Sunday, May 30, 2010

{Embroidery? Really?}

I've been plugging along obsessively on my Ambrosia Cardigan since I last posted.  Once I put it on and saw that it fit and looked good, it was like a fire was lit under my butt and it's all I can think about doing! I've cast off the bottom and done one sleeve, so today will be the other sleeve and the neck band.  I'm also going to sew some gross grain ribbon in under the cabling where I'll have to sew in some hooks.  I think it will help me to avoid any pulling and gapping once I'm wearing it.  YAY! Almost done!!

So, during one of my short "gosh my hands hurt" breaks from the cardigan, while I was surfing around on knitting blogs, I found this TOTALLY AWESOME site here:  Urban and now I'm kind of obsessed with trying out my luck on some hand embroidery!!  And, I have just the project for it.

Inspired by some other blog that I saw a LONG time ago, I've been keeping my eye open for a canvas shoe organizer to hang on our shed to plant herbs in.  I never did find one, and decided once I got my sewing machine that I should try my hand at making one!  So, after $7 in canvasy outdoor fabric from Wally World, and a $3 dowel rod, I had this:

Cute, right?  The lines aren't straight of course, but that doesn't matter! hehe What DOES matter is that I want to embroider the names of the herbs on each pocket!!

The problem? I can't find embroidery supplies ANYwhere.  I'm an hour from a Michaels, and Walmart doesn't carry those supplies anymore.  I went to find somewhere to buy online, but couldn't find anywhere that didn't charge ridiculous shipping.  Plus, I kinda don't know what I need, so I wanted to be able to ask someone.   So, instead I'm going to ask you guys!!  You're all so smart! :D

What kind of needle and floss would I buy for this heavy canvas material to be able to do this?  And I THINK I need a loop of some kind, don't I?  But will it work on these pockets?  What do I need in order to transfer on to the material??   And finally (maybe most importantly) do you know an online source that charges reasonable shipping rates? 

OH and... don't feel rushed or anything? But Urban Threads is having a giveaway that ends Juen 6th.  I need to submit photos of my project for a chance to win one of 200 random $10 gift certificates. *sigh* A girl can dream. :) hehe

Thanks guys!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

{In Progress}

My current knitting obsessions is the Ambrosia Cardigan (rav link) from my Interweave Knits summer 2010 that I just got in the mail.  It's my first knit from a magazine and I even had the EXACT right yarn on hand!  The kind that the pattern asked for!  How awesome is that?  It's a top down knit too, my first grown up sized one, so it feels like it's taking longer to knit, but really it's probably going faster because there will be no need to piece anything together at the end.

Yesterday I put it on scrap yarn and tried it on.  I'm so STOKED!!

It's the perfect size!! The only other top I've knit for myself was that big sweater I did, but it's so terribly unflattering that I've never worn it out.    THIS one is going to be a favorite I think!! YAY!  It's knit in a 100% cotton that is super stiff, so with an inch or so of negative ease I think it's going to feel somewhat like a corset. lol  It's also kinda hard on the hands to knit, but I've been powering through. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

{ A Small Project}

Well, maybe a couple?  I re-did my header - what do you think?  :)

The second was a wrist pin cushion! I followed the tutorial over at Tea Rose Home.  Super cute, right?

I haven't given it a try just yet, but I'm sure it'll come in handy very soon! :D  Can I count this as an FO??

Monday, May 24, 2010

{Oh My Gosh! So Excited!}

I have a BUNCH of stuff that's making me all excited this morning!

Alora Loves Her New Sweater! 

Who doesn't love this face?  Poor girl's been sick and teething as of late, hence the glassy eyes.  She's still adorable though!

When I embroidered on those flowers, I didn't anticipate that they'd become a play thing for her, but hey! Who's arguing? She can't pull them off, just pull them tight so they make for something fun to do while getting a fresh diaper and such. hehe

I Got A Birthday Package From Jenny!
(from Jenny's Blog On Knitting)

It arrived looking like this and I was appropriately worried. lol  That little label on the top read "may have been delivered damaged."  GULP!   Not to fear though, everything inside was squishy and non-breakable!!

