...Cleaver that is... and I'm okay with that! With all of her glorious motherly ways.
I want to be the mom who bakes, sews and knits.
The only issue is... I don't really do any of those things well, so here's me sharing with you all my 101's.
Laugh with me or at me, I don't care. I just hope I can evolve during this process!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Zakka Life Nesting Dolls

I came across this great printable template on Pinterest. And as soon as I did, I knew who the first one would be for. My mother in law, she loves Nesting Dolls. Her collection is amazing. And hey, who doesn't need to give their mother in law a most awesome card?
Actually, there's no 'need' here, just a want! Seriously. She loves me.
Okay enough about that. You're here for the card.

Find the template over on Zakka Life.

Here's my version of the Matryoshka Doll Card.

I used a wallpaper sample I had around, card stock and manila folder for their faces.

I glued the card stock template to the back of the wallpaper to make it sturdy. I let it dry over night. I take no chances!

I did not give the ladies neckerchiefs as Zakka Life did. I knew there was a huge chance of mucking it up. I'm NOT a great artist. I had to draw the faces twice to get them decent! I'd share the photo I took of them all but I'm not in the mood to have you all point and laugh.


Seriously cute.

And they really do 'nest' perfectly.
Happy Birthday Judy!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Keep That Cookie Jar Full!

There's nothing sadder than the sight of this:

The Empty Cookie Jar

So I whipped up some cookies and the ones I actually find easiest and quickest are Molasses.
Love them too.

3/4 c shortening - melt in sauce pan and then let cool
1 c sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 egg
2 tsp baking soda
2 c flour
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Once the shortening is cooled put everything together. Its quite easy to hand mix but I was on extra lazy mode. This called for the mixer. Which takes 20 seconds to mix all this together. If its too mushy just throw it all in the fridge for less than five minutes. Too long and you get crumbly batter. Blarg. If that happens, let it warm up at room temp again and knead a little.

I always like to grease my cookie sheets with the packaging from butter or shortening. Not spray. The inside of the paper is full of greasy goodness. If you look in my dairy slot in the fridge its got old folded butter packages in it (like my Nan's). Try training your man to NOT throw those out.  Not easy. 

Mmmm... butter
 Roll into balls. SMALL. Otherwise you get pancakes for cookies. And then they don't fit in the cookie jar. But then you have to eat them cause they can't just sit on the counter. Hmm... could be a plan...

Then, roll'em in sugar. Yummy white sugar. Or whatever healthy alternative you prefer. *cough*
I actually added some brown sugar to it but they turned out looking like Timbits. Never again.

And for the kids, well, they don't get'em rolled in sugar. Cause I'm mean like that.

Sugared for mama and daddy.
Cook at approx 375F for 8-10 min.
Because my oven sucks I have to revamp all temps and times so for me its; 350F for 6 min.

No sugar for the toddlers.

Ahhh.... sweet sweet cookies.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Yoke Cardigan Success!

I am so happy with the results on the Yoke cardigan I made my baby girl. The yarn, the colour, the practice, it all came together. To be honest, I'm happy but hugely shocked. I figured there would be something wrong! (Here's where you keep your mouth closed if you see an error) (Thank you kindly)

I used Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton.
Its SO soft. Perfect for a baby. Although the hand wash, lay flat part isn't entirely perfect for baby, but hey, its worth it.

After a test swatch it seemed the yarn and my gauge was knitting up too big. Of course. So I stuck with the 5mm needles but made the size smaller than the pattern called for and it worked out quite perfectly. Thanks for the suggestion mum!

And... hurrah, I tried a new technique.
The Magic Loop.
On the sleeves.
Aw yeah!
And I think I have a new way to knit in the round! Because I've only tried dble points once before I didn't have a habit to break. Thank goodness. Lord knows comfort zones are brutal for anyone to get out of!

I wanted to write 'A+' on the chalk board but that's a bit self serving isn't it? But maybe that's a new idea and I can grade myself! Hmm...

I thought the navy buttons were perfect on it. (They're not as royal blue as it appears)
I had to rip out the buttonhole band as I realized I hadn't actually made any button holes! But the bands turned out great in the end and not bunchy. Yay!

And I think she likes it.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Music That Gets Me Crafty!

Completely random but inspired by my Craft Sunday.

Music That Gets Me Crafty!

I'll just go with 5 because I'm a music junkie and otherwise this list could go on and on. Kind of like this intro...

And its just too tacky to start of with Beasties "She's Crafty".

