Sunday, September 23, 2018

September Makes

I am not sure what it is about this time of year:  perhaps the cooler weather, a return to a routine lacking for over two months, or simply just the energetic change of the turning season, but all I want to do at this time of year is MAKE stuff.  Every night my mind runs with what I want to do the  following day.  Not in that awful, "I have so much to do" way, but an exciting, anticipatory way where I just know something good is going to happen no matter what.  I might start stitching something new: or try a new, seasonal recipe; or find the perfect fabric or paint swatch for some home DIY.

 I think this year the feeling is compounded by the fact that I have more time at home than I did last year.  The part time job I had started last summer turned into a full time one by September, and I was left with little to no time for indulging in nesting to the nth degree.  In the interest of preserving family harmony and often my own frazzled state of mind I left that job in mid-April.  I felt so un-tethered for months after, but in the last little while have come back to my old routines and actually look forward to being at home for large stretches during the day.  I would still like to find another job:  something part time and without the crazy hours would be ideal.  I also really enjoyed having somewhere else to go and being with people who had new things to talk about.

New yarn from my first-ever Fibre Fest!  

Another two hands and perhaps four or five more hours in my day would be good:  I could hook and stitch and bake so much more that way!  I guess I will just have to settle for what I have, and be grateful I have the time (and hands) that I do!

So what have I been up to?  It feels like everything!  Putting fall touches outside and inside for starters, then on to other crafty adventures.

I crocheted this deliciously soft Alpaca scarf in autumn colours.  I didn't have it for long as my Mum, who was having a birthday very soon, admired it so much I really couldn't say no!  It did give me another opportunity to find the perfect, fall-inspired yarn though, so it worked out well for both of us!
Pattern:  Naturally Southern Scarf by ELK Studio .  This pattern will definitely be repeated.

Quilting has been on my mind a lot.  I got a bee in my bonnet that I NEEDED to make this, and of course I needed to pick new fall fabrics for it.

Lonestar Wall hanging.  I used a great tutorial from the Hopeful Homemaker blog.

Autumn cross stitching:  the colours were just so perfect for the season.  

'Autumn' sampler cross stitch by Irina Veber of Verbena CS on Etsy.  This was a super-enjoyable stitch and ticked all the boxes for fall flavour.

'September' block from the Palko-lap blog.  I have been using my DMC Coloris threads for these little monthly blocks.  I am not sure just yet how I will display these, but am happy to wait until the perfect idea comes.

No fall colours, but something bright, stitchy and new for my craft room:

'Sewing Day' embroidery pattern by Blueberry Backroads.  I want to stitch them all!

I also have a sweater in the works, and a few Christmas projects started.  I do need to focus on some warm weather work inside and outside the house while the weather is holding out.  A bit of new paint; some gardening, that sort of thing. 
 I am still (fairly) regularly showing updates on all my creative projects via Instagram and YouTube should you care to drop by.

Thanks for visiting me today;  until next time,
Happy Days!

Friday, August 11, 2017


Hello!  Happy August!

I was hoping I could sneak back for a quickie update.  It's funny that you can have lots of extra time during the summer for fun little pursuits, but keeping up with the day to day routines seems harder somehow.

My house is a mess:  I don't recall the last time I gave it more than a quick sweep.  I have been doing laundry, but the clean clothes sit in the basket until the basket is almost empty.  I think I must be rebelling a bit because I feel summer is going way to quickly.  Perhaps the more I act like a sloth, the more I feel I will really have had some time off.  That kind of thinking must be logical somewhere, right?

Despite all this heel digging I have been making.  The orderly part of me that is still trying to get through the mountains of yarn has been preparing for future cleaning.  I am (still!) going through my cotton yarn stash.  I now have enough dishcloths, swiffer covers and scrubbers to last for a very long time.  I am also working on a colourful mat for somewhere in the house, just because the thought of stitching up fifteen more dishcloths was a little depressing.

I do feel I can see the light at the end of this Bernat Handicrafter tunnel though:  once the mat is finished I have allocated almost all the rest of the cotton stash to specific projects.  They may not get started right away, but at least the yarn left over will have Purpose, and that changes the way I feel about it.

I tend to cross stitch less in the summer, so other than some birthday cards and a yet-to-be finished ornament,  I have just been poking my needle into a few of my current WIP's.  I joined a Facebook stitch-along for August whose theme is 'All Creatures Great and Small':  for this I brought out the butterfly kit I purchased last summer.

