Stash-Buster Challenge 2013: Project #1, Crochet hearts

Last week I signed up for the Stash-Buster Challenge 2013 over at Lana de Ana’s site. Well, I was already preparing to crochet something when the news of my sister’s pregnancy came out, I got so excited that I forgot all about it.

So I have this box full of yarns, yes? There are a lot of things I want to do for the challenge and it’s difficult to select an idea or a project to do first. But since it is February and Valentine’s day is tomorrow, I decided to make mini-hearts. I found a very simple love-heart pattern via Google search and after two practices, I was crocheting non-stop!  Look how many mini-hearts I made?

stashbuster challenge 2013 crochet mini hearts applique

Who doesn’t love hearts? They’re tiny but cute and they can be used in various ways, like an applique to use on your sewing projects or embellishments to your craft projects, glued or sewn onto a card for a sweet Valentine’s card, or even as cute decorations in your room or even a Valentine’s party?

Now that I have enough hearts, I wonder what am I going to do with it? Luckily for me, there is Pinterest that offers a lot of inspiration. I’ll post what I decided to do with the mini-hearts a little later. (UPDATE: Here’s what I did with the mini-hearts!)If these were yours, what would you do with them?

 

stash buster1

Show-Off-Your-Shell-Button

Stash-buster Challenge 2013

I was browsing some craft sites today, hopping from one blog to another. I could not believe the many creative and talented people are out there, whether it be in needleworks, paper crafts, recycling/upcycling, and many others. I envy these crafty people and at the same time they inspire me to be diligent with my own crafting.

I’m relatively new into this crafting bandwagon (although I did a bit of crafting when I was younger) and I have lots of interests – crocheting, rubber stamping, card and tag-making, just to name a few – which is really a problem. Why? Because I do not have a focus, that’s why. I tend to start a project and later on drop it halfway to begin a new one. Tsk. Need.To.Change.

I have a boxful of crochet yarns gathering dust in my craft nook. I had them since 2011 but never had the chance to really sit down and make something out of them.  I was waiting — no, no – I was looking for project ideas but everytime I scour the Internet, I got overwhelmed at the number of wonderful patterns. So, I ended up with nothing at all, hahaha.  So what do I do with this yarns?

my stash of crochet yarns
So many yarns, what would I do with them? Here’s hoping the Stash-Buster will help me use them all up this year 🙂

stash buster1After several hours of ooh-ing and aah-ing at the fantastic works displayed on the many sites, I found this very interesting meme, a challenge  of sorts and it gave me a fantastic idea. Over at Lanas de Ana site, she is hosting a Stash-Buster Challenge and I was excited! See that logo on the right? That’s it! 🙂 It’s a challenge for crocheters like me to tackle the problem of having too much stash of yarns stored in the house. It’s sort of crocheting together and showing and telling the challenge participants about their individual projects by posting it to their own blogs.

So I think this year, it is going to be different. With the Stash-Buster challenge, I will be forced to take on one crochet project at a time and will have other participating bloggers to encourage me to finish one! I hope they’ll accept me 😀

Hey there, I’m back online

So, drumrolls, please ^_^

First, let me just say that I am so flattered that two of my favourite artistic and creative people in the whole wide world, IMHO, have responded to one of my blog posts. I can’t stop grinning ear to ear when I read the comments of peggy APLseeds and the sketchingbackpacker, aka, the lovable Kuya Robert, here. They are two of the five talented Alejandro siblings; the “Pe” and “Ro”, respectively, in PAPEMELROTI, my favourite hobby/specialty shop in the Philippines. If that doesn’t make you excited or if you don’t know what PAPEMELROTI is, then, you must be living under a rock, lol.

Oh, but wait. Because of the lack of posts here you probably think it was I hiding away under a rock somewhere. That is not the case. I’ve been remiss the past few months because my Internet has been in and out of commission and the electricity was out several hours in a day every day during the summer (that’s April-May here on my side of the world).

Anyhoo, so what’s news?

Well, my husband bought us a vintage Singer sewing machine –  how cool is that? I just wanted something basic to use for general sewing for hemmed skirts and pants. But I also have this secret dream (well, not anymore) of making fancy bags and wallets and passport sleeves as well as altering thrifted dresses, especially vintage ones 🙂

Here are some pictures I took while we were looking for The One:

Vintage sewing machines. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many shops here in Phnom Penh selling them.
Janome brand. I like the pastel colour 🙂 Notice the knob.
Now these are the type of Singer machines that my grandmother and aunts used when I was younger. One of them was passed down to my Mum.

There are a lot of other brands available at the shops and they come as pedal-powered or electric ones. It’s literally a block of shops selling vintage sewing machines! And here’s the lucky one we brought home, it came with a new sewing table (not the original wooden table or case).

My first Singer sewing machine.

I love everything vintage and this is a cool machine. It is still in excellent shape and runs well. It came with free needles and bobbins and other stuff that I don’t recognise (but my husband does) so I’m all set except that I’ve never done any major sewing with a machine before.  But, I can teach myself how to and there’s always the dependable YouTube for video tutorials.  I’m very sure me and the sewing machine will have fun times together!

