Monday, January 31, 2011

First of the Handmades 2011

Here is the first project that I made for the Handmade 2011 Challenge.  It was for a friend that I had the pleasure of recently meeting through Red Tent.  She had wanted to attend the Slipper for the Soul workshop being held at the Invisible City but was unable to.  So I decided to make her a pair of the slippers that she would have made.   

I used a general felted slipper pattern and they knitted up in a weekend.  I had to felt them about 3 times before I got the feeling and size I was looking for.  To add a little something to the slipper I put some glass beads on the toes.  
She loved them!  I am thinking there are more of these next winter! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Count Down Knitting

When I was entering the last part of my pregnancy with Lily I decided to knit a blanket to count down the weeks until she arrived.  I figured it was a good thing to do as there was 24 squares that needed to be done and only about 12 weeks until she was due. It was amazing and filled the time well and in the end I had a blanket for her and I to snuggle under.  
This time I have decided to something similar to pass the time.  I have just hit the half way mark at 20 weeks.  So 19 more weeks to go!  I always find it difficult when people are excited in saying Wow you are half way it will be soon now.  All I can think is 20 more weeks is still a long ways off.  
This week I cast on a few more projects for a total of 9 projects on the needles.  This is completing one project every two weeks until the little guy arrives.  Many of the projects are for him with a few for me afterwards.  Some require more concentration than others, so there is the ones I knit at the park while watching the kids at the same time and there are the ones that I knit is the quiet after they have gone to bed.  Inspired by Amanda at SouleMama as well as making Paul happy I have used almost everything from my stash. 
So here is are the projects. 
(all of the pictures are from Ravelry as all my projects are in the beginning or casting on stages.)
 Thrum Mittens.  Basically I am tired of my hands being cold in the winter!  Enough Said. It is the Fleece Artist Thrum Mitten Kit.
 Pebble Vest.  With being a June babe, I think a little vest to put over a short sleeve onesie will keep in the right amount of body heat.  I am using the Mini Mochi with two strands held together.  
 Kangaroo Tunic.  Doesn't this look snuggly after Baby.  For a few cool nights.  I am using the Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick and leaving out the pocket in the front.  I will have enough adage there after baby without a pocket.
 Vintage Baby Vest.  This is the first think I casted on a few weeks ago.  What a great little shirt for a summer babe.  I am using the Koigu Handpainted yarn.
 Kayla Shrug. This is for me afterwards.  A simple shrug what will be in a beautiful mustard yellow for summer.  Done in the Americo Prima Cotton.
 Bloom Doll Dress.  A matching doll dress for Lily's Birthday.  I made a big girl dress for Lily for her birthday last year.  I am using Katia Linen.
 Baby Sophisticate. Love, Love Love this sweater.  I have knit it a few times in the past for friend little ones and it knits up quick and it comfy and cozy to wear.  My little one will snuggle up in this.  I am using the Manos Maxima.
 Mara Shawl.  This is a total guilty pleasure for me.  I was in the yarn shop loved the yarn and the sample and just want to have this yarn around my neck.  I can also wrap it around me on those cooler spring mornings.  I am using the Manos Maxima.
Pixie Hat.  o.k. is this not the cutest little hat you have ever seen.  Yup, my little guy needs one of these.  I am using the Noro Sekku with two strands held together.  It may only fit for a few weeks but the cuteness involved is worth it.

I know that I may have bitten off more than I can knit but I am excited to have a little bit of a challenge to get me through the next few months.  As if taking care of the 4 and 2 year olds, the pottery production and studio closure isn't enough already!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold Outside means Etsy Love Inside

Since it has been so cold outside as of late that means there is more time for me to wander through the pages of Etsy.  Oh this can be such a dangerous thing as there is SO MUCH amazing things by some great artists.  Here are a few of the things that I have been loving:
One: A doll Sling for Lily and Sam is in order I think was a new baby brother on the way. Check out snuggybabe as they have lots of different fabric to choose from.
Two:  I know that I just gave up being creative in a way but look at this cute kimono dress fro Lily.  Cool and comfy for the summer.  ManiMina patterns are great!
Three: Every new babe needs a handmade toy from Mama and these cute little owls fit the bill I think!
Four:  This amazing dress is for two years after I have the new babe and I get back the body after three pregnancies!

