Crafting for Kids

This year I decided to vow that I would make more of the gifts for Christmas. I also vowed to do this last year but just never got around to until it was too late to even bother!
I’m happy to say that I have started work on one of the gifts I hope to give to my daughters. They share a very cute pink, white and blue striped room. I even made faux wainscotting and put that on the bottom of their walls. However they have no cute, girly decor or accents in their room.
Enter:

20140305-150429.jpg
This photo shows some of my current progress on the Once Upon a Time Sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.
I haven’t ever successfully completed a cross stitch, though I have attempted and failed more times than I’d like to admit. I just didn’t “get” it, much like crochet actually. After trying and quitting many times over, something finally just clicked!
So far I am very happy with how it’s turning out and I look forward to the first of each month when the new patterns come out. I am currently behind, but I didn’t decide I wanted to actually try this until mid February. By the time I had my supplies hunted down it was only a couple days before March. I’m hoping to complete the patterns for both February (partially done above) and January this month. And then March and April next month. Any spare time in either month I will devote to trying to finish the framing and squares so that I can just worry about the monthly pattern.
When it’s all done I will be framing it to hang on their bedroom wall, since it won’t be done until December it will be a perfect Christmas gift for them. I may have to come up with my own custom frame too since I doubt any of the stores here will have one that fits it properly.

Meal Plan Monday

I honestly suck at figuring out what to make for supper. Breakfast is fine and lunch is easy, but supper always seems to elude me. I want suppers to be somewhat healthy but still tasty and things that I know my kids will actually eat. I found a website called Dashing Dish. It has free recipes, but also lots of delicious recipes in the members area, so I joined and have access to all those great new meal ideas.
This week I figured that I would plan out what we will eat for supper so I could do proper grocery shopping. It will cut down on the trips my fiancé needs to make to the store after work, will cut down on the amount of quick, crappy food we eat. And hopefully as I get better at meal planning, it will save us some extra cash.
I tried to meal plan once before, using Pinterest. But I have come to find that Pinterest is really like a black hole for me. I get started pinning recipes for supper and end up on a board full of pretty shoes or knitting patterns. Hours later, I still have no clue what we are having for supper but I have months worth of crafting queued up and a wishlist of shoes, clothes and books a mile long.
I’m planing from Monday to Sunday, and including a meal for Sunday. Most Sundays we have a family supper with my fiancé’s family though, so if that’s the case the Sunday meal will just get bumped to Monday. If a meal happens to be one of the free ones I will hyperlink the recipe to it for you!

Monday
Slow Cooked Peach Chicken with rice
Tuesday
Deep Dish Cheeseburger Pie with assorted veggies
Wednesday
Three Cheese Slow Cooked Macaroni and Cheese
Thursday
Three Bean Chili
Friday
Chicken Pot Pie Muffins with mashed potatoes
Saturday
Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili
Sunday
Pizza Burger with salad

On the chili nights I may make homemade buns or biscuits because chili and a bread product go together like peanut butter and jelly. But aside from that I’ve added a side dish of veggies or rice or whatever I felt might match with the main dish each night. We’ve not yet tried any of these recipes so I will be sure to report back on how they went over next Monday when I lay out our next meal plan!

March Goals!

