Wednesday, May 11, 2016

April Happenings

Hello Again!

Isn't it funny how the longer you are away the less you feel you have to show and tell?!

Since my last update I made some good progress with my stitching using my new "Stitching Formula".  Basically I am dedicating one week of each month to four different project types.  One week is for Christmas ornaments; another for Stitcher's Alphabet; one for larger seasonal WIP's and the fourth for whatever strikes my fancy!
I was able to complete two blocks for the Stitcher's Alphabet: J - Japanese Embroidery;  and K - Knitting.

Here is where I am to date:

Sadly once these blocks were finished my whole schedule was thown out the window.  I traded my needle and floss for hammers and paintbrushes as we have been madly preparing for this:

I had forgotten how much work was involved in getting a home ready for sale!  Now that the house is on the market I can relax a little bit.  I can tell you I was very happy to chuck out my painting clothes after last month.

I did a quick little crochet project for Mother's Day which added a nice little bit of colour to my evenings.  I used some more of Mary Maxim 'Scrub It' yarn and bits of Bernat cotton to make some face scrubbers.  The pattern is Doni Spiegels Springtime Coasters on Ravelry.

Way back in October I agreed to make a small quilt for a friend, which had to be finished before the end of May.  I knew I wouldn't start until after Christmas, and despite it being a little complicated I knew that would give my lots of time.  Along came February, then March and I finally got started. Fabrics bought; tutorial found; fabrics cut and sewn together was all wrong and distorted!

I had to start all over.

Then we found out we were moving, and all those hours I was planning on working on the quilt went whoosh!  towards painting and decluttering and DIY work.  I think they should add making a Lonestar quilt on a deadline to the list of most stressful things in life, right along with moving, death and divorce.  At least it was for me anyway!

OK, enough of me being a drama queen!  I finished quilt the same day we put our house on the market, and it will be mailed out this week.  I am one happy girl I can tell you.

It's just about five feet square, and it was requested to have the same colours you would find on a blue jay.  When I'm not looking at it from six inches away I am a little impressed, but that's how it goes doesn't it?  I sure learned a lot:  mostly what not to do, but those tend to be the lessons that stick with you the longest!

There, now I'm all caught up with crafty business and I thank you so much for stopping by my little crafty space.  I will keep you posted on the house selling business.  Visualize a great crafting room for me in my new house please! LOL.

I just wanted to mention about blog comments.  Lately when I comment on most of the blogs I visit, my comment usually gets published but the email gets bounced back to me.  So, if you are thinking you have not heard from me in a while, or others for that matter,  I have been there, but you won't get notified by email.  I'm not sure why this is happening now, but there you have it.

Happy Days my friends!!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Lenten Makes

I feel like I should have an intro song to this post. Adele's, "Hello.  It's Me." would be fitting!
Wow, you really wouldn't believe the amount of time you have when you don't spend it trolling on the internet!  We allocated ourselves one hour each week over Lent, and let me tell you, you don't get a lot 'done' in that time.  I tried to keep up with some of you, but given the time restrictions I certainly could not create any blog posts.  You have all done some lovely things over the last six weeks and I really enjoyed just being able to ogle for a bit.
My creative times over that period were mostly spent cross stitching.  It reminded me that it truly is my most favourite hobby.  I was able to complete a few holiday themed things, though I found the rush between St. Patrick's Day and Easter a little too quick!

'Love' by New York Dreamer and a sweet little Irish mouse by Lucie Heaton ( Issue 239 The World of Cross Stitching).   The Valentine piece is stitched on black aida:  I haven't stitched on aida in ages and it was so stiff it was hard to work on.  I still think it's great to work on when you are just getting started cross stitching, but I really prefer to work on linen or monaco cloth now.

This is from the bottom half of an Easter sampler designed by Tiny Modernist.  The pattern is from the March 2016 issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.  I just love the colours:  so perfect for Easter and Spring!  I sent the photo to the magazine and they are going to print it in one of their upcoming editorial pages.  That was pretty exciting!

