Friday, 28 April 2017

17/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Sailing around the Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge...

Dipping our toes into the freezing cold Pacific Ocean....

Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge....

And riding the historic cable car....

Just a few of the wonderful memories from our week in San Fransisco.

Of course, as you girls would say, the best thing was being together as a family...and you would be right...

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

16/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Welcome to San Fransisco!

On a clear and sunny day we landed in San Fransisco for our family holiday. First stop, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge...and then off to explore the city and make some wonderful memories together.

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Snail in a Pear

My latest amigurumi creation: a little snail and her pear home.

This was a lot of fun to make and my girls just love it; there is something about little containers and hiding things inside that these girls of mine just love.

Just like my bumble bee, the pattern for the snail and the pear can be found in the book Amigurumi Two: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

15/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Another collection of photos this week; it's too hard to pick just one.

It definitely feels like spring. We spent as much time as we could outside today....riding bikes, walking around the neighborhood, jumping off the porch, and feeling the warmer breeze on our faces. These early spring days are so full of anticipation, they are almost magical.

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.

P.S. Thanks again to my wonderful photographer husband for taking these amazing pictures..this time with his new lens...

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Maybelle Blanket

This blanket happened quite by accident.

I was camped out in my "crochet corner" on the sofa and quite happily began making flowers using the leftover yarn ends from my Cozy Stripe Blanket. I had a vague idea to make a bunting, but soon realized that I had enough yarn to make a blanket - a stash-busting blanket of sorts if you don't count the cream and tan yarns that I needed to buy in order to make the flowers into squares and to join everything together. And so I made my Maybelle blanket. I hadn't intended to, in fact I had yarn all lined up for another blanket project, but this one just sort of happened and luckily so....

As I recovered from my surgery, and as I worked through a little setback that filled me to the brim with anxiety, I crocheted this blanket. There are tears and healing in the stitches; this blanket represents my journey, in a way, to the place I am now - a happy place, a healthy place....

The patterns for all parts of the blanket - the flowers, turning the flowers into squares, joining the squares, and the border - can be found at the beautifully inspiring blog My Rose Valley.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Charlotte the Bumble Bee

Yes, I made a crochet bumble bee and named her Charlotte.
Sometimes I wonder if I should get out a bit more, but there is something so incredibly satisfying about curling up on the couch in my pajamas and crocheting another amigurumi friend. I love it so much and it just makes me so happy....

The pattern for this bee can be found in the book Amigurumi Two: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 3 April 2017

14/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Or in this case portraits....sometimes choosing just one is too hard.

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous spring day and we spent the afternoon at Oma and Opa's house...chatting, eating Easter chocolates, enjoying a delicious family dinner, and taking advantage of the sunshine that finally feels warm.  Spring is in the air.

Bridget was absolutely thrilled to wear her new embroidered denim jacket, which she vowed to never take off...

And Claire, well, she was hopping and skipping all afternoon, her wavy hair bouncing along behind her, so full of energy and smiles....

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.

P.S. Thanks to my wonderful photographer husband for taking these amazing pictures...

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Mr. and Mrs. Cactus

Out and about running errands over the last few weeks I've been surprised by the number of cacti embellishments that I've seen. On clothing, on bedding, on home decor...cacti seem to be very popular at the moment. Of course, this inspired me to march myself home, rummage through my cotton stash for suitable colors, and crochet a few cacti of my own: Mr. and Mrs. Cactus.
I've affectionately named these two Arthur and Bernadette.

I've always loved cacti. When I was a little girl, I had a cactus garden in my bedroom and when Steve and I were first married, we bought a fun cactus we named "Yo" to put in our living room. All these cacti died, likely from over-watering, which thankfully will not happen to these two.
With no little parts to sew on, these friends were very simple to make. The pattern I followed is from the book Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet, one of my all time favorite amigurumi books....so many cute and adorable patterns inside.

And I just realized something, remember my succulents in an elephant, and my little succulent in a tiny pot? Well, apparently I was already on the bandwagon because these are the third and fourth cacti/succulents that I have made in the last while. So fun! 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

13/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Claire: "I don't just love you with half my heart, Mom, I love you with my whole entire heart"

Bridget: "I love you so much, Mom"

Lots of much needed love this week.

