Stitchin’ Mad

"A woman's place is in the revolution" cross stitch, pattern from Pinterest, stitched by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.comOops I have another new crafting hobby. How shocked are you? Probably not at all. And if you follow me on Instagram then you know exactly what my new hobby is: I’ve learned to cross stitch!

My creative skill arsenal includes knitting, crocheting, very mediocre hand lettering and painting, and gluing sh*t to other sh*t, usually with glitter.  Obviously because that’s not enough, I decided I need to add cross stitch to the mix. And now we can add this to the list of reasons that I am really a middle-aged woman living in a 25-year old’s body.

This all started innocently enough. I was growing bored of knitting (or, really, how expensive knitting is) and wanting something else I could do while I sat on the couch each night. Plus, who can resist cross stitch patterns with potty-mouth language and a whole lotta sass?

Hint: not me.

So I bought a premade kit online and had some fun. I sent oodles of pictures to my friends as I went, as if I was the first ever to make tiny Xs on fabric. I was Cross Stitch Queen, hear me roar. Everyone needed to look at my tiny Xs and how they made shapes and words. I was Picasso but with both ears.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed to do more. When I start something new I have to throw myself into it. In the words of Jenna Marbles, I have the “Too Much” gene. And, having found no other kits that really that tickled my fancy I started creating my own patterns. It’s been really fun, and I’d never realized how much fun coloring in tiny boxes to make one giant picture was. It’s like using an Excel document but not awful! Now these are MY tiny Xs.

"YAAAS QUEEN" cross stitch original pattern by Candidly Kelsey /

(Psst, special thing just for YOU reading this: I just added my YAAAS QUEEN pattern as my first Etsy listing– I haven’t even officially announced my shop yet! Be the first to get it here!)

"Relax, we're all gonna die anyway" cross stitch original pattern by Candidly Kelsey /

And then creating my own pattern escalated. Suddenly I have a box full of aida cloth in different stitch counts, and I am in 12 different cross stitch Facebook groups. I really don’t know how this happens. I just blinked and now my coffee table is covered in DMC Embroidery Floss and tiny needles. My couch has tiny stray floss pieces all over it. I pulled yellow floss out of my hair at work last week. It’s a sickness and it’s overtaken me. Send help (except don’t because I’m having a great time.)

Long story short, this is a thing that is now part of me. Kelsey the Crafter lives on (which would have also been a great alternative blog name, if I could also somehow fit “cosmetics” in there too). As today is World Cross Stitch Day, it seemed like a great time to officially come clean about this new thing I do.  I have officially added “cross stitch” into my monthly budget. G*d help us all.

Have you been obsessed with any new hobbies lately? Let me know in the comments.


2 Ways I Am Making Extra Cash With My Phone

Alright, I’ll be frank: I’m hurting for money right now.

Who knew moving to an expensive city and working a job that pays practically nothing would leave you in a financial bind?  Why did nobody warn me of this?
So naturally, I did what any 20-something who already has a second part-time job would do: consulted the internet.
My search led me to a bunch of a different phone apps geared towards making money.  A few stood out in my mind, and I immediately downloaded them. It’s been about a month, and I’ve developed a likeness for 2 that I think are super easy, and have a good pay-off.
2 Ways I Am Making Extra Cash With My Phone

Receipt Pal

The basic premise of this app is to take pictures of your receipts and earn points. Accumulate a high number of points to redeem for gift cards.  Each receipt is worth 25 points, the max you can earn per week is 500 points.  The information from your receipts is goes to the NPD Group that provides market information for companies to assist in their business practices.
It’s super easy to just snap a quick picture of your receipts and go on your way.  Free money for doing something so simple? I’m down.


I have a love-hate relationship with SwagBucks, but I know of friends who have had a lot of great experiences.  Basically you complete tasks for points, then redeem the points for stuff.  You can watch videos, take surveys, shop using their specific links, etc, etc.  I prefer to take surveys when I’m bored, such as on Public Transit, or at night when I’m watching TV.  It’s an easy way to kill time, and earn some perks for your time.
I’m hoping that by the end of the month, I’ll have accumulated enough points to redeem for a few $50 gift cards. I’ve got my eye on some special stuff– like paper towels and dish soap!
Have any money saving apps, or websites? Let me know! I’d love to test them out.


DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland

DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland

I got this idea after having a ton of leftover fabric from making my “Merry Christmas” Burlap Banner last year.  I loved the Christmas colors with non-traditional patterns, and couldn’t stand to see the extra fabric sit in storage all season. It was too cute!

