Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Ten Owls Total

I finally finished the last of my Bernat Handicrafter cotton yarn stash. My stash was bigger than I thought. I had enough to make dish cloths and coasters all summer long. Enough that I was running out of enthusiasm way before running out of yarn.

Seeking a change, I decided to make a few Cat Bum Coasters. Even though my main goal with crochet this year has been to make things from yarn I have on hand, I did buy a bit extra in 'cat' colours. It was totally worth the splurge. I was able to make eight Cat Bum Coasters which is plenty, plus add more colours to my stash for my next project - Crochet Owls. It was so much fun making owls, I decided to keep on until I ran out of yarn.

In the end, I made Ten Owls Total. I only have four left to show because four went to my daughter in Boulder, one to Mississauga and one to Woodstock. These sweet little owls make great gifts.
When they are not lining up for photos, they like to hang out in our decorative branches by the window. It's a perfect perch for owls.
If you would like to make one too, check out my Fall Crochet post for the pattern link and instructions.
As you can see, there was very little yarn left in the end. Now I can return to making more versions of my Boo Bear and work on using up my acrylic yarn stash. There is plenty to carry me through the rest of this year and well into next. I wonder how long it will be before I purchase more yarn?

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

KonMari Method in Action

Last week, I took a break from crocheting owls to organize our closets and drawers. I haven't yet read Marie Kondo's book, "the life-changing magic of tidying up", but I have watched videos explaining her philosophy and demonstrating her methods. I was inspired to give it a go.

I spent a couple hours each evening three nights in a row sorting through our closets and dressers kondo-ing the contents. Over the weekend, I tackled our linen storage areas. The difference is amazing. I absolutely love the results. Even my husband is impressed.

Before this, most of my clothes hung in our closet. The rest were folded and stacked in drawers with my cycling and workout gear all jumbled together in two big drawers plus a clear bin for winter wear. My husband's dress shirts, collared casual shirts and pants were hung. His tee shirts and sweaters were folded and stacked on shelves in the closet. I thought it was organized, but honestly it's so much better now.

I'd love to show you our newly kondo'd dressers and closets. Perhaps you'll be inspired to apply the KonMari Method too.

I started with this dresser full of underwear, socks and such. Marie Kondo recommends keeping things you either love or use and getting rid of the rest. Since I can apply these principles to my stuff ONLY, I simply organized ALL of my husband's things without discarding. 
Marie Kondo's folding method saves space and keeps everything visible in the drawers: top (underwear and ties), middle (casual socks, belts, sports socks), bottom (dress socks, swim trunks, navy dress socks to the right).
My side of the dresser is similar: top (underwear, socks and belts), middle (tights, tank tops, pj's and bras), bottom (long sleeved tee shirts to the left and short sleeved to the middle and right). 
I also have a large 5-drawer dresser for my clothes: top (swim wraps, travel towels, swimsuits, scarves), 2nd (cycling shorts, jerseys, sports bras, workout tank tops), 3rd (sweaters), 4th (pants on left, shorts and capris on right), bottom (winter cycling clothes and running gear). 
The closet still holds some of my things, but the bulk of it is devoted to my husband's clothes. His dress pants hang to the left with his casual pants, tee shirts and sweaters folded on the shelves above. My few things (jackets and dresses) hang to the right.
Almost all of my clothes used to hang on these two racks in our closet. I left a few fleeces, hoodies and tops but there are a lot of spare hangers now. My husband's tee shirts are folded in box lids on the shelf to keep them contained. Further to the right are my husband's dress shirts and casual shirts. He has more than enough shirts to last until we retire. Let's hope he can resist shopping. Our closet is an odd shape with angled shelves to the right of the door where I store slippers, shoes and sandals. 
I was so happy with our kondo'd clothing, I moved on to linens re-folding the towels in our en-suite. The remaining cabinets look fine to me.
In our upstairs hall closet, most of the linens had already been sorted. I refolded the sheets and corralled the bags. I might revisit this space to sort the bins of cycling gear belonging to my husband. It'll do for now.
Our cat's (used to be kids') bathroom upstairs doesn't have a lot in the cupboards: cat food and spare light bulbs. I refolded the towels and facecloths in the linen closet. I'm not sure if Marie Kondo recommends stacking towels, but I think it works well.
We also store towels in a trunk near our patio door where they are handy for our pool and hot tub. I refolded both the towels and swim trunks leaving a few out for use. They will fit in the trunk if necessary.
I even refolded the towels in our two piece washroom off the kitchen.
Wow, what a difference. Everything looks so tidy. Seeing the results of the KonMari Method in Action inspires me to continue kondo-ing our whole house. I'd like to read the book first though to fully understand her recommendations concerning discarding stuff prior to organizing.

Are you ready for "the life-changing magic of tidying up"? It's much like crochet. Once you start, you're hooked.

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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Crochet Inspiration from Malaysia

Joyce from Malaysia sent me this photo a couple weeks ago thanking me for sharing my Boo Bear pattern. I love Joyce's embellishments and colour choices used for this absolutely adorable doll named "Honey Boo Bear".

I am so thrilled Joyce took the time to share this with me. I love that my pattern provided inspiration to a crocheter as far away as Malaysia (14,750 km). I especially love that Joyce's "Honey Boo Bear" has inspired me too. I am excited to make a variety of Boo Bear companions now. 
Boo Bear and I would like to thank Honey Boo Bear and Joyce for Crochet Inspiration from Malaysia. Your blessings are much appreciated.

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Cross Country Crochet

I decided to pack a crochet project for our drive to Boulder a couple weeks ago. It was a last minute decision I'm so glad I made.

I bought this special yarn a couple years ago intending to make a scarf for myself. Manos del Uruguay Alegria yarn is a hand-painted ultra fine merino blend. I love how soft it feels. I also love these colours. The soft greys and greens are perfect for me. 

I didn't crochet on our drive Friday night. I didn't crochet on our drive Saturday morning. I remembered to grab my crochet bag from the back of our SUV when we stopped for cappuccinos at Starbucks in Peru, Illinois - the one and only Starbucks we found en route.

I finished my cappuccino then pulled out my yarn. Before I could crochet, I needed to wind the skein into a ball.
I looped the skein around my knees and started winding. It tended to tangle, but with patience, I finally finished. It was time to crochet.
I crocheted all afternoon while my husband drove. I crocheted until the sun started to set. I took a photo before packing it away.
My crochet project stayed packed away until our return trip. I drove the first 4 hours on Saturday then crocheted until I ran out of yarn. I love how crochet makes a long drive bearable. I go from "Yuck, I'm stuck in the car with nothing to do" to "Yay, hours to crochet with no interruptions".
I finished on Saturday as the sun was starting to set. My Cross Country Crochet got me through much of the drive. Next time I'll take more yarn. It's a very long drive from London to Boulder and back again.
I love how this scarf turned out. It's even better than I imagined.
I followed this pattern designed by Heidi Beukelman. It is available for free on Ravelry. The moss or linen stitch is one of my favourites.

Hook size: 4.0 mm
Starting chain: 350 (instead of 400)
Worked first row into back bump of chain
Total Rows: 35 (odd # so both edges look similar)
Finished size: 63" x 5"
Time per row: 13-15 mins
Total time to crochet: 10 hours (approximately)

I crocheted until I ran out of yarn. I ripped out almost 2 rows because I was 10 stitches short of 37 rows. I wanted to end with an odd number of rows to keep the edges looking similar.

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