Staying Home and Crafting

How have you been spending all this extra time at home? Cleaning crevices of your home you never thought of cleaning? Finally clearing out your closets to discover items you had long forgotten? Constantly searching the internet for recipes to use up obscure items found in your pantry? Or simply catching up on television shows or discovering new ones? And of course, there are those things on your to do list that you know you should get to, but, just don’t seem to have the motivation to do so. One of those things for me is raking the leaves in my backyard. A task I am never fond of doing, but, once done I am so happy to have done. Sometimes too we put so many things on our to-do lists that we become overwhelmed with what to do first. I know that happens with me often. Especially on my list of crafts I want to do.

For quite some time I had a small pile of beadweaving projects that I wanted to get to. I even organized the beads I wanted to use for the projects so all I had to was actually sit down and make them. Well, I finally started working on some of those projects and soon discovered that I didn’t like how a few of them were turning out or I just didn’t have the patience so I gave up and moved on to the next one. I did find one project that I liked and I ended up making two pairs of earrings.

I’m in the middle of making this bracelet. So far so good, I just need to figure out how to put a knot in the end of the bracelet without destroying the braid or making it look wonky.

I also attempted to make a new Easter wreath. I picked up the supplies in late February after coming across the directions and they sounded simple enough. Decoupage plastic Easter eggs with small pieces of paper napkins and then glue them to a straw wreath adorned with Spanish moss. I’ve made quite a few wreaths so I thought I would have no problem with this one. I started, well, I should say I tried to decoupage the eggs and it was a mess. The paper wasn’t flat on the eggs regardless of how small I cut the napkin and I couldn’t stand the smell of the decoupage glue. Oh well. Thankfully the supplies weren’t that expensive and they are all things I can use for other projects so it wasn’t a total loss.

Before things got really bad with the virus and places were still open I was taking crocheting/knitting classes at my local library. I had just finished a series of three classes where we made crocheted tote bags and was starting another series of three classes to make a knitted keyhole scarf. I actually made a crocheted version last year. We got through one class before the library decided to cancel all classes and then ultimately closed. Thankfully in that one class I got the gist of how to make the scarf – it involved splitting stitches and using double-pointed needles, neither of which I had done nor used before in knitting – so, I was able to complete it on my own.

And then I started another scarf (my neck is ready for next winter). Initially, using Lion Brand’s Homespun yarn, I was knitting a scarf in garter stitch (knitting every stitch in each row) and once completed I was going to weave ribbon through the scarf in a basketweave pattern. I got to a certain point and tested out weaving the ribbon through and just didn’t like how it was looking so I decided to go with a pattern (Flights of Fancy) I had in a folder and I am liking this much better. I’ve thought about going through my yarn stash and putting all my remnant yarns together to make a blanket. For now though, I’ll just add that to my to-do list.

So, I’ve definitely been trying to keep myself busy at home as you can see. And yes, I have cleaned corners of my house I never thought of cleaning all while avoiding those leaves. As for television, I don’t subscribe to any streaming services so I split my time between watching actual television and listening to music. I am always amazed how there are so many channels and still nothing to watch at times. As for cooking and baking, I haven’t gotten too creative yet. I did make this Banana Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting last week as a means to use up some bananas and mascarpone cheese. I do have a pasta dish that I have yet to hit publish on that I give quite a few ideas to customize with what you have in your pantry. The main thing right now though is to stay home, stay safe and stay healthy!

 

 

 

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! The holidays are quickly winding down. Truthfully, and I think most would agree, the holidays just seemed to fly by this season. Mainly due to the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With Thanksgiving falling so late there was less than a month to get everything ready for Christmas. Besides posting my annual Cookie Palooza recipes I just didn’t have time to blog anything else during the month of December. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do a lot of baking though. There were chocolate covered pretzels, Almond Biscotti (these were so good that I ended up baking a second batch the day after making the first), a few cakes (one of which was supposed to be a tangled lights decorated cake but turned into a congratulatory cake for my oldest niece after competing in her very first gymnastics tournament and placing in a few of the events), and of course cookies, cookies and more cookies. I baked about 300 cookies in one day and by the end of the day the smell of sweets and sugar was just too much for me to handle.

