Monday, November 3, 2014

When there's no time to craft

Back in August, I told you about my boys asking me to knit them up some Harry Potter robes. Shortly after starting, my first grader decided he wanted to wear his robe as his Halloween costume, which seemed pretty awesome and a way to get a huge head start.  So I took my sweet time the first month, knitting a few rows here and there, thinking I've got this, no big deal, there's still like two months to go before Halloween.  Then work suddenly became insanely busy and for a few weeks, all I did was wake up, go to work, come home and make dinner, work, go to sleep, repeat.

During those weeks, two things happened.  1.  My first grader asked me every day if I had finished his HP robe yet.  Every day I said no, but I promised him that it would be finished in time for Halloween.  I rarely promise anything to the kids, because I never want to break my promise to them.  But I was pretty confident in my ability to finish this robe, and he REALLY loved that scarf that I made him last year, so I knew he'd be so happy with his mom-made costume.  And 2.  Those few weeks of zero creativity were excruciatingly long and depressing.

I don't know about you, but if I don't have a chance to make something, anything, on a given day, I get ridiculously antsy.  That's probably why I love knitting the most- you can turn mindless relaxation time (which we all need, right?) into productive time.  Watch some tv, end up with a sweater.  

Once those few crazy weeks ended, I kicked my knitting into overdrive, because omg, that was a LOT of stockinette to tackle with only a few more weeks until Halloween.  Every spare minute after the guys went to sleep was spent working on the robe.  I started taking my knitting bag with me everywhere, getting a few rows in during lunch, or on the ferry.  

One week out from Halloween, and I was in a panic.  I had the entire back finished and half of the front right section, which meant I was still missing both sleeves,one and a half front pieces the hood, plus everything had to be sewn together.  But I couldn't break my promise- I was finishing this robe on time if it killed me.

For the rest of the week, after we came home and ate dinner, I worked on the costume until I fell asleep.  Then suddenly Halloween was the next day and I was still missing a whole sleeve and hood (which I made the last minute decision to forgo, since it wasn't a critical piece).  I stayed up all night making the sleeve and finally sewing everything together around 3:30 am.  The costume was finished at 6:15 am, and have never felt so proud of any project I have ever made. 

It may not have been the most complicated project, or had the most intricate patterning, but I was able to keep my promise to my little guy :) He was so happy and proud to wear his robe to school for their Halloween parade. 

Pattern:  Wizard Robe from Charmed Knits
Gryffindor Tie:  Harry Potter Tie
Wand:  Our own chopstick ;)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sneak peek: new printable gift tags

Here's a peek at a couple of the new handmade gift tags I'm working on.  There are also a few more that aren't shown here.

cobberson handmade gift tags

What do you think of the new shapes?  I thought it might be fun to mix things up a little, instead of just doing the regular rectangular labels again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dipping a toe into art journaling

So let's talk about why I've been MIA for the past few weeks:  my boys started preschool and first grade :)  I'm learning how to navigate the world of public school, PTA, and everything else that goes along with having a first grader. Including losing an hour of sleep due to an earlier start time.  *yawn*

However, I can't get enough of just hanging with the boys and just watching their little personalities develop and the whole brother dynamic!  My preschooler is so adorably proud of being a big boy and my first grader is reading and gaining so much self confidence.  It's an amazing thing - something I want to remember beyond just the photos on my phone- and so I'm trying my hand at art journaling this school year.

Art journaling is something I've always been interested in from afar, more so than scrapbooking, which seemed like it takes a lot of pre-planning. Which is fine, except I know I am one of those people who will get so hung up on the layout, that a finished page will never, ever happen. Since I've never done any kind of art journaling (even a sketchbook felt weird to me, and I was an art major! I always wanted any sketch I started to be completely worked into a finished piece.), I decided to seek out a little help.

I found a free two week e-course, Art Journaling 101, on Kristal Norton's blog.  Each day, Kristal emails you a short lesson which consists of a YouTube video on beginner subjects, such as choosing materials, how to get over staring at the blank page, etc.  She's so good at making you feel comfortable, and takes the self-imposed pressure off of you to always make this perfect beautiful page.  Not every page has to be perfect - the point is just to go with it.  That seemed like a philosophy I could get behind.

So I decided to start an art journal for this school year, to help me remember all the little milestones and funny things the guys say.  It felt natural to write the entries as little letters to the boys, so that's what I'm doing.  I'm not even attempting to add backgrounds and build up the page/ background yet; instead, I'm just going for memories and I figure once I get in a routine, the creative part will start to flow.