That GORGEOUS bag in the back was hand sewn by Jenny's sister, Sanna!  How gorgeous is that fabric?? It's going to be my new sewing notions bag! YAY!  There was of course tons of Chocolate to be had, but most didn't make it to the photo, unfortunately.  YUM  The green yarn is a 100% wool of Swedish origin called Kampes.  I think it's going to be my Christmas Tree skirt that I posted about in my book review!  (Jenny? I might need some red too! grin ) The Lin in the front is another Swedish yarn that I already had some of in my stash and had inquired about getting more through Jenny's LYS but held off because I didn't have anything planned for the yarn yet.  Well... ta da! :D  And the merino is from Drops- super soft!  I'll find a project to use it on for sure!

Then, I was putting everything away from the picture taking and found these guys hanging out in the bag! I missed them the first time and I was all like, "There's MORE??!?"

Thank you SO SO Much to Jenny and her sister Ana!! I feel so special to deserve a great birthday package like this one!! :D

I Was Featured on Tea Rose Home! 

Yesterday I was featured on the very popular home crafty blog, Tea Rose Home!  She really loved my 100% cotton baby sweater that I finished recently.  How cool is that??  Thanks Sachiko! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

{Desk Build: The Big Reveal}

The desk has been planned, built, painted, stained and assembled and is back in our office.  We couldn't afford to buy all the lumber at once to do everything we wanted so it doesn't have a back yet, or doors, or upper shelves (for the most part).  There aren't a lot of accessories yet either, so it's pretty plain looking, but man is it functional!  I've already been using it already for sewing and crafting and I love not having to carry all my materials across the house to the dining room.  Plus, it's an easy clean up to put everything back.

This build was inspired by Ana's desk plans over at Knock Off Wood.  I LOVE this website!  There are a ton of inspiring stories from women picking up their husband's power tools! And for the record, this was the first time I used a power drill!  It felt pretty good. :)

I know you've already seen it, but here's the before:

My Mister and I are renting this old house while I'm in school and we've done a lot of work to fix it up.  We've painted every room with the exception of this one because it is the only room with real wood paneling. We've removed wall paper, painted cabinets, changed out faucets... lots of stuff.  This room is where we really do most of our living though because it's where our computers are.  It's an odd room that has two doors in to it!  The door you're looking at is one of three doors to the bedroom, so we didn't really need it except for air circulation.

The fireplace mantle is beautiful, but as you can tell from the construction paper replica, it's totally not functional at all.  I think maybe if this were my house the fireplace would take precedent over a desk, but since it isn't my house I don't have the option of fixing it.  This whole wall of our small office was monopolized by the boarded up fireplace and a superfluous door.  hehe We definitely needed more function in here.

Now, that side of the room looks like this!

My new sewing machine too! Check it out!

Mr. Pie's side for painting his miniatures

I altered Ana's plans quite a bit.  The bases are built with OSB and 1x2's for trim. They are 20" x 20" to maximize on storage space.  Eventually these will have doors on them so it's not all open storage.  I also made every base the same because when we move I want this unit to be as flexible as possible.  There are two boards for the top, both are 24" wide by 60" long to make a total of 10 feet of working space.  We chose stain grade pine boards because they came from Lowes at 24" wide and we didn't have to worry about piecing together 1 x 12 boards and having a seam down the middle of the desk horizontally.  As a bonus, one of the boards we used was pretty damaged from being on the shelf too long, crunched at one end and cracking a little in the middle.  We had to trim off 12" anyway so the crunch was gone, but we stained the board with the crack right in it.  They gave us half off that one, so we'll keep an eye on it and replace it later if necessary.

The shelving on Mr. Pie's side of the desk was made out of the left over osb that didn't get used for the base units.  These were the only pieces that Lowe's didn't cut for us!  They did ALL the rest of the cutting for free! We went in on a Monday night and they were more than willing to spend some time with us on their huge rip saw.  Truthfully, we could have found plywood cheap at the Restore and saved ourselves about $25 per sheet but without a way to cut it or to transport home the huge sheets, it just wasn't worth it.  Lowes was a huge huge help.