What are your Esty Loves?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wind Chill

In southern Ontario we are currently experiencing a cold snap.  This means that with the wind chill the temperature is close to -35 to 40 degrees celsius.  In other words VERY COLD!  We can feel every draft in the house, I am thinking of marking these spots so that we can better insulate, and we are covered in extra layers.  This also means that we are all starting to get a bit of cabin fever as going outside is really not an option.
So we have been trying to make the best of it.  Making soup (a great recipe I found here and it cooked up fast), making bread, playing board games, and watching a few of our favourite movies (truth be told if I have to watch Cars, How to Train your Dragon or another episode of Little Einsteins again I might just go crazy)
I have been trying to pass the time by knitting up a few things for the new babe (when finished I will post pics), as well as getting some much needed production done before the last round of lessons start next week.  I was able to make about 70 bowls this past weekend and hope to get to the goal of 130 before Thursday when I have a chiropractic appointment and the amazing Dr. Laura can get me all lined up again after hunching over the wheel for 5 days.
This time inside has also allowed the kids to create some illness.  There is lots of waking in the night with coughs, earaches and sore throats.  The day is filled with lots of tissues and fluids.  While I like to honour the time that the kids need to be sick and heal themselves it is not so great on the cabin fever!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today I am.......

Loving: The freedom of letting go. 
Welcoming: The news of finding out we are having boy.
Appreciating: The friends that I have and attract into my life. 
Noticing: The new tiny kicks of the babe within. 
Wishing: For a good night sleep!
Eating: Drinking coffee and tea to keep warm as the snow is falling again for the 4th day in a row. 
Counting: The number of weeks left of teaching. 
Feeling: Tired from the adventure through the snow to walk Sam to school this morning. 
Listening: To a little girl play in the living room
Thinking: Of 5 years ago today as I married a man who stole my heart. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

#8 - Bake Bread from Scratch

I put this on my list thinking that it was going to be a huge production.  In reality it wasn't that difficult and there was some kind of rhythm to the whole process and therefore my day.
The longest part was the 20 minutes it took me to put all the ingredients together.  Then rise for two hours, punch down, rise for another hour, then bake for 25 minutes.
I used the recipe for Milk Bread from Apples for Jam.  It was somewhat light and fluffy (I have made more bricks in my bread maker!) I guess the true test was how fast it went warm out of the oven with butter and jam.  There is not much left!
I can see myself doing this much more often!  I am thinking a regular relaxing Monday task.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Big Decisions and Clearing Out

With baby only a few months away it was time for Paul and I to make some decisions about the studio and what would happen after the summer months.  We have been mulling over this topic for some time.
When I was pregnant the first time with Sam I had been working full-time and therefore took maternity leave for the full year afterwards.  I didn't have to worry about anything except caring for my babe.  When I was pregnant with Lily I had  just begun the studio and Paul and I where trying to get on our feet financial, so we decided to continue the studio.  I took a break for two weeks after giving birth to Lily and then went right back to teaching.  It was in one word HORRIBLE!  I was torn between teaching my students and listening to my little tiny babe scream upstairs.  I would have to leave at the very moment that my babe needed me and my little guy was getting used to having a little sister.  There was many days I hated my situation and felt like a terrible parent and even more terrible teacher.  These people paid me to teach them pottery and I was only really half there.
This time we decided that things needed to be different.  So we have decided to close the studio, and I must tell you I feel happy and peaceful about this decision.  We had talked a few times in the past about closing for a bit and I was always stressed about the topic and felt it would be a failure if we did.  There was always so much emotion and connection tied to it.  This time we talked about it, we both kind of looked at one another and knew that it was the right decision and it was an easy decision.  We know that things will have to change without the income of the studio but we both realized that it is more important to us for this moment to be there for our children.  For me to be able to be the Mama that they want/need and the one that I want to be for them.  So big deal no summer vacation for us, we are planting a veggie garden to save on groceries and preserving what we can, we won't be able to have all those speciality channels, we are not going to open the very large pool in the backyard this summer and we are turning the once studio area into a small apartment for my brother that he is going to rent from us.  This all seems worth it to us.
The studio is not going away forever just for now.  I know that being an artist is part of my soul and who I am and want to be and I will find many ways to let that artist diva out over the next little while.  I am clearing out all the crafting supplies that I have been given and collected over the years as I continue to look at myself and realize that just because I can sew, paint, knit, construct, create, and form doesn't mean that I HAVE to.  It is o.k. to be creative and not create. Or at least that is what I am telling myself as I clear things out and feel good about it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The First to Turn 30

