November 21st, 2008 - New Neighbour
My neighbours recently welcomed a second child to their family so a few little gifts were in order. They knew ahead of time that they were having a boy, so I didn't have to make anything gender neutral.
Pattern: Sneaker Booties
Yarn: Sublime Yarns Cashmere Merino Silk DK (white) and Zarina (blue)
These turned out really cute, but admittedly the pattern was a little fiddly while trying to use the magic loop. I ended up switching the dpns for the bottom of the booties.
Pattern: Yet another Umbilical Hat from Stitch and Bitch Nation.
Yarn: Filtes King Extra
I just cannot get enough of this pattern. It is quick, so cute, and the recipients usually really love them
The final gift was a silk screened onesie that I did with the freezer paper method. This one appealed more to dad's sense of humour, although mom laughed pretty hard too.
Unfortunately the little one had to spend a bit of time in the NICU, but he is home now and completely healthy. And cute as a button! Congratulations S and J!
November 17th, 2008 - Backyard Views
It is cold and icky here today, and they are calling for snow showers tonight (I thought it wasn't supposed to snow here? That was one of the arguments TJ used to convince me to move down here. Grrr. So to cheer myself up I thought I would look back at some of the pictures I have taken in our backyard over the last little while.
Our ever present friends
9 or 10 members of a turkey family
Hail storm in the darkness of night. The light is from a lightning strike
There. I feel better now.
November 15th, 2008 - Spooky
So I am a little late posting my halloween decorating, but hey, better late than never. This is the obviously the first halloween in this house, so I had fun coming up with a few new outside ideas.
I did some cobwebs on the plants and front door, as well as some caution tape on the columns. On the front of the railings there are "Trick or Treat" sticky letters, along with our pumpkins.
The legs under the garage door worked well this year because our street doesn't have any streetlights, so the kids couldn't see the legs until the last minute. It scared one of the little ones, but after she took a good kick to one of the boots she seemed to be ok.
When TJ's mom was visiting she suggested that we try these polka-dot pumpkins she saw in a magazine. Using an apple corer you punch holes and keep the piece, and then alternate the colours. I think they turned out well!
Each year for the last three years TJ and I have had an informal Miller Carve-Off for our pumpkins. We ran out of time to come up with something really creative this year, but here are the results.
Mine was a bird on a nest laying "eggs" (baby pumpkins).
And TJ's was a skull and crossbones done from a pattern. We decided that mine won from a creativity standpoint, but T's was the overall winner because the kids and their parents loved it.
We didn't have a lot of kids because we live up a mountain and people don't like to climb the steep road. But it was great weather and we sat out afterwards for a campfire with our neighbours, which is always a good time.
Thanks all for the feedback on TJ's quilt. I will indeed put together a tutorial soon for you all.
November 11th, 2008 - Special Birthday
This year was an important birthday for TJ and I really wanted to do something special for him. I wanted the whole day to be celebratory, so spread out the gifts and surprises as much as possible.
First thing he got was a new pair of socks.
Yarn: Austermann Step
Needles: US 2
Pattern: Generic Toe Up
TJ likes to wear hand knit socks instead of slippers around the house. I have darned a few other socks so he was more than overdue for another pair.
TJ's Mom, Grandma and her husband were able to come down to visit us over his birthday, so I convinced them to take him out shopping for a while in the morning. While he was gone I worked on his cake and also hung up a whole bunch of his car posters in his garage (I framed them all with poster frames from Michael's). I also had ordered some different supplies from Griot's Garage which I set up in front of the posters. That way when he came home just after lunch he had his second surprise.
He thought this was it, but my big surprise was yet to come. T used to run track and cross-country competitively, and he has a ton of t-shirts left from various races and events. Most of these are either worn out or too small now, so I decided to turn them all into a keepsake.
One BIG, 6ftx6ft warm cuddly quilt.
(Sorry for the wonky picture, it is really hard to photograph something this large.)
He was really surprised and really liked it. We have been able to use it a lot since, as it has gotten quite cool in the evenings and we keep our heat low.
I took a lot of pictures of the progress of making the quilt - is anyone interested in a tutorial?
I also made plans for dinner, which TJ believed was just going to be family. I arranged to have a couple friends from town join us as well.
