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Birthday Fun

Right after the holidays, I get to celebrate my two daughters’ birthdays in quick succession—the first in late December, and the next less than a month later in January. My kids are still just toddlers, but they are starting to recognize that they get a day of presents and cake.

I try to make their birthdays a little extra special with fun decorations for them to wake up to in the morning. I keep things pretty simple with just some inexpensive party supplies—plastic tablecloths, balloons, cake plates, streamers, etc. Easy and cheap, but cute. :)

For my oldest, who turned four in December, I gave her a mermaid themed tablescape complete with an aqua color scheme, a blue vanilla cake (at her request, and which she helped make), and the most perfect cute wrapping paper I was lucky enough to find on holiday clearance. She received a mermaid doll and dress up outfit as well, which she adored. She makes a pretty cute mermaid, if I do say so myself.


My second daughter turned three in January…

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…

Niki Knits: Doll Accessories (free pattern)

Well, it's November already, and that means a very busy month for me. Not only am I preparing for the upcoming holidays and a baby (!), I am also getting ready for the Annual Keene Holiday Craft Show that I attend each year in my hometown on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. It is organized by my mom, Kellie Jones, and this will be its 10th year!




For the past several years, I have been making and selling crafts myself at the show. Each year has been different. I have sold doll clothes, art prints, gift tags, knitting patterns, and Christmas ornaments. This year, I decided to focus on assorted handmade toys for kids. I will be writing a more extensive post later on in the month showcasing some of the products I have made (I am VERY excited about them.), but for now, I am just going to give a small preview, along with a free pattern.

As you may know, I've made miniature knitted sweaters for Barbie dolls in the past. This year, I created some new patterns for some knitted acce…