Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting It Together

Day 1 of organizing my craft space took place mostly in my head.  I started off with a little bit of math, trying to figure out how many more granny squares I needed to complete my patchwork blanket.  My mind was blown when I realized that a blanket of 7x8 squares (56 total) arranged on diagonals would result in exactly 14 squares of each colour.  Math is beautiful, no?

So I started by cranking out the rest of the centres for each granny square.

I've started to keep an eye out for cute enamel bowls at thrift stores, because I think they'll look great in my finished craft room.  Here's my little square-centre salad...

...which I ended up transferring to a larger bowl so that I could include all the components for this project.

See that other big enamel bowl on the table?  That's another project, all assembled and ready to begin.  But see that green and brown striped square at the front?  That's part of my stitch-cation project.  I found that while I was organizing and had to finish it off before I could organize any further.

Ah.  Satisfaction = a finished patchwork square with all the ends worked in.  Now I could get back to work!

Finally, I collected all of my stitch-cation pieces into a suitcase.  (A suitable place for a "stitch-cation" project, don't you think?)

And then, before getting back to the organization work, I took some time to take pictures of my kitty. This is summer vacation.  She is cute.  How could I not?

At this rate, it's going to take me forever to organize my attic craft space, but at least I'm enjoying every moment of it!

Friday, July 18, 2014

So much cool stuff!

I brought a carload of stuff to the thrift store this week.  Then--of course--I had to go inside and check things out.

Remember those grab bags of candy at the corner store when you were a kid?  Well, I found the thrifty fabric equivalent!  A $2.00 bag of mystery fabric--wrapped in no less than 20 feet of packing tape--was just too hard to resist.  It was packed too tightly to peek inside, but I figured I'd take my chances and spend the twoonie.
Packed to survive a nuclear blast.

This may be my best find yet!  It turned out to be...39 quilt patches in vintage fabric!

Get ready, patches!  I have so many plans for you... 
5 cents a patch.  So great!

Here's the rest of the stuff I bought:
Afghan - $4.00; onesie - $1.00; milk jug - $0.50; brand new baby shoes $3.00...and all those loooovely patches.
Now why would I buy an afghan when I can't seem to stop making them? was gorgeous, it was finished, it was $4.00, and I can leave it on my porch without feeling guilty about it.  (It's acrylic, so it's easy to wash and it's not going to grow mold, either.) more thrift shopping for at least a week!  Time to stay home and get this craft room organized so that I can start making beautiful stuff.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Things Are Looking Bright!

I have something awesome that I want everybody to see....


Don't you just love it?  (Can you tell that I do?)  It's like a bag of Skittles popped open...and somehow serendipitously arranged themselves into orderly rows of colour.

This is a simple granny stripe.  If you want to know more about what's involved with the pattern, you should check out Attic 24, my go-to web space for all things granny.

It takes 15 minutes to make a stripe.  Multiply that times 27 rows and you've got 405 minutes.  Divide that by 60 and you'll know that I've sunk 6.75 hours into this blanket already.   Oh, and I started it yesterday.  (I should mention that I learned I could watch full episodes from HGTV online yesterday, too. That may have had something to do with it.)

It's not quite finished yet.  There's the whole deal of working in ends.  (The yucky part.)  And I'm going to put a border on it.  I still have lots of the berry colour left, so the border will be mostly in that shade.

It just feels so good.  It's crocheted in mercerized cotton so it has a nice weight to it and it's cool and silky to the touch.

Some baby girl needs this blanket.  And it's going to be for sale.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Loving The Little Things

This weekend, we took a little road trip to Kingston and Ottawa. It truly was a whirlwind adventure--less than 24 hours in each city--but so much fun. Just the kind of mini-cation I needed to make summer vacation feel a little more real.

The theme of the weekend seemed to be loving the little things. Here's a quick photo tour to show you what I mean:

Paint test strips on the 401.

Reassurance that I won't catch bubonic plague from the hotel room remote.

Great book (I Capture The Castle) and book title (Lady With a Spear!? what?) on the hotel room shelf.

Accidental detour off the beaten path.

Awesome sink backsplash at The Sunflower Cafe in Perth.  (I don't normally take photos in public bathrooms, but...)

Cute quotes on bath products in our Ottawa hotel room.

Proximity of the watermelon display to the "Expectant Mother" sign.  (Some things just go together!)

A no smoking the operating the Diefenbunker.  (Smoking everywhere else was okay until the 1980s.  Seriously!  Cigarettes in an underground bunker!  What were people thinking?)

THE MOST AMAZING tuna melt with tons of crunchy veggies at Alice's Village Café in Carp, ON.

Now, on the crafty theme of little things...I'm beginning to realize how much I love granny squares. In 20 minutes, you can have a little piece complete.  (Nevermind that I will need 56 of these little squares to make a blanket.)  It's very satisfying...and not so suffocating in the summer heat as a full-on blanket project.

They're also a great way to use up scraps.  The centre of all of these squares is made from small bits leftover from another project that I haven't quite finished yet.

Here are some finished granny squares.  Aren't they sweet?

Working in ends is definitely not my favourite part.  There are definitely a lot of ends to work in on scrappy projects like this one!

In the battle of "finished" versus "almost finished" squares, it appears that "almost finished" is winning.

Of course, I have several projects in the queue that I should be working on first.  I have some projects I have promised to make for people...but sometimes some beautiful yarn just calls out and says, "Crochet me first!"

