Sunday, September 29, 2013

The One Where I Make a Circle Granny Square Blanket

Start a new crochet project?  Oh yes. 
 How about on the long, 5 hour train ride to visit my sister?

Collect several balls of colourful, leftover yarn:

Select pattern.

Do a quick run-through at home to ensure that it will all work out.

(Wouldn't that be a bummer to have all this yarn on the train, but the pattern stunk? You know - like wrong stitch numbers or missing rounds in the instructions?)

Pattern is A-OK!

Begin train ride.
Begin crocheting, around and around...
(The tray table in front of my seat was the perfect place to lay out all my little balls of yarn so that I could  mix and match colours!)

By the time I had completed my weekend away at my sister's, and after 10 hours of almost constant crocheting on the train, I had stitched 38 colourful centres for the squares in my afghan.
(That's about half of what I needed - but it was a good start!)

Over the next few weeks, I begin adding the white edging to the rainbow circles.
The two rows of white are a nice foil to the mix of leftovers I used to create the centres.

Before long - IT WAS TIME!!

I'm crocheting all these squares into a blanket!

I always get very excited at this point. The end is so near.  I can feel the cozi-ness of this afghan already.  It is going to be fabulous during the autumn and right into the frigidness of winter here in Canada.  

The only thing standing in my way??
10 000 ends to sew in.
It's wonderful to make a colourful blanket using 56 shades of one's favourite colours - but in the end, every beginning and end of each colour has to be sewn in by hand.  Ugh.

But I did it.  
It took a whole week of evenings, but I sewed in every last one of them.
 Darn, I'm good.

So close to completion now. 

Just the edging to go.  
I kept it simple - 2 rows of white granny stitch around the whole thing.

And here it is!!



And it's already got a home on the corner of our new sofa in our living room.  

 The kids love it.
My husband loves it.

I think this blanket is going to be well loved and well used!

Thanks for popping by!

Love you all,


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Personal Realization . . . and A Red and Teal Autumn Mantel

Hi all.
Haven't been blogging much lately. In fact after a long talk with my dear, sweet hubby, I have come to the realization that I needed to cut back on a lot of things in my life. 
Of course my plan is to continue trying the be the best wife and mother I can be, while at the same time doing the most I can for my class of 30 kindergarten students. 
On top of that . . .
I still want time for me (I LOVE my Zumba classes!)
And blogging - I love it! But sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming - high pressure even, when I want to complete a project, photograph it and put it online. 
Recently, while reading a favourite blogs, Lemonade Makin' Mama
I came across this statement made by Sasha, the Mama herself (she had recently spent a ton of time decorating her house for fall, making it "perfect" for her hubby, son and daughter (and blog!):

"Later, I stood there gazing adoringly at our pretty fall-itized house and it was like God very gently and lovingly whispered some correction to my heart, "If you put out a pumpkin bedecked in liquid gilding but have not love... and if you carefully arrange your son's collected feathers in a crock but then yell at him because he's up on a chair messing it up, you become a noisy gong or a clanging symbol... and if you fluff pretty pillows and throws but have not are nothing."
This really struck a chord with me. 
Who do I do all these creative things for? 
Blog readers, worldwide?
But really - who gets to enjoy what I do everyday in REAL LIFE? Taste my baked goods? Keep cozy under my crocheted afghans?
Find their favourite books in the handy book basket that I arranged in the corner of the living room?
 The answer is my HUSBAND and my CHILDREN!!
And if I am stressed about completing the perfect project and have no energy or patience for my family, what's the point?
So on these realizations, I decided to tone my blogging down, and gear the time with my family, UP!!
I'll still continue with all of my projects, but I'll complete them in a relaxed fashion, when I really FEEL like it.  Not according to some crazy blogging schedule I have set up for myself. 
So on that note . . . here is my latest project.
I hope you enjoy it because it might be several more days before I share another!!
A Teal and Red Autumn Mantel

I recently fell in love with these branches at Michaels. Luckily they went on sale the other day and I got them for half price!!

The apples are vintage Christmas tree decorations and the flowers are from Michaels. 

I used my newest Cricut cartridge to cut these elaborate leaf shapes out of scrapbook paper.  I glue-gunned them to a length of twine and now they add a line of colour along the front of the fireplace. 

I'll share a bit more about this home-made piece of autumn art on another day.  The scrapbook paper served as the colour inspiration for the whole mantel.

I am really pleased with how this turned out.  With my recent decision to simplify my life, I think this mantel d├ęcor will do quite nicely until I decide to switch it up for Halloween!
Happy first few days of autumn!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Polar Bear Sweater

It's that time of year again! Time for woolly sweaters and corduroy pants!
Every year I try to knit the kids each a new, cozy piece of warm clothing  and when I saw this pattern in a older knitting magazine of my mother's, I knew I needed to make it for Camden.

Isn't that polar bear face adorable?? 
"That's not a mean polar  bear, Mommy.  He looks like a friendly one!"
I agree, Camden.  Definitely friendly!

My mother is a yarn fanatic and has the equivalent of 3 yarn shops stored in her basement. So, when I asked, she was able to pull out enough cream coloured yarn to start the sweater immediately.

To speed up the knitting time, she suggested that she whip up the plain back and sleeves of the sweater on her trusty knitting machine.
With her expertise, she would have three-quarters of the sweater done in less than an hour!

So with a few measurements and a handful of calculations, she was off to the races!!

Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! went the carriage on the knitting machine and literally, within minutes, the back of the sweater came off of the machine.
The sleeves went just as quickly and she was done!

Look how perfectly even the stitches all are!
Can't complain about the speed either!

Within a few days, I had handknit the front of the sweater and added all of the facial details.  Another evening of stitching the parts together completed the whole she-bang.

