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Knitting Journey

At the beginning of the year I set three goals for myself; learn how to knit, macrame and lastly to become better friends with my sewing machine. Well, I managed to cross one of the three off my list. This summer I macramed a plant holder, which I posted about on my blog, I have also been working on some wall hangings. I am hoping to cross the other two off my list before the passing of another year. I know, nothing like leaving it to the last minute but better late than never! That’s the beauty about setting goals, they hold you accountable and keep you motivated throughout the year. Nothing feels better than achieving a goal and that’s how I’m feeling as of right now. Okay, I haven’t finished my knitting project yet but I count it as a success to have purchased the supplies and given it a try. Let me tell you it’s a lot different than crocheting!

I’m not going to reveal what I am attempting to make as of yet but I am going to share with you my successes and failures as I go along. I have received some awesome tips on my instagram account from some amazing knitters, who I admire very much. So far I have been playing around with some stitching and trying to get my hands working right, working with needles instead of a hook has been challenging. They both work in very different ways. The hook acts as a claw and grabs onto the yarn, while the needle doesn’t provide this. Instead they rely on you to move your hands in different motions in order to grab onto the yarn. The most helpful tip I received so far when transitioning from crocheting to knitting is the learn how to continental knit which is basically knitting while using your left hand, the same as you would in crocheting.  If any of you hookers out there are looking to try your hand at knitting I have found this style of knitting to be very helpful thus far. You can click on the link above to learn more about this technique.

With this in mind and a video tutorial or two or three….okay a lot…..I have learnt how to cast onto my knitting needles! Woot, woot!! I know it’s a little step in a long journey but it feels so good!!

I have yarn on my needles guys!!

I found a great video tutorial that was slow and patient with me which I am going to share with you here. Bless those who post videos to share their hard work with others, I am ever so thankful for all of you! Without all your time and energy posting these educational tutorials I would have never learnt how to crochet or attempt my hand at knitting, so thank you very much!

With yarn on my needles I am ready for the next steps which I will share on my blog as I go along. I found it fairly simple once I got into the groove of casting the yarn onto the needles but I did and still do struggle with my tension. The more I read on this the more I find that this is common if you are a crocheter. It can be challenging to get the right amount of tension. This is definitely something I am going to have to work on.

It feels so good to be trying something new. I encourage all of you to get out there and try something you have always wanted to. Don’t worry about the cost, time or if you will be good at it, just go do it! The feeling is amazing and it does the soul good. Life is short so why not enjoy the ride doing what makes you happy.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in my knitting journey. Happy crafting!

*My etsy store, BBCraftlandia, is up and stocked with lots of cozy goodies to keep you warm this holiday season. As well as, some festive wreaths/florals*

 

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Give Thanks

I am still in amazement by how quickly this year has flown by. I think I have said it before but I will say it again, having a kid really gives time new meaning. You can see it go by as you watch your child grow, month after month and year after year. There are moments I want to bottle up forever and wish I could halt time so I could stay in the moment even longer. It’s a good reminder to enjoy the little things. I say this as I sit amongst a messy house because I took some extra time to laugh a little longer with my Oliver. These moments are precious and they won’t last forever. There will come a day I won’t be as funny and tickle time will become a thing of the past so the dishes can wait as we laugh and play a little longer today.

Days like today make me so thankful for the life I have and for my family. With Thanksgiving quickly ahead, if you are Canadian that is, tis the season to stop and give extra thanks. The best way to celebrate, in my opinion, is through sharing food with those you love. I am excited for this time of year once again, we can sit around and share stories of our favourite memories, share good food and make new favourite memories. I feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about how much I love the holidays, this one especially. The weather is getting colder which also means more inspiration for making all the cozy things. It was these feelings that got me motivated to make this next crochet creation.

I am in love with my little pumpkin patch, they are so much fun to make. Don’t be fooled, if you can crochet in the round then you got this! Give it a try, you won’t regret it. These beauties are the perfect decor to add to the table centrepiece this Thanksgiving. I found the pattern on Pinterest and the best part is that they provide a pattern for two different sizes.

I decided to make two pumpkins in two different sizes. I also opted to make a white pumpkin just for something different.

I love how they turned out and have received lots of compliments. These beauties are also perfect to have out during Halloween as well. You could use some felt and make it a Jack o Lantern, so many creative possibilities.

