Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve wrap ups

Merry Christmas everyone!

If any of you are like me, you might be spending a good portion of your day knitting the last part of those Christmas gifts you meant to complete a long time ago. That, in between baking, chocolate making, and doing Christmas crafts with my kids. Oh, did I mention that my littlest one woke up with a cold today? Trying to help her get rested up web she's so excited about Christmas. I don't think she will be wanting a nap today, but it will be needed. What's on your needles? Any last minute knitting? Or is it last minute shopping?

My 9 year old boy is vigorously folding paper. He is making origami gifts for everyone. This is something he became interested in during autumn, and has become quite good at it. He asks for my help now and then, which is nice because I get to learn with him. I can also encourage him during these frustrating moments of do-overs that mistakes help us to learn new things. He is becoming much more patient with each new project he masters. And yes, we use tape to sometimes hold it together. I know this doesn't always count as proper origami, but we are in it for the fun.

My kids are also following Santa's sleigh today, as he travels the world to drop off presents. If you want to see where Santa Claus is right now, check out NORAD at www.noradsanta.org

At the time of writing this, he was last spotted in Kathmandu, Nepal and is headed toward Dhaka, Bangladesh. Howe cool is that?







Saturday, 20 October 2012

When are you coming home mom



Edited to add:
Lol, this was my kids trying to email me while I was out shopping. They must have sent the email to my 'secret' blog publishing email addy that was in my contacts. Oops.

The "when are you coming home mom?" was meant for me.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

I Get It...

Today is a crappy day.
Just crappy.
A bad day.
You know, one of those days.

I went back upstairs to put on my favorite socks. They are just plain grey with light pink soles and toes. They are store bought, plain socks with ribbing.
But they are so comfortable. I looked at them for A second or two, then thought to myself, "this is why people hand knit socks. They know this secret."

My thing is fingerless mitts. I get so much joy from that looking moment of a newly finished pair of well knitted fetchings. I admit, most beautiful sock patterns I see, I imagine them being converted into fingerless mitts.

I can see how people feel about their knitted socks, as you can almost wear socks year round.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Little Piggies

We are piggies sitting Lorax and Buddy this week.
Today we got Lorax out to let him explore. When the kids were sitting patiently and calmly, they got to have a turn petting Lorax. They really liked watching how he fluffs up his fur.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Time to Celebrate!

I did it! It only took four years, but I did it!

Take a look at my Ravelry project page. See the number?

I went to update some project details when I noticed that it showed I'm on my 100th project!!!!! Yay!!!

This is very exciting for me.

I think my Nanna's shawl has been the most rewarding project so far, because it challenged me the most.

To celebrate, I'm going to cast-on for my most challenging pattern yet. The Debussy Shawl, which I received as a gift in a Ravelry swap from Angintheeast. It will be lovely when done, and I'm sure it will give me a fair share of rough moments on the way.

Want to make it even more special for me? If you are a fellow raveller, check out my projects page (Swiggles, if you didn't already know that) over on www.ravelry.com and let me know which one of my projects is your favorite. It would make my day!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Ravellenics Games 2012

Welcome to the Finish Lines!

Today was the last official day of the Ravelry Games, called Ravellenics 2012.

This was my first time competing, and I had a blast!  I found out that I must have improved my knitting speed, or else I wouldn't have been able to knit as many projects in these last few weeks.

Although I did not make it to the Finish Line for all the events I started, I did make it for a few of them.  Here are the events that I have earned Podium calls for, thus earning a badge (metal) for my blog.
This is my mitten project that I am making for my sister for Christmas.  I entered it in the Cast-on Mania Trap Shoot event.
The next event for me was WIP Wrestling, which was a big deal for me.  I finally finished that shawl I was making for my Nanna's (now overdue) birthday present.  I had gotten stuck when running out of yarn right before the bind off row.  Now it's finally done!!!
Next was a project just for fun, entered in the Toy Toss event:
This cute stuffed guitar also happens to be my first knitted stuffed toy project.  All my kids thought it was a cool project, and I now have requests from little kids to make more of them.
My 8 year old was happy to show off the guitar in the photo.  Then we added some digital stickers for fun... here is another closer photo of the guitar for you to see.  I modified the pattern just a wee bit.

I entered a teeny tiny purse I made for Emma in the Bag-n-Tote Backstroke event.  I call it "Cute Little Yarn Bag for Emma" since she couldn't wait to use it to stuff little bits of her yarn inside.  She has her own little mini stash from short snippits of my yarn stash. She likes to put them in mini containers that she can carry around with her.

I knitted an awesome striped scarf using Noro yarn in the Scarf Hockey event, which I named "Thinking of Calgary".


Then I used some other Noro to make this felted belt:  Emma likes it so much that she would like me to knit her one as well.  It was just an easy seed stitch (k1, p1 one row, for 9 stitches, then p1, k1 the next row).