Today being a lazy, rainy day, I'm sure there's some more crocheting in the plans...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Finished Project!

It's done!  This is the baby blanket/play mat I started as a distraction during report cards.  I didn't get very far with it until summer vacation started, but it was a great project to bring for a cottage weekend with family.  Mindless, repetitive crochet was a great addition to the weekend.

The blanket measures about 30" by 30."

This was a "just because" blanket.  I had a big ball of yarn and it needed to be made into something beautiful.  Now, some "just because" fancy shots.

I made this blanket last year in creamy white for a friend's little guy.  She says he still loves it...loves running his fingers over the texture of it.  She also informs me it washes up well (washer and dryer friendly).  From what I know about baby things, that's important. ;)

I have another big ball of sunny yellow and another big ball of creamy white.  Anybody want a blanket? I would do a custom order for $40.00.

An up-close shot of the texture (with slightly skewed colour).

Simple tweed-stitch border, finished off with a slip-stitch edge.

Also, just because, I had a great shopping trip to the big Ten Thousand Villages in New Hamburg yesterday.  Check out this beautiful basket I got for our attic hangout space. ($29.00 AND fair trade!)
It's meant to hold blankets, the remote and the cases from whatever DVDs we happen to be watching lately.
Our Christmas afghan became an everyday afghan.  It's just the right colour for our (mostly beige) upper floor.

Basket detail: it's wrapped in recycled sari fabric.

Complements my crafty pillow pretty nicely, don't you think?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baby's First Gown

I found the pattern I lost!  I'm leaving it here so I don't lose it again:

This is my crochet pattern for the coming week -- pretty pumped about it!

Friday, July 4, 2014

My Stitch-cation Gets Underway

My scrap jar is filling quickly!  Yesterday, I started on my Summer Stitch-Cation challenge from The Crochet Crowd.

 Here are my first five of twenty squares, complete:

Granny square in shades of blue.

Pink and yellow popcorn stitch square.

Granny #2 with a pink flower centre.

Back loops square - a bit nautical?

Front post trebles square.

I took them outside to photograph and I must say, they look even brighter in the sun than on my couch.

In other news, I am taking my chances with drying my favourite quilt outside and hoping the birds choose to poop elsewhere today.  (It's so nice out today, the fresh-air smell should be worth it!)

One more square for today and then it's time to assemble some shelves in the basement for all the teaching gear I brought home for the summer/next year!  Sigh.  I think I'll crochet slowly...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another VV Victory

Summer holidays are here and I am officially in putter mode. Today's events included:
-getting a pedicure
-going out for lunch with a friend (Hi, Karen!)
-meeting a cousin for coffee (Hey, Corrie!)
-frittering away time in an air-conditioned Chapters
-sifting through treasures at Kitchener's other Value Village

Here's my VV haul:
-maternity jeans
-4 necklaces
-baby boy hoodie
-baby boy cardi
-baby boy military cap
...all for 30 bucks!

Look at the elbow patches on that cardigan!  And I love the hand-painted flower necklace.

Pedi'ed feet on the street (photo cred to Karen).

Baby Shower Cupcakes

This is my newest nephew, Mason.  

He was born in mid-June and I attended a baby shower in his honour at my sister's house last week.  When I saw these rainbow-coloured facecloths on my sister's registry, I knew exactly what I wanted to gift him...

...onesie/washcloth cupcakes!

Want to see how to make them?  (They're way easier than actual cupcakes, I promise!)

These cupcakes are not a completely original idea.  It's based on something I found on Pinterest.  If you need a fussier tutorial, look it up on Youtube.  You'll find tons of videos on how to make them...some involving glue, pins, etc.  These are way easier...I promise...but the other methods are worth googling.

Today's tutorial will be presided over by Mr. Monk...the cookie jar that sits in our kitchen (and is never full of cookies, but usually full of dark chocolate).

Hey there, Mr. Monk.
 First, you fold the washcloth.

Fold in the sides to meet the middle...

...and then fold it up like a hotdog.  This hides the washcloth seams.

Then just roll the hotdog on up to get the swirly "icing" part that looks something like this.
 Next, you fold the onesie.  I used Carter's brand size 6-month onesies.  They came in 3-packs at Target and were the boldest and most wide-ranging colours I could find.  (Why are most little boy things blue and green?  Other colours are fun too, you know!)

Tuck the sleeves in, then fold both sides of the onesie in to meet in the middle.
 I missed a picture of the next step, but it's similar to the washcloth.  Just fold it one more time like a hotdog.

Then you're ready to start rolling the "cupcake" around the "icing."  Make sure the icing is sticking out the top a little bit.  It makes the top a bit rounded and the bottom a bit narrow, which is how you get that cupcake-y shape.

These little dishes worked way better than the cupcake papers / mini coffee filters I tried.  I bought them at Dollarama.  They're BPA-free so they're usable as baby dishes or bath toys afterwards.  They come in sets of 4 (blue, pink, yellow, green) with 4 matching little spoons.

Plunk the washcloth and onesie into the cup.  Fluff it or play with it a bit if you need to.  They don't always look great on the first try.

Et voila.  You've got yourself a nifty gift.
Worth noting: the wrapping materials cost about $4.00 ($1.00 for the tray; $2.50 for 2 sets of ice-cream bowls; 50 cents for 1/2 roll of cellophane).  It's really no more than the cost of a cutesy gift bag or some paper and a bow...and they're reusable!
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