Friday 31 July 2015

Flowers for Yarndale

By far, one of the best things about last week when I was on vacation, was sitting on the deck crocheting. The weather was fantastic, not too hot with a gorgeous breeze, and I really enjoyed sitting with my feet up and my hook in hand. I could most certainly get used to afternoons such as those.

What was I making in my time of bliss you ask? Well, my cozy stripe blanket is much too big to be worked on outside (not to mention, I would have been mighty hot underneath it) so I took the time to work on a smaller project: these flowers which I will be sending off to be part of the Yarndale Community Project.

I made this pink flower one afternoon while the girls swam (and screamed) in the pool:
And this red posy at a friend's house one evening, and then I put it together the following afternoon on the deck while the girls were quietly reading their library books:
Though I am not able to go to Yarndale (due to the ocean in between me and the festival), I love that I can still contribute to it and that my flowers will join so many others from all over the world to create what is sure to be a stunning display of crochet.
As I was working, I thought about the other people making flowers for this project: where they might be; what the weather is like where they are; are they too watching their children as they crochet...and it makes me feel very connected to the worldwide community of yarn crafters, a feeling which I love and which I thank the Yarndale Community Project for encouraging.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

How I Put My Scrapbook Albums Together

I was talking to a friend of mine a few months ago and she mentioned that while she loves to see all my layouts, she was curious how I put my albums together. So this post is about that; how I collect all my pages into a neat and tidy album that my family can sit on the couch and look at.

I do a family album every year. The only additional album I will do is a travel one if we have gone on a big trip.

I have been buying the same style albums from Michaels for the past several years. I do this so I can buy the corresponding package of refill pages in bulk (which is cheaper) and just keep using them year after year when I put my albums together. Everything works together so there is no waste or fuss.

I pick a different patterned album for each year. If I have created a lot of layouts in one year, I buy two of the same patterned albums for that year so that when the albums are on the shelf it is easy to see which ones belong together.

This is the album that I am using for my 2014 layouts:
I often have to buy longer posts (the cheapest ones are available in the hardware aisle at Home Depot) and use cardboard spacers (I make my own by cutting scrap cardboard to size), so that when the album is all together  the pages are lying flat. When all is said and done, I want my album to be the same height at the spine as at the open edge.
To begin, I put all my pages in order by date and slide them into page protectors. I then add a page, followed by a cardboard spacer or two (as needed) onto the posts (the longer posts are in the above photo) until all the pages are in the album. If I have more than one album for the year, I simply divide the pages between the albums.
Once I close my completed album, I check to make sure it is the same size at the spine as at the outer edge, and that all the pages are lying flat.
I also label the inside cover of my albums with the year and the volume (if there is more than one album for that year)
This is the shelf where I store my albums.
Organized. Colorful. Pretty. But full.

Finding a storage spot for my future albums is something I am going to have to work on.

In the meantime, I have my 2014 album completed and ready to show. Each and every time I browse through one of my scrapbook albums, I fall in love with this hobby all over again; is there anything better than recording stories and memories.

Monday 27 July 2015

In the Garden

I have some good news and some disappointing news to share with you today in regards to the garden. Let's start with the good news:

Looks like we are going to get some carrots and some leeks. I put plastic tubing around the leeks and it is working so much better than the toilet paper tubes (read: the birds are leaving the tubes alone).
The tomatoes are growing like crazy. The warmer weather has been really good to them and we will hopefully have some fruit soon.
The kale is plentiful and delicious.
And these flowers are slowly coming into bloom. I love the vibrant.
And now for what has somewhat failed this year - broccoli and cauliflower. After a very promising start, the broccoli came up and went to seed almost immediately.
The same was true for the cauliflower. I am not sure what went wrong. We were able to harvest a few leaves, which we roasted, but that was it. We are disappointed, but we will try again next year.

We also lost all but one tiny beet to the birds and/or the squirrels. I guess we could say, that while it was our intent to eat from our garden, at least the neighborhood wildlife is well fed.

Some good, some not so good...such are the perils of gardening...

How is your garden doing? What have you harvested so far?

Saturday 25 July 2015


 "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2015."

You got all dressed up (skirts made by Oma) for us to go to the library. Seeing you in matching outfits took me back to those early days when I had a baby and a toddler and I loved dressing you the same. I reveled in that memory for a brief moment, brought quickly back to reality, to how fast you are growing up, when we got to the library and Bridget pulled her own library card from her purse to sign out her books, while Claire signed up for her own library card so that she could do the same.  A simple little outing, but so full of memories and growth....