I'm starting out with the most basic of supplies, until I figure out where I want this thing to go artistically:

Cobberson basic art journal supplies

In case you're wondering*:

-4 Pack Big Bee Pads 12X9
-Pentalic Watercolor Pencil Set
-Staedtler Art Erasers, 1 Kneadable and 1 Art Gum
-Pigma Micron 05 Ink Pen, 0.45-mm, Black

I started with the first day of school and did a two page spread.  The first page is going to basically just be all photos, which I haven't printed out yet, so there wasn't really a point to showing that here :) The second page is describing my favorite moment from the first day.  My first grader was visibly nervous waiting to go into school, and his best friend took his hand and said,"don't worry, I'm with you."  He looked so relieved when she said this, and they walked into school together, holding hands until they were out of sight.  It was such a special moment.

cobberson art journal first entry

So my plan now, besides printing all those first day pictures and gluing them in (hurry up already!), is to just stick a post it to the outside of the book where I can note any interesting events and pick my favorites to journal at the end of the week.  That seems to be as low pressure a journal as I can possibly come up with, so hopefully I will stick with it.  

Have you ever kept an art journal?  What did you think of the process- enjoyable creative outlet, or did it turn out with wasn't really your thing?

*Disclosure- Cobberson & Co. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  You are not charged a higher price for items you purchase using my link.  I did not receive these items for free in exchange for linking to them.  All opinions on these products are my own.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blog Love: When at Home

This month, I'm sponsoring one of my new favorite blogs, When at Home.  Kristen blogs about life in the most refreshingly honest way - she talks about kids, marriage, money, and whatever else she's got going on.  Her writing is raw, and never holds back the details most of us just kind of pretend don't happen (even though we all know they do).  Kristen definitely has strong opinions, but she's never preachy, and after Skyping with her last weekend, I can tell you she's just the nicest person.

So please visit When at Home and send some reader love her way - I think you'll enjoy :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How soon is too soon to start holiday crafting?

As you know, I'm one of the round-up editors for CraftGossip.  I try to keep the posts seasonally appropriate (such as feature back to school crafts a few weeks before most kids start school), but this week, I think I pulled the trigger too fast on Halloween craft time!  Maybe it's because I started to see Halloween stuff in Michael's weeks ago, or that the date for the pumpkin spice latte was circulating around Facebook, but I couldn't help but post these 10 Halloween Treats for Kids.  In August.  Gah!  Normally I'm the Scrooge, grumbling that it's always too early for any talk of holiday stuff.

So, in the interest of providing you guys with the stuff you want to see (here and on CraftGossip), is there some kind of unwritten rule for how far ahead of a holiday you should start thinking about prep?  When do YOU normally start getting down to business on your fall and winter holiday crafts?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This crafter needs some organization

Cobberson and Co: Felt hearts
Is this the top of the supply pile?

I need some help!  In the past, I was solely a knitter, with the inevitable gigantic yarn stash.  Even though I had tons of yarns, I didn't have any troubles organizing them since they were a cohesive group. Just stored them in baskets by color or by fiber.  No big deal.  Well, those days are gone, and while I still have a decent sized yarn collection, now I have a bunch of other supplies that need a proper place in my craft room (formerly my home office, hahahahaha).  

See, here's the problem- when I find a new craft that I'm interested in, I'll just buy a couple supplies and kind of dip my toe in to see if it holds my attention before I buy any more stuff.  Guess what?  I've tried a bunch of new things, and now I have small quantities of all these unrelated crafts.  How would you organize all this stuff?

I don't want to get rid of anything, since I do end up using everything eventually.  There's yarn (duh), fabric, scrapbook paper, felt, embroidery supplies, and other random things.

What do you use to organize your craft supplies?  I'm thinking there is too much / size isn't right for tons of those plastic storage bins & drawers at Target, but I may be wrong.  What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More printable gift tags are on the way!

Last night, I received an email from a reader asking for some additional variations on my printable gift tags - handwoven and handspun,  Making these labels is a fun project for me, and so many people have found them useful that I'd love to make a whole bunch more.  So here is my question to you - what other types of gift tags would you like to see?  Please be specific!  Thank you <3

Oh, and I will try to post the handwoven and handspun tags within the week!
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