This is how it turned out:

Pretty darn cute, eh??
Mine you - I am not sure which is sweeter - the sweater or the boy!!

Now onto my next knitting project - a charcoal grey cardigan for my daughter to go with a new pink and grey dress. No machine knitting here - only the good old-fashioned knitting needles!
I'll show you that soon!

Keep warm, stay cozy,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

End of Summer Sewing for Camden

This is me 1 week before our youngest, Camden, was born.
And this is how the nursery was decorated for his arrival.
Green and yellow and gender-neutral for the surprise baby that was set to arrive any day.

This is Camden now.
He's not so little anymore.
In fact - he'll be 5 years old very, very soon.

As you can probably guess, we decided it was time to start changing some elements of his bedroom so that it looked a little more "big boy" and a little less like his original nursery.

Because he has many more opinions about decor  now that he did when he was an infant, I took him along to the fabric store and let him choose some fabrics to use in his bedroom update.  

I urged him to choose something fun, with a a bit of pattern that would work well with his warm yellow walls.

This is what he chose:

Not bad, eh??
He loved the colour, I like the "celtic knot" style print.

First order of business - whipping up a new valance for the one window in the room.
Down came the green and yellow plaid . . . 

. . . and up went the new blue-trimmed orange and white.

While shopping for fabrics, we also chose some cute "boyish" fabrics that tied in with the rest of the colour scheme - blue, green, yellow and orange. 

Using these prints, I put together a "Tree and Owl" patchwork pillow, 

 a "Forest Trees" pillow,

. . . and a monogram pillow featuring Camden's favourite letter, "C."

All three top off Camden's top bunk bed perfectly.
And do you see that polar Bear Teddy snuggled in with the pillows?
If you look carefully you'll see that he is in all of the nursery pictures, too.  

He has sat proudly on Cam's bed since before he was born.
And to this day, Camden still insists that he rests there. His bedroom wouldn't be complete without him.

Thanks for visiting!

Hugs to all,


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blue Monograms in the Bedroom

Hey all! 
I made it through my first week back at school.  I am so excited to be back teaching kindergarten after a 2 year hiatus teaching music.  
But let me tell you - this past week was a DOOZIE!!
In all, I have taught kindergarten for 10 years but the last 5 school days have got to be the most crazy first days I have ever been through.  
Between the girl who yelled at me non-stop for 2 hours straight, the 3 children who showed up in diapers (not allowed!) and the surprise Autistic child who kept escaping from the classroom  - I was VERY ready for the weekend!!

Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of extra stuff being done around our home this week. However I did complete a decor item that I started in August and finally got around to taking some pictures.  

I am very pleased that my project fits in nicely with a new project link up party that these bloggers have put together:

Each week they'll give us a theme for our project and hopefully many, many creative minds will link up their creations.

Here is Septembers list of  themes:

For my "BLUE" project I created some art work to fill the ho-hum space above our master bed.

I've wanted to do a monogram project for ages so I figured this was the perfect opportunity!

I had the large wooden letters leftover from another project that didn't quite make it into fruition.  The lacey laser-cut frames are from Michaels. 

Here's where the BLUE comes in!!
(It's Martha Stewart craft paint in Aquarium.)

The frames got a quick shot of cream coloured spray paint before hubby and I centred them above the bed.  A few tiny nails in each corner hold them in place.  

It took a few tries before we figured out the best way to hang the letters.  In the end I used stick tack ( you know - the gummy stuff that teenagers use to hang posters up) because it held the letter close to the wall and I could apply it in several places to ensure a good hold.  

"K" for Kevin

"B" for Bronwyn

Whew! That space above the bed has been empty for nearly 5 years.  I never thought I'd get anything  up there!

Thanks again for popping by!

Please leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!

Hugs all,


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sewing for School : Dresden Flower ipad Case

Well - this is it! The last day of summer vacation.
Ten weeks have come and gone and now it's time for the whole family to head back to class.
This year I have a 4th grader, a 2nd grader and a senior Kindergarten kid.  
And both hubby and I are returning to begin our 14th year of teaching - he in high school music and me, Kindergarten.

We all lug so much to and from school every day it's lucky that everything gets home safe and sound each night.
To aid in the transfer of technology without the risk of scratching and smashing (ugh!) I whipped up this ipad cover  using my favourite Dresden patchwork motif.  

I chose a charm pack of bright colours (Sorry I don't know the name of the fabric line, but it is made by Moda) and a background of bright orange.  

I re-watched THIS TUTORIAL to remind me how to put the plate together and I was off to the races!!

Instead of using some of the printed fabric for the centre of my Dresden "flower," I cut a large circle of felt to fill in the space.  It was my daughter who suggested I add interest to the circle by stitching it on in a variety of machine stitches.  
Smart girl, eh?

To stiffen the inside of the case, I cut a piece of plastic to dimensions that would slide inside.  
You want to know what kind of plastic I used?
I cut my rectangle from a cracked "slip'n'slide."  
You know - those thin plastic sheets on which  kids slide down snowy hills in wintertime. 
It was easy to cut and just the right thickness to add a layer of protection inside the soft-sided case I had made.
To hold the case closed I added a flap that fastened snugly over the opening.
A strip of stiff Velcro holds it firmly closed.
And now it is ready to begin its journey back and forth to school on a daily basis.
Hubby bought me these lovely sunflowers from the market today.  These flowers always signal the beginning of autumn for me.....

And there is definitely a chill in the air tonight.  The window is open and I almost wish I had my slippers on to keep my little toesies warm.
September, as always, will bring a mixture of hot, balmy days  and cool sweater weather .
Perhaps this is why it is one of my favourite times of the year!
Take care all,