Wednesday 30 January 2013

New Crochet Books

I love crochet pattern books. I love to look through them at all the stunning projects and the beautifully styled photographs, and I love how they look all lined up on my bookshelf, or, as is more often the case, stacked on the end of the sofa next to my basket of yarn.

With some money that I got for Christmas I purchased three new crochet books for myself. I purchased them online, never having actually paged through the books themselves, and was thrilled when I got my happy package in the mail. The books were every bit as wonderful as I had hoped they would be. Buying books online can be a tad uncertain - the cover looks lovely and the write up sounds good, but you never know for sure if the patterns will live up to your expectations. Well these recent book purchases did indeed live up to my expectations and I have spent many hours pouring over the pages of wonderful project ideas.

Enough rambling then. Which books did I buy? Let me show you.

1. Granny Square Crochet by Catherine Hirst
In my mind, granny squares = love. I have already bookmarked many of the patterns in this book. I especially love the pillow on the cover; I think it would be a perfect project to use up the leftover yarn from my Garden Patch Granny Afghan.

2. Amigurumi Toy Box by Ana Paula Rimoli
I have another similar book by the same author and the patterns are so simple to follow and the toys are so cute. I love the little unicorn that you can see on the cover; definitely making that one.

3. Crochet Garden by Suzann Thompson
The flower patterns in this book seem hard. Almost every pattern calls for a stitch I have never even heard of, and most patterns are rated as Intermediate or Experienced. That being said, I look forward to challenging myself to try some of the new stitches and techniques in this book.

Needless to say that with these new books in my hands my head is spinning with all kinds of project possibilities....which is so very fun and exciting. That is one of the great things about new pattern books, so many ideas!

I should also mention that I had a very difficult time selecting these three books from the many incredible crochet books that are available. It was so hard to choose!

I would love to hear about the crochet books on your shelf. If there are any that you absolutely adore, please let me know - because a yarn-loving girl can never have too many pattern books.

Monday 28 January 2013

Card of the Week: I Love You

With Valentine's Day coming up in a few short weeks, I thought I would get on the love train with this week's card:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: my paper scraps; Cardstock: Bazzill; Circle Punch: Fiskars; Hearts: Die Cut with Quickutz Squeeze; Doodle Pen: Inkssentials; Sentiment Rub-On: Pebbles Inc.; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, 3D Foam Squares

While the hearts are of course very traditional for Valentine's Day, I do like that the other colors on this card are not, especially the lime green. The green paper is actually the back side of the heart paper, and I would have never thought to put this color together with the heart one.

It looks good, don't you think?

A little unexpected, but it sure helps to make the red hearts 'pop'.

Gotta love those double sided patterned papers and the new color combinations that they inspire!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Crochet Hearts

Sometimes I like to do a quick crochet project, something that works up quickly and satisfies my need to feel like I have accomplished something. Don't get me wrong, I am perfectly happy to settle in for the long haul and really sink my teeth and hook into something - like my Garden Patch Granny Afghan which I am still working on - but I do find it nice to intersperse smaller projects along the way.

Like these heart hangers:
The hearts themselves were very simple to make. If you know how to increase in single crochet, you can work these up in no time. The pattern for the hearts can be found here if you want to give it a go: just make two identical hearts, single crochet them together leaving an opening on one of the straight sides, stuff the hearts through the opening, and then continue with single crochet to close the hole.

For my hearts I used Lily Cotton - just rummaged through my yarn bin to see what I could find - and a 3.5 mm hook so that the stitches would be good and tight, and none of the stuffing would peek out.

While the plain hearts looked okay - and I am thinking of making a few plain red ones for Valentine's Day - I decided to fancy these up a bit by adding some flowers and leaves to the front. It was incredibly time consuming to sew on the flower and leaf details, but the results are quite pretty and I do really like them.

If you want to hang your hearts up you will need to make a hanger; mine was a simple crochet chain, about 35 stitches long. 

Another thing to note: if you do decide to put flowers and leaves and/or a hanger on your hearts, you'll need to sew everything in place on the front heart before you sew your two hearts together.

Well that is all I can think to tell you about this little project that has been occupying my hook. I did enjoy making these hearts as they are very simple, pretty, and portable. Give them a go if you wish, try different colors of yarn and different embellishments on the front. Have fun!

Monday 21 January 2013

Card of the Week: Sweet Baby

Hot on the heels of the baby girl and baby boy cards that I made last week, this week's card is also for welcoming a little person to the world.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Recollections; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Stamp: Recollections; Corner Rounder: EK Success; Bubbles: Die Cut with QuicKutz Squeeze; Doodle Pen: Inkssentials; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, 3D Foam Squares

Why all the baby cards? Well I have a friend and a few family members expecting so it has been on my radar a little more lately. Plus baby themed scrapbook paper and embellishments are so cute and with my girls past that stage it is nice for me to revisit all-things-baby every once in a while.

