Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Felted Bowl

I finished knitting a Felted Bowl last night, the pattern is from One Skein (which I borrowed from the library). I used Cascade Yarn's Ecological 100% Peruvian Highland Wool undyed & 10 mm double pointed needles. 

Above is the knitted bowl before felting, Madison thought it made a pretty good hat and even agreed to model it for me. You can see how loosely knit it is.
And this is the bowl after felting it in the washing machine with hot water, a tiny bit of soap and about 15-20 minutes of agitation. I dried it over a bowl so that it would take the shape I wanted.
And here it is still wet but I couldn't wait to take the picture. Its a bit more "hairy" that I wanted it to be but overall I'm happy with it.
However, I do have all this fabulous wool roving that I could use to needle felt some kind of design or picture onto the bowl. And before I knit another one I want to dye the wool some different colours using this . . . I guess I'm not done yet after all!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rainbow Procion Dyeing Tutorial

(picture courtesy BTRT)

Lori of Beneath the Rowan Tree has an amazing Rainbow Procion Dyeing Tutorial for purchase from her Etsy shop that I really wanted to share. This is something I am going to do but, only after I finish up some of my current works in progress!

Its a 10 page tutorial for creating colourful rainbow items, which are suitable for all plant fiber which includes cotton, bamboo, hemp etc. The tutorial includes 20+ pictures, clear, detailed instructions and loads of tips & tricks. It will walk you through dyeing a pair of cotton tights, but is applicable to anything at all: clothing, sheets, wraps and more. The tutorial provides information on dyeing with Procion (fiber reactive) dyes. The tutorial costs $6.50 (USD), and will be emailed to you in a PDF file. The tutorial itself and all the content and images are copyright of BTRT but it can be used to make items for commercial purposes.

How cool is this, oh the possibilities . . !

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little House on the Prairie

I love Little House on the Prairie, always have and always will. I'm not ashamed of this, rather I'm proud of my love for the Ingalls family and all of their pioneer ways. 

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about 
(who doesn't?) Little House on the Prairie is an American one-hour dramatic tv show about the life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the 19th century American West. It was a very loose adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's best-selling series of Little House on the Prairie books. 

Check out this, the introduction & music from the series, for a little nostalgic throw back. When I was growing up I used to love to pretend play "Little House" complete with pioneer dress up and chores.
I have reserved from our public library The Complete Television Series! How amazing is this, I can watch it again with the kids. 
We will definitely have to get some copies of the books because we love books around here.

And I think this means yet another sewing project to make some bonnets from this pattern from Amy Karol(aka Angry Chicken).

And this also means a family trip this summer to Upper Canada Village Heritage Park which is an 1860's village complete with a mill, trade shops, farms, churches, homes, factories and even a one-room schoolhouse. Oh ya we'll be going there!

I really think that I was meant to be born in the 19th century!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mom's Words of Wisdom

This is something I have been wanting to do for a while, even though the kids are only 5, 3 & 1 and none of them can read yet, I wanted to frame Mom's "Words of Wisdom" as a gentle reminder for them. I used a Martha Stewart Crafts Keepsake Collector Box and hung it over the kitchen doorway. 

The idea is that I will post my motherly advice and other famous quotes and words of wisdom for the kids to see, read and ponder on. I'm hoping this subtle reminder that they have to walk under repeatedly will get my message across. Hopefully as they grow older it will reflect what is going on in their lives. 

For example, right now I am trying to teach Madison that "All You Can Do is Your Best" and as long as you are doing your best nothing else matters.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Madison's Sweater

I'm back from my March Break - Break and I'm happy to report that I completed a couple of craft projects, half started some more, got lots of spring cleaning and organizing done and did some really fun stuff with the kids. I'll share some more in later posts. 

I finally finished knitting my silly leg warmers. I will post some pictures but I desperately need a pedicure before these feet are posing for any pictures!