I may have a couple of these pumpkins at my next craft show on October 14th at W.H. Ford school so if you are in the area come by and say hi! Oh and another thing I am thankful for, you! Thanks for taking a read and following my blog. You all make my heart full of thanks!

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A rug for a bug

I can’t tell you how long I have had this yarn laying around. It has sat so patiently in my yarn stash just waiting to be picked. I bought it with good intentions months ago and as life goes I found myself not having enough time. That’s the thing with hooking, you go into a store and find so many wonderful yarns and ideas come flooding in making your soul smile. You cave and decided okay what’s a few more going to hurt? Plus, I don’t have one like this and I need it….. not sure for what but I just do! You excitedly take it home and then it sits, the longer it does the more it looses the twinkle it once had. The inspiration quickly fades.

I have never worked with such chunky yarn before but I was in love. Plus I had purchased a jumbo sized hook months prior and it had been waiting for this size of yarn. I had originally bought this yarn with the intention of making my little Oliver a rug for his room. He likes to sit by his stuffies and look at his books. I thought a rug would be the perfect accent to complete his reading corner.

I found a very helpful pattern on pinterest. The pattern provided some of the basics on how to crochet a rug, as well as different variations depending on what stitch you wanted to use. It also gave some really good pointers such as, did you know if you are hooking away and your rug starts to curl up you just have to add an extra stitch or two to make it lay flat?! I love helpful tips like this! The pattern had this and a few other helpful pointers that will come in handy should you choose to make yourself a rug.

I worked on this rug while my little bug slept, above is my work station. Gone are the days of an organised craft room and here are the days of crafting anywhere you can, while you can. I was quickly interrupted but I didn’t mind 🙂

The great thing about using a jumbo crochet hook is that it makes for a quick project. I was able to complete this rug all in one day, which made me wonder why I didn’t just get it done from the start, sigh oh wells! The important thing is that I was able to put this beautiful yarn to good use.

It’s perfect for little toes and little bums to sit on while they read or snuggle with their favourite stuffy.

A basket full of love, most of them crocheted for my little guy. My heart is a flutter every time he snuggles one of my creations or sits on the squishy rug I made for him. This is a great project for any level and a perfect way to add a little handmade love to your home. Keep crafting 🙂

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Tied in knots

At the beginning of the year I made three crafting goals, one being to learn how to knit, second to macrame all the things and lastly to become friends with my sewing machine. Like most goals you have to work slow and steady to achieve them. I feel like I’m going at a snail’s pace but better late than never, I guess. I finally finished a plant holder that I am excited to show you all. It’s true I can’t yet macrame all the things but I did manage to macrame this beauty.

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I started off trying to follow a pattern and quickly became frustrated. I just couldn’t figure out what knots were required to get the pot to sit nicely. I frantically untied knot after knot but kept reminding myself not to give up. After hours of attempting to figure out exactly what the pattern was asking of me I decided I would venture out on my own. I put aside the pattern and untied the knots for the very last time or so I hoped. I sorted out the macrame rope and divided it evenly. I then just let my hands do the work and cleared my mind of all judgements, I just went with what I was feeling. No pattern, no rules, nothing but the simple act of tying knots here and there and all around.

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I think that’s the secret with this art. With so many craft projects we are accustomed to following nicely laid out patterns to get to the end piece. For me, macrame is so different and doesn’t follow the same rules. I found it worked best when I freed my mind and let my hands do the work. Sure, in order to know how to make the knots you do need to follow some what of a guide but in order to design and make various wall and plant hangers it’s best to just make it up on the spot. It’s so much fun to see what you can come up with, one knot leads to another.

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In the end I am proud of my first macrame hanging plant holder. I came up with my own design and it all came together as it was meant to be. I am so eager to keep working on this craft. I have also seen a lot of other crafters using yarn instead of macrame rope which is so inspiring as I love me some yarn.

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Just because it’s not the new year doesn’t mean we should set aside our yearly goals until it’s time to celebrate yet another passing year. We need to keep at it and do what makes our hearts’ happy.

