Purl Soho inspired giant granny square blanket

It’s done! It’s done! The blanket that I started six months ago is finished! When I first saw the photos of the Purl Soho giant, giant granny square blanket I was smitten. I just had to have one. Which means that I had to make one.

My vision for the blanket was that it would be a cozy comfy inviting living room throw blanket that could be casually draped over the back of the couch. It would give a bit of color and a warmth to the room and of course be perfect for snuggling under while watching a movie. The good news is that it accomplished almost everything that I set out for it to do – it’s comfy, cozy and warm. It’s beautiful and I love all the colors and it does indeed make the perfect movie-watching companion. The only trouble is that it is SO giant (it is called the giant, giant granny square after all) that it looks a little silly “casually draped” because it needs to be folded at least in quarters to even fit on the couch. This is one GIANT blanket.

Purl Soho inspired crochet giant granny square blanket - Permanent Riot blog If you clicked over on the link to the inspiration blanket and pattern you might have noticed that the colors aren’t exactly the same. I just couldn’t quite get on board with the $1,000 price tag that would come along with purchasing all of that (albeit beautiful) Purl Soho merino, especially knowing that with three small kids and a dog this blanket is destined for some pretty rough treatment. Instead I made this out of some soft but decidedly less fancy acrylic yarn. I had moments where I wondered whether putting all this effort into a blanket that was made with less than top-notch materials was a silly endeavor but in the end I know it makes more sense for us right now at this stage in our lives. Since I wasn’t using the Purl Soho yarn, I had to kind of wing it on the color selection. I knew that I wanted to keep the spirit of the original pattern – I love the unexpected combination of the brights with the pastel blue and navy so I just took that idea and ran with it. I also decided to start with a smaller square of white in the middle and I’m happy with how that turned out as well.

Purl Soho inspired crochet giant granny square blanket - Permanent Riot blog The best part about making this blanket is that it’s such a simple pattern you can almost work on it in your sleep, and you can definitely work on it with one eye on Downton Abbey. The middle part of it also worked up deceptively fast, so after just a few nights I could warm myself up with it while I crocheted. Once I got to the last few colors, each stripe round would take me at least two hours (I am not the world’s fastest crocheter) and I had myself convinced that I might never finish. Luckily some much needed rains blew in to California in the last few weeks and being trapped inside hunkering down from the storm turned out to be exactly what I needed to finish up my project.

Purl Soho inspired crochet giant granny square blanket - Permanent Riot blog The blanket is definitely going to reside in our living room but I had to spread it out on the bed for just one shot so that you could see the whole thing in its giant granny square glory. Isn’t she a beaut? I love her so!

Purl Soho inspired giant granny square blanket

Instagram skies turned watercolor

Instagram inspired sky watercolor paintings by Katy Regnier - Permanent Riot

I have been doing a lot of painting lately and I sometimes feel like my head might just burst open from all of the ideas that I have bouncing around in there. I have started to keep a list of things that I want to paint because I feel like if I wait too long I might forget… I really wish my hands could keep up with my brain! One of the projects that has been on my to-paint list for the longest is a series of watercolors based on my instagram sky series.

Instagram inspired sky watercolor paintings by Katy Regnier - Permanent Riot

I love the simple square format of instagram and I love the idea of a series of paintings that all relate to each other while still being varied in color, tone and composition. The sky series seemed like a perfect candidate.

Instagram inspired sky watercolor paintings by Katy Regnier - Permanent Riot

I’m learning a lot by painting the sky (some of my earliest sunset paintings were such complete flops that I had to scrap them 5 minutes in) and I feel like there are endless opportunities for improvement and variations to be had. Since I’ve been working on my #365daysofsky project since January of 2013, I also already have over 400 images to choose from – lucky me! I’m going to save some of my very favorite paintings to decorate our house with, but I’ve also decided to list some of them in my etsy shop. I’m sure that there will be more to come soon as well. I just can’t seem to stop!

