Category Archives: daily life

Misc makes

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Misc makes

Spring has arrived in full, with today’s temperature reaching the low 20s. I managed to leave work early, which almost never happens, and took a book out to the deck to catch some sunshine before dinner.

I take my new phone now when I go walking because it takes good photos. These are from a couple of days ago.

I burnt the heck out of my fingers making this guy…

I got hot glue on my skin and actually had quite the blister afterwards. I feel like he could use more accessories. Or perhaps I’ll just make more using the rest of the dollar store socks and see how they turn out.

Another easy, quick project was this flowy vest (waistcoat) which is my fifth one of this style.

I like to wear these at work. They go brilliantly over a T shirt and jeans, making an outfit look more dressy and streamlined, and they take 5 minutes to make. You only need a metre of a non-fraying knit fabric. If the print goes all the way to the selvage you don’t have to trim them off. I just make sure to straighten up the cut edges.

Once the edges are neatened all you have to do is fold the fabric with selvages together, measure 8 inches down from the top and 7.5 inches in from the fold, and cut a slit from that point down for 8 inches through both layers to make armholes. Easy peasy!

I had to do a repair on this apron. My sister bought this for me years ago, it was made by a local (to her) crafter and has seen me through many a kitchen mess. But I wore a hole through part of it so dug out some stripey fabric from the stash and patched it and now it’s good to go again.

And finally (FINALLY!) a crochet work-in-progress!

A co-worker of mine is leaving soon. She hasn’t been there long but we will be sad to see her go. She mentioned (not in a gimmiepig sort of way) that she had been wondering if I’d be able to make a hat with a ponytail hole. Well, I didn’t mind having a go, not that she has any idea that I’m making it.

This Lion Brand Mandala is one of my favourite colourways. It’s called Chimera and is sort of a muted rainbow.

I am designing this on the hook and the plan is to make it double thick because she’s headed further north. I’m approximately at the halfway point. It was coming out a bit loose so I went down to a smaller hook for the rounds that will form the brim. It’ll be reversible when it’s done.

Enough distractions, I must get back to my hook. I’m on a deadline.

Fabric stashbusting

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My latest FO is a wonky basket crocheted from strips of jersey knit fabric. I made something similar not long ago, but this one burned up the last of this $3/metre fabric that I bought years ago.

Cutting the 2″ strips was quick thanks to my rotary cutter and ruler, but snipping a hole in each end of the strips and joining them took a couple of hours.

I ended up with a 2lb ball of the blue/brown and a smaller ball of the red/orange. With hindsight, I should have cut the strips lengthwise instead of crosswise and they would have curled the other way, leaving the colourful right side showing.

Whilst I didn’t follow a pattern, I was inspired to use the stitch pattern from Toni Lipsey’s Jessie Stash Basket, which alternates a single crochet in the back loop and a waistcoat stitch. The base of my basket is 14″ across, so I can fit a lot of stuff in there.

I probably should go easy on the big hook crochet as my right wrist, which I broke three years ago, has been aching again. I think the worst thing is opening cans, with the twisting motion that entails, but this kind of crochet comes second.

I worked today, but had three days off over the weekend. It was lovely but also frustrating as I intended to get going on a sewing project but kept overthinking it and never even started it.

Yesterday I took myself off on a mini road trip as I had something I wanted to pick up from a friend in a town 40 minutes drive away, so I took a picnic and made the most of it.

I had a homemade London Fog, a bag of yarn to wind into balls, food, water, my beach quilt and an extra sweater. It may look gloriously warm in these photos but it was around 10C and the slight breeze off the lake meant I needed to stay wrapped up.

Thanks to my workplace being closed on Sunday, it’s a short week and I only have three shifts rather than four. Wheeeeeee!

Nothing says spring like…

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…bunnies, lakeside walks in the sunshine and hot cross buns!

I made a fun gift for a co-worker. My Ravelry project page is here if you’d like to check out the details and pattern. It’s a cute pattern that I found on Ravelry, of course.

Earlier in the week I met a friend for a walk and tested out the photo capabilities of my new phone.

It was a beautiful day though the wind was really cold. Today I went for another walk and the temperature was in the double digits and I was warm in just a T shirt.