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Renewed inspiration

Every once and a while we lose sight of our path in life. We are humming along “la la la” minding our own business and look down only to find the path we had assumed we would still be on is no where to be found. A quick turn to the left and then the right still leaves us bewildered as we struggle to see where we went awry. Life is funny that way, we are chugging along and then boom!!!!! we are on our assess wondering which way is up. Recently this has been my life, between adulting, being a mom, and trying to do renos around the house I slowly started to lose sight of my path. My path had become covered in baby food, poo, dirt, negative energy, I mean you name it and it was probably somewhere on my now unrecognizable path. Sometimes we are meant to take the road less travelled and maybe that’s why life interferes but every now and again it is our own doing that leaves us astray. Between my daily routine and daily fixing around the house I put down my hook in order to get things taken care of. Whenever this happens, as it often does, I start to lose that creative energy. I love being creative especially for self care purposes, it makes me feel whole and restored. I didn’t know how lost I really was until our recent trip to Vancouver;

The combined smells of the ocean, the soil and the delicious foods flooding the streets brought me back to life! It was exactly what I never knew I needed at that moment in time. I needed to feel alive and inspired.

Vancouver will always feel like home to me and be very close to my heart for it was the place that truly inspired me to start crocheting and expressing myself creatively. When we first moved there five years ago I thought I was on top of the world, I was so excited for this new adventure. It didn’t take too long for life to knock me over and laugh it’s evil laugh “bahahahah”, the excitement had been wiped away and I was left wondering what the hell I was doing in this unknown city. I was stuck at a job I hated and I felt so alone. I eventually found the courage to do something I had never done before which was up and quit a job before I had found a new one but I did it and it felt gooooodddd!!!!! Though after my last pay cheque dwindled away and the reality of the job market sunk in I wasn’t feeling as good but I had no regrets. I was at my lowest moment in life, jobless in a new city and feeling even more alone than ever. I’m not sure where I got the initial idea from but one day I decided I needed to try something new…..something soft and snuggly….I walked around Micheals with my last few bucks in hand and found the yarn isle. It was like it was calling my name, like Golome to the ring, I found myself petting all the yarn saying “my precious”. Okay, maybe not that creepy but I was in love and I knew I had to make all the things.

From then on I was hooked. I found that I got a lot of my inspiration from nature, especially when we would get lost in the forest. I loved the colours, the smells, the dampness and the feeling of being so small is something that was so wonderfully mysterious and bigger than myself. I was so happy with my new found creative outlet as it would allow me to create some warm cozy goodness for my loved ones at Christmas. By the time I knew it I had landed a great job, had started a blog and was creating all day every day. My circle of friends had grown and I was finally feeling at home in a place I so desperately wanted to be part of. Not only did the city accept me but it brought out the best in me. Through being on an unknown and messy path I had found so much more than I would have if I would have stayed on the one laid out in front of me, you know that clean one that is safe and never changes. It was comfortable but I was only existing and not truly living until I had been thrown from my safely net to my new found path. Being back in Vancouver this past week has got me feeling all kinds of inspired and I feel like me again and ready to put time aside to create.

Life can get messy but we need to set time aside each day to feed our souls, whatever it might be, find it and remember it when you are feeling lost. Hold it close to light the way back home because we all get a little lost every once and a while.

I have to share this picture and for those who have read my “about me” page and for those who know me personally, you know that our son Oliver was born in this beautiful city. We had the pleasure of touring around with him and I have to say my new favourite part of visiting our second home was seeing it through his eyes;

 

 

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Think spring

I’m not sure where you are located on the map but if you are close to the prairies you will have felt my pain this week. On Monday morning the snow graced us yet again with her presence. Like that clingy friend who just won’t go no matter how direct you are, oh and better yet this time she brought her friends; windy, cold and cloudy. Ugh, it’s been a long week trying to stay positive but try as I might it always takes me back a couple steps when we get our clingy friend in the spring. Unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon to get snow this late in the game and yes being a prairie girl I should be used to it by now but I don’t think I ever will. That’s why when the weather gets me down I need to find my happy place, that being cozy on the couch with a ball of yarn. I decided to make my own friends to fight back against the snow and her gang, meet; cactus, succulent and flower cactus (okay not original but I am still recovering from the white out).

Thankfully as I write this the snow has melted leaving only a few patches of white as evidence that she was just here. Her friends got the memo as well and left so it’s blue skies and sun all around. It truly does make a difference when the sun is shining and you can once again dance the happy dance while you daydream about all the spring things you can’t wait to do. Having my new friends also helped me get my groove back, I just love them and all their tiny goodness.

