Saturday, 29 November 2014

Christmas Decorating Done

I have been busy decorating for Christmas this week. I started Thursday night switching out regular dishes with Christmas dishes and carrying all the bins of Christmas stuff upstairs to the dining room. Friday night, I unpacked the bins and arranged our Christmas decorations then carried all the empty bins back to the basement. 

My Saturday morning cappuccino is served in a Christmas mug of course. The book is used for checking off rows as I crochet toys. I like to keep my colourful button jar on display as you never know when a button might be needed.
I love this colourful crochet snowflake banner made from a pattern by Attic24 found here and a tin snowman. This is the view from my crochet corner on the sofa.
I like to display a jar full of colourful yarn ends and bowls of yarn balls on our mantle. I think it's fun and appropriate considering my passion for everything crochet. 
Crochet dolls adorn our mantle too. I plan to make more once my Christmas Decorating is Done.
Last year I made this crochet striped stocking using a free pattern by blogger Yvestown found here. It provides a perfect place for my little crochet mouse to hang out. We also have a whole family of snowmen sitting in front of the window by the fireplace. I love to see them there.
A couple years ago, I crocheted a pretty edge around some of my favourite Christmas cards. They make a nice display hung with clothespins to some twine along our railing wrapped in Christmas lights.
I also added Christmas knickknacks to our hall  cabinet. The cute little snowman was a gift from our daughter many years ago. The little Christmas tree is a music box. 
I have hung crochet stars and a little snowman on the wreath in our dining room. The snowman was made using this pattern by the Dapper Toad and the stars from a free pattern found here on Ravelry.
Today my husband carried our Christmas tree up from the basement. We store it in the original box which is held together with a big yellow strap. Over the years, we have set up the tree in different rooms. The living room and the family room were both popular spots but last year, I put it in the hallway and loved it. We see it every time we walk by and it's across from the dining room which is perfect for Christmas.
I spent a couple hours assembling the tree and decorating it today. I couldn't help but notice some of the branches have broken and/or sagged over the past 20+ years but it's amazing what lights, beads, bows and ornaments do for a tired old tree. Doesn't it look great?
I think the new crochet tree skirt fits in perfectly too. Remember it from this post? This is a meo my crochet original pattern and it's free if you would like to make one too.

I've taken a few more photos to share. I hope you enjoy our simple Christmas decorating. I love the memories stirred by all our ornaments collected over the years. 

This angel was purchased in the after Christmas sales from a little store on Bayview in Toronto where we lived when we first got our tree.
So many homemade and gifted ornaments added to our collection over the years.
This old wooden sled fits nicely under our tree and the singing Christmas monkey is a fun addition.
Crochet skates I've had for years (not made by me) and an ornament made by our daughter many years ago. This year she will be in Brazil visiting her husband's family and enjoying a different kind of Christmas on the beach.
Three things of note here; a crochet star (made by me), an ornament my husband brought back from Germany and a very cute snowman our son gave us for Christmas 2007. Did I mention I love snowmen?
And this is the view from upstairs. I think our Christmas Decorating is Done. I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Our poodle spent the morning waiting patiently and comfortably on the back of our sofa. All the moving and rearranging is unsettling for her so I think she is very happy Christmas Decorating is Done.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

More Crochet Toys

This week I made two more crochet toys; another doll and an owl.

Meet Bobby. I used the same pattern detailed in this post but altered the hair and colours to make a little boy and this time I added bear ears to the hoodie. I was inspired by seeing a photo of our grandson trying on his baby sister's snowsuit with bunny ears.
With three dolls done, I decided to make an owl just for a change of pace. I followed a free pattern by blogger isitatoy found here with a few changes. I embroidered the beak and eyes, added tufts on the ears and did the body in one colour with a few "feathers" embroidered on the tummy. I think it's a pretty purple owl and perfectly safe for little ones.
My three dolls are very happy together. VIolet, Bobby and Izzy smile for the camera but Bobby is distracted by the bike. I think he'd like a turn.
My pretty purple owl tries to hide and blend in with other purple things.
I manage to convince the whole gang to pose nicely for this group shot. They're a colourful bunch of crochet cuties.
It's been a productive week so far at meo my crochet but I think I will take a break and start decorating for Christmas. It'll be fun even if it does take me away from crochet for a bit.