So here we are in a new year and a new decade. Truthfully it didn’t really dawn on me that a new decade was upon us until I was watching the news and they started talking about it. I was just thinking of how the year had gone by so fast. And granted one could say that about every year, but, 2019 in particular seemed to fly by to me. I was thinking about things that happened and they didn’t seem like months ago but more so days ago. I have heard that one of the perils of getting older is that time goes by faster. Maybe it’s because you have a greater realization of things happening. As a kid I think you forget more than you remember but as an adult everything that happens gets filed away so it’s easy to measure things by the events in our lives. My dad has been gone 4 years and I still measure things from before and after his death as well as before and after he got sick. I’ll remember something or see something from a particular year and I measure it against these dates. Not always a good thing. But, it is a good reminder to me of how quickly things can change and can happen. It’s true what they say that life can change in the blink of an eye.

And for many a new year means resolutions to change things in their lives or do things differently. I myself have never made a New Year’s resolution. I personally believe that there is no time like the present to make a change for the better. Every day you are given the opportunity to do things better and/or differently than the day before. So why not grab on to that as opposed to waiting for the year to change. Let’s say you fail at your resolution in February, does that mean you should wait 10 months to try again? Absolutely not! So, instead of resolutions I’ll look back and see if I have grown as a person over the course of time. Of course there are things that I would like to be different, but, at the end of the day I am content. And being content makes it a bit easier to work on those things that I would like to change.

So, what’s on my plate for 2020 so far… A semi-monumental college reunion that I may or may not attend and a pretty exciting vacation! And of course more baking and crafting. Next month marks 8 years that I have been blogging. And while I may not have the amount of followers that others have, I am still trudging along and thankful for those of you who do follow me and welcome any and all new readers. I enjoy baking, crafting, photographing, writing, and everything else that makes up my blog so I will continue on! Besides, good things come to those who wait.

I leave you with two pics…

A pic of the Christmas cake I made (this was totally not the design I had in mind for this cake, but, I had a frosting fail at 10p on a work-night so I had to improvise and was happy with the outcome)…

And the cake I made for New Year’s Eve – I decided to try out the decorated sheet cake trend. After piping the designs on to the cake I then sprayed it with Wilton’s Color Mist in pearl and sprinkled it with a mixture of festive sprinkles…

Happy 2020!

 

 

 

The Sofa

Who knew that a simple piece of furniture could change your perspective?

The same sofa sectional had been in my living room for as long as I could remember. My parents brought it to the house from their apartment in the Bronx when they purchased the house in the late 1970’s; so that should give you some idea of old it was. It was old school as well… covered in plastic that was cracking and dreadful to sit on in the dead of summer and had a gold paisley pattern on it. I’m not 100% sure why my parents never changed it. My Mom has a tendency of not wanting to let go of things. When she ended up in a nursing home due to a stroke and my Dad was in the hospital for a second time I thoroughly cleaned up their bedroom to make room for the hospital bed he would ultimately need. And boy, were there a lot of things to get rid of. In this living room with said sectional there are also wood paneled walls, also there for as long as I can remember. Probably before my parents bought the house, so it’s not the nice modern ones you see nowadays. I long dreamed of taking down the paneling, painting the walls a bright white (something completely opposite of the dark paneled walls), ripping up the carpets to expose the original hardwood floors and of course getting rid of the sectional.

After my Dad passed away I remember sitting on that sectional and wondering what life would be like now alone in the house. Making changes to the living room was the furthest thing from my mind. I think I found comfort in the familiarity. Seeing it the same allowed for memories to easily flood my thoughts. I could easily remember sitting on that couch eating my dinner – the dinner my Dad put aside for me in a tupperware that I only needed to pop in the microwave to heat up after arriving home from work in the city – and talking to him about my day. Little by little though I did make some changes. I moved my Dad’s recliner to the perfect corner so there would be more space in the living room. I moved the rocking chair to what I still refer to as my parents’ bedroom even though my Mom hasn’t been in the house in five years and my Dad passed away three years ago. And eventually I removed two pieces of the sectional. Removed sounds a lot nicer than I threw them out, which is what I really did do. I don’t really recall what prompted me to do it. It was time I guess. Of course I took a picture so that I won’t have to think too hard to remember what it used to look like.

