Gift of Giving Giveaway!

At the very end of my last post you may have noticed I snuck in the word giveaway. I meant to put this up sooner… I took the pictures for it a week ago but first I was sick and then I was drunk and then I was hungover and then I was lazy and then I was overcome by a sudden urge to remove wallpaper and then I thought that after all that hard work I deserved a day of shopping out of town. All those things have happened since I said giveaway, and finally here I am and here it is!

So what is up for grabs here today? Have I ever mentioned that I have been known to do a bit of beadwork when the mood strikes?

Item number one: A largish carabiner keychain (about 2″ long) custom beaded by me.

Beaded Keychain 1

Item number two (and three): Two mini carabiners (about 1″ long), both also custom beaded by me.

beaded keychain 2

A note about how I make these keychains. The area where they are going to be beaded is first wrapped in hockey tape so that the beads have something to grip to. I coat my thread in bees wax before beading with it to increase the strength of the thread and the ends are woven in several different directions before being snipped and glued in place so there is little chance of them unraveling. These all said “do not use for climbing”, but I covered that up with beads so please don’t try to scale any mountains using these. They won’t help you.

Alright so here is how this giveaway is going to work. The winner of this giveaway will receive all three keychains, one for keeping and two for giving. That’s right… I would like to see the winner keep the largish keychain (or one of the smaller if you prefer) and give away the other ones to two lucky recipients of their choosing. To enter this giveaway just leave me a comment saying who you would give the two keychains to. Your kids? A neighbor? Random strangers? Let me know and in a week I will pop all the names in a hat…or bowl…or some kind of device that is capable of holding little scraps of paper and I will chose the lucky winner! Good luck!

beaded keychain 3

March 20, 2014 – Comments for this giveaway are now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Random snapshots from the clean corners of my home.

Canyon Sign

Yarn Basket

Spoons

Chickens

Fruit Basket

Bench!

Blankets

Sulley

The other day I was driving through town and in front of the used furniture store I saw something that I just had to have. The next day after persuading my friend who has a hatchback and flippy down seats to accompany me to the store I went to check it out. The item that I had in mind was right out in front of the store again but the price tag and I did not agree. Upon closer inspection I saw that it was a well used item, with a few tears and paint stains, so I went to barter. The lady in the store agreed with my that the price was much to high and upon checking her notes she saw that the marked price was what the price would be after the volunteers had reupholstered this particular item. What?!?! So we agreed upon a price that was half of the price on the tag and much closer to the amount of money that I had in my wallet. And into the back of my friends car we loaded my brand new turquoise bench.

This bench, I decided, was to become the centerpiece, so to speak, of my boot room/entryway/ mud room/whatever you call it. For this post lets go with entryway, because that sounds much less booty or muddy. At the point in time that I brought my bench home the centerpiece of my entryway happened to be my deepfreeze. I made myself a mental to do list and got to it. The deepfreeze was emptied, defrosted, cleaned and moved to the laundry room, where it is now doing double duty as a wonderful folding table. The entry way was swept, mopped, the bench was installed in its new place of honor, and I called it done.

Except that looking at my new bench in my old entryway I started thinking. My house is my home and I love it dearly. My family is here, my stuff is here, my life is here and it definitely feels like my home, but does is look like my home? When we bought this place I had a million plans for making it ours, but none of that has really happened. I guess once you move in to a place and start living there somehow you just start to concentrate on making things work more than making things better. Back to the entryway. The weird horse shoe and lantern light fixture, the log cabin looking cupboards, the tacky floral wallpaper, none of it is really me. Inspired, I made a resolution. One room at a time I am going to make my house me. Starting with the entry way and working my way through the house. Nothing huge, but things like tearing down wallpaper, painting, replacing light fixtures, making new curtains… all of these things I can easily do. And I will.

So between cooking, cleaning, working, crafting, snuggling I have now added renovating to my mommy to do list. Like I needed anything else, but I think that this is going to make me very happy. And since I am feeling quite happy I am thinking that my next post might be a giveaway post, so check back!

 

 

Pinterest…FAIL

pot'o'wash

So I am sure that I am not the only one who is addicted to pinterest. And who wouldn’t be? Pinterest is awesome. Extremely addicting. Especially when you have it on your phone. You can take it with you anywhere! I have made a point lately to try and replace a lot of our household products with diy stuff that I have found on…wait for it…PINTEREST! It cuts out a lot of chemicals, most of the stuff isn’t too hard or time consuming, the ingredients are usually pretty easy to find and best of all it is a great way to save money. Raise your hand if you like to save money!