These next designs were all freebies from some English cross stitch magazines.
 The bird cage is so pretty:  it's supposed to be a key chain but I would never use it for that for fear of losing it or wrecking it.  The front side was in the magazine; the back side I had to join facebook to get the chart.  I was really hesitant because I have already done the whole facebook thing and didn't like it, but I really wanted the chart!  I should really get myself out of the techy dark ages I think, but it takes so much time!  (Issue 201-April 2015 Cross Stitch Crazy magazine)

Gift tags from another magazine:  I love the paper tags they came with, but I did not enjoy stitching on the stiff aida cloth again.  They will be cute on gifts though.  (Issue 239 The World of Cross Stitching magazine)

A little mouse to make me smile:  the pattern was found in the March issue of Bustle and Sew magazine.
The blue bird is from last April's Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.

I stitched these Faberge inspired eggs a few years ago and used to display them in a multi apertured,  framed matte at Easter time.  I have not done that for the past few years so decided they needed a new way to be seen.   Now they can go in the basket with the rest of my stitching and I don't have to rearrange my wall photos!

I did work on some current WIP's:  Letter 'I' from Brooke's Books Stitchers Alphabet:

This is where I am so far:

I am trying out a new stitching rotation, so hopefully my works-in-progress will see a little more progress!

And finally, a bit of crochet in the form of pretty scrubbers for my pots:


...and a few Easter decorations with chalk paint,( this time inside the jar),

 ...and my new scroll saw:

Good for you if you made it this far!  I do have a few other things to show, but they are not finished- finished, so I will save that for another time.

Thank you so much for your kind words before I went MIA during Lent:  I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.  Being a newcomer to Instagram I know the convenience of the double tap to  'like' something, but a kind written word really does mean so much more.

Happy Days my friends:  I hope Spring has sprung where you are!


Monday, February 15, 2016

February Things

Hello!!  I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day.  I am so grateful to every one of you who visit me here in my little space and say the loveliest things:  I wish you could have a Valentine card every day of the year!
I had hoped to be here yesterday to show some makes, but it is a long weekend here for us so we have been quite lazy and I am at least a day behind!
I am happy to say I have my first big finish of the year:  my Hudson's Bay Blanket is officially finished!

This was an absolute pleasure to work on from day one.  I used a linen stitch, so it is quite dense but it was very quick.  It is the perfect blankety weight:  not too heavy, but feels nice and comforting.  I finished it just in time for the cold snap we had last week and it has been in almost constant use!

I used a Red Heart yarn for the the cream bits; the colours are mostly Vanna's Choice and one ball of Herrshnerr's eight ounce yarn.  I have enough left for some Canadiana inspired pillows too I think.

Libby gave it her seal of approval as well.  #naughtydog

I recently acquired a bag of ribbon yarn from the thrift store I volunteer at.  I never knew what to do with this stuff because I never had enough of any one kind to make a garment.  A string bag is pretty obvious, but I think this ribbon yarn is a bit too posh for that.  I found a pattern on Ravelry called the Easiest Crochet Shawl Recipe by Raising Godzillas and it is perfect for it.  It goes very quickly:  I think it takes me two to three evenings to crochet one of these.

There was no label on the yarn so I have no idea where it's from or how much was on the roll.  When I finished I had just a few meters left, so I'm not quite sure how much I used.  The ribbon is a black chiffon type with a gold thread in it.  You can wear this as a shawl or wrap it around as a summer scarf.

The reason I started working on it right away is because I came home with something else that day from the thrift store:

Black is normally not my thing, but these two go perfectly together.  I almost can't wait for summer!

Now, back to the time at hand:  I did a little festive crochet for my kitchen in the form of new scrubbers:

This is the 'Scrubbie Dots' pattern by Doni Speigle.  I used some cotton scrubbie yarn from my stash.

Valentine's stitching for the year:

Each pattern was found via Pinterest. You can get the patterns HERE (XO); HERE (tic tac toe); and HERE (kittens). 

It seemed to be a Pinterest inspired celebration with treats:

 ...and more crochet, this time for a good friend with a Valentine's birthday.

Heart pattern can be found HERE.

Whew!  Finally caught up!