As Easter is imminent I just had to make some hot cross buns though mine don’t have crosses. I completely forgot to add them just before baking. It’s not the first time I’ve done that! Still, they taste wonderful. I used a vegan oil-free recipe from here.

I confess to having scoffed a couple when I returned from my walk and now I just feel sleepy, but I’m cooking dinner so I’m having to keep my wits about me!

I hope your week is going well. I’m working the next two days (yes, I work on Good Friday but at least I get stat pay) and then I have the weekend off.

Daylight savings

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I saw a humorous meme on FB earlier. Something about the day after the clocks “springing forward” an hour being National Napping Day.

I must confess to being rather sleepy this afternoon. Saturday evening I went to bed extra early because I had work at 9.30am Sunday. But Sunday evening I stayed up late watching The Coroner on Netflix and then slept in this morning.

After a slow start to the day, I baked a couple of fruit cakes (one for us, and a GF one for a coworker) and while they were cooling I went for a 45 minute walk in the sunshine.

Scoffing a large piece of cake may have contributed to the sleepiness!

I never tire of the views around here.

Rather than buy a birthday card for my great-niece I made this from a piece of scrappy fabric I made a while back when experimenting with scraps and stitches.

I used Heat ‘n Bond to fuse it to a plain backing, pinked the edges, and stitched in a piece of paper for the handwritten message.

Now I just need to mail it off with her gifts.

Well, I said I was sleepy and obviously a little brain-dead because I just published this prematurely. Sorry if you get two versions in your inbox.

Joy!

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Joy!

Hello all. I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing weekend doing the things you love.

It’s my turn for a weekend off and Mr Fixit and I have had a good day so far. Just errands around town and grabbing some awesome tea from our favourite place, but so much nicer than being at work!

My featured photo today (above) is the view from my kitchen early yesterday morning. It looked like the trees were on fire! And today when I opened my curtains, I had a treat. Two deer were standing on the vegetable garden, barely moving, looking watchful and alert (probably because of the dog in the neighbour’s yard). I quickly grabbed my phone. They hung around for some time, then bounded effortlessly over the fence and went on their way.

I am always honoured to have a visit from them. I hope they know that they are safe on my property.

Onto yarny pursuits, and I finished some fingerless mitts for Mr Fixit. I used the Cygnet Chunky again. They only took two evenings. Once I had finished the first one, he did say he would have liked longer cuffs like his old pair, but I’m afraid I’m a bad wifey and told him I don’t have much patience for things made in pairs any more and I just wanted them done fast!

I used the basic mitten pattern from Ann Budd’s book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.

Once those were done, I started a new crochet project. A co-worker is scheduled for major back surgery in February and I wanted to make her something. After a browse around Ravelry I decided on the Wishing Well Wrap (link to pattern on her blog here) (link to my project page on Ravelry here)

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves which is a tasteful combination of blues, greens and cream. It’ll probably take two cakes, though I have five in stash, so could make it bigger if I have time. It’s an easy two-row pattern. Perfectly good for working on while watching The Crown on Netflix!!

Anyone who loves books will appreciate this stack that I brought home from the library today. A few of them were ones I had requested – the rest were ones I found that caught my eye. Three novels, some knitting and other crafts, and a lot of quilt and applique books.

Twenty three to be exact (the maximum number we can borrow at once is 100, and yes, when the boys were small we did manage to hit that amount sometimes). What a warm fuzzy feeling, to be home on the couch on a winter’s afternoon, with yarn to hand, and a pile of books to enjoy, while it’s getting dark outside. Joy!!

Happy New Year

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By the time you read this, it will be 2021. I spent a lovely couple of hours in my sewing room tonight in the company of Kate from The Last Homely House YouTube channel.

She did a two hour livestream today between 10pm and 12 midnight her time (UK) but I didn’t find it until it was finished. Because of the time difference I was able to watch it all before the new year arrived here.

My thread collection was the first job! I love those jewel tones. Unfortunately the threads on the metal bobbins have been neglected since the spring because they were for my old Janome and I use plastic bobbins in the new one.

After that came the yarn. These kits have been sitting around for a really long time. I did start the monster one, but it’s thin yarn (and not very good quality at that) and therefore a skinny crochet hook. They came in as a one-off product at work a few years ago and they were only about $3 each!

