Jellybean’s In Threes

Sorry for the silence lately. Life got a little nuts there for a bit. Between OB appointments, a very emotional preschooler, seeing friends and family and seriously bad sunburns, we’ve been trying to enjoy our downtime as much as possible. I have a pregnancy post and a review coming up in the next while, so keep an eye out for that. In the mean time, here is a finished knitting project I’ve been dying to share with you:

In Threes by Kelly Herdrich

Pattern info here.

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My Ravelry Project Page

I joined this project as part of a knit along with a great group of knitting moms here in Ottawa. Not knowing whether or not Jellybean was a boy or a girl, I wanted a neutral colour. I used left over Madeline Tosh Vintage from Liam’s Gramps, which ended up making the project that much more special to me.

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The pattern itself is great. Easy to follow, a quick knit (especially in the newborn size) with a ton of sizing options. The details are lovely and I think it’ll work on either a boy or a girl. I had Liam help me pick the buttons, and we ended up choosing a light wood button with a cute little detail.

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I have a few more projects in mind for my December baby. Hopefully they go just as quickly and as beautifully.

Handmade Holiday

This year I decided to get an early head start on my holiday gifts. The idea was that I would be able to shop sales, budget better and have time for crafting. I think it really paid off. I managed to make several gifts for my loved ones and wanted to share how they turned out!

Embroidered Names for Friends

Embroidery is something that I stumbled into on my own several years ago and became absolutely smitten by it. I had a ton of floss, so I picked up some frames and linen and got to work. Most of these patterns are free hand with a couple of exceptions (like the foxes).

embroidery4 embroidery3 embroidery2 embroidery1

I have one more that has yet to be gifted, so I will share that later too :)

A Little Bit of Love Ornaments

I took an old sweater of my Mum’s that I loved (and she had loved), but I just couldn’t wear. I had never been able to donate it or give it away, so instead I decided to share a tiny bit of that memory and love and share it with family. I cut the sweater into pieces, and then using a cardboard template, cut hearts. I sewed the hearts together and Liam and I then stuffed the hearts.

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Castiel Tree Topper

I came across this amazing post on Lattes and Llamas, which features a knit Castiel Tree Topper. As a huge Supernatural fan, I was completely amused by it and then remembered how Cass is basically my SILs Husband, so I texted her a picture. She nearly died with a desperate need, so I knew I had to get to work. I only had a little bit of time left before our holiday celebration, so I hunted down a crochet Amigurumi version of Castiel (available here) and altered it. Please see my Rav page for all details on my changes. SIL informed me her bestie NEEDED one, so I made two. One ended up being a bit fatter than the other, but overall, I am very happy with how they turned out. Took me about a week to make both using scrap yarn.

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Castiel Tree Topper

Liam’s Gramps

Some of you may remember my baby craft posts from when I was pregnant. I had these grand plans of knitting all of these adorable things for my little one. How is it that I always forget how slow I am as a knitter? And how flighty I am? Well, it took me 2.5 years to complete this one project. My first sweater for my baby boy.

Gramps by Tincanknits

Pattern heregrampsdone3

My Ravelry Project Page

I loved this project. Absolutely loved it. The pattern was well written and the tutorial on the Tincanknits blog made any issues I had completely disappear. This was my first in the round sweater, so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. It was nice to have the designer walk me through the steps.

grampsdone1MadTosh is the prettiest yarn I have ever had the privileged to work with. It is so soft and supple, while staying strong and solid. The colours are so rich and lovely. Seriously, I could marry this yarn. I never want to work with anything else ever again.

grampsdone2All I have left to do on this project is the buttons. Because it has taken me 2.5 years to complete, it’s actually a little snug on Liam (heartbreak!), so I don’t see him wearing it buttoned up, but I think it would still be a nice detail to add. Which do you prefer? I really like the look of the deer head buttons, but I worry about the light wood standing out too much. Thoughts?

grampsbuttonsI plan on officially giving this to Liam for Yule, though he has worn it and seen it already. I am so very happy with how this turned out. This project has reignited my love for the fiber arts. I have been knitting and crocheting not stop since!

