all we are saying…

 

I was working on a custom order (which I will share with you very soon! :D) and it involves making a set of peas in a pod. It was a small part of a rather extensive project and I still had a lot more to do besides the peas, so I didn’t really want to make the individual peas and stuff them. So I thought of using the popcorn stitch, and here’s what I did…

(Here’s a great video about how to make the crochet popcorn stitch just in case you want to get an idea of what it’s like.)

I used:
A bit of worsted weight yarn in two different shades of green
3.5mm crochet hook
Black sewing thread
Sewing needle
Yarn needle

For the peas:

The first pea: ch 4, 4 dc in 4th st from hook.
Then I did what I like to call the popcorn maneuver:  drop loop from hook, insert hook from front to back between the beginning ch and first dc, reinsert hook into dropped loop, yo, pull through loop and space between beginning ch and first dc, ch 1.

 

yo and pull through loop on hook and space between beg. ch and first dc to make popcorn stitch.

The second pea: Repeat instruction for the first pea.

 

second pea before the popcorn maneuver!

You can make as many peas as you wish, repeating the instruction for the first pea, and fastening off after the last pea. I made three.

 

Next, I embroidered faces onto the peas with doubled black sewing thread, and then stuffed them slightly with some yarn-ends.

For the pod:

(The stitch count is for a pod with 3 peas. If there are more peas I would just eye-ball it and add more stitches to the beginning ch to fit.)

Row 1: ch 16, sc in 2nd st from hook, sc in each ch across.

Row 2: ch 1, 1 sc in each st across.

Rows 3–7: repeat Row 2.

Leave a 12″ tail, fasten off.

Fold pod in half length-wise. Using the 12″ tail and yarn needle, sew one end together, like so…

Then, place the string of peas inside the pod, and sew through the sides of the pod and the peas, zig-zagging across the length of the pod to the other end, like so…

ouch! >_<

Finally, sew the other end together, like so…

And here you have it, peas in a pod! :D

These peas think that they’ll make a great fridge magnet, or a pin, or an ornament, or a zipper pull, or a cellphone charm, reminding you to give peace a chance in this brand new year.

But if you need some ideas about how you can give peas a chance, here’s a fabulous mushy peas recipe — it’s my favourite way to eat peas! :D

Have a lovely evening and a wonderful Friday!

 

more favourite things this week!

It’s going to be a cold couple of days in the neighbourhood! A dear friend of mine loves to bike around the city, and even in the winter she tries to bike as much as she can. She told me that long arm-warmers are bikers’ best friends (beside their bikes) because they can’t really wear bulky jackets as they bike. So this instructable reminds me of my friend. And I thought if you like to bike (or just be stylish) in late fall / winter / early spring you might like this idea too!

By Tarzioo on Instructables (via Craftzine).

 

And for those cold mornings — what about some warm toasts with homemade butter? I cannot believe how easy (and fun!) it is to make butter! It’s really similar to making ice cream in a can, I think.

From Maize in Montana.

 

Mike introduced me to a new favourite band this week called Sleeping at Last. They put out a new EP every month with gorgeous, glorious watercolour album covers (and, of course, amazing music — I especially love their poetic lyrics — but I must admit that I’m more drawn to the watercolours…). Check out their latest cover!

 

 

Isn’t that just amazing? I am particularly in love with the January cover because of all the rich shades of blue and the touches of grey. My heart just melts.

And so I did more investigating and found out the art was done by Kansas artist Geoff Benzing. I spent hours in his watercolour gallery; the night cityscapes are my favourite.

And speaking of music, one of my goals this year is to learn to play the ukulele. I don’t know when I’ll get one, but I heard it’s not terribly difficult to learn (and I do know a bit of guitar… like, the C chord). I think my friends’ kids and the kids at church will love it if I can play songs for them to sing and dance to.

See? Elvis played the ukulele.

 

Hope you’ve had a great start to the week! Happy Wednesday!

I yam what I yam

I prefer calling sweet potatoes yam :)

Anyway, attempting to make yam sweet soup for a late night snack. It’s a Chinese dessert made with yam, rock sugar and ginger. I had a general idea about how to make it but wanted to know how much sugar to use. I found a Chinese recipe that was pretty straightforward, but it just said “some rock sugar” in the ingredient list.

It reminds me of my grandmother, when we asked her for the recipe of her famous “tea fruit” (a Hakka snack in the form of rice flour patties) and how much rice flour she used, she said, “oh, just a small bowl.”

I later found an English version of the yam sweet soup recipe in case anyone’s interested :D

My yam sweet soup turned out a tad too sweet. I didn’t have rock sugar, so I just poured in a bunch of brown sugar. I would also like to put in more ginger next time. But it was a good late night snack :D

Happy Sunday!

favourite things Friday!

A favourite-things post is long overdue — I’ve been accumulating so many neat ideas and blog posts for the past month my bookmark folder is going to burst! :P

My favourite of the favourites is the acorn owl ♥

I love any craft involving acorns. Tutorial from Bloesem Kids.

 

A lovely, lovely way to incorporate children’s art into wall-hangings, ornaments and charms — makes great gifts for the parents, I think! And I think any kid would be proud to collaborate in the project (I would, if I were a kid). It also involves used gift-wrap! :D Going to be on the lookout for artwork next time I visit my friends and their children.


Tutorial from Michele Made Me.

