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For The Cool Kid

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So…can I just tell you how awesome I am?  Or do you need proof?  Ok, proof it is…

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This is Reginald.  He is my sock monkey and model for the day.

As I have mentioned before, my sister is having a baby in September…Remy is his name…formerly known as Buttons.  I may not have mentioned that my sister loves elephants.  She does.  She really, really does…

And so I present my awesome:

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Oh yeah!  I have never felt more fabulous than I do right now!  I am loving this hat!

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Reginald is shy at first…

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But he soon comes out of his shell!  He actually may have just been embarrassed because his face is dirty.  I have no clue what he has been into… But that’s ok…let’s just focus on the hat.

I got the pattern for the actual hat part here, at easymakesmehappy.blogspot.com.  I followed the 3-6 month size, because in my family, we have abnormally large heads…  This pattern is really well written…  I really need to check out this lady’s etsy shop…and hope for boy-related things!

The ears were the hard part…because, while there are patterns out there, none of the free patterns had ears that I liked well enough to use (sorry people who sell patterns, I am frugal *read broke*.  So, armed with some crochet  knowledge, I decided to design my own.  Basically, all I did (for the grey ear) was crochet 2 circles (one is one round bigger that the other), attach them on one side, and then went around them (the attached circles) on one side for several rows.  Then, (for the blue part of the ear)I just did the same two circles and attached them together, then attached them to the grey ear part.  (You could always avoid the attaching two pieces together part, and just change colors, but that’s not what I did).  I hope that makes sense…

I have thought about making a pattern for the ears I made.  If anybody would be interested, please leave me a comment and let me know!

~Amy

Uphill but worth it!

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What do you do when its a hundred degrees and you want to get out of the house?  Head up the mountain!

I’ve lived in east Tennessee for about 9 years now.  In all that time, I had never been to the top of Roan Mountain, even though it is less than an hour away!  Last weekend, my husband, who is from Tennessee…well, spent the majority of his life here…decided it was finally time for us to go.

We  have tried to go up to the top several times over the years, and each time we went, they had the top closed.  Roan Mountain is part of a national park, (the Appalachian Trail runs through it!) and they close the road that goes to the tippy top off to allow for plant propagation and all that good stuff.  There is a parking area at the beginning of the road, where you can walk either towards the top, or away toward Round Bald (another peak), and we have done that a few times…  But FINALLY, we were able to get to drive up to the top!  They have a Rhododendron Festival every year in June…we missed the abundant blooms, but there were still some stragglers to be seen.

The best thing though, the thing I wanted to share, is what you get to see from the top of the Cloudland Trail.  After a little hike, about 0.7 miles from a parking area, you get to see this:

View to the left

View to the right

 

This is with my camera’s zoom at the most magnification!

It was unbelievably windy!  Definitely a put-your-hair-up location…

I wish the camera could capture just how beautiful it really is!

I wish I could scoop up the total experience, how it really felt to be up there, and share that with you!

There are a ton of trails on the mountain, and we just got to go on the one…but if you can only go on one, Cloudland Trail is definitely worth the uphill walking!  (It’s really not that bad, and I am so out of shape!)  If you ever get the chance, you have to, HAVE TO follow the trail to the top!

I would really love to take a day, in the beginning of fall maybe, and pack a lunch and hit the mountain again…and get to see more of it!  Where I live, which is about an hour away from Roan Mountain, it was 103 degrees when we were driving past the city limits.  About 45 minutes later, at the bottom of the Cloudland Trail, where there was a parking area, the thermometer was at 86.  Most of the trail is in the shade, so it wasn’t too hot.  However, my stamina decreases dramatically in proportion to the temperature going up!  (I wilt like cut flowers!)  I would love to be able to spend the day at Roan when its in the high 60s or low 70s!  That’s just the perfect weather no matter where you are, in my opinion!

The Cloudland Trail experience is in a tie for first on my list of the most amazing things I have ever personally experienced.  (It’s tied with the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, which I had the pleasure of seeing with my own eyeballs as a little girl!)

So, what’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever experienced?  I’d love to know!

