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Friday, November 21, 2014

Mittens, Gloves, and Fingerless Things

Hello! I hope all of you are staying nice and warm as these cold months draw near.  Today, I want to talk about knitwear for the hands.  Today's post will be slightly different from the others. I don’t have a basic pattern for you to follow, nor will I be “teaching” you how to make these items.  Mostly because mittens and gloves have so many variations to the techniques used to knit them.  It is best for you to be inspired by these patterns and ideas and explore the world of warm knits for yourself. 

However, I do want to talk about a crucial technique for hand knitwear.  Thumb gussets, or rather the thumb-hole.  I did this wrong for many years and it led to a few pairs of gloves and mittens with tight, uncomfortable thumb-holes. 
I learned about thumb gussets by following this pattern for mittens. It isn't the clearest to read, but it is very basic and easy to adapt to any type of hand wear.
There is also this amazing tutorial on adding a thumb-hole for fingerless gloves. The author has great pictures, and lots of detail. It is explained very well.

These wonderful warmers have been around for sometime. Simply Google “traditional mittens” and you will be treated to some of the most intricate and beautiful knitting. You can easily find loads of free patterns for traditional mittens. But take a look at these classic mittens made by the very talented knitter Kristi Everst

Mittens can be knitted in so many different styles, from practical, all the way to incredible. Check out these patterns if you don’t believe me.

Martha Stewart offers this free pattern for mittens.  They are knitted flat and in garter stitch. Which makes them easy, fast, and great for a beginner.  As well as perfect for Christmas gifts. 

Not interested in color worked mittens, or basic ones, try out these gorgeous cabled ones.

 This pattern for mittens is a pretty take on a classic style.  But it also shows you how to knit a lining for them, making these mitts extra toasty! 

Yes, gloves can seem daunting.  But knitting fingers isn’t as hard as it looks. You are essentially knitting tiny tubes.  If you are feeling very intimidated by gloves, you can always watch this video tutorial that carries you through the entire process.

Once you got that down, you can start working on your own pair of beautiful gloves.

Here are some more gloves by Kristi Everst. These are just so ethereal and pretty. I can’t help but love them. 

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, here are some gloves that were inspired by the show.  These have some intricate work, but would be so much fun to make. They are on my list of things to knit.

This pattern, while similar to the one above, I couldn’t help but add it.  These are stunning, and just make me want to solely knit gloves. 

Now we come to those fingerless things.  There was a point in my knitting days when I was obsessed with arm warmers.  I thought they were so cool and stylish.  I have passed on from that somewhat.  I don’t really see the point in freezing fingers for the sake of fashion. While I am more apt to pick up a pair of mittens, I can’t deny fingerless gloves are handy for the season changes, as well as make excellent gifts. They are easy to make, and knit up nice and fast.

Once again Martha Stewart offers a free, basic pattern for fingerless gloves

These little hand warmers look like they fit great and look fabulous.
 While this pattern offers a more sophisticated take on fingerless gloves.

Actually interested in knitting a pair of arm warmers? Go ahead and check out Purl Bee’s pattern

And there we have it, some all around interesting inspiration for you all.  I hope you have a lovely holiday, and God bless!

P.S. I couldn’t help but add this pattern as a little Fall/Thanksgiving bonus. It is just so cool


Thank you!

Interested in staying up to date with my projects? Follow me!

Instagram: gaquade

Friday, November 14, 2014

3 in 1 Eye Makeup Remover

This is the best eye makeup remover ever! I've been using it now for over a year and have had excellent results! I'm so excited to share it with you today! 

The recipe is so simple and has such great benefits to the skin around your eyes that you won't want to pass this one up, but if you struggle to find the time to make your own natural skin care products, I am working on getting this one up on my Etsy shop soon!

All this recipe entails are three ingredients and you get three great benefits out of it!

Benefit #1 - Using an all-natural eye makeup remover that benefits the delicate skin around your eyes and doesn't contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol. 

Benefit #2 - Grapeseed oil benefits the skin in many ways, but one of its well known properties is decreasing the appearance of under eye circles. The skin under my eyes is very delicate and sensitive, I deal with under eye circles on a daily basis, but since using this eye makeup remover I have seen an improvement, especially when I use it before bed, by morning my eyes look well rested and the skin under my eyes seem to match the rest of my skin. You can read more about grapeseed oil at Holding Her Own and New Health Guide

Benefit #3 - Castor oil is known for its lash growth abilities and this is something I can definitely attest too. Before using this eye makeup remover I used to use Neutrogena's Eye Makeup Remover and I was plagued with not only short eye lashes but having them fall out continuously. I probably had on average about 5 fall out a day. Now I only have about one fall out every couple weeks, unless I'm rubbing my eye vigorously. I have also seen my eye lashes reach a length that I didn't know was possible. Using this makeup remover along with a good natural mascara such as Tarte Mascara, has helped my lashes grow and strengthen like I never new they could!  You can read more about castor oil's benefits at Style Craze.