I’ve decided that in order to have any semblance of a plan of attack, I should have a list of goals each month. Then at the end of each month, I can go back and look and see how much of what I wanted to do actually got accomplished and where I didn’t necessarily flourish.
My first goal of the month is to sit down tonight and get my last couple listings wrote up so that I can say I officially opened my Etsy shop on March 1st!
I have a list of UFO’s that I need to complete, all in various stages of “doneness.” 1. Horse hat 2. Gumball Hat 3. Herringbone Neck Warmer 4. Scarf for homeless.
I have a list of new items I need to make for my Etsy store, I went through this morning to see what items I needed to order yarn for and I have placed that order so I can get those items dealt with. This includes some Amigurumi work, baby booties, leg warmers and some fun neck accessories.
I have 4 items that I would like to cast/hook on this month that are personal projects. Knitabulls is hosting a stitch surfer sock KAL in March. Technically I haven’t finished my first pair of socks, but I think with all the help and her tutorials that I may just be able to do it. I love the way they look and have been dying to own a pair. This is my lofty goal…so I’m hoping to get them cast on and off, but we will see once I browse the tutorial videos. I also would like to hook up another couple dishcloths to add to my gifting dishcloth stash. The last thing I’d like to cast on this month for myself is the Hanois Cowl on Ravelry. I ordered a very pretty skein of hand dyed yarn from my friends shop on Etsy, ChaoticYarns. I think it will look great in this cowl and there should be enough yardage left to also make myself a pair of fingerless gloves or wristers to match.
I would like to actually get some sewing in this month! I need some project bags and have had the fabric to make them for months now, so it’s time to buckle down and get at them. I also need a new hook and needle roll, so it would be wonderful to be able to stitch those up too.
I got the linen and embroidery threads to do my Once Upon a Time Sampler last week. This morning I woke up to have the March square in my inbox, so my plan for March is to finish both the March and February squares so in April I can work on January and Aprils. I have some of the “framework” stitches in, but I think I will try to work on the frame section that goes with whatever square I’m currently working on. I will be framing this and gifting it to my daughters for Christmas as their combined Christmas gift, so very excited to see how it turns out and to make progress on it!
I am going to try to exercise 3 days a week this month, plus start a morning “get energized and stretched out for the day” routine. I need to clear the treadmill off before the end of the weekend because my first run will be Monday.
Along with exercising my body, I have a goal to read 2 books this month. One a self help style book, called “The Success Principals” by Jack Canfield. I have it on Kobo so I can read from my phone or iPad. I also want to read “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey. I bought it in paperback well over a year ago and haven’t stopped to make the time to read it yet.
So, those are my main goals this month. Being able to accomplish them will require me to be more vigilant in other areas of my life, like house keeping and meal planning. But I think it will all work out, and I am going to work hard to make it all work out. Stick with me, and watch my journey through March unfold!

A Productive Week

I feel like I’m on the ball, not so much with blogging, but with a lot of other aspects of my life. I did a whole lot of “making all the things” this week, so let’s do a recap.

20140222-194459.jpg

20140222-194510.jpg
When ruffle yarn first came out, like many people I jumped on the ruffle scarf bandwagon. I bought a ball in every colour there was. Then, I made my first ruffle scarf. I had just learned to crochet so I was ecstatic to have something that actually looked like something. I then immediately made another ruffle scarf. I decided that I would move on and try something else but keep making ruffle scarves in between projects. After crocheting my first cloth and my first hat, I decided I really disliked crocheting with the ruffle yarn. I hid it all in my giant stash pile for over a year. This year I pulled it all out and made another ruffle scarf, the feelings of hatred for the yarn immediately rose in me. I put the yarn away again. Until now. Bound and determined to find a use for it I decided to finger crochet some cute chained infinity scarves out of the ruffle yarn. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and while they aren’t warm cowls by any means, I now have a colourful stack of fashion infinity scarves ready, and have gotten rid of all the ruffle yarn I owned. And it feels great!

20140222-195516.jpg
I finished most of this owl hat. It still needs it’s owl beak but I didn’t have my orange yarn out at the time that I was finishing it up. This hat is part of a custom order for a baby girl.

20140222-195719.jpg

20140222-195737.jpg
I took a little break in my regular custom order schedule to create these 2 cute hats. I do have my Etsy store basically set up, I’m just lacking the product to photograph for it because I’ve been so busy working on custom orders. I’m very happy with how these hats turned out and I really love the colour combinations.

20140222-200859.jpg
One of my favourite projects of the week. This was a custom order for a newborn baby girl. I tried out a different style for this owl and really love how it turned out. My kids have all asked for one already. The booties have a special place in my heart because I really wish I could make a pair for myself, hahaha. I hate sewing on buttons because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and they have to be in the exact right spot and the holes on the buttons need to be lined up. The finished product is definitely worth the button hassle.
I’m still working on my scarf for the less fortunate, it’s at least doubled in size from the picture last week. I’m quite happy with the progress.

As for the rest of life this week, it’s been pretty good. No one was sick, the kids helped clean, everyone got along. Well, as much as you can expect them too. I found a cleaning schedule poster on the internet that I’m going to employ this week I believe, to see if it is enough for our family.

