Knitter in the Wild: Go Wild in Las Vegas

My recap of my Go Wild experience is a little behind because I had to take a quick time out upon my return to finish grad school. That’s right, peeps, I am officially done! Mini wave in celebration of me! Now that I am back to only having the day job to work around, I am hoping I will have more time for adventures, and as a result, more things to post about.

So let’s start the Vegas recap with the touristy things first. As required when in Vegas, I first made my obligatory stop at White Castle. Because that’s just what you do. After filling my belly with mini burgers and onion chips, I took my onion breath to my favorite stop for this entire trip – the Neon Museum!

Part roadside oddity, part walk through Vegas history, the Neon Museum has old neon signs from around town. I had to stop in during the day, but my preference would be to go at dusk when the lights can be turned on and you get to see the neon glow in it’s full effect. They have a strict camera policy, so make sure you check the fine print before you stop in, but photos taken with your phone for personal use are totally allowed. These were some of my favorite pieces.

Later that day, I stopped in for registration at Go Wild. If you are a reader of mine that doesn’t know what Go Wild is, it’s a planner conference put on by Wild for Planners, the admin team behind the Facebook group Planners Gone Wild. Decorative planners have been wildly popular for a while – I like to think of it as a cross between scrapbooking and planning. Anyway, at registration we were given our first round of swag.

The little selfie light is the coolest thing I didn’t even know I needed. I also checked into the hotel – this year it was at the Hard Rock Hotel, and I got this spectacular view from my room.

And check out the view at night!

Thursday night was the welcome party, hosted by Krissyanne Designs, complete with karaoke. I stopped in for a while, but the party scene isn’t really my jam, so I called it a night after a drink or two and watching some hilarious singing and dancing.

Friday was the first day of the conference and while many people get up early to stand in line in hopes of getting their preferred table, I take a much more laid back approach, preferring to roll in at the end of the line so that I get to sleep in. All of the tables are great tables, you really can’t choose wrong. I lucked out and got to sit at a Cocoa Daisy sponsored table, which seemed to have been fate, as I just recently subscribed to some of their kits. (A review of their sub will come soon.) Look at how beautiful the table was and how generous they were.

The speakers for day one is quite the list. First up was a Boss panel featuring Irene Kwong, Mica May, Tesia Royer, Belinda Seline, Keshia Glam, Michelle Askin and Kaylyn Minix. I find panels to be too short, there is never enough time to get to know each panelist. There were a couple of points made that really stuck with me, however, mostly related to perfectionism holding you back, getting out of your comfort zone, and saving early work. Almost every group of speakers brought swag for the group, so here was the first drop.

I probably need to apologize for the poor quality of the swag photos. There’s only so much you can do in a conference room or in your hotel room.

Next up was Teresa Collins. I didn’t know very much about Teresa before her chat, so it was interesting to hear about how she has overcome so many challenges in her life, including a stroke(!), as she has built her brand. The swag included a notebook and supplies to create what I think was supposed to be a goal oriented planner, but we mostly just listened to her story. I’d like to point out my swag was accurate, though. I am magic!

Next up was a fireside chat with Erin Condren. I always enjoy listening to Erin, and I liked that this year it was a more informal Q&A than a talk. The upcoming opening of her local store (go Irvine!) came up, as well as plans for other stores, new products, and a future option to customize the Life Planner. This last bit has me most excited, as I actually Frankenplanned my ECLP this year to add in extra note pages. EC is always generous with the swag, and this year’s included a sleep mask, too.

After the fireside chat, Erin got to turn the tables and moderate another panel discussion, called the All In panel. The lack of time to get to know each panelist again reminded me how much I would prefer fewer panels, as I really wanted to hear more from this group. In particular, I could listen to Amy Tangerine for days and never get bored. Joining Amy was Jen Dufore, Jen Ross, Jen Robin, Joy Cho and Jaaack Jack.

This was the last panel before lunch, and this is when the PGW swag bag was dropped. This bag is made possible by all of the shop owners that participate in PGW, who generously donate items for the bag. This is a ton of work that should not go unnoticed. I can’t wait until I have a little more time to visit each shop that donated and find some new places to spend some cash.

During lunch, I had a little bit of time to wander around the sponsor area and look at the displays set up. I was happy to see See Jane Work enter into the planner market, the Russell + Hazel/Kikki K booth had some cute products, Filofax had a clever photo OP, and of course, Erin Condren had the pop up shop. There was also a balloon wall for pictures and even the elevators got some decoration.

