Sunday, November 29, 2009

Argyle Applique

This probably tops my list of cute things that I really like, but will probably never actually make.

Though, you never know. It could happen. Maybe you could make one though. And then you'd have a nice Christmas gift for me... or someone else, I suppose.

It's very similar to this idea which the crafty internets were all over in August:

While I also think this is incredibly cute, it is probably less likely that I would make this because I don't know where I would put it. Maybe in Z's room. Maybe I would give it as a gift. I guess it might make a nice housewarming gift, hmm?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Advent Ideas

As a child, I remember having those chocolate calendars that now you can buy for super cheap and are filled with gross, waxy, cheap chocolate (gee, can you tell how I feel about those now?) At least I remember a year or two of those. I remember better, though, my mom making an advent calendar for our family (and then for the families of all her siblings) and filling them with treats and activity sheets for the whole month. We have an advent calendar that I made for Z a couple years ago at a church event, which has little pockets that I can fill with small treats. I can't really fill it with treats, though, since our little sweetheart has a sweet tooth and has, on more than one occasion, helped herself to the days ahead.

I found a few ideas that could solve our little problem of not being able to wait for the day to come to have another yummy treat.

 This lovely little idea has me intrigued, little reusable links at Stitch-Craft. Found via Ohdeedoh. I love the idea of creating traditions by doing activities together as well as having our children look forward to a family activity instead of just a piece of chocolate. I'm just trying to figure out how we make it work as part of our routine and don't end up forgetting. Roxanne at Craft Addictions has a great starter list of advent activities that you can include in your calendar.

Also, Amber at has a great post full of advent ideas. I love her family tradition of hanging an advent wreath, chandelier-style over their table.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nope, nothing happening over here

Actually, quite to the contrary. I know it doesn't look like I've been all that busy lately, what with all the posts of old things that I've done and give aways, but the crafts that I've been working on are gifts. Gifts for people (or the children of people) who may or may not read this blog. What's a girl to do?

Link to other people's wonderful crafty ideas with their how-tos. That's what!

Whip Up posted this really great link to this german star tutorial. I love stars and snowflakes at Christmas, even though they're not that overtly Christian. The star is, though. Warning: there is music playing on the tutorial website.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baby blankets

I make baby blankets. I make the kind of baby blankets that I loved the best for my babies. I buy the same length of yardage as the width of the fabric, so I can be sure to make the biggest blanket without getting into quilting or anything. It's really simple: two squares of coordinating flannelette, sewn together with a cute top stitched border. Thats it. They make the best swaddling blankets, I think. Nice and big for my big babies. I swaddled my babes for a long time (5-7 months) and we all loved it!

Above is the second baby blanket I ever made, this time for my friend's baby boy. I didn't know he was a boy. I knew she was expecting a baby any day and so I went to the fabric store shopping for a baby whose gender I did not know. So, I shopped with my friend in mind and when we were roommates, I remember her wearing and loving animal prints. At the time, Fabricland had a nice selection of animal prints. So I picked up this one and a nice coordinating plain fabric for the back. I liked that it wasn't baby-ish at all.

After making that one, I got jealous for a hip blanket for S, since I had made one for him out of goofy fabrics from Walmart before he was born. And so resulted this cute camo puzzle print/camo flames blanket.

Top stitching detail.

My same friend had a baby girl this year and I was happy to discover that she shared the same love of these blankets that I have. She had requested something girly and reminded me that she loved purple, so and I was so pleased to find these two fabrics.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Halloween Costume

I made a couple things for my daughter's Halloween costume this year. Only one of them was made specifically for Halloween and that's this lovely tutu.

Such a sassy little pose.

I made it using this tutorial from Grosgrain. It required almost no sewing. I made it using an Ikea Lill Curtains. The beauty of these curtains is that there is 5 square metres of fabric for only $7! Super sweet deal. I even left the little hem on the bottom since I thought it gave an interesting look to it. You'll notice that Z is indeed dressed for a Canadian Halloween, wearing multiple layers and warmness. It is definitely difficult to do cute girly costumes that are warm enough to wear outside. We had a relatively mild Halloween again this year, but you just never know what the weather is going to be like when you're planning. And now with class dress up parties, you almost need 2 separate costumes: one for wearing to school and one for going out in.

So, the one of the other things I made was the sweater (though not originally intending it for a costume), made from this pattern. I am kicking myself now for not printing this pattern out when I made it for my daughter (I'd just refer to the pattern on the computer). It was free then. It wasn't in Z's size, so I did have to re-size it which, now that she is selling it, the pattern creator has done. I'm pretty sure I could figure out what I did from examining the garment and from memory.