Last but not least, I frogged this old project that had originally been knitted way to tight to fit properly.  Hmmm, I'll bet you're wondering why I didn't check gauge?  Well, because until then, I seemed to magically make gauge on all my mitten projects.  So I had figured that gauge was for other projects, but wasn't applicable to mitts.  Wrong (are you laughing with me?)

So for the Frogging Trampoline event, I frogged back these mmmalabrigo mitts in order to give them new life as the proper size they deserve to be.  Nicole will enjoy them much better when they aren't squeezing the circulation out of her hands.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Knit In Public Day coming soon...

Yay! I love this yearly event!

My sister gave me this recycled yarn, so my first yarn-bombing adventure will also be eco-friendly-ish!

More details to come soon.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Compost Hill

Today Emma and I are digging compost from the City's free compost pickup site. She loves the giant hill of dirt!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Another Ball Falls Victim

Happy Victoria Day!

For most of us Canadians, this weekend starts us off to the sunny outdoors with camping, gardening, and fireworks! For many of us, it means the first lawn mow of the season.

My family has done our first Drive-In theatre movie of the season. We took the kids to see the Avengers, then stayed for the next feature Mirror Mirror. Emma fell asleep on the way, and actually slept through the entire thing.

In the front yard, we did some gardening together. The kids took me to the plant nursery to pick out new vegetables. We've decided to do lots of edible plants in the backyard this year.

In my back yard, this meant mowing the lawn. The grass had grown considerably this spring - or perhaps I forgot to give it that last mow down in the autumn?

Never the less, this meant clearing out all the kids toys from the high meadow-like grass, and mowing away. Like every year, there are a few tennis balls that I missed. They blend in so easily with the grass. And I wince whenever I hear that thwack sound, which is always followed by half a tennis ball being ejected from my lawn mower. Don't worry though, I have a strict "no one else in the yard while I'm mowing" rule. So no one gets hurt, except the tennis ball...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Real To Do List

I saw this posted in the hallway at my child's school, and thought it had to be shared:

1. Sing
2. Smile at strangers
3. Keep Learning
4. Notice Kindness
5. Eat Ice Cream
6. Hope
7. Count Your Blessings
8. Laugh
9. Love
10. Love Some More

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Nesting

Emma really liked carrying around the big Easter basket.  She put her tiny little chocolate foil eggs in the bottom of the green paper shredded grass.  Then she decided that she had a better idea for the grass...

Emma decided to make a little nest in the corner of the front hallway for her eggs.  
The furnace vent is right there by the corner, so in theory it would be 
a great place to hatch eggs -- if they weren't made of chocolate.
I explained to her about the chocolate eggs melting,  and asked her to put them back into the basket.
She did, but Emma had other plans for the grass...
What would make more sense than for Emma to make mommy (me) an 
indoor garden with all the indoor grass she had from her basket?
She informed me that the parts of the floor where there is no grass, is the beach.

After we cleaned it all up, Emma gave me a hug and asked if we were ready
to go 'Trick or Tweeting" for Halloween.  I'm not sure how that idea got into her head,
but she has twice since then said, "Happy Halloween!"
What do you think of my garden? 

Nanna's 95th Birthday

This weekend we celebrated my Nanna's 95th birthday.  And her sense of humour is just as fresh as it was several years ago.  It was impressive just how many people showed up.  It was great to see relatives I haven't seen for ages.

My sisters and I arranged to have a special greetings certificate from the Prime Minister of Canada's office.  They'll do this at your request, when people reach the age of 90 or 95.  We have to wait for her to reach 100 before the Queen will send one. 


I had decided to mark this occasion by making something special for Nanna, as I've been improving in my knitting skills.  I decided to knit her a Miami Beach Shawl.  I had carefully planned out how many rows per day I needed, but didn't pay attention to the pattern when it read, "repeat row 50 until..."

Although I spent many nights staying up late to work on this shawl, it didn't help that I fell asleep knitting it, and made mistakes by knitting past the short row turning point (a few times).  It was at least 3 times I had to frog back and try again.

I was so disappointed to show up without a completed shawl, especially after I had told some of my relatives I was making her one.  They didn't look impressed when I showed them the shawl in my bag, still on the needles.  I promised to come and visit my Nanna soon, to deliver her shawl. 

Guess how close I actually came to finishing it?  I even worked on it during the car ride to the restaurant, as I knew it would be a close call.  I ended up being only 6 rows away from finishing!  I wish I could have stayed up longer the night before, but once you start to fall asleep at the needles, bad things happen. 

But on the bright side, I can finish it properly and block it.  So it will hopefully look stunning when I go to present the finished shawl.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Spring Scavenger Hunt Swap

Our ravelry group, Happy Blue Year, is in the midst of an awesome Spring Scavenger Hunt.
I'm just about to mail my partner's parcel off to her, as I've finished her hand-knit item.  Don't worry, it's not on my project page yet, so there's no peeking.

