decor, there are even a couple tear-out frameable pages--

This book is currently available from Amazon (I'm not an affiliate--just sharing the link). The only thing--and it's so minor--is I don't know how postal-friendly the envelopes made from this book will be, so I might have to buy those blanks from the craft store to send them off in. The papers are all of a nice sturdy quality, and the prints are varied and adorable. I can't wait to (literally) tear this book apart and use it.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the kit at no charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. For my complete disclosure policy, click here.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Road Trip: Fan-Girling

See part one, part two, and part three.

And now, one final thing (no, it's not an award for reading my blather). My main motivation for going on this trip was to see Arne and Carlos (who are hugely inspirational to me), but don't get me wrong--the sweater design class with Lars Rains was extremely valuable, and I'd like to be equally excited for that retroactively, if I may. I am confident I could sit down and design a well-fitting sweater right now due to the knowledge he imparted. Plus, he's a delight. Our senses of humor meshed very well, as I do love cheeky fellows. However, one must fan-girl over her idols, yes?

So as the designers were very accessible to all of us throughout the event (except for Lars, who had to leave around lunch on Tuesday), that meant at meal-time we got to hang out with them. The first night A&C sat at my table, and I almost fell over in excitement. By the end of the trip, everyone (but them) knew how madly in love I am with them. On the last night at dinner, Carlos said "Would you like to join us?" and I did that awe-struck dumb face nod you see in movies while thinking "Great, genius, keep it up." The others at the table finagled things so I was seated between the two of them. I left my senses behind and said "It's probably quite unbecoming for me to tell you this, but I love you. I tell my mother that you are my Norwegian knitting boyfriends." To which Carlos responded "Oh, then we have to take a photograph," and Arne commented "Yes, to send to our new mother-in-law." And when the gentleman taking the photo said "Everybody ready?" Arne said "Hi, mom!" These two are lovely people, and if you ever have the opportunity to attend one of their workshops I highly encourage you to do so.

The final morning, A&C gave a talk on where they take their inspiration from, and showed so many beautiful photos of their home in Norway. After the talk, there was a chance to buy their books (I picked up a couple I didn't have) and they signed them.

Never in my life would I have thought I'd have the incredible time that I did, or that I wouldn't be a super-introverted nerd who ran back to her hotel room after lunch and just sat and knitted, missing opportunities to meet people and see new things (because let me clear--a previous version of me would have done just that). That quote I keep seeing floating around on Instagram is right--nothing grows in a comfort zone.


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