Family Crafting

Wow, that was quite the crafting/blogging break. It has been 3 months since I last posted, perhaps that suits my two readers just fine (thanks mom).

We have been crafting as a family. All four of us. I signed us up for a Halloween focused clay workshop not really sure of what might happen. My youngest is 5 and not so big into the crafts. My eight year old has crafting in his blood. My husband has a surprising knack for making things even though he would NEVER let you know.

This was a two stage class. In the first class we made clay bowls, which were then fired. We went back on a second day to glaze them. From the pictures it looks like we are the perfect little crafting family, but pictures can be deceiving. In reality my youngest son’s bowl was made primarily by his parents. When we went to the glazing workshop I squeezed/explode a bottle of blue glaze all over the table. And my little picasso dropped a brush full of glaze into my purse and onto my sweater. But surprisingly there weren’t any tears, so I consider the project a success.

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Canada 150

Canada is having a big birthday tomorrow! 150 years young.

We celebrate Canada Day every year but this is a special year so I made special shirts. I could have bought Canada shirts but where is the fun in that? Historically we have made flag hand print shirts which I love, but this year called for something extra special.

We live in a great country so get out and celebrate on July 1st.  Happy Canada Day!

Ebb & Flow

Two and a half months after brain surgery my husband and I went away over night to celebrate our anniversary without the kids! It was the same weekend as the Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking art show, in October 2015. I participated in the art show and was interested in seeing the show, but I also wanted to have a spa weekend with my husband.

We opted for the spa weekend, and I am glad that we did. We spent the better part of the day in a mineral pool and it was the first time in a long time that I felt relaxed. It also inspired the piece which I submitted this year for the Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking art show.

Ebb & Flow is a quilling (paper) piece inspired by our weekend away post surgery. Learning that you have a brain tumour is a dark experience. “Ebb & Flow” depicts my recovery from brain surgery. The large dark circles represent the hours spent in surgery and the balance of the circles depicts the good and bad days after surgery. I was in a state of constant fluctuation much like the ebb and flow of the tide. The colours used are intended to represent water.

This piece is part of the Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking show at the Visual Space Gallery in Vancouver. The show runs from May 3-9th. If you check it out let me know what you think.

Gryffindor Scarf

I am having one of those “where did the time go moments”. Today is my son’s 8th birthday, and it seems like yesterday that I was swaddling a newborn. I enjoy the independence that he now has, but I miss the baby cuddles. I have traditionally made my kids gifts for their birthdays (and every other holiday known to man). I don’t get many crafting requests from the boys, but this year a certain someone is enthralled with Harry Potter and he requested a Gryffindor scarf.

I have knit a few scarves in my day, but usually they are not worn. It’s a great easy project but when it comes down to it, scarves are not needed here. It doesn’t get cold enough. They do however become handles, bridges, leashes for stuffies and various other tools of creativity. But in Making A Life fashion, if there is a request for a crafty project I jump on board. Plus I sent my son into my craft closet to search for the colours of yarn needed and he returned immediately with the exact right colours, so how could I say no.

Should you need to whip up a scarf, and you are a muggle without magical knitting powers here is the pattern;

This pattern is knit in the round on either US 10 – 6mm circular needles or 4 double points. I started it flat and it started to roll so I switched to knitting in the round. The yarn is Lion Brand Vanna’s choice in Mustard and Cranberry. Also needed is a 6mm or larger crochet hook for the fringe.

CO36 (divide 12 stitches per needle if using double points)
Join for working in the round, and place marker
Knit 20 rows Cranberry
Knit 20 rows Mustard
Repeat Cranberry and Mustard rows until there are at least 11 squares in alternating colours, ending with cranberry
Using a crochet hook add fringe

 

With all my heart

my-valentineHappy Valentines’s Day! I am a celebrator, I celebrate everything. Including Valentine’s Day which my husband lovingly calls a Hallmark holiday.

On a side note, have you seen the price of cards lately? Ridiculous. I pulled out the Valentine’s card that my husband bought me two years ago. I think if you use them over and over again that maybe you can get $5.00 worth. Only three more years to go.

Last year we celebrated Valentine’s day with my parents at the Kennedy Space Station for an out of this world Valentines’ extravaganza. This year the celebration is much more subdued, and will include a giant heart cookie. When I was a kid we would go to the mall and I always wanted one of those giant chocolate chip cookies. Now that I am a grown-up and can operate the oven (most of the time) I figured that I would bake one for the family as a Valentine’s day treat.

I used this recipe but I cut the quantities in half for a medium sizedvalentine-cookie_making-a-life heart shaped cake pan.

LOVE

My youngest wants to decorate for every possible celebration, and I feel the need to oblige him. The day after Christmas he asked if we could decorate for Easter, just like he asked to decorate for Christmas the day after Halloween. Can celebrating events be genetic?