The one piece I held on to was the curved middle piece. For two reasons, Lucky, my dog, liked to go under the sofa and I still needed a place for people to sit when they came over. Granted it was a small piece, but, it was something. I had visions in my mind of what I wanted the remodeled living room to look like. I was thinking light aqua walls, whitewashing the accent brick wall, hardwood floors and some patterned curtains. Oh, and I had a vision of a grey couch with studding. I stuck up color swatches on the wall to get ideas for the right shade of aqua and I ordered curtain swatches to match them to my chosen wall color. And then recently something changed. We spend a lot time living our lives with a vision of a future that may or may never come. We think to ourselves, oh, when this happens then I’ll do x y and z. But, what if that thing never happens. What if we never meet the right person, never get our dream job and desired salary, or whatever else it is that we are waiting for? Are we supposed to give up on the dreams we hope would follow? Absolutely not. We should find a way to make anything and everything happen that will make us happy. So, there I was waiting for the perfect salary to have enough money to do everything I wanted all at once. But, I realized that what I wanted was to be able to sit in my living room now and watch television, read a book, crochet/knit, etc. So, I decided I would buy a new sofa, nothing expensive. But, something to hold me over until I could get what I really wanted. I decided on my favorite color, navy blue.

I did some research online and then went to the store armed with a tape measure to measure the space between the sofa and the floor. I was hoping to find something that Lucky would still be able to sneak under. He’s 17 and as silly as it sounds I didn’t want him to feel slighted by the new piece of furniture. That I was somehow displacing him from the home he has known since he was few months old. I almost picked a different sofa that would have afforded him the space to go underneath, but, in the end stuck to the one I liked and wanted. That evening I decided that since my new sofa wouldn’t be delivered for another week and a half that I would throw out that final curved piece on the next garbage day to get Lucky used to the idea of not going underneath the new one. Dogs can really take over your life. I also decided that I would breathe new life into my Dad’s old recliner with a new cover. I wasn’t sure if recliner covers existed but a quick internet search let me know otherwise. So, I removed that final piece of the sectional, vacuumed the rug and ordered a grey cover for the recliner in anticipation of my new sofa. And I began to think, maybe I should change my vision and make this new sofa the focal point of it. So, gone were the ideas of aqua walls and in place of it a nice shade of green (although lately I am starting to lean towards a shade of white) which would go nicely with the brick accent wall that I now wouldn’t have to whitewash. I am still holding on to some cool patterned curtains though – I recently ordered a new assortment of fabric swatches to go with this new color scheme. And I am still planning on exposing those hardwood floors that I am sure will have to be stained because of the accident or two (or more) that Lucky has had.

And then the day arrived… My new sofa came. It fit into its designated space perfectly and I was in awe of how it changed the whole look of my living room, even with its old curtains and paneled walls. Later that day the recliner cover arrived and I couldn’t wait to put it on and was once again happy at how it completely changed the look of the room as well. The following day I went out and purchased a new lamp. A silver base with a white scale pleat shade to replace the gold base lamp with an almond color shade. I also purchased new picture frames for a few of the pictures that hang on the wall.

As I sit in my living room now I am happy with the space I have created. And while I have lived in this home for many years (we’ll just say 30 plus), and have lived in it alone for 3, it’s finally beginning to feel like my own, all thanks to a sofa.

A New Year…

The holidays are officially over! Yes, I believe in the 12 days of Christmas and that the holidays officially end on January 6th. Too bad I can’t gifts like the song though, not necessarily 5 golden rings, but maybe 5 skeins of yarn and 4 pairs of shoes as opposed to the calling birds. You catch my drift. All in all though my holidays were good. Filled with good times with friends and family and delicious food and treats. I am planning on getting my house back to “normal” this week. I unplugged my Christmas lights this morning, I never want to be the house with the lights on after the fact, and will start taking down decorations today. Not like it’s a lot, but, I don’t want to just rip it all down and throw it back in the box. I like to take my time.

