Friday, February 26, 2010


I came to realize yesterday that I am officially hooked on crocheting.  Addicted might be a better way to describe it at this point.  I'm not giving up any other hobbies just yet, but crochet has definitely joined the crew and is somewhere near the top with sewing and cross stitching.  That's pretty high.
I took a three hour crochet class two years ago, where I learned to chain, single and double crochet. By the end of it my head was swimming and I had a monster of a headache.   A couple of bargain books and many internet searches later I am gaining a little bit of ground.  Most of what I do comes with a lot of fumbling, questions and a whole lot of un-ravelling.  In fact I think I have unravelled as many stitches as I have left in.  However I keep coming back to it.  Yesterday I bought my first crochet magazine.  It's the current issue of Crochet Today.  I was taken in by projects like this:

...and this:

...and especially this:

While at another store a few days ago searching for off-white yarn (and learning for sure that yes, dye lots do really matter), I found some knitting kits on clearance.  I fell in love with the colors in a kit to make something for baby, which also included some pretty fabric.  While I have no plans to take up knitting I did know that 6 balls of pretty yarn (5o% wool) and a quarter of a yard of fabric for under $9 is a good deal, so I popped it in my basket. 

Aren't those colours delicious?  I wish I had seen this before I started my tea cozy, but I have another project brewing that I can use them for.

One thing I really love about crochet is its portability.  I have been able to crochet in lots of public places lately.  Those hours I spent in the school registration line added a good length to my pink scarf.  My tea cozy has been to several dance classes, the dentist's office and public library.  I tried to crochet while in the bathtub last night, but wet yarn doesn't slide off the hook very well :(  I'm going to keep trying though....

I am almost half finished my tea cozy.  I had one side fully made up, then unravelled it because I thought it could be a bit wider.  I had the second half started when I realized the second skein of yarn was not the same shade of off white as the first.  I spent most of yesterday morning trying to find a match, because of course I threw the original label with the dye lot on it away!

I think I got a proper match this time, so I'm on to the second side.  The pink flower is a practice one; I'll be making more when the sides are done.  I'm really excited about this project so I hope it turns out!  I may have to take a break over the weekend because my left eye is having a serious case of eye-strain.

It hasn't been all hooky business around here: last weekend I started on some table runners.  These two are from a kit I got last year for my  birthday:

(I still have to add the binding)
I figured since my next birthday is in a month I should get started on these!  I probably would have gotten them made sooner, but I couldn't decide on fabric combinations.  The kit was only supposed to make one runner, but with the extra fabric that came with it I managed to eke out  two.  I'm a little annoyed with the instructions, as it said to tear 5 strips of fabric to make the sides and binding.  After I sewed the binding together and started applying it to the sides of one of the runners I realized there was not enough to go around.  Of course because I made two runners there is no more to spare!  I will have to bind it with plain -old bias tape, but it should look o.k. in the end. 
I am in love, love, love with the fabric; purple is my favorite colour and every time I see these it makes me really happy.  I thought how lovely they would look in my kitchen on the table and dresser if my kitchen walls were painted a pale lilac.  That would be an extremely hard sell to Mr. Crafty World though, so I'll just have to settle for the purple runners.  *Sigh.*

Have  a lovely day :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunshine + Sewing = Happiness

The sun came out today.  Being a prairie girl who grew up with lots of sunshine, my psyche really takes a beating when it's gloomy outside.  Too bad for me that southern Ontario is mostly gloomy all winter!  Anyway, the sun came out today and I stopped feeling sorry for myself and dove into my fabric stash. 

 I have been wanting to make a Union Jack pillow for ages now, and I decided that today was the day.  Part of the reason why it took so long to make was that I couldn't decide what fabric to use.  I decided to just be assertive and pick something and if I didn't like it I would make another one.  Turns out the first things I picked out I loved.  I guess I should be assertive with my stash more often; maybe more would find it's way into a finished product!
After much measuring and eye-balling and pressing and stitching I ended up with this:

And it's new home is on here:

Have a great weekend! 


