Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Party Favours courtesy of free photo site
Happy New Year's everyone!  Hope the new year brings much joy and many blessings.    And may 2013 be a happy, healthy and craft-filled year.  :)
Champagne courtesy of free photo site
Cheers to you and yours!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Year of Amigurumi

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I can look back at 2012 and all my crafting endeavors.

First off, I made a lot of stuff, especially baby gifts in both crochet and knitting.  And I tried new patterns.  In particular, I'm proud of my Modern Log Cabin (aka Garter Surprise).  It was a big project size-wise and I managed to finish it within four months--not bad for me, the queen of procrastination!
Most of all I made a lot of toys this year.  In fact I'm still working on some knit toys: Iggy the octopus and my artist bear.  I'm sure I'll finish one of them in the next month or so.  Most of my completed toys, however, were crochet.  Not bad, eh?

Finally no review would be complete without assessing the projects that never quite made it to the finish line.  Some I've only recently started.  Two are long-standing projects that I would love to complete in the next year: Bohus Redux and my crochet blanket (the latter I'd like to use as a bedspread 'cuz I think it'll be big enough for my bed--maybe as a light summer covering?)

I'm looking forward to the new year's crafts! How 'bout you?  And crafting goals for the new year?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tinkering . . .

Clock Photo from Wallpaper Torrent
With the coming of the new year, I've decided to change my banner.  It was time.  Besides, change is nice.  I've been playing with some of my yarn stash photos in Picassa and trying out different fonts and such.  Watcha think?  I like it (but I'm biased).  I've always used this neat tutorial from Clover Lane blog.  It goes through step-by-step how to make changes to your banner photo using Picassa and then how to insert the banner onto Blogger.

Baby Photo from Wallpaper Torrent
Changes happening in the house too.  Two families share the farmhouse, and one of those families is in the process of having a baby at this very moment (psst, it's not me). 

Looking forward to change.  How 'bout you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

For the Love of Barbie

Oh yeah!  Deep down, I'm a kid at heart.  And this kid loves her new Barbie (FYI: she's Fashionista Therese).  I've been wanting one for a long, long time and my family finally gifted me one for Christmas. :)
One Happy Kid ;)
Therese out of the Box

And with a Barbie doll comes the responsibility of dressing her in the most smashing outfits.  Have you seen some of the doll clothes in the toy aisle?   I have two complaints: 

  • A) The official Mattel Barbie outfits can be pricey
  • B) Those very same outfits may not be pretty or stylish, especially the cheaper ones (the expensive ones tend to be pretty, but pricey--see A above).

What's a crafter to do?  Make her own Barbie clothes of course!  I dug out an old Patons Beehive doll book (the original I lost many moons ago, but I found a copy a few years ago for 25 cents).  I actually made some those outfits when I was a kid.
Patons Beehive Book No. 139
I also found a site with vintage Barbie patterns (not sure who the original publisher was, but the patterns can be accessed off the website for free OR downloaded for a fee in a digitally enhanced e-book).

And if someone is handy with a sewing machine, they should check out the Craftiness Is Not Optional blog (scroll down to the end of her tutorial page to find the Barbie stuff).  She's got picture tutorials for a ball gown, skirts and tees to fit Barbie and friends.

Of course a search on Ravelry proved rather fruitful too.  There are a few crochet and knit patterns.  In particular, I found a great site with hundreds upon hundreds of Barbie patterns--all for free!  And some of the designs are just cute.  Check out Sticka till Barbie where the site owner/designer has patterns in many languages, most of which use fingering weight (good way to use of leftover sock yarn).

Right now I'm attempting a little top with cap sleeves.  I should be done by this afternoon--I hope.
Burgundy Top in Progress
Meanwhile, my Barbie patiently poses while awaiting her new outfits (it's hard work being stylish).  ;)
Striking a Pose
Hope you're enjoying the after-glow of good holiday spirits. :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holidays and Such

courtesy of PixelPerfectDigital
For the first time in years, I actually have Christmas Eve off.  More than that, I had a few days off BEFORE Christmas Eve (And I do mean years--as in 15 years or so.  Not since my days as a classroom teacher have I had so much time off before the holidays).  And I'm lovin' it!
courtesy of PixelPerefectDigital
Finished off the last of the shopping.  Wrapped lots of presents.  Made pizza from scratch and today I'm working on Christmas dessert.  And of course, I'm enjoying some much needed R and R with the people I care about the most . . . 
courtesy FreeStockPhotos
I hope you're enjoying your holidays.  Have a great Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crafty Stuff

The knitting is moving along slowly (now that I have some time on my hands).  My son's octopus now has four tentacles.  Only four more to go.  And I started a new project.  And yes, it is another toy!  Why do you ask?