To my surprise, my parcel came in the mail this week!  Beverley mailed if early, as it was coming here from England.  What good timing, it arrived here just before Easter, and right when I needed some really good chocolate.  I'd been having a slightly stressful week, partly because I was anxious about my knitting deadline (to get that shawl done in time for Nanna's birthday, which sadly I did not complete in time for the party), and partly due to my daughter going through a Curious George phase.  She's three, and gets into more mischief than both my boys put together, or any of my daycare clients.  For example, she wants to be helpful by feeding the fish.  She'll construct things to climb on to get at the fish food, but takes the lid off and shakes it all over the room.  I can handle a bit of fish flakes, but too much really bothers my nose.  I have a suspicion that I might be allergic to this flake fish food stuff, so I wash my hands whenever I'm done feeding the fish.  I had to hold my breath as I vacuumed fish flakes off the bed covers and floor, then laundered the sheets.  She also draws on the walls, and puts pretty stickers on the floor.  Standard toddler things, but there are days when she pulls stunt after stunt.  Then she bats her eyes and gives that cute little smile that says, "I'm too cute to get in trouble".  It's soooo hard to keep my poker face on as I put her on time out.  But I have to say, her behaviour improved right after a time out.  If I let her go with too many almost time-outs (when you say 'next time' there'll be a time-out) she is sure to test me to that promise very soon.  This is a girl who likes to know where her boundaries are.

Here is Emma, delighted to help me see what is in our parcel from Snazzyb.  She's holding onto the little silver notions bag that says Jennifer on it. 

Wow!  I got spoiled!
Not shown above are the gummy bears (they were soooo good) and the chocolate orange.
Snazzyb wrote me a nice note about the local things in my parcel.
To the right of the card, is some of the wonderful Cappuccino chocolates that were included.
I hid them very carefully, in my knitting bag. 
See the beautifully hand-spun yarn?
Beverley also gave me this pattern for using small bits of yarn to make a cool scarf!
I was pleased to learn that she designed this pattern herself.  I've been thinking how neat it would be to be able to make something with all my little bits after a project is done.  This is such a great idea!
I was also given a great starter kit for learning to make my own stitch markers,
which I've been interested in doing for quite some time.
And she also made me some stitch markers to use right away :)
Here is the blue yarn - I haven't decided what it will soon be, but it's so soft and squishy that I'm sure it will be a delight to knit with.  
I'll start a project page for it on ravelry, so it will be ready to go when I cast-on.
And there's the rest of my chocolates, which I'm holding off on opening.  Saving for a chocolate emergency, when they will be fully appreciated.  The blue box is a neat little thing; a sliding pencil case with knitting tools inside such as a mini ruler, some stitch holders, and more chocolate!
Thanks again Beverley, you really spoiled me!  I love it all!

New Swaps, New Updates

Has it really been this long?  It feels like Spring is bursting with action this year!  Not in my garden, anyway, but on Ravelry.  As I took a bit of time off swapping during January and February, I was quite ready come March to get going again.

Magic Yarn Ball Update:
Here is a photo of the gorgeous fingerless mitts I made with this yarn.  The pattern is called Filigree, and it's an open lacework pattern.  I still haven't uncovered a mystery item yet, though some are poking through.  I'm going to make it my goal to knit the rest of it this month, to become either a scarf or another wonderful pair of fetchings.  Probably in a new pattern, or maybe in my favourite Palm Readers pattern.



What's on my needles right now:
Miami Beach Shawl, using Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton.  I've been knitting it for my Nanna's 95th birthday.  This yarn is like butter, so smooth, and slips nicely off my needles, which is why I don't put them down for a split second without their handy little rubber sock protectors.
This was my first time doing SL2-K1-PSSO's, as well as having to learn how to do short rows.
I have to say, short rows isn't nearly as difficult as I first thought.  I found some handy videos on You Tube, which were so helpful.  I did make a mistake that put me back in my time deadline, which was when I miscounted the stitches to the middle before doing my short rows.  I noticed after a few rows of garter short rows that the shawl was off-centre, then frogged back and double checked the correct spot to start the short rows.  The author of this pattern was also nice enough to post a discussion group on ravelry, as well as a knit-along.  There were several helpful hints on there, which I was happy to read.

Then I joined a beginner shawl group on ravelry, as well as a lace knitting group, that were both suggested to me by one of the members of the techniques discussion board when I was asking for help on reading the instructions for short rows in this pattern.  It makes perfect sense, now that I know what I'm doing.  :)

And here is a photo of my kids, when they realized we have gotten a parcel from Snazzyb in England.  It's been awhile since we've had parcels, so they were thrilled!
My boys LOVE Terry's Chocolate Oranges.  It was so funny, watching them act so silly as soon as they saw the orange box.  Burk took the box and was holding it up high, and Evan was trying so hard to jump high enough to get it.  After a few minutes of teasing and wrestling, and laughs (it was all in good fun), Burk shared the Terry's orange with everyone.  He saved the rest for later, as he knows how rare they are to be here.  Thank you so much, Beverley! 
More about my new goodies in the next post...