Instagram inspired sky watercolor paintings by Katy Regnier - Permanent Riot

Instagram skies turned watercolor

January skies – an instagram project 365

I am in total denial about it being the middle of February. How can it be February when this year just started? And for that matter, how can it be 2014 when I swear that the clock just struck midnight in the year 2000. What? Is it just me that thinks that time is going much too terribly fast lately? Maybe it’s the fact that my kids are celebrating their 100th day of kindergarten today and instead of looking like the teeny tiny and timid preschoolers that I dropped off on the first day, they now look like they fit right in amongst the other elementary school kids. I just can’t believe how much can change so quickly. In any case, it’s almost a new month again so it’s about time I posted my January skies. I think that January sunsets on the beach might just be my favorite sunsets of all time. The colors are out of this world and there is almost never a crowd. Oh sky, you are just so pretty.

#365daysofsky by @katyregnier - an instagram project 365 by Katy Regnier photography on Permanent Riot

This post is part of my #365daysofsky series on instagram which I have been working on since January of 2013. Follow me @katyregnier if you don’t already – lots of pretty sky goodness served up daily! You can also find all of my monthly sky series wrap-ups for 2013 here.

January skies – an instagram project 365

Time to recharge

Bamboo forest on the Pipiwai trail in Maui - Permanent Riot blog

Sometimes life is so big and crazy and full and exciting that I don’t even realize that I haven’t stopped to breathe lately. Lucky for me, my husband knows that I won’t stop running until I literally burn out and crash, so he scheduled a vacation for just the two of us for this past weekend. The two of us spent four days on Maui. Let me say that again. FOUR DAYS. Just the two of us. It was amazing. You guys, I haven’t been on a trip with my husband that wasn’t for work or attending a family event in… oh… EIGHT YEARS?! Needless to say it was pretty fantastic to get some time together and I am feeling super relaxed and revitalized. I can’t wait to dig through my pictures and post about all of the amazing things we did… but for now here’s two quick pictures of the bamboo forest along the Pipiwai trail. I don’t know if I’ve ever been anywhere that felt more magical. If you can get there, do it. I promise you won’t regret it.

Time to recharge

Dreaming big – Permanent Riot is now on etsy!

When Ben went to Washington DC on business a few months ago, he brought our daughter back a shirt with an image of a rocket ship on it, and in big bold neon letters the words “I DREAM BIG”. I loved that shirt and couldn’t stop looking at it. It made me so excited for our kids’ futures, for all that they might dream about and work for and do. It also made me realize that there were a lot of my own dreams (both big and small) that I had been putting off for one reason or another.

I want my kids to see the world as being full of endless possibilities, I want them to believe that they should put their hearts and souls into the things that they love, and that no dream is too big. I don’t want them to get hung up on fears and worries and doubts. I want them to put those things aside and push forward, even if it means setting foot into the unknown. And even with all of these big hopes for my kids, I’ve somehow let myself get hung up in fear and worry and doubt. For years now I’ve been thinking of opening an etsy shop to sell the things that I make, but I’ve always been worried. What if nobody comes? What if nothing sells? What if I TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY EMBARRASS MYSELF?! That’s the big one. That if I open a shop and it fails I will have embarrassed myself. How silly is that? I want to make sure that my kids know that failure is just a step on the pathway to success (or that success really is a journey and not a destination? does this post have enough motivational cliches yet?) so I’ve finally decided to lead by example and do something I’ve always wanted to do…

And so begins my etsy shop, Permanent Riot.

For now I’ve stocked it with watercolor paintings and hand-painted ceramics because I’m on a total and complete painting kick. In the future I might sell crocheted doodads or childrens’ clothing or who knows what. My goal is to have a creative outlet and a way to give a good home to the things that I can’t help making. I love that now that I’m past the scary unknown phase it’s given me a reason to get up and paint in the morning. My shop has only been open for a few days and I’ve already painted more in those few days than I had in several months prior. I love having a reason to create.

Permanent Riot - made by Katy Regnier - a shop on Etsy

I started out with just simple ombre quotations but have been more and more excited about getting back into detailed paintings, something I haven’t done in years. I can’t wait to make more of these.

Original watercolor painting - "piaf" sparrow by Katy Regnier - Permanent Riot on etsy

Here’s to a new adventure and a brand new shop. I hope you’ll come and check it out!

