Neighbourhood stroll

Was apartment-hunting with a friend in a nearby neighbourhood. It was such a fabulous day. So sunny but not too hot with some nice breeze. Then suddenly we were greeted by this big, pink, furry tree, which my friend called “the smoke tree”, which I thought was such a poetic name for a tree…

I’ve never seen such a tree before. The pink “fur” was so light and soft I just wanted to stick my face in it. (Actually, I did stick my face in it, for a second.)

Then I saw another tree, which looked like a pine tree, but it didn’t have pine needles. I mean it had something that looked like pine needles but they weren’t prickly like pine needles, they were soft like leaves. And it had pine cones but they were much smaller than regular pine cones. I could picture them being really cool necklace charms but I forgot to check if there were any fallen ones in the bushes.

Speaking of necklace charms, I registered for a resin jewelery workshop next week! I’ve been wanting to learn that since I was in grade 5! We were still living in Hong Kong then, and my school had *mandatory* extracurricular classes (uh, oxymoron?) every other Saturday (yes, we had school on Saturdays). I signed up for Girl Guide and then was picked for the choir, but my friends signed up for craft, and one day they came back with these really neat crystal-like things with seashells and stuff embedded in them — it was so NEAT! And I wanted to learn to make it so BADLY! But once you signed up for something you can’t change your mind so I was stuck with the choir (which I didn’t pick) and the Girl Guide… SO! 17 years later, no more choir and no more Girl Guide and I can sign up for whatever the heck I want and so next week, I’m going to make resin jewelery! :D

By the way, the workshop (and many other fun and affordable craft workshops!) is held at Wise Daughters Craft Market in the Junction. If you live in Toronto or if you ever visit Toronto and you like crafts and the handmade be sure to check it out! It’s a wonderful place to buy artworks and crafty things created by local artists! I like to make half-day trips to that area because it’s also down the street from High Park which is breathtakingly beautiful in the summer, and also many sweet little shops and cafes along the way.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thank you Mr. Postman!

Guess what Marshie got in the mail yesterday?

An Instructables gift pack for winning the Critter Contest! :D

There were stickers, a batch, and a t-shirt!

The t-shirt didn’t fit Marshie. So he gave it to me.

Way to go, Marshie!” says me.

Thank you! What a wonderful surprise,” says Marshie.

At the end I decided to give the t-shirt to Mike because he likes funny t-shirts and it fits him better, and because he’s never stopped encouraging me and supporting me to make things and write just for the love of it. Without him Marshie wouldn’t have existed. None of my crafts would’ve existed. I would probably still be feeling drained and unmotivated.

So, thank you, Mike!” says me.

Fraise!

We took a field trip to a strawberry field on the weekend! It’s something I haven’t done since high school, so I was really looking forward to it. We got there before 8am to avoid the crowd, and it was a bit rainy so we didn’t stay very long, but we still had lots of fun!

I was struck by how perfectly shaped the strawberries were! (and I accidentally pulled off the unripe ones along with it… made a good photo but I felt kind of bad…)

Spying on the strawberries…

You can see the raindrops on Mike’s coat, and also the thorny weed in the lower right corner! Mike found that the best berries were hiding under those thorney weeds!

And of course, I made a strawberry pin to wear for the special occasion :D

Was planning to take a close-up picture of it in the strawberry bush, but didn’t get a chance to, so I took a picture at home. This strawberry thinks that living is easy with eyes closed.

I didn’t follow any particular pattern to make the strawberry pin. In fact I ran out of time at the end of the week and had to make it while taking the public transit. I wondered whether I should write down the pattern… but I did a quick search and found quite a few crochet strawberry patterns, and I have a feeling that mine wouldn’t be too different from the other patterns, so it might be kind of redundant if I write another one… But if you’re really interested let me know and I’ll write it! It’s rather simple so it won’t take me too long to put it together :)

Have a sweet Monday!

GIANT!

A giant pizza slice! (and pancake!) give away at My Paper Crane!

