Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Crocheted Minion

I gotta say - I'm loving crochet!

(and I'm a poet and I didn't even knowit! hahaha)


I have finished yet another project that I would love to share with you today.

Since I made Cookie Monster for Lane, there was no way that Logan was going to be left out of the toy crocheting spree. Hee! I called it a spree, and it sorta looks like it may become one. Seriously addicted to making these little amigurumis.

And what is Logan most obsessed with in the whole world?

I'll give you a hint - the crochet started like this:

No it's not some weird corn hybrid.

It's a Minion of course!

Logan has named his minion Kevin (although I believe Kevin is a little taller that this in the countless minion videos we've watched).

So everyone meet Kevin! He belongs to Logan as evidenced by the L on his overalls. :D

I love him!

I used this free pattern that I found on Ravelry to make him. Definitely check it out and crochet him for yourself. He's too precious!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Iron Craft #2 - Get It Together!

This week's challenge:

"The new year is a time when a lot of us focus on where we are in our lives and set goals for the future. It seems like for many of us that goal is to be more organized. So, let’s make that our Iron Craft challenge, create something that will help you (or someone else) get organized OR, for a little different take, you can organize your craft space and show us what you did." (courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

Oh my gosh - so I already organized my craft space. I actually did that right at the beginning of the year. But I still had tons of ideas to get organized, so no matter.

As you know, I've been learning to crochet this year. And it's going along so well! To look the part though and to get more organized, I needed a BIG bag to put all those balls of yarn, crochet hooks, etc into.

I had some double sided quilted fabric that I inherited from a friend who was cleaning out her mother's fabric stash. Not really my style, but there was a lot of it, and it worked perfectly for this project.

There is a big pocket on the front of the bag. I store my printed out pattern instructions in this pocket. I even spent some extra time and used a fancy stitch on my machine to decorate the edge of the pocket. Since the quilted fabric is double sided, I got two different prints on this bag which makes it more interesting. I used a solid peach colour from my fabric stash as trim.

 The most special part about this bag, however, is the inside.

I used some leftover foam I had from making the patio furniture cushions last summer. I covered them in the stuff double sided quilted stuff and sewed them in as "walls" or dividers inside the bag! :D I'm so pleased with this result even though it was a major pain to sew them in by hand (I even sewed the front pocket closed by accident once while sewing these in - yikes!)

You can see that some of my yarn is in there and the crochet hook case with all my hooks is in the small compartment. I've been using this bag for a few days now and it's working out fabulously. It's even large enough to carry my Happy Hooker (learn how to crochet) book.

This is what the bag looked like this morning when I took a picture. ACK! Doll legs! hehehehe

 Now I've got my crochet projects all in one portable place. Hmmm... maybe I should tackle that box of yarn I accumulated over the weekend at a huge yarn sale that I went to?

(I'm thinking about making a tutorial for this bag. Let me know if you're interested).


To check out all the wonderful organizational ideas that Iron Crafters have come up, please check out the Flickr Group.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Cookie Monster Amigurumi

The sole reason I wanted to learn how to crochet had to do with Amigurumi.

For those of you unfamiliar with that term - it's a word used to describe a crocheted (or knitted) stuffed animal or doll. They are usually super cute and small.

I was reading in my Happy Hooker book that I should just jump in and start crocheting something that I really have to have. That should be motivation enough to wade through all those crazy symbols on a crochet pattern.

So that's what I did:

Ta da! Cookie Monster!

I used a pattern that I found for free on Ravelry. The pattern was simple and straightforward. I had already learned how to crochet in the round, so it was just a manner of figuring out counts of single crochet and doing increases and decreases. I didn't have to switch colours halfway through or anything and everything was sewn on and assembled after.

This Cookie Monster is not without it's rookie mistakes of course. If you look closely at the head, you can see that I somehow got mixed up after I stopped crocheting for a couple of hours and came back to it. The bottom of the head is done inside out. Ooops! I could have taken it out and redone that, but I'm a very slow crocheter and this would have backed me up an hour. Since I was sewing a mouth on to cover it anyway and it is for Lane who wouldn't know the difference, I just left as is.

Lane is very happy with her new friend. And I'm very happy that I jumped in and tried something that I was so unsure about. I think I'm figuring out this crochet thing. Maybe I'll even add some more colour work next time?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Doll Spa Day

In continued efforts to entertain Miss Laney without going outside into the deep freeze (even for a car ride to a warmer place), I decided to have a spa day.

For her dolly of course!

We started with this. Yikes! Dolly Emma was so full of tangles and matted hair that Lane wouldn't even play with her anymore. :(

This was going to be a tough makeover!