I signed up for Stitch From Stash again, and am hoping to do a bit better this time around.  'Miserable Failure' would be the right way to describe my last attempt at it!
I started off with a decent sized finish, so that combined with the three small finishes leaves me in the black at fifteen dollars.

This chart is by Veronique Enginger, one of my favourite French designers.  The chart is from her book, 'Douceurs et gourmandises au point de croix'.

I have done a tad of sewing too, but I think if this was not for another person I would not have it finished yet!  Another project bag for cross stitch with a sparkly needleminder, and two Eiffel Tower stitch markers because they also knit and crochet.  It's pretty obvious I love a good theme!

Now here we are, almost to the middle of August and fall seems to be waiting just around the corner.  As much as I want summer for a bit longer, I can feel the shift in my mind as I catch myself thinking about meal planning and cooler weather home projects.  Time marches on I guess, but it would be nice if it just stopped to put its feet up for a little bit wouldn't it?

Enjoy the rest of your summer:  I'll be back next time with another crafty slice of life. 😊

Happy Days!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Little Update


Last time I was here I wished you a happy Spring;  now it's time to wish you a happy Summer!

We have had some nice weather, but my goodness we have seen our fair share of rain.  Mr. Crafty World and I have been digging and planting like demons to get our property looking up to snuff;  it would have happened a lot faster if we didn't have to wait a week (or two!) between sessions to get things done.  However, we have almost gotten the gardens looking like we want them too, but of course with gardens you are never really satisfied or have enough plants do you?

I did get my flower fix with a cross stitch project though.  I think I was working on this last time I was here but was not quite finished.

This chart is from a recent issue of The World of Cross Stitching magazine.  I did a little experiment with this stitching project:  I wanted to see how long it would take if I only worked on one piece, and how I would like it.  I was feeling bogged down by the amount of projects I have on the go; and while I do get finishes they don't happen as quickly as I would like.  I worked on this for four weeks:  by week three I was ready to move on; and week four I almost couldn't stand the sight of it.  So now I know that I like to have variety in my stitching and have of course started about three new things on top of what I am already working on!

I also completed a small Christmas stitch I started last year:  this is a Dimensions kit.

This little gift stitch was made into a lavender sachet:

This was something new I tried:  stitching on burlap.  This design is from Anette Eriksson who has an Etsy shop.  It was very quick to work up, but any mistakes I made were an absolute bear to pick out.  I will definitely stitch more on burlap because I like the rustic look of it; I will just be extra cautious in my stitching!

I did change the design slightly.  Under 'Çhateau' it is supposed to say 'Saint Etienne  Est. 1759'.  I changed it to Saint Emilion as that is a French village we have loved visiting, and the first time we went there was 2001.  That's what I like about stitching and crafting:  you can can customize things to make them personal and meaningful to you.

Not much on the hooky front I'm afraid.  I have been going through my cottons to cut down on that stash.  A whole pile of dishcloths have been made and are waiting to have the ends darned in.  Next up will be some potholders similar to this one:

I started a shell stitch scarf with some of the yarn I bought in the spring.  I was hoping I would have enough for a short, double wrapped cowl, but sadly not.  I will have to order another skein and cross my fingers the dye lots are similar to what I have.  I have been looking around and it is not easy to find this yarn, so I have to take what I can get.

Of course a little craftiness had to be  done during all that rain as well.  I bought these solar lights with the idea of wrapping the globes with yarn, and putting them in my craft room.  I tried different weights of yarn and even embroidery floss, but all of them blocked out the light.  Since the globes are already wrapped with a white cotton thread, I decided to try dipping the globes into clothing dye to see if that would work.

I'm happy to report it did!  I just love going into my craft room at night and seeing these lit up.

Thrift store shopping has yielded more brooches to turn into needle minders:  with all those works in progress I have I need quite a few!

My daughter has one more school obligation to do and then the summer will begin in earnest for us.  We are having guests for the Canada Day weekend which I am really looking forward to, and the week after I start a new part time job. I hope I like it:  I think the change will be nice.

Until next time thank you for visiting and your kind words.  I hope you have a wonderful summer!

Happy Days,

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring Things


Well Spring has definitely arrived where I am, but it has been cloaked under grey and mostly rainy skies.  I thought a little crafty update with some colourful things might be the best rememdy at the moment.

 My daughter bought me this lovely transferware jug for my birthday.  I was especially happy to put these sunny daffodils in it:  I think blue and white transferware was made for yellow daffodils, don't you?