Crafting on the Mind

Sorry for the silence again. I had a hard time trying to find my words after my last post. Thank you to everyone you sent me their support and comments. I appreciate it <3thanks

As usual, we’ve been puttering along here. Life continues to be busy and I continue to add little projects to the mix.

With the seasons changing, the weather getting cool and christmas music playing on the radio at work (Ah, the joys of working in retail during the holiday season), I’ve been thinking about getting my decorations out. The christmas season is a hard one for me because it was SUCH a big deal for my parents and my Dad’s kids. I’ve been trying to reclaim the season by starting our own traditions and by encouraging some cheer. I’ve never done the Christmas With a Toddler thing before, so I’m a little concerned about Liam attempting to climb the damn tree or smashing ornaments. As a result, I’ve been thinking about using mostly hand crafted decorations. Depending on whether I can find the time, I’d like to try to make the following (patterns, pin, etc… are available on my facebook page for those who want to make them too!):

The other big crafty thing on my mind lately as been waldorf crafts, specifically Waldorf Dolls. Don’t know what I mean? Well, one of the most popular waldorf doll out there, at least in the Mommy circles I travel in, are these beautiful creations by Bamboletta.bambolettaAren’t they lovely? I would love to have one for Liam, however I find the price just too steep for us. (They range from 130-270, depending on the type of doll). Plus, I’d love to learn how to make such beautiful little things. I think it would make the doll that much more special for our family, you know? Hopefully a local waldorf school will be doing a course soon. I’m already scoping out suppliers for fabrics and hair :D

The other waldorf critters that I want to make are these kind of peg dolls:gnomeAnd needle felted creatures:

feltfaerieAren’t they lovely? I so desperately want to learn! Wish me luck :) I always get so excited when a new craft crosses my path. Can’t wait to give it a try.

Baby Crafts – The Knit List

There are some benefits to being home sick for a week. Not many, mind you, but one big one is that I’ve had a lot of time to think.

In the last couple of days, I’ve drafted our birth plan, our Before Baby Gets Here To Do List and our Hospital Bag Packing List. On top of that, I’ve started narrowing down what I’d like to craft before bambino L arrives. Seeing as how this blog started out with the intention of being somewhat craft related, I figured this would make for a great place and time to share my thoughts. Enjoy!

Knitted Items:

  • Booties

Little Button Loafers

These Little Button Loafers are adorable. I love them. They are the perfect mix of Old Man and Function that I crave in my baby boy knits. My only concern is the little itty bitty buttons. I can’t help but hear my mother’s voice remind me “NO BUTTONS ON BABY WEAR!”. What do you think? Death trap, or adorable footwear?

Blue Steps

 Blue Steps is an adorable basic baby booties that some how reads a bit more boy to me than most basic patterns. Look pretty straight forward too. A good “Coming Home” Booties perhaps?

Contrast Edge Slippers

 Contrast Edge Slippers, these booties are pretty basic, a little rustic and really cute. They are also the first pair from the amazing book 50 Baby Bootees To Knit. I can’t recommend it enough.

Pirate Bootees

 Pirate Bootees, another great find from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit. These ones are just nautical enough to tickle my fancy and to match a really cute onesie I got for L a few months ago (all anchors, adorable!). Definitely a must knit.

Textured Cuff Baby Bootees

These Textured Cuff Baby Bootees are another 50 Baby Bootees to Knit find. Very versatile and really cute. Another simple pattern, but really sweet.

  • Hats

Hunter

Hunter. I love this pattern. It’s so…perfect. The yarn, the colour, the baby. Everything. A must make for sure.

Teddy Bear Earflap Beanie

This Teddy Bear hat is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Unfortunately, it’s crocheted. That scares the crap out of me, considering I don’t crochet. At all. My mother tried to teach me a million times, but it never happened. Will my love for this hat overcome my fears and push me forward? Only time will tell.

Boo Hat

Boo Hat may be a good option if I can’t figure out the crochet of the bear hat. Not quite as cute, but it may do the trick.

Hoot Hat

Hoot Hat is amazing. It’s perfect. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a lot of the projects attempted of this pattern haven’t turned out quite the same. I’m still going to give it a go, but for a 9.00$ pattern, especially for a baby hat, that’s quite the risk.