1. Jonsi
    I just downloaded this a month ago and am in love. You may recognize Jonsi's voice from Sigur Rós.

    You can't help but shake your booty. As I did at a concert on Toronto Island with my girls back in the day.

3. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS)
    Yay Toronto band! Two guys; Ash Boo-Schultz and Human Kebab. Come on. Human Kebab! You have to give them a go.

4. Metric
    I just can't get enough of this band. Toronto. Again, thank you. But when they come on shuffle I need to then listen to the entire album. Sometimes albumS! And I like too many songs to link to here so I'll just list a few of my faves.
Dead Disco, Hustle Rose, Hardwire, Rock Me Now, Gimmee Sympathy, Gold Guns Girls.
And link to just one. Fine. Just one.
Rock Me Now

Nope. Can't do it. I need to post two.

Hustle Rose

 5. The Black Keys
     You just gotta rock out to these guys.
Got any good ones to share with me?

Knit Meter

I love this idea!


Track how many metres, yards, kilometres, feet or miles... of your knitting, crochet and spinning. Its totally fun. And its like a goal you can set for yourself. If you're that kind of person. Haha. Or just to know how crazy you are about knitting. Just don't tell your partner if they know how much nice yarn costs!

I found this on a fellow knitter's blog (more to come on that later) and I had to have it. So now you will see on the right my KnitMeter. Here in Canada we say Metre but its official title is KnitMeter so I struggle as I type the proper name!

Anyway... I set mine to how much I have knit EVER. Once I start racking it up I might do a yearly account.

But what I also fell in love with is their logo.

How amazing is that? Brilliant idea.

So will you join in and track your knits? Or do you do so already?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Getting Thrifty

I have a friend (you know who you are) who is the Queen of Thrifting. The photos she sends me of her finds are ridiculous. Seriously. Mini pleather turquoise sofa for her boy's bedroom is just one example.

I don't get out to Goodwill™ very often. To find time on my own to wander around a place like that is not slated into my days. Which I am very sad about. I love wandering around a thrift store. But you need time and patience and no children. Or very well behaved children. Plus the Goodwill closest to me is... uhm... small and well, I think they get what all the other Goodwill's in the area don't want. Oh and I need to drive to it. 

But there were some specific things that I knew would be best found at Goodwill™ so I booked time to go on my own.

While there I popped into the kids section and found this! I was so excited. These things are not cheap. I wanted to get a wall mount one like at the doc's office and you know what? They're like $300 bucks! Okay the floor ones are not so expensive but still. 
Score one for me!
Rollercoaster beads $3

Then I found this in the glass case at the front.
Melissa & Doug Alphabet puzzle $4

And then this. We already have a set but a second could be used for some DIY thing, I'm sure.
Melissa & Doug alphabet blocks $7

So maybe I underestimated what 'my' Goodwill™ has to offer but I'd need to go daily to catch amazing deals all the time! I really do wish it was only a 'walk' away.

Do you get 'thrifty'?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Bundle of Joy

And I'm not talking babies.

I was visiting my parents in late February and my mum presented this little bundle to me while I was there and wondered if I wanted it. It came from a really good family friend of theirs after she passed away.

My curiosity, of course, was making me jump up and down on the inside...

Nice little package

Huge needles!
I have told my mum a few times that I wanted to knit with 'broomsticks' and she made it happen. I'm so excited to have inherited these from Mrs. D. And am honoured to now have them. They are so delicious.

I actually wonder if Mrs. D made this little needle carrier herself or bought it? Or maybe she received it from someone else? Its well made and I love the inside floral fabric.

Are you getting the scale of these beauties here?
So I will now look up patterns for these needles. Possibly a cushion cover. Or a rug? It probably won't happen until the fall, but it WILL happen.

Thanks mum! x0x0

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Knitting carry-on

A couple years ago my sister screen printed this bag for our mum.
It cracks me up.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Yarn Balloon Decorations Tutorial

There's a few tutorials out there on this and I had to do my own. Why? Because there were flaws or missing helpful info on the ones I found! And there's nothing more frustrating than being covered with wet glue and yarn and thinking "ooooooooh, THAT's what I should have done..."

You may remember that I had a DIY Sunday a couple weekends ago. I talked about making yarn balloons.
Here's the completed set and some Do's, Don'ts and how to apply good old Common Sense.

