Friday, December 30, 2011

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I used some awesome patterns, tutorials and recipes in my holiday crafting over the last several weeks. As promised I wanted to give you the info. Giving credit where credit is due, plus you can go off and make your own now if you want! :)

So let's go with the felt food first. There's loads of tutorials out there, but I used these particular ones as my jumping off point. (the hotdog was my own creation - if I ever get my computer and scanner working again I'll try to do a tutorial up for it)
Craftiness is not Optional
Skip to my Lou

For the real food head on over to my favorite crockpot site, A Year of Slow Cooking for Nuts and Bolts and Chex Party Mix

For sewing the Cupcake Outfit is a skirt of my own design and the top is a modified Charlie Tee. You know where that's from... My fave Fishsticks Designs. The Heating pad is from a great tutorial at The Green Wife and the pocket warmers adapted from Diamonds Fur and Laundry. The doll tents are from Sew Mama Sew.

All knitting patterns can be found in Ravelry's database. They include: Jacques Cousteau Hat, Snowboarder Hat That Rocks, Toddler Ear Flap Hat, Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, and Nottingham.

There we go! I think that should cover it! Happy crafting!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Round Up

As promised, here is a round up of the holiday craftiness I was so busy with! I'm in a hurry so no notes as to what patterns, tutorials etc I used. I'll add those later, I promise! And thanks to a combination of blogger's uncooperative nature and the fact I'm doing this post from my iPad, (yes, the Mac is still dead) the projects are in absolutely no particular order!

Knitting! Sewing! Cooking! Oh my!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Woe is me

My trusty Mac has died. (possibly thanks to a certain two year old). I have to locate the disc (why can I not seem to grasp how important organization is until I'm madly looking for something and telling (BF)G, "I know where it is. It can only be in one of three spots"). Then hopefully it's just a matter of reinstalling my operating system. Touch wood.

Thankfully after the last time, ahem, J and I managed to accidentally wipe everything out, I've been much more diligent about backing up my photos. Wish I could say the same for some other things - some writing I've done in the past, patterns, tutorials I'd saved and so on. Oh well. No use crying over spilt milk, or lost files as the case may be. The pictures are the important ones and I have those.

I've been crafting up a storm lately, but I can't tell you about it and definitely can't show you. Tis the season for secrecy after all! ;)

I'll do a round up before the new year probably, because I am really loving some of the things I've been working on. In big news too, my Summer Mommies Friendship Quilt is almost done!!!!! All that is left to do is handsew 368" of double fold binding. I'm so excited, but unfortunately holiday projects must take precedent.

I've done a few little crafts with the toddlers in preparation for the holidays. We've done salt dough ornaments and my two favourites, santas and reindeer using hand and footprints!

Monday, November 07, 2011

What is it they say about intentions?

I always have the best of intentions to get things done.  So often I lack on the follow through.

My own little KCWC was about a big a bust as the actual KCWC for me.  I got next to nothing accomplished.  But I've decided to be ok with that.  I just have to accept the fact that I don't have the chance to sew every day.  I could.  You know.  Instead of go to bed at night, but with two little boys that like to get up with the rooster down the road, I need my sleep! 

I did get a few crafty things done though, so here's the round up so far!

I made a hat to go with the owl outfit I made for my friend's little one - I loved this pattern!  It's Barbara Prime's Owl Tuque.  
Owl Tuque and Owl Outfit
I also made a tea pouch for another friend who was saying one day how she was freezing at work - a case of air conditioning still being on when it shouldn't have - and she didn't have tea to warm up with.  So I thought a little tea pouch she could slip in her bag or desk would be in order.  Then she can always have her tea with her!
Tea to Go!
I also jumped on the Bapron bandwagon and made a couple for friends who have just had babies.  I can see what all the fuss is about! It's a great little pattern, although how it could fit up to a 30lb toddler is beyond me.  I tried it on Baby Boy and he was like a 26lb stuffed sausage.  I might make him a couple, but I'll have to make them a bit wider!
Bapron 1

Bapron 2 and washcloth
No pictures yet.  I'll get one when the whole lot is done, but last but not least I got one pajama top done for the matching jammies of 2011 so far.  Finally.  I should really get my act together and sew the other two.  (BF)G isn't likely to outgrow his, but LTM is definitely at risk at the rate he's growing these days!

