Friday 28 March 2014

My Vacation Scrapbook in Progress

Looking through vacation photos makes me want to do just that...go on vacation.  I have been working on my scrapbook from our holiday to Hilton Head Island last summer and wishing very much that we had another such trip planned for next week. To see the ocean, to hear the waves crashing on the shore...I could most definitely handle that. The wheels are turning and I am devising various plans to get us back to the ocean....all in time though.

Meanwhile, at the kitchen table, I am using a Project Life album to document our vacation. I am a little late to jump on the Project Life bandwagon, but I can easily see why it is so appealing to people. I have included so many more photos than I would have if I was doing more ‘traditional’ scrapbook layouts. And while it is taking me some time to select and edit the photos I want to use on each page, once I have the photos in hand the pages come together quite quickly.
I have not done any journalling yet - I want to wait until I am certain I have the pages in the right order and the pictures in the right places. And I am planning on adding titles and fun embellishments in some of the other blank spaces.

So far so good though and moving along quite quickly. A great approach for capturing vacation memories, I think.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Crochet Tidbits

I have a few crochet projects on the go at the moment...

I just need to assemble this doll - and find a 65mm pompom maker (which I mentioned to Steve would make a great birthday gift) - before I can show you my trio of winter dolls. And with the way the weather is behaving, it may still be winter when that happens. 
Some bunting....small crochet triangles made with leftover yarn from my Garden Patch Granny Afghan and my Granny Square Cushion. I just need to string them together, and if I had not been so mesmerized by Downton Abbey the other night it would have been done...
I also just began making an owl toy (like this one) for Claire. It does not look like much just yet but it comes with me to work every day so that I can do a few rounds on my breaks...

What are you working on?

Monday 24 March 2014

Granny Cushion Ta-Dah!

Good Morning. How was your weekend? Mine was fantastic partly because I finished my Granny Cushion on Saturday evening. And it turned out so beautiful.......I am quite proud of it is exactly as I envisioned it in my creative mind when I began....I am so pleased with it.
As I mentioned before the pattern for the squares came from page 48 of this book. I made each square with a different color combination and tried to space out the colors so that the same ones were not right beside each other on the front of the cushion. Sixteen squares were made in total.
In this post I talked about my ideas for making the back of the cushion and left you with my plan to do a striped back. Well, I did do that but not without a few less than stellar attempts: a totally blue back that was just plain boring, and a back that was mainly blue with three evenly spaced yellow stripes that reminded me too much of a college sweater.

In the end I went with a totally random stripe pattern and I love it. It allowed me to include so many more colors and it matches the homespun nature of the granny front.
I crocheted the two sides of my pillow together - a simple round of single crochet around the edge while holding the two pieces together and making sure that the corners were lined up.
The pillow form I purchased was stark white and shone through the crochet when I put it inside my cover; this looked quite terrible and sort of ruined the look of the pillow. To solve this problem I purchased some broadcloth in almost the same color as the beige yarn that I used on the front of the cushion and made a simple envelope pillow cover which I slid over the pillow form before putting it into my finished cushion cover. The form is now nearly invisible when you are looking at the front of the pillow,
and blends so much better when you are looking at the back. An extra step, but well worth it as the finished product looks so much better.
I am quite smitten with my new pillow. I love how it looks in the living room and how it adds yet another homemade touch to my home. And it was quite enjoyable to work on this project during this last bit of winter....

Wednesday 19 March 2014

A Colorful Scarf for Me

This winter has been cold, and dreary, and long, and frankly I am a little sick of it. But there is still a while to go, so to lift my spirits and add a little color to my winter life, I made myself this scarf.
It was high time I made something for me. “Yes, a scarf for me, thank you very much” is what I told people when they asked what I was making. And it felt good to say that. So often us crafters are making for others that indulging in a make for ourselves is a welcome change, wouldn't you agree?   

I used my leftover yarn from the girls' ponchos – a lovely orange color called Punkin.