We started by giving Emma a soothing conditioner rinse. I looked up how to untangle doll hair on the Internet and came up with either fabric softener or hair conditioner as the best two options. I don't have any liquid fabric softener so I went with the conditioner.

We washed her hair with shampoo first and then worked about a fistful of conditioner in and then let it sit for about 20 minutes.

I then rinsed Emma's hair and started with a wide tooth comb at the ends and slowly picked out all the tangles working in sections. I used a vegan leave in conditioner spray along the way to help with the tangles. Above is what she looked like after all that detangling.

I went over her hair one more time with a thinner toothed comb and then put Emma's hair in braids. Hopefully she won't get tangled up so badly now. Lane is very happy. She even played with Emma for the first time in several months.

Now that Emma has a hair makeover, we decided to do something about the boring dress she came in. The dress has been downgraded to nightie and a new, more fancy gown has been made.

Lane's only stipulation for Emma's new dress was that it has to have the puffy stuff that is used for ballet tutus. Done and Done!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Shellstitch Crochet Scarf

I was slowly going through my Learn to Crochet book when I got to the shell stitch last week.

I chained 38 like I was instructed and started going on it. And going and going and going.

I love this stitch! So I flipped back to the chapter where it showed me how to switch colours.

I started making stripes in shell stitch.

I made several stripes and then flipped ahead in the book to figure out how to put a little fringe on the edges.

And now I have a pretty shell stitch scarf.

I'm loving this new found creative outlet.

I'm warning you now that you'll be seeing a lot more crochet posts from me this year. I can't help myself.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Entertaining Miss Laney

This winter has been cold. I mean really cold.

So cold that if I go outside and breathe in the cold air, the corkscrew holding my chest together will constrict. And that means serious owey!

Terry has been working from home for weeks now (going in every time it reaches a decent enough temperature for me to safely walk the kids to school and back - which happened about twice since the new year.)

I've been pretty much confined to the house. And with Terry working upstairs, I have to entertain Lane every morning before she goes to pre-school in the afternoon. We're stuck down in the rec room at a quiet sorta decibel.

What to do?

Well... there's laundry... plenty of that. But somehow I don't think Lane would appreciate me doing laundry the entire time.

Daddy brought donuts for his office mates one morning. So we had a morning meeting with Dave, Stuart and Lane. Lots of new initiatives were discussed including redefining minion roles and up employee satisfaction (the donuts helped a lot with that one).

We have drawn and coloured pictures. This one was during a rare outing into the cold with scarf tied firmly around mommy to protect her hurty chest. Montanas has Kids Eat Free Tuesdays. Can't pass that up. And the kids love colouring on the table - so do I!

Daddy took the day off so that mommy could go to the doctor and was found playing Princess Candyland with Lane. He looks so impressed doesn't he?

Even Logan gets into the entertaining Miss Laney groove every once in awhile. Here he is humoring his sister while she puts on a musical show. We have our playroom back after 3 months of it being used as a guestroom. So all the toys are hidden away in there once again and our living areas have been greatly de-cluttered. Woo!

We made pretty headbands.

And because Lane loved making that first one, we made another the following day. The only stipulation she had for the making of this second one was "it has to be super fancy!" (Notice the cookies on her face. We've been busy baking during our time in lock down as well).

I think it worked! We even put a little snow plow in the bow of this super fancy headband. Very Winnipeg of us don't you think? And it will forever remind us of this time in our lives.  Hahaha wasn't that fun? The time we were stuck in the basement for days and days because my chest is a huge bully that will break me in half if I go outside in the cold. Good times... good times...

 And of course we've made couch tents! Lane loves to lay in her pink couch tent and watch Netflix shows (mainly Barney) on the Wii remote screen. It's nice because I can watch the regular TV and don't have to sit though endless episodes of Barney back to back to back.

All in all I think we're making the most of this situation. But seriously... I'm starting to go a little batty. Did you know what I dreamed about the other day?

I dreamed that I figured out the answer as to why we all have spleens. Apparently it has nothing to do with this life, but after we die and go up to the gates, St. Peter reads all our misdeeds which are fused into our spleens. ?!!! Then I started feeling sorry for those who have had their spleen removed because we didn't know its actual function. Then I started thinking that maybe these people are geniuses because now they can get away with murder. Then I started thinking that if this information got out there would be rampant spleen stealing and back alley surgery to transplant good peoples' spleen into really bad individuals. So I decided to keep this information to myself instead of gaining fame and fortune. Phew. I just saved the world while I was sleeping! (In related news: I may have had too much beer and spinach dip last night while watching Supernatural and Lost Girl).... or it could be that I've been stuck in this basement hiding from the cold a little too long.