Speaking of LTM, he and Baby Boy didn't get dressed up and go out for Halloween this year.  Both of them are too little for candy and it would require driving into town or the city to go trick or treating.  Something I was just not willing to do on a weeknight at bedtime for candy they can't eat.  But we did carve a pumpkin.  We had a nice big pumpkin that LTM grew himself from a little seed.  He was pretty proud of that pumpkin, rightfully so!  He took care of it for many months, watering it with his little watering can, checking on it every day to see how it was growing.  He really enjoyed the carving part too – helping with removing the seeds, which we then washed together and roasted.  Turns out it's his new favourite snack!  He's always trying to sneak into the cupboard for a few!
Little Toddler Man's Pumpkin!!

Last but not least I have to mention J and G!  J turned 21 yesterday and G turns 19 tomorrow!!!  I can't believe it's 21 years already since I became a mother for the first time!  It seems like a blink of an eye ago, J and G were little toddlers like Baby Boy and Little Toddler Man are now.  How fast it goes and what an incredible journey it's been so far!  Happy birthday to my two beautiful children adults!!!
J and Baby Boy - taken July 2011

G and LTM taken October 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So much for having a plan...

First and foremost Baby Boy turned one on October 7th.  How is my baby already one????  Happy Birthday little fellow!

Last week was Kids Clothing Week Challenge.  I was going to be participating for the first time - somehow I always find out after the fact that it's on, but this time I found out a whole few days ahead of time.  So I made a plan.  It looked something like this:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday -

  • cut out flannel for boys and (BF)G's new set of matching pjs (ok - I realize (BF)G's pjs don't really fit in with KCWC, but whatever.  If I'm cutting out a gazillion yards of the same fabric I might as well do it all in one fell swoop.
  • sew at least complete sets for the boys (Using Kwik Sew pattern 3126)
Thursday -

Friday and Saturday - 

  • make outfit for friend's expected baby
  • make LTM a new belt using elsie marley's tutorial
Sunday -
  • finish up odds and ends from the week and possibly begin work on a birthday gift I hope to make

I'm so dilusional it hurts!

Here's how the week actually shaped up:

Monday -
  • Cut out fabric for pjs, realize I don't have enough for the fronts of the boys tops and (BF)G's top in it's entirety
Tuesday -
  • Go to my local LFS and buy another 2.5 m of flannel, preshrink it once home

Wednesday - 
  • Sweet nothing - oh! Not true.  Pop into the fabric store in the city for corduroy for LTM's hat
Thursday -
  • Cut out hat
  • Start sewing pjs - get the boys' bottoms done except for elastic
Friday - 
  • definitely sweet nothin' done
Saturday -
  • ditto
Sunday - 
  • Feeling all woe is me, I completely failed at my first KCWC I decided to make one project and see it through to completion.  The Eddie Cap is sewn and well loved.
So.  What a bust.  All the challenge required was one hour a day.  I tried to be realistic and tell myself if some days didn't get any challenge love it was alright because other days I could double up.  Ah well.  Life being life, sometimes other things come before sewing, and (BF)G had a week of vacation time from work and spending time with him and the little guys, plus spending a day with G before she took off for Costa Rica for the next six weeks all fell into the coming before sewing category.

That being said, I really wanted to do KCWC, so although the official week is done, I'm doing my own little challenge this week, just to say I did it.  So far so good.  Right now I can't for the life of me remember what it was I did Monday.  Hmmm.  No clue.  Must be getting old.  The memory is going! Tuesday I cut out and sewed the pants for my friend's baby as well as cut out the shirt.  Today I sewed the shirt.  And thought about cutting out the remaining top pieces for the matching pjs - does thinking about it count?? Tomorrow, maybe I'll actually start tackling the tops! Once they're finished I'll see what comes next.  Belt (kind of necessary - suddenly LTM has become a skinny minny and his pants keep falling down) or the birthday gift -  birthday's not till December so maybe I can wait on that one.

