Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tiny Top

I’ve just finished a tiny top for the baby. It’s really little, and I’m sure that if it fits, it won’t for long, but I couldn’t resist. It’s a simple short sleeve wrap top from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. (Libraries are a great resource! There are many free patterns online but sometimes it’s lovely to just leaf through a book and look at the pictures.) It’s knit in one piece and then seamed up the sides, with ribbon ties that tie in the back. I used machine washable Gems Merino Fingering from The Loop. Unfortunately, I didn’t have, or couldn’t find the right needles and so I ended up knitting this on 2mm needles and adjust the pattern accordingly, which I think was a little firm because the stretchy quality of garter stitch would have been great for a growing baby. But it’s done, and it’s cute. I enjoyed the construction more than I imagined and I think I may make another similar but slightly larger top, with a worsted weight yarn.

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On Gloves…and Guilt

Exactly one month and one day after Christmas, I have finally finished Gary’s Christmas gloves. Now, I must add, just so you don’t think I am really horrible, the gloves were in no way his main present, more of an after thought. What is really pathetic though, was that the gloves were nearly done in time. All but one finger and a thumb. In fact, I gave Gary one glove and promise that the other was almost ready. *sigh* So theoretically, I could have quickly finished up in a session, or maybe two for weaving in ends. But did I? Noooo. Christmas seemed rather hectic this year and I it was pretty “down to the wire” when it came to preparation. So by boxing day I needed a break….and that break stretched itself out. From time to time I would think of the gloves and chastise myself for not working on them. Gary never bothered me about them and would always say “don’t worry”  if I brought it up. GUILT. As they became later and later I felt so guilty about them that I couldn’t look at them, and the thought of picking them up to work on them just made me feel worse, so I put them out of my mind. Well, finally I have finished. At least it’s still winter, that’s all I can say. The pattern is Gloves for Service Men but I cast on fewer stitches. (Those service men must have gigantic hands.) Somewhere I have the notes about how this fewer number of stitches works for the fingers but of course I can’t find them because it was SO LONG AGO. I used Cascade 220 in a very dull green colour, which seemed fitting as they were meant to be very functional, non-fancy gloves. So now I can hand them over, make my apologies, and move on. I’d like to promise that this sort of delayed Christmas present knitting won’t happen again but I think that would be unwise…. I’ll just say “It’s like Christmas… in January!” Sheepish smile.

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One Room at a Time

I’m not sure if this is “nesting” of just a frustration at the state of the house boiling over, but I have embarked on a mission! I’m going to go through the house and clean/organize/tidy one room at a time. I started with the smallest room in the house – the tiny front porch – so I would feel successful right away, and then yesterday I tackled the living room. Both of these rooms were relatively simple, compared with what is to come. The focus is to make things tidy and functional, so that everything has its place. There are rooms I would love to redecorate but to be honest at this point, clean and tidy almost constitutes redecorating, so I’m settling for that, though I try to add a few nice touches here and there.

As I move through the house I’m trying to make good decisions about things that we do not want/need anymore. Inevitably things will get shifted from room to room a bit, but hopefully by the time I’m finished I will have identified all the things that do not belong/have no use and they can be dealt with the appropriate manner. Sounds very organized, doesn’t it? The trick, of course, is to make sure each room I’ve tackled STAYS is good order. (hence the desire to make sure I find places for everything and am not just superficially tidying)

Ok, I realize this is much less interested to you than it is to me, but I felt I should mention it because it’s going to be taking up a fair bit of my time and there will likely be some project offshoots that I will want to share here (I’m already plotting something with the house plants) so I hope you bear with me.

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Woven Paper Card

Today I thought I’d share with you how to make a very simple card using paper weaving. Paper weaving is an easy way to decorate a card and is appropriate for just about any occasion.

Materials:

blank card and envelope

recycled greeting card or decorative paper

craft knife

ruler

glue (optional)

Instructions

Step One:

Decide on the size of the weaving. Keep in mind that the size should be a bit smaller than the recycled card or piece of paper you are using. Use a pencil to draw out the appropriate size rectangle on the inside of the card front.

Step 2:

Cut your “warp”. (In weaving “warp” refers to the verticals.) I recommend drawing lines on the rectangle so you will know how many verticals to cut.  The vertical strips can be thin or wide or a mixture of the two. Use the craft knife and ruler to slice down the lines.

Step 3:

Cut your “weft”. (These are the pieces you will be weaving with.) Use a ruler and craft knife to cut your recycled card or decorative paper into strips. Again, these can by thin or wide.

Step 4:

Weave! Following an over-under pattern, weave in your paper strips. You should always start and finish with each strip from the inside of the card, so you don’t have ends poking out on the front.

Step 5 (optional):

Secure the ends of the weft strips with a tiny amount of glue. Be sure to let it dry completely before you close the card. You can stop at this point or add a few details, depending on the look you want. I was thinking of a quilt when I created this card, so I added a simple border of decorative paper.

And you’re done!

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Crock-Pot Tuesday

For the second Tuesday in a row I’ve put something in the crock-pot for supper. Seeing as we are both out early Tuesday evening and come back later in the evening, I thought it would be a good excuse to dig out the crock-pot and look for recipes so that dinner would be ready and waiting on our return. Last week, it was baked beans, which I’ve done before, and which are very “standard”. I think most people probably think beans when they thing crock-pot. Today, however, I’ve decided to try lasagna! I used this recipe, though I halved this recipe (this must be for an absolutely gigantic crock-pot!) It doesn’t seem like lasagna in a crock-pot would work out that well but it was surprisingly good. It was lovely to walk into the house and be met with the delicious smell. Two things I should mention. First, in keeping with my general style, I didn’t just make half the recipe, but also messed around with it a bit, using cottage and ricotta cheese, leaving out the mushrooms and adding a few other vegetables, but I think the recipe is good as a template. Secondly, and most important, if you try this recipe I’d recommend trying it first when you have a chance to check on it at some point, or you are working from home or something. The timing of it is a bit fussier than say a stew, which you could leave and not worry about. My lasagna was cooking on high from 2 – 7:15, and I turned it off for about 30 minutes during that time. That was just about perfect. But you could probably significantly extend the cooking time for when you are out all day if you used a low setting, but I would definitely experiment with that on a day I could check on it first.

Sorry, no picture. You’ll have to use your imagination….or better yet, make your own!

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Molasses Candy

Yesterday’s afternoon weather put a stop to my plans so on a whim I made some molasses candy! I mentioned before that I had discovered blackstrap molasses, and it’s amazing iron content, and how I’ve been trying to find ways to have a little each day. I found this recipe online and made up half the batch. Again, for the iron you must use blackstrap molasses. I think I can say it worked well! This might be something you would want to avoid if you want to keep your teeth, but other than that it’s pretty good. Healthy candy??

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Baby Pants

Some baby pants, sewn from the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern by Rae. My sewing skills are, to put it kindly, underdeveloped, so don’t look too closely. I found the pattern quite easy, except for the rear panel, but I’m such a beginner that I’m sure others would have no trouble. The pants have a panel in the back, the “big butt” feature, to accommodate a cloth diaper, but these pants (0-3 months) still seem impossible small. But very cute. These were made from an old pair of linen pants. I’m going to try my hand at another pair, to see if I can improve, and then perhaps do a few in a batch, working each step for all the pants before moving on. (Also allowing lots of time, since I know that rushing is what makes me mess up!) I’m  a tad nervous to do this since the directions do talk about using the baby to measure the pants, so it would be just my luck to sew a bunch of pants that end up not fitting. But I can find the time now, which will be harder then, so I may as well go for it!

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