Price Break Down:

2 -  4' x 8' OSB, cut to size
3 -  2" x 8' trim
2 -  2' x 6' stain grade pine (one half off for damage)
1 1/2" deck screws
wood filler                        

Pottery Barn Ottoman from the Habitat ReStore

1/2 gallon of Killz and 1/2 gallon of white paint
  free from home

 Total: about $170 (so far!)

And there you have it!! Next we'll have to buy some task lighting , some more baskets. I'm liking the blue ones, actually. $1 from the dollar store, can't beat that!  I'm so darn proud of us!  What do you guys think???

Linked at: Tea Rose Home, The Shabby Chic Cottage, Under The Table and Dreaming,

Friday, May 21, 2010

{Some Book Reviews}

I got FOUR new knitting books for my birthday!  I am so excited!!  It's even more fun when I get to share my opinions of these books with my blog friends, right?

 Hand Knit Holidays by Melanie Falick

It was my family that bought me this one off of my Amazon Wish list.  I put it on that list as soon as I saw the patterns online. They are AMAZING! It's a hard cover book and there a lot of patterns in this one, more than normal it seems.  They cover all the different holidays, not just Christmas, and there's a huge variety of patterns, from decor, to sweaters, to socks, mittens and hats.  There are hardly any patterns in this book that I flat out wouldn't knit, and unfortunately the cover is one of those.   I would have put any other pattern on the cover. lol There are so many patterns that I just love love love.

                                  Hannah's tablecloth   Over-the-knee socks      Aran tree skirt

These are just three patterns that I really really want to knit.  The Tablecloth is just gorgeous and uses store bought linen napkins and then pieces them together with lace knitting - breathtaking.   The Over-the-knee socks are pretty!! I imagine it would take me a year to knit them, but I could make them a size to actually fit!  And the Aran tree skirt is definitely getting made for our tree this year, and I think I even have the yarn for it! Ours had a mishap last year (of the kitten variety) so it got trashed.  I'm thinking green for the body with red trim for a more traditional feel.

I give full review points for this book.  Can't wait to start knitting out of this one!

Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson

Every since I trashed my first sock on 5 double pointed needles and went searching for the two circulars method, I've been in love with it.  I adore knitting socks from the toe up so this book jut seemed like it would be a good fit, so I was thrilled to get it as part of my Knit Picks gift from my Mister!   I was blown away once I started reading! They list three different heel methods with just plain vanilla socks as lessons and then go on to write patterns for each method.  They seem to be split almost half and half between lace socks and patterned socks, not much colour work or cabling in this one.  This book has so much information in it! It's now an invaluable addition to my book collection.  Here's a couple of my favorites:

                                      Dead Simple Lace Socks          Diamond Gansy Socks

Most of the patterns are on fingering weight, but there's a handful at the end on sport weight, too.  I think I'm going to pick one to cast on this evening because the cotton cardigan I'm knitting right now is a little tough on the old digits. hehe  These will be so much fun!!  I have a feeling everyone might be getting socks for Christmas this year. lol  Definitely full marks on this one too!

Knitting the Perfect Pair by Dorothy T. Ratigan

Another soft cover book from my Amazon wish list.  My family really loves me! hehe  I put this one on a while ago because it looked like they had a wide variety of socks, and do they over!  The only problem with this one is I'll have to read the pattern backwards to go from the toe up.   With this book you get colour work, lace, lots of cabling, heavy weight and light weight, the whole gambit of what socks can be!  Even toe socks! Two I'm looking at are:

                                        Textured Stripe Socks                      Fishnet Stockings

The stripey ones just seem a great way to use up ends, don't they? Or maybe all those odd skeins of Palette I have around.  I love the textures and I even get to practice some fair isle!  The fishnets are just pretty and fun and I'm certainly going to be making a pair of those, too.  This book is up there on the scale, just not as high as the other two.  There are some kinda zany patterns that are fun looking, but maybe too much for me to invest time in, ya know?  There are only a few of those, though. 

Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Isn't this one just a standard for every knitting library?  I haven't read all the way through it yet, but I really enjoy the conversational style of Ms. Zimmermann's writing.  It's like having an aunt over your shoulder explaining why we knit like we do, passing along the information from generation to generation.  There aren't any huge fancy pictures and it's mostly formatted like a reading book, not an instructional guide.  Old fashioned, but tried and true!  I got mine used from my family, which I love too!

Thanks folks! I hope these were helpful to you guys and if you have any other questions shoot them along! I have so many blog posts ready to go in my head, but I'm trying to pace myself. lol   Oh, and Popeye is doing great now! Thanks for everyone's caring comments!  He's eating and playing like his old self. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

{ Excuses, Excuses}

I realize I promised you guys I would review some books today, and I still intend to do that, I promise ! It's just that I just walked in from painting the pieces of the craft desk and I am beat. 

This morning the desk went from this:

To this:

It's curing now, and will be set up tonight! YAY!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

{Updates Continued}

I'm loving the fact that school is out! I think I'm finally starting to believe that I don't have homework to do. hehe  I've been a busy girl, despite a horrific head cold.  I'm whiny, still in my pajamas, but doin' stuff!

Look what I can do!

So, apart from the fact that I'm a dufus who doesn't know how to attach purse handles the right way (what a rookie mistake! LOL that'll get ripped out tomorrow)  look what I did!  This is my first attempt at a bag of any kind and I'm pretty darn proud of myself.  It's fully lined and I've added that pocket to the outside and a pocket on the inside.  I even lined the outside pocket! Also, check out the pretty red trim around the top!  It makes me smile. :D

 I think the inside pocket needs a button, so I'm going to add one.  I made the pocket a little wide to be practical, it kind of flops open, ya know?   Maybe one of my buttons made of antler? That would be way cool.  What do you think??  I love that my machine has a cool 4-step auto button holer AND buttoner!

Popeye Update

I think the vaccinations plus the worm medicine have messed with his tummy a bit.  He's been sleeping a lot today and is still nibbling slowly on his dinner from last night.  Is this normal, guys?

Popeye on the New Ottoman

Knit Picks Order

Yep, I got my Knit Picks yesterday! MAN I love seeing that box on the front porch!  Some of what I got wasn't terribly interesting: their purple plastic stitch markers, a couple of cable needles and a longer wire for my needles, BUT! Some of what I got was WAY cool!

 CotLin in Whisper(grey) and Cashew (tan)

These will be for some fun dish clothes to take with me to the craft show.  The one for May was canceled because the organizers realized they had planned for Memorial Day Weekend (which I thought that was the point? hehe)  so I'll be at the one in June.  This is good, I have more time to make stuff.

Shine Sport in Cream

Some kind of baby item, maybe? Or perhaps slippers? I haven't decided.  This stuff is super soft!

Crayon in Light Blue and Flamingo

These will be baby items too, I think.  Maybe little tiny hats, like the kind you put on babies in the hospital to tell whether they're a boy or girl? hehe  SUPER soft and 100% cotton - I love it!

I also got one new book from them yesterday and three for my birthday! WAHOO!  I'll write reviews tomorrow. :) Have a nice evening everyone!  I have to go blow my nose now.... hehehe

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

{So Much To Catch Up On!}

 First of all, I'll update you on Popeye's visit to the vet this morning. Thank you to everyone who asked about him! He and I feel very loved.   It was just worms, as we suspected, so he got worm medicine, his vaccinations and some flea medicine.  He did really well and didn't fuss hardly at all.  I'm super proud of him. :)  Okay, on to better stuff!!

Baby Sweater

The Mister and I have been busy bees on our long weekend! I told you that I finished a baby sweater, right?  Here it is!

Presto Chango by Valerie Wallis

I knit this cute little guy in Peaches and Cream 100% cotton, worsted weight, and it worked up like a dream.  It was kind of an odd construction.  You start knitting at the bottom of the back, add the stitches for the arms to either side, then knit up until you bind off the back of the neck, then knit down the front. hehe This was my first attempt at buttons, too! You see, up until now my family has been telling me that buttons on baby sweaters are a no-no, but I SUPER attached these ones with a ton of thread.  They aren't goin' no where! hehe

Craft Desk

The Mister and I both are pretty crafty people.  He enjoys painting models for war games that are very tiny and intricate and also does some woodworking here and there.  I of course knit, but then I also got that sewing machine for my birthday that I've started to play with and just well... it's annoying to always be hauling everything we need out to the dining room at the other end of the house and then have to put it all away again to clear off the table.  Our solution? We were inspired by Anna at Knock Off Wood to build our own custom craft desk across from our computer desks in the office.  We needed the surface area and we definitely need more storage for all our crafty accessories. 

