Impressing a 9 year old is not as hard as you think…

A few weeks back, I helped a friend out with some emergency childcare so found myself in the company of a 9 year old girl for the day while my kids were at school. Since I didn’t want her to spend the day playing games on her Nintendo DS, I hauled her off to the local thrift shop to gather supplies for my new Spring wardrobe.

I don’t think my young companion had ever been in a thrift shop before and she was shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU to discover that really good quality, barely worn clothing could be found for so cheap! She kept asking why her Mum buys stuff at regular price!

I made the shopping experience a bit of a game and gave her the parameters of what we were looking for: preferably wool (or a blend) pants in this size range, length of leg does not matter, the wackier the plaid/tweed the better…7 pairs of pants and 2 herringbone tweed jackets later (all for the reasonable price of $60) and we were good to go.

My little companion thought our little shopping adventure was great fun and decided to tell her Mum about shopping in thrift stores instead of buying brand new! When I told her my plans for the purchases she was quite nearly blown away! Her Mum, whom I dearly love, will toss a shirt if it loses a button, so the idea of taking clothes and cutting them up into something new was boggling my companion’s brain & she then asked “you can do that to clothes?!” I decided to save the history of refashioning/upcycling clothing lesson for another day…

Once back home, I tried on the pants, only to discover the one pair we both really liked, a grey herringbone plaid with a faint pink stripe were way too small on me.

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Gears were switched, googling occurred &  new plan was hatched, scrapped and re-designed…we were going to make an infinity scarf!

My friend helped with the measurements, making sure things matched up and I did the sewing and the cutting.340

We started by cutting off the legs & ripping the seams to give us 4 panels which were sewed into one long strip. As there wasn’t enough of the wool fabric, we made the executive decision to pull the lining from the pants and use it.

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After some finagling with the slippy & fraying lining, we had things pinned together. With right sides together, we made two side seams, creating a long tube which was flipped right side out. At this point had I been thinking, I should have sewn French Seams, but we were excited to see the final product.

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The final step was the most finicky, sewing the tube closed…googling was done again, videos were watched, we felt confident. Once I had sewn almost all the way around, I left about a 2 inch gap to stuff the seam back through and hand stitched the last of the seam.

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My little friend was super impressed that in as few as two hours, we took a pair of ill fitting pants and made a rather fancy infinity scarf. I told her she needs to hang out with me more, we now have some tentative plans to use old bedsheets to make a rug…

Happiest surprise of all was the discovery that my new scarf works very nicely with my Quest!

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Not the greatest shot as I’m still figuring out my new mobile’s camera.

I’ll tell you what happened to the rest of the pants we bought in another post…

 

 

Busting out the Wheel…

In a spate of fiscal responsability, stash management and a bout of creative whatever-you-want-to-call-it, earlier this week I unearthed Viktorya (that was done on purpose and is not a misspelling), located all her bobbins and located the misplaced flyer because; Dudes, I was going to spin!

Viktorya has sat idle for almost two years thus causing my hard learned spinning skills to go fallow, meanwhile my fiber stash was seeing semi-regular deposits thanks to two different year long batt of the month club memberships I had received as gifts. NOTE TO PARTNERS OF SPINNERS: Batt/fiber of the months clubs are wonderful gifts for your beloved. They will get colour/fiber blends they would not normally have chosen which will expand their creative horizons providing they are open to the experience. There were also a few additions I made here and there when something caught my eye, needless to say I have quite the fiber stash that’s just bursting with creative potential, some days there is a little too much potential which makes the decision making a bit difficult!

So this is where I found myself the other night, I was not feeling the knit love but wanted to keep my hands busy (bad things happen when I’m idle…walls have been know to go missing in my house during such moments), while looking through a box of stuff for something completly different I found this:

Two 100g braids of Sweet Georgia BFL+Silk in the Summer Dusk colourway…luscious ain’t it? My Dad will be pleased that Sweet Georgia is a Canadian Company and that I bought it at my local yarn store. He’s all about the buying Canadian, local and supporting the small business owner/artists.

I divided the first brain in half, fluffed it ever so slightly, poured a cup of tea and got to work…

BFL + Silk is a great fiber for acolyte spinners, it’s a bit slippy, a bit grippy, quite forgiving and all around dead sexy! Highly recommend it!

I spun up the first half of my braid onto one of the bobbins ten called it a night, unfortunaly due to the work schedule I havene’t been able to get back to it and it’s KILLING ME! Just look at that yarn!

I’m aiming for my final product to be a 2-ply Worsted weight yarn with enough yardage to knit Sweetgum or one of the shawls in my Ravelry queue.

Wow!

Okay so this whole full time school, part time job and all time Mummy thing has a steep learning curve…

I’m not even two weeks into my program and I’ve got my first cold…although this always happens when I enter a new environment, I will inevitably get a cold with in the first month. I figure of all the times to get a cold the first two weeks of the module is probably the best! Lays in a nice antibody barrier good and early! So I’m taking today off to rest and will also use this time to catch up on a bunch of the reading I’m behind on, now if only the books were designed so that I could knit while reading! I’m this ** close to finishing my Elsewhere but knitting time at home is currently non existent…however bus knitting is totally where it’s at!