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Meet Miss Izzy

Meet Miss Izzy my newest crochet doll. Isn't she cute with her fluffy, frizzy braids and big grin?

Miss Izzy is my second crochet doll made using the same free pattern referenced in this post. I love how changing colours, hair and facial features make a new and different looking little doll. I also love that Izzy and Violet are already enjoying hanging out together. I can tell they are going to be great friends.
I think I need to make a boy doll next. I'll make him in bold colours with short hair, omit the ruffle on the hoodie and perhaps add bear ears. I'm really getting into this doll-making thing.

My favourite part is seeing the finished doll and naming it before taking a few photos to share. These silly photos make me smile. I really do enjoy the whole process and hope they add a wee bit of happiness to your day too. Keep on smiling and have a truly great week.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Faery Door Fun

I love our custom crafted Faery Door created by a Celtic artist at The Sidhe Ring. We picked it up this morning after placing the order just last Saturday and it's even better than I imagined. 

Remember the hole in the wall we wanted to fix? Last week, I traced the hole onto a piece of paper and took it to The Sidhe Ring. 
This week our hole has been replaced with this gorgeous, oldy-worldy, wooden Faery Door. The artist was able to use my paper template to cut the door to the exact size and shape of the hole. What do you think? Isn't it amazing? 
Miss Violet poses by the door while our poodle watches to see what all the fuss is about. 
Miss Violet opens the door to peek inside. I love that our Faery Door opens. It's very dark and nobody's there. Oh well, word will spread. 
I've heard Faeries like to leave messages and treats when little ones come to visit. I'm so looking forward to seeing what our grandchildren think of this little bit of whimsy. 

Thanks so much to The Sidhe Ring for making such a beautiful and fun Faery Door. It's perfect and I LoVe it.

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Cute Crochet Doll

Last night I finished my first Cute Crochet Doll. Meet Miss Violet with the pretty purple braids.
Violet is perfect for little ones. She stands 7.5" (19 cm) tall and loves to ride a trike. I think she is super cute and I can't wait to make more in a rainbow of colours.

I followed a free pattern on Ravelry called "Doll in a Bear Hoodie" by Tracey MacIntyre but I made a few minor alterations. I embroidered her facial features to make her perfectly safe for little ones. I also omitted bear ears on the hoodie just because I liked her without them.  

I've included a list of supplies I used to make this doll in case you would like to make one too.

Bernat Satin - 100% acrylic worsted weight yarn in the following colours
  skin - sandstone
  hoodie - mai tai
  pants - teal
  shoes - grey mist heather
  hair - lavendar
Fiberfill stuffing
Embroidery Thread (white, green, black, pink)
3.25 mm crochet hook
Yarn needle

Remember customization is encouraged with this pattern so you can select any colours, embellishments or facial features you like to make a Cute Crochet Doll. Just have fun with it and be sure to share a photo when you finish. I'd love to see your version of this Cute Crochet Doll.

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Mini Ripple Blanket for Dolls

I made a Mini Ripple Blanket for Dolls using yarn left over from my Cosmic Rays RippleSo what do you think? Doesn't it look amazing? 
I got my inspiration to make a doll blanket from blogger Lucy at Attic24 when I found photos of her doll blanket ripple here. Since Lucy didn't post a pattern, I followed her regular ripple blanket instructions but changed colour each row instead of every other row. I think the scale of one row colour stripes looks better on a doll sized blanket. 

It looks like Lucy made her ripples a little tighter using a 10 count repeat instead of 14. I might try that next time as I think it will look even better with mini ripples. 
Still I think it looks great and my current toys are pleased to pose upon it. If you're looking for a quick easy project, this one is perfect. I didn't time my efforts but I can tell you I started Friday and finished Sunday night. I estimate it took about 8 hours to finish. Although the rows are short, there are a lot of colour changes. 

I stopped to weave in the ends before finishing the final row. With 35 rows and a 3-round border, there are a LoT oF YaRn EnDs... 81 in total. 
With the ends out of the way, I worked the last row then turned and continued down the left side before finishing off which eliminated one join.  

