Saturday, February 24, 2018

A rattle for a new baby...

One weekend I just happened to stumble upon the most adorable knitting patterns for stuffed animals. I've never tried knitting a stuff toy before but they were too cute not to buy the pattern and try. I bought the Wasabi pattern for the little whale.

It took me a couple tries to get it started correctly but then it was super fun to see it come together pretty quickly.

I decided to not use button eyes like the pattern called for because I didn't want them to fall out or be a choking hazard to the baby. So I stitched the eyes. As I was finishing the eyes I realized I could add a few little bells inside to change it from just a stuffed toy to a rattle for the baby. Oh I was so excited about this idea.

I finished it up just in time to give it to my son's teacher for her baby shower gift. She has been amazing this year, encouraging my son to thrive in her classroom. I don't want her to leave before the end of the school year but am excited she'll get to snuggle with her first child. We'll miss her loving care but it'll all work out fine.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A New Quilt for baby...

My cousin had a baby shower back in July and as a gift I decided to make her a quilt for her new baby. Of course, it took a while to get things worked out as far as color, design and ordering the fabric. So it wasn't till New Years Eve that it was finally finished and I could take it to her.

My cousin and her Husband both enjoy fishing and hunting. With my twin sisters help we found a bit of inspiration to use that in our design. I even had an extra arrow started that when we were putting the quilt together, when it wasn't need on the quilt top I threw together a quick quick pillowcase to store it in. I love making these cases for smaller quilts, because when we travel we love pillows as much as warm blankets. We take the quilt out and stuff a jacket inside when we want both a pillow and a blanket.

The arrow heads were a bit tricky but eventually we got the look we wanted.

I love all the textures on the quilt. The backing is a very soft fuzzy material, the edging is satin and the cotton piecing on the front is matte.

 Baby A seemed to love it right away and even took a nice warm nap in my arms wrapped in its coziness. Hooray for handmade gifts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

From Rack to Open Wardrobe

I worked at a school this past year and it was so much fun. At the end of the year all the teachers were organizing their rooms and cleaning things out. One item that was up for grabs was from the Kindergarten teacher I worked with. It was a rack she didn't need anymore. I grabbed for my sister initially. My sister is amazing at looking at something and seeing its full potential. She didn't want it for anything but maybe a garage sale clothes rack. Then it hit me how I could use it for all my clothes. Our closet/ drawer system isn't working for me and I needed a change.

Here's how the rack looked after I sprayed it black. 

Then I started thinking about more storage... like shoes. Where can I hide those (not that I have too many). A box! I grabbed some 1/2 inch birch plywood from the garage stash and started constructing a box that would rest on the two lower bar supports.

I stained it in a limed oak stain, which is pretty much a white stain, but I loved it next to the black metal. The two side pieces to keep it from tipping off were a bit tricky but it worked with the bar up the middle. Here it is empty... we're waiting for new carpet so ignore the bare cement floors pictured.

Then I went to the container store (love that place!) to buy a few bins to organize it all. I think this is most of my clothes and all my shoes (you can't even guess where they're hiding- but they are there).

I'm so excited to have everything all in one place. Of course there are a few boxes with my winter/ seasonal things put away for the summer, but I'm happy to keep things simple. Too many clothes and I'd be lost for what to wear. These are all the pieces I wear constantly/ daily and have no need for much more than this.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I am a BAKER

I am a Baker! Can't cook a meal but I love to bake. My family has been watching The Great British Bake Off show together and we are all enthralled. I made my first ever Angel food cake the other day and shared it with the neighbors. I failed to get the two piece pan and lost a little bit of the top of the cake when trying to get it out of the one piece angel food cake pan. Other than that it didn't turn out half bad. I didn't have the almond extract this recipe called for but it was pretty yummy.

Today I baked Ebleskivers and my oldest was all about what we could fill them with. He was also all about the dusting of powered sugar on top "just like the British Bakers do on the show".

After making the angel food cake I now know a lot more about stiff egg whites and how to get all that lovely air into my baking. I used this recipe for my Ebelskivers and they were fantastic!

