St. Patrick’s Day Beer Coozies

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A trio of St. Paddy’s Day coozies (and just in the nick of time).

You didn’t think I’d let my second favorite holiday pass without a theme project, did you? Well, I might in the future because these were a lot harder than they seemed. There’s not one of these that I didn’t have to restart at least once. I should probably be hiding that fact but, hey, I’ve had a couple of beers so let’s get real with each other.

First of all, I could not find a pattern for exactly what I wanted. You’d think there would be lots of other people with Venn diagrams of interests where knitting and beer overlapped, but I guess not. For the bottle coozie, I based it off of this pattern, adding in the stripes. This one worked out pretty well but I had to restart it after I realized that using the amount of stitches it said to cast on, it was gigantic (more like wine bottle size). I adjusted it from 56 stitches to 34.

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Bottle coozie in Irish colors.

The next coozie turned out pretty well, at least compared to the first one. I adjusted the same pattern for the size of the can by measuring and multiplying stitches per inch. Stay in school, kids. Algebra is real life. Turns out checking gauge is actually a pretty good idea! Note for the future.

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The Irish flag coozie.

This next one was what I intended to do all along and had to work my way up to. While I knit the others in the round, I could not figure out how to get the intarsia clover pattern in there at the same time and ended up starting over. I knit it flat and then sewed it together up the seam. It turned out being much taller than I intended and also don’t look at the lower right leaf. I don’t know what happened there. I’m not even sure if this counts as a beer coozie. Any idea what else it could be? Whiskey bottle coozie? Arm band? Garbage?

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The fancy one. Hey, I tried.

I would say I’ll be making this next year but after these projects…maybe I’ll just stick to drinking beer. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Cheers!

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My First Commission!

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It fits!

I just had to share my very first commissioned knitting project! If that hat looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same as the one I recently knit for myself in tan and pink. My friend saw it and requested one in gray (with specific instructions to include “NO PINK”). I used thick, chunky yarns like I did for the first one but in light and dark gray.

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Gray on gray on gray.

One thing I’ve always been unsure about, if I ever did sell any of my stuff, was how much to charge. I wanted to make it affordable and give a deal to people I know, but, at the same time, make it worth it for myself, considering all the time these projects take. I found this blog post which gives an actual formula for calculating what to charge for a project that I found helpful. Basically…

  • Cost of supplies + $10 per hour = Price A
  • Cost of supplies x 3 = Price B

Then calculate the average of A & B, and compare it to the market price of the item. The price I got with this formula was pretty close to what I had seen on etsy for similar items.

Hope you’re enjoying your hat, Brie!

Stenciled Scotland Messenger Bag

Have you ever wanted to stencil the name of a country you’ve never been to onto a thrift store messenger bag? I certainly have. So I did.

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Sunday morning in nowhere-near-Scotland vibes.

Like so many of my projects, this one has a long and storied past, but I’ll try to keep it succinct. I’m half Scottish and decided I needed to make a Scotland sweatshirt (I guess I forgot that the internet exists so that we don’t live like pilgrims making all the clothes we desire). I painstakingly made a stencil and stenciled it onto a sweatshirt and, don’t you know, it looked great. Then I washed and shrunk the sweatshirt so it no longer fit me. It was fun while it lasted. But I hung onto the stencil for a long time, just waiting for the perfect item on which to try again to fall into my hands. And then I found this canvas messenger bag at a thrift store. And THEN a few years went by and here we are today.

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The blank canvas (bag), perfect for carrying around heather and haggis.

So that’s what I started with. Actually, I should back up. I started with a printout of a crest and the word “Scotland” in the font I wanted, a blank sheet of stencil material, and an Exacto knife. That’s how the stencil came to be. It took forever, by the way.

I measured where I wanted to put the stencil so it was centered on the front of the bag and pinned it there. A note about this: the first time I stenciled the sweatshirt, I used some sort of temporary spray adhesive that worked great and the stencil turned out perfectly. I couldn’t find it at the store this time and the guy recommended just using push pins. Needless to say, go with the spray if you can find it: way easier, less time-consuming, and better results. I am going to give that guy a piece of my mind if I ever see him again.

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Here are the two stencils pinned down with 8 million stick pins. The pins worked OK but were not ideal.