20140222-212115.jpg
I have meal planned my suppers for the week so tomorrow at some point in time I will be going grocery shopping. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. The gold medal Olympic hockey game starts at 6am. And we’re making breakfast for it. Right now we are watching UFC so it’s going to be a late night as well. I expect afternoon naps for everyone tomorrow!

This Week in Stitches

I haven’t really had a ton of time in the last little while to do a bunch of crafting. I’ve been busy trying to clean and organize the house and get caught up on a bunch of housework so that I can spend time doing crafts! Yay! Here’s a quick look at things I managed to work on this week.
20140214-164909.jpg
A custom order knight hat with removable face mask. I have seen some of these floating around on different sites but being the difficult person I am, I had to struggle through and make my own pattern. The Mohawk on top and the face mask both were done with yarn held double to make it a bit more stiff.
20140214-165127.jpg
20140214-165138.jpg
I made this set of amigurumi owls as a custom order as well. Again, I made the pattern up as I went. Having never made an owl before (I’ve only made amigurumi monsters) I was a little terrified. I am very happy with the outcome and heard they were a hit with the recipient.
20140214-165421.jpg
The start of a newborn owl hat to match a set of booties that I had already completed and are awaiting me to sew on buttons. The hat needs it’s owl face and then the set will be ready to be photographed and sent off to the person gifting it.
20140214-165628.jpg
20140214-165643.jpg
The pictures above are of my old yarn stash. This is stuff I bought when I first started, most of which isn’t quite the quality of yarn I would use to make items to sell. However, this stash still needs to be used, so I’ve determined this year I will try and work my way through it as much as I possibly can. I went through and decided that I will be making scarves for the less fortunate out of a good majority of it. This year a few people in my town got together and knit scarves for the homeless in our area. I wasn’t able to work any up, because I was overwhelmed with life, but they will be doing it next year as well. They will be accepting donations all year long, so I figure I might as well start. I think this year they managed to have 70 scarves or so and apparently they were all claimed within 2 hours. With all the stash yarn I have that I need to use, I’m aiming to be able to make at least 20 scarves myself. They will mostly be garter or simple patterns as this is going to be my distracted knitting or things I can quickly put down if kids need my help. But I may be able to try out new stitch patterns and techniques as we go!
I also have some that I set aside because it’s variegated and aimed more at kids. This is going to get knit up into newborn and preemie baby hats and I will drop them off at the local hospital. It feels amazing to have a purpose for these skeins of yarn that would otherwise go unused by me. I wouldn’t be able to just toss them either though, as I’d feel guilty I had wasted money on all this yarn.
Now, as for the cotton, well that is going to be made into kitchen accessories and gifted to adults as needed. It’s not a nice enough cotton to get away with using it for anything but kitchen goods or facial scrubs/reusable makeup remover pads.
20140214-170638.jpg
The first of what I hope to be many scarves for the homeless and less fortunate. Because everyone deserves to be warm!
In other news, the baby is sick right now, he has a cold and is teething like crazy. It’s kind of aggravating because he’s a pretty clingy baby to begin with and when he’s sick he becomes even more so. He did get a good nap in in his swing this afternoon for an hour and a half, so that was nice.
I almost have the house back in order. I’ve been busy trying to get it to a point where if I do about 45 mins of work a day it will stay clean. Leave me more time to work on orders and work on ready to ship stuff for Etsy. I am horrible with time management so it’s one of the things I’m working on this year. I know in my head that it makes more sense to spend half an hour a day working on dishes and laundry or sweeping than spending all weekend doing it, but knowing and doing are two completely different things!
I’ve also been on a bit of a hiatus from buying yarn. Self imposed because otherwise I’d drown myself in it. I haven’t bought any yarn this year so far. I’ve given myself very strict rules for when I do have to place an order for supplies to continue creating custom orders and supplying my Etsy store with cute handmade goods. I haven’t had to place that first order yet though. When I do have to place it it is going to be a test of all kinds of willpower. We will cross that bridge when we finally get there. But, since it’s Valentine’s I should probably get busy figuring out what’s going on for supper and this evening.
Enjoy your weekend crafters 🙂

Weekend Warrior Oct 4-6

It’s Fridaaaay! That means a weekend to do list. I do manage to get more done on weekends as the other half is around and can help entertain kids or have a nap with the baby while I work on stuff uninterrupted.