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Taking Stock

Here is what is going on right now, on a sunny, late-March morning, in my little corner of the world:

Making: crochet cacti
Cooking: kale and fennel vegetable soup
Drinking: black coffee, and trying to learn to like it
Reading: "Chasing Slow" and nodding along as I read
Looking: for even more things to purge from the house
Deciding: to sign up for a yoga class
Hoping: spring will come now and stay
Enjoying: a shrinking 'to-do' list
Waiting: for my photo books to arrive in the mail
Liking: my morning walks around the neighborhood
Loving: craft time at the kitchen table with my girls
Pondering: the crazy world we live in
Listening: to The Minimalists Podcast
Considering: what to plant in the garden this year
Buying: new siding and eaves troughs for the house - oh goody
Browsing: crochet pattern books, adding more projects to my 'to-make' list    
Wondering: if I should make a big batch of apple sauce?
Marveling: at my succulent which is growing, not dying...miracles do happen
Cringing: at the counter full of dirty dishes
Needing: a haircut, badly
Smelling: my beeswax candle burning on the kitchen counter
Wearing: leggings
Noticing: a few buds on the trees
Knowing: that I need to make a serious change
Prioritizing: self-care and health
Thinking: about my place in the world
Getting: excited about our upcoming holiday
Celebrating: my speedy recovery and how amazing I feel
Disliking: bills
Opening: the windows for a little fresh air
Feeling: at peace
Hearing: birds chirping outside
Embracing: slow days

(writing prompts courtesy of Pip)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

12/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Claire: Quietly sitting in your room reading....

Bridget: You mastered crocheting; after a day and a half of concentrated effort you had made a blanket and a scarf for your doll, and you were excitedly planning your next projects.

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.  

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Crochet Coasters

While watching a movie with the girls, and while sipping a cappuccino in a neighborhood coffee shop, I made these four crochet coasters.
Another small and satisfying project.

Whether I'll keep them for myself or tuck them aside as a possible gift for someone, I'm not sure yet. But they were fun to make. And they're pretty.

Monday, 13 March 2017

A Crochet Unicorn

Scrolling through Instagram a few weeks ago, I came across a call from A Menagerie of Stitches for people to test her first crochet pattern - a unicorn. I jumped at the chance, messaging her right away to say that I would be interested....and was so excited to be selected to test the pattern.

Though it was absolutely not necessary, I used this an an opportunity/excuse to head to Michaels and stock up on crochet cotton. (Have you seen the new colors of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton? Oh my goodness, they are gorgeous, and at only $1.25 a ball (on sale when I was there) I was powerless to resist.)

Anyways, the unicorn. Working up this pattern was a breeze - easy to read, clear, with a ton of very helpful photos....it really is a great pattern. The pattern is being released today, and I would highly recommend it if crocheting adorable amigurumi toys is your thing.

My unicorn turned out amazing, and I love her so much that despite all the pleas from my girls, I am keeping her for myself. I held a little photo shoot for her the other day, taking loads of pictures...enjoy!
Isn't she adorable? And wonderfully colorful?

Thanks again to Lauren at A Menagerie of Stitches for the opportunity to test this pattern. It was a lot of fun.

The pattern is available on Etsy at A Menagerie of Stitches....

Sunday, 12 March 2017

11/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

We kicked off spring break with a trip to the local museum to see the dinosaur exhibit. No visit would be complete without the obligatory photo of your heads inside a dinosaur's mouth...and your expressions, they could not be more perfect...

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Little Bits of Crochet

Camped out on the sofa, my feet on the ottoman and a cup of tea within reach, I've been making a few small crochet bits: quick to finish, simple, pretty, and incredibly satisfying....

First was this Simple Sunburst Crochet Heart:
Then, on a particularly dreary afternoon, I made a sun....
And finally, another succulent, to join the ones I already made and put in an elephant....
Everything was made with leftover yarn bits, so this all qualifies as a little stash busting too...

Quick crochet projects are so incredibly satisfying for me. I love sitting down and finishing a little project in a short while; sometimes this is just what I need. To that end, I do have a few more small creations to show you next week, but know that at the same time I have moved onto a Big Project, something that I'll be working on for a while...how mysterious I am, stay tuned, friends...