I chose to do a granny stripe pattern which I have tried several times before without much luck. I know it is a simple pattern, but in my previous attempts my work got all bunchy and would not lay flat. This time though things worked out lovely; what a soothing pattern to crochet.

My gorgeous scarf, a definite burst of color to chase away the winter blahs and encourage spring to come just a little bit quicker.

Monday 17 March 2014

Warming Up

This winter has been absolutely terrible. I do not remember it ever being this cold. There was even a day when they closed all the elementary schools because it was too darn cold to go outside.

Even though we live right across the street from the school, we are always frozen to the bone when we get home after classes. You know that kind of cold that just will not go away without a steaming cup of hot chocolate. And with as cold as it has been, many cups of hot chocolate have been sipped this winter at my house.

Using this latest sketch from The Memory Nest
I created this layout using pictures from one of out hot chocolate breaks:
This was really my kind of sketch, suited me to a tee - very straight and grid like, very clean lines - I loved working with it.
I did use fewer photos than the sketch did, but filled in the other spaces with blocks of patterned paper. This was a great way to use a lot of different patterned papers on my layout. The paper I used for this layout is Winter Wishes by Echo Park.

As always, it is so interesting to see how the other members of the Design Team interpreted this sketch so be sure to visit The Memory Nest today to see their work.

And if you are still in the grip of winter like we are, may I suggest a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

Friday 14 March 2014

The Dirndl

A Dirndl is a traditional German dress. We have one in our family that my Mother wore when she immigrated to Canada from Germany as a child over 55 years ago. When I was a young girl, I wore this same Dirndl to German School and other cultural celebrations in my community. And this year, when Bridget was learning about family history at school, she wore the same dress. It is truly special to have this Dirndl to pass down through the generations; it is a treasured family heirloom, a link to our past, to the story of our family.

To celebrate Bridget wearing the Dirndl I created this layout:
Jillibean Soup papers and lots of layers:
I am such a sentimental soul when it comes to old clothing that has been worn by generations past. I have other dresses hanging in the closet that my Mom wore as a child (and I have black and white pictures of her wearing them while still in Germany), and that I wore as well. They are threadbare and worn but I will never get rid of them.....

Are you the same way? Do you have any sentimental clothing items hanging in your closet? Any garment links to your family's past? Please share, I would love to hear.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Three Things

Three things that have made me smile, made me so very happy this week:

Spending so much time with my girls. It is Spring Break here and I am so happy to have had the week off work. With Steve away, it has just been us ladies and we have been having so much fun. We have had been out and about with various activities, but have also spent some time at home just relaxing and hanging out together. It has been so great.
One of the activities this week was a trip to the library. I was able to pick up a few books for myself and am really enjoying reading them and/or looking through them. Handmade Nation is proving to be an interesting and inspirational read so far. 
While I was cleaning up my craft area I came across this crochet stash basket that I made a few years ago (before I started blogging) and I immediately stuffed it with all my odd balls of cotton looks so happy and cheerful.
What is making you smile this week?

Monday 10 March 2014

Granny Cushion Update

Good Morning. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Around these parts we said good-bye to Daddy who headed to the UK for the week for work, the sun shone warmly enough that I can see a smidgen of grass around the edge of the yard (there is still about seven feet of snow in the middle of the yard, so I am not fooled into thinking spring will be here anytime soon) and we had two movie nights watching The Sound of Music - it was so fun to cuddle on the couch and watch this classic with my girls.  I am also happy to report that I am finally feeling better after the worst cold in my history.

This weekend also saw a bit of progress on the crochet front, specifically my crochet cushion which I first told you about here. I finished all the squares for the front a few weekends ago, while still in the throes of nose-blowing, and on Saturday I blocked the entire thing together.
I also worked on the backing of the cushion. At first I was going to make one large granny square, with each round a different color, but I was not happy with the shape my granny square was taking (it was turning out a little wonky rather than square, even though I started each round at a different corner) and I did not like how open it was and how much the underlying pillow form would shine through the spaces between the rounds.
So I scrapped that idea and decided to make a more solid backing - double crochets back and forth to form a very sturdy and dense fabric. I like this much better.
By Sunday afternoon, the front of my cushion had dried from blocking and I began to sew the squares together - this went much faster than I had first thought it would. Maybe I was still a bit put off by all the sewing together needed for my Garden Patch Granny Afghan.....for no good reason for this is much simpler.