After lunch we got to listen to a live taping of Cindy Guentert-Baldo’s podcast, The Uncurated Life. You get to listen to it, too, because it will be released on Monday, May 13th, in her podcast feeds everywhere. I was surprised that the podcast was more interactive than anticipated and we did some exercises that required us to get vulnerable with our tablemates. One more swag drop to conclude the day, and it was a set of Powersheets for all of us.

Friday night we were on our own, and I’d like to tell you I spent it resting up for a jam packed day two, but I was in Vegas! My sister drove up for the night and instead we went to dinner and Magic Mike Live. I’m not even a little bit embarrassed about it, either. 🤣🤣🤣 I did take pics, and in particular I took strategically timed Boomerangs, but that’s for another blog on another day. A private one. You know what I’m sayin’? We also gambled a bit, and I walked away with the huge winnings of $0.60. Huge, I say!

After too little sleep, day two came with the first speaker of Kristin Damian, founder and Chief Sticker Scientist at Krissyanne Designs. Her workshop focused on setting goals and chasing your dreams, so I mapped out the steps of a long time dream I have been harboring – buying a house. We’ll see if the workshop helps me get there. Of course, there was related swag.

After mapping out our dreams, we got to my most anticipated workshop, a workshop led by Amber Kemp-Gerstel, otherwise known as Damask Love on the internet. You might recognize her from when she was on NBC’s show Making It! If you don’t follow Amber on IG, I highly recommend it. She is very entertaining and I laugh out loud on the regular following her stories. We made cards and envelopes using her new product line available in Jo-Ann stores called Wild Card. Go check it out! We also all got Xyron sticker makers. I still have my old school X shaped Xyron, and I have to say I like the old set up better.

After Amber, Stephanie Fleming, the creative mind behind MAMBI and the Happy Planner shared her fitness journey and how she used her Happy Planner to help with her journey to a healthier life. Stephanie is just so real and likable – I love listening to her speak. She shared a little swag, too.

Once Stephanie was done, it was time for the keynote address from none other than Terry Ellis of En Vogue. You guys! She’s one of us. Not just ‘yeah, I craft a little’ but full on, has a craft room and a planner stack to prove it. I present to you Terry’s craft room!

Not only that, she sang for us. It was truly delightful to get to know her a little and I very much appreciated how she let her guard down with us. One last swag drop included a tub from Michael’s with notebooks, pens, stickers and washi. As it was very similar to the tub we received last year, I didn’t bother with a picture. And by very similar, I mean some items were identical.

My last event was getting to watch the pitches in the Michaels Make Room, as I was lucky enough to get to snag one of the limited tickets. When I explain to people not in attendance what this was, I describe it as a nice version of Shark Tank, just with pitching items that might show up on the shelves of Michael’s in the future. We were asked to keep things mostly confidential, so I’ll just say this – I am so very proud of the small business owners that made their pitch. I wish that Michael’s had room to choose them all for the development of product lines, even if that isn’t realistic.

Go Wild ends with Planjama, a big party on the final night, but due to my final grad school residency I had to leave early and missed it. This makes the second year in a row where I missed Planjama, but there is always next year!

Advertisements

Knitter in the Wild: Seattle

True confession time. I wrote the blog post below back in December. I was so overwhelmed with finishing grad school that apparently I didn’t actually publish the post. (A 4 day capstone residency in a couple of weeks and I am done!) Imagine my surprise when I opened up the blog to write a new post about Pinners to find a long dusty draft staring back at me. Now, this might embarrass some people enough that they would just scrap the post all together and delete it, hiding their shame from the world. But nope, not me. I am going to go ahead and publish it as is, 4 months later, without even editing it to reflect a more current intro. This is real life, my readers. My real exhausted and sleep deprived life. Hopefully everyone will still enjoy the photos anyway. And with that shame now exposed, here we go…

Earlier this month I took a quick trip up to Seattle to visit friends and to check out the city as I had never been. I was only there for 48 hours, but I managed to fit in a lot in those hours!

I feel like I went to Pike Market multiple times – mostly for food. Of course I walked through it for the flying fish, the gum wall, and to check out all the vendors, but I feel like I the food is what kept bringing me back. Mac and cheese at Beechers and breakfast at The Crumpet Shop were highlights, and I even stopped in the first Starbucks despite my aversion to coffee.