All of the pins I have tried so far have worked out great! Steam clean the microwave with water and vinegar? Yup. *here* Cleaning the bathtub with an awesome vinegar/baking soda/dawn combo? You should see that baby shine! *here* Homemade dishwasher detergent? Like a boss. *here* But today I tried something new. Something different. Today I tried to make bodywash out of a bar of soap.

Okay, that sounds super simple. One key point is that I did not have any liquid glycerine on hand, nor did I want to go buy any. So I researched a bunch of recipes and they are all pretty much the same. Water + grated soap + liquid glycerine + heating then cooling = lovely body wash. I had this thought that if I used not very much water with a lot of soap it would work out.  It did not. I do not reccomend that you try it.

Bar of Soap

I was so enthusiastic. Look at that picture up there, all focused object on a white background and whatnot. I was going to photograph this process. I was going to document it. It was going to be epic.

Grated Soap

So I pretty much filled the two bottles that  I had with water and dumped them in a pot so that I could make just the right amount. I grated up this yummy smelling bar of soap that my little sister got me for Christmas. I risked dropping the shavings all over the house as I carried them on a piece of paper to the living room so I could put them on a giant cat tower toy to take a picture of them. Follow the light, right? I added an extra dwollop of coconut oil to the pot for moisturizing power. I cooked it over low heat until everything was dissolved. I took the pot outside so that it would cool faster. I don’t really have that much patience with stuff like this and it was about -5ºC, so it was really like putting it in a giant freezer. I waited and made some pretty labels for the bottle that was going to be hand soap. I waited some more and then went outside to discover that I had not made body wash. I had made soapy orangy water.

Epic Fail. Take a depressing picture on a background of black sadness. Use flash. No body wash for me.

Bottled

For now my soapy water is going to hang out in its bottles until I get a chance to pick up some glycerine and try to make this stuff set a bit.

Have you ever failed at pinterest?

Live. Love. Life. Blog?

Snow Tree

Rainbow

Sandy Beach

Green Forest

Gloomy Lake

Cloudy Mountain

So. Lately I have been thinking a lot about where I am going with this blog. Obviously I want people to read it, otherwise what is the point of writing it really, but I am not sure who is reading it. I am to much of a shy person to post comments on other peoples blogs and on forums and such to direct people to my blog. I did that for a while and it did seem to work. I definitely had more visitors to my site at the time, but I kind of fell away from blogging and commenting and I just can’t seem to bring myself to start doing that again. I would like people to read my blog because somehow they found their way to my little corner of the internet and liked what they saw.

Another question I am mulling over is what kind of blog this will be? I obviously started it as a craft blog, but I find that a blog that is all about *look at what I made*look at what I’m making*look at what I am going to make next* is not really for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read those kinds of blogs, but for them to be successful you really need to be creating at a much faster pace than what I usually do. Sometimes life works out that I don’t pick up a project for a week at a time. I might be too busy or *as in the case of my current project* I might be avoiding a certain step that I don’t like but need to finish before I can move on. *cough weaving in ends cough*

My very favorite type of blogs to read are crafters who are life bloggers. Blogs that show peoples everyday life. They use their pictures and words to convey through internet particles *no such thing, I know* their love for their life, their craft, their home, their food, their pets…just everything. And I know that it while reading about their lives I am looking through blog colored lenses, but sometimes that is nice. I know that my life isn’t perfect. My floors need to be swept and mopped, I have a large bookshelf in the middle of my dining room that I need to find a place for, and you can’t actually see the floor of the boys bedroom right now. True story. But if I want to take a moment to see what the sun looks like shining through the leaves of my plants, or how yummy my dinner looks, or how much I am in love with the new project that I just started, then why shouldn’t I? Any why shouldn’t they? If everyone took a moment to appreciate and document the bits of beauty around them before getting to work on all the dull everyday stuff wouldn’t the world be a better place?

So…I kind of went all philosophical for a moment there, but that is what I am going to try to do. Live my life, love my life and *hopefully* blog my life.

What kind of blog do you have? How do you get people to visit it? How do you present yourself to the world through your blog?

Note: All the pictures in this post were taken within 50km of my home. They were all taken by me and are all unedited except for  being resized so that they are more internet friendly.

