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Niki Jin Crafts is Back!

Last you heard from me (from this blog, anyway) was almost two years ago when I said goodbye and went exploring new directions. I started another blog (it ... didn’t last), and wrote a post here and there for my portfolio website, mostly talking about my professional art and design work. Nowadays I stick to posting mostly to Instagram.

So what have I been up to? Life has been busy, taking care of two young kids and building a freelance career doing book design and illustration. In between, I keep myself busy with various projects related to my art.

I let go of Niki Jin Crafts for a little while, but recently, it came back to my mind. I thought about what I want to do with this site. Just let it sit there? Delete it? Well no, I’m not ready to get rid of it quite yet! It could use a little updating, though, that’s for sure. I’ve given the site a new look (I hope you approve!) but that’s not what you’re here for, right? We need some new content, of course. I promise, new stuff is coming…

Another Year


So last year around this time, I wrote a blog post listing some of my crafty resolutions for 2013. My overall goal was just to MAKE STUFF, which I did. I made a lot of stuff. :) But I also had some specific things that I wanted to accomplish:

-Blog!
-Make a quilt
-Learn to crochet
-Get my scrapbook up to date
-Reopen and maintain my Etsy shop
-Build a portfolio for pattern design and licensing illustration

So how'd I do? Well, I did better with some than others.

BLOG
Well, as you can see from the grand total of five posts from last year, I did not do so great keeping up with the blog. I will do better. Hopefully.

MAKE A QUILT
Yes, I DID make a quilt. And it was an awesome geeky quilt, too. Although I was happy with the results, I think I learned from that experience that quilting is not really my favorite craft. I really admire people who can do it, because it takes so much patience, precision, and organization. Maybe I'll try another in the future. We'll see.

LEARN TO CROCHET
Sigh. I never got around to this. It is definitely on my to-do list for 2014. See below.

GET MY SCRAPBOOK UP TO DATE
Um, yeah. I might have to give up on that one altogether. But I still want to come up with some sort of system to organize my pictures in a creative way.

REOPEN AND MAINTAIN MY ETSY SHOP
My shop is open! And so far so good. 

BUILD A PORTFOLIO FOR PATTERN DESIGN AND LICENSING ILLUSTRATION
I spent a lot of time this year working on this. I developed some pattern collections and illustrations that I am pleased with. I got an artist website up and running (You can see the results here). I entered a few design competitions, and even won a small one. I feel good about the progress I've made so far in this area.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Even though I didn't get to all of the things on the above list, there are plenty of other things that I did do. I learned how to zentangle. I learned how to use a knitting machine. I started exploring typography and handlettering. I made a bunch of Christmas ornaments and gifts for friends and family. It was a good year, and now I am excited for 2014. I feel like I'm in a good place right now—full of creativity and energy and ideas. Here are some of my goals for the coming year:

The BIG things:
-Keep working on my design and illustration, and pursue professional work. 
-Maintain and expand my Etsy shop
-Develop my craft patterns/tutorials
-Blog, blog, blog

And just for FUN, it would be nice to do some of these things I've always wanted to do. I probably won't get to all of them in a year, but they are always in the back of my mind:
-Finally learn to crochet
-Build a dollhouse. I've done doll clothes, and I love miniatures. I think a dollhouse would be a fun long-term project.
-Design and create a small clothing collection. Maybe even make a pair of shoes. I don't even know where to start with that one—I just think it would be fun to figure out.

Whatever this year brings, as always, I will continue to LEARN and CREATE. Happy New Year, everyone!

Popular posts from this blog

New Etsy Shop and Free Pattern

I opened up a shop on etsy.com today. I've posted some sweaters for 11.5-inch dolls (I hope to post other types of items in the future). You can visit the shop here. These miniature sweaters were very fun to create. They are all designed and handknit by myself.

Most of the sweaters are knit using size 10 crochet thread and sock knitting needles. I like using the crochet thread because it is relatively inexpensive, comes in a wide array of colors, and is readily available from any store that sells craft supplies.

Here is a free pattern for a basic sweater, for those who would like to try making one yourself!





**UPDATE - 2015** The miniature sweater knitting pattern has been revised.  View/Download the new pattern here:
VIEW
DOWNLOAD
A gift tag template for creating a Christmas ornament from this sweater can be found on my Templates and Patterns page. Additional sweater patterns are available for sale in my Etsy shop.


Niki Knits: Baby Vests (with free pattern)

As I revealed previously, I am currently pregnant with my first child, a girl. I am due in December, and my husband and I are so excited.

In my return to crafting, I've once again been bitten by the knitting bug. This is in large part due to the fact that now I have a new area to explore: baby clothes. And not just for my own little angel... There has been a small baby boom recently in my circle of friends, so there are a few other little ones on the way that I have been busy making gifts for as well.

Much of the appeal of making baby clothes (besides the obvious adorableness) is similar to why I like making doll clothes. They are fun to design and execute, and the small scale keeps projects relatively quick and easy, which suits my short attention span. (Case in point: my adult-size fisherman cable sweater that I've been working on for probably 5+ years...not to mention all the other projects I've abandoned altogether because I got bored with them.)

I started out my baby…

DIY Birchbox Nail Polish Rack

I have become a bit of a beauty product junkie lately. I have a growing stash of foundations, lip balms, lotions, face creams, and everything in between. It's getting quite ridiculous, especially considering that I'm not a particularly heavy makeup wearer. And really, there's only so many products you can use at one time. But everything's just so pretty. :)

Birchbox and similar services, such as My Glam, are great for people like me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Birchbox, it is a subscription service that sends you four or five samples, many from high-end brands, every month. It's a fun way to try out new products and brands without investing in all sorts of full-size items that end up going to waste. And once in a while, you find something you really like. Some of my favorite things that I've discovered through Birchbox are Nars illuminator and Zoya nail polish.

Birchbox's packaging is very well done. The samples come wrapped in bright pink tis…