I had been planning on doing a lot of Christmas DIY this season, but the idea of trashing my tiny apartment to do so did not sound fun to me. Then, I was shopping the Target Christmas decoration sale, and saw something super similar to this garland, but with tassels instead of fabric.  I didn’t have any yarn, but realized that I did have leftover fabric, and twine.  Easy-peasy.
You can obviously do this with any color scheme or theme. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, you could do blues for Hanukkah, or any colors for any sort of holiday.  I think this would even be cute for just daily decorations, especially in a kids room.  Customize it as you please!
DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland
To begin, cut your fabric into inch-wide strips.  You can make them as long as you like, just
keep in mind that after you tie them, they’ll be slightly shorter than half of their original length once they are hanging off the line.
I chose a mixture of 16 inch, 12 inch, 10 inch, and a few tiny bits to use up leftover scraps.  It’s going to be a mix-match no matter what, so as long as it is long enough to tie around and leave two little tails hanging off each side, it’ll fit in just fine.
It’s about 12 strips per every 12 inches, so keep that in mind when choosing the length you want your garland, and how much fabric you think you need.
Example: You want a 6-foot long garland? If 12 strips = 1 foot, then you need enough fabric to have at least 72 pieces of fabric.  12 x 6 = 72. #CraftingMath
This is assuming you want your fabric knots relatively close together, like I have pictured.  They are looped around the string, so you can adjust how far apart they are to the look you like, and to help decrease or increase the length.  Use your judgement here and arrange it the way you think is best.
On your twine, begin tying the fabric strips in a fold-over fashion, alternating colors and sizes.  If you want a more structured look, tie them so all the knots are facing the same direction.  I preferred a mis-matched look, so I tied them randomly.
DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland
Continue in this fashion until you have your desired length.  Fluff up your garland, and hang it where you please. Add some bows to each end, or hang a few ornaments. I hung a my tiny hand-knitted stocking from the middle of mine. I recommend getting those tiny clear Command strips to hang the garland, as it’s not too heavy. Works perfectly and super cheap without damaging your walls.
And voila, you have a gorgeous and cheap holiday garland.
If you make this, make sure to take a picture and tag me on social media– all my links are to the left! I’d love to see them all!
Got any other super easy DIY holiday decorations? Let me know!



HOW TO: Knit an Infinity Scarf

Nothing says cozy Autumn and Winter like heavy knit clothes, right? So let’s talk about how to knit.

Sweaters, scarves, socks, hats, mittens, and more.  We shell out big bucks for things that look like they’re homemade just for them to fall apart by the next season.  Or, even if we do find something that lasts, it turns out to be slightly the wrong color, or the slightly wrong size, or it fits just a little weird.  But we buy them anyway because how else will we get them?  It’s not like we can make these things ourselves…

… Or can we?

Pictured above: Me, in my fancy sweatpants, knitting an infinity scarf on Friday night. Deep into the midst of a How I Met Your Mother marathon and enjoying every moment of it.

I taught myself to knit when I was in 7th grade.  It has been a hobby that I have been obsessed with on-and-off through the years but it definitely reached it’s peak in high school.   Aside from bringing it during downtimes at after school activities, I eventually got comfortable enough to bring it to school with me on movie days in class (much to the amusement to my teachers. The phrase “Little Grandma” was thrown around more than I’d like to admit).  I even went so far as to start a knitting club my Senior year.  We met Monday afternoons in AP English teacher’s room, and hung out for an hour while knitting (or teaching others to knit).

My obsession grew to the point where in addition to starting a knitting blog– which has since been either deleted or is lost in the depths of the internet, so don’t even ask for the URL– I even spent four years on a 6 X 6 foot afghan for my Texas-native Uncle.

It is my greatest knitting achievement to date, and I doubt I’ll ever do it again.  Did I mention I designed the letters and long horn logo myself using regular school graph paper scotch taped together?!  The original designs are not pretty, but the outcome was be-a-uuuuuuuu-tiful, if I do say so myself.

And yes, I know.  You don’t need to say it.  I’m a super cool person.

Add the knitting hobby with my love for food, and my cat, and it’s a wonder how I’m single.


Despite what people think, knitting really isn’t that hard.  The fact that many people learn when they’re really young should be a clue enough that it’s a pretty easy skill to learn once you master the basics. If pioneer girls did it by candle light back in the day, using yarn they spun themselves from their pet sheep Steve (I’m assuming), we sure as hell can do it now with access to things like the internet.

Enter: Me, and the amazing tutorial I am about to offer.