These are the natural fibres, from the green hemp at the top of the photo to the cottons at the bottom. The white yarn is for dyeing. My goal for the last couple of years has been to focus more on mindful purchasing including some natural plant content, rather than 100% synthetic, and the stash reflects that.

These are the worsted weight yarns, mostly acrylic with a teeny bit of leftover cotton blend from Scheepjes.

This is the DK acrylic, mostly Stylecraft Special DK, some Lion Brand Mandala, and a few other miscellaneous yarns.

And this is the stuff that didn’t fit into the other categories – mason line, sock yarn, bulky fluffy stuff and some gold crochet thread.

That was a lot of fun and now it’s all packed away neatly. I have to confess to giving my fabric more attention lately, but once I have the Turtle Dove sweater finished (not far to go) I do have another knitting project in mind. It was a valuable thing to flash my stash and remind myself what’s there for projects in 2021.

Do you have a New Year’s Eve ritual that you do every year? I can’t say I do, but maybe this sewing room clean-up is a good way to end the old year and start 2021 with an organised stash!

Window on the Weather – Day 10

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I caught the light just right yesterday, about 4.20pm on Wednesday, as it was getting dark. I had switched on the fairy lights around the deck and there was a golden glow coming from the houses across the way.

This morning, yes, more snow!

(The walnut tree dwarfing the apricot tree on the left, and our massive maple in the front yard on the right.)

It took quite an effort to clear the driveway yesterday but it felt good to have the exercise, and I went to the gym for a half hour on the elliptical too.

Writing this in the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, the sun is shining and everything is looking very sparkly and pretty. I went and had a look in a couple of shops, as my favourite jeans wore out on Monday – suddenly, there were holes when the previous day there hadn’t been any – and I found some nice-fitting Levis at Mark’s. Of course I couldn’t just buy jeans, and I ended up with T shirts and sweaters too! But the last time I bought new clothes was back in May and I do need to look reasonably well turned out for work, even though we can wear jeans. It’s not like I’ve been spending much money on anything else in 2020!

The plan for dinner is a lentil chestnut loaf, potatoes oreganata (sliced, layered and baked with oregano and olive oil), broccoli, and salad, followed by mince pies, but fancier ones with phyllo/filo pastry. I bought a pack the other day so that I can recreate something I made years ago. It won’t be a late night as I’m working tomorrow, and anyway I can’t keep my eyes open past 11pm these days.

I wish you all a Happy New Year. Let’s wish for covid to be crushed, masks to be tossed in the bin, and a time when we can again meet up in cafes and tea shops and chat for hours with our friends, preferably with a yarny project in hand.

Window on the Weather – Day 9

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Wednesday, and we had more snow overnight. I would have taken a photo of the driveway but it was such a white-out it was hard to tell where one thing finished and another started. Mr Fixit cleared part of the drive when he went to work, but more snow has fallen since, and I do plan on getting out there and doing some shovelling, especially as my plan is to buy groceries today.

Window on the Weather – Day 7

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I held out a little longer for a photo this morning. When I got up around 8am, it was pretty blah, though I did get a good action shot of squirrels running across the snow. Then the sun came out, and that was the photo I decided to use.

The four squirrels must have signed a peace treaty, as hunting in the snow for buried walnuts is taking precedence over territorial squabbles. Since Mr Fixit cleared out the broken lilac, their superhighway across the treetops has been slightly interrupted, and a black squirrel was on the cherry tree at the end of the main branch, and I could hear its thoughts as it hesitated……….WTF happened to my usual commute??? After a moment, it decided to jump anyway!

After all my manic sewing pre-Christmas, I haven’t done much this week. But I did finish these:

two more cuffs

A few days ago, I traced a seahorse from a colouring book onto fabric using a Frixion pen. After layering with batting and backing I free-motion-quilted the seahorse in three different colours of thread, then ironed it to remove the lines. The stitching is a little rough but I have a lot more control now that I wear the non-slip gloves with the little plastic dots all over. I didn’t know what I was going to make, but in the end I decided to make a small bag using some flowery fabric that echoed the thread colours for the back and the lining.

This is the last day of my week off. I’ve done a little sewing, some knitting, some reading, a lot of cooking and eating and relaxing. It’s been great! Tomorrow I’ll have to switch on the work brain and get back into the swing of things.