Starting Chain - 59 (14x4+3)
Finished Size - 16" x 20.5"
1 row per stripe (all worked right to left for right-handed crocheters)
35 stripes
13 colours (left over from Cosmic Rays Ripple)
Time to Complete - Approximately 8 hrs
Hook size - 5 mm

I love this image showing my Mini Ripple Blanket cross ways on top of my Cosmic Rays Ripple. Lucy snapped a similar shot of her doll blanket and I thought it looked mesmerizingly perfect.
The colour stripes used for my Mini Ripple Blanket as shown in the image above from right to left are listed below. 
  1. Fern
  2. Lavendar
  3. Beige
  4. Teal
  5. Crimson
  6. Sage
  7. Goldenrod
  8. Medium Teal
  9. Silk
  10. Grey Mist Heather
  11. Sandstone
  12. Sapphire
  13. Mai Tai
  14. Medium Teal
  15. Silk
  16. Beige
  17. Crimson
  18. Goldenrod
  19. Sage
  20. Fern
  21. Grey Mist Heather
  22. Teal
  23. Mai Tai
  24. Crimson
  25. Silk
  26. Sandstone
  27. Sapphire
  28. Lavendar
  29. Medium Teal
  30. Silk
  31. Grey Mist Heather
  32. Sage
  33. Goldenrod
  34. Medium Teal
  35. Fern
Round 1: Fern
Round 2: Mai Tai
Round 3: Teal

I am more than pleased with my Ripple Blanket for Dolls and plan to make another but first I want to try a new pattern. I was so excited to find this doll pattern by Tracey MacIntyre offered for free last week. It's called "Doll in Bear Hoodie" and can be found hereAs you can see, I'm ready to start and will be sure to share photos once I finish. 
I should also mention, I finally started prepping for our bike tour. My husband and I did an intense one hour session on our trainers yesterday. It was challenging but felt good. I've been trying to come up with a way to fit in training without taking too much time away from crochet. I think I've come up with a great idea.

We like to watch a TV series in the evening for an hour and we're currently watching Reign. I suggested we ride our trainers while watching our series instead of sitting on the sofa and snacking. Let's hope he likes my idea. It's sure to be fun and oh so good for us.

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Fantastic Flea Market Finds

We visited the Western Fair Market today to stock up on food and order a fairy door from The Sidhe Ring on the second floor. 

We have a hole in the drywall of our basement with an unused clean out pipe behind vapour barrier. When we repainted our basement in the fall, we couldn't decide how to cover the hole so we left it. 

We also have unused water lines and a drain pipe sticking out of the wall a little further along. We think they were intended for a bar sink but there is no space with the current set up and we have no plans to install a bar. Even so we didn't want to cut the pipes so we left them.

I think both the pipes and the hole are a bit of an eye sore so have come up with a creative solution. The hole is to be covered with a custom crafted fairy door to add a bit of whimsy for our grandchildren when they visit. 
The artist at Sidhe Ring will add hinges to the fairy door so it opens and I plan to cover the opening behind the door with black felt so fairy messages can be left for inquisitive little ones.

Today we visited Memory Lane Antiques which is a flea market in London and I was very pleased to find a solid wood bar stool for only $10. I covered it with a pretty pink crochet doily (of course) and I love it. A perfectly simple solution for unsightly pipes.
You can see the drain pipe from this angle but it hides them quite nicely and also works as a side table. I expect it will coordinate well with the new fairy door. I will be sure to share a photo once it's done. 

I am also very excited with my other Fantastic Flea Market Find. It wasn't planned but was something I had seen on Pinterest and considered a cool idea. My husband laughed when I showed him but did agree it was cool enough to buy for only $15. What do you think of it? Isn't it the coolest old rustic wooden tool box?
It has flecks of paint and the wood is saturated in old oil. It's crooked and some of the nails have fallen out. It was exactly what I wanted for my table centrepiece. I've filled it with treasures and put it on display. 

I am more than pleased with my Fantastic Flea Market Finds today. Today was full of planning and play resulting in two blog posts. My perfect kind of day really.

Tomorrow I crochet and ride my bike. At least that's my plan. I just checked the calendar and we have only 10 weeks left to get ready for our bike tour in Cuba. Yikes, the count down has begun.