Once the stencils were pinned down, I used one of those cheap foam brushes to dab on the paint. I just mixed blue and black craft paints that I already had to make the navy color I was looking for. #resourceful. Unsurprisingly, the pins got in the way (and had to be tossed after), another reason the spray adhesive would have worked better.

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Painted but before the big reveal.

But it still turned out pretty well! The fact that the paint seeped under the stencil a little actually kind of gave it character and made it look not-so-perfect, in a good way (or so say I when I’m justifying why it’s not perfect). But, baby, it’s perfect to me.

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The finished product. Imagine me on the floor of the coffee shop taking these pictures to get the full visual.

The good news is that the design is actually legible, and I can reuse the stencil again and slap something on top of this if I decide that I hate it. But I think I like it. It’s growing on me! They may take my life, but they’ll never take my STENCILSSSS!

Slouchy Knit Hat with Pink Accents (and a Pom-Pom!)

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Photo cred: my sister Ellen. Awkward facial expression cred: me.

Where do I submit my hat for the fastest-project-ever-completed award? As opposed to the pillow that never seemed to end, I did this one from start to finish in under a week. I think it only took about three total nights of sitting down to knit for an hour or two to finish it—a refreshing change!

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Tan and bright pink—who knew?!

This was a fun, super-easy pattern (that I found on Ravelry) to knit that started on circular needles and then switched to double-pointed needles. I must brag that the pom-pom was not part of the pattern—that was all me, baby! As usual, I didn’t check the gauge and winged it with the yarns that I used (both of which I already had lying around) but it worked out. The thick tan yarn (Patons Classic Wool Roving in Natural) and the bright pink yarn (a cotton yarn I had from a dishcloth I made awhile back when that seemed like a fun idea) turned out looking pretty good together. The whole hat required less than one skein of the main tan color and hardly any of the accent color (perfect for using up leftovers). I definitely want to make more of this hat and I especially like the pop of bright color in the purled rows.

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That pom-pom tho…

My stock of yarn is making me question one thing, though. Am I so boring that my favorite color might actually be tan or gray? I don’t think so but, man, for everything I knit, I’m drawn to using shades of grays, browns, and neutrals. Oh well. Maybe I’ll make a neon green turban next.

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The perfect chunky hat for a snowy day.

The Weekend Antique Hall: The I-Deserve-This Birthday Edition

When your birthday lands on a Saturday and you need to kill time so you don’t start drinking at 11 AM, you treat yoself to some antiquing! I can’t believe how long it’s actually been since I’ve gone. So long so that my favorite antique store somehow managed to move their 8 billion pounds of tchotchkes to a new location. A visit was well overdue and my birthday seemed like the perfect occasion to break all my money-saving resolutions. Now, onto the good stuff.

First up: four vintage London postcards. Some of them even have old-timey cursive writing that I can’t read on the backs! I’m thinking I’ll frame three of them or put them all into a collage of some sort. At $1 each, I’d say these were quite the bargain.

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Fun fact: at one point in time, the Queen had non-white hair! Who knew?

Next, I found a small globe to add to my growing collection. I thought the size and color of this one made it unique and, at $16, who could resist this (self-given) birthday present? I couldn’t. I physically and literally could not stop myself from buying this.

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The fifth globe child in the family.

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Here’s a gratuitous bonus shot of the globe and all its mates on the great globe shelf.

FLAG TIME. I know, I know, it’s the wrong country. Of course I wish it were a British flag, but I like the U.S.A. too, guys. I even live there. For now. I might just have to relegate this one to another less-Englandy room so there’s no conflict of interest. It is a pretty cool flag, though. I don’t think it’s been used, but the colors are worn so that it looks good and vintage. The flag set me back the most that day at $24.

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U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Lastly, I found a whole gaggle of these cute “B” glasses and got four of them. I couldn’t resist since they already had my initial on them, the gold goes perfectly with my bar cart, and the polka dots were so dang cute (and reminiscent of Kate Spade’s style, I think). They’re the perfect size for wine or mini cocktails or giant shots. These guys were just $3 a piece. I love finding good vintage stuff that isn’t priced like some 500-year-old relic.

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B mine, you glasses.

