ode to snowflakes

I’m trav­el­ling up north this week­end. I imag­ine there will be more snow than we have here in the city. Which remind­ed me that I made these shrink plas­tic snowflakes dur­ing Christ­mas hol­i­day, with tuto­r­i­al from The Long Thread.

I first tried using the tem­plate full-size. I was imag­in­ing a dime-sized pen­dant, but it turned out a lot big­ger than what I want­ed, as you can see with my hand there (I had to remind myself that shrink plas­tic may seem mag­i­cal but it’s not so mag­i­cal that the snowflake would shrink from 4 inch to 1/2 inch).

The first try did­n’t go very smooth­ly. A cou­ple of the arm­s broke off as I was cut­ting, and I only had clear shrink plas­tic rather than frost­ed shrink plas­tic, so I had to sand it. The sand­pa­per I used was grey, and I made the mis­take of sand­ing it after it was cut, so the grey sandy par­ti­cles got stuck all along the edges, leav­ing the snowflake with a film of grey…

But I still like it. It reminds me of snow in the city, on the road and side­walk, turn­ing all grey and slushy as the cars go by and peo­ple tread­ing through. I’m going to find a long chain to wear it around in the city :D

As for the small snowflake that I want­ed… Learn­ing the lessons from the first attempt, I shrunk the tem­plate by 50%, sand­ed the plas­tic before cut­ting it, and was extra, extra care­ful and slow when cut­ting the plas­tic. And final­ly I watched it curl and shrink in the hot oven… and sud­den­ly I have a snowflake the size of a dime :D

It’s exact­ly what I’ve pic­tured in my mind. And none of the arms broke off. I’m quite hap­py with it.

If I could write poems, I would write an ode to snowflakes. They are breath­tak­ing­ly intri­cate and beau­ti­ful and each is per­fect in its own way, yet they’re here one moment and melt­ed to a mere drop of water the next. I’m sure that it’s a detail pur­pose­ful­ly made and woven into our every­day life to intrigue and inspire us.

But I don’t real­ly write poems. The best I can do is some fee­ble attempts at haiku (although I quite enjoy it :D). But I do enjoy read­ing poems very much. And I’m hap­py that my sis­ter-in-law, who is a very tal­ent­ed writer, has start­ed a new poet­ry and writ­ing blog, so now I have a con­stant sup­ply of poems to read :D

So, trav­el­ling, snowflakes, and poet­ry. I thought I would sum it all up with this poem I read on Lil Fish Stu­dio. I was very moved by it when I read it, because recent­ly I’ve found myself in the same place, trav­el­ling along and then com­ing upon a forked road, try­ing to make the best deci­sion, try­ing to find the best way to use all the gifts I have been giv­en, and feel­ing rather help­less wal­low­ing in my own indecisiveness.

Two roads diverged in a yel­low wood,
And sor­ry I could not trav­el both
And be one trav­el­er, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the oth­er, as just as fair,
And hav­ing per­haps the bet­ter claim,
Because it was grassy and want­ed wear;
Though as for that the pass­ing there
Had worn them real­ly about the same.
And both that morn­ing equal­ly lay
In leaves no step had trod­den black.
Oh, I kept the first for anoth­er day!
Yet know­ing how way leads on to way,
I doubt­ed if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Some­where ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less trav­eled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost, 1915


(The poem itself has noth­ing to do with snowflakes, but note the author’s name!)

So, see you in a few days! I’m bring­ing Zumi with me to the north and hope to bring back some nice pho­tos. Thank you for vis­it­ing and have a won­der­ful weekend!

favourite things of the week! the fabric edition

The many things one can do with scrap pieces of fab­ric! I have a rather large col­lec­tion of fab­ric sam­ple that I got back in the art col­lege days, they’ve got love­ly prints and tex­ture but I nev­er know what to do with a mere 8x8 piece of test swatch. But now I think I’ve got some ideas :D

And I think this tri­an­gu­lar pouch is a great way to use fat quar­ters of fab­ric with cute prints (like from Spoon­flower!). It will make a great pen­cil case, or a clutch or wrist­let too!

Detailed tuto­r­i­al at Inno­cen­tia.


How about stiff­en­ing it and fold­ing it into box? There’s also a tuto­r­i­al on the fab­ric flower on the box.

Tuto­ri­als on stiff­en­ing fab­ric and origa­mi box on How About Orange.


When we went to Malaysia in Novem­ber we saw lots of gor­geous batik fab­ric. I would love to learn it one day, but in the mean­while, here’s a much more straight­for­ward way of mak­ing sim­ple batik, using flour! Here are batik images of bike col­laged on a pil­low — a won­der­ful idea for a group project!

Tuto­r­i­al from Se7en.