  • Sweaters

Baby Yoda Sweater

Baby Yoda Sweater is the first sweater I considered for Baby L, especially as a Coming Home sweater. It’s simple, it’s warm and I think it would be a really sweet first sweater.It’s not too fussy, which will be key in dressing a newborn.

Ribbed Baby Jacket

 Ribbed Baby Jacket is so handsome. I love how simple and clean it is. It’s really charming and looks like it would be another great 0-3 baby sweater. In fact, it’s slowly creeping into first place, past Yoda.

Tweedy Boy

 Tweedy Boy is gorgeous. I may even already have the perfect yarn for it. I do think, however, that it’s too heavy for April, and it would be a shame to make this in 0-3 sizing, only to have it never really be worn, so I’m thinking this will be something I knit in the 6-9 month range and save it for the fall. Definitely on the “Must Knit” list, however not as a priority.

Gramps

 Gramps is my favourite thing. Pretty much ever. This sweater is exactly what I want to make for my baby boy. It’s perfect, it’s sweet. I want it. I need it. Again though, like Tweedy Boy, I think it would get way more wear if I make it for the fall, rather than the newborn in the spring. Makes me sad, but I think in the long run, it’s for the best if I wait for something this awesome. (The other option is to make two…don’t even let me consider that one, because it sounds AWESOME)

Baby Yours

Baby Yours is a perfect example of all the sweaters that I am typically a sucker for. Cabled. Interesting construction. Tweedy yarns. Is it too fussy for a baby? Or is it a perfect “Dress Up” sweater? Is it too much for a spring baby? Will he ever wear it, or should it wait too?

  • Blankets

Before I get into this section, I’d like to say that I’m not really convinced that these will happen. I already know I have at least two gifted blankets on the way, on top of my own baby blanket which I still have. Having said that, these are the baby blankets that I adore and lust over.

Waffles

Waffles is gorgeous. It’s rich and lovely, but looks like a slow pain to knit. Worth it, knowing that it will be abused and covered in vomit and poop? Hrm.

Tiramisu

 Tiramisu. I love this sweet blanket. Yes, it’s crocheted, but it is everything “Baby” to me. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like it’s the right fit for our baby, right now. Next time?

Sunshine Day

 Sunshine Day is another beautiful Alicia Paulson creation (again, crocheted) that I absolutely love. Again, it’s not quite right for Liam, so I’ll keep this in my queue for later.

Purl Dreams

 Purl Dreams is another favourite. I love this blanket. It’s simple, sweet, and so cozy looking.

Baby Babar

Baby Babar is just as wonderful as Purl Dreams. Lovely.

  • Other

Miittens

Miittens. This is a great Knitty pattern. I am planning on making these for Coming Home and general Keep Baby From Damaging Himself.

Kanoko Pants

 Kanoko Pants are gorgeous. I love these and Baby L shall have them. Perfect for keeping his chubby little legs warm before summer.

Vanilla

 Vanilla is a great soaker pattern. We’re not sure about cloth diapering yet or not, but I really like the idea of keeping his little bum covered, cute and warm. I plan on making a few of these. Maybe. If I ever actually start knitting any of these things.

Well, that’s it for now. I will add other plans in a later post. Hope these have inspired you, or at least given you a look into my twisted mama brain :D

A rambling fall post

It’s been one of those weeks that just wears you right down to the ground. There’s been family drama, estate drama, the death of my year old iPhone, work troubles, hormones, nightmares, illness, serious money troubles, you name it. October has been hard on us. Today S and her wee ones popped by for a visit and some running around. I swear, there’s nothing like having your nearest and dearest around when you’re going through hell. I also heard that L is coming to town next week for work, so I’m going to be even more spoiled with some bestie time.

You can feel autumn in the air, the chill, and the smell of the leaves. I usually love this season, but it’s always a hard time of reviewing what you have around you and the drawing end of the year. I’ve been thinking a lot about Samhain and what we’re going to do this year. I haven’t really been practicing much. Honestly, since losing my mother, I’ve been afraid to get back in touch with my faith. It’s like that saying “Once bitten, twice shy”. I’ve been so afraid of getting in touch with that part of myself. I’m thinking I’m going to make either Red Moon’s Honey and Lavender cake or some kind of spice cake. I’m thinking about doing some kind of ritual for the dead. I don’t know. Being pregnant, I’m not in the mood to go out partying like in past years. Maybe we’ll just stay home and watch scary movies. I’ve been dreaming of my parents almost every night this month.