Here's to warmer weather coming please. It doesn't even have to be that warm. I'll take -25 without the wind chill. I can go outside in that without a worry. Please and thank you mother nature. ;)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Crochet Hook Case

I turned to my first crafting love - sewing - to make something for my newest crafting love - crochet yesterday evening. 

I sewed a crochet hook case. 

It's pretty much the same as a crayon roll only it has tags for hook sizes. It wraps right up to be stored in my crochet bag...


 but wait! 

I don't have a crochet bag... 

yet... (something to work on I guess)

A small crochet hook case for the standard sized hooks that I have. There is room in each pocket to put more than one if I ever get any others.

I wrote the sizes on each tag of each pocket. The tags are just the 3T printed tags that I have for making potty trainers turned around. I tried to use a sharpie to write the letters and measures but it ended up running and making a mess. For some reason I don't seem to have a fine point sharpie around, so pen worked in a pinch.

It wraps up into a small tube to be put in a crochet bag... once I actually make a crochet bag to store my project, yarn, pattern and crochet hook case.

I got the idea for the case and the tags from Susi over at Just Crafty Enough. She made a fantastic knitting needle case last week. The funny thing is that I made this last night and then I read the Iron Craft challenge for this week from the same website (Just Crafty Enough) and it was to make something to organize. This would have been perfect. Darn it! Now I'm really going to have to make that crochet project bag!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Iron Craft 2014 #1: Three

Today begins another year of Iron Crafting. I'm always excited to participate in these challenges. This week's challenge:

"Today marks the third anniversary of Iron Craft! Yes, three years of posting crafty challenges! I know you are all trying to think of an anniversary gift for us, so this week’s challenge is based on the traditional and modern third anniversary gifts. The traditional gifts for a third anniversary are leather and the modern gifts are crystal. So, for your challenge create something using any one or more of those materials in your project. We’ll make it slightly easier and say for leather you can use leather, suede, vinyl or any leather look material, for crystal we’ll allow crystal, rhinestones, glass or beads. These materials do not have to be the only ones used in your project, but should be a stand-out part of it."


Ooooh a toughie to start the year....

I have been slightly obsessed with tying friendship bracelets for a few years now. But I only tie two or three different versions over and over again. I decided that this challenge I would go to and work on some new patterns. And of course I added some "crystals" into the designs!

I didn't get a chance to take individual photos of the blue and green one on the bottom of this picture, but here is the link to the pattern.

This one was made with 8 strands and was the easiest of the bunch. I added the pink crystals into the middle X of the pattern.

This one was back to my regular 12 strands. It turned out more polka dotty than I thought it would, but it still looks cool.  I used this pattern.

And this is the one I started with and perhaps was the more difficult (mainly because I had to learn how to make something other than the chevrons I've been working on for years.) I used this pattern.

I think they turned out pretty well and the crystals definitely added my personality into these patterns.

To check out what fun 3rd anniversary gifts the Iron Crafters have come up with, please visit the Flickr Group.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Winter Clothing is Important (Even for Dolls)

Lane was very excited to spend her Toys R Us Christmas gift card this past weekend. She had it all figured out. She wanted a baby Lalaloopsy.

And that's just what she went there and got. And little baby Crumbs Sugarcookie is the cutest!

But she came wearing only a tiny pair of underwear and a hat. That's it.

She wasn't going to survive this cold snap we are currently having. In fact, I doubt she would make it through any old regular Canadian winter without help.

So help came in the form of a sewing machine and a scrap of fleece.

Crumbs Sugarcookie now has a cutesy yellow zipper sleeper. Lane uses this sleeper with a double purpose. She zips that baby bottle into the bottom of the sleeper so that she doesn't lose it. Pretty ingenious eh?

After I had made this sleeper, Lane informed me that baby Lalaloopsies sleep a lot, but that's not all they do, so this baby was going to need day clothes as well.

Of course. I should have thought of that.

Day clothes it is!

I made a little top that Velcros in the back. With all my Project Project Runway experience sewing fashion for Barbies with big heads, this was a breeze. Lalaloopsies have even bigger heads, but Velcro solves everything :D

Both the top and the pants are made from some of Lane's old clothes. She's the height of baby fashion isn't she?

Do you sew clothes for your dolls? Or your child's dolls?

I'm beginning to really like it! I admit that when Lane comes home with yet another doll, I might be the first to recommend that the doll needs new clothes.:)

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy Hooker

One of my resolutions this year - actually my only resolution this year- was to learn how to crochet.

I've been talking about learning for so long now that it's about time I actually pick up a hook and get going already.

I've been yacking about it so much in fact that our dear friends got me a beginner crochet book for Christmas.