This is my next knitting project, which a couple of the Crafty Mammas are going to knit too, which is great cause I'm going to need some help with this one. Its a sweater for Madison, knit with purple chunky wool from King Cole pattern # 3035. The ETC (Estimated Time of Completion) is approximately Fall 2009. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Break - Break

I'm taking a March Break - Break from blogging and using the time to hang out with the kids, get some spring cleaning and organizing done and of course some crafting. Hopefully I'll have some finished projects and maybe a tutorial to share when I return next week!

Friday, March 13, 2009

She's Back, Feel'in Good & Ready to Go

This is the crown I made for Madison last night and this morning, for "hat day" at school. The pattern is from Amanda Blake Soule's book The Creative Family. Its actually her Birthday crown which is why it has 5 stars. Although she doesn't look happy and refused to pose for the picture she did really love it. I made one for Gabe's 1st Birthday and now Carter needs to pick the colours of felt he wants for his.

Okay, seriously I love felt, I love all the colours it comes in, I love how it cuts, I love sewing it by hand and especially how forgiving it is. I have accumulated quite a pile but the thing is I can justify it because I use it all the time. Its got endless possibilities and not just for kid stuff. 
Just one of my craft obsessions but, now on to the next . . .

She's back from the Sewing Machine Hospital (seriously that's what its called), she's feel'in good and she's ready to go, my sewing machine that is. I've cleared off my craft table entirely (that's a feat in itself) and I've got my cutting mat and rotary cutter all ready to go for . . .

These thrifted pillow cases and soft flannel blanket to make a Cuddle Blanket for Gabriel. Did I mention that I also acquired a walking foot while at the sewing machine repair shop? 
And there are many, many other sewing projects in the works, I hope she had a good rest cause I'm gonna give'er a good go!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Look What I Made

I finally got around to making myself a needle book to house my scissors and favourite sewing needles and pins. I got really tired of not having everything all together. And I finally bought one of the small tape measures where you push the button and it winds itself up, since the kids love to play with my other one and I never know where it is (dangerous, I know).

The Owl Scissor pocket pattern is from Betz White's Warm Fuzzies book, its meant for the "who-has-my-scissors craft apron" but I thought it would be perfect for my "who-has-my-scissors-needles and measuring tape needle book".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Home is Where the Art Is"

The featured article in Mothering Magazine's March-April 09 issue is Crafty Mamas written by Jean Van't Hull. Its about how, "Everyday objects are elevated to the sublime in the art and blogs of five creative women."

The five featured women are:
  1. Amanda Blake Soule - who blogs as SouleMama & is the author of The Creative Family How to Encourage Imagination and Nuture Family Connections
  2. Sally Shim - who blogs at Shim and Sons
  3. Amy Karol - who blogs as Angry Chicken & is the author of Bend-the-Rules-Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
  4. Stephanie Congdon Barnes - she blogs at stephaniecongdonbarnes.blogspot.com & has published A Year of Mornings - 3191 Miles Apart: A Photographic Collaboration
  5. Eren San Pedro - aka Vintage Chica who blogs at vintagechica.typepad.com
Look at the above picture of Soulemama's studio space, how I covet it.
The article talks about how there is an entire movement of stay-at-home moms making things themselves rather than buying them, thrifting & re-purposing, trying to simplify their lives and re-connecting with nature. Van't Hul writes, that the movement involves stay-at-home moms "reaching out with or extending that creativity, through writing and photography, via their own blogs." She puts in perfectly in her article, "Blogs often serve a dual purpose of sharing information about crafts, and providing a welcome avenue for networking and "getting out of the house," if only via the keyboard".

Once again Mothering Magazine "hits the nail on the head", the article perfectly describes and explores the reasons why I started to read blogs and why I started my own. There is a community of stay-at-home mothers that are connected via their computers not only by their love for their children but, by a love for all things handmade. There is a movement of re-connection to home economics, a whole generation is re-learning traditional crafting and teaching it to their children and sharing it with others through their blogs.

For me, the skills and knowledge of breastfeeding, sewing, quilting, knitting and food preservation skipped a generation. My grandmothers did these things, albeit out of necessity, but they did not pass the skills on to my parents. Now, it seems that the generations that follow are trying to reach back into time and re-learn these invaluable domestic skills and pass them on to their children. The difference is, now the necessity of it all isn't the Great Depression its a commitment to a green lifestyle.