~Amy

 

 

 

 

Letters of intent

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There’s a great Shel Silverstein poem that goes: “There are no happy endings.  Endings are the saddest part, so just give me a happy middle And a very happy start.”

He wrote that about me…

I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time finishing things.  I can start like a pro, 75% of the time get to the middle like a champ…but the ending…not so much.  I tend to get wildly distracted by…everything.

I have always hated goals.  Well, hate is a strong word…let’s say I have a general distaste for them.  They make me nervous.  I think goals are secretly judging me.  Or openly…or maybe I am judging myself.

Goals make you fess up to your own short comings.  A goal says “I AM GOING TO DO THIS!”   Then they stand over your shoulder with a clip board and scold you and nag you and grade your work.  And if you don’t reach a goal, the bitter disappointment kicks in and your goal starts calling you a failure and possibly even gives you a wedgie at some point.  Goals can be total butt faces sometimes.

On the opposite side of that, if you do reach your goal, Goalie can be such a pal!  He’s all “Good job, you accomplished something…now you have to find a new goal…”  To which you must reply either “I think I will!” or “Suck it, Goalie, I’m gonna go take a nap!”  I tend toward the latter…

There have been some things that I have really wanted to do for a long time.  And so I could make a goal…or several goals…evil goals…  And either face bitter disappointment or accomplish my goal and move on.  But instead, I think I will do something else…something that I am calling “letters of intent”

‘Why, Amy, what is this letter of intent of which you speak?’  I’m glad you asked!

Letters of intent are (evil) Goalie’s much more mellow cousin.  I know, they’re still relatives, but from different sides of the family…

Letters of intent say things like “Hey dude, you know what would be awesome?  If we did …”  If you do the thing (whatever it my be), the letter of intent gives you a high five and suggests scanning Pinterest for a while.  If you don’t do the aforementioned thing, he still gives you a high five and suggests scanning Pinterest for a while.  Letters of intent are cool with whatever you do.  Letters of intent aren’t going to judge you, man!

I don’t know why I haven’t thought about it before, but I feel like I could handle the less pushy letters of intent.

So after all the build-up, here are some general letters of intent I have been seriously considering:

  1. Finish some of my current in-progress projects.  I have about five million, so this may take a while…
  2. Be a consistent blogger.  I like to write, so find time and do it!
  3. Get healthy.  I am so tired of being out of shape (to the EXTREME).  I really want to do something about it…preferably, something where I can still eat a bunch of garbage and not exercise, but we’ll see how that goes…
  4. Control Pinterest urges.  As far as Facebook and twitter go, I will never get why people love them.  Pinterest on the other hand is the love of my life.  I am not saying cut Pinterest out completely (Because I would die from withdrawals), but if I am going to pin awesome craft stuff, I need to make the awesome craft stuff too!
  5. Books more, TV less.  In my defense, I do not watch a lot of TV.  But it is becoming so easy to just fall onto the couch and veg out.  I am not a veg outer!  Stop it!  Read a book, you zombie!
  6. Take more pictures…and then get them developed.  One day my computer will crash and ten years of my life will be deleted from history.
  7. Get out of debt.  Ooh…personal and difficult.  You sound like a goal…I change you…Stop buying craft stuff till you use up most of what you have…boom, that’s doable…kinda…
  8. Stop chewing my fingernails.  They don’t chew on me!  I was doing so good on this, too, until I wiped them out over the fourth.  I do it subconsciously when I get nervous/mad/upset.  The real intention here is to recognize it when I start to get upset…then go paint my nails…I can’t chew them with polish on…it tastes gross and I am lazy so I don’t want to have to paint them again if I chew them to nubs.  I know how germy and disgusting they are too…there would probably be less germs in my mouth if I decided to lick a toilet seat as opposed to chewing my nails.  Ok, that was a step too far, I am stopping before the dry heaves start!

What about you, do you do goals?  Or letters of intent?  Make plans?  Wing it all the way?

I am going to go work on some unfinished projects now…maybe I’ll finish one!  Yay!  I am kinda excited now…revel in the excitement with me!  Ooh!  Aah!

