Friday, January 30, 2015

Bows and Bowties

Blogging has been frustrating lately. Not because I haven't been making things, but because I can't post about any of it yet! I have gifts that haven't made it to their new owners, things that need unexpected alterations, UFO's and finished projects with pictures languishing on other people's cameras. If all of them showed up photographed on my computer tomorrow I could have a month of posts ready to go! So today I caved. These are technically undelivered gifts but I'm confident enough that the recipients don't read my blog to just go for it. (Notice I'm not sure enough of that statement to tell you who will get them! lol)

These sweet little bow ties are crocheted using this free pattern. I really liked it! It was a quick, easy pattern that gave nice looking results. I had only planned on making one for the youngest boy but I liked it so much that I made another bigger one for his brother. (I am hoping that he's not old enough to think that's lame.) Then I made three more with hair clips instead of straps for little sister! I had matching their Christmas outfits in mind but they could pass for Valentines day at this point right? (Oh dear goodness plague children make parental socializing in the winter special don't they?)

Sophie was especially taken with the fluffy one. I promised her one almost two months ago, so I guess I'd better get on that eh?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Waldorf Doll

Sorry, Deacon had dibbs on me yesterday. It was his birthday after all :)
Besides, if we're being honest his present was bald until lunchtime!

Sorry it's a little blurry, he didn't want to give him up for the pictures! This little guy has been officially named Ya the Sky King, through family consensus. (Ya because that was Deacon's answer to every name we suggested.)

I did the three layer hair for this doll. You can find instructions all over the internet. The fancy braid is because I was getting impatient and didn't sew the top layer tightly enough. It keeps Deacon from pulling all of Ya's hair out until I fix it. The pictures don't do the hair colour justice. It was this ball of great winter sky coloured blue worsted wool.

This is what the little guy looked like first thing in the morning. Getting to this point seriously took about six hours. Poor little thing definitely looks like a first attempt! Clothes and hair will cover it though. You can find tons of great instructions all over the internet for these. I just skimmed a few as I'd seen them made in a book recently.

Ya's skin was an old t-shirt. His stuffing is a bit unconventional. Instead of wool roving I used a thrifted wool sweater to keep costs down. I cut it into strips (like above) and wound it in a ball for the head. I then covered it with a square from another felted sweater and continued just the same as a normal Waldorf doll.  I made the stuffing for the rest of the body by unraveling the rest of the strips and using the resulting "fluff". It's important that they be stuffed with wool for a few reasons. First of all it's antibacterial. It also will hold body heat when snuggled :)

Next step for Ya is some clothes. Not like Deacon will leave them on him for more than 8 seconds, but the option should be there ;)

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

It's a book. Go read it. Bye now!

Ok, maybe you need some persuading. Especially with such a cutesy title. Or maybe you'd like to know the author (Marie Kondo), or where to buy the book

Or what the cover looks like:

Why am I so excited about tidying? (Why wouldn't you read a book that got you excited about tidying?) Because she advocates on only keeping the items in your life that spark joy. Stop for a moment and picture your home simplified, clutter free, and only filled with things you love. Bet you want to read it now eh?

The other part I really like is a trick for letting things go, which it thanking things for serving their purpose. For example I have a hard time getting rid of things I was gifted, often for years and years. But if you consider that the purpose of a gift was to give joy to the person gifting it, then it has served it's function by being received by you and you can thank it for that and move on.

I can't say much more as I first discovered this book here and liked it for many of the same reasons. Hence why I bought the book. I did have an amusing conversation with Jess though where I was going on about this book I was reading and it turns out she had been searching for a copy to read herself! So if I've inspired you and you want me to lend it to you, you'll have to wait your turn. ;)

Friday, January 16, 2015

The "I Don't Read Instructions" Tunic

For starters this fabric is actually much cuter in person. Blue and light blue with pink running through it.  *sigh* It's  the softest flannel with the nicest drape which is perfect for this tunic. It also looks great on. So great that every time I want to take a picture in it I've already worn it and it's in the laundry!

The instructions debacle is definitely my fault, not the book's. This pattern is from Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom which is definitely in English so no excuses there. (I shortened a dress pattern.) It also has perfectly clear instruction. I'm just too cool to measure apparently :P

Like measuring where the pocket should go so it's now a bit too high. Or measuring how wide the button placket should be, which caused a string of disasters since the next step is to sew the plackets into the front gathers. Twice. Which meant the collar opening was too wide... So my jury rigged solution was to fold the button placket over again which made it almost the right side and cap the raw edges of the collar with squares (like under the top button). But because I folded the placket... (all for the want of a horseshoe nail eh?) it was too thick and my buttons wouldn't go through the button holes. At which point I said screw it and just sewed them on in the right places with enough room to get it over my head.

The moral of this story is measure, but I do love this top anyways :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A quilt for mom and dad

Today, I would like to show off my favourite homemade gift from Christmas 2014. With help from my sister, we came up with the idea With help from my brother, the outline was made. And with help from my other brother ( my sewing machine) the Tyson Lake lap quilt was born.

I love map art right now, so this was a great project for me to do. If I had allowed myself more time, I would have done a tight zig zag around the entire lake instead of a straight stitch. Sometimes, the worst part of doing homemade gifts, is having to give them away. I fell in love with this quilt. Luckily I kept the template, maybe I'll get around to making one for myself this year .

Monday, January 5, 2015

DIY Knitting Needles

Aren't those owls the cutest thing? They were part of Jess's birthday present since I've been brainwashing her about the joys of knitting. (The other part was of course yarn.)

These are a very do-able project. First start out with a dowel of the desired thickness. Cut two pieces to the desired length, I chose 12 inches. If you don't have any sort of saw handy it is possible to work at it slowly with a pair or scissors you aren't fond of but I would only recommend that for thinner dowels. To make the point. carefully use a good pencil sharpener. This will give you a place to start. Sand like crazy to smooth the tip out and gently round the point. Sand the body and top end well, knitting needles need to be very smooth!

There are many ways to decorate them when you are done. I used Sharpie's to make patterns and sprayed a sealer but you could stain them or even leaving them plain looks quite nice. I used contact cement to glue some ceramic beads to the tops. (The skinny pair needed to be re-glued so beware of using too big of a topper.) People often make pretty tops out of polymer clay as well but I have never tried that method.

I have also made double pointed needles this way. They have lasted me several years and are used often. I am finding that the points of the larger set are blunting a bit because the dowels I used were a fairly soft wood. I also didn't seal them in any way. It's fairly minor though. I just mentioned it as a reminder that anything you could cut with scissors wasn't going to last forever so pick a better quality dowel if you're worried.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Jess and I have some pretty extensive resolutions this year!

(Check back a post or two for the 1000 hours idea, it's pretty neat. I'll admit it's not on my list, but I've agreed to aim for 365.)

Want to know something funny? our handwriting is so similar that I asked Jess to add one of the items at the bottom of a list and even I can't tell which it was now!

This was Sophie's version :)
We did real ones after, with a lesson on what a year meant using a blue and yellow balls. (The earth going around the sun.)