The striping was created from this random stripe generator which is SOOO sweet. The geek in me is kind of excited by the math and programming involved in this. I don't indulge my inner math/programming geek much, instead I just enjoy this little tool and play with all the different possibilities.

The last thing I made was this crown, made from this pattern by Midknight Knitter. I made it with a slight variation, sewing elastic in at the back and crocheting over it, so it would fit a bit better. I had also made this earlier, after one too many cheap plastic crowns broke from being stepped on or otherwise misused. I decided a crocheted crown would solve the broken crown problem, and it has. I made this one in January and it has lasted us until now, it pretty good condition, other than some stretching in the elastic.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lace Beret

This is a beret I made at the end of last year/beginning of this year. It was my Christmas break project. The lace pattern was a little bit addictive, so it only took me about 3 days. Of course, I have children and a husband and all that, so it wasn't really 3 days, but I do remember putting in a little more than just evenings. It was a mystery knit along pattern called "Meret" found on Ravelry. I didn't knit along, because the knit along was finished by the time I found the pattern.

Here it is being blocked. That's a charger plate it's being blocked on! I was a little worried this would stretch it out too much, but it's bounced back a little bit since and looks quite good. If you could see the other side of the charger plate, you would see that the brim of the hat comes almost to the middle of the plate, so blocking it on the charger plate did not stretch out the brim which is really important. I made 2 extra lace pattern repeats since I wanted a slouchy beret and I had read quite a few reviews that recommended doing 2 extra repeats before finishing off.

This is a great pattern for introducing lace knitting, since it's a pretty easily memorized pattern and fairly easy to see where you are in the pattern. It became quite addictive. I recommend it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Camera Strap Cover

Loads of people who use their DSLR cameras find that the straps they come with are really irritating to wear. They chaffe the back of the neck and they just don't make you want to wear your camera around your neck... and you really should... as a protective measure against dropping it. Not only that, it is handy. I found this tutorial this spring on design sponge for making a fabric camera strap cover. You can buy plenty of camera straps in online shops like Artfire or Etsy, but I didn't really need a new strap, just a cover.

Here is the cover I made from the tutorial. A word of warning: make sure you measure your camera strap before you cut your fabric. Although the writer of the tutorial said she had the same camera as me, apparently our straps were not quite the same length, so the first one I made was a little on the short side. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't right and since it didn't take long to make, I whipped up another one.

This was made with a bit of fabric from my stash. You can also make a patchwork one from scraps, but since I'm not really a patchwork kind of girl, this one was better (and easier) for me. If you want to make a new strap, here is a tutorial for making a whole new cover from scraps (and an old strap).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Give Thanks

Well, this is over a month belated, but once it got near Halloween, I thought I would save this to share in time for American Thanksgiving. If you read as many craft blogs as I do, you can't help but being reminded once Halloween is over, that Thanksgiving is on its way. I'm still not sure I fully appreciate the magnitude of the American Thanksgiving holiday, except that someone told me it's almost bigger than Christmas. That's helpful, I guess.

 Can you see the shadow of my hands in the photo? 
I took this picture with no flash on my point & shoot.

Here is the pie I made this Thanksgiving. I was happy with the crust. It worked this time. The first time I made pie crust on my own, I didn't have a pastry blender and I didn't cut the lard pieces small enough since I had read a tip that it was good not to make them too small. I guess I didn't go quite small enough because when I rolled it out, I could see pieces of lard that then stuck to my rolling pin and... well, it wasn't pretty.

 I did a little bit of playing in iPhoto with these pictures, to warm them up a bit. 
They had a bit of a greeny tinge, which isn't so nice when you're thinking pie.

After yesterday's light post, you'll probably notice that something is a little off about these pictures. Our good camera was in the shop over Thanksgiving. It gave out on us during what was supposed to be a lovely little fall photo shoot at Prairie Gardens & Greenhouses. Fortunately it was still under warranty, and while the guy at McBain said it would take 6 - 12 weeks to get back (I was freaking out: that meant it could get back after Christmas). Happily, they under-promised and over-delivered and it ended up only taking 4 weeks and I had it back in time for Halloween. The point and shoot we have has a "food" setting, which I used for these pictures. Maybe it helped. I don't know.

We have some plastic letter stamps which I usually just let the kids use with the playdough, but they're the closest thing I have to alphabet cutters. I had to be extra careful since they are stamps and not cutters, so I had to gently dig the cut out letter from the inside of the stamp after I cut it in order to use them on the top. You have to look carefully to see the raised word "GIVE" above the cut out word, but it's there.

