Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Smallest of Blessings

The last few days have involved me dreading this holiday- this Thanksgiving. 

For starters, I've been knocked down with a cold and have been feeling miserable for days. It's not chilly outside, so it doesn't feel like it's supposed to be Thanksgiving. But, most of all, November 28 marks the one year anniversary since my Grandpa passed away. 

Celebrating without him today hurts. I miss him dearly. 

However, I've learned that there are so many blessings I experience and encounter every single day. Blessings to be thankful for this holiday season.

I'm thankful that I've been able to find a new passion in Jamberry Nails and share that passion with my family. The other day, my cousin and I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas while applying our nail shields-- the perfect *together* activity for us. 

I'm thankful I have co-workers that tried to make the last few work days a lot less miserable for me by providing me with a new appreciation for hot tea and cough drops. 

I'm thankful I've been able to make friends in all of my pursuits these last few months. A huge, special thank you to my Ravelry, Jamberry, and church friends :) 

I'm thankful to know that families are together forever, and someday, I'll be seeing my Grandpa again. I'm thankful to know he is feeling infinitely better now than he did his last few years on this earth. 

Things are crazy, hectic, and a roller coaster. But I've come to understand the significance of the saying "Find joy in the journey.

In a world full of negativity, it's easy to get bogged down. But recognizing and remembering the smallest of blessings can make a huge impact on our perspective. And, for that, I am thankful. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jamberry Nails!

Today, I'm going to tell you about how I came to find my newest obsession. 

I do a lot every day. Work, school, craft. Most of the stuff I do involves me staring at my hands; whether it be counting money (I'm a teller), typing, or crocheting, I'm looking at my fingernails.

So I decided a few months ago that I would make my nails at least somewhat pretty to look at. I got a gel manicure. $35 for something that lasts up to 3 weeks if you're lucky. The first one was pretty cute. The second one was okay. The third time, it was atrocious. I ended up chipping off the gel-acrylic stuff within a week... Total money down the drain. 

Thus, I decided I'd just go back to painting my nails. Maybe putting glitter nail polish on would keep it longer, since it's such a pain to remove. This was wrong; it still chipped within two days! 

Then one day, a miracle happened! I found Jamberry Nails. And I am HOOKED! There are so many cute designs, application is easy-peasy, and the price cannot be beat. 

They don't chip off when I'm crocheting. I don't have to wait two hours to use my hands for them to dry (nail polish takes forever to become not-tacky). And I get to have cute designs!

My current Jamicure!

This new obsession led me to become a consultant! If you pay an arm and a leg for manicures and want to try something new, definitely check out Jamberry! You can find my shop, here:

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oh... hello?

I haven't posted in a few weeks. We have some catching up to do! 

Since my last blog post, I... a job. Part-time teller. I'm really enjoying it, although it does keep me busy. Getting a job means getting a paycheck... which means I have money to spend!!

I've become addicted to Vera Bradley.

This particular bag is the Campus Tote in 'Ribbons'. I am in love with this purse! Next on the shopping list is Laura in Heather and a wallet. 

I've also become obsessed with hand-dyed yarn. So far, I've indulged in Candy Skein and Gnome Acres

This one is Candy Skein, Yummy Fingering, in the June monthly colourway 'Bubblegum Ice Cream'. I can't believe I only bought one of these skeins! 

And, yes, it is the Hitchhiker pattern. 

In a change of pace, I ordered worsted-weight yarn from Gnome Acres. This particular one is 'No Place Like Gnome'. I'm participating in the Gnome-a-long being hosted on Ravelry. 

I've also finished my Multnomah shawl since we've last talked!

It spent the day blocking while I was at work. I could not be happier with the results! One of my favourite things about crocheting/knitting is watching the item progress. Scrolling through my Ravelry project page for this shawl shows how it grew, and I think that's really interesting. I'm proud of myself for finishing my first knitted shawl!

Thank you for reading this long update! :) I'm hoping to blog more in the coming weeks... just need to find a consistent schedule! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Knitting Plans and Progress

It's Work-in-Progress Wednesday! I have a few amigurumi that have been in-progress for a few weeks months...

However, that's not what I want to talk about today! Knitting has taken a new lead in my life! I've wanted to learn to knit for quite some time-- I knew how to do knit stitch, purl stitch, increase, decrease, and all the other basics taught in the Craftsy Knit-Lab course. Actually finishing a knit project is a different story. But then I discovered a shawl pattern that was calling my name over, and over, and over! 

I've started a Multnomah shawl! 

Quite a bit of progress has been made since this picture was taken, but it's 12:34 in the morning... so this one will suffice! The yarn is Knit Picks' Stroll Tonal in 'Deep Waters'. So far, I'm really liking this pattern, yarn, and needles. 