20131004-192344.jpg
This weekend I will be getting in as much crochet as possible to fill the orders I got while waiting for my yarn order to come! I would love to get 3 or 4 items crossed off the order list.

I also have plans to bake and freeze a couple dozen buns and muffins. I’d like to get a few logs of cookie dough made up and rolled out for freezing for future days where I have no time to make kids school snacks. I hate having to buy snack foods from the store for them.

I have a couple fall themed crafts that I’d like to accomplish with the kids at some point too. They love to do crafts, so I think they will be pretty happy to get to do some. I’m trying to get it planned out so that we can do one small craft each day of the weekend, it’s some quality time together that doesn’t involve the tv and that builds skills and confidence and creativity.

There is some sewing I’d like to get done too. I have a skirt to make for each of the girls and if time permits I’d love to be able to get a pair of flannel pants done up for each of the boys. My poor large baby is having issues with most store bought baby pants because he has the cutest rolly baby thunder thighs ever!

So there it is. My weekend plans. On Monday we shall see how much I actually managed to get accomplished. You know what they say about best laid plans. And I know my ability to get distracted, and my children’s ability to get me off track. (Which is fine. That happens when you have 4 children 7 and under!)

Get Baked!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
originally from cleaneatingonline.com

    3/4 cup sugar substitute (or 1 cup sugar!)
    1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup pumpkin
    1/4 cup water
    1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin tin. (I spray mine as I find the muffins stick to the paper too much!)

Mix sugar, applesauce & eggs in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin and water. (I do ALL the mixing in my mixer bowl because I hate dishes and it works just as well.)
20131003-181940.jpg
In a separate bowl (unless you’re like me) mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
20131003-182114.jpg
Stir in chocolate chips.
20131003-182258.jpg
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (I use a 1/4 measuring cup.) Bake 20 minutes.
20131003-182414.jpg
Tada! Super delicious, semi healthy and very fall with the pumpkin and spices! Enjoy, try not to eat them all in one sitting.
Note: I doubled the recipe for my pictures, in case anything looks funny. There is no point in me only cooking one batch at a time!
20131003-182630.jpg
Yum 🙂

Love List: October 2

Dogs in Clothing and Accessories!
1.
Woof in Sheep’s Clothing
20131002-214619.jpg
2. Lion Mane
20131002-215313.jpg
3. Magical Unicorn Hat
20131002-215613.jpg
4. Dog Coat
20131002-220418.jpg
5. Dog Leg Warmers
20131002-221048.jpg
6. Bear Snood
20131002-221524.jpg
7. Mini Hat
20131002-221843.jpg
8. Mohawk Hoodie
20131002-222247.jpg
9. Dog Wig
20131002-222942.jpg
10.
Dress Coat
20131002-223346.jpg

Do I necessarily agree with dressing your dog? I am still iffy on it, but does it make me laugh or bring a smile to my face to see dogs in clothes? Heck yes. This is why dogs in clothes made my love list!

Try It Tuesday!

This week I’m debuting new features for the blog as I’m getting organized in life and also more busy. Each Tuesday I’m going to try something that I’ve been wanting to try, but not “had the time” for. It could be anything. A new experience. A new craft. A new recipe. A new technique. Whatever it is, it will be something from my “want to do” list.

This weeks “try it” is daily journal type books for my kids. The intention is that every day they will write or draw something. It may be free choice or I may ask them to go along with a topic. I didn’t want these journals to be huge because sometimes they may be doing this between supper and bedtime. I didn’t want to give them too much free space or they would be there forever!
20131001-172754.jpg
I had a pad of photo mats for scrapbooking and I decided when folded in half it was the perfect size for their little journals.
20131001-173005.jpg
Then I folded some blank paper and cut it along the centre score lines so that there were 4 pieces and each piece folded in half lengthwise. Doing this to 2 regular pieces of printer paper yielded 32 blank surfaces for drawing. Perfect since there are 31 days in the month.
20131001-173303.jpg
After I had them cut I stacked them inside the folded cover. Then I stapled through to hold the papers in and numbered them from 1 to 31! Easy peasy! And the kids love them. They are drawing today’s picture right now. It’s kind of like art journaling for kids. As the month progresses I may do an update and show some of their artwork off. We will have to wait and see.