On a cheerier note, my workplace has decided that we should dress up for Halloween. Being preggo makes that difficult for me, until I saw this:

Yes. It has been purchased and shipped. I picked up a black shirt from Old Navy today while out with S. You can be a fashionable preggo this Halloween too! Here’s the shop where I found it.

The cold is helping to revive my creative spirit though, which is nice. I’m plotting some knitting projects (finish the hat for Pat, start on a scarf for a friend and of course – BABY STUFF). I’ve been thinking about getting back into journaling and maybe even drawing. Being forced inside isn’t always a bad thing I suppose. Also, I’ve been recently inspired to try my hand at a few new crafts. Firstly, here is a LOVELY wreath that Danielle made over at PHIT:

Didn't she do an amazing job? I love those colours!

Seriously, run over to her blog and tell her how amazing that is. My friend Krista of Dandelion Express made a wreath too:

Again, aren't these ladies super talented?

I just need some felt, I think, and these could be mine. I even have a foam wreath frame thingie from when I was thinking about making a mobile for a co-workers baby. (PS, don’t try making a hand knit mobile for a co-workers baby 2 weeks before the baby is due. You will never finish.) The mobile in question:

How cute, right?

I have the worm dragonfly body done. Yeah. That’s it. Here’s the Rav pattern page.

BUT! Despite that failure, I am considering attempting some felt mobile ideas for Babeh. I came across from obscenely cute ones on etsy:

Adorable! So colourful and happy! All for the low low price of…65?! Yeaaaaah, no. It gets worse too. We’re thinking about doing a woodland themed nursery (by we, I mean me. Heh.) She has a woodland themed mobile:

NEED IT.

It’s 75$. Yes. 75$. So, I’m thinking of spending maybe 20$ on felt and supplies and going from there. I think I can do it :D  Here’s the etsy store if you are interested.

Anyway, I’m off to listen to some more Neko Case and maybe even enjoy a book. Have a great weekend everyone <3

Too sick for samhain?

This week has not gone to plan at all. Pat and I were feeling very smug about having found what seemed to be the perfect Halloween costumes for us. Namely, Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy of the Dresden Files (which, if you haven’t read, you totally should. Srsly, it’s awesome):

Of course, best laid plans and all that…this week we both find ourselves fighting a nasty illness. Starts with a massive headache and then descends into flu-like symptoms. Pat missed two days of work thus far, and I had my second day off work as well. He’s feeling much better, but I’m still in the thick of it.  It’s not looking promising for the weekend.

So, our plans right now have changed to simply staying in and watching horror flicks, with maybe a good meal if I’m feeling up to it. It really depends. I’m not sure about any rituals, simply because I don’t believe in doing anything of the sort when you’re feeling like ass. If we’re on the mend, costumes are no where near ready, so we’ll attend a friend’s party in whatever we can muster up. We’ll see.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. It’s my favourite holiday and I’m missing out. Oh well. Apparently my body needs this time, so who am I to argue?

In the mean time, I’ve been doing what I can to continue working on the betterment of my life and my home. I am in full swing on transforming my craft room-turned-dog room into a craft room/guestroom, I’m very excited about it. All we really need is the installation of shelving that I already own, and the purchase of a day bed. I’ll make a big post about it when it’s all done, I promise. In the mean time, this is what it looks like right now:

Complete with Laser Kitty and Kitty Belleh

The other thing that I’m really excited about is the free online art course I’m doing: The Heart of Art. I found this thanks to my friend Krista, who posted about it here, on her blog. It’s a really interesting course that’s all about finding healing through art. I’m still working on week 1, and I can say that I have learned a lot. I used to draw and paint all the time, but it’s been years. It’s great to learn something new, and to see this sort of resource available on the net for free. I wish I could have had this when I was in my early teens, that’s for sure.