Two museum stops included MoPop and the Chuhily Garden and Glass. MoPop was a highlight for me because it included Pearl Jam and Nirvana exhibits, which made my early 90s grunge girl heart sing. I was also pleasantly surprised by how interested I was in the SciFi and Fantasy exhibits. SciFi really isn’t my jam for TV or movie watching, but I can still appreciate the memorabilia. They had a light saber, for heavens sakes! When you visit, make sure to high five Chris Cornell on the way out!

The Chuhily museum was breathtaking. I had admired Chuhily’s work on the ceiling of the Bellagio in Las Vegas for years, so getting to see so much of his work up close was really inspiring. I’ll let you decide which picture below I dubbed “The Flying Penis.”

A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without an adventurous Uber ride in the rain to see the troll and, of course, the Space Needle.

The only purpose of my trip was to visit friends and see the city a little, so I feel like both were big successes. I would definitely go back to Seattle again. Maybe next time I’ll even be able to visit Mt. Rainier and get a better pic than the one I captured from my seat on the plane.

FO Friday: More Hats Upon Hats Upon Hats

Over the winter holidays I finished two more hats as a gift for a friend’s granddaughter.  Because they were smaller in size, they both knit up quickly.  This was a good thing, because boy am I tired of knitting hats.  😁

20190102_125053

Both hats were made in the same colorways so that they could be paired with the owl topper from the DMC Top This! kits.  Cascade 220 Superwash was used in the Mint, Aran and Brambleberry colorways.  The Brambleberry is just a tad darker than the owl, so I made sure that each hat ended with Mint closest to the topper.  Both patterns have been used before, so if you are a regular reader of the blog, you’ll recognize the Golden Pear and Bubble Up Beanie patterns.  US6 and US7 needles were used.

 

FO Friday: Golden Pear Hat

While the blog was busy focusing on the advent calendar palooza, I actually finished a knitting project!  I had been meaning to knit a baby gift for a coworker that was pregnant, but I kept putting it off.  I procrastinated so much I actually had to finish knitting it and weaving in ends while on the train to work the day before she started maternity leave.  Despite all my planning efforts, I just can’t seem to get ahead of the curve on making gifts.

IMG_20181220_093603_719

This hat uses the Golden Pear pattern by Melissa Thomson, but I chose to use only two colors instead of the three the pattern calls for.  I did this because I knew I was going to use the lamb topper from a DMC Top This kit, and the lamb really only has two colors in it.  (Side note, I am finishing up the exact same pattern for an owl topper, and I used three colors in that one.  Don’t be afraid to modify patterns when needed!)  I am not a huge fan of the yarn in the Top This kits, though, so I swapped out Cascade 220 Superwash in Laurel Green and Aran colorways.  I used US6 needles for the ribbing and US7 needles for the body of the hat.

I really enjoyed this pattern and I think this might be my go to baby gift for awhile.  Perhaps I will learn from experience and knit a few to have on hand for baby showers in the future and I won’t have to spend my train ride weaving in ends at the last minute again.  Probably not, though.

Advent Calendar Palooza: Cricketmas Finale

Merry Christmas,  everyone!  Today is my final advent calendar post.  I am looking forward to returning to the regularly scheduled programming of the blog filled with pictures and finished projects, but this month has been fun.  The advent calendar palooza was filled with surprises, even if it was a challenge to post every day around my schedule.

Today, Cricketmas gets the final palooza post because they were the only calendar that included a bonus Christmas gift.  And today, Cricket Paper Co gave to me, a full weekly kit!

20181223_204143.jpg

This was a particular delight because I buy Cricket Paper Co kits all the time.  I just like Erica’s design aesthetic and choice of artwork.  The fact that it matches the same color palette as the rest of the Cricketmas stickers means I will be able to stretch this kit out over multiple weeks.

Let’s assess Cricketmas as a whole.  I paid $45 for the calendar and got a sticker album, 2 washi rolls, a luggage tag, pin, magnet, deco clip, washi card, 2 sticky note pads, an adhesive pocket, 2 decals and many, many stickers in that album hiding from view. Was it a good value?  Yes, yes it was.

20181223_204311

I would guess that I’ll use a good 75% of the contents and will rehome the remainder to other planners.  I loved that everything coordinated together in a color palette that wasn’t Christmas specific.   I would definitely buy this again if another one is offered next year, and would also be comfortable giving this as a gift.

And that, my friends, wraps up the Advent Calendar Palooza!