Happy Thanksgiving preparations, my American friends!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sneak Peek & Light Matters

Ok. So, I can't really go into details here about this project because my husband reads this blog and this project may or may not be a gift for him. It's my own fault, really, since I gave him the gears for not subscribing to my craft blog through google reader. However, he has seen me working on it, he just doesn't know what it is (or he's supposed to pretend he doesn't know what it is, right honey?). But while I show you the sneak peek pictures, I thought I might demonstrate some differences in light and how important light is to taking a good picture.

I promise, I am by no means an expert on this, since I just got my lovely camera last year and I haven't taken a class or read a book. I just picked up bits and pieces by reading other people's blogs and taking pictures. I should note that I have a 50 mm lens, which was recommended to me by a friend whose pictures I always admired on Facebook. I could not be happier with this lens. As lenses go, this is one of the less expensive lenses and I've been so happy with the results. This lens lives on my camera. It lets lots of light in and allows me to take pictures all day and night without a flash. It also has a shallow depth of field which means that it focuses on the subject and blurs out the background. So, you see the kids playing, but the unfolded laundry in the background is blurry (perfect!).

Here are some pictures I took of my secret project last night while I was blocking it.

 This one was taken without the flash,
with some compact flourescent floor lamp lights pointed at it.

This one as taken with the flash.
The same lamps were on, but notice how you can't really tell?

This one was taken with the flash on, but with my hand in front of it.
I've experiemented with this technique before with a point and shoot camera and got better results.

This was also taken without the flash, with the same lamps as the first two shots.

These are the pictures I took this afternoon, about 1:30 pm. This is right by a west facing window, which gets lots of natural light all day. It's one of the things I love about our living room.

Makes a big difference doesn't it? The colour is just so much better.
Though, it is different. It's not actually 100% accurate.
The real colour is more brown and, at least on my computer, this looks pretty grey.

I'm pretty sure the reason the colour is a little washed out is because of all the light. I haven't played with my settings or anything to try to get a more accurate colour, but I prefer the natural light to the yellow-y colour I got in the photos last night.

A note about the pattern... this was a lot of work. It was interesting and I got a lot better at it as I went along, but it required a lot of my concentration. I'll give a reveal after it's complete and it is in its recipient's hands.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Amigurumi Food

This is another re-post from my personal blog, from last year.

I made some play food for the kids. It's really fast to make. Some have called them amigurumi, but it's not quite accurate because amigurumi are anthropomorphic and I didn't put any faces or other human-like features on the food. I might get around to putting up patterns for these, though I just worked them out as I made them, but I'll just share pictures for now.

The first thing I made was a cupcake. I was inspired and used the pattern from Nimoe's Blog, but I omitted the cherry on top, the face and added the chocolate sprinkles.

It is a slightly left-leaning cupcake... ha ha... liberal cupcake

Next, I made a carrot. After I made the carrot, I found other carrots on Etsy, but I was proud to say that mine came entirely from my experience with real live carrots, my own head and my children's love of carrots.

A friend asked me if it was a throw pillow for the couch.

Next came the corn and the tomato. The colour in the picture is a little bit off. The ends of the corn are cream coloured, not white, like they look in the picture. I'm pretty proud of the corn. It's my favorite, I think.

Mmmm... Taber corn. I didn't get any this year.

Last, the humble potato, in honour of 2008 (remember I made these last year), the International Year of the Potato.

Here's to you, potato.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wrist Warmers

I love free patterns. If you are getting in the mood to make Christmas presents, now that it is mid-November, you should get on it. These cute wrist warmers would make a lovely little present. I can imagine wearing them in my office where my hands sometimes gets cold. I made some fingerless mittens which go halfway up my arms and I just couldn't figure out where I would wear them or what I would wear them with. They were super cute, but I'm just not sure I own anything funky enough to wear with them. Anyway, Creative Yarn has a free pattern for wrist warmers that are small and cute and would probably come together in a couple of evenings.

I thought of spoiling my daughter's pre-school teacher with a pair, though that might be a tad ambitious with the other gifts I am making this year.

Crayon Caddy

A friend asked me if I had any of these for sale. My etsy shop and my Artfire shop are sadly empty. I haven't had much luck selling stuff on Etsy, mostly because I haven't spent the time to stock it with my favorite things and market it properly. There are a lot of great Etsy shops and it's pretty easy to get lost in there. If I'm ever going to have any credibility, I should probably start having a stocked shop.

Anyway, this is a re-post from my personal blog of the Crayon Caddy that I made for my nephew last year. I made some for my children, too.

I'm quite proud of this because I designed it myself, up-cycled an old pair of pants and a shirt (the green striped fabric is new) and made it for next to nothing. And hello? Super. cute. And handy; do you see that pocket on the left? It's for finished works of art.

I used magnet clasp things for closure... so classy.
I didn't even know you could just buy them and
there they were sitting around in the fabric store,
waiting for me to buy them.