My favorite details on this card are the die cut bubbles; I love how they tie into the bubbles on the ducky paper. I used my QuicKutz Squeeze and a die I bought ages ago to cut out the bubbles. I just did a quick online search for this die to see if it is still available, and it is! Click here if you are interested. Aside from baby cards, I have added these bubbles to my scrapbook pages of bath time, the beach, my garden....they really are a versatile shape with oodles of uses.

So what about you, made any baby cards lately? What cute details did you add?

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Three Things

Three things that have made me smile this week.

My new floral coffee mug. I found two of these at Home Sense a few weeks back and fell in love with them - they had to come home with me. My coffee definitely tastes better when I drink it out of this pretty mug.
My new Le Creuset stock pot in Cherry Red. Oh I have been wanting this pot for such a long time, and must have been a good girl as I found it under the Christmas tree.  Last week I made Butternut Squash Soup in my new pot and it was delicious....and cooking soup was much more fun with a pretty, colorful pot to look at.
The little princesses that Claire brought upstairs to keep me company while I finished off three (yes, three!) crochet projects yesterday afternoon. I had a wonderful afternoon crocheting in the company of my talkative Claire and these lovely ladies, and I look forward to showing you what I have been up to.
What has made you smile this week?

Monday 14 January 2013

Card of the Week: Baby Girl, Baby Boy

When I come up with a design for a card that I really like, I use it as much as possible and simply change the paper and embellishments from one card to the next to suit the person I am giving the card to. I first told you this little tip of mine when I showed you the cards I made for my grandparents' birthdays (click here to see their his and hers birthday cards).

Well, this week I was up to my old tricks, but this time I made baby cards. 

One to welcome a little girl:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Recollections; Cardstock: Bazzill; Rub-On: American Crafts; Ribbon: my craft stash; Stamps: I don't remember; Doodle Pen: Inkssentials; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, 3D Foam Squares

And one to welcome a little boy:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Recollections; Cardstock: Bazzill; Rub-On: American Crafts; Ribbon: my craft stash; Stamps: I don't remember; Doodle Pen: Inkssentials; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, 3D Foam Squares

Same design. Some of the same paper. But different colors of cardstock to suit either a boy or a girl. 

Oh, I do want to point out something else. If you've been reading my 'card of the week' posts for a while now, you may notice something else about these cards, something a little unusual for me. That's right, I used stamps, something that I don't use that often. These animal stamps worked perfectly for these baby cards, and I had them on hand from when my girls were babies and I made thank you cards for people who gave us baby gifts.

So now I have two more cards to add to my stash, ready for when a new babe arrives and a proper welcome must be made. 

Thursday 10 January 2013

More Art

I recently came across this incredible quote:

"If it's work people try to do less, if it's art people try to do more" 
~ Seth Godin

As an artist myself I can relate. I hustle through my daily chores so that I have time to scrapbook and make cards. I cook and then freeze meals so that when inspiration strikes I can thaw something for dinner and spend the afternoon crocheting rather than cooking. I sometimes let the laundry pile up because I am completely engrossed in my sewing project.  

I try to lessen my work and make it easier so that there is time for my art.

Because it is my art that brings me peace and happiness.

Because having time for my art relaxes me.

And when it come to my art, I always need to do more.

Monday 7 January 2013

Card of the Week: Hello

This week's card says exactly how I feel:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Scenic Route, Basic Grey; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Flower: Prima; Brad: Making Memories; Sentiment Font: Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed, cut with Silhouette; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

Hello to a new term of school.

Hello to routine (how I have missed you).

Hello to simple dinners.

Hello to finishing off some projects that have been hanging around undone for far to long.

Hello to the return of normal, everyday life.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Qualicraft Nylotex Score

Quite a while ago I shared with you how I use Qualicraft Nylotex to cover wire hangers. I also mentioned how I was unable to find Nylotex in any of my local craft stores and was running a little low on the stash that I built up years ago.

Well, I recently scored a bunch of Nylotex from a source close to home. On Christmas Day, my Oma came over and brought with her a bag of this coveted material that she had found in her closet while cleaning things up. And she asked if I wanted it, which of course I did. I have now added these five full balls to my stash.
I still have bundles of wire hangers in the basement that need covering, and with these new colors to work with, I may just cover a few.

Moral of the story: ask your grandmother if she has any Nylotex squirreled away somewhere. You may just get lucky.

Happy Hanger Covering!