Polka Dot Cottage | Making stuff and telling you all about it since 2005

TWiP: all is bright

Posted December 20th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

All is not necessarily calm this week before Christmas, but all is certainly bright!

To be honest, it actually does seem pretty calm around here right now, but my annual week-before-Christmas meltdown is bubbling just under the surface. I can feel it. It almost poked through last night as I sat at the clay table, making ornaments for my kids. I was eager to put the clay away, but I had to make the annual ornaments. I was very inspired for one of them, and not at all inspired for the other. And as I sat there working on what I perceived to be a completely sub-standard gift for my son, I started to get irritated.

I’m still not thrilled with one of the ornaments I made, but this is what I get for leaving it to the last minute. This is not the first time one of my kids has ended up with an ornament that leaves me unimpressed, and it’s probably not going to be the last.

Some years it is more about making sure there are no holes in their ornament collections than it is about making something absolutely wonderful.

So, as usual, I’ve left my least-favorite tasks for last: gift-wrapping and tree-assembly, to be exact. I am tempted to give everyone their gifts in grocery bags stapled shut. I saw that on some TV show which I forget now, but it instantly grabbed me. Aesthetically, it leaves a lot to be desired, but how great would it be not to spend half of a day hunched over the wrappings?

Yeah, that meltdown is definitely simmering. I may have to take myself out (alone!) for a frozen peppermint mocha concoction this weekend to help keep it at bay. That sounds like an excellent plan – kicking back with a delicious drink, people-watching, and letting the sounds, sights, and smells of the season engage my senses. *sigh*

That sounds so nice, I kind of want to go right now… :-)

I really do love Christmas, don’t get me wrong. It’s the 3 or 4 days before the festivities, when my tendency to procrastinate comes back to haunt me, that I could do without!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. December’s theme is “Merry,” wherein I will try to find something cheerful and festive even when I feel entirely too busy and/or crabby [which, incidentally, is exactly when it will do me the most good].)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: I sent out the last of the custom #crochet hook orders today! (These are a set of steel hooks.) #pdc #polymerclay

365: Merry 13/31 – I forgot to switch my camera settings, which resulted in an unintentional 25-second exposure. But then I kind of liked this "merry accident," so I didn’t bother to re-take it.

Sunday

365: Merry 14/31 – My festive lunch :-)

Monday

365: Merry 15/31 – I had a few moments to decorate the living room today. I especially like it when it starts to get dark outside, and Tacky Santa turns the whole room red.

Tuesday

365: Merry 16/31 – I decided I need Christmas dish cloths. Naturally.

Wednesday

Instagram: Hi there :-) #gasstationselfie

365: Merry 17/31 – It’s becoming more and more evident that I need a paper straw intervention.

Thursday

365: Merry 18/31 – Having fun with Tacky Santa and the shaped bokeh kit my brother gave me for Christmas last year. Playing with lights and stuff just never gets old for me…

Friday

365: Merry 19/31 – Sparkly Christmas ball tree :-)

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted December 19th, 2014 by

Hello there, and happy Friday! Let’s get right into the good stuff :-)

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites at Polka Dot Cottage

1. Untitled, 2. December 17- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus… (a decoration from my childhood), 3. Life According to Linus, 4. Sparkling, 5. Countdown, 6. nothing more I need, 7. December 18 2014, 8. 351/365, 9. Untitled, 10. Blue skies and the beautiful Ravenel bridge! #decemberreflections #day14 #stripes #chs, 11. IMG_9310_2, 12. 348/365, 13. Good Morning! Happy Tuesday folks! #fromwhereistand #themugchronicles #majorsworld #anaussieslife #morningslikethese #livefolk #liveauthentic #flowtinypleasures #igers_philly, 14. there they were, 15. Untitled, 16. A Favorite Ornament

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • Project 365 – tips for undertaking a year-long photo project from Meredith Winn of Shutter Sisters, via DPmag.com. Considering Project 365 in January? I’ll be embarking on my seventh(!) year-long photo project on New Year’s Day, so you know I can recommend the idea wholeheartedly. When I started my photographic skills were nothing to write home about, but the daily practice of picking up the camera has not only improved my skills tremendously, but has helped me see the beauty in my everyday life more clearly. Corny, but true!
  • Cable Stitch – a crochet tutorial from Look At What I Made. I know that you can do traditionally knit patterns in crochet, such as ribbing and cables, but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around how. Luckily there’s Look What I Made to demystify at least one of those things with a snazzy photo tutorial.
  • A-Line Skirts: 5 Tips for a Flattering Fit – a tutorial from The Zen of Making. I kind of wish I was more into skirt-wearing at this time of year. (Or any time, for that matter – I was a skirt-wearing nut for a few summers there, but lately I’d rather wear pants so I don’t have to sit in a ladylike fashion…) Anyway, for those of you who want to rock the skirt + tights + tall boots look this winter, check out these tips for making a skirt that is perfect for your body.
  • DIY Mini granny square crochet baskets – a project from Vika Moka, via This Little street. These are cute and they look like the’d be pretty quick to whip up. I could see having a few of these in the bedroom to keep those little odds and ends that are always scattered across my dresser.

Have a happy Friday!

I knit a hat.

Posted December 17th, 2014 by

04 hat 02 for upload

Well, hey there, you.

I’ve been working on several different knitting and crochet projects at once lately, which is so unlike me! I prefer to focus on one project at a time, power through it, and then move on to the next. But for some reason, I’ve been dabbling.

All of this lack-of-focus has made me lose track of what I have shown you and what I have not. I finished this slouchy hat a few weeks ago. I even took the glamour shots (such as they are – a lot of arms-length camera work in less-than-ideal lighting). But I never wrote about it.