I did do some major sewing before Baby Boy's birthday and KCWC.  I made Baby Boy his birthday crown and nine goodie bags using Fishstick's tutorial.  I also knit two hats for the babies that were too little for regular party goodie bags and finished a blanket square and small toy. 

The round up of finished projects (in no particular order thanks to Blogger not letting me put the photos where I wanted them to be):

Baby Gift Outfit
(top is Fishstick's Lap Tee and bottoms adapted from a Simplicity pattern)

Blanket Square and Toy for a communal project

Party Favor Petunnia
Party Favor Pumpkin

Goodie Bags for Baby Boy's party guests

The Eddie Cap
The Eddie Cap View 2
So overall some good productivity.  Just not during the week I expected to focus on it.

PS:  It's just come to me what I did on Monday!  I sewed (BF)G's pj bottoms!  Phew.  That lack of memory was kind of bugging me!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

I've been so busy sewing, knitting, and, well, living, I haven't had time to blog about anything for ages.

I shouldn't be blogging now.  I should be getting ready for Baby Boy's first birthday party!  I can't believe my wee little boy is turning one in two short days!  How did that happen so fast??

I thought I'd do a quick round up of my month's work!

Sleepy Baby models his newest pjs - Fishsticks Designs Lazy Days Lounge Set with modified sleeves

LTM in his Thomas pjs - Fishsticks Designs Charlie Tee and bottoms from Kwik Sew 3126
Fishsticks Designs Little Fishies Undies because apparently every other pair LTM owns are "TOO TIGHT MOMMY"

Felt Tools and Toolbox from Serving Pink Lemonade
Fishstick's Designs Austen Lee Coverall - 1st version (before the toddler/scissors incident) with modifications

Fishsticks Designs Austen Lee Coverall Version 2 with modified sleeves and legs
So mostly practical sewing - except the tool box and the Austen Lee Coveralls those are for a swap with  my October 2010 Mommies Group.  The first set, you'll notice the caption mentions a toddler/scissor incident... let's just say I'm quite proud to say I did not yell, cry or scream even... and the toddler is still here.  Very proud indeed.  I had just finished the last of the snaps on the legs, folded the outfit neatly to be wrapped and stepped away from the kitchen counter for a second to put the remaining snaps up where no little fingers could grab them and try to eat them.  As I turned back to the kitchen, my heart almost stopped to see LTM with a pair of children's craft scissors (that honestly barely cut paper) in his pudgy little toddler hands.  

With my cry of "Noooooooo..." he happily said, "I helping you Mommy! I cutting the fabric for you!"  Sigh... Of course the scissors that barely cut paper had managed to see fit to work just fine on my just finished gift.  Back to the drawing board.  I mended the back of the romper so Baby Boy is able to get use out of it, but without enough tool fabric to make a new romper I had to figure out something different.  

Truth be told, I kind of like the second version better.  I did a much better job modifying the cuffs on the sleeves and the ankles, and I think it looks better with the contrast instead of the all over print. Or maybe I've just convinced myself of that so I feel better! Ha ha!  I also did the next size up after realizing my little swap partner is taller than baby boy and the first romper fit baby boy to a tee.  So important lesson learned.  Do NOT turn your back on a two year old with go-go gadget arms that might snag a pair of scissors in the blink of an eye.

I've been knitting too - catching up on some blanket squares and strips for different group blankets my fellow Summer Mommies 2009 group are making for new babies that are expected in our little circle.  I'm looking forward to finishing my commitments for those so I can get back to knitting other things.  

The rest of this week will see me busy with prep for the aforementioned birthday and then next week I'm going to take the plunge and jump into the Kids Clothing Week Challenge hosted by Elsie Marley.  We'll see how well I do...

Friday, September 09, 2011

More with less - or for heaven's sake I need to stop spending so much!

So it became official this week!

I am going to be a stay at home mommy.  For the next while anyways.  The hope is until the little ones start school, but we'll see how things go.  I'm both excited to be able to have the opportunity and a little bit petrified of giving up that security that having a job provides.  