I started making these giant wooden candy hearts late last week for Valentine’s Day. But while I was making them I was disturbed by all of the events circulating in the news. I am not going to go off on a political rant all I am going to say is that we need more love in the world.

My husband will tell you that Valentine’s day is a hallmark holiday and maybe he is right. But this year we need more love circulating so I plan on celebrating Valentine’s day by spreading love. Are you with me?

I made these from pre-cut wood hearts (from Michaels), craft paint and letter stamps. I happen to have a set of alphabet stamps but it would be easy enough to stencil or free-hand the letters.

Surprises in the Mail, Part 3

Every once in a while a package from my mom arrives with a surprise inside for the kids. Once it was these little cuties, and another time it was Star Wars and Paw Patrol finger puppets. This past week it was a cute Christmas scene complete with its own box. I know that I can thank my dad for that contribution because it looks like one of his cigar boxes. My mom has some serious talents as she dreams up these little figures. I appreciate the up-cycled cigar box for the environmental aspect as well as the storage of this little set. My boys are very lucky to have such a talented grandma to make them toys.

Yoga Socks

yoga-socks-4_making-a-life

With every new year comes resolutions and I seem to make at least one similar resolution every year. Last year I resolved to listen to more music, and be more active. These resolutions went well together, and I did become more active while listening to music. This year I resolved to become a better listener, and to continue to be more active.

My resolution to be more active required the making of Yoga socks. I have been doing yoga in my living room but I end up with little people crawling under my downward dog. They also like to participate with me (really really close) by holding hands or sitting on me. My workout space is in my garage and it’s chilly, so I am thinking that if I wear socks maybe it won’t be so bad, and I won’t get interrupted by my little people. If you happen to have the same issues here is a pattern for yoga socks.

I was asked “what are yoga socks and why would I want them” by a follower the other day. In case you don’t know what, they are, they are socks designed to do yoga in. They come in a variety of forms but the main objective is allowing your toes to separate, and prevent you from slipping. You might want some if you are doing yoga in a cold space, or you really like to wear socks. I have a little issue in that my toes are attached, and the toe version of yoga socks will not work for me, so this is my solution.

Materials:

  • Fingerling weight #1 yarn – 3 stitches per inch
  • set of 4 double points and or 22″ circular needles – US 3/3.25 mm
  • large needle

Pattern:

  • ROW 1: CO64
  • ROW 2: Join and K2 P2* repeat to end of row
  • ROW 3-15: Repeat ROW 2
  • ROW 16-38: Knit desired length depending on the size of your feet (24 rows for my size 10 feet)
  • ROW 39: K2 P2* repeat for 32 stitches, K32
  • ROW 40-45: repeat row 39 5 times
  • ROW 46: K32, Cast off 32 (heel opening)
  • ROW 47: K32, Cast on 32
  • ROW 48: K64
  • ROW 49-63 : K64 – 15 times
  • ROW 64 : K2 P2* repeat to end of row
  • ROW 65-103: repeat row 64 38 times or desired length
  • ROW 104 – Cast off
  • Cut yarn leaving a long enough tail to weave in ends with a needle

This pattern is intended for personal use only. I offer this pattern for free but I request that you do not sell it or any product made from it.

Listening

As a student and a mother, I am often studying in odd places. I am regularly in the local recreation center studying while my kids are in an arts or sports program. I try and find a nice quiet spot, and failing that I put on my headphones and crank up the tunes. This day I got all setup when a group of 5 people sat at the table next to me, and the group quickly expanded to about 30. But it was quiet. With large groups often comes noise, but not this day.

I was quite distracted by this group and they were making almost no sound. It was fascinating to watch the intimate communication shared among this group. They were looking at each other, bodies facing each other as they read lips and signed to each other. I was sucked in by the excitement and emotion being expressed as this group greeted each other.

I can’t remember what I was studying that day, but it was something boring in comparison. It was a good reminder that words are not the only form of communication. We do speak with our bodies, some of us better than others.

listening

The next time you are speaking with someone try putting down your device or knitting and really look at the person you are communicating with. Look at their eyes, their face, and their lips moving. Pretend for a minute that you can’t hear their words. What are they really saying? What is their body telling you?

I like to talk, a lot. I am not the best listener. I get distracted. I get excited. I disengage. Watching a group of people communicate silently was inspiring. This year my New Years resolution is to listen more and talk less. Wish me luck because I am going to need it.

listening-3

listening-2

 

 

Caron Cake Cookies Cream Shawl

When I decide to knit, or crochet a new project I can be inspired by an image on Ravelry or Pinterest or by the yarn itself. Believe it or not, I am known to wonder the aisles of a craft store, so much so that I am known to the staff. One of them even thought that it would be a good idea for me to get a job there because I was in there all the time anyway. It’s logical I will give her that. While wondering I always check out the sales on yarn, and this is when I picked up a Cookies Cream Caron Cake. I know it sounds like it should be in the cake decorating aisle, but it’s yarn. Inspired by the yarn I decided to knit my first shawl.

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