On My Hooks

These scarves are thankfully not needed at the moment, but I was happy to complete them and use up some more yarn for my stash reduction challenge:

A simple crochet linen stitch and two chunky 'mystery' yarns went into this one.  It's a bit skinnier than I would have liked, but I used up every bit of both yarns.  I wish I knew the brand name because it is really soft and lovely.

 This is my Ravenclaw-Inspired scarf I made for the Harry Potter CAL/KAL on Ravely through the Victorian Podcast Studio.  I used Red Heart Soft yarn, and the pattern is called the 'Mindless Scarf' by Knotted Nicole on Ravely.  This is probably my favourite scarf pattern as it is so easy to work up.  The scalloped sides happen as you go, so once you reach the length you want you are all done.

Moving to something more Spring-like, I hooked up this crescent shaped shawl from the book,
Poetic Crochet by Sarah Kay Hartman.

The pattern is called 'Avalon'.  I used a yarn called Bamboo Pop, in the colourway 'Soothe'.
The yarn is 50% cotton, 50% bamboo, and is really soft and has a lovely drape.

 I wouldn't say this is my favourite colourway, and it was a bit difficult to find the right pattern for it, but now that it's all done and ready to wear I feel more happy with it.

My last hooked project is another mesh shawl using ribbon yarn.  I had this left over from the crochet mat in one of my last posts.  While these are very quick to work up, I have to say I am done with ribbon yarn shawls!  This is my fourth, and this is the last!

While I have been working on lots of different crochet projects, I have been trying to be more disciplined with my cross stitch.  Since January I have been trying to work on one or two projects only, just to to get some of these WIP's completed.

 I was happy to get this one finished, just because I was tired of working with all that DMC 310!  I stitched this on a light pink evenweave fabric I dyed myself, and made a few colour and design changes to the chart.  While it did seem I was just slogging it out for a long while, I am really happy with the finish.  The chart is from the May 2012 issue of Cross Stitcher Magazine.

This project is a gift for my son, who turns into a teenager in July.  I bought the pattern from Holly's Hobbies on Etsy, and changed up the floss colours to some that were a bit brighter.  I don't know which I'm happier about:  the fact that I completed another WIP, or the fact that I have it ready three months before his birthday!

As a little reward for finishing two projects, I did start something new!  This is 'Spring Bird' by Jeanette Douglas.  I bought this chart while on vacation in March.

 The whole time I thought I was stitching on 40 count linen and was feeling very impressed with my advancement as a stitcher.  Well, pride does come before the fall, and it was only when I could not find a frame that I realized I could not have been stitching on 40 count linen:  I was stitching on 28 or 30 count!  Thank goodness there were enough silks in the embellishment pack to finish the design.  Now that I won't be able to display it in a pretty, vintage looking frame, I will have to turn it into a flat-fold or something.

Keeping with the Spring theme, I then stitched this Sheep Sampler from Elizabeth's Designs:

 There is a companion piece to this, but after all those specialty stitches from this design and Spring Bird, I think I will leave it until next year!

Every once in a while I like to do just plain embroidery.  I guess it's not really plain, because some of the stitches can be quite complicated, but all I wanted to do was make a few straight lines with thread on fabric.  I found this embroidery in a past issue of Bustle and Sew magazine:  I think maybe 2015.

 Originally I was planning on painting the hoop white, but I found some white seam binding that belonged to my grandmother and thought I would try wrapping the hoop instead.

Just for the record, here is another picture without that piece of fuzz between the 'P' and 'R' that I only just noticed!

Moving on to sewing, I wanted to make some things with some of the pretty fabrics I also brought home from my March trip.

First up is a small, quilted patchwork table topper using two packages of mini charm squares:

There is no batting between the layers:  just some white flannel on the back so it lays nice and flat.

 I couldn't resist this photo:  the colours just went together so well!

And lastly, (phew!) another project from Bustle and Sew using some of  my new fabrics:

I have a hard cover for my sewing machine but it's so bulky to have hanging around.  This is much prettier, and gave me another opportunity to play around with free motion embroidery.

I started off with a birthday picture so I'll end with another.  We had Afternoon Tea at home and it was just perfect.  The treats came from the local bakery; sandwiches were made by me, and a good time was had by all. The kids even dressed up so that was a gift in itself!

 The floral tablecloth was definitely overkill, but it was my birthday party!

Well once again that was an extremely long post, so thank you for making it this far.  I hope warmer  weather is at your doorstep (or cooler, depending what hemisphere you're in) and your flowers are blooming.

 Until probably next month,  Happy Days to you and thanks for stopping in!

xo  Jenn

Friday, March 24, 2017

March (February Too!)

