80. I knit a lot of sweaters.

If you didn’t already know it, I am addicted to knitting sweaters.

I recently finished knitting the “Portage” cardigan by Melissa Schaschwary.  No photos yet, because I have to fix the pockets.  I seamed them before blocking and now they look weird.  C’est la vie.  I can’t wait to show you the final product, though, because other than the pockets, it’s a glorious sweater!

I’m currently working on two additional sweaters: “White Pine” by Amy Christoffers and “Cozy Neighborhood” by Joji Locatelli.  Both are gorgeous sweaters that I can’t wait to finish (and wear), especially Cozy because I used such pretty yarn.  Here’s a sneak peak (I’m further along now):

The Craft Queen

I’m using Malabrigo Arroyo yarn in the color “Glitter”.  The name is a bit confusing, because I’m not really sure how that corresponds to a colorway consisting of shades of brown.  Either way it’s super pretty!

If you don’t think I’m crazy already, I’m itching to start another sweater: Demi by Kim Hargreaves.  I’ve had the book in which it’s printed (Rowan Vintage Knits) for at least a few years, and I finally went ahead and bought the perfect yarn for this project: Plymouth Encore Tweed in the color “Grape Jam”.

The Craft Queen

Photo credit: yarn.com

Purple-y goodness, yes?  I’m especially excited for this sweater, the number one reason being this yarn is machine wash AND dry.  Scoreeeeeee.

So, what’s on your needles at the moment?

XO,
Gabriella

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78. Knitting: New Girl Skirt

My latest finished knitting project is New Girl, a skirt pattern by Allyson Dykhuizen.  The pattern is very well written, although I did make a mod.  I didn’t want to have to sew the waistband shut and thread the elastic through at the end, so I just picked up the cast-on row when the waistband was finished (closing in the elastic as I went).  I’ll admit this made knitting the increases for the body of the skirt a bit awkward, but I would still do it the same way if I were to knit this again.

I will say that all of that straight knitting was a bit boring, but I do like the finished product.  The daisy stitch at the bottom of the skirt also made my hands hurt, which doesn’t happen to me too often.  I had to take frequent breaks.

fullskirt

I finished this skirt a little while ago, but I didn’t get around to blocking in until last week.  I finally wore it today!  I really love how it turned out, don’t you?

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FYI: The yarn I used is Quince & Co. Chickadee in the colors “Honey” and “Peacock”.  I knit the smallest size and used about 3.75 skeins of Honey and 1.5 skeins of Peacock.

I’ve got a few more finished knits that I’ll be sharing with you within the next few days, so stay tuned!

XO,
Gabriella

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73. I’ve made a big decision.

Drum roll, please…

After three-and-a-half years, I have made the huge decision to close up my Etsy shop.  It’s a bittersweet feeling: I really love making jewelry, but it’s a lot of work to constantly update listings, take and edit product photos, create and stock new inventory, register for craft fairs, etc.  Fun, but again, a LOT of work for not much return.

As you may remember, I’ve been writing music and performing with a new band.  I’ve decided that this venture is WAY more important to me, and I’d rather spend any “extra” time I have honing my craft and promoting our work.  I feel really good about this decision, and I hope you’ll support me in it as well!

I am now, however, left with a TON of product that I need to move so I can close out my shop.  As such, I’ve marked EVERY SINGLE ITEM in my store down to $5 a piece!

You can take a look at what I have left here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaPiumaBella

Shipping is FREE for U.S. orders $25 and over, too!  Just use the code FREESHIP25 at checkout.

To those of you who have ever supported La Piuma Bella: THANK YOU.  You made it fun and exciting for me, and I will forever appreciate your positive feedback and encouraging comments.

It’s time to move on to the next chapter of my life, and I’m extremely excited.  Woo!

XO,
Gabriella

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69. New jewelry listed on Etsy.

If you remember from a previous post, I design and create jewelry and sell it on Etsy.

I’m FINALLY getting around to photographing a bunch of jewelry I made weeks…maybe months…ago.  Luckily,  I happen to be borrowing our landlords’ Canon D3000 (thanks, Mike and Erin!) for a few days, and let me tell you: it is AMAZING to shoot my products with a REAL camera!  They look like 9813274012 times better. Fah. Realz.

I renewed a bunch of expired listings today, but I also managed to get photos edited for 5 newer pieces (and also get them posted).

Let the prettiness begin!

First up, a lovely little glass vial strung on a copper chain…and FILLED with glitter.  It’s like carrying a bunch of fairy dust around with you.

Buy it on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212927218/bronze-glitter-vial-necklace-fairy-dust

Next up, a flirty bar-style necklace strung with faceted glass beads in a cool shade of mint green.  I shall call you, “little mint julep”.

Buy it on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212940829/mint-green-beaded-bar-necklace

Third, this fun little beaded number that is perfect for layering with other necklaces.

Buy it on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212937800/colorful-wood-bead-necklace

Next, I give you what I like to call the domino necklace: black and white Czech glass rectangles stacked on gold chain.  This was definitely a design that had me thinking outside the box.

Buy it on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212943264/black-and-white-domino-ladder-necklace

Last, but certainly not least, comes this hot little number.  I love geometric designs with a hint of tribal/bohemian influence, and this certainly fits the bill.

Find it on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/212955587/blue-geometric-triangle-necklace

These are just a few of my new designs, but I wanted my readers to be the first to see them!  The best part…each necklace is only $15 or less.  Bonus: since it’s a crazy shopping weekend, I’ve decided to host a sale in my shop…just enter the code BLACKFRI14 at checkout to receive 20% off any purchase $25 or more!  The code is good TODAY through Monday (12/1/14), so you don’t even have to shop on Black Friday.  Unless you’re into that nonsense.  Me…I prefer shopping in my PJs with a nice cup carafe of coffee.