In fact, knitting shawls might just be a new obsession. I've decided that my next shawl will probably be another Multnomah, but will be with Candy Skein yarn. Since FreshStitches posted her Lime Love shawl, Candy Skeins' bright coloured yarn has entranced me! Now that I can actually justify buying skeins for shawls-- I'm eager to finally purchase! I've set certain parameters before I can buy a skein, though:
1. My second paycheck (I start work on Monday). 
2. I finish this shawl. 
3. Tami has a random flash sale. 

Whichever of those comes first, I'm buying a skein (or, you know, two or four).

For more Work-in-Progress Wednesday posts visit Tami (yes, the same one mentioned above)'s blog! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Graduation Gifts

I haven't written a blog post in a while. Specifically, I haven't written a finished objects Friday post. So here we go!

This has been a week of graduations. Elementary schools are finishing up their end-of-the-year parties, high school seniors are graduating, and college kids like me have been done for a while. All of my cousins are relatively close in age, which means I have a high school graduation to attend on both sides.

Originally, I wasn't going to make them anything-- we're not particularly close... But I decided they needed something special! 

First to graduate was Cousin 1. He's leaving on his mission in the next few months, and I wanted to make something special for him that kind of signified that. (Plus, I had to finish a pattern test... two birds, one stone!)

The pattern is an upcoming design from Monster's Toybox. I'm not sure of an official release yet, but definitely keep an eye out! 

The second cousin is an incredibly talented singer and I wanted to give him something that signified his gift. Thus, I gave him the Gift of Music (get the pun? do 'ya??)

There were no non-applique patterns on Ravelry so I made the design up as I went. I'm considering typing up the pattern and listing it for free to anyone who wants to make it. The same pattern could also make the Pi symbol... or, individually, they resemble golf clubs. Diverse pattern! 

That's what I've been up to this week!

For more finished objects, check out Tami's blog: 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Freedom and Fibers!

Hooray! Schooool's out for the summer! :) (You sang that, right?) 

To celebrate the beginning of my last school break, I took an adventure to a yarn store I've wanted to go to for months! Now that I've gone, I wonder what took me so long. Tempe Yarn & Fiber is amazing! They had tons of samples, including amigurumi ones:

They were both knitted and felted, but so cute! If I could have taken that hedgehog home, I would have. It's a lot more adorable in person (he doesn't photograph well). 

The yarn selection was also spectacular. They had a wide range of fun, vibrant yarns in a variety of contents: cotton, wool, acrylic, etc. Probably the most exciting find was a basket of yarn made from sheep wool in Arizona (my state). The tags say the the name of the sheep the wool was taken from. 

Needless to say, I bought a skein! One of the ones on the far right with texture. The wool was taken from a sheep named King. Awesome, right?!

That yarn will become, what better, a sheep! I'll use Monster's Toybox upcoming sheep pattern. A sheep made out of wool directly from a sheep!

These are my other finds. Bright green skein is Manos del Uruguay 100% Extrafine Merino Wool. The bottom skein was on clearance! It's Natural Fiber Mill by Lonesome Stone in the BFF Color Line; 100% wool merino. These will most likely become monsters. 

I highly recommend checking out Tempe Yarn if you're in Arizona! The workers and shoppers are incredibly friendly, the yarn selection is wonderful, and it's a great atmosphere. Definitely my new favourite Local Yarn Shop!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Legos, Legos everywhere!

It's Work-in-Progress Wednesday, and you want to know what I'm working on?

Team projects.

I'm working on team projects. 

See that picture? Those are Legos. I spent three hours last night looking for one specific piece I needed to complete the piles for the team project.

The phrase should really be changed from "finding a needle in a haystack" to "finding that one specific Lego in an 18-gallon tub"! 

And this picture was taken AFTER I had done a lot of sorting, so that isn't even all the Legos. 

Still haven't found that piece yet. That's what makes it a WIP, right?

I also have a few crochet projects going on. Last night at Joann's, I found a skein of one of Red Heart's newest Super Saver colourways: Blacklight. I had to pick it up, and it's going to become a giant monster! 

However, there's also a new bag I'm working on. It needs to be lined with fabric and have handles attached. 

It should be a cute summer bag, though, once completed! 

What are you working on this week? 

Check out Tami's blog for more WIP Wednesday posts!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"A" Monsters

The last few days have been a marathon of crocheting! I find that when there's a pattern I really like, I keep making that one item until I'm tired of it. Not always true, but it happens often!

Most recently, that pattern is Roosevelt the Monster

As part of the 3rd installment of the Kit Club, I was able to make these two cuties: 

The yarn is "Shepherd's Wool Crazy" and it's pretty awesome! The yellow is brilliant, and the brown is a good compliment, especially on the monster on the right. There's enough of the skein leftover to make a few mini-monsters which I think I'll turn into keychains... Hmm...