Once I’m done my first piece I’ll post it for you guys :)

The other great thing I’ve recently joined online is a pretty well known group on Ravelry. In fact, most of my Rav peeps are members, and I have been a lurker for a while without ever really looking into it deeper. It’s the Lazy, Stupid, Godless group. It’s refreshing to hear such honesty and openness in a group of people. It’s actually got me back on Rav, and interested in knitting again. Now, it’s definitely not a group for the faint of heart. These people can be brutal, but if you have skin tough enough, they are also extremely supportive and hilarious.

And with that, I’m off. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better before the weekend. If not, have a great one everyone. Have a drink or two for me.

The Rest of the Wedding Crafts

I suppose I could have added this to the last post, but it just didn’t seem appropriate. So, instead, a whole new post to continue on the Wedding Crafting train!

So, last time I showed you my garter and my jam. This time, we’re going to look at my very easy save the dates, programs, seating chart, “guest book”, table numbers, Memory Table, handfasting cord, and my favourite DIY item thus far: My ring pillow.

Save The Dates

I’m not sure if this qualifies as “DIY”, but seeing as how I did it myself, I’ll go with it. We wanted to send out Save the Dates to allow our long-distance family members enough time to save up and plan a trip down, if they could. Pat has an uncle in Dubai, for instance, who needed lots of notice for the wedding. So, I started poking around Etsy and wedding forums for ideas. Eventually, I settled on the services over at Zazzle.com. You can pretty much make anything over there. You can personalize clothing, items, whatever. The service I was interested in were Save The Date cards. The plan was to have them printed and sent out with Christmas cards in 2009.  Here’s what we came up with:

Keep in mind, this was before we had to change our date, so we were going for a fall wedding theme. It only took me maybe an hour to come up with these, and they were printed and shipped to us within two weeks.

Programs
Pat and I were very lucky to have my good friends at Wishtree do our invitations. Unfortunately, it was not in the budget for us to have anything else professionally designed and printed, so I decided to do our programs myself.

A friend of mine from Weddingbells sent me a template for a bi-fold wedding program. I have to admit, it took A LOT of work to figure this thing out and get it to print properly. This was the one wedding project that took me WEEKS and caused me more than my fair share of frustrations.

I printed these on two types of paper. One is a marbled light card stock for the covers, picked up at Staples. The inside bits were printed on an off-white recycled paper, picked up at WalMart. All of these were printed very quickly and efficiently on my work photocopiers. I then had a gathering at my home with my sisters-in-law who helped me fold and staple each one.

One thing to keep in mind when doing your own programs…very few people actually take them home. It’s a little discouraging to have put that much work into them, but I’m glad we did. The programs explained a lot of things that our guests were confused about (where to go between the ceremony and reception, what a Ring Warming and a Hand Fasting are, who are those gorgeous people standing at the front of the room, etc…).

Seating Chart
I decided to make my own seating chart, as they tend to be ridiculously expensive to have printed. I found an old window pane in my family home in Orleans. My Mum, you see, was big into glass art. She did stained glass, Glass-On-Glass and Glass bead making. This window pane was salvaged by my Mum for the use of doing glass-on-glass art. I decided it would be perfect for our look and was a subtle nod to my Mum.

I cleaned the glass just a bit, because I didn’t want it too perfect. Our look was rustic, and a shining window pane wouldn’t have fit. We picked up some scrapbooking paper from Michael’s that suited our theme (woodland rustic elegance) and our colours (purple, brown and green), and some Putty Adhesive. I printed on the ivory card stock, taped the lists to the scrapbooking paper and then used the putty to attach the paper to the frame. Because each pane was shaped differently, tape or glue wouldn’t have worked. I didn’t want to use nails for fear of breaking the glass, so the putty was the perfect alternative.

I think it was a huge success. People loved it and it really suited the rest of the decor. Took me very little time to put together, so over all, one of the best DIY projects from the whole wedding.

Guest Book
I knew we didn’t want a traditional guest book. No one ever looks at their guest books and we wanted something to remind us of all of our friends and family that supported us on our wedding day. Taking a cue from my girl, Sarah, we stole their idea that they used for their wedding: A picture frame guest book. Again, not completely DIY, but seeing as how I put it together, I’ll count it.