This past weekend we celebrated the first of a few 30th birthdays this year. Being a January baby this meant that Paul was going to be the first. I am secretly hoping that by March when it is my turn to roll over to the big 3-0 I won't be still so scared.
I look back to when I first met Paul and the young 23 year old that sat around from me at the local pub (which has since closed) I realize so much has changed in the last 7 years.  How much he has grown and the amazing man that is becoming.
This weekend I was the one that was a little grumpy not Paul.  I told him I was being upset for him for turning 30, and he promptly replied that he felt great about turning 30.  He had a very blessed life, a wife, 2 amazing children with another one coming to great us in a few short months, a career that he was working hard at, and we are getting close to finally paying off all that debt that we accumulated in our early 20's.  Things he said are looking amazing.  I replied that but it seems like we haven't done anything yet and he said that he always thought of his 30's as the time when he was able to start doing things.  I thought about this and realized that we have been spending our 20's creating a foundation for our lives and now as we roll into our 30's we are in a place to live the life we have always imagined.  I guess turning 30 does make you a little more wise! (thank you honey)
We celebrated the day with a case of Pink Eye again and so no one was going any where, so a quiet day of Paul playing a new game on the Playstation, the kids jumping with excitement for the cupcakes we made and a movie and snuggles for Paul and I after the kids went to bed.  So all in all a normal family weekend, just a little extra Playstation time for Paul.  Like two full days, yes I think he has filled his time for the month in one weekend, but hey it was his birthday and on birthdays here you get to do whatever you want.  This Mama is going away for the whole weekend on her birthday.  Oh the plans I am making.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Finished Sketchbook!

I started this project in the fall as a way to challenge myself and my creativity.  Challenge doesn't begin to describe what it was like.  When I started the project I was really hung up on the theme of "Make Mine a Double" all I could think about was a double scotch! For months the book just sat there and stared at me, then one day I just decided to paint regardless of the theme. I painted the double fetuses (no I am not having twins!) Then my creativity tanked with my first trimester.  I didn't touch it for some time.  Then with the crunch of it having to be mailed by the 15th of January I started painting, sketching, drawing and the pages came together.  So here is the finished project.  It was a great experience and I am glad that  a piece of my creativity is now out there in the world. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

#30 - Create a Sacred Space in our Room

I had been stalling on considering this one complete.  The room was painted, rearranged, and a new TV and Art put in but there just felt like something was missing.  Then for Christmas I received these sheets as a gift.  They completed the room.  The sheets and pillows has "Goodnight my Love, goodnight my Everything" It is also on our way given as an anniversary gift a few years ago.  

 I made the quilt as a wedding gift to us.  The sleigh bed was a gift made by my Mom as a wedding gift as well. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The First Sweater of 2011

This week I finished the first sweater of 2011.  It is the Shalom Pattern (ravelry notes here). I have knit it once before but it was too small for this Mama's body and so like everything that I knit and is to small it goes to my much smaller than me good friend.  This time I grabbed some bulky wool and decided to up the needle size hoping to create a fast knit that would fit this growing body. 
 See my cute little 18weeks belly. I love how it turned out much longer, it covers my bum and I love thinking of all the ways I can wear it.  The short sleeves allow for it to layer for covering it up and to wear into the warmer months of spring.