However, I decided I wanted to make a bright-coloured, normal-sized Roosevelt in dedication of Ainsley. Ainsley is a four-year-old very close to my heart who has been recently diagnosed with leukemia. To read more about Ainsley's story, please visit their blog:

I'm a big fan of these cutie little monsters! They're a quick project, but oh so much fun!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blue Ribbon!

After my not-so-great experience at the State Fair last year, I was hesitant to sign up for any more competitions. However, I decided the County Fair should be given a fair chance.

It turns out, I had a much better experience overall! The staff was much nicer this time around, and they treated items respectfully instead of squishing them into deformed blobs. 

As expected, the County Fair is much smaller than the State Fair. Thus, it was a much more pleasant environment. 

This is how I fared at the fair: 

Two Blue Ribbons (First Prize!) and two Red Ribbons (Second!). 

There were some incredible entries across all of the crafts-- quilts, embroidery, pottery. 

This experience was much better-- my amigurumi look like amigurumi still, they're displayed much nicer, and the staff was much friendlier. 

I'm still debating whether or not I'll do the State Fair again. We shall see! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I was hit with a fact over the weekend-- the absolute best place for amigurumi inspiration is the zoo!!

Seeing animals in-person made me want to make their crocheted counterparts as soon as possible!

Here are some pictures from my trip to the Phoenix Zoo:

Baby Komodo Dragon
There were plenty more animals, but these are in my favourites. The baby Komodo Dragon was just born recently, and will grow to be something like 8 - 10 feet in length! 

It was good times, and fun animals. :) Now to make them crocheted...!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Scrap-a-long Scrapbook

I mentioned in an earlier post that Stacey Trock (FreshStitches) is hosting a Scrap-a-long. Scrap projects are not really something I lean towards, but in the spirit of really wanting to participate, I grabbed my scraps and got ready!

So far, I've finished 2/3 projects I intend to make and I've realized a beautiful fact. These scrap pieces are not just some random pieces of yarn; they are remnants of previous projects.

It's pretty common for projects I make to leave my possession. They're often gifted, donated, sold, etc. etc. Thus, all I usually have to remember them are the pictures on my Ravelry project page. 

However, making these scrap projects was like looking through a scrapbook! I remembered using this yarn to make a scarf, or that yarn to make a teddy bear. It was so much fun seeing it all put together! Now, these stuffed animals will be carried with me as reminders of those projects. 

I added words onto the pictures of my finished projects to show where those pieces of yarn came from-- and these are only the ones I remembered off the top of my head!

I can say with confidence that scrap projects are going to be an annual thing for me, or however often as needed to maintain a decent "scrap pile". I love these projects, and I love how fun they look!

Thank you, Stacey, for hosting such a fun idea for a crochet-along. 

And if anyone wants a scrapbook idea for their crochet projects-- make a stuffed animal with them! Trust me, it's a lot more fun than attempting to glue yarn to paper :) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Scrap Yarn

FreshStitches is having another CAL, and I plan on participating fully this time. This time around, it's called a Scrap-a-long, where we'll be using scrap yarn to create finished amigurumi. 

Using a technique called the Russian Join allows for one to make a "Magic Ball" of yarn scraps with no knots/frays. 

Well, I had quite a bit of scrap yarn, so I thought I'd go at this full-speed ahead. 

The blues and greys on the left hand side are where I started, and I used the Russian Join for that first Magic Ball. 

My reaction? 

Seriously, it took me way too long trying to get the Russian Join to work. Thus, the two skeins I wound using scraps have little bits of knots where the connection is.

The Russian Join is a great technique, and I'm glad I know how to do it; it's handy to have in your Yarn Related Toolbelt. However, for amigurumi, I can easily make sure the knots are on the inside of the fabric. So to take the time to make the joins just wasn't working for me. Plus, the overlay of the yarn where the join happens for a Russian Join is just too thick for my liking-- I thought it'd get complicated and add weird bulkiness to certain spots of the stuffed animal. 

However, I ended up with three scrap-filled magic balls to be turned into finished amigurumi.

Stay tuned to find out what exactly these magical skeins will turn into! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Passing Down of Yarn

It's been an interesting weekend thus far. An impromptu family gathering led to a sleepover at my Grandma's house. While the night consisted of a variety of discussions, meals, and good times (as per usual with trips to Grandma's), there's something in particular I want to record here.

My grandmother passed down her yarn to me. Not all of it, of course, but all of her Worsted Weight acrylic yarn. 