A Knitted Union Jack Pillow

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That’s right—I’m not burying the lead. Here’s the finished product before I even say a word. #generous

Good gravy, it’s been ages since I’ve posted! Which is about how long it’s taken me to knit this pillow. Seriously, I started it at least a year ago and while, of course, I wasn’t working on it constantly, it was really putzy. It didn’t help that I had to start over twice (during which time I learned a new word and a new knitting technique called intarsia) and that the needles required for this were approximately the same circumference as toothpicks. But I did it! I’m finished! And no, I will not make one for you! Sorry. But just no.

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Aw, it’s already fitting in and getting along with my other pillows!

Even though the pillow is way bigger than I was expecting, I love how it turned out. I especially love the colors because they’re muted and go with almost anything. My apartment is starting to go a bit England crazy, so this is one relatively subtle addition to the decor. I used this pattern from Ravelry which, once I figured out what intarsia was and how to do it (look it up), was pretty easy to follow and execute—just time consuming.

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Close up of the colors (there are actually 2 slightly different dark browns that I used) and the INTARSIA I finally mastered.

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The finishing detail—buttons to close the opening in the back. I now see that the ribbing doesn’t line up 100% but screw it; it’s on the back anyways.

Now that I’ve finally finished my epic knitting project, I am jazzed about it again and excited to start knitting something else. I’m thinking this hat will be up next. Stay tuned, little turkeys. Yah? yah. #MakingAMurderer

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My picture-perfect apartment. Just kidding. I moved about 10 pounds of crap off the couch to take this picture and there are dead leaves all over the floor to the right. Oh well.

Gallery Wall

It’s been far too long since I posted—apologies to my follower. But now that summer/an active lifestyle is done, I am excited to get back to it! To get into the groove, I’d like to share something I’ve been wanting to post: my gallery wall. I’ve been a fan of this type of setup for awhile and have read (and ignored) lots of tips on how to create your own. And now I’m about to give you tips on how I made mine, so take that with a grain of salt.

My humble gallery wall.

My humble gallery wall.

Please note that I did not intend this to be a shrine to my own artwork but when you’re a. into painting and b. too poor for real art, it happens. Deal with it. I thought I’d mention where the pieces came from and point out some of the vintage or thirty ones BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I DO!

Ms. Foxy: Hardcore fans of my blog (JK, that’s not a thing) will recognize this as a painting I did in my last art class. End of story.

The Golden “B”: The newest addition to the wall! The letter was a few dollars at Target and I spray painted it gold and drilled a hole in the back to hang it. So easy and cheap!

Whale Cribbage Board: A favorite of mine from a local vintage store.

My Passport: Six pages of my passport, separated and framed with a custom-cut mat. Hint: if the coolest stamps are on back-to-back pages, a color copy looks just as good.

My Dad’s Army Photo: My favorite picture of him, because I think he looks like a movie star.

Gold Framed Oil Painting: An original painting of Paris that I got at my favorite antique store by my cabin. Super inexpensive for an original anything.

Mask: A tiny little mask I picked up while volunteering in El Salvador that cost a couple bucks.

Dog painting: My beloved dog Bailey, painted by me.

White Framed Watercolor: This is a painting of the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria that I bought from a street artist in the same location.

Eiffel Tower Painting: Another one I did in art class. This one is a copy of another painting.

Wooden Framed Mountain Painting: A painting I did from life (is a mountain alive?) while in Seward, Alaska at a plein air painting weekend.

Silver Framed Boat Painting: Another from the same Seward plein air weekend with a frame from a thrift store.

Vintage Book: A vintage book made into a clock that I bought at a flea market in Brooklyn.

My Humble Advice and Tips:

  1. Mix and match everything. Gold and silver. Black and brown. Homemade and purchased. Photos and other media. Some people go with all photos or all black frames which can look really great, but I love the unmatched look of my wall (and I think it fits my apartment).
  2. Don’t think you have to spend a lot. The most I spent on anything on this wall was probably getting the custom mat for my passport, which was not all that much. Homemade art can look really nice!
  3. Include three-dimensional stuff along with two-dimensional art. It really adds another, well, dimension to the wall. Consider hanging things that aren’t normally meant to be hung. I had to nail a wire to the cribbage board to hang it up, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the wall (and since I don’t know how to play cribbage, no big loss).
  4. Search thrift stores for picture frames. Those can often be the most expensive part, but places like Goodwill are overflowing with them for cheap.