31 March 2015

March was big

This last month has seen us celebrate a few different things...  my birthday (I'm 30); my husband's birthday; my husband's 1-year anniversary of arriving in the US while our son and I waited in New Zealand for our visas to work out (also 4 month anniversary of ALL of us being together in the US); us hitting a savings target where we can [finally] buy a car to get us from A to B; my husband's cousin's son's birthday (not to mention other family members' birthdays in other countries).  March is a full month for us!

Next month we have Easter, our wedding anniversary and more birthdays to celebrate.  And, hopefully we'll be celebrating that we have a car!

We've had a couple of weeks now where we've been searching for the right car, and at the beginning, it's always exciting.  Soon, though, reality sets in.  Most cars don't look as awesome in real-life as they do in-person.  Or, if there's a great looking car, but the seller speaks only Spanish... language barrier.  Time to learn a different language, then!

And my God will
meet all your needs
according to the riches
of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

I don't enjoy living in 'want'; tomorrow, it'll be better; if we just have this, then it'll be ok; if we just get that then all our problems will be solved.  No.  It's not living in the 'now'.  Living in 'want' sucks you dry.  It destroys your ability to enjoy today, to enjoy what you have and to be content and peaceful.  It stirs up anxiety and doubt.  It does not edify.

I painted this piece of artwork for our home.  One day, maybe, I'll get it framed and hung on the wall, but for now, a piece of string and a thumb tack will do.  It will serve as a tangible reminder that my God does provide my family with all we need (and always has - when was I ever without what I need?).  Goodbye, doubt.  Hello, joy, hope, peace and faith.  Amen!


24 March 2015

My cute Moleskine Watercolor Journal

Every now and then I lose a little creative-confidence.  I was feeling more like I couldn't do better.  Doubt, which sucks the creative out like an annoying tiny (but so powerful) mosquito, was trying to be the boss.

I like to stay on the path of 'better and better' when it comes to my artwork and I can end up deflated when I do something that I'm not entirely pleased with.

I wanted to work on my hand-lettering and had found some really lovely handwriting styles online.  After trying to replicate them I found that it wasn't as easy at it looked.  I needed to practice.  A lot.

Slow down.  Repeat lines and angles.  Use a favorite pen and smooth paper.

I began writing out the alphabet, a whole line of 'a  a  a', then a whole line of 'b  b  b' etc.  Soon I found a style emerging, some letters weren't working (k, p, q) so I had to change them up a little.  I began writing out long pieces of scripture in the 'fancy' writing and working on perfecting it.  Keeping consistency in letters, shapes and angles at the beginning was really hard work, but I kept practicing.

I'm still a little way from being 100% happy with this new style, but I am improving and liking what I see.  Maybe being not 100% happy is the best place to be, right?  That way there's always room for improvement.

These artworks were done in my Moleskine 3.5 x 5.5" Watercolor Sketchbook with a Staedtler pigment liner 0.1 waterproof pen, and my favorite Faber Castell Watercolor pencils.


16 March 2015

DIY How to make a drink bottle holder carrier, hanger thingee...

Let's make this cute, stylish, very cool bottle holder/hanger thing-a-ma-jig.

You will need:
4 lengths of t-shirt yarn, each about 6ft (180cm) long
pair of scissors

1.  Begin with putting two lengths together, folding them in half and tying a knot right where the fold is.  Repeat with the other two lengths.

2.  Next make two more knots  - one on EITHER SIDE of these knots, about 4cm/1.5inches from the first knot.  Not two to the left, or two to the right.

3.  Now it will begin to look complicated, but it's really SO simple.  Don't over-think.  Have a look at the pic below.  Take one thread from the top half and one from the bottom half, on each side of the 3 knots you just made, and tie those together, again about 4cm/1.5inches from the knot before it.

4.  Now do the same to the other remaining two threads on each side.  OR pick the whole thing up by the very first two knots you made and put them between you knees like I did.  In my pyjamas.

 It should look something like this pic below:

You can make out the handles appearing at the top.

Now, if you happen to make a knot in the wrong place, like I did, they're not too hard to pull out.  I used a crochet hook and a cable needle to wiggle and loosen it.

5.  Now, here is where it grows.  Keep tying knots.  Separate one thread from each of the two knots above it and tie them together.  You'll end up with it looking like this:

Test it with a bottle to make sure it's going to work, that you haven't tied the wrong threads together anywhere and to see how many more knots you need to tie.

6.  When you've finished tying knots, about 5 or ten minutes later, you'll be ready to finish it off.

There are a couple of ways to do this.  You can tie one giant knot at the bottom:

OR, you can tie another 4 knots, but this time tie them only about 1cm (3/8inch) below the last knots.  I chose to do it this way so I wouldn't have a huge giant knot at the bottom.  I ended up with 10 layers of knots - not including the 3 knots of the handles, and including the final 4 close-together knots.  My personal opinion, but I think this way is more aesthetically pleasing. ;)

Voila!  You have your very own, DIY, hand made, really way cool drink bottle carrier that will hang off your baby-stroller, or off your wrist, or off the handle of your push-bike.