I tie my apron strings around my waist with pride!

:: Wow, that was a long post and I even wanted to write more! Really, just buy the magazine and read the article (or you can borrow mine).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Simoninigan Approved Music

I wanted to share some of the music the kids have and I have been listening to lately and loving. They are Simoninigan approved for your listening enjoyment and in no particular order:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Like Mother Like Daughter

Much to my amusement and liking Madison loves to do everything I do, say everything I say, go where I go, eat what I eat, wear what I wear and so forth. As much as I want and encourage her to develop her own personality I do love the fact that she loves to copy me so much. They say that a child's strongest influence is the same sex parent. That is a lot of responsibility and pressure sometimes but, it is also such an opportunity and privilege. Unfortunately, she has also developed an addiction to chocolate and all things sweet just like Mommy.

We recently got matching recipe boxes with fairies on them (of course). Organizing my recipes is something I have been meaning to do for a while now but I couldn't find the right box and cards to inspire the laborious endeavor. Well now I have found them and Madi had to have her own, she loves to sit beside me and copy her recipes down too.
And these are the best . . . matching Amy Butler craft caddies! She has her embroidery and felt in hers and I currently have my knitting in mine. Although I usually don't buy anything new when I saw these I knew we had to have them, how could I resist the pink Amy Butler design?

WIP Update 
  • I finally finished one leg warmer and even though I vowed not to make the second I have cast it on my needles.
  • I finally cleared off my craft table to make room for my sewing machine but, sadly she is broken, her tension is off and the thread keeps breaking. I even brought her to the local quilting store and they couldn't get her going. So off to the sewing machine clinic she goes for a well deserved rest & repair.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rainbow Brooch

I surprised Madison with a Rainbow Broach today, she was so happy to have something handmade by Mommy. I love it when I find someone to wear my creations (thank you Madi & Nannie). She wore it to school and was prouder than a peacock.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fort Simoninigan

4 chairs + 2 blankets = 3 happy children
This is Madison's "Girl Club" behind our bar. It is very elaborately set up & everything has a certain place. If someone goes in and moves something she knows right away. Entrance requires a secret password, I know it but I am sworn to secrecy.
Carter's forts are just as elaborate as his sister's but his are so imaginative, he will tell you all about it and show you around but don't try to go in!
If there is one thing the Simoninigans like to do its build forts. Plus, according to Madison I am an expert fort builder and repairer. 
  • Sometimes the forts are a simple blanket over a chair and sometimes they are extremely elaborate with different rooms set up. 
  • Sometimes they build them together and sometimes they are as unique and individual as their personalities and require a secret password to get in. 
  • Sometimes we, oops I mean they, have snack time or lunch in their forts and one time we even ate our dinner under the dining room table fort! 
  • Sometimes they only last a little while and sometimes they stay set up for days.
And no one ever knows what will happen in the fort, I've witnessed tea parties, dragon fighting, giving birth to dolls (with Carter as the midwife!) and all sorts of shenanigans.  I love how all they need is the blanket and maybe the pillow from their bed to make their imaginations soar. 

One thing is for sure, I love fort building as much as my kids do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tie One On is Back!

Here's the new Tie One On theme from Angry Chicken- make an apron spending no $! 

You have to use existing materials which means absolutely no buying any kind of materials, supplies or fabric. You have 2 months to sew your creation, jpegs must be sent by April 30th and the gallery will be up early May. 

The idea is to make aprons to show and tell. Every few months there is a different theme. Submissions must be new creations, not purchased or existing vintage ones.  You don't need to join or do anything special to be a part of Tie One On, you just e-mail Angry Chicken your apron submission as an attached jpeg by the deadline, with a blog or e-mail link (optional) and any info you want added.

Oh ya! This is right up my alley. I love aprons. I love thrifting them, I love wearing them, I love gifting them, I love sewing them and I love that I'm not the only one!