Friday, January 31, 2014

Some Assembly Required

Susan and I got together recently to finally join our granny squares for our afghans.  I hadn't a clue how this was done, so Susan had to show me the way.


Susan came prepared with a chart.


I thought that my "numbered piles of squares" method would work.  Apparently,  I was wrong.  By the second row I had mixed something up along the way and had to juggle colours around for about three more rows until the problem righted itself.  A new lesson learned here.  When big sister says you need to make a chart, make a chart.  ;)

Maggie was in her glory, surrounded by blankets.


Susan had her favourite assistant helping her.   I am so inspired by Susan's blanket.  She was going for a stained glass look.  I think it is so stunning!


My blanket will have a somewhat rustic homespun look.  Since the squares do not share a common border colour, the joining stitches show.  I will be adding a border around the entire blanket in the same cream colour to tie in the stitching.  It was interesting to notice that as I continued to make squares, they became larger.  I guess as I relaxed in the process,  my tension also relaxed.  Now that I have mastered the basic granny square,  my next blanket will have multi-coloured squares with a common border colour.  At this point I still have a few rows of joining to complete, as well as the final border.  I am already planning my next blanket,  but more on that later.  I'm thinking vibrant and it just may end up going to my vibrant girl.... Lisa.  There is just something great about the basic traditional granny square afghan.  A timeless classic.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Jen

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blanket Planning

Today I spent some time getting my crochet squares ready for joining.

I gathered my squares.


Laying them out was fun.  I am going for a random look so I just wanted to make sure that two colours were not next to each other and that colours that I had few of where evenly placed.


Now I have 14 numbered piles just waiting for joining.


It will be fun to finally see the fruits of this project.

I'll leave you with a photo of Lady enjoying her new bed.  She loves her bed and uses it every day, so when one gets too shabby, it is a must to replace it.  I'm loving this trendy lattice pattern.


Hope you are all having a good Wednesday!

Jen

Friday, January 24, 2014

Around Here in January

Oh the Canadian winter.  It has been a strange one with either lots of snow, really cold temperatures or super warm.  You would think that the super warm would be awesome for getting outside.  Well, it is as long as you are an amazing skater.  The streets are a sheet of ice.  Therefore, no dog walking and more time spent at home.  Canadians start getting cranky at this point.  I guess it comes with the thought of about three more months of winter.  Last week I noticed that it was still light out at 5:15 pm and Rob and I rejoiced.  Got to hang on to the positive stuff.  So what do Canadians do, other than following the latest antics of Rob Ford and Justin Bieber?    Here's what I've been up to.

I ordered this off Amazon.


I really need to learn to read the fine print.  I thought it was a novel but it is a play.  It was fun to read a play since I haven't read one since my college days.  But, it is a fast read.  I really wish it had been a novel.  I want to see the movie when it comes to home theatre.  If I drag Rob to see Meryl Streep on the big screen he may not be able to endure it.  I am still hearing how he suffered through "Postcards from the Edge" back in the late eighties.  LOL

I found a new hat pattern for a slouchie beanie.  How funky is this hat!


I love the mix of garter stitches and stockinette stitches.  It was really fun to make.


 One more using my "go to pattern"and one more ribbed hat in the colours of our Edmonton Eskimos football team.  Some little boy will love this hat.


Susan and I spent Tuesday working on the granny square blankets that we are making.  We laid out my squares to make sure I finally had enough squares.


Then I spent many hours weaving in yarn ends.  Next up will be to lay the squares out to determine a proper colour distribution and make a chart.  This Tuesday I will commence joining squares!

I have an update on the "Loud Chair".   I am sad to report that it is going back to the store.  Its fabric is defective and started pilling within two weeks.  It is getting worse by the day.  Sofa Land offered to come and "shave" the fabric and assured me that this is not a defect and a natural process of the fabric.  I got cranky.  My 70's style chair actually looks like it has been in use since the 70's.  :( Rob had to resolve the situation in the calm manner that he is known for.  At this point we are getting store credit for the cost of the chair and matching pillow.  I am not sure how I will be able to choose a fabric that will work with the green chair that was bought to compliment the loud chair as well as match my leather sofa.  I really want my money back for both chairs so I can start over.  I'll keep you posted but if you hear of a crazy woman in Canada having a melt down at an Edmonton location Sofa Land...... that might be me.  I'll be on the news right after the daily update on those other two crazy Canadians.  ;)

I'll leave you with a photo of Susan playing with the swift.  Check out the blur in the photo.  That yarn was a spinning!


Have a great day and thanks for popping by!

Jen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Look Who's Four!

Today Little Thomas turned four!  I can't believe that he is four already.  Time is flying.  After the "Speedy Shapes" events of Christmas, Uncle Rob was in charge of picking out Tom's birthday gift.  It looks like he got it right.  Now here are the smiles we were going for.