Working with what you’ve got.

bowlofvalentines

macrohearts

jacketbefore

bagafter

So one of my goals this year is to work with what I have instead of going out and buying new things. I’m not going to start a lecture about how we have such a throw-away society, I will just say that I am aware of it. I  will also say that I am a very lucky person because I am in possession of a few skills that can allow me to avoid throwing so much away.

My crocheted heart valentines were an example of this. Besides avoiding a trip to town, why should I go out and buy paper valentines packaged in cardboard boxes with stickers and candy which the kids don’t really need anyways. I would much prefer to take a little bit of my time to make something that maybe one of the little girls will hang as a decoration in their room, or the boys will give to their mothers. In a class of 18 Raiden was the only one who had handmade valentines this year. Which is sad, when I was in school I remember getting a mix of half handmade and half store bought. Also yes, I did get a little macro happy with my camera when I was photographing these. It is the color way of the yarn…I can’t decide if I love it or if I think it is hideous.

So another area that I am trying to “make and made do” is my wardrobe and accessories. I have decided that this year if I need to add to my wardrobe it will only be things that I have refashioned or purchased from the thrift store. With the exception of undergarments…

I will be the first to admit that I have a bit of a bag and wallet fetish, and when I decided that I needed a new purse instead of looking for a new one I looked to my *rather large* pile of thrifted clothes that are destined to become something else and came up with this epic acid wash jean jacket from the 80s. That thing was awesome and if I could have squeezed into it I would have worn it every day, but it was tiny and I am not. So instead I get to carry it around with me and everyone is happy. Well  mostly me. Jason thinks I am weird.

I didn’t really use a pattern for this, I just kind of winged it, working to incorporate the original zipper and pockets, so the construction of it is rather odd. I used the band from around the bottom of the jacket at the strap. I really love this bag but I am not quite sure that it is complete, it needs some sort of embellishment. I am thinking embroidery on the pockets or something.

I am thinking that I need a new wallet to go with my new purse, I got a couple of super neat…cravats I think you would call them that are just the right size for a wallet so that might be my next sewing project.

And I am still chugging away at Raidens blanket. Three color sets left to go!

Three Things

Things

One: This cowl that I made with my Christmas yarn. Ravelled here. Do you like my wonderful photoshop job? I suck at editing my pictures unless it involves the quick edit buttons and a resize. But the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds today so I was all like “Yay! Picture time!” By the time I got outside it was all dreary again and my pictures turned out kind of bleh, so I figured why not mess with this one a bit.

jf

Two: This beautiful needlework tapestry that I found at the gleaners the other day that is being sat on by the cat. Who looks sort of insane, which…he is. Seriously. That cat is crazy. I am thinking that this would look amazing as a tote bag, but I am worried that the stitches in the needlework are too long so they might catch on things and the whole thing would be ruined really quickly. I guess I could find a frame for it and hang it on the wall. Hmm. Decisions.

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Three: I was reminded (by a class list in Raidens backpack today) that Valentines Day is coming up so he needs valentines for his class. Now…we live 10 minutes out of town, and I know that to some people that doesn’t seem like a very far drive, but to me it means that I try to plan every trip into town and driving into town just for valentines between now and Friday is just not going to happen. So I decided to make them. Twenty little hearts with twenty little tags and then I will be done. So I am taking a break from my blanket to work on these. Right now I have three. Therefore this is item number three on my list of three today.

And I’m done.

A Cold Day in February

basket

Its cold. Like -12˚C cold. There is this crazy wind blowing too so I am sure it feels more like -20 out there. We have been burning through firewood like nobody’s business. Sylas and I are hibernating. I am ignoring the fact that I have to go to work later tonight. Most of my days lately are spent toting around this  basket of yarn and squares, hooking up rounds whenever I get the chance.

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This is going to be Raidens blanket. He insisted that I had to make him one, and I am a sucker for those big brown eyes of his… and Sylas’s… and Jasons… so basically I am screwed whenever the boys in my life want anything. But I am okay with that.

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I have 18 colors of Stylecraft in total and 3 shades of gray. So I have 5 more sets of colors to go after I am finished the one I am working on now, then I will join them all in the darkest shade of gray using the granny join as you go method from Attic 24. That is my plan at the moment anyways. 049

I also baked bread today, mostly because I wanted some buns to go with soup for dinner. I tried using vital wheat gluten for the first time. I haven’t tried them yet, but I am really hoping that it will make my bread hold together better so when I am making sandwiches for lunches they are a little bit easier to eat and less crumble-and-fall-aparty. Does anyone else use vital wheat gluten when they make bread? Do you get good results? Cold Day February

This kid. I have tried to donate those clothes to the gleaners like 5 times, they are way too small. I put them into the bag and he takes them out and we just go back and forth. They are some of his favorites apparently. He also likes to wear shorts all the time… but being my wonderfully quirky little son if he is wearing a pair of shorts they have to match his shirt. It is the cutest thing ever. Seriously. Also he just bit the corner off 2 pages of a board book. Yeah. He’s a monster.

