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!