one busy elf!

Now that the holiday’s over, I can show you the Christmas gifts I made and all the fun I’ve been having since the fall! This was one busy elf!

So I made a number of wash cloths, to give with artisan soaps that I got from craft fairs, very practical gifts that I thought everyone could use :) The butterfly wash cloth is from this Paillon Cloth pattern, which was a lot of fun to make with a variegated cotton. The tiny fish ones are for my niece and nephews, from this pattern on Ravelry. The hanging towel was a modification of the Circle Cloth pattern. Also made a couple of these pineapple hanging towels.

 

I took a workshop in November with my co-workers at a glass shop making millefiori pendants. I’ve made one for myself before and it was a lot of fun, so I made another for a gift :)

While making pom pom hair ties for my sincere sock cupcake project, I thought I’d also try making some soot sprites hair ties for a couple of Studio Ghibli fans :D

Caught in a perfectly tiny tin! :D (that used to hold some sparkly tea)

These hedgehogs mitts are for my niece, made almost entirely in commute. Excellent pattern from mom.me.

Spent a couple of Sunday afternoons at the Gardiner Museum drop-in clay class, and made an army of ornaments and tea bag holders! It was a great way to spend a weekend afternoon creatively, must go back sometimes!

And my newest invention — sushi sock rolls! :D For my dear friend’s baby. I used this 2-needle baby sock pattern, but had to modify it quite a bit to get the black part long enough to roll around. So the socks are faaarrr too big for the baby right now, they’re more for a toddler. But they’ll fit soon enough! And the idea is that when the child out grows the socks, they can be rolled up and sewed together permanently and be used as play food, or a pin cushion :D

 Now, the biggest project ever undertaken — behold the polar bear blanket!!!

I’ve been working on it for months and it’s for my parents! Wish I have a better picture of it, but it’s just so big! I didn’t have the room in my place or my parents’ for a good photo shoot. So here it is on my parents’ bed :) This is my first attempt at corner-to-corner crochet as well. I first made the polar bear blanket from Simply Crochet magazine (issue 50), then thought my parents would probably like a larger blanket. So I thought I’d add squares around it. I used the pine cone pattern from Make & Do Crew, then found and modified some knitting and cross-stitching graphs to make the snowflakes and the north star. Discovered that Microsoft Excel is a great program to draft crochet charts! 

And now, one great gift I received from my sister — from the awesome Out of Print clothing, a Miss Peregrine shirt!

Stay peculiar and levitate!

(Well, maybe not too much levitation this year. I haven’t tried taking this kind of photos for a while, and then afterwards my knees were a bit sore… another year older, after all. But stay peculiar, definitely!)

Happy first week of January! Hope everyone had a re-energizing holiday and have a great start to the new year! :D

 

 

new year, new wallpaper! :D

I was feeling very proud of this fluffy wreath and its merry mushroom friends (which I made from a giant pipe cleaner and wine corks), and Mike kindly took really nice photos of them and made it into a desktop wallpaper for me, thought I’d share it with you! :D 

Just click on the size you want and it should bring up an image that you can save.

iPad

iPhone

Desktop

Wishing everyone a very happy new year! May 2017 bring much joy, lots of crafty adventures and many blessings :)

 

happy Christmas everybody! :D

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday and many blessings for the new year!

 

And here’s a bit of behind-the-scene with this greeting card… every year Mike and I make Christmas cards together to send to friends and family. It’s a bit of a tradition of ours. This year we came up with the jellyfish idea. We thought about lino block prints (which we may still try another year) and simply printing an image from the computer. Eventually we ran out of time, so I just thought I’d try my hands on whatever we had in the house, which was an eraser and a big old utility knife. 

Turned out not so bad didn’t it? :D I’m quite proud of it actually. I also carved the holly stamp, and the berries are stamped with the end of a bamboo skewer. Mike typed the text with his grandmother’s type writer.

Cheers to another year of simple joys, new adventures and shared journey! :) 

 

a merry fluffy Christmas

Our decor is pretty minimal this year but it doesn’t mean that it’s any less fun!

I was hoping to replace the paper flower wreath on our apartment door (which covers up a half-peeled/disintegrating Neighbourhood Watch sticker), and I’ve been wanting to make a pom pom wreath, but I know that I wouldn’t have time to make all the pom poms. While browsing at Michaels I saw this giant, the most fluffy pipe cleaner, so I thought I’d try twisting it into a wreath! 

At first I was just going to twist it into a simple, round wreath, with mushrooms made of wine corks that I’ve been saving for that purpose. But then I thought, what if the wreath has arms? What if it’s a wreath-shaped creature? So the fluffy wreath with its mushroom friends were born :D

I’m only showing a close up of the wreath right now because these friends deserve their own post, so stay tuned! :D

(The wreath ended up on the wall inside the apartment because I couldn’t bear to leave them on the outside of our door in the hallway)

The left over pipe cleaner turned into a tiny Christmas tree :D with a very excited Totoro.