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

Friday 24 July 2015

Three Things

I had this week off work and it has been fantastic. The girls and I had a few short outings, but for the most part we were at home, and it was just what I needed to relax and recharge. I was quite literally running on fumes as I came into this vacation, and the down time has helped tremendously; I feel like myself again and am excited to feel my creative energy return.

Of course there were many reasons to smile this week, and here are some of the best:

Spending all week with my girls. It was just like the good-old-days before I went back to work full time, and I absolutely loved it. So many hugs and kisses, funny little quips, overhearing the conversations between the two of them, listening to them play, going for walks, hearing the latest installments of their Lego games, eating popsicles, swimming in the was simply the best.
This view from the kitchen door every morning. The weather was absolutely gorgeous (we could not have ordered better weather) and it was so nice to see the beauty of the garden in the morning sunshine.
Time to sit on the deck and crochet. I wish for this all the time during busy work weeks, and was so happy to spend a few afternoons in the sun with my hook in hand.
Hope you had a wonderful week and that you found many reasons to smile.

Sunday 19 July 2015


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2015."

This weekend we went for a bike ride by the river. Bridget was miles ahead of us while Claire just pedaled slowly along. It was hot and humid, but there were still smiles all around; smiles that look so incredibly similar in this picture.

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

Saturday 18 July 2015

Early Morning Daisies..

This morning I took an early walk in the garden.

The daisies are in bloom, somehow still standing after the torrential downpours of the last few days.

It was a lovely start to the weekend and my week off work.

Wishing you a beautiful day.

Friday 17 July 2015

Happy Birthday Dad

Making a birthday card for my Dad brought to light a card making dilemma that I have had before (and will likely have again): it is so difficult to make a card for a man, especially when so many of my papers and embellishments are pink, floral, and to be honest, very girly.

It was a struggle, and I spent a great deal of time rummaging through my supplies, but in the end I came up with something that I really liked (and my Dad did too):
I think the key to making a 'man' card is to keep the patterned paper very basic: stripes, this case a wood grain, and then really layer things up. Layers, like Paris, are always a good idea.
For embellishments I added some stars and a heart - which I cut out using my Quickutz Squeeze (what??? I can't remember the last time I used that). I also tied on some twine.

Do you have trouble creating cards for the men in your life?

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Happy Birthday Claire-Bear

On the weekend we celebrated this sweet girl of ours:
Our Claire-Bear is six years old.

Turning six was a very big deal for her. She has spent the last few months counting down to her birthday, to "when she is six". And whenever she talked about her friends who already had a sixth birthday, she was sure to remind me that her friend was already six and that she would be soon. She even made grand speeches at the dinner table saying that she had to eat her supper or she would stop growing and not turn six. Six is a big deal.

So of course, when I made her a birthday card I was sure to include more than one six.
She had so much fun at her birthday party: playing in the pool, eating Cheesies, laughing with her sister and her cousins, and happy to be the "special girl" for the day.
Happy 6th Birthday Claire-Bear. We love you so much.

Monday 13 July 2015

Happy Day

Ready for another sketch challenge from The Memory Nest? I know I am.

We have just started getting some real (read: hot) summer weather, and while it is great to be outdoors in the warm sun, it was just as great to be inside the cool house working away with this sketch.
I actually made a layout for this challenge (rather than a card).
I love these pictures of my girls riding their bikes in the spring; bike riding has quickly become one of their favorite things to do.

I have had this bicycle patterned paper tucked away for some time now and love how perfectly it worked with this layout. All the papers I used are from the Cool Summer line by Carta Bella.
Because I am a creature of habit, I kept my embellishments simple. Plus, I did not want to take away from the cuteness that is my girls.
Hope your summer is off to a great start and that you are finding some time to craft.

Sunday 12 July 2015


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Inspired by a book you read, you girls have been making potions. All the containers are labelled: sister potion; flower potion; nature potion; lightning potion, and you have a notebook where you are keeping track of the ingredients for each. I have been asked for things like ribbon and salt....and you have been scavenging the yard for seeds, rocks, and weeds to add to your concoctions. Bless your incredible imaginations.

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Happy Flower Decoration

Today I am very excited to show you a little crochet project that I made: my Happy Flower Decoration.
It has been far too long since I got out my stash of cotton yarn and made up something colorful and fun. Back before I went back to work full time, I had much more time and energy for small little projects like this and making them made me feel happy and grounded.....oh the good-old-days, how I miss you sometimes.

