Saturday, December 27, 2008

What I Made In 2008 (including the baby)

1. Calorimetry, 2. Child's Smock Apron, 3. Calorimetry #2, 4. Baby Surprise Jacket 2, 5. Petit Apron #2, 6. Ruby Doll, 7. Hoodie Baby Blanket, 8. Nursing Apron, 9. Nursing Apron #2, 10. Baby's Room Swatch Portraits, 11. Diamond Seed Baby Sweater, 12. Anastasia Socks, 13. Iron-on Fabric Patch Onesies, 14. Green Baby Socks, 15. Orange Marimekko Curtains, 16. Drawstring Bag, 17. Wonky Vinyl Lunch Bag, 18. P1020354, 19. Allsorts Advent Calendar, 20. Pony Hat

A handy flickr mosaic of my 2008 crafties. Not a ton, but not bad considering that whole motherhood thing. Unsurprisingly, a lot of baby gear.

And, happy holidays to all. Our camera died at about 1 p.m. on Christmas Day... Aaron promptly went online and bought a new one on a Boxing Day sale. Until it comes, things will probably be quiet around here, so happy, happy, happy new year.

Also, apologies for the very short post. So exhausted -- and not just from the holidays. I'm nursing a serious Wii Fit addiction. I'm determined to get those saddlebags off of my disturbingly rotund Mii.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Book Review: Stitched In Time

Wow. I didn't mean to take this long to get to this one, but the season has been keeping me busy. So, if in the next couple of days you really need to buy something extra for the crafter in your life, here's a book that you can pick up and maybe (just maybe) they'll have made something really special for you next Christmas.

So yes, Alicia Paulson's Stitched In Time. No doubt, if you're a fan of Alicia's blog Posie Gets Cozy or similar crafty blogs, you're already aware of this one. Well, friends, I'm here to give it another endorsement. Full of beautiful things to make and share, Alicia has hit it out of the park with this sweet book.

The thing that I really like about Stitched In Time is that Alicia doesn't just compile a bunch of projects that fit her crafty style, but she really goes with a theme, with projects that anyone could adapt to their own aesthetic. The theme is memory-keeping: heirloom items that would all make truly special gifts. There are tons of projects celebrating childhood: growth charts, a baby clothes quilt, and ways to incorporate your child's art into craft. There are also plenty of things for grown folks: a book to keep family recipes in, loads of wedding things, and a cute apron with a recipe card on it. Alicia uses photos printed on fabric in several projects, which I usually find kind of tacky, but she figures out ways to use this technique really tastefully.

Of course, Alicia has a great eye for fabric and everything in this book is gorgeous. If you're going to take the time to make something yourself, it should be special. This book will give you the inspiration.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This kind of fall into the no-big-whoop category, but it's actually taken me a year to make these little ornaments. Well, kind of two years, actually. My friend Jane gave me a little pack of Sublime Stitching Christmas patterns two years ago; I did the embroidery on these two last season; and I finally cut out some backing fabric and stuffed some fluff in them a couple of days ago. Lame, I know. Anyway, I think they're cute and they're going to Ruby's teacher later this week.

And you can't really see it, but I also stitched up a little felt crown ornament for my friend, whose last name is King. Not my finest work, but kind of cute.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's A Horse (Of Course)

When I first reviewed Jean Adel's Knitted Critters For Kids To Wear, I wasn't that jazzed on it. I thought the hats were a little repetitive and sized for kids too old to pull off animal hats. But, as you know, you can't really judge a craft book until you make something. Let's just say my opinion hasn't turned for the better.

Like I said, the hats in this book start at a size 3 yrs and go up to 4-5 yrs and 6-7 yrs. Most (if not all) the hats are knit in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. Now, I know Lamb's Pride is a little thicker than most worsted wools, but the sizes are wacky. Either Jean Adel doesn't have children or they have tiny tiny heads -- because there's no way that these are sized for children that old. For example: a three year old's hat in Adel's book has 72 stitches. In Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats, the same gauge and stitch count yields a hat sized for 6-12 month baby. I know I could have used common sense and double checked this, but I shouldn't have to do that.