I like making tiny food plush, but this giant pizza slice look so hugable, I just NEED to have it on my couch! For hugging! While watching TV! Or to just sit beside it and crochet all afternoon, while drinking tea… sigh… So I entered the give away. I’ve never won any give away, but I will try anyway… And please check out the site owner’s other food and non-food plushes too! They’re all soooo adorable…

There’s a lot of generosity in the crafting community, I’ve noticed :D Lots of sharing of patterns, ideas, products, encouragement, inspirations… it’s just a great place to be in, and I’m starting to look for ways to participate more and perhaps make some new friends…

Hope you have a lovely Sunday! I will have updates about my latest adventures shortly :D

Think… summery… thoughts…

I hope everyone enjoyed summer solstice yesterday! Today is rainy and grey, with many rainy and grey days in the forecast, so I thought I would write about something summery… like flavoured ice cubes!

A while ago I stumbled upon this post at the Idea Room about making fresh fruit popsicles, and I was so determined to make them because it’s such a simple yet brilliant idea and the berries and kiwis just look so fabulous in the pictures. There is just one problem — I don’t have a popsicle mold. The only thing I have that’s similar to a popsicle mold is an ice tray. So this sparked an idea of making flavoured ice cubes!

First, we made lemon ice cubes, lime ice cubes, and lemon lime ice cubes…

And when the ice melted, we noticed that the lime pieces sank while the lemon pieces floated… how fascinating…

Then a couple of weeks later, my mom gave me some fresh mint from her garden, so we made some cucumber mint ice cubes! :D (That’s how I stuffed the cucumber slices and mint leaves into the ice tray before adding water.)

Mike likes the lemon lime better, but I prefer the cucumber mint.

I’m still going to try making the fruit popsicles once I get the popsicle molds. Would be perfect after we go strawberry-picking this weekend… mmm… (hopefully it won’t rain! :S)

I think the benefit of making flavoured ice cubes is that one wouldn’t have to always keep lemons and such on hand and take out the chopping board and knife every time one wants a glass of flavoured ice water. I imagine that the flavour would keep well for a while (at least 2 weeks, I would think) since they’re frozen.

Friends also suggested using apricots and raspberries and other fruits, but I worry that the fruit juice would make the water taste like watered down juice… but worth a try, I suppose! Will certainly let you know how it goes if I do try it.

I might even submit this flavoured ice cube recipe to the family cookbook, alongside Aunt Bev’s Wild Ice Cube recipe (made with 100% tap water) ;)

Cheers!

Weekend montage

This weekend I finally got around to look through the 3 boxes of yarn someone generously gave me — they were cleaning out their basement. And I found a stack of pattern booklets nestled in one of the boxes. They’re mostly knitting books from the 80’s so I think I’m going to (sadly) recycle them because I don’t knit, but I decided to keep this one:

It took me a while to figure out what “Hi-Straw” is. Actually I’m still not quite sure but I think it’s something like the synthetic raffia that they sell at the dollar store. It was published in 1970. Very groovy. It has patterns for bags and stuff…

I actually quite like the hexagon one, and was wondering if it’s possible to make it out of yarn rather than the “Hi-Straw”, but then I realized that it had to be made with this circular flower loom. It looks like they still sell the looms at craft stores. But it looks like it can also be handmade, no?

And then, there are the crocheted patterns…

Whoa! Clothing made with straw! And check out the rainbow-coloured long vest too! Pretty awesome-looking, but I don’t think it would be comfortable to wear… at all… But I quite like the straw hat. I think I might even make the straw hat because it’s crocheted. Not with the “Hi-Straw”, though. Cotton yarn might work better, I think.

And then I also kept this embroidery book because it has a pattern for an owl “television and radio times” book on the cover and I quite like the design of the book itself.

And then, while listening to Vampire Weekend, we had banana pancakes that Mike made — with strawberry yogurt and syrup! :D

I also continued to work on the Yeti. I’ve finished all the parts for the body and now I’m working on the sleeves, and then I will work on the collar. Moxy and Abima tried to help with the measuring but I think they got quite confused…

Might also look good as a vest I think.

And here we are, Sunday afternoon. The weather has gotten quite warm and the sky is bright. It would be hard to get a feel of it in this picture but I was amazed by how close to the earth the clouds are hanging today. Maybe rain is coming.

Hope your weekend was lovely!

The quiche experiment

Whenever I think about quiche I think about the rat creatures in Bone.

Sunday night (aka night before grocery day) we had only a few items of food left in our fridge. My comrade (aka Mike) and I were trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Then I remember this crustless quiche in a cup recipe I saw on Cooking with My Kid. It’s like the teacup coddled eggs I made a while ago, but quiche! Even better! :D

(By the way, I found lots of quick and easy and really clever recipes on Cooking with My Kid — such a wealth of ideas for everyday meals and parties/gatherings!)