Small, portable and straight forward projects are taking top spots in my Ravelry queue as I get it together to knit my Christmas gift list! I did some stash diving and came up with a bunch of single skeins of Malabrigo and it’s going to be a one skein wonder palooza! I started the first of the gifts last week and would have been done the other day except I couldn’t find a measuring tape (or even a ruler for that matter) or my 5mm DPNs to cast it off! if I’m able to keep up this pace I should be good for getting everything done on time! The one draw back to holiday knitting is that it makes for some seriously boring blogging but my camera has a cool Super Macro setting that makes it possible to take pictures like this:

Cool huh? This way I can still blog about my knitting and hopefully not give away any of the actual projects to the intendeds.

Blank slate!

My new 20$ a pair winter boots, Valenkis from Russia.

I’m going to be needle felting designs onto each of them.

The rubber galoshes are removable and these boots are going to be super warm! My feet were getting hot after 5 minutes! There is no obvious left and right, but if I’m consistent in wearing the boots on the same feet they will form to the shape of that foot.

This afternoon will be spent digging up my felting needles and rovings and sketching out designs.

Happy Earth Day!!!

And to celebrate I have ordered us a bunch of Worms! Chris is going to be so thrilled!

I have wanted a vermicomposter for years but our old apartment faced north and we were at the rear so we NEVER got any sunlight till sundown when a sliver of a ray slipped through the buildings across the street so having a container garden to use the castings was out but now I have two nice square foot veggie beds in my back yard that are the prefect dumping place for that blackets of golds! Can we tell I’m more than a little chuffed?

I’m also doing a whack load of research for our future renovations that will help to make the house more self sustaining and to help to reduce irritants to Abi’s asthma. So we are looking into installing a solar water heating system that will replace our water heater and forced air furnace by allowing us to install water radiators in the two bedrooms and one in the living room as well as install a hydronic radiant floor heating system in the basement. I would also love to install a roof top wind turbine like they have available in Europe which paired with regular solar panels I could conceivably go completely off grid! My main inspirations hav been Donnachadh McCarthy and the changes he has made to his 1840’s Victorian terrace home in London (if he can retrofit that house my 1946 bungalow shouldn’t be all that difficult) and the series “It’s not Easy Being Green” (I can only think of one other who can work a moustash like Dick!).

Other house plans include Bamboo flooring, low emission paints, window and door replacements. Our main obstacle is going to be financial, we don’t have in Canada (or North America for that matter) as many incentives and grants available as they have in the UK and Europe but little by little we will over time accomplish the goals as the money allows.

Rockin’ the Craigslist

I scored a Singer Serger for 75$!!!!

The seller was in Kensington Market so we met at Lettuce Knit for the exchange. It just needs the tension adjusted and luckily for me I have a sewing machine repair shop up the road from me. When I ran it up to them on Friday the repair guy said that my machine was the 8th one that had been brought in that day for a tune up!

Since buying the serger I’ve perusing the intarweebs for inspiration and patterns, now the sewing queue is risking getting as long as the knitting and spinning queues! I have found some great tutorials like:

The Superhero Cape tutorial

Bagsket

and a great pattern for kids pants

And with places like Reprodepot Fabrics and Superbuzzy to keep me in fabrics I may have to clean out a corner of the basement and set up a craft corner…

Collection of commentary thingies…

The New Stroller: Oh sweet Jebus! How I’m loving it! Yesterday was my second full day of running errands and my first with the saddle bags attached for extra storage. I was able to maneuver it through a few very narrow store aisles and go for a few rather long walks which resulted in a serious lack of sore shoulders from a combination of fighting through badly cleared walkways and street crossings and handle bars in a bad position for my height. An extra bonus for this stroller is that I can do the one hand steering! I would suggest that if you are looking at a stroller with similar tires (rubber ones that you pump up) go to a bike shop and get your self a small/portable tire pump so you don’t need to queue up at the gas station air pump like some parents I have seen.

Other Baby Stuff: Yesterday while Tanya and I were visiting we got to talking about what you *really* need for Jr’s first few months and what we regret spending money on and what we which we had had earlier etc. We came to a simple list that will cover you off for the first three to four months:

1) if you are not doing Family Bed; a bassinet or other nice basket for Jr to sleep in. Believe me when I tell you that placing Jr in the crib for the first bit will just result in an unhappy baby. Think of it this way Baby has just spent the last 9 months in a very warm, cozy, slightly cramped room and to go from that to the vast expanse of a crib kinda throws them for a bit of a loop. It was my Mum who suggested that we put Abi in her stroller beside our bed for sleeping until we got a bassinet as a shower gift which we put in the crib and pushed the crib right up against my side of the bed with the side dropped down to make it like a Co-Sleeper and let me tell you that made so many things so much easier for all!