First I went to Michael’s during their frame sale and picked up a large frame with LOTS of matting at 50% off. I then had one of our engagement pictures blown up and printed at Walmart. Guests then were able to sign the matting with Sharpie markers we provided. I love the result and its something we can look at and cherish for years to come. I think we’ll even keep the engagement picture in there. :)

The Table Numbers


Like I mentioned with the programs, Pat and I just didn’t have the money to have our numbers printed, so I did it at home. I used some stock photo flourishes, left over cardstock and some photopaper. I used spray adhesive to attach everything together. Et voila! Unfortunately, there aren’t too many pictures of them. Sorry!

The Memory Table
Both Pat and I have people that we’ve lost that we wanted to honour in some way at the wedding. We wanted to do it in a way that wasn’t morbid, and wasn’t intrusive to the rest of the event. So, we came up with the idea of the Memory Table.


I had contacted both of our families in the search for family pictures, specifically from weddings if possible. I took these pictures, scanned them in, made them all either sepia or black and white, and printed them out to the same size. I then took cheap IKEA frames and spray-painted them black so that they all matched. I also found an antique frame and printed out a poem to go with the table.

Everyone complimented us and thanked us for the table. It was pretty, and not so sad as to upset anyone. Definitely what we were hoping to accomplish :)

Handfasting Cord
Pat and I both felt strongly about including Hand Fasting in out ceremony. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to us as our cord, so I went out to one of my favourite stores in the world: Fabricland. I picked out some beautiful velvet ribbon, and a purple ribbon that matched our Ring Pillow. I finished it off by with some of the ribbon from the Ring pillow.

I considered braiding it, but felt that it wouldn’t do the beautiful ribbon and service. so I simply tied the ends together. Simple, but pretty and perfect for the ceremony. Here it is, modeled by my dress form, Betsy:

I was concerned about it being a pain for our Officiant, but she did a great job and we didn’t even get tangled. Woo!

The Ring Pillow

Now, for my favourite DIY from the entire wedding. This is the project I’m the most proud of.

I was inspired by this, which I found somewhere out there in the vastness of the internet:

I picked up some fabric at Fabricland (it’s very similar to a suede, but synthetic), and then cut up some of my grandmother’s wedding veil. It was a beautiful long cathedral veil that was falling apart. It was never properly stored or cared for, so I decided to make the best of it and make it beautiful again. I used one of the buttons from my Mum’s collection, ribbon from my own collection (used in the making of Baby knits for friends) and then embroidered our initials and wedding date on the back.


It was incredible painstaking. I worked on this for about 8 hours. Making the pillow itself was easy peasy, but I’m not well practiced at embroidery, so it took me longer than expected. The most delicate and time consuming part was of course the lace. I had to hand sew every piece down, being careful not to tear or damage it.

Now, I just have to figure out where to keep it :) It’s too pretty for our couch, so maybe a comfy chair or our bed. We’ll have to wait and see.

So! That’s it! At least as much as I could think of :D I hope you enjoyed and I hope that I’m able to inspire and maybe give some new brides hope that they too can DIY as much as possible.

Wheels and Wedding Crafting, Part 1

Good afternoon everyone!

We in Canada were lucky this week to have Canada Day on Thursday. For me, it coincided with my summer hours week, so I got Friday off as well (at my job, we work 45 minutes more each day during the summer, which earns us every second friday off!). Faced with this long weekend, I wanted to get a lot done.

One result of weddings, that I hadn’t prepared for, is the mess. Firstly, you’re bringing home a bunch of stuff you didn’t have before (yay gifts! Oh wait, that includes ALL of the decor too!) and no where to put it. It also means all of those jars I used for centerpieces came home with flowers in them. I’ve been slowly working towards reclaiming our home. I feel that today, finally, I’ve made head way. All the flowers have been composted, water dumped, jars washed and sorted. I’ll be selling some of them, and keeping the few that I really love. Unfortunately, with these flowers, came some of the BIGGEST EARWIGS I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Yes, they warrant caps lock. Seriously. Thank god I have a fearless husband manned with huge shoes to destroy them.