So you might be wondering how you too can create some friends of your own, well don’t you fret because I’m about to share all the things. Lets start with friend number 1, Cactus;

I found an easy to follow pattern on Pinterest from a site called la casa de crafts (on my crochet Pinterest board). The pattern, as stated above, is simple and easy to follow. The only thing it didn’t provide was the brown base, aka dirt, so if you are looking for that part it can be found with my second friend, succulent;

5 Little Monsters is where I found this awesome pattern. I know you aren’t supposed to say it out loud but this is by far my favourite friend 😉 The blog post shows some really great variations as well it provides a pattern for the the dirt, so you can add that extra touch. I made an extra dirt patch and gave it to my third friend, flower cactus;

This cactus is fun to make as it allows you to add a splash of colour. I love greenery as I am sure you all know but I also love putting flowers on things! I have a matching one that sits on my night stand, it’s the perfect house plant as you never have to give it anything but your admiration. I posted a pattern for this crochet cactus a while back so if you haven’t yet checked it out now is the time. I wrote it myself so if you are struggling or have any questions please let me know (my email is along the side).

So there you have it folks, another great way to fight through some of life’s set backs while creating some beauty with your own two hands.

For some added fun you can mix things up and paint the ceramic pots in a simple white or add a splash of colour. I painted two of mine, one white as you can see and the other white with a hint of green. I have to say it was relaxing to paint for a change and I can’t wait to paint a few more. If you aren’t a hooker and you are in need of some new friends then check out my Etsy shop, BBCraftlandia, as all three are on there and looking for some TLC.

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I say a hip hop….

I’ve been dying to try this jersey style yarn for a while now. I finally got around to picking some up but then it came to deciding what to make. One simply can’t waste good yarn so there it sat for a few weeks as I pondered and dreamed. Then one day the perfect idea hippity hopped into my brain. Yup, it was settled, I was going to attempt to crochet an Easter bunny basket for my baby boy.

I eagerly got on Pinterest and pinned my fav patterns, the only problem being I was using a different weight and style of yarn then recommended by most of the patterns so it would take some patience and thinking to make it work. After several different attempts with different hooks and patterns I finally found one that would fit which I will now share with you. I used the following Easter Bunny Basket Pattern (you can also follow my crochet board on Pinterest) but I changed a few things along the way which I will explain as we go so you too can create this hippity hoppity bunny basket.

To start with I used hook size 8mm instead of the recommended 5mm hook as the yarn I was using was much thicker than what the pattern called for. With my hook in hand I began to follow the pattern starting with the base. I only made one base not two, with the thicker yarn you shouldn’t need to make two bases for the basket. The yarn should be strong enough to hold all their goodies but do what works best for you. I followed the pattern until round 7, I stopped here as the base of my basket was around 9″ which I thought was big enough.

I then moved to the next section of the pattern, the body. Instead of following round 1 (1 sc around) I 1 sc only in the back loop to give the basket a nice edge. I followed round 2 through round 10 but stopped after that. The pattern suggests you go until round 13 but I felt I had enough height in my basket to stop after round 10. The great part of working with thicker yarn is that it tends to builds quickly and really holds its shape.

Are you still with me? If it’s not making sense please send me an email and I will be happy to help. I was really impressed with the jersey yarn and would highly recommend it. It makes a beautiful basket and could be left as is, if it wasn’t for the Easter bunny coming I would have done just that.

Next up are the handles, I opted to only make one handle. Instead of finishing off your yarn at round 10 keep the hook in and proceeded to stitch 3 HDC, turn and do 3 HDC. Continue going back and forth (3 HDC each way) until you get a long enough handle for the basket.

Once you get the length you prefer you can attach it directly across to the other side of the basket using a SS. Then you can finish off the ends and start on the bunny ears. For the ears I followed the pattern and they turned out perfectly. You can attach them once you are done with a SS at the top. I used yarn for the eyes instead of the buttons as I didn’t want my little to try and put them in his mouth. I added a cute yarn nose to match using Charisma Loops and Threads for both.

For the bunny cheeks I followed the pattern with the same yarn, Charisma Loops and Threads, but stopped after round 1. The yarn is a bit thicker then what’s suggested so I found them to be the ideal size after just 1 round.

I was really happy with how it was coming together thus far but something was missing….something fluffy. I decided I needed to add a squishy tail because what’s a bunny without the cute poof. I made a pompom for the tail and here are the end results.

So there you have it folks, a hip hoppity bunny basket. I hope ya’ll have just as much fun making it as I did. You can even add in a cute bowtie or bow, really anything to make it your own and special for your littles.

Happy Easter friends 🙂