Well Hello!
  I think I jinx myself everytime I say I am going to update my blog more often.  Gosh I was surprised to log in today and see it's been two months since I last updated.  I know I had been thinking of a blog post for a long time, so I suppose that brain of mine just assumed I had done it!

Has Spring come your way yet?  I suppose it has here, in that we are experiencing typical Canadian March weather.  Sunny skies for days; gloom and rain; below freezing temperatures, and today, snow.  Sadly these little daffodils are not gracing my yard, but are a memory of our recent trip.

My kids had their March break last week, so we chucked in the freezing temperatures for what we hoped would be a balmy break.  Sadly the weather at our destination was cold and mostly rainy, but at least there was NO snow and we did not have to wear full, outdoor winter kit!

We were able to have some nice walks in the forest;

...and on the beach looking for treasures.

We were commenting that we could be in Ireland...

Not Ireland, but our own beautiful British Columbia.  As I look at the snow coming down outside right now it seems like I have never even been away, and yet I was there only last week!  Shovelling snow will do that to your brain I guess.

So, crafting.  It has been a wooly winter here.  I have been having so much fun with the yarn stash reduction challenge.  I feel like I have been more creative with my yarn stash, and yet I have been able to hook up a lot of things without having to buy more yarn.  Here are some things I have finished since we last talked:

Another linen stitch scarf using Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in 'Tidal' and what I think is 'Bistro'.  These are so addicting to make!

This cloche was made up with a chunky mystery yarn I got at the thrift store.  I had exactly enough for this project.

 Baby cardigan made with King Cole Splash.  Again, I had just enough of the yarn.  How cute are those little bunny buttons?

Not a huge stash buster, but it turned out awfully cute!

This was probably my favourite project:  I was about to de-stash this yarn, and when I had them in a pile together I thought they went together perfectly.  I couldn't just get rid of it then, I had to use it!  Now I have a new rug for the downstairs bath:

I held the ribbon yarn and the cotton together and hooked rows of single crochet.  It's very soft, and the other yarn is cotton so it will be washable.

Libby Approved!

You will be happy to know I finished that darn wrap!

I used the darker yarn for one of the edges.  I have since taken it out because the wrap was too long for me so I don't miss the length.  That part also sits underneath, so you would not notice that both edges are not the same.  One down, two to go!

This was another great stash-buster and a joy to work up.  I just love these colours and they have been sitting in my stash for way too long.

Much prettier than the original cover of stained cotton twill.

Another photo bomb by Libby:  I think she suspects I love yarn almost as much as I love her.

This next project was a work in progress for much too long.  It started off as the Blossoming Bag by Sandra from Cherry Heart.  I wanted to make my flowers to mimic cherry blossoms, and subsequently only felt inspired to work on it when the cherry blossoms were in bloom.  We all know how fleeting that time is, so four years later I was only at the half way point.  I realized as well that the finished size of the bag would not be practical for me at all, so I had to have another think about what to do.  A pillow it is, and ready for this year's cherry blossom time!

In another episode of stash serendipity, I had two balls of a cotton yarn that were an almost exact match for the purple in the blossoms, and just the right amount to make the pillow backing.

Not quite finished, but  I have been working away on my Moorland blanket, and am now just beyond the half way point.  This is nice to work on as I love the colours and the texture the stitch pattern makes.  I am not making so many mistakes so it is moving along much quicker than before.

So you can see the wintery weather has been good for my stash reduction challenge this year!  I have lost quite a bit of yarn weight and it has been lovely.  I did have to purchase a skein to finish off a project, but that has a purpose so I don't feel badly about it.  I also bought some yarn while on vacation, but it is also ear-marked for projects so I didn't just buy it only because I thought it was pretty!

In cross stitch news I don't have much to report:  I have been working away on some of my larger WIP's so there isn't anything to show. Here is a rather bad picture of one of them:

I am very close to a finish on one of them so next time there will be something to show.  I did pick up a few stitchy things while on vacation and that is helping to motivate me to get stitching!

A few charts, a magazine and some pretty fabrics for finishing.  The Violet Fancy chart is an early birthday gift.

Of course I had to sew some more bags for all my crochet projects.  These are also very addicting to make, and great for stash busting your fabric stash.

Lastly I will leave you with a picture of the wreath  I made for our front door.  I hung it up on the first day of Spring, and we promptly had minus 30 degree Celsius temperatures and five inches of snow a few days later.  Yes, Spring has definitely arrived in my corner of the world!

  Happy Days Friends!  Thanks for visiting!

xo, Jenn

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