I know that that’s not a very Yay Nature! thing, but I have this understanding with creepy critters. In your environment, I’ll leave you alone. My house, however, does not welcome anything between 5-7 legged critters. Spiders I can handle, because they eat things I hate. And they are master weavers. Bugs though? No way. You know, I thought about posting a picture of an earwig just now, for those of you who don’t have them, and I just couldn’t do it. No way I’m letting one on to my blog! UGH.

They are truly my most hated critter. Unfortunately, I live in an area where they prosper. HATE. Ugh.

So, back to happy things: This weekend has been productive. I did some cleaning at The Big House (the family home), did some banking, cleaning and, completely unexpected: Bought my first vehicle.

My last car had been a gift. When my father died, my Mum gave me his ’96 Volvo so that I could get back and forth to work, and to her place to get her to her many doctor’s appointments. Unfortunately, as you might remember me talking about, I crashed it about 7 months ago:

The car that saved my life.

I’ve only owned one other car before that, and it was extremely brief. And wasn’t really mine. My Dad bought a Volvo and was going to sell it to me. I took it on a few road trips  and then decided that I didn’t want to keep it. In fact, even before we left I decided I didn’t want to drive it, so my best friend, Isaac, drove it on our road trip out East.

Isaac, Me and The Car

My favourite picture of the trip

My first car

It was a great car, but I was having major stress issues dealing with it being a standard. You see, I never really learned to drive a manual car properly, and it was just too much for me to drive for 22 hours straight. So, I gave it back to my Dad when we got back from our Summer travels.

I’ve never actually purchased a car, had it put into my name and owned it, all on my own. Every since the crash, I’ve been needing a vehicle to get around. My Mum’s van has been useful the last few weeks, but we’re sending it back to the dealer soon and I don’t want a minivan. So, Pat and I started our searching and very randomly came across a 2000 Subaru Outback with a bunch of scratches and almost no rust. It’s in great condition and the scratches make me less worried about keeping it pristine. So, allow me to introduce my new baby, Betty Joan:

Meet the lovely lady Betty Joan

Her name is both a nod to Mad Men, as well as a reference to her license plate. I obviously can’t tell you much about it, but it does include the letters B and J. She’s a great car that will definitely serve our family as it grows. We aren’t planning on having kids right away, but certainly within the next five years. We wanted a vehicle that could handle all of our stuff (including our 85lbs dog) and any potential babies. I think she’s just great :)

In other news, I wanted to share some of my wedding crafts. Now that the wedding is over, I feel that I can finally share some of the things I made for it.

Heriloom Wedding Garter

My Garter

Pattern: Knitted Lace Wedding Garter

Yarn: Artyarns Silk Rhapsody Glitter

Ravelry Project Page

This garter was actually a really fun quick knit. Because of the yarn I chose, I had to change the pattern quite a bit. It still ended up HUGE, but absolutely gorgeous. The yarn was just the most beautiful stuff I’ve ever knit with, though not the easiest to work with. The glitter separated from the yarn, and didn’t have the same stretch. Winding it was NOT fun. In the end, I only wore the garter for a little while, because it was just too big and too warm for me to wear at the end of June. It’s definitely going into my cedar chest for my kids though.

All knitted

Jam Wedding Favours

Jam Favours

I decided quite early on that I wanted to make jam for our favours. It suited our rustic and DIY theme. This was especially true once we decided on mason jars as the centerpieces. For the recipe, I used the one on the quick set packages. I found it too sweet for my taste, but it was also my first time using Quick Set (with sugar already included) as opposed to pectin. The jam was straight up strawberry. We made 85 small jars (I think they were 1/2 cup?).

How to make your own easy peasy jam:

1. Boil your jars and lids for a good 10 minutes at a rolling boil. This makes sure you get all the nasty bacteria out. Remember, when removing them from the water to use sterilized tools, and NEVER touch the inside, the mouth or the bottom of the lids with your bare hands.

Sterilized Jars

If you have a pressure cooker, I’d definitely recommend using that to sterilize instead. But, boiling works fine so long as you’re careful and quick.

2. Cut up your fruit. In our case, a BUNCH of strawberries. We cut them pretty chunky, because I find it easier to mash bigger pieces. Depends on the consistency you like.

LOTS of strawberries

3. In our case, we just threw all the strawberry bits into a pot with some lemon juice and boiled them. Once they started to boil, we added the quickset. The key here is stirring. Keep on stirring and mashing up the big pieces.

