Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Overdue Craft Post

Okay, so I realize Christmas is long-past, but I wanted to share this jewelry set I made for my sister. I made it not knowing about the new Alice in Wonderland movie, but I couldn't resist the white rabbit pendant!
This one took quite a bit of playing with because I wanted the pendant to hang right. I experimented with two strands on the one side to give it a really assymentrical look, but the beads and pendant were too heavy, making it look wonky. Instead I decided to tie a ribbon in the extra hole on the pendant. I glued the ribbon in place so it wont come undone.
I did up some cute matching earrings to go with it, but I think the necklace is the real show-stopper here.
I also found a cute silver hairband with a bow on it to go with the Alice theme. My sister loved them both and I've since seen her wearing them. I think she even wore them out on her birthday night -- a real honour for me :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Under Pressure

There was an article in the free press today about blood pressure rates in SW Ontario. Apparently high blood pressure is increasingly common among people in their 20's and 30's. This has got me thinking I should have my blood pressure tested before I get too far into my heart health efforts. I figure I shouldn't be too bad, as one of my parents has extremely high blood pressure and the other has extremely low. It balances out for me, right?

Either way, it will be interesting to see if a month of eating for my heart has a measurable effect.

In the meantime, enjoy this throwback video from one of the best bands in the history of the universe. Ever.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

C'est Complet!

I've finally finished my Retro Tree Skirt! I'm very happy with the finished product, but can't believe how big it turned out to be! It was starting to feel like I was making an afghan. Unfortunately I did not finish in time to pack it up with the Christmas decorations -- I'll have to hide it away somewhere that I won't forget about it next Christmas.

It was an excellent pattern, easy to follow and easy to crochet. My only criticism is the size. The pattern did have instructions for a smaller tree skirt and if I were to make another I would go with that. I'm also not sure I would choose the same yarn next time. I picked the Holiday Homespun because I loved (and still love) the colours, but found it snagged easily as I was working with it. I would probably recommend a plain old acrylic yarn for this project (like Bernat Super Value, Red Heart Super Saver or Vanna's Choice). I know some of you crafters are crying "natural fibres, natural fibres," and normally I would agree, but I just don't see spending the extra dough on wool for a tree skirt. Not only will I only use it once a year, but it's going to go on the floor.

I also found my pets were immediately drawn to it the moment I laid it out on the floor! I'm hoping that's just a novelty thing and they wont
start hanging out under the tree (more that they do already) every Christmas.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Year's Objectives

Healthy Eating: Home-grown carrots are delicious AND good for you!

I've been thinking a lot lately about my To-Do Lists and Objectives for 2010. I can't commit to making actual Resolutions because I feel they're always doomed to fail from the outset. My Objectives, however, are many and varied.

Jason came up with the idea that we should make a more conscious effort to keep a tidy house. I agreed, and so we're trying. Not that we're slobs - we're not, but sometimes it can be hard to do housework during the week (and easy to create clutter). We're going to each try to do one chore every day. So far I've been pretty good about getting laundry done. Now if I can also convince myself to sweep the floors and make the bed on a regular basis we'll be a-okay. Jason has been trying to do the dishes more frequently and he's been doing not bad - they seem to be getting done about every other day, which is manageable.

My next objective has been to eat healthier and get more exercise. My recent visit to SupperWorks has been a big help in the healthy eating department, and the Wii has provided many opportunities to exercise. I'm also walking home from work twice a week so Jason can have the car, and so far that's going well too. Losing weight is not part of the objective, but would be a nice side effect. Yesterday my Wii told me I'd gained weight, so I tied all our leftover Christmas chocolates into a plastic bag and threw them in the freezer. They can come out again at Easter.

I am loving the Wii, by the way! I bought Wii Fit because I thought I'd like the yoga, but surprisingly I don't. I LOVE the Obstacle Course (kind of like the show Wipe Out), Hula Hoop, Skate Boarding and Wii Tennis (on Wii Sports, not Wii Fit). All things I am unable to do in real life - except the hula hoop, which is a pretty useless athletic skill.

The healthy eating will become more intense in February, when I will be eating heart healthy for a whole month (and blogging about it).

I've already told you about some of my crafting goals for the year, and I am happy to announce I should be done my Retro Tree Skirt tonight! Just in time to put it in the attic for next year :S I could have called it done last night, but decided to put one last row on there. I'll post pics soon.

Finally, I also have some 5-year goals that need to be met. Last year, when I turned 25, I thought I should make a 5-year bucket list of 10 things I want to do before I turn 30. I only came up with about 8 things, and I can't tell you what they are. Sorry, they're secret - I don't wanna jinx myself! I will tell you what they are as I cross them off the list. Anyhoo, I haven't yet accomplished a single one, so it will be my objective to do two this year.

And I think that's about all I can handle right now. Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? How's that working out??