Anyways, amidst the hustle and bustle that seems to be the new normal, I did manage to make this Happy Flower. I followed the pattern at Attic 24 to a tee and am quite pleased with the results. I was a little nervous painting glue onto the back of my work to stiffen it up (see the pattern for a full explanation of this) but was pleasantly surprised at how fantastic this worked at making the flower sturdy enough for hanging.
I used whatever odds and ends of cotton yarn that I had on hand, happily using up many scraps and clearing out the stash just a wee bit.

I have not quite decided where to hang my flower just yet, it may end up in my craft corner or in my closet....either way, wherever it is, it is sure to make me happy....

It was so fun to finally make a little project again, something quick to finish and easily satisfying. I am currently looking around for small, simple projects such as this one to make over the summer months when it is too warm to work on my cozy stripe blanket, and I need a little hooky for the car ride/campsite/pool side. Any suggestions?

Monday 6 July 2015

Summer Thank You

Good Morning!

Today it is time for another sketch challenge at The Memory Nest, the first one of the summer.
I have been on a little bit of a roll lately using The Memory Nest sketches to make cards (see here and here) and this time around is no different.

For this card I turned the design but kept all the layering elements in place. I substituted the row of three photos seen on the sketch for three embellishments (two buttons and a strawberry) placed along the green semi circle. 
I used Jillibean Soup papers (again) because I love them so much.
I was so enjoying my creative time, working away at my craft table, that I went on to make a second card.
I would say this card is more inspired by the sketch rather than one that includes all the design elements...but that is the point of sketches, to inspire, is it not?
With so many events filling up the calendar this summer, I think it will be handy to have a few handmade summer thank you cards on hand, ready for when I need to write a quick note of appreciation.

Thank you for stopping by and looking at what I have created. 

Be sure to visit The Memory Nest for more inspiration and to link up your own projects. 

Sunday 5 July 2015


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2015."

We just got back from our annual summer camping trip, and what an incredible weekend it was: amazing weather, great friends, campfires, s'mores, mosquitoes, hunting for caterpillars in the woods, and an afternoon at the beach.

Claire: loving every moment spent swimming in the lake

Bridget: buried in sand (her bottom half eventually resembled a mermaid tale) and so happy!

Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

P.S. Are we really halfway through the year already?

Friday 3 July 2015

Cozy Stripe Blanket Update

My cozy stripe blanket has taken up permanent residence on the corner of the couch. I am back to working on it diligently after a bit of a slow down, and it is coming along quite nicely. As you can see it is very large....
and it will get larger still. There are many more rows to do (58) which means that when all is said and done, this blanket will be huge, perfect for cuddling up under.

Working up these stripes is so much fun, so long as I pay attention and don't miss stitches and then need to rip out several rows to correct my mistake.
The order of the colors still enchants me; colors that I would never consider putting beside each other, look incredible, making this blanket is an education in color.

Could I have this blanket finished by the end of the year? I hope so. It is a far way off, but there is a lot happening between now and then, so I feel this is a realistic goal. Yes, I'll work towards is helpful to have a sort of end date in mind. 

In related crochet news, I was searching through my blog photos the other day, and was shocked to realize that I have not posted a completed crochet project once this entire year. Sure, I have been working on this blanket, but I can not believe that I have not made anything else in all this time. I'm thinking that summer will be the perfect time to remedy this; I can't take my blanket camping or on road trips (it is too big) so it is the perfect time for a smaller project. In fact, I just put the finishing touches on a little decoration I showed you a sneak peek of here and a proper ta-dah post is coming soon for that. 

Thursday 2 July 2015

In the Garden

Vegetable garden notes this week:

Lettuce, lettuce. lettuce. So much lettuce. We are eating salads for lunch and dinner and it tastes delicious. While some of the spinach is nearly done, the red leaf and butter crunch are still going strong. I'm going to leave the kale for a bit and let the heads get a little fuller...
The beets are going strong...
We lost a few broccoli and cauliflower plants to the jumpy squirrel, which just means that next year we will definitely be building a wire fence around the garden to keep the rascal out.
One other nuisance that we did not see coming was the birds. I put toilet paper rolls around my leeks (to increase the white portion of the plant) and the birds have been taking the rolls off the plants and tossing them out of the garden. I have watched them from the kitchen window, ran outside to scare them off, replaced the rolls, and by the time I am back in the house, the birds are back to their destructive behavior. I decided to forget about the toilet tubes and just mound the dirt around the leeks instead; hopefully this does the trick.
While the tomato plants are growing tall, there are still no tomatoes on them. It has been very wet and much cooler than normal which I suspect to be the reason for this....or I just need to be more patient...
Having a garden and experiencing the influence of the weather and various critters on the growth of the plants has certainly given me a greater appreciation for farmers and the perils inherent in farming. And made me that much more appreciative of the availability of fresh produce in my community....