That side of the room has a fireplace on it, but as you can see it's not functional.  We only rent this house, not own, so making the fireplace functional, or taking it out all together was out of the question.  It's a shame though because it takes up that entire wall and makes it almost totally unusable for any furniture.  That door beside it? One of THREE doors that goes in to the bedroom.  It's a little redundant.

Here's where we're at today:

There are three 20"x20" bases (the side one is turned because it's beside a dresser) made out of fiber board, and then the top is a really pretty stain grade pine that we bought 24" wide.  Lowes cut this ALL for us, which is so so awesome!  Seriously? With the pieces cut when we got home it went together just as easy as any piece of Ikea furniture I've ever bought.  About 2 1/2 hours to get all three bases and the shelf together.

We're waiting for a pretty day outside now so we can cut all the 1x2 trim for the bottoms, paint the base units white and stain the top.  I'm thinking a nice warm natural cherry colour, followed by some satin polyurethane. According to that won't be happening until Thursday.  And that ottoman?  We picked that up at the Habitat For Humanity Restore for $20!! It's a Pottery Barn Ottoman!!  I adore it!!  

I also got a Knit Picks box today, but I'll wait to show you that unit tomorrow! hehe

Monday, May 17, 2010


I had a blog post planned about the new little baby sweater I finished (and is super cute) but dude.  I just found this etsy store you HAVE to see!!

 It's called A Remark You Made and she has awesome buttons made from fallen tree branches! {swoon!}

I have so so much to tell you guys about as soon as I get a great project completed. So excited!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

{A Productive Saturday - So Far}

This morning, with 5 days of vacation ahead of us, we headed out to the next city to check out some garage sales and the Farmer's Market.  The garage sales were all a bust, but we did buy some plants from our garden!  We hadn't planned on actually planting them until tonight, but surprised ourselves by doing it in the midday sun.

do you think I need some of these instead of the paper? hehe

the whole garden (yep, the whole thing). That's our composting system 
in the blue bins in the back.

We planted: yellow pepper, cayenne pepper, cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, asparagus, and carrot seeds.  We have plans to add jalapeno peppers too.

While we were playing in the dirt, these were cooking in the kitchen:

banana muffins

When I saw we had some frozen over ripe bananas I jumped right on these!  Made the kitchen smell sooooo good.  I baked them in the new muffin tin I got from my family for my birthday! It makes a larger muffin, which I like, and I didn't have to use a cupcake sleeve! It's no stick! My favorite? You just turned the cup *INSIDE OUT* to wash it! Isn't  that fabulous?

We had some hard news today too... our Popeye, he is sick.  He's got a vet's appointment for Tuesday morning.  Don't worry, we're taking good care of him.

the box isn't quite big enough

I'm three quarters of the way done on this baby sweater too. It's an odd construction.  I'll tell you about it tomorrow. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

{Finally! An FO To Show You!}

Between the end of school and this massively hard lace pattern that I chose, it's been a LONG time since I've shown a finished knitted garment! But... for you dear friends in the blogosphere... I have for you...

My Haruni!! Here's me modeling:

And here's a close up of just the center pattern, which is my absolutely favorite part of this shawl:

So... I think I've told you guys before that I decided to do the body a stockinette stitch.  I like the look of it and stuff... BUT.  I sorta mis-read part of the instructions.  Oh don't worry, I got my stitch count correct, but I accidentally did the center increases *every* row including the purl side, instead of just on the knit side as I should have.  I didn't realize this until almost the end when I was blocking my knitting and it has a kind of weird triangle shape. lol

It's not quite as wide as you would expect it to be. hehe  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, it's just not quite the shape that I thought it would turn out or the shape my sister was expecting (since this was going to be knit for her).  Not sure where it'll end up but man oh man am I proud of this one!

