Thursday 14 February 2019

Here and Now

A little ramble today....

This time of year is a time of hibernation for me. It's cold and dreary, and with one storm after another, I am happy to just hunker down at home, light a few candles, and cuddle up under a blanket. On nights when the weather is terrible, I am quite excited when there are no activities on the calendar and a night of hibernation awaits me after work.
I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up comfort food, hearty meals for cold winter nights. One of our favorite meals right now is roasted veggies with farro drizzled with a parsley sauce. I most often use sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, red onion, fennel, and cauliflower and usually make the parsley sauce in a huge batch, freezing it in small portions so that I always it on hand.

I bought myself some hyacinths on the weekend to celebrate us achieving a financial goal. I had to throw out two plants recently that just gave up and died. I don't have the best luck with houseplants, mostly because my house is not well suited to plants. It's fine, and I don't worry about this too much; at least my children are still alive. And I wish my hyacinths the best of luck.
I'm reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. It is such a good book - well written and inspiring.

Kacey Musgraves winning Album of the Year at the Grammys was incredible and made me very happy. I just love her album Golden Hour. Love it! I would love to see her in concert, but the tickets are so ridiculously expensive that I'll just have to bake myself a cake and eat it at home while listening to all her music instead - that's my Plan B. And a solid one at that.

Can you believe I've not mentioned crochet yet? Many projects completed, a new one on the go, and tons of ideas; thank goodness, because how dull would life be without crochet and yarn ideas?
Knitting is going well. I'm getting the hang of holding two needles and moving the yarn around them in the correct direction. I'm currently on the hunt for a very simple beginner project. Any suggestions?

Have a happy day, friends.

Friday 25 January 2019

The Funky Fringe Pillow

As far as I am concerned, you can never have too many pillows, especially if they are crocheted. Am I right?

The latest addition to my pillow collection is my Funky Fringe Pillow.
I worked on this pillow throughout the fall, finished all the pieces, and then set it aside for a considerable while before deciding one afternoon in the lull between Christmas and New Year's to finish it up, sewing it together and making and attaching all the fringe.

The bobbles and the fringe are my favorite. This was the very first time I ever worked the bobble stitch, and I love the texture that it gives the finished fabric.
My pillow currently lives on the living room chair, nestled up against my Cosy Stripe Blanket, and adds some much appreciated color to the room on these dark, dull winter days.
And it has been dull. I mean, there have been a few moments of sunshine (thank goodness, because that made picture taking more successful), but all in all it has been quite dreary. In an effort to embrace the season, I am trying not to complain about the lack of light, but rather light a candle, put out my colorful crochet blankets and pillows, and snuggle into the couch to crochet a little more (I have just finished another blanket, and have a new pillow on my hook). It's all about embracing where things are at, and adding some colorful and funky crochet to the mix does not hurt either.

Pattern: Funky Fringe Pillow
Yarn: Patons Canadiana in Pale Teal

Friday 11 January 2019

Crochet Pumpkins

January is not typically pumpkin time - that honor being reserved for the autumn months - but I made four amazing pumpkins back in October and never got around to sharing them here. I love them so much that waiting until this fall to share would be ludicrous, so today is the day.

The patterns for all four pumpkins can be found over at Megmade with Love. I just love Meg's blog - simple and beautiful crochet projects, well written patterns...a wonderfully creative space.

The first pumpkin I made was this plaid beauty.
I thought this one would be difficult, with all the color changes, but it was not at all. You actually carry the yarns along on the back of your work as you crochet, picking up each color as needed, and it is quite simple and straightforward. This is my second favorite pumpkin in my collection. 

These two were also a joy to make - a striped pumpkin and a polka dot one.
But without a doubt, and by far, my favorite pumpkin is this one: the rustic doily pumpkin.
This one is quite large, much larger than the others, and it looked very silly when I was working on it, like a weird, white circular pillow. Once the doily and the ribbing were added though, it took on its amazing pumpkin shape.
I made the doily on top in black so that it would look like a spider web, and then, at the suggestion of my Claire, crocheted a little spider to attach to the top. The spider is, I think, the crowning finishing touch.
Both the doily and the spider were made with crochet thread, which I had never worked with before. I found working with crochet thread a little challenging, much more fiddly and slow going than I am used to, but the results are so outstanding, I am glad I persevered.

So what do you think? I love them! I would really encourage you to have a go at making these, they are so fun. Add them to your autumn crochet list, okay.

Thursday 3 January 2019

Easing into 2019

Hello Friends,

Again it has been a considerable while since I have been here and I am both bothered and refreshed by that reality; bothered because this space has meant a lot to me over the years and I hated to neglect it, but refreshed because I needed to take a break, some time away, in order to reset and heal.

The last two years have been challenging for me health wise, and while I am still deciding whether to share the details of that or not, suffice to say that I lost hope and felt like all I was doing was surviving - somehow getting through what I needed to do, wishing and hoping for a break from the pain, and then collapsing with exhaustion at the end of the day. It was not good. That being said, I am feeling much better now, consistently better than I have in years. And you know what? This is the first new year in a long time when I have felt like I can actually set some intentions, make some plans, and have a decent chance of achieving them without the fear that I am going to get blindsided and knocked on my ass, completely and utterly derailed. Such an improvement, and such a relief.
So what are my intentions for 2019? I've spent the last week or so thinking about that, about what I'd like to do and achieve in this new and promising year:
  • Learn to knit. 
  • Crochet the flamingo from Edward's Menagerie Birds
  • Read 15 books
  • Adopt a consistent yoga practice
  • Go for a hike at each Halton Conservation Area park 
  • Grow my repertoire of vegan baking recipes 
  • Pay off a portion of our mortgage
  • Ice skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
  • Get consistent haircuts
  • Create our San Francisco scrapbook
I may add some things to the list as the year goes on, as some things get checked off, but I feel like this is a good start - a good mix of fun, learning, health, self care, and productivity.  

