Thursday, December 30, 2010

A gift from Ysolda

Well, I did pay for it ... But look what's arrived in my letterbox, having fought its way with the rest of the mail, out of the ice and snow, all the way from Scotland...


A package, wrapped in gorgeous blue tissue paper, tied with a teal ribbon, and with a very cute badge to hold it together...


My last Christmas present (which I ordered for myself and told my hubbie that it was from him), Whimsical Little Knits 2 by Ysolda Teague. I bought the first Whimsical Little Knits as a PDF file on Ravelry a year or so ago, and my printout of the Ishbel shawl particularly has been very well used and loved.
I read on Ysolda's blog that she was releasing a number of copies of this new collection for sale which would be dedicated personally to the recipients ... An offer which for me, was too good to refuse!

Am looking forward to reading and using this beautiful book, especially considering the dedication...


A bit of a Dory reference for the Pixar lovers amongst us... Just keep knitting, just keep knitting!

A big thanks to Ysolda and your elves- it made it here and you've made this knitter very happy!


Tutorial: How to Make Crayons

My first tutorial, how very exciting!

I don't know about you, but my miss4yo and mr2yo break a wax crayon or two (the thin ones) almost every time they're used.
What is a thrifty mum to do with those broken crayons?
Make new ones!




Note: please make sure you're doing this in a well-ventilated area as our crayons were quite fumey when hot.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180'C/350'F.

Step 2: Collect and de-wrapper broken crayons.

Step 3: Grease metal muffin tray (you could use a friand tin or mini muffin trays too, just would end up with a different shape at the end). Place crayons in the tin, either by colour (as we have done) or randomly to create rainbow crayons.




Step 4: Place in oven for 3-5 minutes, till crayons are melted.

Step 5: Place metal tray straight into the fridge (I put a teatowel down on the glass shelf and then put the tray on and shut the door).

Step 6: Open the windows, turn the exhaust fan on if need be like we did. Wait ;)

Step 7:
Tip crayons out of the tray when hard.



Step 8: Find the nearest child and get them to test drive them for you.



These circular crayons fit nicely in my miss4yo's hand and can be used in pencil-type grip if turned on their side.






Seriously, this was so easy, and was a great activity for miss4yo and I to do together (though she was shepherded quickly outside when the smells happened when I took the crayons out of the oven). She loved tearing the paper off the crayons and also liked having the decision-making power of which crayon went with which other colours.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zeusbel is done.

And it's lovely!


Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda (large ss, large lace)

Yarn: Laceweight 100% wool by Red Riding Hood Yarns in 'Zeus' colorway.




Blocking.





Wearing.





Loving it.



Even the dodgy photos taken on Christmas Eve in my Mother-in-law's bedroom, just before I wrapped it to give to my mum (who cried!) don't make me love it any less.
This one goes down as a win for Christmas knitting.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And so this is Christmas...

Merry Christmas all. May your days be merry and bright... And full of new crafty supplies to make inspiring things in the new year :)





Thursday, December 23, 2010

A photo catchup for the end of the year

Things I forgot to blog about this year...



Counting the change jar. There was $78.05 in there- awesome!



Making flour tortillas. These were so yummy, definately in our arsenal now to make again and again.



Facepainted cuties. Mr2yo was a very cute tiger


Who'd had a big day that day.


And miss4yo was a lovely rainbow butterfly.



Swimming lessons started this year for both of the kids. They love it, and miss4yo especially is sad that there's no lessons now till January.




And a birthday present for a 1yo boy that I sewed. Groovy shorts...


For a groovy boy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

Presents mostly made...



2x pairs of size 2 pajama shorts, one for my nephew, one for my mr2yo.



A jigsaw bag, also for the same nephew, which holds a wooden puzzle of a truck.




The size 14 Globetrotter socks for my big brother (modeled on my teeny size 7 feet!)



And two rice and lavender heat packs for my SIL and MIL. These have a calico inner bag and then a washable outer bag finished off with snaps.


Yes, the photos are dodgy and shadowy. Yes, I finished at 10:45pm last night and knew, tired as I was, that if I didn't take photos then, that they just wouldn't get taken.

I had big plans for a totally handmade Christmas this year, and if the goal was 100% handmade, or even 80 or 90% handmade, then I haven't made it this year.

There's really only one failure as such though; I had big plans for matching father and (2yo) son bbq aprons, appliqu├ęd with the recipients initials and bound using my new Clover binding maker. But after a fight with said binding maker last night and neither the patience or energy to fiddle and make it work, those aprons (which are all cut out and waiting) might have to wait till Fathers Day.

Apart from these things, I'm also giving the yet to be blocked (eek! Running out of time!) Ishbel shawl, the previously shown cot quilt for my unborn-as-yet niece/nephew, and I will be making some rocky road to add to some other presents.

How are you traveling? 3 present-making days to go...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking a Christmas knitting break

Cause my fingers are getting sore!
Yesterday morning I started winding the wool (Red Riding Hood Yarns sock in 'Posie of Pansies') for my last knitted (but I do have much more sewing to do!) Christmas present, a pair of Dolce socks for my lovely sisterinlaw.