3 in 1 Eye Makeup Remover

1 Tbs Castor oil
3 Tbs Witch hazel

Mix together in a small bottle (flip lid works best), shake before each use and apply a small amount to a cotton pad. Gently remove eye makeup.

Do you currently use eye makeup remover? If so what brand? Do you have a favorite natural brand? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bathroom Closet Organization Ideas

Now like the title says, these are just IDEAS, nothing concrete here at all. This is just what I did to get myself a little more organized, because as you will see in the below pictures I was quite a mess before I began.

I suppose I'll start with my favorite outcome of this organization process and that is from some post's that I found through Pinterest (see list of links at the end of post). I had really been struggling with how we had our medicine all thrown into one basket (pictured above). It was so difficult to find what we needed and it didn't help when we were sick to have to go digging through a basket full of miscellaneous medicine only to find what we were looking for was all gone.

The process of using clear plastic boxes with labels for each individual medicinal use is amazingly simple to create and makes your life so easy. The only way I went wrong with it, was to try and make my own chalkboard labels. I painted some stickers with chalkpaint only to find a few days later that they had started to peel off resulting in this bad looking picture.

Even though I didn't want to spend much on this organization project, I bit the bullet and bought some lovely Martha Stewart chalkboard labels and I'm so glad I did!

As you can see with using a Chalk Marker Pen they turned out pretty nice!

The second tip that has really helped me over the past several years, was finding a Martha Stewart book that showed you how to fold your sheets, especially those bulky fitted sheets! You can find the tutorial here.

Here is a list of steps that helped me get my closet organized!

1.) Gather any and all baskets and containers you have lying around the house, try to stay color coordinated as it helps the final effect look extra put together.

2.) Completely empty your closet. 

3.) Throw away anything that is out of date and doesn't get used. (expired medicine, mismatched towels etc.)

4.) Get everything organized and sorted into baskets by category BEFORE putting it back in the closet.

5.) Label as many baskets and containers as possible.

5.) Once everything is categorized and labeled you can start putting things away! I have to make sure that our medicine and anything else dangerous is up high, so that my daughter can't get into it!

Here is a before and after photo of my closet:

Here are a few post's on bathroom organizing:

You can also check out my Pinterest Board on Organizing for additional inspiration!

Have you organized anything lately? Do you have any tips you would like to share? I'd love to hear about them!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Monthly Beauty Love: Too Faced

I haven't bought a new eye makeup pallet in ages, so your probably wondering why I'm doing monthly post's on beauty products/items, I'm wondering the same thing! I think because I have an interest in beauty (especially all natural beauty!) and thought that this would be a small way to motivate me to try out new things and expand my idea of beauty. 

I first came across this pallet at Jenni Raincloud on her makeup tutorial for a hooded eye, it was so simple and straightforward and easy for me to accomplish, but I realized then that I really needed a new eye makeup palette (that and the fact that I allowed my two year old daughter to get into them!). So, I checked out her recommendation of the Too Faced Natural Eye palette and immediately fell in love. It was a little more than I preferred to spend, but I knew it would last a long time and give me that great even texture you find in pricier cosmetics. I definitely don't regret this purchase. You get three looks in the pallet and you can do so much more than just those three looks since the colors are so neutral. I've even been using the matte colors to fill in my eyebrows. I love how the colors compliment any skin tone and have a great range of color from softer whites to deep dark hues. Also, love, love how there is a good combination of matte's with shimmers! I love my shimmers, but they can be overdone and aren't always for every occasion. Overall I'm extremely happy with this purchase and so excited to keep trying new looks!

What eye makeup pallet are you currently using? Do you love it, hate it? Let me know!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Guest Post: The Anatomy of Socks

All right, the time has come for you to conquer your fear of knitting a sock. Stop trembling at the thought of turning a heel, or sweating when you look at the instructions for the Kitchener stitch. Socks are one of the coolest and most interesting items you can knit. After you turn your first heel you will fall into a great obsession. Socks come in so many different variations. They also knit up fast, use barely any yarn, and can last forever. So get to the store, invest in some sock yarn and a pair of DPNs and lets get to work.

Here is a quick note on yarn and needles. You can knit a sock with any circular needles and any yarn.  But the best way to go is fingering weight sock yarn.  It is usually cheap, and usually comes in awesome colors. Sock yarn is great because it is specifically made to be machine washable and stand up to everyday wear and tear. As for needles, socks knit up best on small ones.  US sizes 1 and 2 are good choices. Also, shoot for doubles pointed needles; socks are much easier to maneuver on them. That is unless you really love that magic loop technique, to each his own. With that squared away, you are ready to start. 

For knitting, a sock has five parts, the cuff, the leg, the heel, the foot, and the toe.  Three of those require zero technique other then knitting.  The heel and the toe however usually scare most knitters away.  Socks can be knit from the cuff down to the toe, or from the toe up to the cuff.  There are also ways to knit socks flat, to knit them from the heel and on, but for today I want to stick to toe up, and cuff down.