Happy Thanksgiving!

XO,
Gabriella

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62. My Etsy shop is back!

I “closed” my Etsy shop a while back.  Like a LONG while back.  Mostly because I was finishing up my dissertation and I just didn’t have time for crafting and consistently posting listings.  It’s been about a year and half since I defended my dissertation and successfully obtained my PhD, so it’s about time I opened up shop again.  I also got my Paypal account all sorted out (it was on “limited” status because someone in a foreign country tried to access my account…long story).

It’s not exactly full at the moment, but you can check out my shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaPiumaBella

Here’s a little sneak peek at the pretty things I have up for grabs.  🙂

Gold chandelier earrings with hot pink Swarovski crystals and hand-wrapped turquoise howlite, $14

Gold chandelier earrings with hot pink Swarovski crystals and hand-wrapped turquoise howlite, $14

blue quartz earrings

Blue quartz earrings with teal Czech glass beads, $18

green quartz earrings

Green quartz earrings with pink coral and pyrite, $36

faceted glass bead earrings

Faceted glass bead dangle earrings, $12

orange carnelian earrings

Burnt orange carnelian earrings in gold vermeil, $38

heart pendant necklace

Red marbled heart pendant necklace with hematite beads, $18

pink cubic zirconia earrings

Pink cubic zirconia earrings, $32

neon yellow ceramic earrings

Neon yellow ceramic bead earrings, $8

peacock swarovski crystal earrings

Peacock Swarovski crystal earrings, $14

swarovski pearl earrings

Beaded earrings with Swarovski pearls and Czech glass, $8

faceted glass earrings hot pink

Faceted glass earrings with paint splatter beads, $12

I have a ton of stuff that still needs to get photographed and listed, too!  What do you think of my selection so far?  I’m curious to hear your feedback.

I look forward to sharing more pretty things with you soon.

Happy Monday!

XO,
Gabriella

 

49. Made From Scratch: DIY Rustic Dining Table (UPDATED!)

Remember our DIY dining table?  I showed it to you in August of last year.  I’ve realized that the instructions I gave could use some improvement…especially after I realized our table was sagging a bit on one side.  The good news is that I fixed it with my AWESOME new drill, and you reap the benefits by getting an improved building plan.

DIY Rustic Dining Table

Materials:

2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
2- 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
1-5/8″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
drill
screwdriver
sander
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
large clamps
medium and fine grit sandpaper
wood glue
wood filler
several old rags/t-shirts
prestain
stain and/or Danish oil
wood sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)

Directions:

1.  Cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long.  Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.  Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!

diy rustic dining table

2.  Flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order.  At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space.  Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project).  Secure the boards together with clamps.

diy rustic dining table instructions

3.  While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 boards into 6 pieces, each 32″ long (you’ll only use 5 of the pieces).  Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, one at each end, about 3″ from the edge of the table, and space the last two boards evenly between the end and middle boards.  Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart.  MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES!  If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught!  Secure these supports to the table top using 1-5/8″ wood screws.

diy rustic dining table instructions

4.  Allow the wood glue to dry completely.  After the glue has dried, flip the table top over.  Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub).  Don’t forget about the ends of the table, too!  You should also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.

5.  After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding!  This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so.  You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free!  We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper.  We also used two different types of sanders.  A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges.  If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.

diy rustic dining table instructions

6. When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.

7.  Apply a coat of pre-stain using a clean rag.  The pre-stain is optional, but it really helps with an even coat of stain and prevents blotches.  Allow to set for about five minutes, and wipe off excess stain with another clean rag.

8.  Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice!  To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish.  We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”.  Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat.  We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.

Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:

diy rustic dining table instructions

9. After the stain has dried completely, flip the table top over and attach the legs.  I ordered legs from hairpinlegs.com.  They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece).

IMPORTANT: Raw steel will rust, even indoors!  I had to learn this the hard way…I’m passing on my knowledge to you so the same does not occur.  In order to prevent rusting, just cover your legs with a few coats of matte acrylic spray.

diy rustic dining table instructions

10.  Finally, it’s time to add the protective topcoat.  I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish.  It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.  Make sure to follow that manufacturer’s instructions for whatever topcoat you choose, but with wax, you just rub on/off with cheesecloth and buff it out.

Voilà, you have your very own rustic dining table…and you made it all by yourself!

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I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything!  This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us.  If we can build it, you can, too!  The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).

diy rustic dining table instructions

If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them!  I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂

XO,
Gabriella

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45. Knitting: Update on sweater progress!

On Monday, I told you about my plans to create my very first sweater from scratch.  I’ve knit several sweaters from other designers’ patterns, but this is the first one that I’ve designed on my own.  I’m really happy with the results so far.

sweater progress

Ha, please excuse my crappy expression.  I’m really happy with how it’s turning out!  I should note that although the yarn hue looks a bit orange in the above photo (at least on my screen), it’s more of a honey gold.  The colorway is actually “Turmeric” from KnitPicks.

knit picks turmeric

Source: Knit Picks

You’ll have to use your imagination a bit to “see” the final product, but I also made a handy little drawing to provide you with a little more insight.

sweater design

The construction is fairly straightforward: top-down with raglan shaping.  I tend to gravitate towards this type of construction because it allows you to try on the garment as you go to get the best fit possible.  I am also in love with twisted rib, so that will be the only type of ribbing in the sweater.  Everything gets knit in one piece except for the button bands.  I hate finishing steps, so I tried to have as few as possible.

So, what do you think?

XO,
Gabriella

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