A wonderful surprise

Earlier, I was feeling  run down and getting over a cold but nothing and no one could stop me from going to the Post Office. I was there yesterday but a voice inside my head was urging me to go again this morning. I’m glad I listened to that voice because… today, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail!

 

Miss Igorota is carefully reading the notes on the packet. She saw the familiar address and smiled!
Miss Igorota is carefully reading the notes on the packet. She saw the familiar address and smiled!

Conniechiwa of Writings on the Wall has got to be one of the most thoughtful, most generous and sweetest people on earth. She sent me this super-cute birthday card…

taylor swift hallmark bday card
A Taylor Swift American Greetings card. Sweet!
I wonder who is celebrating a birthday though ^.^

And then… my heart skipped a beat when I opened the packaging and found an enormous world map (I heart!) and this lovely scrapbooking kit by Mary Engelbreit…

 Who doesn't love a Mary Engelbreit kit? It contains more than a hundred of design sheets, pages of stickers, buttons and ribbons.
Who doesn’t love a Mary Engelbreit kit? It contains more than a hundred of design sheets, pages of stickers, buttons and ribbons.

I think I’m in craft heaven now! With the lack of craft stores here in Phnom Penh, I’m sure I’m going to use as little as possible until I get more craft supplies from somewhere. Tihik guid, no? Lol.

And then there’s also a bar of chocolate but too bad it’s already gone — rich, creamy, German chocolate with a twist of strawberry – oh, so yummy in the tummy.

I would also like to mention that weeks before the packet arrived, I also received a packet from the equally thoughtful GingMaganda. Inside was a rubber stamp from Papemelroti, my favourite speciality shop in the Philippines.

A vintage Filipiniana rubber stamp, only from Papemelroti. I can say that I'm the only person here in Phnom Penh (or Cambodia) who has this -- unless someone proves me wrong.
A vintage Filipiniana rubber stamp, only from Papemelroti. I can say that I’m the only person here in Phnom Penh (or Cambodia) who has this — unless someone proves me wrong.

I’m excited. Todo-todo, I kid you not. Summer will be so much fun now that I have some crafting supplies, thanks to my beautiful friends. Looks like someone’s going to be spending less time noynoying this summer ^.^

Salamat, Conn at Ging. You surely know how to spoil a seester – da best kayo talaga, apiiiiiirrr ^.^ I will always remember your generosity and thoughtfulness. I will treasure these gifts, but not as much as I treasure you both.

Project Mary Jane slippers, shelved

Three days ago I started my first project for this year, a crocheted Mary Jane (MJ) slippers. I found a pattern online and immediately rolled up my sleeves and gathered the materials:

Yarns (acrylic wool) of contrasting colours, a 5mm crochet hook, and a scissor. Not shown in the pic are the buttons and the blunt needle (to attach the button to the slippers). The pattern is free from The Little House by the Sea.

I do not have the pure cotton yarn (or the recommended alternative Aran weight yarn) as required so I substituted with acrylic wool. I used the pink yarn for the sole and toe cap (and dark green for the edging) but stopped half-way through as I thought pink gets dirty so easily. So I changed to the red-black colour combination that you see from the finished product below:

Left slipper. I still need to attach a button. I wonder when can I find cotton yarns to complete this project 🙁

I love the red-black combination. The pattern (from the Little House by the Sea) was very easy to follow as it only involves chains, double-crochets (single-crochets if you’re American), and dc2tog (that’s double-crochet two stitches together). According to the specifications of the pattern-maker, the finished product will fit UK size 4-6.5 (EU size 37-39.5, US size 6.5-9).

Unfortunately, the left slipper I finished turned out waaay smaller than expected. BUT it did fit my left foot, but only just, and, my toes are crunched up. Could this mistake be because of my “tension” (too tight grip on the hook and yarn)? Or could it be because I used a different yarn material? Could be both, for all I know. Oh dear, lesson learned for me here. Next time, I’ll use only the materials, especially the yarns, required.

So now, I didn’t go on to make the right slipper, which is really a bummer, considering I finished one half of the pair in just one afternoon. I was excited to embark on this crochet project as I love the idea of wearing this at home! I’ll try to scout around for cotton yarns here in Phnom Penh, which I think is close to impossible because all the yarns I see here are  acrylic wool 🙁

Anyone out there willing to help me? Send me cotton yarns? hehehe. I’d appreciate any leads as to where I can find cotton crochet yarns here in Phnom Penh.

Project 01: Crocheted Mary Janes

I’m making a pair of this for my summer project:

Here’s a pair of slip-ons that I fancy. Photo by The Little House by the Sea

Aren’t they lovely? I fell in love with these the moment I saw them. I think they’re certainly a great alternative to slippers – that’s flip-flops to others.

I found a pattern from The Little House By the Sea and, by the looks of it, it is very easy to follow! Now I’m excited. I’m going to do a quick check of what’s left of my yarn and see what I can find to make this cute Mary Janes. If I can make this successfully, then I’m going to make another pair as a gift.

I’ll update as soon as I can.

