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.

10891536_10204676841432874_4842359953237597410_n

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.

treetopper2

Castiel Tree Topper

Pushing forward

Starting a conversation can be so hard sometimes. Finding the right ice breaker, the right way to start, can seem impossible. I find myself sitting quietly a lot these days rather than trying to find a way to talk about what’s been going on lately.

After my sister’s visit, I found myself slipping quietly into a funk. I’m not sure if it just started out as that down after a great time that happens to everyone, or if it was the time of year. Either way, I tried to manage it myself. I was diligently taking my meds. I got lots of sleep and ate well. Nothing seem to break the funk though, and eventually it grew into something more. My anxiety and depression reared their ugly heads. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends and family who encouraged me to talk to my doctor about it. My meds have been changed and I am being very careful around my triggers and am managing as best I can.

Unfortunately, the world keeps on spinning and doesn’t care what is already on one’s plate. Shortly after this, I received some news. I don’t want to get into too many details, because it wouldn’t be appropriate, but I am no longer doing any of the social media for Belly Laughs. I mention it only because I feel it is only right that you, my readers, know where to find me and I know that I have directed you there previously. There is a chance that I may do some blogging for them in the future, but that isn’t a sure thing. As of right now, I still work my regular monday night shift, but that’s it.

As you can imagine, the timing isn’t great with the holidays coming up. Thankfully, I did most of my shopping quite early and everything that is left on my Shopping list can be replaced with homemade items. Honestly, I prefer doing it that way anyway. It also so happens that one of my favourite self-care tasks is crafting, so it’s a win win.

The fun didn’t stop there, unfortunately. On my way to work on Monday, our one and only vehicle started making very unhappy sounds. I took it in yesterday (which ended up being a fun adventure for Liam and I, despite the early hour. He ended up having his first bus ride. A wrong bus choice on my part resulted in an unexpected trip to Starbucks and a windy but nice walk home).

liamadventureLooks like our poor wheels are pretty much done. We are putting about $500 in and then will trade it in. This of course means a bad financial situation when things are tough already, and added strain because we will need to finance the next car. Which also means that we will not be able to continue house hunting for a while, at least until things vastly improve.

So, here we are, I am trying my best to be positive about it all, but it’s hard. I probably need to find more work to supplement the hours that I have lost. On the plus side, a close family friend has presented me with an opportunity which may fill that void. We were talking about replacing the car soon anyway (ideally after getting our new home), because it is killer on gas. This situation sort of expedited the whole process. I was feeling torn about the whole house situation anyway, and this forces us to wait until we are in a more stable situation. Which, if I am being honest, is fine with me. Things are tough. Really really tough. I’m not doing great, however I do see that maybe this is the Universe forcing us to do things we have put off and giving us opportunities we may not have taken otherwise. For instance, I am now thinking about focusing more on what I can do in the future to potentially start my own business.

Oh, and I am knitting and crocheting like crazy again. Check it out! I will do a post soon with more deets on these.

liamgrampscommissionhatsHopefully I will have some good news to share soon. In the mean time, I will keep hoping and pushing along. Hopefully these bumps in the road are just new opportunities that we haven’t fully appreciated yet.

I’m a hooker

I’m not entirely sure when this happened. I have been a knitter for so long now. I was so sure I just couldn’t wrap my head around crochet.

Is that just one needle? No, it is a hook!

Is that Crochet?!

It started so innocently. My girlfriends all started to learn and they were making these adorable infinity scarves. I got my hands on an adorable dino cowl hood thing pattern for Liam, and some perfect yarn fell into place.

My first project is a bit…messy. I don’t love it. Neither does Liam (or Maddie)

Liam’s Drako

Once I finished Drako, I thought I would start back on the knitting projects I have sitting in my WIP (work in progress) pile (namely, Liam’s Gramps which is supposed to be his birthday gift from me). Instead, I heard the siren call of the hook and kept going. I had to have an infinity scarf of my own.

My Chunky Infinity Scarf

My pretty pretty scarf

My pretty pretty scarf

It was a super straight forward pattern with a super straight forward yarn (Cascade Mountain Top in Blackthorn, for those interested. More deets are on my Rav project page, listed above the picture). It was a super quick and satisfying project.

Once I finished that, I should have gone back to my needles, however I knew I couldn’t JUST wear a scarf. It was so cold in Ottawa this week. This mama needed a hat. I have never had the time to knit one for myself and I have been eyeing tams, berets and slouches for years. One of my girl friends just happened to pick up a slouch pattern that she was willing to send my way. I just happened to have two skeins of the most perfect yarn for it (Spud & Chloe Outer). Off I went.

My Feyona

A toasty noggin for me!

A toasty noggin for me!

I finished last night, according to the pattern. I wasn’t sure about it, so I brought it to my girls and they voted to add more length to increase the slouch. I agreed and crocheted until I ran out of yarn. Literally. I had to use some yarn left over from the scarf to finish this thing. It’s hidden, so you can’t tell, but it’s as much slouch as I could get without buying another skein (not worth the extra 17$ it would cost, not including shipping).