How has the New Year been treating you thus far? A week in and I have no complaints. Although one could complain but it doesn’t mean anything will change overnight. I am not one to make resolutions. If you want to make a change then make it. I read an article recently that said we sometimes make these grand resolutions without truly giving thought as to how to accomplish them. You can’t simply say I am going to lose weight this year. There has to be something behind it. For example, I will walk/jog/run x amount of days per week, or I will watch my intake of certain foods, and so forth. I think making small life changes like that can have a bigger impact on one that some broad goal. I do apologize if that is your resolution and I just burst your bubble. By no means was that my intention. And while I don’t make specific resolutions I think what I am trying to keep in mind this year is Einstein’s definition of insanity… Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I know I want certain things to happen and other things to change but hoping they will happen without doing anything differently isn’t going to get my anywhere near those goals. I hope you will all get something out of that one. It’s definitely an important life lesson that can drive us to take chances and push us out of our comfort zones, which I have found always leads to a rewarding experience. There’s nothing like finding out you are a lot stronger physically, mentally and emotionally than what you think.

One thing I need to stop doing this year is being a procraftinator. Yes, you read that correctly, a procraftinator. I have numerous projects lying around that need to be finished. Just how bad am I? Well, I have a shrug that I finished knitting 3 years ago that I still haven’t stitched together. Don’t ask me why, I can’t really give you an answer on that one. Maybe it’s because finishing my yarn projects is my least favorite activity. But, I am sure once I start and finish I will be so happy I did. I also have a scarf I started over the summer (or maybe it was sooner) that I put down and just never picked up again. This seems to a recurrent problem of mine… LOL! I just put something else on my knitting needles that I am determined to finish, especially since it’s a small project, a coffee cozy. A friend gave me a cup for Christmas that needs one if I plan on drinking hot tea from it. I began to think that just maybe I could make them and sell them on my Etsy shop. Yes, I still have my Etsy shop (CraftedByFran). I haven’t mentioned it, but, it’s still there. I have actually found it a bit frustrating because getting sales is such a challenge, well, getting traffic to my shop is the main challenge. I have updated my keywords and still nothing. Not really sure how some people have it so easy. If any of you can offer some tips and tricks I am all ears!

And just maybe this year I will work on creating my own baking recipes. Cooking is a lot easier and forgiving, but, baking not so much. I have dabbled with it and have had success but I definitely need to delve more into it. I always have recipe ideas swirling around in my head, but I just need to build the confidence to come up with the ingredient list on my own and not depend on Google so much. I have baked enough that I should be able to do so. Who knows, maybe one day I will write my own cookbook. It would definitely be a mish mosh of different things… LOL! Did I just throw something out into the universe? Oh wait, I didn’t explain that one. Some people believe that in order for things to come to fruition you need to say them to the universe. I guess the universe needs to hear you in order to answer you.

Hopefully I will be blogging more often and including more posts like these. A little rambling, a little insight, a little more about me. I’ve been doing this for about 7 years now so I figured it’s about time. So, I welcome 2019 and whatever it has to offer and teach me.

 

 

 

 

 

Promote your blog here; Blog Party #3!!

Hey Everyone! Join in on this Blog Party… It’s a great way to meet new bloggers and discover their amazing blogs and an opportunity to spread the word about your own!

MadeByBernadine

Hello everybody! I recently got back into blogging so I thought what better way to promote this blog and help others than a blog party?

Here are the rules:

1. Choose any one of your favorite blog posts from your own blog, all kinds of posts are welcome. (Anything inappropriate will be removed). You can share up to three links each day, but it’s best to wait some time between each one.

2. Paste your link in the comment section of this post and tell a little bit about yourself and/or your blog.

3. REBLOG this post to let everyone know!!

4. Now grab a fuzzy blanket and get ready to read more blogs and meet new bloggers!!

This blog party will run from today until Friday at 12:00 am EST. I look forward to reading all your comments and meeting new blogs! Have fun and be sure to follow…

View original post 6 more words

Hey Everyone…

Thanks for visiting! About two months ago while I was baking up a few batches of cookies I thought it would be fun to start a blog chronicling all the different things I make. In the past couple of years I have learned how to knit, crochet, bead weave, and decorate cakes among other things. I have always enjoyed creating things and challenging myself with new techniques, patterns and recipes. So welcome to my new blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy making all the items.