And while we finished up The Sound of Music on Sunday night, I worked a little more on my backing....row after row of blue, though I may throw in a few other colored rows just for fun.

It feels really refreshing and engaging to have a larger project to work on again. And I am thinking of so many other cushion ideas so there may be a few more of those in my future.

Hope your weekend was well and that you got a little crafting done.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

First Day of Grade Two

I did both my back to school layouts in one go - Claire's first day of kindergarten and this layout of Bridget on her first day of grade two.
I had all the paper out on my table so I figured why not get them done. I used the same line of paper for this layout as I did for the one I showed you of Claire earlier - Snapshots by Bella Blvd. Such pretty paper and perfectly coordinated to the girls' clothing in the pictures.

This is a single layout with a lot of layering - you know, the usual - and there was considerably less fiddling about with this page.
I am quite happy to have both these back to school layouts completed as I am excited to start working on some pages from our summer vacation. I am going to be using a Project Life album for that, with a few traditional scrapbook pages thrown in for good measure, and I am itching to get started. I have not yet taken the plunge with Project Life so it should be a lot of fun.

Monday 3 March 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

Some weeks a sketch is an absolute saving grace. With sickness taking over our home last week and knocking me flat out for most days, I was so grateful for a sketch to follow when it came time to create my latest layout.

And I was particularly happy that the sketch this time around for Make it Monday at The Memory Nest was for a double layout.
I do not do too many double layouts as I find it kind of tricky to balance the two pages - enough photos, but not too many, leaving enough white space to rest the you struggle the same way? Of course if I took to this medium more often, practice might make perfect, but it is just not always my first choice.

Anyways, armed with the sketch and many great photos from my youngest daughter's first day of Kindergarten (how is it possible that my baby is in Kindergarten?) I came up with a layout that I am quite happy with.
It is quite tricky to take a decent photo of a double layout - much teetering around on a stool happened for the above photo. Here are the pages individually, for a closer look.
I used some great paper from Bella Blvd. - the Snapshots line - for this layout. I know it is not particularly 'school themed' but I rarely find that the 'school' papers are the correct colors for my pictures. Using the same papers, I also did a layout using a picture of my oldest daughter on her first day of school that I will show you later in the week. Please stop by and have a look. 

Today is the first day to see the work of the new Design Team at The Memory Nest, which makes for a very exciting Monday morning. I am constantly inspired by the work of the Design Team and eager to see what the new members will bring to the challenges. Do pop over and check out their work, and of course should this sketch inspire you to get scrapping, link up your layout. 

Sunday 2 March 2014

This Week

This past week sickness ruled our home. Ear infections, colds, coughs, and while the rest of the family has fully recuperated, I am still fighting a stuffy head and nose. It has been hanging on for over a week now and it is fair to say that I have had about enough.

This was the scene on my kitchen counter for most of the week.
On Thursday, I purchased myself some tulips...fresh, colorful, springy flowers to help cheer the place up. It did help a bit, though not having to blow my poor nose so often would definitely help as well.
I blame the weather for all this sickness - the unrelenting cold, all the snow, and the fact that as we begin March there is no end in the immediate future.

But at the same time, the fact that I can not seem to kick this cold I blame on the rush of life. I have been going full tilt since Christmas, running from work, to chores, to cooking, to yet another load of laundry, without a moment to stop and breath in between. I have been exhausted, worn out and worn down. Such busyness does not agree with me and something must be done to ease my workload....

So today I am taking it easy. I am still in my pajamas. The last load of laundry is in the dryer and I only need to turn the crock pot on in a short while so that it can cook our dinner for us. Then I am going to spend the day crafting - a little crochet, a little scrapbooking.

A little relaxation to help me recuperate. And then there is only four more days of work before Spring Break when I will be off with my girls.....I can not wait.