I was thinking the other day as I picked up My Favorite Boy from school, how special this time in kindergarten is.  I don't really think about it too much, except perhaps when moms I know whose kids are now "grade one-ers" talk about how much they miss it.  It is special: the little fenced off yard, just for them;  the days of learning and nurturing and security. Perhaps because I'm having one of those weeks, and feel a need for a bit of nurturing myself, I thought that a return to kindergarten for a short time would be very nice indeed. 
 Imagine if every year or so you had to take a "Kindergarten Sabbatical". For a whole month you were to show up at 8:35 a.m. and enter the little fenced play yard. After 20 or so minutes of playing in the fresh air - nothing structured, just running around really - you enter your workspace.  The first thing you are greeted with is a smiling face by someone who is genuinely glad to see you, and an orderly start to your day.  Everyone has their own little cubby for wet winter boots and snowpants and jackets.  Your cubby is marked with your own name and no one else is allowed to use it. 
You  sit on the carpet by the teacher's chair and start your day with a song.  Actually two; the first being the national anthem (which some people really need a refresher course in!) and another about friendship or plants or teddy bears. 
Throughout the day you visit various centers which might include puzzles or playdough or lego or kitchen; or my favorite: crafts!

As a child your imagination is limitless.  There are no end to the possibilities of what you can do with empty yogurt containers and toilet paper tubes.  Somewhere along the line we squash some or all of that creativitiy, yet there is a need to create in all of us.  When was the last time you made a straw necklace, ant trap (top right) or jack-hammer from tubes and boxes?  When was the last time you just played?  Or painted without saying you can't paint?

Do you remember the smell of chalky tempera paint?  Like wax crayons it's a smell that usually brings back happy memories.  Combine it with the paint-crusted smock (donated by someone's dad) and you are ready to let loose with those colors.
There's work to be done in kindergarten too.  There are math problems involving cut-outs of animals or hearts, but it's usually accompanied by cutting and pasting.  There are numbers and letters to practice.  There are quite a few of us who could use a little practice in our penmanship!

Once a week you are taken in a line to the library.  Imagine going to the library every week!  I'm a big lover of the public library, but even I don't get there once a week.

I think all this sounds wonderful, but I haven't even mentioned snack and lunch, where you have to put your work away and sit with your classmates and eat.  Someone always does something funny, and once in while someone snorts milk or juice out of their nose.  Then comes recess for more fresh air and unstructured play. 
Can you imagine how much this kind of routine would refresh and invigorate you?  A month of shucking off responsibilies for 6 hours so you can play and make stuff?  Personel problems are usually sorted out by telling the teacher of any infraction, and after  an "I'm sorry" you get back to what you were doing.  Usually with the person who wronged you in the first place,  but it doesn't matter now because that was in the past and you have gotten over it.
I think going back to kindergarten would be better than any of those management seminars or other courses they send you on to make you a better employee/manager/boss.  Maybe you need to be a better person before you can be a better employee/manager/boss.  Starting and ending your day with a song is a sure start I think :)
Growing up has it's perks, but there are just some days when you could really use someone else to open your applesauce or zip up your coat. 

I wish you all Kindergarten Days. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope this day finds you relaxing and surrounded by lovely things, as mine is so far !  Another special occassion done and almost dusted as they say.  This year was good;  I was able to make a few more decorations for our Valentine Vignette.  Not as much as what I had hoped, but that's usually the case all the time anyway!  I had talked about making the heart bunting I saw on Sew Mama Sew; and I did that, but I changed it to two vertical hanging decorations instead.  We must have symmetry don't you know!

I also made some felt treat bags for the kids; something to hold a few candies and these cute little dogs I found at the dollar store.  I have had the pattern for weeks and weeks, and last night at 9:30 decided it was a good time to start!  The patterns are from Betz White's Etsy shop.  Next year I hope to make her cute little mice and hedgehogs.

I know that no matter how much I decorate and sew for each special occassion, it's stuff like this:

...that my kids will remember.  Long after the treats and toys the kids will remember the pink heart shaped pancakes!  Really I could save myself so much work if I just stuck to the pancakes.
The kids weren't the only lucky ones around here.  I got this beautiful bouquet of gerberas:

... and a lovely necklace made by My Favorite Girl.  I have tried all morning to take a picture of it but it just isn't turning out.  Anyway, it's made up of red seed beads and a pink rose quartz heart bead.  She worked very hard on it and I am honored to call it mine.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love Birds

I have been waiting patiently for Checkout Girl's Valentine tutorial to come out on Sew Mama Sew.  On Saturday I got a chance to sit down and cut out all the pieces, and made two versions of it.  I made one like the original, and another with more muted colors. 
I didn't think I would like the original version so much - too many bright colors - but in the end I think it's the one I prefer.  I lightly stuffed the hearts with a little polyfill, and I like how it makes the wing stick out a bit. I didn't have any of the stiff craft felt, so I used iron on interfacing to stiffen up the back piece.  My hole punch went through it all right, so I know I can use that trick again in the future.
My Favorite Girl loved the design as well, and made her own version out of paper.  I just love how she loves to craft!