I got some practice yarn, which basically meant that I got the cheapest yarn I could find so that if I screwed up, it wouldn't matter much.

The funny thing is though, crochet is easy! I didn't screw up all that much and it only took my a couple of hours to get the hang of single crochet.

The toughest part was learning how to start hooking into a chain. After that, things went smoothly. And I learned something about myself that I never thought I'd ever say - I'm a tight hooker.  What?!! You read that correctly. Hehehe. The book I'm using has all sorts of funny references like that in it. Keeps things interesting.

Anyway, after single crochet, I learned half double crochet and double crochet and triple crochet. Below is the sampler I made with those three stitches. Lane immediately claimed this wonky piece of fabric.

Then I started learning crochet in the round. Check it out! Nice beer coaster eh?

Logan actually immediately claimed this coaster. He didn't want to be left out of the wonky crochet sampler free for all. I saw the other day that he was sleeping with this piece of round fabric. I asked him why and he said that it smelled like mommy. Awwww.... apparently if you put smelly hand lotion on before you start a project, it will become infused. :)

After this I was at the point in the book where the author says that most other crochet stitches are just variations and different counts of all the stitches I've learned so far. Really? That wasn't at all as difficult as I thought. Why didn't I try this out sooner?

So I moved onto to learning the V stitch. I was getting kinda bored of making samplers and was itching to figure out a crochet pattern. I went on Ravelry and found a simple crochet pattern for a head kerchief. And I actually followed the pattern and made my first crochet project!

Yay! I can't believe that in a manner of a few days I can actually crochet a project. So much fun. Of course, the kids have already figured that mommy is a pro at crochet and have demanded all sorts of cute Amigurumi toys. I love these little crochet toys. They are adorable! I can't wait to figure out how to crochet them myself. I have a feeling that the kids won't have to twist my arm very hard to get me to make a few for them.


Next I think I'll learn how to work with more than one colour. Exciting!

**** I have a Ravelry account now. Click here to check it out and become my friend ****

Friday, 3 January 2014

"Early Parent" Interior Design

January is a time for reinvention. A time to organize and get ready for the coming year. A time to hunker down in the house to avoid the extreme cold outside and perhaps lament over all the crappy furniture you have in your house.


Or maybe that's just me.

For days we've been stuck inside. The temperatures outside have been miserable Like -24C for a high with a windchill of -50C (as if that's even a temperature we use to describe outside. It just shouldn't be).

So I've been staring at this couch.

This poor couch has seen better days. It makes me angry.

Then I remember that as a young couple some 10 years ago, we were living in a tiny apartment and happened to be driving by the house at the end of our block one day when the owner of the house was selling this particular set of furniture. We got the couch, a matching chair, a pink rocking chair and two ottomen (Ottomans?) for $300.  What a steal. And good ole Floyd (the seller) let us borrow his dolly to lift all the furniture and carry it down the street and up the flight of stairs to our apartment. He even threw in some lemonade glasses because he thought we were awesome (or desperately poor - one or the other).

Sadly, the pink rocking chair that I rocked both my babies on in the middle of the nights for oh so many nights has given up the ghost. But this couch lives on... and on... and on...

We can't really afford a new one, and our kids are too young to really get a good couch. A new couch would make for parents yelling "no jumping on the new couch and "no making tents on the new couch" and "no eating while singing and and doing the shimmie shakes on the new couch!" And for all the things good and holy in this world, DO NOT BARF ON THE NEW COUCH!

Yeah... not going to happen.

So we're stuck with the tears in the cushion. And don't think we haven't tried turning the cushion over. Unfortunately, the other side is ripped up more than this side. :(

We're stuck with the overall grossness of this couch that has been scotchguarded and Febreezed to death.

Or are we?

Ta da! A little crafty ingenuity and voila - we have a pretty couch again.

I just took a pile of my scrap fabric, cut it into squares, sewed a huge "blanket" of patchwork and then pinned it inside out around the existing cushion. I then fished the cushion out of the top the I didn't pin and sewed along the pin lines I made. I trimmed it to shape and then turned it right side out and fitted it over the existing cushion. I then slipstitched the top (side against the couch) closed.

And the best part is that the fabrics are all our faves. We've got the Simpsons, Transformers (from one of Logan's t-shirts), Peanuts, Pacman, purple jammies that Lane used to wear, the "relax" jammies of mine that Terry really liked to tease me about, and a ton of other favourites. Since it covers the entire cushion, we have a new bunch of fun fabrics on the underside as well.

I showed a photo of this latest interior design addition to our house and one astute fan said that this reminds her of the "early parent" sort of interior design school. Hah! So true!

So how long do you think we have before one or both kids pukes on it?

I give it three months.

At least we can turn it over :P