And hey, Auntie's clothes choice of a hoodie with a spider web on it got a smile.  Yay me!  ;)


Happy Birthday Thomas!


Jen

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hats, Hats, Hats

So the knitting needles are still clicking away as I continue on my latest tangent of knitting hats.  I've a few more to share.

This yarn was so much fun to work with as it knits up in such an intricate design.


These next two use a new pattern that Susan found.  I love the ribbing in them and they look like they will be a really warm hat.



This last one is just ready for the decrease before it is off the needles.


I am keeping true to my equal hats knit up for the boys, this time round.  I am actually enjoying the masculine colours and even find myself really looking at colour combinations as we watch football.

Have a terrific Sunday!  We are watching the Manning vs. Brady game although I'm not really sure what the importance is.   I'll actually just be knitting and keeping Rob company. ;)

Jen

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beyond Paper Hoarding

It is well known around here that I love paper and tend to hoard it.  I think this is true of most of us scrappers.  There is another crafty supply that I hoard, as well..... yarn.  I love buying yarn.  Each week I check out Michael's to see if there is any good yarn at great prices.  Anytime I'm in the store, I look to see if there are any yarns being discontinued and put on clearance.  This habit of mine has led to a surplus of yarn.

It's kept here, on the top shelf of the closet in the studio.


Look to the left and there's more.


Look to the right and there's more.


It's a good thing that I have started knitting my hats for donation again.  It's time to put a dent in the supply.  As it is my goal to knit an equal amount of hats for girls and boys here is my first set.

Four hats for girls...


and four hats for boys.


It feels really good to be knitting for children in need again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jen

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Night Date Night

So Rob and I never claimed to have amazing date nights but, we sure do know how to spend a Friday night.  We took a trip to Target!  Little Thomas is turning four very soon and I have to get a gift in the mail pronto.  It was determined at Christmas that Auntie Jen sucks at buying boy toys.  It's true!  I had girls and have no idea what little boys like to play with.  Rob has been given the task of choosing an amazingly fun toy for Tom's big day.

This past Christmas, the family had lots of fun thanks to "Speedy Shapes".  What is "Speedy Shapes", you may ask.  It is the name of the game that I chose for Tom's Christmas gift.  I was so excited to find this educational, finely constructed game made in Europe!  Well, once I saw that Auntie Susan had chosen a fun Spiderman toy, we laughed and suspected that "Speedy Shapes" just might be tossed to the back of the tree.

So here is Tom opening Auntie Susan's gift,


and here is Tom opening Auntie Jen's gift.


Hmm, wonder which one he likes best?  LOL

We were bugging Andrew for updates on when "Speedy Shapes" would make it's big debut and become the hit of Christmas after all.  Well, after two days we got a message saying that "Speedy Shapes" was finally getting the respect it deserved.

Here's the game set up.  It's looking good!


Then there was this.  :(


I thought Rob was going to fall off his chair laughing.  Yes, Auntie Jen does not understand what little boys find exciting.  Apparently it is not "Speedy Shapes".  This was not the happy Christmas look I was going for.

Alas, "Speedy Shapes" was conquered!


In my defence, I worked in Kindergarten for a few years and tend to go for toys with a learning value.  "Speedy Shapes" is great for building math skills and I will be giving myself a pat on the back when Tom is rocking the math world.  LOL  Also, Tom's parents appreciate any gift we choose and "Speedy Shapes" sure gave us some much needed laughs this past Christmas.

So, back to the birthday gift selection.  Uncle Rob was in charge.  He did have an unfair advantage though.  He and Andrew text each other, so he got some help that I didn't get while choosing "Speedy Shapes".  ;)   Rob made some choices and wanted to send Andrew a photo.  It was my job to hold the selections and wear a mask because I'm just cool that way.  ;)


Then Andrew requested a photo of Rob in the mask.  Well, Rob has been a Captain America fan since he was a little one running around his neighbourhood with a pink floral bath towel for a cape and rolled down billy boots.  Need I say more.


Andrew decided that Rob looked like a washed up wrestler.  Very true.

In the end, selections were made.  I learned the difference between The Justice League and The Avengers.   I always thought they were all just super heros.  And that is how you have a really exciting Friday night date night at Target.

For the record, I added some clothes to Tom's birthday package but they aren't even going to be wrapped as a gift.  Apparently, getting clothes as gifts when you are a little boy, pretty much ranks up there with getting educational games.  Who knew?  Little girls love getting clothes!  LOL

Jen

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Old & New

I have just completed the largest purge of scrappy goods ever.  I was ruthless.  If I didn't love it, it was outta here!  As much as it feels terrific to downsize the stash, it also comes with a sense of guilt.  Guilt that I have wasted money buying stuff that I never used.  However, I enjoy giving to charity.  The fact that I can donate supplies and give someone else the joy of using them, makes me happy.