2) Since you will need to get out of the house from time to time so you don’t go a bit nutty…some sort of carrier, be it a sling or a Trekker style front carrier. I had a traditional double ring sling like Heart to Heart (only mine had no padding) for the first six weeks after Abi was born then as Winter was closing in I bought the First Journey front carrier that Baby Trekker makes because I found there was just too much bulk between Abi’s snow suit and my winter coat to comfortably wear the sling out but we still used it in the house. Chris really liked the Little Star Baby Sling (can’t remember how we got that one) over both the Ring sling and the Trekker, he found it felt “solid” and once we got the right size found it way more comfortable. He would “wear” Abi while he was working on the computer and moving around the house, she really liked it and would just snuggle down and snooze for him. There is one carrier out there that gets rave reviews that I don’t care for because most babies out grow it be 4 to six months where as I was able to carry Abi in the First Journey till she was over a year and I was using the Little Star up until this past fall.

That’s the basics for the first few months, which will buy you some time to figure out what you really need. Don’t forget that every one in creation will be offering you their hand me downs and then there are also baby showers. You will be inundated with stuff especially if this is the first grandchild or there hasn’t been a baby in some time. I also suggest sourcing out some good gently used clothing stores in your neighborhood since Jr. will be growing like a bad weed (especially if they are given a diet of Mum Brew) and you can often find clothes with the original tags still on at serious savings!

Plowing through the Stash

So far so good with the unofficial New Years Resolution (although I prefer to think of it as more of a Bragie boast) to knit only with yarn from my stash all year!

I have sucessfully found patterns for some of my previously unclaimed yarns: the purple Rowanspun Aran (Central Park Hoodie), Misti Alpaca Worsted (Ragnar), Misti Prima (Licorice Whip).
One more can be added to the list, I will be casting on Eiffel from the Lana Grossa Iside that had a previous incarnation as the Eyelette Chemise from the 2006 Summer Interweave Knits. I figure this is enough to keep me busy for a good chunk of time as I seem to (of late) be able to knit a sweater in about 2 months if I’m semi-committed to almost exclusively knitting it.

That dreaded combo..tired and a bit grumpy…

I decided to stay home from the LettuceKnit Party last night because I found as the afternoon wore on and my spinning Zen wore off I was starting to get that wound up Christmas Snarl sensation that generally means I should seclude myself for the protection of others.

However there is a bit of a silver lining to having stayed home, I was able to get a short grocery run in as well as buy a new winter coat. I’m deeply thrilled by this as I haven’t had a new winter coat since I was 19, any coats I have had since then have been of the thrift store variety. This coat has a bit of a double thrill for me as I bought it with my airmiles so not only do I have a new coat but it’s was also super cheap! I love to save up my airmiles to then cash in for gift cards for either Reitmans or the Gap.

So while riding this little working the budget high Chris and I sat down to watch a film that left me feeling a little nauseous not because it was gross but because of the emotional rollercoaster you go on. I must say Brits do Police State very well.

Peanut Butter solution

Do you remember that movie from when (some of us) were kids? Ah the memories…I look forward to sharing it with Abi when she gets older…

However I’m referring to a different Peanut Butter Solution…Abi has come into a phase where she is a bit more “selective” in what she wants to eat. We are often finding ourselves fixing her a peanut butter sandwich as that is one of the foods we are guaranteed she will eat. I was getting a bit concerned about lack of variety in her diet when I had a brilliant idea while in the condiments section of the grocery store… Presidents Choice Memories of Szechwan Satay sauce! This is the prefect solution because the only thing Abi loves almost as much as her peanut butter is “Sauce” on her food, doesn’t matter whether it’s ketchup, soy sauce, (she has even asked for Franks Hot sauce!) if there is a sauce she will dip her food into it and eat it, sometimes. I figure that this is *the* sauce to help with those meals where all the other condiments fail to catch her fancy.

So far it seems to be working…I have even used it with a pack of Ramen noodles I cooked up for lunch last week to make a new variation (minus the egg) of my old bachelorette standby recipe from my early 20’s which was:

Throw out the broth package,

Bring water to the boil and throw in a handfull of frozen mixed veggies,

When water comes back to the boil throw in noodles and a bit of either Miso paste or soy sauce,

Cook till noodles are cooked remove the noodles and veg from the broth to a bowl,

Crack an egg into the simmering broth and poach to desired done-ness,

Rescue your egg and place on your veg and noodles

Here you can either pour some of the cooking liquid over it for more of a soup, or top with any number of condiments like oyster sauce, soy sauce, any of the PC Memories of Sauces or if your egg is a soft poach you have a pretty good sauce already, just add a bit of Sambal Olek.

I actually think I’m one of the few people who was able to come out of their early 20’s/recently moved out of the parental home era without a case of Mr. Noodle hate.