My #1 tip is to start with something small.  Once you complete your first project, and you get that sense of accomplishment, you’ll be hooked forever.

As it’s finally scarf season, AKA my favorite time of the year, I thought it’d be a great time to pass along a fun new hobby and a way to add to your wardrobe.

Before you start, it’s important to know a few things:

  1. It’s going to be confusing in the beginning. You will get angry and you will throw the needles down at least once.  That’s totally normal. Just make sure you pick them back up for your animals run away with it.
  2. It’s not going to be pretty.  Your first project is never cute, is probably full of holes, and doesn’t look like the pictures.  Which is why I’m not giving you a picture, because I don’t want you comparing your masterpiece to a picture that someone who has been knitting for years has made.  Just focus on your project and it’ll be fine.
  3. No matter how angry you get, do not throw it away or rip it out.  Just keep going.  Learn from your mistakes.  No matter what, finish the project.

Beginners 4-Step Infinity Scarf Pattern


Set of size US 10.5 knitting needles
600 yards of Worsted weight yarn
1 darning needle (Also known as a tapestry needle)

(I recommend Red Heart or Lion’s brand. They’re both relatively soft, but also cheap for your first project.  This yarn will go through a lot, so best not to waste money on the good stuff your first time out (in my opinion– some may tell you differently).  Also, it’s best not to choose something super fuzzy, or with lots of extra stuff on it for your first time.  You want to be able to see your stitches easily.)

Step 1: Cast on

Depending on your learning style, pick your choice of education tool:

Videos (most of these include Step 2 explanations too):
Purllinknitting Long-tail cast on, Long-tail cast on method (AKA, my favorite cast-on)
Absolute Beginner Class

Articles: Knitting
Vogue Knitting

Step 2: Knit across the row.  When you reach the end, turn the needle and knit back across the row.  Continue on until the scarf measures at least your height, if not longer.  

Knitting Tips by Judy

Crafty Yarn Council

“How to knit a garter stitch scarf” by iknitwithcatfur

Step 3:  Cast off

Knitting Tips by Judy

The Knitting Site

Step 4:  Sew together the edges.

Jenn Wisbeck
Knitting Board

Aaaaaannnnddd voila!  You just made a Garter Stitch scarf. Toss it on with your next outfit and enjoy feeling stylish and cozy!  And make sure to tweet me a picture or tag me on Instagram with your new creation.


UnCork the Artist: Wine and Painting

Tonight I paid a lot of money to clumsily recreate a very stressful painting while drinking a glass of too-warm white wine that we brought to the studio ourselves.

Thankfully, however, this was after I spent a lot of money to fix the whole “I don’t have a license” thing, and the “paying for the last semester of college” thing, and then spent the afternoon of watching corporate restaurant training videos.  So obviously I was feeling at my creative best and totally ready to tackle a Van Gogh.

Even though we booked like two weeks ago, our group was split when we arrived– but whatever, I’m obviously not bitter or anything.  Somehow, my Mother and a family friend ended up at the very front of the room, the rest of our group ended up at the “emergency overflow table” by the door.  AKA, we couldn’t see the instructor, and had to rely on our own artistic intuition (LOL) and a fair amount of guessing to mimic the real picture.

So it began with a little bit of this:

UnCork the Artist | Candidly Kelsey

(Mosaic-glass (or weird blue bricks?)-like tentacles on an uneven light blue background, with special appearance by an egg yolk?)

Then progressed to a little bit of this,

UnCork the Artist | Candidly Kelsey

(At this point, I named it “Two Sea-Horsies with a Lemon”)

And then progressed even more to some of this,

UnCork the Artist | Candidly Kelsey

(Sea horsies are coming along, but are now in a mess of blue and black jellybeans?)

And then we on “Team Threshold/Team Doorway/Team Parking Lot/Team Can’t See What the F*ck Is Going On” chose to ignore the instruction of the artist who led us, and eventually it ended up like this:

 UnCork the Artist | Candidly Kelsey

(If you hold it farther away, it looks better.  It’s abstract.  Perspective.  Squinting. Whatever.)

And if you look super closely on mine (to the bottom right, next to one of the houses/purple blobs), you can see the tiny man with his tiny fire torch in his tiny hand coming to burn down the giant Spongebob’s-Pinapple-House-esque bush.

UnCork the Artist | Candidly Kelsey

Overall, not totally thrilled with this experience.  The wine and canvas equivalent in Bloomington that I went to in March was way better in terms of instruction and studio atmosphere, and I think it really affected the actual outcome of the picture.

Because clearly I am an impeccable artist and it would have been perfect otherwise. Obviously.