It was a pretty easy knit too. Basically after I had Hope's help sorting out the charts (Thanks, Hope!) it was pretty smooth sailing.  Until I got to the bind off, which is a weird crochet bind off.  This was the new skill I learned with this scarf!  It was a K3together (with your crochet needle) and then chain 6 in to that stitch. Then you K3together again and pass the last of your chain stitches over and then chain 6.  I was pretty confounded. hehe

I've already cast on for a quick baby sweater in worsted cotton and I'm zooming through it now. More pics tomorrow on that! :)


My last final of the semester was last night and boy am I glad.  Please excuse me while I gather my poor, scattered and overworked brain. hehe

I'm on my bind off row on my Haruni!! I'm going to try the Crochet Bind off , a new one for me, and my one crochet needle was too little, so that lead to a trip to Walmart to buy another one (they are the only play within an hour that sells 'em. argh.)  Of course that lent to a cone of worsted cotton, some fabric, and some thread to try out my sewing machine.  I'll check back in once I have something to show you! :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

{Birthday Goings-on}

Wow you guys, what a GREAT birthday I had!  Other than a break from studying for my Calculus final (which I forbade myself to do any of)  it was great! It started when I came home after school and I had PRESENTS waiting!!

After walking by the massive birthday-paper wrapped box once, I got to open this up!

YAY!! My very first sewing machine!!  I'm so excited and so rearing to go! I watch a bunch of the ladies online do cute tutorials that need a sewing machine and I'm so excited to get to do some sewing myself! I think I might start out with some cute fabric drawstring bags, just to practice?  I'm making myself not do anything until after my final and after my last project is handed in. But after that I'm going to dive right in! Does anyone know any good beginner sewing resources?

This (crappy) photo here shows a couple more birthday presents:

A new book that my brother bought me off my Amazon list: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (a Canadian author, since I've been striving to read more of those lately), AND my new monitor!  A 23 inch Acer wide screen monitor to match my Mister's. This will come in extra handy when I'm geeking out on the mmorpg's. hehehe Oh! And my sister sent me a great silicon muffin tin off my amazon list too! Super excited about that.

On a side note... guess what ELSE this photo shows?  It's my Haruni shawl!  The colour is terrible, of course, since that's sort of a grey/purple yarn you're looking at. lol I have two lines of lace left to do, with purls in between, and then casting off. And that little tiny yarn pile beside it? That's the end of my skein. lol  Doh!!  I have a couple others, so I'm not freaking out and frogging or anything, it just means that I'm going to have to recake another skein. Last time that was a huga P.I.T.A.  It must have taken me almost two hours to cake that damn yarn because it was getting all tangled around itself.  Is there a secret to winding?  Am I missing the bus anywhere?

So for my birthday dinner, after I found my two lovely birthday gifts, my Mister made me Chicken Cordon Bleu with a white cheese sauce, some amazing risotto, and some broccoli that also had a touch of the cheese sauce.  Oh. My. Goodness you guys.  It was SO YUMMY and we're having left overs tonight!  For dessert he made me a tiny individual ice cream cake!  I absolutely love the ice cream cakes from Dairy Queen, but you can only buy them in 13" diameters and that's a little too much even for me. hehe This one was perfect and was even made with REAL oreos and Haagen Daz ice cream!

Overall, it was a perfect day!  Thank you, My Love for making me feel so special on my Birthday!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

{Coolest Flickr Set Ever}

I found it you guys!  I don't know if you remember when I put out the question to everyone about "that site that has cool old photos whose copyright has run out."  And here it is!

The U.S. National Archives Flickr Page

They have 236 pages of old photos from all of US History and they're all free to use!  So so cool.

A couple of awesome examples of WW2 Women hard at work!

I love that site!

Other than that, it's my Birthday today!! Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeeeeee!! I'm currently being spoiled rotten by my Mister, and then I have my last final exam in just a couple of days, so you probably won't hear from me until the end of the week.  Talk to ya soon!!