And final­ly, check out this awe­some plan­et sys­tem print! :D The fab­ric can be ordered off Spoon­flower, and design­er Mol­lie of Wild Olive shares a tuto­r­i­al on how to make it into a ban­ner. I’m SO mak­ing this for my nieces and nephews! (And I think Plu­to is sad that he’s no longer a plan­et. Poor Plu­to. You’ll always be a plan­et in my heart, does­n’t mat­ter what the new text­books say.)


Have a hap­py Thurs­day every­one! :D



alpaca hood

Had a very, very cold past cou­ple of days. Tem­per­a­ture went down to the
‑20°c range, ‑30°c with wind chill. Brrrr.  Ear­li­er last week I was debat­ing whether I should make the Lyra hood. I looked through my stash of yarn and found some colours that would work well togeth­er, so I decid­ed to give the project a try, even though I don’t knit very often and when I do, I’m extreme­ly slow.

So these are the kinds of yarn I used. The alpaca was a Christ­mas present :D and then there’s a ball of off-white rov­ing from one of the box­es of yarn that some­one has giv­en to me, and then a cone of fuzzy mys­tery yarn, also from the same boxes.

I used these 10mm nee­dles that remind­ed me of eno­ki mushrooms.

I used small­er nee­dles than the pat­tern called for so I could­n’t exact­ly fol­low it, but it worked out alright :D It was also the first time I tried to do a “3‑needle bind-off”. I made it so it left a raised line of stitch­es at the back of the hood, which I liked very much.

I was wear­ing it while trav­el­ling over the week­end and was so thank­ful for the warmth that the alpaca wool brings.

Have a hap­py Monday!

aaaand today is…

After Pen­guin Aware­ness Day, today we have Squir­rel Appre­ci­a­tion Day!

So here I’m going to repost my all time favourite squir­rel project — the lost mit­ten squir­rel! :D

Via Craftzine.


I’m sad to say that I still haven’t found a lone mit­ten (it’s tech­ni­cal­ly a glove, but I like the word mit­ten bet­ter) to start this project, but it’s on my list :D My goal is to find a white one, so I can make the leg­endary white squir­rel of Trin­i­ty Bell­woods Park.

Pho­to by Michael Wern­er.


And while we have the nee­dle and thread out, why not sew some fes­tive acorns to celebrate?

From Zem­phi­ra’s Cre­ations.


Hap­py week­end everyone!

today is…

Pen­guin Aware­ness Day! :D

Whew! I made it! There are still 12 min­utes until today is over. Just want­ed to drop in to mark this day with a super adorable pen­guin cro­chet pattern…

From Pier­rot Yarn. The site is in Japan­ese, but the PDF pat­tern is chart­ed and it’s the link under­neath the orange but­ton icon, or here.


favourite things of the week!

See­ing lots of Valen­tine’s Day crafts late­ly. Still a month till Valen­tine’s Day, but I guess if one plans on craft­ing to spread some love now is the per­fect time to start creating!

These heart bar­rettes make per­fect par­ty favours for a Valen­tine’s Day par­ty — so bright and love­ly and sim­ple to make! I think I’ll make a bunch in yel­low and orange and blue and all oth­er colours (and maybe dif­fer­ent shapes too), for a lit­tle friend’s 4th birth­day. I just love how clev­er­ly the bar­rette is attached to the felt heart.

Tuto­r­i­al from The Purl Bee.


Also from The Purl Bee are these love­ly rose bar­rettes — I think they’d make nice hair ties or pins too!


I think I’ll def­i­nite­ly make one of these hearts and wear it as a pin on V‑Day this year.

Free pat­tern gen­er­ous­ly shared by Plan­etJune.


On the week­end we caught The Gold­en Com­pass on TV. Being the obses­sive crafter that I am, I thought the best thing about the movie was Lyra’s knit­ted hood. (Beside the talk­ing ani­mals — I love any sto­ry with talk­ing ani­mals in it :D)

A quick Google search yield­ed a num­ber of Lyra’s hood-inspired pat­terns, here are a few:

Lion Brand Yarn (reg­is­tra­tion required)
Poo­dle Days and Star­ry Knits
Frog­gie Meanie

And then I saw a cro­chet ver­sion of a hood that looks like Lyra’s on A Beau­ti­ful Mess, com­plete with a pom pom!

I love that they’re made with giant (15mm) nee­dles and super bulky yarn — great for keep­ing one’s ears warm on cold windy days! I’m tempt­ed to make the hood but I already have quite a few wool hats… but we are trav­el­ling up north next week­end, so maybe I will make it… hmm.

And final­ly, a beau­ti­ful reminder in the form of awe­some book art…


From Today and Tomor­row.


Yes! Cre­ate!

Have a love­ly evening, everyone!




for the goat!