I'm hoping to do some work on my degree while I'm off - I had started a few years back taking courses through Athabasca University, and may look at going back to it.  I am just not sure if the degree I was originally pursuing, (BA in Communications) is what I still want to do.  Time to think  on it, I suppose. 

With fall in the air and the realization that I need to tighten the belt when it comes to spending if I'm to be a SAHM, I've been thinking a lot about making more with less so to speak. I do alright with that already, but will be exploring more and more ways to make things stretch.

My Mom has always been good at that sort of thing.  And a fantastic cook.  She has a  knack for tossing a bit of this and a bit of that together and coming up with something fabulous!  I try to be like her in my own cooking and I think I'm measuring up pretty well, but every  now and again a call or visit to Mom is in order for a recipe.  Often times I'll get a basic outline of the ingredients (That little bit of this,  little bit of that I just mentioned? Lots of times recipes go like that) I've called on  Mom's expertise a couple of times recently.  Especially on those days between my bi-weekly grocery shop and the fridge is looking a little bare.  The first was a recipe for Beet Soup.  Mmmmm.  I do love me some beets.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Mmmmmmmm. Love beet soup!!
Here's my variation:

Place the following in the crockpot:

One onion, chopped
Four or five large beets, chopped
Two or three stocks of celery, chopped
Three or four carrots, chopped
Four large potatoes, chopped
(add in here whatever other veg you have in the crisper needing to be used up - the other day I threw in a handful of green beans)
Four cups of stock (I've used beef or chicken - all depends what's on hand)
Salt and pepper to taste

Turn on crock pot to high and  cook for  three to four hours.  About half an hour before serving, I pour in 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and give it a stir.  I like to serve it with sour cream to garnish and a fresh from the oven homemade beer rye bread. Nom. Nom.

Reminds me I'll have to be making a trip to the local farmer's market for some more beets.  I think I'll make up a couple of batches and freeze for winter for quick easy meals.

Yesterday I got a hankering for chocolate syrup to go in my coffee.  I don't live close enough to town to hop in the truck on a whim and drive to the grocery store for something like chocolate syrup, not to mention it would definitely fly in the face of my new more with less mind set to do that, so I called Mom.

She had a recipe for me in a jif, and shortly thereafter I had chocolate syrup and a very happy little toddler (Treats? In my milk?  Mmmmm!)
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Who doesn't like chocolate??
Mom's Chocolate Syrup recipe from some old well used book in her collection. (She thinks it was her old Five Roses Cookbook - or I think that's what she said anyways!)

Mix 1/2 cup cocoa powder and a 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan to make a paste.  Add 1/4 cup boiling water and a 1/2 cup sugar.  Boil on stove for three minutes, cool and add 1 tsp of vanilla.  Put in a jar.  I store mine in the fridge.  The cookbook said somewhere cool (written before refrigerators were around Mom figures!)

Easy peasy and a whole lot cheaper and tastier than Nestle Quik!!

Less spending in the kitchen is an awesome start I figure.  Hopefully it'll also help reduce the stress when I go through the check out at the grocery store.  It darn well near gives me heart palpitations these days!!

We've been busy around the house too!   LTM has moved from his crib to a "big boy bed".  We wanted to re-do the floor in his room before doing the switch over, so (BF)G took two vacation days off the other week and got it done!  He had lots of help in the process!

And in case you're wondering what happened to my sewing and knitting efforts, no need to  worry.  That obsession still stands firm.  I finished the baby outfit  gift that I mentioned needing to work on last time.

Inspired by the "Comfy Sleep Set" I'll dub my little puffed sleeve dress the "comfy dress".  It has an soft interlock bodice and a cotton skirt.  Bloomers are a hybrid between Simplicity pattern #4243 and Fishsticks designs "Newborn Bloomers".  The socks are of course from  my very favourite baby sock book, "Cute Knits for Baby Feet".

I also whipped up a taggy block for a friend's little one as well.  Why have I not made these before?  They are so unbelievably simple and cute!  I only wish I'd added more taggies, but I was working with what I had at home that went nicely with the fabric - remember that whole more with less thing?  It also means less fabric and notion shopping too. (which I think I may find considerably harder than other areas of thriftiness...)

