Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bedside Upgrade

Mission accomplished!  We finally found the bedside tables we were looking for.  Things got much easier when we decided that we would go for a his-and-hers set instead of finding two that matched each other and the room and fit into to the teeny tiny spaces beside our bed.

So here's the before shot.  Things were looking a little like a university student apartment--functional, but uninspired.

And here's the after shot.

Wooden furniture!  Real, grown-up wooden furniture.

Looking at photos from the house before we bought it, I would say this room has come a long way:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy Accident Baskets

Sometimes best the best kind of crafting comes from happy accidents.  My friend Sian gave me a bag of yarn, a pattern and a request to "Make me a slouchy hat, please."

I tried.

I tried a different pattern.

I tried again.

But everything I created ended up looking more like a firm felt frisbee than a slack and slouchy beret.

So I decided to do a little research on the yarn and found that Bernat has changed their Softee Chunky yarn which is what the pattern called for.  Sian had purchased the new Softee Chunky.  The pattern was written using the old Softee Chunky.

Now it's a REALLY chunky yarn.  (And really soft, too.)

So, as the weather got a bit warmer and a hat seemed like a bit less of a necessary accessory, I decided to take a chance and make Sian a crocheted basket instead.

Three baskets actually.  I kept on crocheting until the yarn ran out.  The chunky yarn provides a surprising amount of structure.  Full disclosure: I loved these so much that I almost kept them for myself!  But I had a inkling that Sian would love them.  (She does!)

I think I would call these S, L and XL-sized.  If I had more yarn, there would be a medium one, too. But I will definitely be making more, and writing a pattern, too!

Close-up of the handles.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Salvation Army Thrift Finds - Kitchener Area Thrift & Vintage (Part 1)

It's no secret that I love thrift stores.  Frankly, what's not to love?  They're environmentally friendly, easy on the wallet, and they hold all kinds of one-of-a-kind treasures.  When I met my now-husband and found out his favourite store was Value Village, that gave him a significant amount of points in my books.  When I introduced him to several other thrift and vintage stores in the area, I'm sure I gained points in his books, too.

More people should be using thrift stores!  It means less goes to the landfill.  It means meaningful employment for many local people.  Sometimes it means money for charity, too.

For these reasons (and probably more?) I bring you my first mini-feature on area thrift stores.

The Kitchener Thrift Store benefits the Salvation Army .  Located near Highland and Westmount in Kitchener, it's the closest thrift store to our house, so it gets most of our donations!  This store always has a lot of furniture.  I've been lucky a few times buying DVDs (including full seasons of TV shows) there, too.  They organize their housewares and knick-knacks by colour, so I always have fun wandering those aisles looking for things by colour palette.

My last trip was a brief one.  I needed an excuse to go out for a walk, so I set the Thrift Store as my destination.  My finds this time were simple, but great finds nonetheless:

1.  A white pitcher/vase for $1.99  (sells for $14.99 at IKEA)
2.  A large piece of cotton muslin for $3.99 (great for a practice run of the skirt I want to sew)
$5.98 and no tax.  (I love that thrift stores have no tax!)


Eco Giftwrapping (a.k.a What To Do When You Have No Wrapping Paper!)

I recently wrapped up some scarves as gifts.  It was one of those last-minute, just-because things and as I rushed to wrap them before heading off to family Easter dinner, I realized my only traditional options were to wrap them in Christmas paper or stick them in oversized wedding-themed gift bags saved from our shower.

So, I went to the craft shelf and found...

...some vintage napkins, scrapbooking flowers, and straight pins.  (The napkins I used were beautifully pressed, but you'll get the idea with this leftover wrinkly one I used for the demo, won't you? ;)

To wrap the scarf:

1.  Fold the scarf into a square-ish bundle.

2.  Place the bundle in the centre of the unfolded napkin.

3.  Fold the napkin around the scarf, envelope-style.  (That is.... top down...

...bottom up...

...sides in.

4.  Secure it with a straight pin inserted through two paper flowers and pressed down gently into the fabric.

That's it!

By the way...
The whole bag of vintage napkins I bought cost me 50 cents.  Look at the beautifully tatted borders.  (Tatting is a kind of micro-crochet.  I don't have the patience for it, but can appreciate the time it makes to add those lacy borders!)  Some of them were clearly done by hand.  I love thrift stores!

Freezing rain day

I haven't blogged since the last snow day, I don't think. Technically, this is not a snow day but a freezing rain day. I won't worry too much about technicalities. I'll just worry about enjoying my free time! Here's the project for this morning:

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