Stampin’ Sreisaat

This is what’s keeping me from blogging at the moment… STAMPING! I’m a bit of a late-bloomer when it comes to stamping but I’ve always been doing crafting way back.

Last month, I bought a mini stamping set via Etsy and I am so crazy about it right now. The rubber stamp set is made in Korea… aren’t they cute?

{Kawaii} {Cute} I am such a sucker for everything kawaii. Are you?
{Kawaii} {Cute} I am such a sucker for everything kawaii. Aren’t you?

I’ve been trying all sorts of mail art using this stamp set but they’re too small for my liking and I need more designs to play with. Too bad there are no craft or hobby shops in Phnom Penh to get the materials I need. Purchasing online is great but it could get more expensive and my wish-list of crafting materials and tools is long!

Anyways, I might explore the local shops that make rubber stamps near my place. I’ll sketch a design and see if they can make it or not. Rubber art stamps is probably not even heard of here so I’ll see what I can find. Keeping my fingers crossed.

One of those quiet times in the city

Today is the last day of the Water Festival but, since this year’s celebration was canceled due to the recent flood problems, it is quiet in the city. The hordes of masses that usually come to Phnom Penh are missing. Instead of a festive Water Festival mood we are having a sombre Pchum Ben-like atmosphere here. This year also marks the the first anniversary of the Water Festival tragedy and the whole country is still mourning the lives that were lost.

I took advantage of the long holiday arranging and re-arranging my stuff. The postcards and stamps, especially the recent arrivals, needed sorting out so I put out several small boxes to store them all in. I browsed through the recent batch of postcards that I received thinking about the stories behind each postcard and the great distance each had traveled. What a great way to spend my morning! Out of the lot, this postcard is one of my favourites (see below). It is an official postcard from sent by a Postcrossing member from the USA.

Originally posted in Postcards Crossing.
Originally posted in Postcards Crossing.

Postcard ID: US – 120,6847
Postmarked 14 July 2011
Oakland, CA, USA

This is a beautiful postcard, don’t you agree? It has an enchanting illustration of a pixie called Princess Nobody and a flock of birds, probably finches.  I love how the little pixie is using a twig in directing a chorus of  seemingly attentive and enthusiastic finches. I wonder what kind of songs they are singing 🙂

I love this kind of artwork.  I researched a bit and found out that this is actually a reproduction of a vintage image from the collection of works at Castle in the Air, an online shop selling all sorts of  paper ephemera and other inspiring materials and supplies. One look at the site and I instantly fell in love with it! I want to get me some paper ephemera there 🙂 🙂 🙂 I wish I have a fairy godmother I can summon whenever I want to and give me what I want in just one flick of a wand. There goes another wishful thinking…

Have a great weekend everyone.

Prehistoric animals/dinosaurs on Cambodian stamps

These are definitive stamps issued in January 2000 by the Cambodian Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

A simple cover using the Prehistoric animals stamps that I sent to a stamp/cover-collector from Slovakia.
A simple cover using the Prehistoric animals stamps that I sent to a stamp/cover-collector from Slovakia.

I have to admit that I was really surprised to see these stamps on display at the Post Office’s philately department. Something I didn’t expect to be associated with Cambodia nor issued in Cambodia. I don’t even know if dinosaurs have lived in Cambodia but this is proving to be popular to collectors!

These prehistoric animals featured above are, clockwise from top left to bottom: diplodocus, stegosaurus, and euplocephalus. I love that the skeletons were also included in the design which make them even more interesting. I posted this in my virtual stamp album blog just last Sunday and already I’ve received several requests for covers using these stamps. Well, all I can say is that they have to be patient as, the last time I checked, these stamps are out of stock.

Photo Hunt 062: The game of love

Not many of you know that I’m into postcards and stamps collection. This week, my take on the theme is related to my hobby.

King and Queen of Hearts on stamps-8x6
The King and Queen of Hearts stamps, with cancellation marks from the Post Office.

The se-tenant pair (above) belongs to the USPS Love series, the King and Queen of Hearts, issued in 2009 and a clever tribute to the world’s most favourite “game”.  Do you know what is it? It’s the game of love, of course! 🙂

The artist, Jeanne Greco, said that she used the 18th century French playing cards as a reference and created her own interpretation on a computer. She retained the traditional colour of playing cards – a white or cream background – with only basic colours as accents. Lovely, design, isn’t it? If only my stamps weren’t covered by the postmarks!  But here, I’m posting a mint copy below for your viewing pleasure.

KingQueen-8x6
The King and Queen of Hearts, mint version.

The mint version (unused) obviously looks better but I like my stamps  with cancellation marks. However, my King and Queen of Hearts stamps had very heavy marks on them thus marring their face value of the stamps 🙁  Anyways, if you’d look closer, you will notice that the design flows through the stamp perforations to make a continuous pattern.

The (US) Postal Service began issuing its popular Love stamps in 1973. Over the years these stamps have featured a wide variety of designs, including heart motifs, colorful flowers, and the word “LOVE” itself. (Source)

NB: This originally appeared in my Postcards Crossing blog where I have posted all postcards and stamps I received from countries around the world.

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