But we still needed something festive on our door. So I finally made the delightful plum pudding pom pom from Fleur Bernadine! There are a number of plum pudding pom pom tutorials out there, but I love that this one incorporates a button at the top. 

The fluffy plum pudding certainly brings some holiday cheers to the currently very grim-looking hallway, which is currently undergoing renovation (please excuse the poor lighting).

I don’t have a pom pom maker so I made one with cardboard using this tutorial, which is very handy with templates for different sizes of pom poms. But it turns out to be quite challenging (perhaps because it was my first time trying to use a homemade pom pom maker and I had dull scissors). Maybe I’ll invest in a pom pom maker. Just think about all the possibilities that pom poms can make! Pom pom animals, pom pom fruits, pom pom wreath…

Merry crafting! :D

 

the most sincere socks

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Tis the countdown to Christmas, I thought I’d share a most sincere idea for the most practical gift. Who doesn’t need an extra pair of socks? Great alternative to chocolate covered marshmallow Santas when you need to get an under $5 secret Santa gift. 

The pom pom on top is actually a fun festive hair tie! I’ll show you how I made that as well.

I got a pack of 5 reused yarn socks from MUJI, they’re soft and lovely (not to mention that it’s such a nice relaxing experiencing when browsing around at the MUJI store) and cost around $20 CAD, which rounds out to about $4 a pair. 

This is super simple and involves things that you probably have stashed away at home if you’re a crafter:

  • A new pair of socks in cupcake colour
  • An elastic band
  • Light card stock or scrapbooking paper (I bought a sheet of gold metallic paper from Michaels for 99 cents)
  • Cupcake wrapper template (there are tons of printable templates out there, I can’t seem to find the one I used >_<, but this one seems just as great)
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Mug of tea (essential!)

Here we have our pair of socks, and the elastic band.

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With the socks stacked together, fold them in half lengthwise. The heels will stick out but that’s ok.

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Starting from the cuff end, roll up the socks.

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Secure the sock roll with elastic band.

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Have a sip of tea. Transfer cupcake wrapper pattern onto the back of card stock / scrapbooking paper, and cut out the pattern.

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Wrap the wrapper around the sock roll, and secure with a piece of tape.

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Repeat with all the pairs of socks you’ve got and set them aside.

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Now we make the pom pom hair tie :D 

I used: 

  • A fork
  • Small amount of red worsted weight yarn 
  • Small amount of sparkly silver yarn (for a festive touch)
  • Scissors
  • Hair elastics
  • Fabric glue (great to have, but not essential)

Using a fork to make small pom poms isn’t my original idea. There are a few tutorials out there, like this one from Eskimimi Makes.

Basically, you would wind the yarn around the prongs of the fork (as you can see I used two different yarns, and I cut off a length of the silver yarn for winding, rather than winding directly from the skein, to make things easier)…

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… after you’re done winding, cut yarn. Then cut a length of red yarn about 6 inches long, and tie the yarn around the middle by threading one yarn end through the base of the 2nd and 3rd prongs of the fork, and the other yarn end between the 2nd and 3rd prongs at the tip.

Trim the pom pom but leave the tying yarn long.

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Using the tying yarn, tie the pom pom to the hair elastic with double knot. Apply a dab of fabric glue (if you have it) to the knot to extra secure it.

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Here we have our cupcake toppings! I also bought these adorable strawberry bells from Etsy seller MimiLolo, I attached them to cell phone charm hangers (not sure if they’re called that, but you know what I mean), thought they’d make great zipper pull or festive backpack ornaments! :D

If you know that the gift recipient won’t like hair ties or zipper pulls, a simple Tootsie Pop might make the best alternative topping.

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I pulled the hair elastic / cell phone charm hanger through the middle of the sock rolls using a crochet hook.

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Ta-da! The most sincere socks of them all! Linus would be proud. (see It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown)

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I put some of them in recycled packaging from gift soaps.

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And I made a flat-bottom gift bag with wrapping paper following this tutorial. I then folded the top down, punched two holes at the top through all layers, threaded a fancy string through and tied a bow.

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Have a sweet week, everyone! 

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weekend quick make, with hex nuts!

Came across a book on making jewelry with hardware store material one day, was curious about what people make with hex nuts, and spent an evening looking at all the different hex nut tutorials. Especially love this brilliant earring idea from Cafe Craftea.

Finally went to Canadian Tire on my lunch break one day and picked up the smallest hex nuts I could find.

I simply glued the hex nut onto a 4mm earring post with some E6000 and let it cure over night. Very simple. Made a pair without glitter because I like the slightly steampunk look :D

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And for the glitter earrings, I glued the hex nuts onto the earring posts like the plain ones, then I filled the hex nuts with a bit of glitter nail polish with the help of a toothpick. Once the nail polish is dried, I applied a layer of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to seal it, also with a toothpick.

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Quite happy with how they turned out :D

Have a good weekend everyone!