~Amy

 

 

 

Mookey Monkey meets the Mommy

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My little sister’s having a baby!  Her family shower was this past Sunday, and I realized oddly enough, that I had never been to a baby shower before!  Is it weird to be almost 30 and not ever been to a baby shower?  I was shocked when I thought about it…  I’M A FREAK!!!

Thank goodness Gretchen (my sis) was willing to get knocked up so I could attend a baby shower and not feel like such an outcast anymore!  (That’s right, she did it just for me!!!)

For some reason, I had the worst time trying to figure out what to make for her shower.  I am usually full of ideas, and just don’t have time to do them all…but this time, I hit some kind of creative block.  It’s not that there weren’t a ton of great ideas floating around in my noodle and a million even better ideas on the internet, but I just could not get inspired…  Nothing jumped out at me!  I may have been in the corner in the fetal position several times last week.  It was three days before the shower, and at this point, I was panicking!  So I knuckled down, cued up the interwebs and went on the prowl.  And here’s what I found:

Woo hoo!  Isn’t this so cute?  One problem…my Gretchy…she is having a boy!  (No matter how much I tried to convince that fetus to be a girl, he just wouldn’t listen…)  I just figured Molly sans adorable dress and hat and Mary Jane’s could be a boy…

So here is what we had after some sewing and stuffing:

He looks pretty cute as he is…but he needed a little more.  Enter, the top hat, which you can see to the right.

I found the tutorial for this hat at imtopsyturvey.com, but when I try to go there now, it keeps telling me “bad gateway” and won’t let me look…I don’t know what that means, but curse you bad gateway!  Here is the picture (I pinned it on Pinterest.) that went with the now hiding tutorial:

top-hat

If you google mini top hat patterns, there are several versions out there, but this was the one I used, and it was very lovely and simple!

So the Mookster got a hat…which looked awful lonely all by itself, so back to the interwebs we go.  This time, for a sweet bow tie:

Isn’t that kid so cute?  Well, with a little adjusting for size, I had an swell little bow tie.

Here’s the finished Mookey Monkey…shown with my mom:

Aren’t they both just so adorable?

One more for posterity:

Ha!  She would kill me if she saw this picture of her…  I don’t even care, it’s too funny not to share!

Overall, three great tutorials from the internet = one awesome baby shower present! Throw in some bath and body works unscented shea butter lotion and some little outfits, you got yourself a happy momma…and what with the pregnancy hormones, trust me, you want a very happy momma!

In August, Gretchen is having another shower for friends and I get to go to that one too.  (That’s right folks, I’m not just a sister, I’m also a friend!)  This time, I am going to get a move on and not be scrambling three days before hand to get something done.  If you need me, I’ll be crafting…

~Amy

 

She was the captain of her own ship

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If a website were my soul mate, that website would be Pinterest.  Even though I find that he talks way too much about dieting…nobody’s perfect.

And so I just want to say thanks to lovely and addictive  Pinterest for all the inspirations it gives me.  I would never find as much awesome stuff as I have if I just Googled something.  (I still have a place in my heart for you though, Google.)

The following image was found on Pinterest forever ago.  It used to link to an Etsy shop, but apparently the shop is closed now.  (So I pulled the image from Pinterest…sorry original artist…if you see this and are still functional on Etsy, please let me know and I will link it directly to you…)

At any rate, when I saw this little collage, it stuck with my brain for a long time.  That saying, “Captain of her own ship”, made my heart soar and struck a cord with me.  I always need to be reminded that I can control the destination.  Even if the seas are rough, and the wind is blowing half a gale, we can still steer the ship any direction we choose.  Who doesn’t need to be reminded of that from time to time?

And so when I was in need of something crafty to do one day (for a steam punk themed craft challenge between me and my beautiful sister Marian), I decided to make a collage inspired by this brain stealing piece of art.

Here’s what I ended up with:

I am really happy with the way it turned out.