We made some filled with a strawberry glaze left over from the angel food cake.

And some filled with chocolate chips which melted into yummy pillows of goodness.

I haven't baked in a while and I have missed it. Needless to say, the Great British Bake off has us all inspired to do more baking. Can't wait for our next yummy creation.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Refinished old school desks

Our basement had a bit of a flood when I tried to fill the pool for the summer. Needless to say our house is in upheaval and half our stuff is in the garage. Meanwhile I thought I'd paint stuff I've been meaning to paint for a while now. We got these two old school desks for free or very little money a couple of years ago. At the time I thought how cool it would be to paint them, but never got around to it. UNTIL NOW!!

I had the boys wash their desk and then we went to the store to pick out paint colors. Not exactly the colors I would have chosen but its their personal homework desk so I said "whatever you want". We sanded the deck and chair of one desk because it was real wood. I decided to cover the wood and wait to stain it till after all the paint was on the metal. Then it was a lot of spraying and waiting... more spraying and more waiting.

I had a limed oak stain (which is white stain) left over from another project yet to be blogged about so we used that on the wood. I love the white with the vibrant colors. I put at least three coats of poly over the top of the stain to make it really smooth and durable.

The other desk had a laminate desk top which we washed but left alone, a wooden chair seat and a plastic back. I decided to just stray paint the wood seat and the plastic back to match each other and the inside of the desk. I'm not loving the desk top color but on the whole it looks better than it did.

 I love how the desk turned out. More importantly the boys both are thrilled with their "new" desks.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Baby's Cloud Hat

Last month I started working on a pair of baby mittens for a baby shower gift. The yarn was so super soft and the color was beautiful. I used this pattern and they turned out wonderful.

After the mittens were finished I decided to make a matching baby hat. Scrolling through the thousands of choices that are available online I decided to combine a few different patterns to make it my own. Plus I really wanted to try something a little different than just a stripe (like I did on the mittens). I began with a piece of graph paper to see my design and stitch count.

I was terribly scared to begin and I actually ripped it out once because it was too tight. I also wasn't doing the stranding every few stitches, so the backside of my knitting looked awful. The second time I kept the floating yarn super loose and did more stranding to contain the floats. It looked way nicer. I'm very pleased with the results.

This is the Pattern that I wrote down. (it might not be 100% complete)

Baby Cloud Hat Pattern 
size 3 months to 6 months
US size 4 double pointed needles

Cast On 96 stitches
divide evenly on three needles and join for working in the round
*K4, P4* for 12 rounds
Knit in the round for 17 rounds
Knit cloud pattern for the next 10 rounds (catch the floating yarn every 5-6 stitches and keep the floats loose)
Knit till the hat measures 5" from cast on
Start Decrease:
Place a marker every 12 stitches
Decrease round: * K to 2 stitches before the marker, K2tog repeat from * to beginning of round
Plain round:  Knit all stitches
Alternate a decrease round with a plain round until there are only 6-8 stitches left (K2Tog) 3-4 times, move the last stitches to one needle and work icord for 3-4 inches. Cast off, weave in ends and tie knot in icord.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mittens for Me

Okay Long story short... I bought one beautiful skein of yarn when I was visiting my cousin in January 2016. I a bunch of ideas what I could do with it but for the life of me could not decide. Then as the cooler weather of fall approached I started looking at mitten patterns. The yarn was so pretty and expensive(!) that I didn't want to mess it up or not love the finished project.

Having just finished my niece's toddler mittens I thought I could pull these off and started by using this pattern. I modified it right away because I wanted a small stitch. So instead of size 7 needles I used US 4.

Because I have bigger hands I kept modifying the pattern. Thankfully I made lots of notes because I love how they turned out. And because the yarn is 100% merino wool they are nice and warm. Also very soft and cozy too. I've worn them all winter (which is why they're a little dirty looking in the photos). I finally got around to taking pictures last week.

I also did not like how the pattern I started with finished the finger and thumb. So I used more of this pattern to finish the mittens.

All in all I LOVE my new(er) mittens. I hope to make another pair for next year but they'll be double layered for those really cold Minnesota days.