Here's the pile of "stuff".  Items on the bench will go to my favourite thrift shop who supports my community very well.  The boxes on the floor contain lots of scraps,  half used sticker sheets and embellishment odds and ends perfect for crafting.  This will all go to my local Boys and Girls Club.


Here's what I learned!

- I am so over bottle cap embellishments, 4" wooden doily veneers, loud SassaFrass Lass papers circa 2008 and most things vintage.

- I am still loving everything Studio Calico, most things BG and all buttons and brads.

- It is essential to use products soon after purchase while I am still loving them.  Crafting with products that no longer inspire me,  leaves me sadly uninspired.

- Items from the sale bin that I think I can figure out a use for eventually will ultimately end up being donated.  Unless I have a clear plan and will use it very soon, I need to leave it in the sale bin for someone else.

- For me, collections are the bomb with very little waste and leftovers.

Now onto the "New" part of this post.  It is that time of year again.... Winter CHA.  It is my favourite CHA.  It's the time of year where I feverishly look for all of the sneak peeks and reveals.  Then I try to convince myself that there really isn't anything significantly new out there.  At this point it is only window shopping.  After all, this stuff won't be hitting the shelves until spring.

If there is one thing I learned from my failed No Buy Challenge of 2013, it is that if you don't rush out and buy it all right away, you will likely find most of it on sale at about 40% off six months down the road.  I really didn't scrap that much last year and I bought much less than usual.  I have lots of last winter's products waiting to be used.  I will try to be shopping savvy this year and wait for clearance but we'll see how well I do when I see these goodies IRL.  ;)

Here's what has caught my eye!

Studio Calico yumminess!  "Wanderlust" and "Lemon Lush"



BG goodness!  "Mon Ami" and "Capture"



Dear Lizzy's "Day Dreamer"


Amazing vellum from Doodle Bug.


These fun epoxy stickers from Doodle Bug.


Last year I seemed to love every thing that Miss Fancy Pants revealed.  So far only "As You Wish" interested me.  These colours remind me of that old Crate line "Random"  Loved that line!


If I could only choose one collection this time round , hands down it would be Pink Paislee's "SwitchBoard"!  Love this one! It is a must have,  as soon as I see it,  can't wait for clearance,  because my life will be ruined,  if I can't scrap with this entire collection.  Ha Ha!

So what are you spying?

Jen

Sunday, January 5, 2014

This & That

I haven't posted for awhile and figured I would pop in and say hello!  There hasn't been much going on around here lately.  Rob has been off for the holidays and returns to work tomorrow.  We have been taking it easy... watching lots of football and hours of exciting shows like Pawn Stars. ;)  All kidding aside, it has been a nice break.

There isn't anything scrappy going on other than landing a few good sales both at my local LSS and an online store in eastern Canada.  Got to love it when you can pick things up at 30% and 40% off!  I have also been watching out for some Winter CHA reveals.  Looks like some fun lines coming our way from Studio Calico and American Crafts.  The Crate lines have left me a bit flat.  There are two lovely lines coming out that I just won't have a use for as one is a boy line and one is a girl line.  The new Maggie Holmes line is stunning, but I have the last two and they end up looking quite similar eventually.  :(   I'm hoping to get the mojo going in the studio very soon.  I have saved some amazing sketches that I am looking forward to giving a go.  I'm also planning a reorganization and purge.

On the knitting front, I have decided that it is time to start knitting for charity once again.


A news feature before Christmas,  on an inner city school in Edmonton,  has me realizing that there is lots of need for woolies.  I have a new hat pattern that I want to try out, but for now I am using up yarn scraps to make my favourite hat pattern.  This time round I am vowing to make equal masculine hats as girly hats.  I tend to make more suited to little girls.  Partly this comes from having had girls and partly, I just like the bright colours of the girly yarn.

I have also started knitting myself a whole new set of dishcloths for my kitchen.  No colour this time.  They will all be very neutral.

I have been getting my creative fix by doing a little bit of embellishing of the home.  Our den has been a bit ignored, as it is rarely occupied, other than the dogs sleeping in it in their kennels.  I found this sign at Urban Barn and loved the sentiment.  Words to live by.


Diane and I worked at giving this antique table that belonged to Rob's grandmother, the decorative respect it deserves.  We think it is beautiful.  Rob says it is "cluttered".  We win!!  Poor Rob.... I guess I just took over yet another room in the house.  ;)


And other than trying to stay warm in -30c temperatures,  that is all that is new in the zoo around here.   I hope that your New Year has gotten off to a good start!

Jen


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