I've decided to revisit Debbie Bliss' Teddy Bears.  Years ago I made some cute teddies for my boys (reminisced about them here).  And while the bears were cute, I found the patterns rather tedious--especially for  a "beginner" knitter (at that point I had been away from knitting for a while so I felt like a beginner).

Now that I'm more experienced, I'm tackling the patterns with better skills and hopefully more knitting knowledge.  In particular I'm checking out the Artist Bear.  He's a cute fella with smock and beret.  My artist will be more feminine with a raspberry beret and fuschia bow 'round her smock.
Bliss`Artist Bear
For now, she's only got legs (I might be dating myself, but isn't that a ZZ Top song?).  I'm currently working on the soles of her feet.  I'm using some Briggs and Little Heritage in heather brown.  
Legs in Progress
I just love the colour: there are specs of red and green, almost as if the dyer used red and green to create the brown and the colour mixture didn't quite mix well or get absorbed evenly.  Very cool effect!
Briggs and Little Heritage in
Heather Brown
Hope you're enjoying your weekend.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming holidays.  Hope you are too. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside . . .

Yup, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 'round these parts.
Snowing Outside
First off, it's been snowing on and off most of the weekend.  It's not a lot of snow (maybe 5cm?), but enough to give one a taste of winter's frost.
Mixing the Ingredients
What to do on a cold, blustery day?  Bake of course!  I haven't made anything in a while and decided to try my hand at some tasty chocolate cupcakes (minus the nuts 'cuz someone in the family has serious tree nut allergies).  They turned out nicely, if I do say so myself.
White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cupcakes
And of course there was decorating.  Lots of little do-dads have been put out 'round the house.
Soft Snowman

Pine Cones and Dogwood Trimmed in Ribbon
We cut down our own tree from a tree farm (but it felt like the wild woods).  And of course there was the tree trimming.  It was a family affair.   Lots of fun!  The kids did an awesome job. ;)
O Christmas Tree!
Love the holidays!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Not Happy . . .

Sure the red socks are finished.  And they look great. 
Finished Red Ribbed Socks
And the fit is awesome.  Just love the pattern: its Ladies Ribbed Socks from Vintage Vogue (check out the Ravelry link if you need more info).
Great Fit!
But my needle broke.  Sure the thing didn't break in the middle of the actual needle.  And I didn't lose any of the work on my new sock in-progress.  But still . . .  :( 
Needle separated from cable
I bought these bamboo circulars in the summer.  At a cost of $18, I'd figure I'd get a few years use out of them.  Isn't Clover's Takumi a reputable brand?   Still can't believe the needle portion separated from the cable with a new sock on the needle!!  My Boye circulars never did that.

So not happy!  I can't just drive three hours into the city to replace it or even buy a new one!  I'm hoping Super Glue will do the trick.  
New Socks
Until then, I'm using my metal dpns.  Maybe I need to get my hands on some wooden dpns . . . I'll add it to my birthday wish list as its probably not possible to get them for Christmas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost There . . .

This week saw a bit o' knitting.  It's amazing how much time one has without homework, research, essay writing or studying to do.  With school done for now, I've got "free time" (it's all relative, of course, since I'm still working full-time and caring for my family).
Socks in Progress
These are my red ribbed socks that were started a while back (at end of May I think?  Thanks goodness for Ravelry notes, LOL).  I am so lovin' woolen socks right now, that I'm making good progress.  Just a little left to go . . . almost at the toes!
Almost at Toes
As soon as these are finished, there's some yarn ready to be cast-on.  I'm thinkin' maybe some blue would be nice.  ;)
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