Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Crochet Granny Square Blanket for American Girl Dolls

Dova and Julie with Blanket

Who would think that having a daughter with an American Girl doll would inspire me to learn to crochet? I guess doing a smaller size blanket is the perfect learning project.  I first saw this free crochet pattern from Liberty Jane Patterns.  After watching numerous YouTube videos on crocheting granny squares, I finally got the hang of putting together these cute blankets.  I used an H8 5mm crochet hook with medium weight yarn. Luckily I could also use a lot existing knitting yarn. In total there are 12 squares in this blanket in a 4x3 rectangle.

Of course both dolls needed their own blankets.

Matching blankets

This awesome bunk bed came for Christmas from Santa Target.  It is really wonderful for the dolls!  Ivy's American Girl Crafts Owls Sew and Stuff Kitwas lovingly stitched by Dova herself.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Affordable and Easy 12x12 Wall Art

Dova's Back Handspring by Team Photo
Dova's Back Handspring by Team Photo
At one of Dova's gymnastics meets, I purchased this wonderful photo of Dova's Back Handspring in mid-flight from Team Photo (here's where having a 70-200mm f/2.8L Telephoto Zoom Lens comes in handy). As soon as I saw it, I immediately envisioned it on the wall as a piece of trendy 12"x12" square wall art, one for me and one for my mom.

Looking around web, I found canvas prints, metal prints, photo panels, mounted wall art, the possibilities were endless! The only thing in common was that nothing was really affordable, especially since I wanted two pieces.  Here's a sampling of mounted ready-to-hang photo panels in the 12x12 size.
Then I eyed this spot in my living room.


Clearly this interior decorating with the IKEA clock, framed Let It Bealbum and mini-framed prints by the late Keith Haring (expertly painted, mounted and hung by me) was a throw back to the days before kids. For the record (no pun intended), the only reason this Beatles album was on the wall was because both Doug and I owned versions of this vinyl album. Doug had the original Apple Records pressing and I had the re-mastered version on Capital Records (in the frame).

More importantly, vinyl records are about 12" square!  It was time to repurpose this frame.  Now, I couldn't find a 12x12 print, so I opted to purchase 12x18 prints and cut them by hand.  The only online photo printing site that I frequent that offered a 12x18 poster size was Snapfish for $9.99.

This frame was originally purchased from Christmas Tree Shops for under $10, but they no longer carry it. For the second frame, I found another inexpensive source at Target.com for $9.99, but when it arrived it was reduced to a box of glass shards. Beware of buying glass frames online! This frame was perpetually out of stock at my local store and I hunted for some time before finding it in another Target store.

Once the photo arrived, I laid the frame backing directly over the photo and marked the crop lines with a pencil.

Frame backing on print

The photo was affixed to the frame backing using Small Command Strips(I love that stuff!).

Photo mount Command Strips

Vinyl record frames are actually about 12.5" square, so there was some empty space around the top and bottom of the photo.  I filled the bottom edge with colored paper on one of the frames.

Photo border

Here's the finished frame. All for around $20!

Framed 12x12 photo

Now all my walls are clearly adorned with proud parenthood. Keith Haring stays though!

12x12 Framed Wall Art

Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me - Not Too Old to be Fab!

New glasses
Me and my new glasses, photographed by Adam
For once, we celebrated my birthday on time this year (except for this blog post), complete with skiing, a celebration dinner and watching Blue Man Group. If you're in the Boston area, you can get 1/2 price tickets from the awesome ArtsBoston.org.

 Although I was born in the Year of the Horse, I turned 47 this year, and will only reach my "dodecade" or "dozennial" (why isn't there a real word for every 12 years?) at the end of the Chinese calendar year next January. When I first heard it was the Year of the Horse, I was momentarily confused thinking that it couldn't be right since I was turning 47.  This also confused my mom, who sent me a Happy 48th Birthday card.  Oh well, at least I'm still "years" away from the big 5-0.  Did you celebrate Chinese New Year on Bejeweled Blitz? I did!

Bejeweled Blitz Year of the Horse

Every year, I become disheartened by the ridiculous age brackets on surveys.  I'm happy to check off 45-54, but not these recent surveys.  This one was from BlogHer.  46-64?  Just knocking on the door to senior citizenship??  Ouch!

Survey 46-54
This one was in the VIP membership form for JustFab.com.  46+??  I am lumped with senior citizens!!  Am I too old to be fab? Did you see my new fab glasses??!? Just for that insulting question, I refused to join.  I can buy shoes from any site, thank-you-very-much.

Survey 46+

No birthday is complete without cake, real and virtual. On the morning of my birthday, I made some homemade chocolate cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting.

Chocoate Raspberry Cupcake

Dova followed suit with a virtual version.

I also received this beautiful purple cake from Doug.  Oops, I ate a piece before photographing the cake!

Dova also followed suit with a virtual purple cake.

Thanks to my family for an awesome birthday!
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