So now we are in the season of Lent, and as a family we typically give up the things that distract us the most during this time.  If you have younger children you no doubt know that computers and video games are the biggest culprits. It's amazing the changes that happen around here during these six weeks by severely limiting screen time.  Many books are read:  many beautiful drawings and Lego creations are completed.  Jigsaw puzzles are worked on together;  the few movies that are allowed are watched together as a family.  There are fewer squabbles and really it is just more peaceful around here.  It's amazing to see what is accomplished  when we use the gifts we were born with and not distracted by technology or comparing ourselves to stuff we see on it.

I use this time to work on, and hopefully finish, those projects that have been languishing in my craft cupboard.  I am easily distracted by new projects and often start new ones in a burst of excitement before finishing what I am working on.  I try to exercise some discipline in using what I have on hand as well, as opposed to going out and buying new materials for new projects.  I don't have too much of a problem with mindless TV watching, but things like Pinterest can really waste my time so I try to avoid that as well.  I get much more accomplished during this time, and it is actually a time of year I look forward to!  The kids - not so much...but it's only six weeks, and sometimes you need to give up a few things you think you can't live without to appreciate what you have.

OK, after that I am all finished.  Thank you so much for visiting and your sweet words.  I am only "allowed" a small bit of time on the internet so it will take me a bit longer to catch up on what you're doing.  I will be visiting you though!  Have a wonderful week my lovely friends:)

Happy Days!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thrift Store Crochet

Design from Bent Creek

Happy Groundhog Day!  Our Wiarton Willy predicted another six weeks of winter, but as we really haven't had much of winter weather to start with I think we are all OK with that.  My latest crochet project will come in handy just in case though...

You all know I love a good thrift store visit, and if I find yarn there then all the better.  A few weeks ago I found a bag of burgundy tweed Sirdar yarn:  six skeins; made in England, 100% wool, for five dollars.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew it had to come home with me.  I mean five dollars?!  I would have been crazy not to!

I figured I would use it for some of the charity crochet I do around Christmas time, but then it turned out it had all the same colours as Mr. Crafty World's winter jacket.  Mr Crafty World is also in need of a new hat, so  this is how I spent my weekend:

I used two skeins for the hat: a simple beanie hat made long enough to turn up in double crochet.

With the leftovers I made the scarf, again in double crochet.  I knew I would not have enough of the tweed to make a long enough scarf, so I used a grey wool from Iceland I had previously found in the clearance bin of my local yarn shop for two dollars.

 Mr. Crafty World loves it:  he has been wearing the hat everyday. I loved hooking away the weekend and using up yarn from the stash.  We both love that the entire project cost seven dollars.  It was a win, win project: the best kind!

Thanks for visiting, and
Happy Days!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Finishes

Hello again!  Happy End of January!

I wanted to check in before the month ended and show the rest of my January makes.  I'm so happy I made it in time!

This has been a good month for stitching:  light levels in the morning have been just right to indulge in some after- breakfast cross stitching.  I have to confess to quite a few pyjama clad mornings while I plied needle and thread.  But heck, it's January right?

One of my first finishes was this little design on the left by Lizzie Kate.

I realized I had no smalls for the month of January so this was a good way to start.  The 'Peace' design is from The Drawn Thread, and I actually stitched it before Christmas and forgot to show it.  It didn't really lend itself to being an ornament, so I finished it as a small to add to my new January collection.

Because it takes three to make a collection I stitched these little mittens to go along with the others.  They came out super small because the fabric is 40 count.  While I like how designs look on 40 count when finished, I have to confess I don't love stitching on it.  Too hard on the eyes!
I wanted to break out of my pillow finish 'comfort zone' so tried a little tag design instead.  I'm kind of on the fence about it, but I like it enough I will try again.  The design is an old one from Helga Mandl.

I also completed an ornament for the month.  Well, I'm probably cheating a bit because I didn't actually stitch it this month.  I stitched this Country Cottage Needleworks design at least five years ago and never got around to finishing it off.  I'm not sure whether I'm happier about having my first ornament for the year done, or the fact I finished off some stitching that has been sitting around since 2008!

