Saturday, 31 December 2011

231 - New New Year's Resolutions.

When I started this blog back in February 2011, it was mainly due to seeing a lot of people doing New Year's resolutions and I wanted to get involved. It took me to February to really get my butt in gear and do it, and I decided the best way to ensure my butt stayed in the right gear was to start a blog to keep track of it all.

Well I think it's worked, and as the last day of 2011 is upon us I thought I should share my New Year's Resolutions for 2012 with you (you can see the final update of 2011's list tomorrow).

Last year I had 30 resolutions which covered things I really wanted to do and things I thought might be quite nice. This year I've decided to focus on 20 and really pick the things I really want to do. Some of my 30 didn't even get started last year, so what's the point in creating a huge list.

So here are my 2012 New Year's Resolutions (you'll also be able to find them in the sidebar tab tomorrow when I replace last year's list).

  1. Read 50 books.
  2. Watch 50 movies I haven't seen.
  3. Make 25 Christmas items for 2012. 
  4. Make 10 craft kits. 
  5. Finish my Batman tableware set.
  6. Draw/paint 10 things. 
  7. Make 10 perler bead creations. 
  8. Make 10 mood boards.
  9. Make 5 cross stitch creations. 
  10. Make 5 embroidery projects. 
  11. Make 5 knitting projects. 
  12. Make 5 crochet projects. 
  13. Make 5 sewing projects. 
  14. Make 5 pieces of jewellery.
  15. Make a quilt.
  16. Finish decorating my dolls house. 
  17. Try 3 new crafts I've never done before. 
  18. Get my gamer score to 15,000. 
  19. Play in a public roller derby bout.
  20. Bake at least once a month. 
Some items from last years list have made it back on, either because I didn't manage them but thought I should have been able to (like reading 50 books) or I had so much fun doing them and found them very rewarding (like making many craft kits to get my skills up).

I was going to have another "keep up my blog" resolution on here, but I don't think I need it now, as it's just become habit. I head it in my head/said somewhere I wanted to blog at least 10 times a month, and I've managed to do that since I started Skates and Stitches so I'm happy. 

I aiming to have everything on this list ticked off by this time next year! Wish me luck!

      Friday, 30 December 2011

      230 - The highs and lows of 2011

      As with starting anything new, you're never going to get good at something straight away! And considering how many new crafts I decided to start over the past year, there were always going to be a lot of lows. However, as the year as progressed there have been a lot of highs too, and a lot of things turned a lot better than I could have hoped for. So here are my favourite (and not so favourite) crafts of 2011.


      My scarf.
      Garter stitch scarf

      While the first thing most people knit is probably a scarf, you have no idea how proud I am of this bad boy. I've tried to learn to knit so many times before, and for me to make this (with no mistakes) made me very happy!

      Trying quilling.
      Paper quilling Christmas card

      I love this card, I just think it looks so cute and it was so easy to make. I will defiantly be quilling more in the future.

      My Stephen King embroidery.
      Stephen King's IT for Feeling Stitchy's Covered in Stitches Contest

      This was one of the biggest pieces of embroidery I did this year and I made the pattern myself. I'm very proud of how it turned out, and I hope I can come up with more patterns next year.

      My Aunt and Uncle's anniversary sampler.
      Anniversary sampler for my Aunt

      I love this and it turned out so much better than I thought it ever would. When I was over on Christmas day I saw they had it out on the fireplace and it made me very happy.


      My tissue holder.
      Tissue holder

      This was one of the first things I sewed and it was a gift for Donald. I didn't have pinking shears at the time and thought my paper edging scissors would work (which they didn't) so I had to cut it all random and didn't like it very much. It's still cute, but not as perfect as I wanted it to be. I'll need to try and make another one some time!

      My cross stitch kitty!
      Kitty cross-stitch

      While I feel I'm quite skilled in cross stitch now, this kitty was a bit of a disaster. I think it took me a good few attempts before I even knew how to split the thread correctly, I ran out of a lot of colours because of this, and I did the back stitch before the cross stitches. Oh lord!

      My first attempt at fractional stitches and French knots!
      Thank you card

      After doing a couple of cross stitch kits I was convinced I could handle anything, however I didn't bank on fractional stitches. As you can see from the bottom of my lovely Russian doll it all went a bit wrong. She was also supposed to have French knots for eyes, not just a single stitch. Oops!

      The apron!
      Feeling Stitchy April Stitch-along apron

      While I was happy with the embroidery on this apron, it was the whole making it into an apron that made it go downhill! I sewed the body part on squint and the neck loop was too long so it sits quite far down your chest. I also decided it would be a good idea to back the apron in red fabric and then sew it together (using no-sew Heat N Bond) which made the whole thing very stiff and made my sewing machine not very happy. I had sewed a couple of small things using the no-sew Heat n Bond but didn't see how hard it was to sew/how hard it made the whole item until I did it on this large a scale. Never again!

      The Christmas houses!
      Christmas house decorations

      I can't follow a pattern for sewing. Fact.

      Whether my items turned out how I wanted them or not, I'm still proud of how far I've come, and the mistakes have just made me learn and hopefully become a better crafter because of it!

      Thursday, 29 December 2011

      229 - Top 5 tools of 2011

      While this may sound like a post where I'm going to start insulting people, it's really not. It's all about craft tools, and the best ones I've come across this year!

      I didn't do a lot of craft before 2011, and that I did, I didn't do very well. I tending to not read things properly, not follow proper instructions and that's probably why I got frustrated very easily and just tended to give up on things. This year however, I changed my mindset and decided I was going to do things the right way and really get into the crafts I had chosen. So here are my favourite crafting tools I've come across, and that have made my jump into the craft world a hell of a lot easier!