Dreaming big – Permanent Riot is now on etsy!

Coordinating cousin dresses {sewing projects}

This year for Christmas I got the idea to make all of the little girls in the family (cousins on both sides – that’s 5 all together) coordinating dresses. Aren’t they ridiculously adorable? (one is not pictured if you’re wondering whether or not I know how to count)

Coordinating little girls dresses - sewing projects at Permanent Riot

I called this post “coordinating cousin dresses” but another title could very well have been “the dresses that almost weren’t” or “how to pull an all nighter the day before flying”. I don’t know why but this is always (always) the schedule when thinking up Christmas presents – about a month before I get an idea for what I might like to make. I spend a few days thinking about the idea and deciding if I do really want to make it. Next I move into research mode – googling like a crazy person looking for patterns, blog posts, ideas and inspiration. Even if it’s an idea that I’m sure I have dreamed up on my own, I still google to see if anyone else has done it (and how). This phase is the longest. I can easily waste away several weeks on blog surfing, pinning and thinking. I spend SO much time in fact that I wake up one day and realize that it’s one week before Christmas and I have done absolutely nothing. Next comes my frantic trip to the fabric store where I wander aimlessly and make a total wild guess as to how much fabric (or yarn, or other supplies as the case may be) I will need to complete the project. Because (of course) during my “planning weeks” all I really did was mindlessly click links and not actually make any decisions, so I haven’t *really* decided what exactly I’m making or how much material it will take. The rest of the week is spent frantically crafting and hoping and crossing everything that I don’t run out at the end (because obviously the last sewing is being done at 2am when more fabric cannot be acquired). Thank goodness that this one came together at the end, I would have hated to show up to our family Christmas empty handed.

Coordinating little girls dresses - sewing projects at Permanent Riot

The best part of this whole giant sewing bonanza is that all of the girls actually really liked their dresses (hooray!!). I think the fact that they’re cotton and roomy makes them super comfy (I didn’t get to try one on… obviously… but they look pretty cozy to me). Amelia has been wearing hers often, pretty much as soon as I wash and hang it up in her closet she puts it back on. That kind of reaction is definitely what I’m looking for when I start sewing and it’s what keeps me coming back for more.

Amelia’s and Edith’s dresses were the first two that I tackled and both of them followed online tutorials that I found – Amelia’s is the adorable Leah tunic from Craftiness is not Optional and Edith’s is the Black Bird tunic from Schwin and Schwin lengthened to make a dress.

Coordinating little girls dresses - sewing projects at Permanent Riot

Both of the tutorials were relatively straightforward and easy to follow, I loved that the Black Bird tunic had a printable pattern, when you’re in a hurry sometimes it’s nice to just be able to follow cutting lines rather than drafting your own pattern. If I were making it again I would probably make a few changes to the construction – somehow having the raw top edge of the skirt piece encased in the neck would be nice and I would also probably add a little facing to the armholes only because I think it looks a bit cleaner. Both of those probably would have added time to the project (which I didn’t have) and the dress as is worked well so I’m happy with how it turned out. Edith especially loves her pocket!

Coordinating little girls dresses - sewing projects at Permanent Riot

The Leah tunic isn’t a pattern but rather a tutorial on how to draft your own pattern and construct the dress from the pieces you’ve drafted. I will say that I totally (100%, I should have taken a picture of how terrible it was) botched the sleeve shape on the first go-around. Luckily I was able to save it, but it was a bit trickier than I’d imagined. Amelia loves (LOVES) this dress and I do too, it reminds me of one of the dresses that the little girls in the cozy book might wear, and I want to make her a hundred more of them. I will say that I am not a huge fan of bias binding the armholes, I’m just not very good at it and I think my dresses look cleaner when they are lined (at least on the bodice) so I might try that next time and see how it turns out. I know that it’s a cooler dress if it’s unlined (better for summer) but with my wobbly sewing I feel like the bias tape gives away the fact that I am not an expert seamstress.