So, I knit up one of these in a cheap-o acrylic yarn, at 72 stitches. I couldn't even get it on Henry's head (remember, in the book it's recommended for a three year old and Henry is nine months). I re-knit in pure wool at 80 stitches and I think it will just fit my one and a half year old nephew, for whom it is a Christmas gift. There's no way it would fit a 4-5 year old.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, it's a horse. I omitted the eyes and nose because I was afraid they'd stretch too much once the thing was on his head, and I like the idea of the child's own face being the face. Anyway, I think it's cute and you could easily use any of Adel's embellishments on a hat pattern of your choice. Just measure your kid's head before you start knitting.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ruby Tuesday: Holiday Edition

Ruby has been crafting up a storm in anticipation of Christmas. Above is a collection of ornaments that she made for gifts for her loved ones. She started off colouring as close to in the lines as she could, but she started to lose interest and got creative. Either way, these will be nice mementos of what it was like for her to be three and a half.

And, a very flamboyant gingerbread man. Made during this past weekend where we (family) partied our faces off. We're in full-on holiday mode friends. If we're still standing on the 25th, I'll be shocked.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Goody Gumdrops

I made a gumdrop wreath! I saw a link to this tutorial on Kiddley and fell in love. It's technically a kids' craft, but Ruby is still too little for this kind of thing, so I dove in and did it myself. There was something very soothing about sticking toothpicks in gumdrops and jamming them into a wreath form. And I love how it turned out.

I followed the tutorial pretty closely (you can't really stray too far on this one), using jumbo gumdrops and a hard foam wreath. I didn't buy a ton of gumdrops and also didn't want it to be too heavy, so I only decorated the front part of the wreath, but since the foam form was green, it worked out well. I love it so much, I don't even feel tempted to eat it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book Review: Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines

Okay, this one's been out for a couple months now, but if you haven't already, I really do recommend checking out Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines. Anyone already familiar with Ann and Kay's fab blog or the equally fab first Mason-Dixon book won't be disappointed by this one. It's got everything that the Mason-Dixon Knitting world has come to represent: great design, humour, smart knitting tips and practical, yet beautiful patterns.

You know when you pick up a knitting book and instantly want to cast on for every single project in the book? This is one of those. I've put my own knitting fixation on hold since having Henry, but just looking at the pictures made my fingers itch for the needles. They've split things up into chapters: Decorating Yourself (which includes a perfect mohair cardy), The Fairest Isle Of All (a non-scary introduction to fair isle), Covering The Small Human (really cute kids stuff), Occasional Knitting (I wish I'd tackled their Xmas stockings a month ago) and The Sophisticated Kitchen. Yes, the last chapter has a dishrag pattern. These gals know where their bread is buttered.

But, the draw to Mason-Dixon Knitting isn't the patterns or even the gorgeous design and photography of the book. It's Ann and Kay. Like the Yarn Harlot, these ladies write with a warmth and inside-joke kind of humour that makes the reader feel like they're part of a secret society of knitters. They're really quite genius. A good read and a good knit -- either buy it for a knitter you love this Christmas or drop hints for someone you love to buy it for you.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Homey Holidays

I wanted to try to post as much as possible in November, I really did. But somehow, even though I had loads to post about last week, I just didn't get around to it with life and all. So, here are some little holiday vignettes -- there's been lots of Christmas prep going on in these parts, I tell ya.

Chocolate Thumbprint cookies from Martha Stewart's Cookie Book. Ruby give a big thumb(print)s up.

Gingerbread tree, as assembled and decorated by Ruby and Nana.

And (drumroll, please), the finished advent calendar, as seen at Allsorts. We cracked 'er open this morning. Ruby was most impressed. I'm most impressed that we now have a concrete visual aid to count the days until Christmas. After a Friday visit to Santa, Ruby spent the day telling Henry that it was Christmas eve and that Santa was coming that night. Hopefully life will be a bit more bearable with these little treat-stuffed envelopes counting down the sleeps for us.