That pocket is from a shirt my husband was giving away. It wasn't a pocket originally though, it was just part of the shirt. It's totally a bonus pocket, for the crayon you found on the floor on the way out of the restaurant, you could even pop a matchbox car in there.

Oh, and just so you don't go thinking that I'm so super-"all that" sewer (is seamstress the right word here? because every time I read "sewer" I'm thinking of nasty toilet water pipes and I'm certainly not that), this is my third attempt. The first one was trying out my "pattern," the second one is still good enough to give away, but this one I'm starting to get good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crocheted Stockings

So, there was no plane crash, and I made it to and from Abbotsford to visit my friend and take a weekend away. I had a really great time. We shopped on Saturday for longer than I have shopped since I bought maternity clothes when I was pregnant with Z. So... just about 5 years ago. I bought myself some new clothes and I was even kind enough to remember to pick up small gifts for the kids and D. And now I'm back at regular life. Absence does really make the heart grow fonder and it was nice to get a bit of a breather from everyone to remind myself how much I really do love them all. And if was fabulous to spend so much good time with C.

I have not started my Sew Something in November pants or anything else for that matter. I am still working on the Racetrack Rug for my son. It was really slow going, as far as seeing any progress, even though I kept making single crochet after single crochet and seeming to get nowhere. But now I am at the end of my black yarn, so I decided that's the end of the road (haha, pun intended) and I'll be switching to the green to finish the outside edge. I may even be able to finish it tonight.

I had a friend ask me if I made stockings, so I took a picture of the one I made for S. I meant to have them finished by Christmas last year, but alas, it did not come to pass. I finally got it finished a month or so ago. Here it is. The one I made for Z is similar, but with different colours.

Of course, I had to take the picture after the sun had gone down and so the lighting is atrocious, but you sort of get the idea. I used different weights of yarn for a homely look, I thought it would be cute if we all had homely, non-traditional Christmas colour stockings to differentiate them from one another.

Here is a picture my sister sent me of the stockings I made for her family. They're all stuffed here.

They're nice and stretchy for stuffing with whatever your heart desires.

I'm hoping this post will help me get back into the swing of things and you will see me in this place more regularly again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sew Something In November

Well, I'm joining Creative Little Daisy in her Sew Something in November challenge. I would like to get  pair of pants made for myself, that I bought the supplies for last year. I can't believe I have procrastinated this long. So, hopefully after my little weekend away this weekend, I'll get to work on making some pants for myself. And probably I'll repair a hole in my husband's jeans.

If you want to join, head on over to Creative Little Daisy and if you have a blog, grab her button and put it on your blog as a commitment to yourself to sew something this month. I mean, how basic is that? Sew something. That's not so bad is it? It's not even saying you have to pull out your machine... just pick up a needle and thread and sew a button back on. I think that counts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What I'm Working On

Well, hello dear readers. I was doing so well for the last week or so, wasn't I? And then I kind of fell off the wagon for a couple days.

I didn't post anything about actual Halloween here, though most of you are probably my friends on Facebook, so you saw the pictures I posted there of my kids in their costumes. I tried my best to make one of these as my costume.

It was on meekssandygirl's flickr stream. It wasn't a pattern or anything, so I just did my best by looking at it. It wasn't that complicated, but I didn't have a deeper shade of red or purple, so I just ended up going with one red. It looks ok, but not good enough to bother taking a picture of mine and posting it for you to compare with this lovely one, that probably (hopefully?) took a lot longer than mine. I wore it to our little Halloween get together until one of my friends noticed me constantly fussing with it (it was a little on the tight side) and told me to take it off.

I am also working on this project for S. It is going well, except that every round takes longer than the one before because the pattern increases every round. So, now that I am into the black road part, it is very slow going.

The loopy grass part was time-consuming, but fun to do because it was neat to see it come together.

I have also been trying to stay off the computer in the afternoons this week, trying to give more of myself to my children while they are awake and saving computer time for after they go to bed. I have been busy getting ready for a trip (ALONE!) this weekend, preparing the house, so that the laundry is done and the clutter is under control before I leave. I have thought of cleaning out my purse at least 5 times since thinking of preparing for the trip. I really need to do that since I know for a fact that there is a pumpkin carving kit in there that I'd like to keep and I'm sure won't make it through security.

I still can't decide whether I should try to knit or crochet on the plane. I've heard of people losing their supplies and I don't know if I want to make my husband park and wait for me to see if I get through security with my knitting needles or just send me off. It's not THAT long of a flight. I'm sure I can entertain myself with podcasts and books for an hour or so. If you have any experience with knitting or crocheting on a flight and getting successfully through security with your stuff, I'd love to hear what you did (bamboo needles/hooks?) just in case I change my mind.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...