      1. Knitting row counter. 

      Image via
      Now I haven't done too much knitting this year, but even the little bit I've done has made this little guy quite invaluable. I'm rubbish at counting in my head (as proven by the fact I can never count my own 25 in 5 laps at derby) and this makes it so much easier.

      2. Pinking shears.

      Image via
      I refused to buy these for a while because I thought they were so expensive and (stupidly) thought that my paper cutting edging scissors would do the same job. However, one day I found a pair in Ikea for around £7 and I've never looked back. They are fab for edging anything you've stitched and automatically making it look better!

      3. Thread Heaven.

      Image via
      Now I have to say, I don't use Thread Heaven all the time, because I just like to get on with things. But any time I've used metallic thread, this has stopped me from going completely insane!

      4. Heat n Bond.

      Image via

      Now I don't have the best relationship with Heat n Bond (which is entirely my fault because I 1) Bought the no sew stuff and still try to sew through it all the time and 2) melted it into my old flat's carpet on quite a bad level) but it has still proved very useful. It's great for doing applique if you don't want to/don't have the skill to sew it on yourself. I think I'll be buying myself some of the "can-sew" stuff next time I'm in Hobbycraft and then all will be dandy!

      5. Fabric cutter.

      Image via
      I've had my rotary cutter for a while now but only used it once, and I have to say, it made cutting fabric a lot less stressful! Usually I go squint at some point, but this was far easier!

      Tuesday, 27 December 2011

      228 - Pressies!

      So Christmas is over! And I thought it was only right I show you some of my pressies! I thought I would show you my crafty type ones. I was a very lucky girl this Christmas, and I got so many lovely things.

      Christmas pressies
      Hello Kitty highlighters and notebook and apple shaped note paper

      Christmas pressies
      Needle felting kit and purse and pencil case kit

      Christmas pressies
      Cross stitch kit and latch hook kit

      Christmas pressies
      Cake pin cushion sewing kit

      Christmas pressies
      New organiser and purse

      Christmas pressies
      Arm chair organiser

      Christmas pressies
      Craft books!

      Christmas pressies
      Pie dish set

      Christmas pressies
      Cake server and cake tins

      Merry Christmas!

      Sunday, 25 December 2011

      226 - MERRY CHRISTMAS!

      Merry Christmas Skates and Stitches' readers! Hope you have a good one!

      Image via 

      Saturday, 24 December 2011

      225 - Slugette is mine.

      So a few days ago my mum presented me with my lovely draught excluder dog just like her's. I am very happy as she us so cute, and I have named her Slugette, as I call my mum's dog Slug Dog. Check her out, she is now helping keep my flat a little warmer!

      Knitting dog made by my mum

      Knitting dog made by my mum

      Knitting dog made by my mum

      Friday, 23 December 2011

      224 - Work Xmas

      So today is my last day of work before Christmas. Woo hoo! Which is also means it's Christmas Eve tomorrow. I am beyond excited. While it's work and obviously it's nice to have time off, my work is a pretty cool place to work at Christmas.

      On Monday this week we had a Christmas jumper competition. While I don't have a Christmas jumper, I do have a nice knitted dress, so I wore that for the occasion.

      Image via 
      While I didn't win, it was still fun, and I did get some mulled win out of it. Boost.

      And then on Tuesday we did secret Santa, which was fun times. I hope the person I got liked the present I got them because I definitely liked my lovely present. I got this yummy hat and scarf set. So cosy!


      I'm one of the people who isn't off at all at Christmas, so hopefully the week between Christmas and New Year will also be quite pleasant. So, not a crafty post, but you did get two photos of me in sexy knit-wear!

      Thursday, 22 December 2011

      223 - Light crafting

      So I've been picking up my knitting needles again and trying the purl stitch. I've found it very hard to master for some reason (even though my mum said she finds it easier). I spent hours with my mum one night trying to knit a small stocking stitch swatch, which I frequently added a few stitches too when I got the purling row. My mum had to do a lot of fixing for me, but I ended up with this.


      I'm not totally happy with it, because a lot of it is a bit weird, but hey it's a lot further than I've ever got before. I'll need to keep practising my purl stitch so I can make this lovely knitted hair bow I saw in a knitting magazine.

      Also, exciting times, I sent photos of my Psycho cross stitch picture and my Mystery Science Theatre 3000 cross stitch card to the owner of iotacons and he posted about them yesterday! I'm so happy! Check out the post here! I feel quite famous.

      Monday, 19 December 2011

      222 - Christmas craft round up.

      So way back in September (post 170), I wrote a list of everything I wanted to do for Christmas. I thought I would go through it all and see how it went.

      • 8 Xmas cards = done.
      Mystery Science Theatre Christmas card

      Paper quilling Christmas card

      Paper quilling Christmas card

      Christmas card

      Christmas card

      Christmas card

      Christmas card

      Christmas card

      • A wreath = done.
      My Christmas wreath
      • Christmas ornament for my mum = done.

        Rose tree decoration 2011

      • Cake skirt I'm getting free in Cross Stitcher next month = not done. Sniff. Stupid free kit! This will get made for next year though.

      • Christmas cake (nice Delia Smith one, and a chocolate one too because Donald doesn't like fruit cake)  = done, but not the best. Sad face.

    1. And, as many Christmas decorations as I can make between now and when our tree goes up. There are so many I want to make, so I'm just going to try and make a lot of them = done. 12 in total!

    2. Christmas decorations

      Christmas decorations

      Tree decoration

      Home-made tree decoration

      Tree decoration

      Christmas tree decoration

      Christmas house decorations

      So things went wrong, but overall most things got made. I now have a better idea of how much time things take, so hopefully next year's crafting will be much better. Fingers crossed!