A Valentine Flock of Lovebirds:

I see there is a cute heart bunting on Sew Mama Sew as well: I think that will be in my future!  Hopefully on Wednesday I can get to it.  Tomorrow is a no-crafting day:  I will be spending 5-8 hours standing in line.  The first five hours will be spent waiting outside, and it's supposed to be really cold tomorrow!  I bought some long-johns, hand and foot warmers and two packages of tissue.  What am I standing in line for?  Concert tickets?  No.  Zhu Zhu Hamsters?  No.  It's to get My Favorite Boy into the same school as his sister next year.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pyjamas, Progress, Passwords

Yesterday was a pyjama day for me. Not the usual kind, but one spent actually making the pyjamas! We shall call this the "Experimental" pair, as I blundered and re-stitched and made up and pieced together. Despite all that, they do fit, and they are comfortable. I have a feeling some more deconstructing/reconstructing will have to go on to fix a few things, but I'm not too stressed about it as this is the first garment I've made for myself in a very long time. Here they are all wrinkly because I slept in them last night:
I still really love the fabric; you can't get a great view here, but it's all covered with faded looking violets. All very comfy and vintage-y looking, and the cotton 'snaps' so I know it's a good quality weave. One pair down, one to go, but I think I'll give my brain a bit of a rest from pyjama making for a week or so.
I have been toodling along on some other longer projects. You can see the scarf is getting longer; I'm much happier with the width now, and any ripping out I have to do is because I'm not paying 100% attention as I work
I love this cross stitch; or rather, I love the idea of it, but I will be happy when it goes to its new home. It's full of color changes that I fear will not do anything for it in the end. Sometimes you can stitch a piece and almost go crazy with all the color/shade changes. Then at the end it all melds so beautifully and you can literally see it was all worth while. I fear this will not be the case with this design, but I started it for a very special person and I must finish it.

We have progress on the basement as well. This is a really crummy photo, but I was too lazy to go and turn the other light on. Anyway you get the idea. You can also see that it will be a while before I can return all that stuff currently sitting in my living back down to this corner!
My lovely Mum noted to me that only those with registered ID's could post comments on my blog. I have corrected that so feel free to drop me a little note; comments make my day!
Thanks so much for visiting, and have a great day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Posy Cozies

Didn't I say a few posts back that I wouldn't be doing much creative stuff for the next few weeks? And would you believe I told my Mum just a few days ago that I didn't think I was going to like crocheting as much as I thought? Well I am loving this 'do the opposite of what I say' thing, as long as it works out in my favor!
As I was working on my pink scarf, I was thinking how tedious it was, and how after all these years of wanting to learn to crochet I was probably going to put away my hooks for good. Then I got these primroses from the store, and remembered other bloggers making little cozies for the pots that mimicked Cornish Ware. I figured I could just try one, and see how it went.
I made one for my yellow primrose and liked it so much I crocheted two more to make a set.

I just stitched a long rectangle in single crochet for each and joined them together when I was all done. Easy, peasy, even for me. I'm loving the candy colors with my spring-time blooms. My Favorite Boy calls them flower sweaters, and I can just imagine how far back Mr. Craftyworld's eyes are going to roll when I show him. They brighten my day anyway!

Something else that made me want to keep up with crochet, and almost hyperventilate with it's prettiness, is this. You really should go see it. (I didn't want to post the picture here because I haven't asked for permission.) They have a rose version too. Today I started trying to make my own, but I'm not sure how it's going to go because my teapot's a little different. If I had a traditional teapot shape I would use this free pattern: it's gorgeous and I just love the pansies on it.

All in all it was a great weekend: a bit of hooky business, some cross stitch, cup after cup of tea, and I cut up one of the sheets I bought for pyjamas. Kids were happy, mummy was happy, and the sun was shining.


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