So! I set out to make some quiches for me and my comrade, with whatever I could find in our fridge, and I found:

A zucchini! I grated half of it. And created a mess — zucchini shreds flying everywhere.

4 eggs! Into the mixing bowl!

Cheese! … shred shred shred shred shred…

AND! A secret Asian ingredient…

SPAM!

Chopped into matchsticks.

(I have to admit, I do like Spam… especially in instant noodles with a fried egg. Kind of like a comfort food.)

Meanwhile, the last bit of milk in the carton added to the eggs for some Asian whisking action! Oh, almost forget — some salt and pepper too! (I maintain that chopsticks are the most effective tools for whisking eggs.)

After mixing in the zucchini, most of the cheese, and Spam, I poured the egg mixture into two ramekins. I decided not to use coffee mugs as pictured in the recipe because I was feeling nervous about putting my coffee mugs into the oven… the labels on the bottom of the mugs only say that they’re dishwasher and microwave safe, not oven safe… anyways, I felt more safe using ramekins, even though ramekins are less cute, but safety is the most important rule in cooking…

OK, enough rambling…

Quiches before they went into the oven, with cheese sprinkled on top!

And quiches after the oven — DONE! :D

They were actually quite good. Very fluffy. Though they didn’t really puff up like the ones pictured in the recipe, my comrade and I were quite happy with them.

I’m thinking I might make them in muffin tins for potlucks or whatnot — that would look rather cute, wouldn’t it? And maybe try using spinach or broccoli, and bacon instead of Spam, because not everyone likes spam… but I think most people like bacon.

And we ended the meal with puff pastries made by our good friend :D It was super delicious! We felt so blessed!

Happy Thursday!

Sewing is not an exact science

SO! I was talking about how I was going to transform one of Mike’s discarded shirts into something I could wear — and I’m finally done!

I operated on this t-shirt.

A large men’s t-shirt from Mark’s.

The button panel in the front was a bit of an issue. But I had an idea.

I first separated the front and back of the shirt, then I cut off the sleeves and the bottom half of the front piece.

Then I drew two lines from the shoulder to the centre point at the bottom edge and cut!

The button panel is completely out of the picture now.

Then I overlapped the two top pieces a bit in the centre and pinned them in place. To make sure that it’s width is wide enough for me I used an existing shirt that fits me well as a guide. I then trimmed the sides of the bottom half to match the width of the top half. Then I sewed the two halves together on the machine, with right sides facing each other.

With right sides facing each other, I pinned the sewn front piece onto the back piece of the t-shirt and kind of cut around the shape… (hence the title of this post :P)

Then I sewed the shoulder seams and side seams together on the machine.

Turned the refashioned shirt right side out… moment of truth — does it fit?! (Did I ever tell you that I never check gauge when I crochet? Apparently I don’t use the measuring tape much neither! :P)

AND it does!

It does fit, but I think it’s kind of missing something… I love raw edges on t-shirt materials because they don’t fray and they usually roll nicely, especially after a wash. But I’m kind of underwhelmed by the raw edges on the neckline. It just looked like I randomly cut apart a t-shirt and sewed it back together… which is exactly what I did, but I’d like to make it more presentable, if possible…

Then I remembered a book I bought last year, Crochet Adorned by Linda Permann, and I have been wanting to try making something from that book for a while now (actually, I tried making something but it completely flopped). It is a wonderful resource for crocheted trims and stuff… And I found a trim pattern that I thought would work well with this shirt, and so I made it with cotton thread, machine-washed the trim once in an effort to pre-shrink it (if it does shrink, I wasn’t sure… but I made the trim longer than what I needed for that purpose) and hand-stitched it onto the neckline…

… whip-stitching while rolling the raw edge under…

And then there it is! A new edge!

And a new shirt! :)

The blue and the white trim together reminds me of those blue porcelain plates.

I still have a couple of old pieces of clothing that I’m looking for ideas to refashion. Refashioning makes total sense to me because I find the construction part therapeutic and the process of coming up with new ideas exciting, whereas I find clothes-shopping at the mall or even at a second-hand shop stressful sometimes. I do like to look at clothes and get inspirations, but I find searching for a specific thing that I like frustrating…

Anyway, when I come up with ideas for more refashioning I’ll surely write and post pictures! Thank you for visiting and I hope your weekend was lovely!