 

lately

I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve been crafting day and night (literally, I knit in the subway in the morning and I chip away every night at this massive crochet project as soon as I get home), and have made so many things, that I can’t show you because they’re Christmas gifts! But I promise there will be an extensive Christmas crafting post after the holidays!

I do want to share with you this found object artwork I made in a caring for self workshop last weekend (if you can travel to the Toronto area and are interested in workshops that explore the therapeutic qualities of creativity and art-making, do check out Petrea’s website and workshop offerings, some free projects there too!). I’ve always loved found object art. This one is — pearls of wisdom rising out of moss, with a monument of past battles that shape this ground, bathing in moonlight. Kind of in the same line as my last post about moss.

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And this is an exercise about intention. We think about an intention that we bring to our work, and while thinking about or meditating on that intention, we choose different yarn and things to wrap around the twig. There’s a marble in the space where the twig branches out, to represent clarity.

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There are also other neat things I learned from the workshop, like drawing mandalas, which I’m trying to practice at work as a way to take breaks. Trying is the word :S But I’ll share the drawings when I have a few more. 

In other news, I attempted to carve a jelly fish out of an eraser. I’ve never tried this before and I think it turned out not so bad! It’s part of a holiday project, which will be revealed at holiday times! :D

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Happy weekend everyone!

 

keep calm and carry moss

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I bought these beautiful vintage shadow box pendants from Etsy shop youarenotthebossofme to put moss in :D It turned out beautifully, I’m so pleased. Looks like there are a few more of these pendants for sale, pop by the shop if you’re interested in making something similar! I bought the moss from the model-making section of my local art store. Or one could put in small stones or yarn or tiny shells or whatever one finds meaningful to carry around.

I’ve always felt more connected to water-related analogies — like the river, or the sea, going with the flow, fill the gaps, like what Bruce Lee said,

You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

One can’t make a dent in water, it can’t be hurt. 

But I’ve been feeling drawn to moss lately. Grounded and tenacious. It can be pulled out of the ground and be damaged, but it comes back again, reaching and covering even further grounds. Its roots spread wider than eyes can see. It re-emerges always after winter frosts.

So maybe it’s about acknowledging the hurt rather than saying to myself that things don’t or shouldn’t hurt. And maybe it’s about standing my ground rather than filling whatever gaps or needs others put before me, trying to be everything to everyone. 

A bit of reflection as I enter another year in my life! :D Another year wiser, hopefully.

Thanks for visiting today! 

 

more sparkles sparkles sparkles

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I have a weakness for sparkly things. A couple of years ago I shared a tutorial for making sparkly earrings with buttons. After being inspired by these earrings by Happiness is Creating, AND finally buying myself a bottle of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (with a Michaels 50% off one regular item coupon), I found a new and improved way of making sparkly earrings :D

I used:

1 clean kitchen sponge

4mm earring posts with backings

sparkly nail polish (I got a Sally Hansen “Ice Queen” and a “Big Teal” from the dollar store)

Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

a dash of patience

1. Stick the earring posts into the sponge so it stands upright

2. Apply a coat of sparkly nail polish to the posts (I put the teal one on first). Let dry for half hour (this is where the patience comes in… there’re lots of small steps with long stretch of waiting in between)

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3. Repeat step 2 a couple more times.

4. When the nail polish is completely dried (I suggest drying overnight after final coat, because the nail polish does build up to a bit of a dome on its own, and while the top layer has harden, the layers underneath may remain soft and take a while to dry), apply dimensional magic, wait a couple of hours, apply second coat to create as full of a dome shape as possible without the glaze running over.

5. Let dry overnight, and it’s done! :D

Here’s a super macro picture of them…

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I’m not sure if Mod Podge is waterproof so I would avoid wearing them in the shower. But I’m quite happy with how they turned out :) I like that they’re a lot smaller than my other sparkly earrings tutorial.

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Have a bright and beautiful weekend!

 

heart of the sea

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I recently went to a millefiori jewelry workshop with a good neighbour, who spotted this Groupon and we jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve always been fascinated by millefiori. I used to be obsessed with making imitation ones with fimo when I was a kid. But I’ve never worked with real glass millefiori canes. So here we are! :D

We didn’t get to make the canes but we used them in kind of a mosaic project, filling pendant bezel trays with pieces of the glass canes.

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Aren’t they so pretty?

I decided to use blue and green ones. And I found a heart! :D If it were an artwork, I would call it “heart of the sea”.

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The shop owners would then pour epoxy or resin into it to seal all the glass pieces in. We left our pieces there for the resin to set, and picked them up a few days later.

Isn’t this beautiful? I love the air bubbles in it, and the feeling of depth that the epoxy creates.

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With my macro lens :D

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I think it looks great on a long chain :D

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It’s a bit of a trek for me to get to the shop, so while I was there to pick up my project, I went on a small adventure nearby :D pictures to come, stay tuned!

Have a good rest of the week!

 

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