04 hat 04 for upload

New slouchy hat for me.

So. This hat. I have a history of making myself hats that I never wear, and for some time, I’ve been perusing Ravelry in search of the perfect pattern. It had to have some slouch to it. It had to look nice on my head. And it would be nice if it also had some interesting stitch work, preferably cables.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I ended up choosing this super simple pattern with some ribbing at the brim and the rest in stockinette, because I had this amazing yarn I bought at Rhinebeck, and I figured a complicated stitch pattern would just get lost among the colors. This yarn really does all of the interesting work on this hat.

So, it was super simple, super fast, and oh! the alpaca yarn is super soft. I really love it.

I knit this sucker in just one day!

Just one problem… I really haven’t satisfied that itch to try an interesting stitch pattern. I predict another hat on my needles this winter! Probably something from Tin Can Knits. Those ladies know how to design really cool hats!

04 hat 06 for upload

The Details

Pattern: Sleep Season Slouch by Rose Bloom
Yarn: Morning Moon Alpacas Hand Dyed 100% Baby Alpaca in 13-A
Modifications: I omitted the pom-pom. For now.

TWiP: Festive!

Posted December 13th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

Ooh, this mosaic makes me feel so festive! I’m a little bit behind this year, in terms of decorating for Christmas, but I put Tacky Santa in the window last weekend, and have been playing with a string of holiday lights that have been keeping me entertained for days. I nearly forgot there was more decorating to be done!

Yesterday I decided to tackle the kitchen, but I was having trouble getting motivated to do it. I ended up setting up two cameras on tripods and photographing the kitchen from two angles at five-minute intervals so I could have a stop-motion video of my progress.

In the end, I didn’t think the video was really worth making, but the kitchen got cleaned and the Christmas linens got put out, so I think the effort was worthwhile! I’m considering the same trick in the living room some time this weekend. While Tacky Santa is giving his signature red glow to the room, that’s really the only festive thing in there (impressive as it is). I need to at least put out the Santa pillows.

I am feeling so darn festive!

I still don’t have my gift-giving very well-planned yet, but that’s nothing new. My strategy is a mixture of thinking WAY ahead (like, picking up the odd gift here and there in August or October, or spending all of November crocheting a gift) and doing a mad-dash of online shopping three days before Christmas. I am Last-Minute Lisa. Except in the few cases where I’m not.

It’s fun to be me :-)

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. December’s theme is “Merry,” wherein I will try to find something cheerful and festive even when I feel entirely too busy and/or crabby [which, incidentally, is exactly when it will do me the most good].)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: Merry 6/31 – I spent all afternoon purging a lot of junk from my bedroom (LONG overdue!), and then I kicked back and relaxed with a December slide show.

Sunday

365: Merry 7/31 – Liberated from his attic shackles, Tacky Santa surveys the as-yet-undecorated living room with disapproval.

Instagram: It’s getting harder and harder to crochet around where the purple squares should be. Hope my yarn order gets here soon :-)

Monday

365: Merry 8/31 – When I sat down to fill some more hook orders this morning, I decided I needed a little festivity at my work table. I plugged in my foil tabletop tree, and dumped a pile of white lights on the end of the table. Tacky Santa watched from the living room window.

Tuesday

365: Merry 9/31 – And in the "anything can be merry if it’s surrounded by enough little white lights" department, I present our afternoon snack.

Wednesday

Instagram: Hello, delicious breakfast treat :-)

Instagram: Wow. I can’t remember the last time I had a middle of the night idea that resulted in a morning trip to the clay aisle! #pdc

Instagram: So, this is what came of this morning’s clay shopping trip. It’s sparkly, and pretty much exactly what I had envisioned (which doesn’t happen every day)! #pdc #polymerclay #jewelry

365: Merry 10/31 – Not everyone is lucky enough to be greeted by a creepy vintage double-faced light-up Santa head when they come home at night…

Thursday

365: Merry 11/31 – I have kind of a thing for red at this time of year. Can you tell?

Friday

365: Merry 12/31 – I dumped them on a table top, I draped them around a snack tray, and now I’ve put them in a bowl. I think It’s safe to say I am never actually hanging up these lights.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted December 12th, 2014 by

Well hello there. Welcome to another Friday that completely snuck up on me! It’s been an odd week. My routines are all out-of-whack. I did manage to share a couple of links and find a few pretty pictures, though!

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites at Polka Dot Cottage

1. IMG_8939, 2. 343/365, 3. Day #11 Advent: Let’s make Christmas cards! (Yes, I am almost 40 & that is my handprint.) And thank you, Pinterest, for all the fun ideas! #christmascard #crafty #balloonadvent #kids #snowman, 4. 12.08.2014, 5. Walk in the Park, 6. Whats your favourite holiday flavour ?, 7. Pendentif_Fleuri, 8. Another Perch for Robin, 9. Three Wooden Soldiers for the Christmas Tree: Advent Day 1 and 333/365, 10. Afternoon Light On The Stove II With Flash (DYPHAS02, Day Twenty Four), 11. a few of my favorite things #Wednesday #still_life #vscocam, 12. Winters Dream

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • PVC-Pipe Tree – a project from Martha Stewart. Last week I shared a couple of flat tree projects that were interesting. Here’s another alternate Christmas tree that’s really cool. I like it white like this, but you could probably paint it to be more tree-like (green and brown).
  • Food Photography Lighting – tips from Click it Up a Notch. This is great now that the days are getting shorter and great light is not streaming in the windows quite as often. These tips are not helpful just for food, but for anything you want to photograph that’s relatively flat like a plate: jewelry, knits in progress, etc.

Happy Friday!

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