If you make one, take a pic and tag me via my instagram account, I would LOVE to see what you come up with!

This design was totally made up by me on-the-spot one day when I had a little left-over yarn and a pesky drink bottle that leaks when left on its side in my handbag.  You are more than welcome to make as many as you like and if you would like to sell drink-bottle holders made from this pattern, my only request is that you credit back to me and/or this post.

Thank you!


04 March 2015

Thank you! I'm a chicken.

For a very long time I have had a dream of being able to sell my creations.  From crochet goods, to paintings, to prints of paintings, to postcards, to dresses and hand bags.  The list really does go on.

The honest truth about it all is that I'm too chicken to show my stuff.  What if it's not that cool?  What if it's a flop?  What if no one likes my stuff?  How embarrassing!


But... I love what I do.  I know that you love it, too.  I love that you are inspired by what I do, to do what you love to do.

Now, slowly, as I get things made and patterns perfected, I'm going to put them up in my online shop.  As I get more requests for Wedding Invitation design, logo design, custom art work, I get a little more confident to show off and advertise and my God-given talent.

I would be humbled if you took a moment to have a look through my Hollymayb Shop, and if there is something there that inspires you, would you take a moment to like or share or pin?  Maybe give me some suggestions?  Constructive criticism, I'll take it.

I especially want to thank YOU for supporting me along this journey, whether by encouraging words, pinning and sharing, or even going as far as investing in my art work.

Your support means SO much to me, and I am honored that you enjoy my art and creations as much as me!

Thank you!


26 February 2015

T-Shirt Yarn

Is fun.  It's been around for a little while, but I'd never used the bought stuff.  Ever.  Confession: I'm a little bit of a yarn snob.

Prepare for boring information:  I prefer to buy and use 100% cotton or 'mostly-percent' natural materials like wool and linen etc.  Every t-shirt yarn I found was either 100% polyester or 100% un-determined fibers.  Yes, some yarn I find actually says that, they don't know what it's made of... so, I stay well clear of that.

It turns out that this particular t-shirt yarn was 80% cotton and 20% polyester so I bought some, with a coupon of course, I didn't pay full price - who does that?  I ended up with a big square - destined to be a cushion cover.

Then I bought another giant ball of t-shirt yarn... it was the same brand, the same Lot Number.  But it was different.  It was a slightly different white, ok, I can deal with that.  But it was thicker, about twice as thick and it looked way out of place and when I made another crochet square to match the first one, it just didn't work.

I decided to buy some knitting needles.  Circular knitting needles.  I needed a challenge.

Now for some, these aren't really a challenge.  I was taught how to knit by sticking one long knitting needle under my arm and using that to hold it while I yarned-around the needle.  SO, yes, this was a challenge because I was forced to knit properly.

It didn't take long to figure out after a couple of handy you-tube tutorials.  I found my own rhythm quickly and on the second day of owning circular knitting needles I finished the other side of my cushion cover.

Look at that texture!  I like it so much that I don't lean on the cushion, I just stroke it.  I love the way this knitting (knit one side, purl the other) is smooth.  I kept it garter-stitch at the edges to stop it curling.

Then I made a 2-inch button using some pretty yellow Skulpey (the same stuff I used to make crochet hook handles in the first picture).  I've joined the two sides together and now, I only have to sew in the ends and the button before I can show you a finished photo.

Until next time!


24 February 2015

When projects come to an end...

Sometimes it's a huge sigh of relief.  I started my raggy crochet rug two and half years ago.

It is now finished and looking awesome in it's new home as a bath mat.  It's thick enough to save my aching knees when I give our son a bath, it dries my feet when I get out of the shower, it's strong.  It can handle the washing machine and the dryer.  I think I like it so much more just because I made it myself.

Gotta love those DIYs that work out, even if they take 2.5 years to finish.


01 February 2015

Alphabet Lettering

After Christmas I bought myself a new pretty moleskine journal... and it just so happened to be at a time when I had the alphabet on my mind.

I've had ideas of painting an alphabet chart, with pretty colors and designs, for my son's bedroom, and when I got this new journal, that's what I planned on doing.  At least one letter a day... which would only take 26 days (easy, right).

I got this far...

Then I counted the pages in my new journal and realized that doing this project would take up nearly half of it and I was beginning to get bored with the lettering already.  Waaa!

So, for now, I have A, B, C, D, E and F, and not a lot of intention to finish the alphabet (in this style) in the near future.

Have you ever started a project, full of good intentions, only to get tragically bored with it and lose interest?

I have, however, begun to pick up old projects (crochet baby blanket, now finished, yay! And crochet rag rug, currently working on) to get them finished or, at least, closer to getting finished.