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Cosmic Rays Ripple Blanket

I finished my Cosmic Rays Ripple Blanket last night. It is soft, colourful and perfect in our family room draped across the back of the sofa. I just love the look of it.
Yes this one is a keeper. I love it from every angle, from the side, from the front and from the back.
What do you think? Do you like the bright, bold ripply colours? Would you like to make one too? As mentioned in my last post, I followed this tutorial posted by blogger Lucy at Attic24. Her instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

As promised, here are the technical details for my Cosmic Rays Ripple Blanket for the crocheters out there who might like to make one too. 

Starting Chain - 213 (14x15+3)
Finished Size - 90" x 65" (229 cm x 165 cm)
2 rows per stripe 
71 stripes
15 colours (2-100 g balls of each colour)
Time to Complete - Approximately 42 hrs (30 mins per stripe + border)
Hook size - 5 mm

Yarn Used (15 colours):
  • Bernat Satin (fern)
  • Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted (aubergine)
  • Red Heart Soft Touch (beige)
  • Bernat Satin (sapphire)
  • Bernat Satin (mai tai)
  • Bernat Satin (goldenrod)
  • Bernat Satin (silk)
  • Bernat Satin (sandstone)
  • Bernat Satin (teal)
  • Bernat Satin (sage)
  • Bernat Satin (crimson)
  • Patons Canadiana (pale grey mix)
  • Bernat Satin (grey mist heather)
  • Patons Canadiana (medium teal)
  • Bernat Satin (lavendar)
As I list out the stripe colours for this blanket I can't help but think, "Wow, that is a lot". The pattern called for 84 stripes but I stopped at 71 because worsted weight yarn makes a much bigger blanket than finer DK yarn. This is a photo of the blanket stretched out showing the stripe colours listed 1 through 71 from top to bottom.
If you decide to make one, it is probably best to choose your favourite colours and order them any way you like. I think half the fun of crochet ripple blankets is watching them evolve but since I promised, here is my list starting from top to bottom (beginning to end). 

Wait there's more. Scroll through the list to the end to see what I'm working on next.
  1. Fern
  2. Aubergine
  3. Beige
  4. Sapphire
  5. Mai Tai
  6. Sage
  7. Teal
  8. Sandstone
  9. Silk
  10. Goldenrod
  11. Crimson
  12. Pale Grey Mix
  13. Grey Mist Heather
  14. Medium Teal
  15. Lavendar
  16. Sage
  17. Mai Tai
  18. Sapphire
  19. Teal
  20. Medium
  21. Grey Mist Heather
  22. Sandstone
  23. Beige
  24. Aubergine
  25. Silk
  26. Pale Grey Mix
  27. Crimson
  28. Goldenrod
  29. Fern
  30. Silk
  31. Grey Mist Heather
  32. Teal
  33. Mai Tai
  34. Lavendar
  35. Sage
  36. Medium Teal
  37. Crimson
  38. Silk
  39. Teal
  40. Aubergine
  41. Sapphire
  42. Grey Mist Heather
  43. Pale Grey Mix
  44. Grey Mist Heather
  45. Sandstone
  46. Silk
  47. Beige
  48. Fern
  49. Mai Tai
  50. Crimson
  51. Teal
  52. Sandstone
  53. Medium Teal
  54. Sandstone
  55. Lavendar
  56. Sapphire
  57. Sandstone
  58. Goldenrod
  59. Grey Mist Heather
  60. Mai Tai
  61. Fern
  62. Crimson
  63. Sage
  64. Medium Teal
  65. Sage
  66. Crimson
  67. Grey Mist Heather
  68. Sandstone
  69. Lavendar
  70. Sapphire
  71. Fern
Border Colours:
Round 1: Fern
Round 2: Silk
Round 3: Teal

Phew, I can't believe I finished my Cosmic Rays Ripple Blanket in only 2 weeks. Our poodle approves and loves to get in on the action. I caught her sitting pretty on the blanket and looking oh so cute.
You might be wondering what next? Well, since I have leftover yarn from both my Cosmic Rays Ripple and my Sweet Summer Ripple AND I have a granddaughter, I think a few doll ripple blankets might be fun. You can see I've already started. 
Last night, my daughter requested toys for a friend who has three little girls. That's perfect, doll blankets and dolls. Fun winter projects to feed my creativity. 

Time to get moving, we're off to the market to stock up on food and order a whimsical fairy door to cover a hole in the wall in our basement. My excuse is our grandchildren but really I love the idea of adding fairy fun to our basement. I can't wait to see how it looks. 

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