This is where I'm up to with the pair... This far on sock #1:


So the cuff and leg are done, and I'm partway through the heel. I'm mentally flipping around between giving up (though there's still 8 days to go, I do have other things to do!) and getting seduced back by the amazing colours of the yarn (neither photo does it justice) and the easy to remember and addictive lace Dolce sock pattern. I'll keep you posted as to how I'm going- feel free to comment and cheer me on though!

I do have a finished object to block (woohoo!), the never-ending Zeus-bel, a large Ishbel shawl in laceweight Red Riding Hood Yarns 'Zeus' colourway which is a Christmas present for my mum, who is also a knitter so will hopefully appreciate all the work that went into it!
This photo was taken just as I started casting off- such a great feeling as it felt like it was just taking forever.


So obviously a photo shoot for that one will come soon too :)

In other tree-decorating news: we did find time to decorate the tree. It was a good family time. And since then I've been rescuing ornaments, tinsel and various tree things from the hands of mr2yo and miss4yo. I'm not sure how much longer the tree itself will be up for, but for now, most of the ornaments look like this:



Huddled together at the top of the tree for their own protection.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This is not a magical Christmas post

But in the interest of honesty in blogging, this is what happened when we attempted to put up our Christmas tree today.

3:20pm: Put kids in the car to drive to pick husband up from work.

4:15pm: Husband late getting out of work. Kids starting to lose it. Mother of said children beginning to lose it also while waiting in car with losing-it children.

4:19pm: Husband in the car. Kids hysterical, but at least laughing not crying. Decide on the way home to buy takeaway for early dinner and put up Christmas tree with mr2yo and miss4yo when we get home. All imagine a magical Christmassy time.

5pm: Home. All fed and watered, mother and father start hunt for Christmas tree and decorations. Find one box of decorations/lights/tinsel which small children attack immediately amidst much voice-raising from mother of said small children. Play Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' and do some crazy dancing with enthusiastic small children.

5:10pm: Mother and father of the household realise that the reason that they cannot find the actual tree may be that they threw it out after last Christmas. Cannot clearly recollect this happening but believe this is probably so.

5:15pm: All family members back in the car. Off to a local shopping centre to buy a new tree. Small children on and off the shoulders of parental units, mr2yo mostly deciding he would rather run away giggling. More voice-raising.

5:20pm: Decide that at least 3 family members need new sunhats. Try to convince mr2yo that the full-brimmed plain sunhat is just as cool as the Thomas peaked cap he wants. Successful distraction technique employed.

5:30pm: Tree picked after much discussion, all back in the car to come home

6:00pm: Home. Small children very excited about putting up the tree. Parental energy levels waning.

6:10pm: Male of the house realizes how intricate/annoying multi-level 'hook construction' is when having mr2yo 'help'.

6:15pm: mr2yo and mother of the house sit down together to watch Wiggly Wiggly Christmas (a current favourite) while miss4yo and father build the tree.

6:25pm: Tree built. Play Celine Dion's version of 'O Holy Night' and begin to place lights on the tree. Small children beginning to lose it again; lounge-jumping and tinsel-tug-of-war attracting more voice-raising from the mother of the house.

6:30pm: Realise that set #1 of Christmas lights do not work. Place set #2 of lights onto the tree and realize that they are too small for the big tree we just bought.

6:35pm: Decide to forgo Christmas tree decorating for today. Kids go to bed. Mother of the house exhausted.



8:30pm: Kids still awake. Have removed their pajamas and mr2yo also nappy-less. Father of the house decides we should all go for a walk down the road to see a house with amazing Christmas lights.

8:35pm: Kids dressed in pjs, family of 4 walk outside on a beautiful summer night, talk to the sleepy mr2yo and miss4yo, see the Christmas lights, come home, kids to bed.

8:40pm: Cold Cider for mother, beer for father.
It's starting to feel like Christmas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today I'm doing this...



And this ...



And am pleased with this one...


For both sleeping in a little this morning (7:45am instead of 6am!), and also having a day-sleep.

Back to the knitting while I can...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why does it need to be perfect?


When she's having this much fun making it?

Miss4yo and I put together and decorated a gingerbread house the other day. I bought the kit from my church (which had held a community event to make gingerbread houses) with premade and precut gingerbread, lollies to decorate, royal icing, and pins (important for the construction phase). Miss4yo and I were very excited to make our gingerbread house, and took the opportunity after Mr2yo fell asleep during his midday 'rest'.

We had a great time, mostly because my input into the project was purely in the construction of the house, and in assisting with decoration in this way ...



Yup. My job was to put the icing onto the things miss4yo was sticking onto the house.

If I'm being honest, I find it difficult not to take over. My internal perfectionist voice wants it to match, to be symmetrical, to look pretty, to turn out as something to be admired by others. But the thing is, if we made it like that, it would be ME making it like that, not both of us enjoying it together, and especially not Miss4yo being creative without me directing her in how to do that (read: creating a mini-me instead of allowing and encouraging her to be herself!). So I put the icing on the lollies, she stuck them on, we talked, laughed, and made frogponds (icing glooped onto the stand) with frogs (silver icing balls) and tadpoles (smaller sprinkles) and logs for them to sit on (licorice chocolate bullets).

And the outcome? Awesome on all counts. Yes we also have a finished gingerbread house, but we had a great time no matter what it turned out like.


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