This I imagine in the first of many sweater for 2011.  I already have a bunch on the needles as well as lots waiting to be cast on.  After sitting down and counting I knit about 15 sweaters or dresses in 2010.  Some might call this an obsession but each stitch last year has a tale to tell.  It was a stitch in love for someone else, a stitch in quiet meditation, a stitch of distraction, a stitch of peace, a stitch of calm, or even a few stitches obsession.  Knitting means so much more to me than just another craft.  I started knitting when I was postpartum with Sam and it has carried me through many moments since then and I am sure it will carry me through many more.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Slipper Love

For Christmas this year I gifted myself a pair of these Mary Jane style slippers.  An amazing fiber artist friend of mine (Crochet Hippie) creates these for adults as well as kids and I knew that I just needed a pair for myself.  So I ordered them before Christmas.  A pair for myself, a pair for Lily and a Woolies Warmth pair for Sam.  Crochet Hippie asked each of us our favourite colours and set to work on our creations.
In a special box they arrived the week before Christmas.  I peaked at each of the kids but followed the hand written instructions on the top of my box, "Do Not Open Until Christmas".  I wrapped them up and waiting until Christmas morning.  I was so excited and happy to open these slipper on Christmas morning.  I am not too sure I have taken them off since then!
Send Crocher Hippie and e-mail and get a pair for yourself or that special someone.  Valentines is just around the corner.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Moment

I am just in love with this moment.  A quite moment of thought it seems as he pauses for a moment before getting back up and trying again.  He would have stayed out there all day if we would have let him!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Handmade Pay it Forward

I will admit I am a Facebook junky, but in my defense there are many days when I just can't get organized enough with the kids to leave the house and Facebook helps keep me connected. I am sure the news could as well, but it wouldn't be the news of my community and the happenings and support.  So there I have admitted my addiction to Facebook and they say that is the first step to recovery.  Moving on.....

This lovely thing happened on Facebook today. A friend of mine posted this as her status:
Pay it Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment. They must in turn post this and send something they made to the first 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011. (What a great way to start 2011!!)

Of course as an artist I jumped on board.  I commented on her post and then posted to my status.   Within a few hours I had my five people to receive my handmade items.  It was so amazing to me to see the first five people that commented. A friend from the past, a friend from the present, a mentor, an amazing artist, and my soul sister.  Each of them will get something different and unique to them and how they touched and life.  

I am super excited for this and how it will mark my creativity this year!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

#41 ~ Make quilts for the Kids beds. Pt. 1

One of the things on my list of 73 in 730 days was to make quilts for each of the kids beds.
For Christmas I finished one of them.  Lily is still sleeping in a crib and so I am planning on making hers for when she moves into a big bed.  She is just on the cusp of such a transition so I had better bet sewing.

I made an "Eye Spy" quilt for Sam.  A series of rows of different fabrics.  I was able to purchase a set from  a great shop of Etsy with the squares precut.  All I had to do was sew! I lined the back with fleece for a comfy feel and the binding is hand sewn.

It was a huge hit Christmas morning and I have since heard him a few times playing Eye Spy with Lily and himself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Today I emerge out from the fog and cocoon of the holidays.  Everyone returns to work or school and the bubble of the time together bursts and we are back to the routine.  We had created this little world of our own over the last 2 weeks.  We hardly left the house and most days didn't even get dressed.  We lounged in the comforts of knowing there was nothing that really 'had' to be done and we could go with the rhythm and flow that everyone needed.
Many of us where ill and it was a time when we could just be in the space we needed and know that there was no rush to get better, but rather a feeling of letting our bodies be.  So often we are rushing to get better so that we can get on to the next task.
We did crafts, we watched movies, we cheers for Team Canada at the World Juniors, we finished a trying puzzle and the kids played and bonded in a way I had not yet seen.  No one went to work, no one thought about work (o.k. maybe I thought about the studio and the production calling to me), we slept in, and we napped.
Now we must return to work, school and the routines of old.  But I think that for one more day Lily and I will put off the routine and stay here in the cocoon of the holidays, just us girls.