The Cuff, the Leg, and the Foot
Ok, super simple stuff here.  The cuff is typically knit in some sort of ribbing, such as knit one, purl one, this helps to hold the sock up, and offers the stretch you need for pulling it over your foot. The leg and the foot of the sock is where you can get decorative, from lace to cables; it is all up to you. These facts don’t change, not matter what direction you are knitting your sock.

The “normal way”: Heel and Toe 
Now for the tricky part, that isn't tricky at all.  When knitting from the cuff down, or the “normal way” you will make a heel flap, and then the heel turn. For the heel flap you separate your work, and knit it flat.  This is the first type of heel turn that I learned.  It is pretty intense, and involves some counting, as well as picking up stitches.  So while it isn't the quickest route, it has its benefits and the gussets can look very pretty.  The toe is worked in simple decreases, but bound off using Kitchener stitch.  This is a confusing technique at first.  The best way to learn is to watch this video. It took me several viewings and several pairs of socks before I had it memorized.  But don’t wig out, just relax and keep trying until you get it.

Toe up:  Heel and Toe

Casting on for a toe up sock can be the trickiest part, only while attempting to find a video to show you how to cast on, I stumbled upon a new way to do it! It is called Judy’s Magic Cast On. I am apparently out of the loop, but go ahead and acquaint yourself with this technique.  The way I have always done it was to cast all my stitches onto one needle, and then separate them onto two other needles. They both achieve the same goal, so it is your own preference really.  Anyway, with that covered, it is on to the heel.  For a toe up sock, wrapped stitches are usually used to shape the heel.  If you don’t know what wraps are, take a look at this tutorial for some pictures and a good explanation.  

Now, I didn't want to go into great detail of how to knit these two versions of socks.  So I have written two patterns to help you out. They are available for free on Ravelry.  

–This pattern covers the “normal way”.  It is all knit, and nothing fancy.

 –This pattern covers the toe up method. You can easily omit the color changes and the stitch pattern to make it easier for yourself. 

Once you have these two basic techniques down the sock world is yours to conquer.  You don’t really need a pattern for socks.  You can come up with your own variations and terms once you have knit a pair.  As for me, I just hunt down some stitch patterns and toss them into my variation of a pattern.  Be creative, conquer your fear, and get out there and knit those socks!


Thank you!

Interested in staying up to date with my projects? Follow me!

Instagram: gaquade

Friday, October 31, 2014

In case you missed it...

In case you missed it I thought I'd do a monthly recap for you at the end of each month! I'm looking forward to seeing which post's you liked most each month and keeping you up to date in case you weren't able to see them all!

The above collage is a review of each monthly post except for this week's post on my Little Girl Tinkerbell Costume.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Easy Little Girl Tinkerbell Costume

I posted a lot of these pictures on my instagram recently, but because I can't get over how cute this costume turned out, I just had to re-share it as a post! But, I'll try to make it as short and sweet as possible!

Above are all of the items I started out with to make this adorable costume. I purchased most of my items at Walmart and new this costume was just meant to be when I found a Tinkerbell green tank top in the sale rack for $2 in the middle of October! Also, it happened to be the last tank top available! I couldn't believe how I lucked out! I took it as a big blessing from God, because it really helped this entire costume come together!

Items Needed for Tinkerbell Costume

Green tank top 
Green fairy wings - found at the dollar store
Fairy wand - found at the dollar store
Old ballerina style shoes - check out your local second hand store
Jingle bells
Green sequins
2 tubes of green tulle
 1 roll of green ribbon
Mod Podge
Green glitter
2 large white pom poms
Elastic - I used 3/4"

I first started with the shoes, this was something easy that my daughter could help with. I took the bows off first and then we slathered the shoes in Mod Podge and sprinkled green glitter over it in the process. This is a really messy job, so make sure you lay down lots of newspaper. Once they were dry I finished them with another layer of Mod Podge to seal in the sparkles. I finished them by hot gun gluing the pom poms on.

I then started on the skirt and because this took such a long time I kind of skimped on a few other things. You can read about how to make the skirt here. This took a long time because I used a sparkly tulle and so it didn't slide nicely, I had to really work at it to create a tight knot. As far as measurements go, I just took a piece and held it up to my daughter's waist to see how much material I should cut off for each piece. Here is an in progress picture.

So by the time I was done with the skirt I decided to just tie a bow on it with the green ribbon and call it a day. To finish the outfit I sewed a jingle bell onto the tip of the fairy wand and using a hot glue gun attached the green sequins to the collar of the tank top. I would have liked to attached jingle bells onto the skirt as well, but was kind of pooped out. This project took me a whole morning and into the afternoon, but I am so happy with how it turned out and my daughter just loves it!

Thanks for stopping by today!

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