This post is brought to you by the letter J.

J, of course, is for juice.

007

That is what we have been doing lately. Juicing. And it is so much fun coming up with all the different combinations. Some of them are amazingly delicious and some of them are not so great. I got a copy of The Juicing Bible in the mail today, I can’t wait to try a some of the recipes and see how they compare to what I have just been randomly throwing together.

 Ok, quick back story. Jason loves to watch documentaries on Netflix. Recently we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which is a documentary about a man who goes on a 60 day juice fast. After watching this Jason thought it would be a good idea for us to go on our own juice fast. I don’t know about you, but I live in a house full of boys, and when one of them  voluntarily decides to do something healthy I generally go with it. So the juicer was purchased and we started juicing.

The whole juice fast thing kind of turned into one juice a day, but that is okay with me! Right now I am drinking 2 meals a day and planning to do a 3 day fast over the weekend. Jason is taking one huge jug of juice with him in the morning and the boys have some of my juice whenever they like what I have made. So more vitamins for all of us and I feel great! This particular juice is orange-grapefruit and it is super yummy.

If you look on the windowsill to the right of my lovely canning jar o’ juice there is another canning jar. Can you see it?

003

Yup, you are seeing that right. Homemade citrus cleaner in the works. This is one of the things that between facebook and pinterest I think everyone has seen. And thought it was a great idea. I know I did, so I took all the peels from my oranges and grapefruit, stuffed them in a jar and covered them with vinegar. I’m going to let them sit for…I don’t know…a week? Two? This also happens to be one of those things that I was like “oh neat!” skimmed it over and then forgot to actually bookmark. Does anyone else do that? I’ll probably google it in a bit.

P.S. The Christmas craft fair was last weekend and I got myself a yarn bowl. YAY! I always go to those things with the best of intentions and plan on getting lots of gift shopping done, and then I just buy myself a bunch of stuff…

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P.P.S. I am taking an online course on building wordpress sites right now, so hopefully there will be some improvements to the blog in the near future.

P.P.P.S. That yarn in the bowl, it is meant to be a hitchhiker, but the edged were really messy and I couldn’t figure out why. I was about halfway through it when I realized that I was doing my yarn overs like I would if I was crocheting… which is the wrong way for knitting and apparently creates messy edges.

P.P.P.P.S. I went to Catching Fire tonight and it was really good. And there was lots of super awesome yarny apparel in it. I know everyone is talking about the Katniss cowl, but I really liked the sweater that looked like it was made of doilies that Effie is wearing in the beginning.

Lets try this again!

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So the other day I got a notification from WordPress that I started up my blog a year ago. The sad part is that I haven’t blogged since April. I really just didn’t have the time. Working full time shift work, 2 messy boys at home (3 if you count their dad), and all the yardwork and preserving I had to do over the spring/summer/fall pretty much took up all my time. I wasn’t even making anything, and to tell the truth I was getting a little bit miserable.

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So I took a chance! I quit my job and got a new one working 2 days a week, normal office hours and I couldn’t be happier about it. Sure we have to be a little bit more careful financially, but with me at home most of the time now it is much easier for us to save money on day to day things. I have been able to sort things out around my house that have been waiting for a while, keep things a lot cleaner and most of all, I have time to do the things that I love.

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So now I do have time to blog, and I thought that I would start things off with a bang. I started this ripple blanket back in May and just finished it last week. I couldn’t get a clear picture of the whole thing because I had a little helper who things this is the snuggliest thing ever. Pattern is the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy from Attic24, using 10 different colors of Lion Brand Wool Ease. Ravelled here if you want more details.

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So that’s that. Now I am hanging out at home by the woodstove most of the time working on Christmas presents. Except for today, because Jason demanded a turkey dinner, and I have to run in to work to do a couple hours of training and Raiden gets dismissed from school an hour early and I have a parent teacher conference to go to which I can’t actually make it to so Jason has to go and he never really passes on exactly what was said and excuse the small rant.

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Gratuitous shot of blanket in sunshine of fallen willow branch.

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And just one more…

Have a great day everyone!