Thursday, 13 March 2014

Carving out a Reading Nook

I love to read.  I read everyday.  Most of the time, I read before bed.  I find that its the best way to calm me down; and then I can really get into a story.  When I read, I need a quiet place.  So when I thought about making a little spot for reading, my bedroom became a great place for such a thing.  There's not much to my reading nook, just a comfy chair, a table for a drink, and some cushions and soft things.  And a light.  I may change the light, but for now its a great place for me to read and relax before sleeping.

Do you have a special place to read?  Where is it? 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Branch Weaving

Branch weaving showed up in my Pinterest feed, and I thought it looked really cool.  I really wanted to try it that minute.  But I didn't have a branch.  Because the city was living under 3 feet of snow.  And I don't pull branches of trees, because that's bad for them, and I'm not a 10 year old, so I waited until I came across one laying on the ground.

Last week, D and I went on a death-defying hike.  The trail was covered in ice.  So much ice!  What wasn't ice was knee-deep snow.  It was beautiful, but treacherous.  That bridge in the background?  Completely iced over.

But, I found a branch, and during one of my fave TV shows, I set to weaving on it.  When I finished, I thought it looked nice:

But, I had no idea what its use was or what I would use it for.  I needed to finish one of these, for some reason.  Now that I have, It sat on the coffee table for a few days.

When we came across these bottles on sale for $1, I knew where I could put my new weaving:

So now it lives on my bookshelf.  Making my books a little more interesting.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Homefront Progress

Slowly, we are starting to make this place our own.  It took us a while to get used to the space, and figure out what furniture we needed (or needed to get rid of.) This room, our office was one space that I was never happy with.  I felt that it was mainly storage, and not that pretty for a while.  I didn't have any plans for the craft supplies etc that I had.  So I made it my mission to turn this room into a space that I like in work in by the end of the winter.

In an attempt to make our workspace look a little more organized, we went to Ikea for Valentine's Day (so romantic!) and bought a cart for my crafty stuff.  With the shelf and the cart and the cabinet, I think it looks cleaner and more organized.  Everything is accessible, and with the cart I can pull over my supplies if I need them.

I'm able to keep all of my materials, and yarn and knitting books all in one place.  I love how bright this room is now!  Its a really great place to be creative.  Its not a huge room, which is fine, so we used a few tricks to make it a place where D and I could both use it and be creative.  The back wall is mainly storage:  The bookshelf holds our books and the bottom baskets hold other things not easily stacked on a shelf (mostly yarn.)  With the bookshelf on its side, we use the top as an extra counter top.  I can move the laminator and use our counter-top ironing board if I am sewing.  Otherwise, it holds our color printer and some journals.  I am a sucker for a journal.

The big purchase we made for this room was the chairs.  I wanted really comfortable chairs that you could sit in for hours.  In the end we decided on this accent chairs that we found.  They are so cozy:  I can sit on them cross-legged, the back is really supportive.  They are great!  They were not super expensive, but they were more than I would usually spend on a chair.  They were worth it!  I love sitting in here now. 

It feels really good to get a room to where you want it.  Still working on some other rooms in the house.  I hope you don't mind if I continue to share my progress in decorating our space!

Do you have a room that gives you trouble?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Six words

I was told that Ernest Hemingway once won a bet by writing a six word story that was as touching as a full-length novel.  Apparently the story was this:

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

I don't know if this story is true, it may not be.  But it is an interesting idea.  I was thinking, if I had to write an autobiography in only six words, what would I write?  Here's what I came up with:

I'm interested in your thoughts.  What would your 6 word biography be?

Monday, 27 January 2014

Warm Knitted Mittens on a Snow Day

Today was a snow day.  So I sat with some coffee, and knit.  Mittens of course!  There's nothing I love more in the winter than my hand knitted mittens.  They are the only things I wear.  I have even managed to get D on the knitted mitten train.  I made him a pair a few years ago and he loved them.  But this year, he managed to get a hole in the thumb.  So he asked me to make him a new pair.  I've been making these mitts for so long, I don't know where I got the pattern originally.  I thought this time, I would write down the pattern I use so that I had it, and to share with you!  (If you knit that is..)