So, there you have it. My path to becoming a hooker. I love it. I don’t know how that happened, but there it is. It’s so great to have a product at the end of it. While knitting will always be my number 1, it’s nice to have something to come to when I just want to be quick and dirty. Now, I really need to get going on that sweater (at least until the Raveldacted Renegade Games begin, I have a great project in mind for that).

New Things

Happy New Year, dear readers. We are starting 2014 with many sniffles, coughs and rough nights.

Poor sick Monkey

Poor sick Monkey

On the plus side, all that downtime has allowed for some great tv time (Have you seen “Don’t trust the bitch in apartment 23”? Hilarity. Total hilarity.) and time for me to learn a new craft!

Is that just one needle? No, it is a hook!

Is that just one needle? No, it is a hook!

Yep, my Mum would be proud. It only took me 10 years to learn. My girls from my Mom Group of Awesome encouraged me and pointed me in the right direction (YouTube). I am currently making this bad boy:

The Drako Dino Cowl

The Drako Dino Cowl

It’s going pretty well. It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, and it’s taking me way longer than I expected.

It's my cowl hood thing. Hopefully Liam will look happier than the model kid

It’s my cowl hood thing. Hopefully Liam will look happier than the model kid

It’s my first project for the Raveldacted Renegade Games 2014. (Long story short, it’s sort of like the knitting olympics in an amazing group, LSG, on Ravelry). Yes, I’m starting early. I’m a big fat cheater. I’m ok with it. So are they, so it’s all good.

It’s also given me lots of time to play with my new beautiful babywearing lovelies!

My Didy Orient:

CAM00299

Currently being broken in as a hammock

And, the most amazingly beautiful DISO, the gorgeous Oscha Mystic Owls Ring Sling.

Liam loves this thing

Liam loves this thing

Gorgeous, right? I am so so lucky. I never expected to have a stash, but there it is!
Speaking of luck, look what this lucky mama just won:

The Maime bag, by Ness. A giant amazing diaper bag.

The Maime bag, by Ness. A giant amazing diaper bag.

I plan on giving it a shot this week and reporting back with a review! I have a crap tonne of diaper bags now, and I think I’d like to share my feelings on them with you. Cause, you know, why not?

A better day

Yesterday was a rough day. I won’t get into details, but my spirit was near broken and I just wanted to curl into a ball and weep (followed closely by drink my face off and then collapse into a deep slumber for the next 5 years).  I spent the day powering through work, reading some fluffy urban fantasy (Kim Harrison for those interested) and talking to Tracy and the husband. My co-irker was lovely and got me a haagan dazs ice cream bar. Mmmmm.

After work, I went home and cleaned. I cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned. We found out that money is tighter than we thought, so I plotted dinner ideas for when Jamie comes over tonight using only things we already have in the house. I picked something that works (baked spaghetti/macaroni. Another one of my Mum’s old standbys) and then continued to clean. I finally gave up cleaning at 9, had some sleepy time tea, made some puffed wheat squares (another Mum favourite) and then went to bed at 10.

I’m feeling waaaay more at peace today. Funny how working on ones physical space can make sure a difference with moods and emotions. I also took some time to put up some things that I’ve been meaning to display. One was a soapstone piece that Pat inherited from his Dad. It’s now in the main hallway downstairs. I also put up our family besom (inherited from my mother. No idea what it’s made out of, I just know it’s always been in my family home, as long as I can remember) as well as a gift from the bestie, Leigh. I’ll try to remember to take pictures of these things tonight and share them with you.

I feel ok. Seeing the outrage that people had over how things have been has fortified me. I’m not sure if it’s a gemini thing, or just a me thing, but I constantly worry that I’m being overly sensitive or manipulative. I second guess my reactions all the time. It doesn’t help that I’m being accused of being these things, so having people tell me “No, really, this is nuts!” is a huge help.  I’m looking forward to spending time with Jamie and Pat tonight. I am looking forward to spending time with our Heart family (for my new readers, this is Pat’s best friend and her family. They’ve basically adopted me as one of theirs) this weekend. I’m applying for part time jobs for when my current one drops in hours in about a month.

Sometimes you have to fight for optimism, but it’s there when you’re open to it. I’m thinking about craft courses to take (quilting! Has anyone ever done one of these?). I’m inspired by Alicia Paulson and her beautiful home. I love quilts. My nanny made me one when I was a baby which became my favourite blanket. My Mum actually had to repair it when I was about 12 because it was all worn out in pieces. I also really REALLY want to learn to crochet. I really want to make this:

Another great Alicia Paulson pattern

Overall, I’m good today. I’m making plans, I’m thinking about the future in a positive way. I’m feeling excited about something.  I know that there will be good days and bad days, but I’m so very thankful and glad to have such incredible friends, family and readers out there who share their support. Thank you, so much.

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