Thanks S for taking the picture!
And as one final surprise, his birthday cake was a little different this year.
It's our Mini! Well, sort of anyway. I had wanted to do it out of fondant but there was just not anywhere near enough time. I thought this turned out ok nonetheless, and I even managed to get the hood scoop and strips pretty close to the correct location.
I know that he was really happy with everything, especially being able to spend his birthday with his family. He is incredibly special and important to me, so I really wanted to make it memorable. Happy birthday baby!
PS - In Canada today it is Remembrance Day. Please take a moment to remember all those who have served in the World Wars and others. I have been lucky enough to get to know the gentleman in the centre of the picture above, who is a WWII veteran, and learn about the horrors that they endured for our freedom. Lest We Forget - Never Again.
November 8th, 2008 - Sporty
Over the last few weeks TJ and I have been lucky enough to attend some really great sporting events. It started in early October when we got to go see the Detroit Red Wings play the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.
T and I are both pretty big hockey fans, but as anyone who has lived in Toronto knows, getting Leafs tickets is all about who you know and how much money you have. If you do manage to find tickets you need to fork over your left arm in order to pay for them. As a result I have only been to two Leafs games, one at the Gardens and one at the ACC.
Tickets in Carolina however are much easier and reasonably priced. A good friend of ours got us some great tickets (thanks B!)
A few weeks after the Detroit game I got to see the Leafs play as well. Two hockey games in a month now ties all the games I saw in my life in Toronto. As an awesome bonus we got a chance to go down on the ice after the game as well.
Yup, that's us and the zamboni. As close as I will get to the Canadian dream of driving it. The big problem I am having now is that I have been a Leafs fan since I was 4. And while I will never give up cheering for them, I also find myself cheering for the Canes too. So being at the last game was really tough, I was very torn. I think the next time I go it can't be a Toronto game.
Hockey being the Canadian sport of choice, I also got to see the American sport of choice (at least around here) for the first time. NASCAR baby!
Yup, we live right in the heart of Nascar country. We went down to Martinsville for the fall race there, and we had an absolute ball. I could not get over how many people were there and all the vendors you could check out.
Luckily we went with B, who since moving here from Calgary has been several times, and knows all the ins and outs to making it a great experience. The noise is absolutely incredible, and we got to use scanners (the fancy earmuffs everyone is wearing) so you could listen to the drivers talking to their pit crews.
Martinsville is a very short track, so there were quite a few single car crashes. Nothing major though.
I loved how all the trucks in the pit were lined up by colour. I don't know if that was done on purpose, but still neat.
We loved the race enough that we are hoping to go back in the spring, and also check out Bristol which is also supposedly a great track. Look at me fitting in. Next thing you know I will be saying y'all.
November 5th, 2008 - Sweet Little Things
Well it looks like from the below responses daily stuff is good to go. I will of course leave the comments open for anyone else who would like to weigh in.
A few weeks ago a co-worker friend of TJ's had her first baby, a perfect little boy. I know that there is always excitement when a baby enters a family, but this one was particularly sweet and anticipated. I have never met her, but have heard great things about her, so I wanted to make her something small but sweet to let her know we were thinking of her.
Ah, my favourite baby pattern. It is always well received by Moms and Dads alike, and the babies don't seem to mind wearing them either.
Pattern: Umbilical Hat
Yarn: Berroco Comfort
Needles: US 7 Magic Loop
I also made a little card to go along with the gift.
I got a very sweet note from her in the mail thanking me and saying she really hopes to meet me some day. The whole thing was quite sweet. The word of the day.
I have taken to posting thank you notes that I receive from people on my inspiration board in my studio. I suppose that is sort of conceited, but I like looking at them to remind me that people do still appreciate hand made items. What do you do with your thank you notes?
November 4th, 2008 - Blog Reader's Opinions
Wow, time seriously got away from me there. I have some major blog catch up to do, that's for sure.
But I have had a thought, and I want to see what you think. I am thinking of creating another branch of my blog for my day to day life stuff, and keeping this blog strictly for craft and photography. What do you think? Do you come here for the craft only? Do you like the day to day stuff? I know my family does, but what about my other readers? Thoughts?