Joining in with the Winter Project Link Party at Thistlebear.  

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Arctic Critter

Just after Christmas I was at the bookstore with my mom when I spotted an amazing magazine: The Amigurumi Collection published by Inside Crochet. Truth be told, I was too frugal to buy it for myself, but my mom, knowing that I would love it, bought it for me and surprised me with it before I went for surgery. I promptly bookmarked all the animals that I want to make (the girls willingly helped me with this) and then headed to the yarn store to stock up on crochet cotton.

Today I am really excited to show you the first friend I made from this magazine: the Arctic Critter. (Ironically, I was working on my Arctic Critter on the warmest February day on record)
I actually made him for Claire; she adamantly requested a purple scarf, and has named her new friend Bo Bo. He is quite a bit bigger than I expected, standing about 12 inches tall, the perfect size for Claire cuddles.
I really love him. The pattern was fairly simple and the finishing was not too bad. When it comes to making amigurumi toys, I find sewing all the arms, legs, ears, tails, and any other pieces in place to be the most challenging, mostly because I am a perfectionist and am constantly checking if everything is placed correctly. The only thing that gave me trouble with this guy was the ears, they were a little tricky, but came out good in the end.

Oh, and one thing that was pleasantly different with this pattern compared to other amigurumi patterns that I have done, is that in this case the head and body are crocheted as one piece rather than separately. This eliminates the need to sew the head to the body and fuss around with making sure that the positioning is correct (see above); though I did need to make sure that the neck was stuffed quite firmly so that the head stayed upright.

With my new magazine and the load of crochet cotton that I bought (yes, I got a little carried away), I can see a few more amigurumi friends in my future. Which is okay with me because they are just so much fun to make!

Joining in with the Winter Project Link Party at Thistlebear.  

Monday, 6 March 2017

10/52

"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2017."

Ready for another day of grade five and grade two..

Inspired by The 52 Week Project at Practicing Simplicity

Friday, 3 March 2017

Cross Stitch: Pretty Little San Francisco

Counted cross stitch was something that I did years ago and then sort of abandoned as I developed new hobbies and interests. If you had asked me even a year ago if I would ever come back to cross stitch, I would have responded with a definite "no". It just did not feel like the craft for me anymore, and furthermore I had not seen any patterns that I liked or that I could see myself hanging in my home when finished. But then something changed. When my surgery was booked and I was looking to fill my time at home with crafty pursuits, my thoughts unexpectedly turned to cross stitch; I could not tell you why I began thinking of cross stitch, the source of this inspiration remains a mystery even to me, but I did. So I headed over to Etsy to see what I could find, and a quick search for "modern cross stitch" brought me to the most perfect pattern: the skyline of San Francisco, the city we will be traveling to in about a month. I ordered the pattern, collected all the floss (so much) that I needed, got my Aida cloth ready and started stitching.

For the last few weeks, each morning, after Steve has headed off to work and the girls have left for school, I reheat my coffee in the microwave and settle down for an hour or so to work on my cross stitch picture. This is not a fast craft at all, as I can only really work on it in little bursts, and in the right light....but I am really enjoying it...and when you do a little everyday, eventually it all comes together.
My favorite thing is how colorful it is. And I have the perfect place to hang my picture when it is done.
I'll be posting updates here as I work on my picture if you want to follow along.

And the fact that I went back to a craft that I had done many years ago made me wonder if you've ever done the same, and if so, which craft?

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Joining in with the Winter Project Link Party at Thistlebear

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Pink Crochet Bowl

Like all little girls, Bridget loves to collect random things and keep them in little boxes, bags, baskets....whatever she can find really. Of note, is her lip balm/chap stick collection which she was storing in a flowerpot that she decorated at a birthday party years ago. With her collection growing, the flowerpot was not working anymore, so I made her a crochet bowl.... 
You may ask why so many chap sticks/lip balms are needed, but did you know that you choose your lip balm based on your mood? Today Bridget was feeling like vanilla coconut.

I love being able to use crochet to organize things in my home; it just looks so much prettier and cozier to me than a plastic container....or a flowerpot covered in dusty foam stickers.

Joining in with the Winter Project Link Party at Thistlebear