Speaking of long term finishes, I brought 'Stitcher's Alphabet' back to the table and completed the 'H' block.  I realize that wanting to finish two letters per month is too ambitious if I want to work on other stitching as well.

All that finishing was contagious, so I completed another work in progress from last year.  I think I started this last Spring:

I broke away from the pillow finish again!  'Chut je brode' (Quiet I'm stitching) is mounted on cardboard and made into a wall hanging.  I tried a ruched ribbon trim for the first time to cover the seams: I think I'm on the fence about that as well...  Anyway, another one out of the 'In' box is always good!

Now, the last thing I promise!  I crocheted myself another Nordic Shawl, this time in wool.
 ( Last year I made this up in cotton, and if you want to see it go HERE.)

This pattern is by Annette of My Rose Valley, and I bought the pattern from her etsy shop.  It is a pure delight to stitch, and even a beginner could do it.  I just love it, and it's not often I will stitch something more than once.  I may even do it a third time...

I used a Norwegian wool called Smart that I found at my local yarn shop.  Because I didn't put myself at the mercy of the clearance bin I was able to hook up the shawl as written:  no having to skimp on border colours or edges.

It's like a nice, big hug when you wrap it around.

 And that, my friends, is what I will leave you with:  a nice warm hug to end January with and as thanks for visiting.

Happy Days!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Check In

Well Hello!
 Has Winter visited you yet?  We got a bit of a blizzard last night; and with the way the wind was howling  I thought for sure this morning there would be monster drifts to dig through and perhaps a 'snow day' for school.  Turns out the wind just blew the snow somewhere else!

(Free crochet pattern from Repeat Crafter Me)

I thought I would do a bit of catching up since Christmas.  It seems like a long time ago now, what with having put everything away doesn't it?
My last post was a few days before Christmas and I still had gifts to make.  Can you believe that I actually got them finished?  I'm a little surprised myself!

I completed the slouchy beanie hat for My Favourite Girl.  This is actually the second pattern I used:  the first one was really nice, but I had to rip it out three times to make adjustments and I was running out of time.  This second edition was much quicker, and I am happy to report she likes it!  Yes, a thirteen year old girl liked her homemade gift!  That was like a gift to me:)

The pattern for the hat was from HERE.  The glove pattern is called 'Shell Lace Fitted Fingerless Gloves' by Sherry Ramaila.  This is a free Ravelry download as well.  Both are easy and quick.  For the gloves I would recommend using a larger size hook on the foundation row before switching to what your yarn calls for.

These next gifts I have been wanting to make my kids for years.  They are a little too old for stuffed puppers now (especially made by Momma!), but there is a redeeming feature about these.  Inside each dog is a removable barley bag to heat in the microwave and cozy up with on cold winter nights.

The dogs have been put to good use the past few weeks, but of course nothing is as good as the real thing!

I am happy I finally got the dogs made, and I can say with confidence I will never sew with this fake fur again!  Holy cow what a mess!  I had fur up my nose; in my mouth; stuck to my eyeballs and on every surface within five meters of where I was working!

In the last little bit before Christmas day I found the pattern for those crocheted Christmas lights above.  I fell hard for these and crocheted enough for two sets, with plans for a pastel version next year.  I crocheted so much my wrists were sore for days!

Of course once Christmas was over it was time to look forward to new projects.  I bought myself a pretty little notebook and jotted down all the crafty projects I want to make.  There are over thirty in the crochet section alone! *Sigh*, it's good to be optimistic and busy though isn't it?

I got a few works in progress out of the way, which I thought was a great start to the new year:

This pattern is a freebie from the DMC website and I started it quite a number of years ago.  Why I never finished I can't tell you, because it is neither large or complicated.  I didn't know how to finish it:  it's too large for an ornament or a small, so another piece of hoop art it is!

My Favourite Boy finally got his new flannel pyjama bottoms!

I have also had my first crochet fail of the year.  This is the Fifties Cowl from ByHaafner.  It is very simple and I was really looking forward to this one.  It's just not large enough and all the fudging I had to do to make it fit doesn't seem to help.  I'm sure I will make another one, but for now it's going somewhere else and I will move on to another project.