This includes all kinds of yarn. Red Heart Fiesta and Super Saver; Bernat; Caron Simply Soft, plus many, many others I haven't even heard of! There are vintage skeins, as well as new ones. Colourways that I've wanted to try for months, and ones I didn't even know existed. Seeing it all handed to me (I mean literally handed to me, skein by skein, as I put them into a pile) was really something special. 

It's a big deal to me. 

When I first started crocheting, my Mema gave me some of her crochet hooks. And now I've inherited yarn from my Grandma. 

People who crochet and knit pass down heirloom items, but it never hit me before how the legacy of crocheters and knitters can pass through a family as well. After we had finished going through her yarn, she looked at this pile and said "It's time this yarn be passed to a new generation"

Yeah, it's a big deal. 

Now I find a place for all of this yarn... 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cloudy Skies

It was cloudy the other day and it was beautiful. There was even some rain! 

Cloudy days always get a rep for being depressing in books, but I find I'm happiest when there are clouds-- maybe it's because they're rare in Arizona? Just maybe... 

But when there are clouds, there's also inspiration to snuggle in a blanket and crochet! Studying has trumped crocheting recently, but here's a recent project: 

It's a crocheting crocheted-hedgehog! The pattern is another by FreshStitches and comes highly recommended if you are learning the loop stitch. Click on the picture for more pictures of Hedgehog (real name pending).

Hedgehog may be an entry into the County Fair in the "Crochet: Toy" category. I wanted to make an owl to enter, but I just don't have the time, to be honest. Think Hedgehog would have a good shot in a fair? He thinks he's Ribbon Material! 
(Also, yeah, I know I said I wouldn't enter amigurumi again... but I love making amigurumi!)

Other entries into the County Fair will also include a crochet Reindeer, lovey, and Christmas stocking. I have a lot of loveys currently made, so I will be entering one already completed... the only question is, which one? 

I'm hoping there is enough time during Spring Break to crochet more. My to-crochet list is starting to get way too long! Hopefully there will be Work-in-Progress pictures to show this upcoming week. Official "Relax Time" starts Friday morning!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Part of having a blog is letting people get to know you, right? Even if it's just one side of you (such as crafts or fitness or any-other-blog-theme).

So do you want to know something about me, that relates to my crocheting? 

According to an unofficial test I took in a business course: I'm an Idealist. Out of the four temperaments, I am most definitely an idealist (the other ones being Guardian, Artisian, and Rational). 

I thought about the characteristics of these temperaments and how they apply to my crafting/crocheting. Here are some examples I came up with: 

1. Idealists look for meaning in absolutely everything. If I make a gift for someone, everything about it has some sort of subtle (and probably ridiculously out-there) meaning. For example, the colour will most definitely be significant, as well as the facial expression of an amigurumi. Below is an example. I made this cow for my aunt: Cows are her favourite animal, purple is her favourite colour, and the sideways smile is to increase the expression. Meaning = seeped through this entire project and on purpose! Sometimes, it's not as subtle. Such as when I used red-shimmery yarn in a Unicorn project because my grandmother wears shimmery red nail polish.

2. Idealists may not have realistic time estimates/requirements. This is especially true! I've taken a major project (which will be elaborated on throughout the year) that requires about 75 big amigurumi by December. December seems so far away, but I better get started on it now. I have 3 done for the event, which leaves about 40 weeks to make 72 more. 

3. Idealists tend to be optimistic and encouraging. I'm not sure what this says about my crafting style, but the thought makes me smile-- I use bright colours. Maybe that makes me optimistic in crafts! 

Our personality and temperament plays a big role in our crafting style; sometimes they determine how many projects we take on at one time, whether we stash supplies or only buy as we go, and what we make in general. I'm sure there are tests online to determine your own temperament, if interested! :) 

Also, the Triceratops Lovey is now ready to download on Ravelry. Check it out!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I'm baaack! and there's lots of catching up to do!

On November 28, my grandfather passed away. I (metaphorically) lost my voice after that and didn't have any interest in blogging. 

However, quite a few weeks later, I'm pretty sure I'm ready to restart this blog! A new name and a new purpose-- HollieJolly Designs suits me better than ATadPlaid :) 

Now, to catch up from where I left off! There has been lots of crocheting since then, but there are only a few things I want to highlight:

First, 2013 has basically been the Year of the Horse for me. I've made quite a few horse things!

The top-left and bottom-right are by FreshStitches, while the loveys are pattern from Bowtykes. Both designers are highly recommended!

I was also lucky enough to test MonstersToybox's first pattern (to be released in a few weeks):

And speaking of first patterns, I'm releasing my own first pattern on February 16! I'll be releasing the Triceratops Lovey pattern on Ravelry, so keep a lookout for when that goes live!

I'm glad to be back in the blog-o-sphere and to share more events and projects of 2013 with you!