Basic list of what you need:
Yarn; worsted/medium/#4 is best (thinner than that and you'll be wrapping forever)
Glue; white craft
Newspaper or other surface paper
Stirring device you don't mind getting gluey
Container to put glue in
Somewhere to hang them dry (have this ready to go!)

Have lots of glue. Don't plan on doing this with a small craft glue bottle. Unless you only want to do one. YES. I tried this. Because I'm slow like that eh?
So, have lots of glue. You will water it down slightly and this will help it get farther at least.
Prepare your surface and prepare to get messy and be cool about it.
I do not recommend doing this as a craft with your child. OR when they are around to be honest.

Because its so messy you might as well tackle them all in one go. But if you don't, just start by putting your glue/water mix in a container so that you can just pop a lid on it and use for the next round.

-Get your balloons blown up. Whatever size suits your fancy.
-Line up your yarns.
-Put paper down on surface. Lots of layers.
-Put a healthy amount of glue in the container and add some water. Not much. Enough to water it down but not take over. I probably used an eighth of the amount of glue I had.
-Again, I used a plastic container that had a lid so I could cover it later.
-Stir it up. I used a popsicle stick.
-Knot your yarn about 1/4 down from balloon knot. This allowed me to later cut a wee hole between the two knots in the balloon to allow a gradual drain.

Now for the yummy part!
-Get a good amount (but not too much that you cause yourself knot hell) of yarn out of the ball. I put it all in the glue in reverse. Yarn closest to the ball first so that once I pulled it out of the glue that was the part on the bottom. So get your yarn in the glue. And push it down so it gets good and wet. Don't forget to get glue all the way up to the the balloon!

Dipping the yarn a few yards at a time.

 -What I found best was to have a few yards ready and gluey to start wrapping. So from the above stage I would pull lengths of the yarn out of the glue with one hand while using my other hand squeeze the extra glue off the yarn. I have no images or video. Its tough when you're gluey. So hopefully your common sense can figure this out! Go slow. You can cause the yarn to twist on itself and knot. Boo. It really sucks when that happens.
-You see all that gluey wet mess to the left in the above photo? That's from previous yards of wet yarn. Anyway, start wrapping! Its wet, its messy, just GIVE'R. Hold the balloon knot and wrap wrap wrap. Go in the same direction while rotating the balloon. Then switch directions. At some point soon you will have to stop and get another few yards of yarn all gluey. If you have two people this would be a lot faster but otherwise just stop, put down your balloon carefully and get more yarn ready. Then get wrapping again! Wrap as much as you see fit. I found that I had not wrapped two of my balloons enough so I added more the next day since the balloon was still intact.
-Once you've wrapped a good amount around the balloon cut off your yarn and tie it off at the top again.
-Go directly to your drying station and hang it. If you haven't prepped it you're going to swear at yourself right about now!

Do not rush the drying. At least 24hrs.
 -Allow the balloons about 24hrs to dry. Touch all sides, especially the bottom, to see if its all dry. Trust me. You do not want to deflate the balloon prematurely! I found out the hard way after thinking it was dry.
-To deflate the balloon cut a slit in a slack part of the balloon neck. You remember when I told you to leave a spot between the balloon knot and the yarn knot? That's a perfect place. 
-Allow the balloon to deflate slowly. A big hole will cause the balloon to deflate fast and pull in the edges of your perfectly molded yarn! *sad face*
-This is a wonderful sound effects moment. As the balloon pulls away from the glued yarn the sound is a bit like popping corn!
-Once all deflated cut the balloon neck free completely. Pull the two pieces of balloon out gently. It'll fit out tiny crevices, just be gentle.
-I hung mine with white thread as I didn't have any fishing line about.

I don't recommend wrapping the balloon with dry yarn and then brushing the glue on after, as some tutorials suggest. 

I did one like this and there was so much glue that when I let the air out of the balloon it pulled the yarn with it! I got a concave balloon. I've fixed it a bit but will have to redo. 

So here is our finished product.

See the lumpy green one on the left? Yup. Needs a redo.
I wanted something to dress up this plain wall.
I could also imagine doing a lot of mini ones and hanging them randomly around the room.
This was the paint colour of the room when we moved in. I ended up leaving it as it turned out a good colour for my son. And now my daughter shares the room. It works for them both and I think the colours I chose help bring some life to it all and keep it unisex!

 I was also trying to incorporate the print and hot air balloon on that wall. Both I just love.

I hope this was helpful!
I know I'll be doing more. For parties or Christmas Decos. 
Let me know if you attempt this!