And that my friends, is enough for today.  I will be back in a couple of weeks with the rest of my January makes.  As always, thank you so much for visiting and your kind words:  it's always the cherry on my cake as they say!

Happy Days!

Friday, December 18, 2015

December News

Well.  That was a much longer absence than I planned on!  I have been a very busy elf around here as you can imagine.  I can't believe the big day is almost here and I still have presents to make!!  Will it ever be any different?  I highly doubt it!

Without further delay, lets get started on what I've been up to since the big blankety ta-da.
My crochet hooks were kept busy with a few more gifts:  I made a snuggly scarf for My Favourite Boy in nice chunky yarn:

Next I stitched up some fingerless gloves for My Favourite Girl:

I am hoping to make a matching hat so I see some furious hooking in my future!

I also crocheted a few kitchen things for my piano teacher.  She is very patient with me so I wanted to do something a bit more involved than a coffee card:

I managed to cross stitch two ornaments and finish off a third I had stitched last year:

This is stitched over two on 40 count linen.  It is a free design that can be found HERE.  Lots of lovely freebies to see there.

I made five or six of these because they were so fast.  I just stitched a face onto evenweave and used the fabric covered button tools to attach the fabric to a shank button.  Afterwards I glued the button to one of those plastic snowflakes from the dollar store.  Nice and easy and I used a few as package embellishments.

Last year I had an idea for a quick stitched ornament for the times you want to give something stitched, but don't want to take two weeks to do it.  I used metallic thread for the letters on my own dyed fabric.  It was quick to stitch, but I can hardly call it a quick finish when I take a year to make it into an ornament now can I?

Of course I pulled out all my decorations and had a grand old time doling out the Christmas cheer.  I have some new crafty additions this year:  first up are more sweater pillows, this time in festive red.

I used more sweater remnants for little hearts to decorate the mantle this year:

I also have some new hoop art courtesy of Bustle and Sew magazine.  I believe these are from last year's issues:

This is part of a larger design but I didn't want to do all the hand stitching for the lettering, so this is my abbreviated version  !    

This was originally designed to be a tea cozy, but I wanted something festive to hang in my kitchen.  There was much singing of the Christmas carol as this was being stitched!

So now the cards and parcels have been mailed; gifts have been bought and wrapped and the kids are off school.  We still have baking to look forward to, and a few church choir performances before we can all relax and tuck in to a nice turkey dinner cooked by Mr. Crafty World.  It has been a hectic season thus far, and I am looking forward to a break of tea sipping and cross stitching in my chair watching holiday movies and planning for next year.

I know this is already a really long post, but I wanted to talk about these next gifts as I think it's worth mentioning.  I read in our local paper about an initiative to adopt a senior citizen in long term care for Christmas.  As it happens there are quite a few seniors living there who have no family members to visit them over the holidays, or give them gifts on Christmas day.  This just about broke my heart, because I think getting bypassed for gifts at Christmas would be just as disappointing at 95 as it is at 5.  There are always gift drives for young children at this time of year, and I think that is important too, but these are people who have contributed to our society and are now being forgotten about just because they are old and out of sight.  When I called to inquire about what was involved I felt so sad again, because requests were for things like a tube of red lipstick, or a pretty hairband.  We ended up adopting four senior ladies, and hopefully these little gifts will brighten their day on what can be a very difficult time of year.

Two of our ladies requested costume jewelry; one a hair brush; and the last wanted a stuffed animal to hug and had a fondness for British sweets.  I also added a few chocolates and some lip balm, just to make it more of a surprise.

I wrapped these up as pretty as I could, because sometimes opening a nicely wrapped gift is more fun than seeing what's inside.  I am also aware that this may be the last Christmas for some of these folks in the residence and I think it should be a nice one.
So, if you are considering where to put some of your charitable Christmas contributions, think about putting them here, with a local seniors residence.  The dollar outlay was minimal, yet these were the gifts I enjoyed buying the most.

Thank you so much for reading this far!  Now go and enjoy something festive and have a wonderful Christmas!

Happy Days,

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