What are your intentions for 2019?

Thursday 22 November 2018

Taking Stock


It has been a while, hasn't it?

Suffice to say that life has been happening and letting this space sit idle for a while seemed like the right thing to do. Okay?

Let's get back into the swing of things by taking stock:

Making: Christmas gifts
Cooking: lots of vegetables
Drinking: Earl Grey tea
Reading: Aquarium by David Vann
Watching: The Blacklist
Deciding: when to put up the Christmas tree
Hoping: for a peaceful Christmas
Enjoying: the sunshine, when it happens
Liking: my new haircut
Loving: my new slippers and having warm feet
Pondering: next steps
Listening: to Better Boat by Kenny Chesney
Considering: Christmas menus
Buying: Christmas gifts
Browsing: crochet patterns
Wishing: I had a craft room
Wanting: to practice some embroidery
Marveling: at the number of houseplants I've managed to keep alive
Waiting: for a few packages to arrive in the mail
Cringing: at the state of the basement
Hoping: for some reciprocation
Needing: a win
Smelling: the candle burning on the kitchen counter
Wearing: sweaters - it's time to stay warm
Noticing: I have a lot of gray sweaters
Knowing: that I have done all I can
Prioritizing: rest and self care
Sorting: my closet
Thinking: about crochet design
Celebrating: a freezer full of meals ready for busy nights
Disliking: another dull, gray day
Feeling: disappointed
Hearing: quiet
Embracing: my girls, every chance I get
Accepting: what is - at least I'm trying to, but damn it is hard sometimes

More to come around here soon. I've made lots of things lately...and am excited to share.

Monday 27 August 2018

A Soft Place to Land

After the fastest summer in recent memory and an absolutely wonderful week away surrounded by forest and water, I've landed softly at home with one more week of holidays before I head back to work and the girls go back to school.

This week is all about squeezing what is left out of summer, while at the same time getting everything in order for the start of another school year.

Time away from home always gives me a new perspective on what is familiar and normal in my life. I see things more clearly. With more appreciation. And at the same time I am full of energy and eager to make plans.

So here I am - making plans, checking things off the list, getting myself and the family organized,  leaning into what is familiar, readying myself for when things ramp up next week....

But I am well rested and I can breathe all the way to the bottom of my lungs....I've landed softly. 

Happy week, friends.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

The Big Ripple Blanket

I didn't really intend to make another just sort of happened.

Let's start at the beginning.

After Christmas I visited my local yarn shop to scope out some bargains and came home with two balls each of green, pink, and light blue yarn (Grass, Lippy and Clear Blue by Impeccable). In doing so, I broke my self imposed rule to only buy yarn that I had a concrete plan for, but I justified it (which is never really difficult, let's be honest) with the fact that the long dark winter was ahead of me, I needed a stocked yarn stash, and I would certainly find something to make with this yarn.

It didn't take long before a browse through my Mollie Makes Crochet book sparked an idea to make a ripple blanket. Of course making a ripple blanket required the purchase of additional yarn, but this was easily justified now that I had a concrete plan.

It is funny to note that even as I embarked on this blanket making journey I had the thought that I needed another crochet blanket in the house like I needed a hole in the head, but I quickly dismissed that thought, because after all, when it comes down to it, there is no such thing as too many crochet blankets, am I right!?
Bright colors were the name of the game here. I wanted something bright and cheerful to lighten up the dark days of winter.

And the ripple pattern - this is a pattern that I have really struggled with over the years. Numerous times I tried to get this pattern going and ended up throwing a tangled mess into the trash. Not this time. I finally got it. And I really enjoyed having this blanket on the corner of the sofa to pick up and work on...minimal concentration needed and so much fun to see all the colorful stripes grow.
I'd describe this blanket as somewhat random: I did ensure that each color was used the same number of times, and as for the width of the stripes, I only made stripes one, two or three rows wide, and tried to make sure the different stripe widths were evenly arranged. A scrap piece of paper covered in scribbles was always nearby as I worked, ready for planning out color order and stripe widths.
This blanket is actually quite humongous, about twin-bed size (it's folded in half lengthwise here so it fits on the chair). I usually spread out my blankets on the living room floor when they are done to get a good look at them, and to make this one fit, I had to move some furniture out of the way...yikes.
Because this blanket was not really planned but sort of sprang into being because I had picked up some sale yarn, it does not really have a permanent place in my home yet. I'm thinking it may be a good fit for Claire's bed since her quilt is ripped beyond repair in places, but I'll wait until it is cooler to decide on that.

I know it is a little out of season to be showing you a large crochet blanket as the summer heats up, but I just finished it last week and I love it.

Yarn: Impeccable in Grass, Clear Blue, Lippy, Red Hot, White, Lavender, Royal, True Grey
Pattern: Mollie Makes Crochet

P.S. I have another blanket in the works. A smaller one. It also just sort of happened...I blame traffic in Dayton, Ohio.