I'm still plugging away at finishing my Jane with a Pop top (I have a weird thing going on with one side seam at the hip - not sure what I did there and I can't decide what I want to do for sleeves or how to finish the whole thing off... so many things to think about!) and have got absolutely no where on my Amy Cardigan.  Not so much as a pattern drafted even. Although that's high on my list.  I really want to have it done for the cooler weather!

So, as I embark on my  next projects I'll have a full belly, a warm cup of mocha to enjoy, and all the time in the world (well, that the boys allow me that is) without my having to think about going back to work!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting Creative

I can't believe here we are at the end of August already.  Where has the time gone?  Soon fall will be upon us here on the prairies.  I'm ok with that though.  I love everything about fall.  The leaves crunching under my feet as I walk. The cool, crisp air.  Cozy sweaters.  No bugs.  (not that we've had many this summer so I can't complain, but usually they're an annoyance!).  There's something too about seeing the farmer's fields with the combines working into the wee hours and their bales of hay all neatly placed in a row.  Yes.  I will not be disappointed when fall is here!

In between playing outside with the little guys and doing the usual household routine, I've had some time to get some sewing and knitting done!  

The round up of finished projects is as follows:

Baby Shell by Full of Fluff and denim skirt (my own design)

Hoodie and pants set (Fishsticks Designs: Charlie Hoodie and pants from the Lazy Days Lounge set)

Baby Boy Tethered In!!
Two harnesses for use with regular chairs or grocery carts that don't have safety straps! (modification of Piccoli Piselli's Handy Harness pattern)

I also knit a barbie outfit, made a barbie sleeping bag and pillow and tent for my niece's third birthday. (Outfit from a Swedish site, Sticka till Barbie, sleeping bag/pillow my own design and tent from Sew Mama Sew)  Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the clothes - but go take a look at the website.  It's got a huge selection of patterns! 

I also had to give a housewarming gift this month.  I hummed and hawed as to what to bring.  Wine?  The couple doesn't really drink wine too often.  Flowers?  I figured others would bring flowers.  What else to get as a little something? They've got everything they need for their home, it's their third one together after all.  Then a wee bit of inspiration hit a little late on a Saturday night.  I could make something for them.  But not just any something.  I wanted to do something a little bit out of the ordinary.  

One of my favourite Christmas movies is "It's a Wonderful Life", (can you believe I had never seen the movie until a few years ago???),  since first seeing the movie, I've liked the way the Bailey's welcome the Martini family into their home :

Bread - that this house may never know hunger.
Salt - that life may always have flavor.
Wine - that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

Inspiration in mind, I had to get moving on it!  Housewarming was the next afternoon.  I woke up early Sunday morning and set to work.  I got bread dough rising, called (BF)G and asked him to pick up a nice bottle of wine on his way from work to the party (I know I wasn't going to get wine, but hey!  It fit and they can cook with it if they don't want to drink it!), then made a little organza bag for salt.  Found a basket that I'd kept for just such a purpose, and made a little cotton cloth to line the bottom.  But what about a card?  Seemed to me it  needed an explanation of sorts, just in case they weren't as obsessed as I am with the movie and wondered why I was giving them such an assortment.  So I set to work on the card.  Now.  Let me say, making cards/scrapbooking type crafts are not my strong suit.  Paper, scissors, and glue? They are often not my friend!  But determination can get me pretty far.  (That and a huge stack of paper for the mistakes I did cutting the darned thing out.)  I was smart.  I did a practice template on scrap first.  Otherwise I am certain I would have run out of paper!  But the end result was well worth the frustration and time that it took!  I was really quite pleased.

All in all a pretty good round up!  I've got a few small things in the works right now - The Jane With A Pop Top from luvinthemommyhood for myself, a dress for yet another baby gift (should really be drafting that pattern right now...) and hopefully the Amy Cardigan (also from luvinthemommyhood) for myself as well if I have enough fabric in my stash.

Then of course there's the quilts... Oh the quilts.  My top priority should actually be the Summer Mommies Friendship Quilt, given fall and it's chilly nights is headed our way.

Time to get creative!