Very often, I have an exceedingly hard time with details.  Everything I do seems to turn out super simple, and it drives me nuts.  With this collage, however, I went a little out of my comfort zone (my comfort zone is based on the premise I have in my mind that the more I add, the higher the chance that I will do something stupid and ruin a decent project…it has happened more than once).  I actually love how it turned out and a brave (though quiet) voice in my head wishes I would have added more…

I am very new to collage, and with each finished project, I get more excited about starting another.  This is how I end up with so many unfinished projects…or yet to be finished…I will get them done… eventually…

The bad part is, I don’t just like collage…I crochet, knit, sew, do polymer clay, paint (oil, acrylic, and water color), make jewelry, make soft toys, and just about any other crafty thing I have seen.  My sister, Marian, says I am a craft acquiring junkie.  And it’s true…I must do all the things!  So there are a lot of “in progress” projects floating around my teeny, tiny, little house.  I imagine that one day, I will be found dead under a pile of craft supplies and yet-to-be-finished projects…But what a way to go!

So the question is, am I the only one that is going to be taken out by crafting?  Please leave a comment and let me know I am not alone in this!

~Amy

 

the thoughtful girl

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I am pretty new to the world of art journals, at least as far as creating my own goes, but I have been enjoying looking at other people’s work for a long time.  I am slowly plugging along on filling up my own art journal, and so far I have had a great deal of learning experience going on (aka bitter disappointment in my lack of skill).

Until today…  this is my most recent attempt at finishing a page, and I am really proud of it!  It is a very simple cut and paste collage, but I don’t even care!  I love it so much!

I use a Smash book from K & Company, but I used oil paints and covered the page completely.  (My first time working with oil paints…they dry really slowly.  I am probably the last person to know, but I was really surprised at how lo-o-o-0ng it took.)

The girl’s face I found somewhere (most likely on pinterest) a while ago and printed a bunch of her off and put her in my ‘useful snippets’ folder.  I think she is great.  She looks spunky!

Her little suitcase is from a studio112 tag pack I have.  I wrote (in surprisingly neat…for me…handwriting) “you are a thought tangled into everything I think”.  Yeah, she’s spunky, but she’s got a little bit of baggage too.  And that’s ok!

The center of the sunshine (upper right corner) is made from Martha Stewart Crafter’s Clay (then painted with copper color acrylic paint).  This stuff is pretty cool (albeit stinky).  It’s really light weight, and I am assuming similar to paper clay.  I wonder if actual paper clay stinks this bad…because the MS stuff is seriously odoriferous.

Her dress has coppery colored glitter ribbon (it’s very sparkly, but you can’t really tell in the picture), and there’s some black velveteen tape on there too.

I was looking at this and thinking about how the darker colors should make it seem sad, but when I look at it, it doesn’t make me sad at all!  I am calling her “the thoughtful girl”.  I am in love with the thoughtful girl right now.

Hope you like her too!

~Amy

New in Town

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Some (aka very few) people may already know me as craftymcshannahan.  I haven’t blogged for a really long time under that name.  After a recent tragedy in my life, I couldn’t do it any more.  I didn’t want to write.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I lost a dear, dear friend of mine and I lost my own life in the process, it seems.  Things will never be the same for me as they were before his death.

I felt like craftymcshannahan was all sunshine and lollipops, and real life isn’t like that.  There are those days where you are good and happy.  But in real life, there are also days when you are distressed and sad and mad.  As CMcS, I wasn’t providing the full scope of things…it was very limiting.  So I quit blogging.

Then I was listening to some music a while ago and heard Morning Morgantown by Joni Mitchell.  One of the lines in the song goes “the only thing I have to give, to make you smile, to win you with, are all the mornings still to live”.  That line stuck in my head and smacked me in the face and told me to WAKE UP!  I couldn’t keep living like I was in a coma.  So slowly, I started to recover and now I am at the point where I am ready to live again.

This blog is for reminding me that I am still breathing, still alive.  And for helping me to be accountable.  And for helping me to figure out what I want to do with the time I have left in life.

I am 29 years old.  I am overweight.  I love crafty stuff.  I am married to a man that can put up with me and vice versa.  I have four dogs and a cat.  I am really in debt.  I like my day job good enough.  I have very little going on in life and quite a lot going on at the same time.  I want to live for the one I loved that didn’t get to enjoy his life like he should have and I want to live for me.

This isn’t going to be perfect, but I am trying.  This isn’t going to be easy, but I don’t want to put my hands up in defeat.  And so I hope you will enjoy the time we will spend during all the mornings still to live.

~Amy

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