 

 

Advent Calendar Palooza: Simply Gilded 12 Days of Christmas

It is time to open up the final package of the Simply Gilded advent calendar. From feeling the packaging,  I knew it wasn’t going to be washi, so I wasn’t all that surprised when this super cute and adorable key chain popped out.

20181223_203752

20181223_203822.jpg

I like the various charms used, the only thing missing is a washi roll charm.

Let’s talk the advent calendar as a whole.  I got everything in the pic below for $54.  Based on pricing for washi from SG normally, I’d guess the washi was at least $40 of the package, plus we got the key chain, magnet, sticky notes, and bow charm and clip.  I think the price is completely reasonable and that I got my money’s worth.

20181223_203900

One of the things I like the most was that the washi was not holiday specific.  I’ll be able to use these items year round.  My favorite rolls were the swans and the constellations,  but there really wasn’t a bad roll in the bunch.

Not only would I buy another SG advent calendar, I would give it as a gift to a paper crafter without hesitation.  Everyone can always use more washi,  and SG washi is excellent quality.  My only suggestion for possible improvement next year would to have coordinated colors, or even options for coordinating color themes if you want to buy more than one.

Advent Calendar Palooza: 12 Days of Burton Day 12

For the last day of 12 Days of Burton, So Berry Busy gives us a whole kit!

20181223_204034.jpg

I appreciate that the kit incorporates many of the characters from Burton movies into one place.  I like that it has date covers, full boxes, lots of quarter and half boxes, and a weekend banner – all of the elements I use the most in a kit.

Let’s talk about the advent calendar as a whole.  For the 12 packages, I paid $59.99 CAD, which was around $44 USD after the conversion.  For that price,  we got tons of stickers, washi, notepads, and die cuts.  As all of this was unique, hand drawn art, so I think the price was very reasonable.

As for the content itself, I am a Tim Burton fan (clearly, or I wouldn’t have purchased it) so I will use most of the items, but I do think it was heavy on Nightmare Before Christmas.  I would have appreciated a bit more balance given how vast the movie empire to pull from is.

I would purchase an advent calendar from this company again,  if the theme is different.  I do think it was marketed for a very niche audience, so I don’t know that I would have gifted this year to anyone, but should next year be a broader theme I absolutely would gift it to planner friends.  Blaine has a very unique style and I think it is totally different than other products on the market

Advent Calendar Palooza: Cricketmas Day 1

I could tell by the shape of the package as I felt it, today’s Cricket Paper Co envelope was not going to be stickers, but for the life of me I couldn’t even guess what it was.  0erhaps that’s because I am not a pin collector,  because after I opened it, it was fairly obvious in retrospect.

20181223_182145

20181223_182214

It’s cute.  The shop character has lot of personality.  I probably won’t put it to use just because pins aren’t my jam, but I can appreciate it.

No wrap up of Cricketmas today because this countdown came with an extra bonus package to open up on Christmas Day!

Advent Calendar Palooza: Jimmy Beans Craftvent Day 24

We’ve made it to the final day!  For day 24 of Craftvent, Jimmy Beans gave us finishing material.   There’s a darning needle for weaving in ends, a tag you can see on, some beads for tassels if you want them,  and a package of Soak.

20181223_154432.jpg

The finishing items are a nice touch!

Now that all 24 boxes are open, let’s evaluate the advent calendar as a whole.  For the cost of $150, I received over 1100 yards of lyxury yarn by popular dyers, a Namaste bag, a set of needles, a Joji Locatelli pattern, and finishing accessories.  In addition,  I got the fun of opening a package every day, a super cute storage box, and a choice of colorways when I ordered. Compared to other yarn based advent calendars I saw on the market, this one was a pretty good value.

In terms of potential drawbacks, if you were to buy this as a gift and the recipient was a very picky knitter, they may not enjoy the mystery knit-a-long pattern or the limited color choices.  It was also hard to keep up with the knitting every day, so expectations should be kept in check about the pace of the project.

I would definitely buy another one next year, provided it was a different pattern.  I would also give as a gift, since most of the knitters I know are not of the picky variety.

 

Advent Calendar Palooza: Simply Gilded 12 Days of Christmas Day 11

I think today might be the last roll of washi in Simply Gilded’s advent calendar.  I have felt up all the packages, and tomorrow’s does not feel like a roll, so when I opened today’s I wasn’t sure what to expect.   Would it be an intricate pattern like the swans or stars?  Would it be the signature bow?

It’s polka dot bow washi!

20181222_224022

20181222_224047