The kids and par­ents at church were orga­niz­ing a bake sale on Sun­day, and I said I would bring some baked goods. They were going to use the mon­ey they raise to buy a goat or chick­ens from the World Vision Gift Cat­a­logue.

I’m nev­er very good at bak­ing. The only Christ­mas bak­ing I do is mak­ing dough orna­ments. So I had no idea what to make. But then I remem­bered my new bun­ny and bird cook­ie cut­ters from Hong Kong. I bought them because I thought they’d make good orna­ments. And they came in a nifty lit­tle box, in three dif­fer­ent sizes.

And so I thought maybe I can test out my new cook­ie cut­ters and actu­al­ly use them to make some sug­ar cookies.

I used this recipe from Cana­di­an Liv­ing, and the medi­um bun­ny cook­ie cutter.

It was a pret­ty good recipe, I think, but I must have done some­thing wrong some­where in the process because the dough start­ed crum­bling. So I had to roll them out in small batch­es. But it all worked out in the end :D

Fresh baked bun­nies! :D

Toward the end the dough was real­ly crum­bling and some of the last cook­ies looked rather wrinkly and cracked after being baked, so we ate those our­selves, with some hot cocoa and marsh­mal­lows :D

I think the bun­ny cook­ies were well received (espe­cial­ly by the kids) at the bake sale. I’m glad they help to raise mon­ey for the goat and chickens. One of the best wed­ding gifts we got was a goat from the gift cat­a­logue and the bake sale was such a bril­liant idea. Every­thing was gone pret­ty quick­ly. It was rather dif­fi­cult to get through the wall of peo­ple in front of the bake sale tables to buy things, but Mike and I man­aged to get our hands on some banana muffins and mint choco­late chip cook­ies before they were gone :D

Have a hap­py Tuesday!



So! The cus­tom order I have been work­ing on ear­li­er this month has gone to its new home, so I can final­ly show you what they are! :D I’ll share some of our favourites here, but you can also see the full set on flickr.

Yes, it’s a full set of alpha­bet fridge mag­nets with cro­chet food items. Each mag­net stands 1 — 1.5 inch­es tall (the bunch o’grapes is the only one who is too tall for its kind, but the rest accept­ed him anyway). Mike came up with the catchy team name “alphafood” :D

Try­ing to fig­ure out how to incor­po­rate the let­ters took a bit of exper­i­ment­ing. At first I tried to cro­chet the let­ters, which looked alright…

But then when I got to “B” I had a hard time stop­ping it from mor­ph­ing into an “8”. So I tried cut­ting the let­ters out from felt. I did­n’t think it would work so well because none of my small scis­sors are super sharp, but between my one pair of large but sharp fab­ric scis­sors and my small dull scis­sors it actu­al­ly worked out real­ly well with all the let­ters. And then I just tacked them on with fab­ric glue and secured them with some stitches.

See? Much bet­ter :D

There’s some­thing about cut­ting let­ters out by hand that I find real­ly sooth­ing. I do that a lot with paper, and I’m hap­py to know that it works with felt too. Some of my favourites are the banana…

… and the strawberry.

The radish is Mike’s favourite.

And this is where the give peas a chance pat­tern comes from.

It was fun to come up with food items that are not too obscure and would trans­late well in cro­chet at the same time. While work­ing on them we had some friends over and they seemed real­ly excit­ed about guess­ing what some food items were. I did­n’t expect it could turn into such a fun guess­ing game…

Every­one took a while to fig­ure out this one.

V is for veg­etable soup!

One per­son got this one right away, I was pret­ty impressed!

U is for ugli fruit!

I thought peo­ple would have trou­ble with this one, but they guessed it right away.

Q is for que­sadil­la! (topped with a Q‑shaped dol­lop of sour cream! :D)

Anoth­er proud mem­ber of the Mex­i­can cui­sine that peo­ple took a while to guess. (It did­n’t help when I tried to give a hint by telling the rid­dle: “what do you call cheese that does­n’t belong to you?”)

N is for nacho! (a tri­an­gu­lar nacho chip, dipped in bits of sal­sa and nacho cheese! :D)

Besides Xigua, which is Chi­nese for water­mel­on, I could­n’t find a food that starts with the let­ter “X”, and water­mel­on has already signed up to rep­re­sent let­ter “W”. I found a forum where peo­ple were dis­cussing food items that start with spe­cif­ic let­ters for writ­ing a chil­dren’s alpha­bet book, and some­one sug­gest­ed the Her­shey’s Kiss for “X”. I thought it was a fine idea.


I hope the alphafoods will make it fun to learn the alpha­bets for the lit­tle boy who’s get­ting them! :D

Meet every­one on the alphafood team on Flickr! :D

Feel free to drop me a note through my Etsy shop or send me an email at genuinemudpie[at]gmail[dot]com if you want to chat about cus­tom orders!

Have a sweet week­end everyone!