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Les Tomates

I love tomatoes. I remember when I was very young, eating a big tomato off the plant like an apple. I got canker sores from the acidity, but it was so worth it!

Tomatoes are such a summer treat. They're best at the end of August, when the afternoons are hot but the nights are getting cooler. One of the seasons final gifts before the leaves start to fall. *heart*

While looking at an unexpected seed catalogue that arrived in my mailbox this week, I began to imagine a field of heirloom tomatoes... Reds, greens, purples, blacks & pinks! Imagine a rainbow coloured tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and vigin olive oil drizzled over top. Mmmmm....

There are a few problems with this scenario:

1. My hubby hates tomatoes. I feel that he really doesn't like supermarket tomatoes, which are bred to be tough and bruise resistant, not flavourful. They taste like water and have a gross grainy consistency. Ugh. Unfortunately, I haven't been successful having him give REAL tomatoes a chance.

2. My garden is too small to accomodate a true cornucopia of tomatoes. Two summers ago I planted 3 tomato plants in my raised bed, about 2' apart. They grew to be about 7' tall and 3' wide each. I staked them with fence posts and the still toppled over on one another. There were so many tomatoes they attracted raccoons and I could hear them crunching on green ones at night. I was travelling with work that fall, so Jason had to do all the harvesting and sauce making himself. Tomatoes have since been banned from our garden.

A few plants managed to grow on their own last year in the same spot and they had to be "removed". I managed to save one plant and put it in a pot on the deck. It produced only one tomato (shallow pot), but it was delicious. I sliced it up and put it in a pasta dish.

Our future farm will definitely have a tomato patch -- one to rival all others. In the meantime I'll be drooling over seed catalogues, fantasizing about fresh-off the vine tomates. *Sigh*

Since the seed catalogue that came was from the States, and since it's tomato section left something to be desired, I have ordered a few Ontario seed cattys that I can peruse. We'll see if I can't find a small-ish variety that I can plant this year.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cinnamon Hearts

I was cruising Etsy today and noticed that everything is red, white, pink and heart shaped. It made me think "holy mackerel, is it almost Valentines day?!?!". That's when I realized it's only January 12, and V-day is still more than a month away. It's also something of a random holiday and doesn't require much prep.

That being said, I feel like I kind of dropped the ball at Christmas... I didn't send a single card. I think I shall try to redeem myself for Valentines day. I'll let you know how that works out for me.

For those of you wondering what Etsy is, crawl out from under your rock already and check out the coolest shopping site in the history of the internet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Darn Yarn (and 2010 to do list!)

I had a bit of a yarn crisis this week.

When it comes to knit and crochet patterns, I'm bad for using materials other than what the pattern calls for. Take my tree skirt for instance -- the pattern uses Red Heart Holiday Yarns and a size K crochet hook. I used Lion Brand Holiday Homespun and a size J (0.5mm smaller) crochet hook. My yarn is thicker and going faster, so I need more yarn than the pattern calls for and had to buy more.

Next I'm wanting to make this gorgeous crochet cardigan. I've been shopping for a nice open-sleeve white cardigan to wear over long-sleeved T-shirts. So far I've come up empty handed, until I saw the Capelet Swing Cardi in the same magazine as my tree skirt. It's exactly what I've been looking for, so I want to make it. When I was in Micheals the other day (buying more Holiday Homespun) I saw a very pretty yarn on half price. I thought the Bernat Soft Boucle in Natural would be perfect (so I bought 7 skeins), but the moment I brought it home I started to have doubts. The soft boucle will have more texture and soft fuzz than the Red Heart Eco Ways, but it's a much lighter weight and will make smaller stitches (meaning I'd have to adjust the size to fit my gauge -- ugh). I also REALLY like the look of the sweater on the pattern, and it will look much different with the Boucle.

SO, now I have 7 skeins of Soft Boucle and I need 7 of Eco Ways (which Micheals doesn't have, by the way). I can get it online for about $30 (incl. shipping), but unfortunately for me that's $30 I just don't have at the moment.

My game plan for now is to 1. Finish the Tree Skirt, 2. Clean the Craft Room (aka the Craft Pile right now!) and then re-evaluate. I have a number of other started projects I can work on for January and then maybe start the cardi in February.

Some started (but not complete) knit/crochet projects:

1. My Mittens
2. The Dreaded Afghan
3. Saw Tooth Skirt

Started but not complete sewing:

1. Summer Sun Dress

Started but not complete scrapbooking:

1. Mini Engagement Album
2. Wedding Album (oy!)
3. Mini Christmas Album
4. Camping Trip

If I get all those done it will be next Christmas before my dream cardi sees the light of day.

Side-note: I LOVE the Crochet Today! magazine I picked up before Christmas. It is SO inspiring! I usually don't buy knitting/crochet books or magazines because there are only one or two patterns that I like, but I am liking ALL of them! It's really taking crochet places for me.