This pattern uses a bulky yarn.  I usually use Lamb's Pride Bulky for my mittens.  Its soft and dense, and my mitts always turn out perfectly when I make them.  The red and purple mittens above are made with a lighter weight of yarn (Manos de Uruguay Classica) held 2 strands together. 

This pattern makes a nice thick mitten.  Like the kind you would need in Canada (which is where I live.)  Here's what you need:

1 skein Lamb's Pride Bulky, or other bulky weight yarn
1 set of 5 Double Point needles US size 9
2 stitch markers in different colors
yarn needle for weaving in the ends

4 sts/ 1 inch

Cast on 32 stitches onto 4 double-pointed needles. Join to work in the round. Mark the beginning of the round with one of the stitch markers.  Begin knitting in 2x2 rib. Continue 2x2 rib for 10 rounds or 2 inches.

Decrease round: begin stockinette stitch and K2tog, K to end of needle, on next needle K to last 2 stitches, SSK, on third needle, K2tog, K to end of needle, on fourth needle, K to last 2 stitches, SSK. You should have 28 sts on your needles.

Increase for thumb gusset: K14, M1, place marker (NOTE: not really necessary, I put one here because it helps me remember the number of increases,) K1, M1, K to end of round. Increase one stitch before the first increased stitch and after the last increased stitch every 3rd row, 4 more times. By the end of this round, you should have 38 sts.

Next row: K14, place next 12 stitches on scrap piece of yarn or a stitch holder. Cast on two new stitches over gap (I use backward loop method) and continue to knit to end of round.You should have 30 sts in the round.

Continue knitting hand portion of mitten until it reaches tip of little finger.

Start decreasing for the top of the mitten: 
First round: K2tog, knit to the end of the needle, on the next needle K to the last 2 stitches and SSK, on the thirds needle K2tog, k to the end of the needle, on the last needle, K to the last 2 stitches, SSK.  
Knit one round even.  Repeat the last 2 rounds until there are 2 stitches on each needle.  Take the yarn needle and pull yarn through the remaining stitches.  Weave in ends.

Pick up the 12 stitches for the thumb and put them on 3 needles, 4 stitches on each needle.  K one round and at the end of the round pick up 1 or 2 stitches over the gap.  Close the gap to complete the round.  K in the round until long enough for your thumb to just poke out the top.  K2tog, K1 to the end of the round.  K one round even.  K2tog to the end of the round.  Pull yarn through the remaining stitches.  Weave in ends.

These mitts are really quick to make up.  I finished the first one in about 2 hours.  I like them because they are quick and really warm.  If you make a pair, will you let me know?  I would love to see your mittens.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Comeback

Well, well, well... Looks who's decided to grace this blog with her presence... Stephanie.  To what do we owe the honor?

Look, blog I'm sorry.  I've been really busy.

A likely excuse.  And a common lie for you, isn't it?

Ok, I haven't been that busy.  But I haven't been that interesting either.

Feeling sorry for yourself again?

What? No!


Ok, maybe a little.  But you know, the winter and all that.  It was freezing here-- even for Canada!  And so I haven't been getting out there and trying new things.  And I spend all my time at work, on work.  You know how the fall and winter are.

Why don't you try making a schedule.  That works for other bloggers.  And then people would get your witty repartee again.  If anyone still reads this, that is.

Now, now blog, let's not get nasty...

I'm sorry.  I've been feeling neglected.  You have that other blog that you write on...

I do, but that's for work.  You know that.  You said you wouldn't mind.

I don't, I guess.  But back to that schedule thing...

You are right, I will start a schedule, and make sure I post something, even if I think its innocuous and silly.

Those are the best posts.

Um, thanks?  Anyways, I will post on weekends.  Is that ok?

Its a start.  And better then nothing.

Than.  Better than nothing.

Listen, you better wrap this up, you're starting to correct your own grammar.

Ok.  Well, see you either tomorrow or next weekend.  With something to talk about.  Goodnight.