Me, stirring away

4. Once the jam has boiled for some time (I think it was about 10 minutes, but I’d have to check), you remove it from the heat and start skimming the cloudy stuff off the top. Personally, I put the skimmed bits in to a bowl to eat with fresh bread or shortbread cookies.

5. Once all skimmed, ladle the jam into your prepared jars. Get the lids on quick, as it’s the heat of the jam which will pull the lid down into a seal.

For storage: If you plan on using the jam right away, keep it in your fridge once cooled (Hot glass + cold fridge = bad news!). Otherwise, you can store it in a cool dark place for about 3 months. Longer if you freeze it instead (which is what we do. We’ve used jam YEARS later, if its been frozen). When labeling, make sure to include the date made.

Some great labelling pages: Eat Drink Chic

What I did:

-Printed one set of labels on Staples Brand labels (Ours read Strawberry Jam. Handmade with Love. Heather and Pat, 26-06-19).  Those went right on the jars.

-Printed another set that read “Spread the Love! Heather and Pat, 26-06-10”. These went on plain white tags, also bought at Staples. We then used some of my scrap yarn to attach those to the lid. We were lucky that our jar lids were so pretty, so I didn’t feel the need to add fabric, though you can. Just be aware that this has to happen as you’re closing the lids as it goes between the middle lid and the outer ring. Be careful that you’re spooning the jam in cleanly, otherwise you’ll get jam all over your fabric.

Hope you enjoyed!! I’ll be posting more of my crafts over the coming weeks.

KniCroBloWeek: Post 3&4

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday.  I spent the day with my sister at the family house in Orleans. She returned home to Calgary today, so I wanted to take advantage of all the time we had before she left. Now, to get back to it!


One Great Knitter

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way

I have to say, there are a few Great Knitters in my world. The first is one that I’m sure has influenced a lot of people. The lovely Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka, The Yarn Harlot. Steph made it ok to be a dork about knitting. She talked about the silly things we’d do in yarn stores and made it all hilarious. She’s incredibly approachable, scary smart, and definitely the kind of woman I hope to be one day. She was one of the first bloggers I came across online. I liked her simple webdesign that really showed that it was about the knitting, not the flash and glam.  We met once at Yarn Forward during one of her book tours and she was incredibly sweet to both me and my friend, Melissa.

Me and the Harlot

I loved her honest insights into her home life, her love of knitting and the challenges she faced. Sure, she’s like a superhero of knitting with those crazy fast skills, but she always manages to stay down to earth and gets just as frustrated as the rest of us with yarn, projects and gauge.

The next is one of my long time reads. She was one of my first knitting blogs as well, and definitely served as an inspiration for me as a person as well as a knitter. The beautiful Lolly of Lolly Knitting Around.  Lolly is super kind and really great about responding to her audience. She talks about life, family, yoga and knitting equally.  She and I have really similar tastes in projects, so it’s always neat to see how her pieces turn out. Though she doesn’t post as much today, I always go back to see how things are doing, how her love of Yoga is changing her life and what her family is up to.

The next is one who doesn’t blog anymore, and can you blame her? Life got a little busy for the amazing Eunny of See Eunny Knit! As an editor of Interweave Knits, you know this girl has an amazing eye and incredible talent and love of the craft. Her work has always inspired me to be better. She is the knitter I hope to be one day. Her stitches are gorgeous and crisp. Her pieces always look so perfectly tailored. Really gorgeous stuff! Even though she doesn’t post anymore, I definitely recommend going back and reading past entries. Eunny is real people too ;)

A New Skill

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

There are always new skills that I want to learn. I’m definitely one of those people that will never feel completely satisfied with what they can do now. I’d love to learn to knit continental, backwards and to do stranded colourwork. Anything I can’t do, I want to be able to. I think the big goals for me are to one day get to where my Mum was. She could crochet and knit without thinking about it and she produced some beautiful afghans over the years. I would love to learn to crochet. There are some blankets and slippers that I’ve been coveting for years that have intimidated me because of the hook. For instance:

From Knit Scene

Alicia Paulson's beautiful Tira Misu

There you have it! See you tomorrow folks! <3