Coordinating little girls dresses - sewing projects at Permanent Riot

Once I got done with the first two dresses I realized that I really didn’t have time to mess around finding and following more patterns, as cute as they may be, so the last ones were just simple lined bodices with a split back and button closure, with pleated full skirts. No pattern, just tracing of t-shirts in the correct sizes and a big rectangle for the skirt. Not having a 15 month old to model for me, I definitely underestimated the length of the littlest dress (it’s much more of a tunic) but aside from that slip-up I think they turned out just as well as I could have hoped for. And all done in time to open for Christmas. Hooray! I consider it a sewing success.

Coordinating cousin dresses {sewing projects}

2013 Skies – an instagram project 365

Happy New Year! We made it to 2014, can you believe it?! And here to prove it is an ENTIRE YEAR’S worth of instagram sky photos!

#365daysofsky by @katyregnier - an instagram project 365 by Katy Regnier photography on Permanent Riot

I don’t think I quite knew what I was getting myself into when I started this project, I was hoping to take one picture of the sky every day for a year, but instead I’ve gotten totally and completely hooked on sky-watching! If only you could see my phone’s camera roll – chock full to the brim (seriously, I keep getting that “your device storage is full” warming but can’t stand the thought of deleting them) with pictures of the sky, I typically take between 5-10 a day, depending on how interesting the clouds are… some days I’ve been known to take 20 or more.

I’ve also decided not to end my project with the new year, but to keep going indefinitely. I am way too addicted to quit now! One minor change I’m making to my project this year is to add a new hashtag, #krdailysky to each of my posts on instagram. This year a few people joined in throughout the year and while my #365daysofsky hashtag was unused when I started, it’s getting kind of hard to pick out my own skies from the handful of regular posters these days. I’m so excited that the daily sky has caught on, but I want to make sure my own are still searchable. I actually have a few more ideas floating around that I’m starting to work on, so keep an eye out for those, but in the meantime let’s celebrate the beauty that is an entire year of sky … wishing you a very happy new year as well!

2013 Skies – an instagram project 365

Happy (belated) Halloween

I meant to post this on Halloween – but then life happened. So instead it’s a happy belated Halloween! I hope you had fun with your loved ones. This year was a record for me – all of the kids’ costumes done more than an entire day before Halloween. I tend to be a last minute deadline sewer – up til all hours of the night the night before. I was pretty excited to be done a whole day in advance. Who knows how early I’ll be done next year, an entire week? Just imagine the free time…

The kids are somehow obsessed with Star Wars even though they’ve never seen it. Paul really wanted to be Darth Vader, until he found out that he was a bad guy, at which point he said he only wanted to be someone nice. I had an idea of how to put together an easy Ewok costume and that was a pretty easy sell for both him and Edith. Cute and fuzzy? Check! Amelia of course wanted to be stubborn and choose something else, she was all about the Yoda costume and that was pretty easy to throw together as well. I’m not sure we’ll be able to talk everyone into coordinating costumes again next year but I figure making it to five years old is pretty good, right?

Homemade Star Wars costumes - Permanent Riot blog

Despite his face in the first shot, Paul was actually super excited to be an Ewok….

Homemade Star Wars halloween costumes - Permanent Riot blog

Happy Halloween!

Happy (belated) Halloween

Summer skies – an instagram project 365

Here it is, nearing the end of October – and my 365 days of sky project is still chugging along full steam ahead on instagram. I am so excited to have kept up with it every day, even if the recaps haven’t been posted as often as I’d planned. I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of the year – out of the beautiful “stays light forever” summer days and into the “dark before you even have dinner” chilly days of fall. So long, summer skies. You were glorious. I can’t wait to see you again next year.

#365daysofsky by @katyregnier - an instagram project 365 by Katy Regnier photography on Permanent Riot#365daysofsky by @katyregnier - an instagram project 365 by Katy Regnier photography on Permanent Riot#365daysofsky by @katyregnier - an instagram project 365 by Katy Regnier photography on Permanent Riot#365daysofsky by @katyregnier - an instagram project 365 by Katy Regnier photography on Permanent Riot

This post is a part of a series of daily sky images. One image a day for the entire year. If you missed the other posts you can find them right here – January, February, March, April and May.

Summer skies – an instagram project 365