August 22, 2013

TOMS Shoe Decorating

Last fall, I went with some Girl Scout friends to an event at the Kappa Delta sorority at San Jose State. In a large group, we discussed the philanthropic philosophy of the TOMS company. They donate a pair of shoes to children in need in developing countries for every pair of TOMS shoes that are purchased by consumers of the developing world. (This is also the case for their sunglasses line.) Later, we had several crafty supplies out to personalize our own pair of white TOMS: spray paints, Sharpies, glitter, beads, faux jewels, etc. After the first session, a few of us stayed to help the later shift of younger girls decorate their shoes. 

While I was happy with my own decoration of the shoes, I unfortunately did not order the right shoe size. TOMS are supposed to stretch with wear, but mine did not stretch enough quickly enough, giving me permanent scars on my heels after the few times I tried to wear them. It's a shame that I couldn't enjoy wearing these after I decorated them, but I suppose they adorn my closet's dust bunnies beautifully. Not every craft effort ends entirely successful, in fact, most don't even come close to how they were conceived. But sometimes, that's the beauty of the crafting trade.
TOMS shoes, decorated Fall 2012.


Happy Crafting!
--Elizabeth

August 14, 2013

What Have I Accomplished This Summer?

I have accomplished a whole lot of nothing, as usual, in case you actually wanted to know the answer to the question that struck you with copious awe and wonder. Nothing, of course, in terms of anything that was actually productive. I did write a rough draft to a college application essay at 3 AM when I was still on jet lag, and I did a lot of sitting--in airplanes, tour buses, cars, couches, in a car learning how to drive, and senior home chairs-- but unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to help produce the TV show (on Palo Alto History--get psyched) I thought I would, nor did I travel to Luxembourg to do a cure-cancer internship to make the University of Awesomeness love me. I am filled with despair, however, to announce they have already informed me that I should not apply there because my level of k001i0-ness is far too supreme for even the University President (the honorable Ima McKoolKat) to maintain his shattering ego.

Aside from all the sitting I did this summer, you may or may not be surprised that I actually was accomplishing something. At least some of the time, that is. After all, sitting and watching grass grow (in a YouTube video) and sitting and operating a sewing machine are two different animals entirely.

I did a lot of sitting in Europe. During our flight and five hour layover in Amsterdam, I knit five hats. During exciting tour bus excursions to witness what happens when you take too much blood pressure medication, I designed and knit several hats and parts of a baby blanket, too. During argument-filled afternoons spent in the family rental car in our road trip across France, I knit 3/4 of a blanket (until I ran out of yellow yarn) and at least ten more hats. And during our especially exciting 12 hour flight to Houston of all places, I knit for 7 hours non-stop (while watching movies as well), producing a scanty 14 hats.


52 hats and 1 blanket, anyone? 53 warm babies coming right up.

I could will go on.

I did a lot of sitting in Hawai'i. I knit some blanket, and some more blanket while enjoying reruns of "Jeopardy!" and "The Bill Cosby Show." Or you could call it "a priceless family bonding experience."


"Bluebell Yellowbell" blanket. Finished July 2013. Took ~25 hours to knit and design.

 close-up of pattern
 close-up of border
I did a lot of sitting in Los Angeles, but unfortunately, no sticks and string was involved. My subjects were either my 3 and 7-year-old twin cousins, or some of the ten or so books I read this summer.

And at home, I did a fair amount of squatting in yellow star thistle patches at Arastradero Preserve, standing and sitting while volunteering for Canopy, sitting at my desk practicing the SAT (how delicious), and sitting in a car learning to drive around the cemetery. But I also managed to knit some hats, work on a blanket, make a quilt, and make plans to do more.

All in all, my summer has yielded 52 hats, 1.25 blankets, 1 quilt, and 100 community service hours (with a high school total of 320 hours), which although won't help my prospects of gaining admission to the University of Awesomeness, will improve my chances of acceptance to the University of Knitting Hermits, University of Crafty Geeks, and The College of the Procrastinators (apply today!), which of course, are my top choices.

It looks like my mind is right where it should be on the day before school starts. Here's to a great semester of college applications and growing pains (and maybe a laugh or two)!

Disclaimer: My grandmother made the actual blocks (and 76 others, for that matter. Could you use them?), but I did the rest, including a flannel on the back. 

Happy Crafting!
--Elizabeth