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

 Hello.

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 blanket...it 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. 

Monday, 2 July 2018

Look at the Garden Grow!

  
Things are looking amazing in the garden this year!!!!

It is so satisfying to see all our hard work pay off.

I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing all my plants growing and thriving. Something about that just makes me feel so much more connected to the earth, and that is perhaps my favorite part of gardening and growing a little of our own food.

And look, my Gerber daisies are even blooming again.
It is a good year in the garden and I can not wait for the harvest. Broccoli anyone?

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

The Blooming Flower Cushion Ta-dah

Good morning friends.

It has been a terribly long time since I shared any crochet loveliness here so today I am very excited to show you one of my favorite makes ever - my Blooming Flower Cushion. Whenever I look at it I can not help but smile; the texture and colors make me so happy. I am quite in love with this new cushion of mine.
Making this cushion was a long time coming as I had it on my "To Make" list for years. I think it took me so long to get to making it because I thought it would be complicated, when in fact it was quite simple and straight forward. Isn't that the way it often is?
I worked on my cushion slowly during the winter and early spring, finishing it in April. It was a wonderfully portable project, perfect for working on at piano lessons and at the pool. And it certainly caught peoples' eyes while I was working on it in public as I got many comments and questions. Just as an aside, I love to crochet in public (I know some people shy away from this) and I love when I see others doing the same (though that rarely happens) and we can share a little smile as we each work on our crafts.
As for the yarn, I used the leftovers of Stylecraft Special Chunky from my Attic24 Weekend Bag. Even after making this cushion, I still have a considerable amount of yarn leftover and the wheels are turning as I consider what to make with it next. Awhile ago I listened to a podcast where it was discussed how constraints breed creativity and I do believe this to be true with respect to yarn: forbid yourself to purchase new yarn and only work from your stash and just watch your creativity flourish.

Just look at all the texture and color....I'm in blooming love.

Yarn: Stylecraft Special Chunky
Pattern: Attic24 Blooming Flower Cushion
Happiness Factor: off the scales, this cushion is guaranteed to make you smile