 

That’s right. One doesn’t have to stop making ornaments just because the tree is gone. They look nice hanging by the window or off the desk lamp. Not the overly Christmas‑y ones, of course. But the memorable ones, like these cute photo ornaments.

Tutorial on Photojojo.

 

Looking for a new desk calendar for the new year? A Yeti for hire! All you need is some scissors, glue, and 10 minutes of crafty time. Who wouldn’t want a Yeti on their desks, reminding you that it’s Friday?


Free download at Curiosity Calendar of the Month (via How About Orange).

 

No tutorial for these adorable takoyai; you can only hug them with your eyes.

I vote it the most brilliant amigurumi food of the year :D Spotted on Moon’s Creations.

 

More amigurumi Japanese food — crocheted natto!


From 203gow (via Craftzine).

 

Although I’m partial to crochet, I would most definitely attempt this knit tea light holder (only stockinette stitch required!). I love that it can be arranged in a line or in circle.


Free pattern from Duo Fiberworks.

 

And now we move on to sewing! Shirt reconstruction using a large flannel shirt that I imagine would be rather easy to find at any thrift store. Or closet. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be plaid. I just really like the collar of this shirt, and the way the sleeves are reconstructed. Hmm. Maybe it’s time for a trip to the thrift store.

How-to on Craftzine.

 

And last but not least, an interactive game featuring plush dumplings!! :D How awesome is that? It’s a memory game that requires one to serve up different types of dumplings in a specific sequence. Watch the game in action!


Dumpling Dash by Jayne Vidheecharoen.

 

Oh and I almost forgot! We saw Fantastic Mr. Fox over the new years. It’s a great movie in itself, but what makes it so much more awesome is that the chef rabbit is voiced by and modeled after Mario Batali, my favourite Iron Chef! With the orange necktie and crocs!

He also shared his recipe for Mrs.Bean’s Famous Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps that were in the movie! :D

Have a sweet Friday everyone! :D

 

 

 

 

 

in progress…

Pile of yarn ends and a failed orange slice and multiple needles pulling threads… yes, I’ve been working on a rather extensive custom order for the past few days, and I hope to show you the finished pieces soon! :D

 

After having some delicious avocado and tomato salad, attempting to grow an avocado plant. I came across a book called Don’t Throw It, Grow It some time last year and I’ve been wanting to grow an avocado plant ever since. There are tons of instruction online but this one came with a friendly video so I followed it. And now it looks like an alien egg sitting on a hatching chamber soaking in some bubbling, radioactive liquid. I hope it sprouts. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Häkeln! Been attempting a crochet pattern in German. It’s for a hat. I really liked the look of the hat, and no language barrier was going to keep me from making this hat. It was actually a really straightforward pattern. I was particularly impressed with Google Translate — it appears to know crochet shorthands! This list from Owlishy for crochet and knitting terms in different languages also helped a lot. And for the first time I’m using some good quality cotton by Patons called Grace, in “clay”, because I had a 40% off coupon from Michaels. I realize that good quality yarn doesn’t split as much as its inexpensive acrylic counterparts and is therefore a lot nicer to crochet with.

 

And then there are also other things in progress. More life-decisions type things. I feel like “in progress” has been one of the defining features of my life since kindergarten. Always working toward the end of a long process and the resolution. A sense of settlement. Stability. But what if there is no such thing as settlement, and life is meant to be always in progress, in motion? Or what if I’m just never satisfied, and when I can choose to settle on something I instead choose to move on to something else before giving the former a fair chance?

This is where I go in circles.

And I think about all the things that I do, the things that I make, the stuff that I write on here, whether it means anything. I think about the paths I’ve chosen, all the time I spent in different classrooms, and I lay awake at night terrified that I’m going to waste my life away.

But in the very centre of the circles there is faith, which holds that none of the work done in progress would be wasted, told to me through the words of my mother. And I can only hold on to that and move forward.

Today is…

National Bird Day!
(According to the Hoops & Yoyo Calendar)

Perfect day for another Sightings episode from Chuck & Robin! :D

Just an excuse to show you my new favourite pins and ornament that my parents-in-law got from Guatemala :D

And also an excuse to make up some silly stories to make the inner-child happy, when the sun sets at 4pm on a cold winter day.

I later found out that the bird pins are not only colourful, they’re also machine-washable. I forgot to take them off my t‑shirt before putting them into the washer, and they came out perfectly intact, the paint didn’t even chip one bit. They are indeed amazing.

I also thought it might be fun to sign up for Twitter on National Bird Day. But I think I’ll pass for now. I post enough updates here and on Facebook :P

Have a blessed Wednesday!

 

Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.
— Victor Hugo

 

 

filbert!

Also known as hazelnut. But I prefer to call it filbert. It’s one of my favourite words. And if I have a cat I would name him/her Filbert.

Anyway, we had lots of filberts around at Christmas time…

 

And I was given this really nice felting wool as a Christmas gift, in beautiful autumn tones, from this store called Heaven is Handmade (it’s true!). It’s so very soft… I also received another bundle of wool in blue/white tones. I have a plan for it; I’ll show you later :)

Working with felting wool is a luxury for me because wool tends to be more expensive, and I try to keep a tight budget for my crafting habits, so I’m rather thankful for the gift!

 

So while we waited for the countdown on new year’s eve I thought I would try needle-felting with this wool, and I thought the brown tones would make a good filbert. And so Filbert materialized in the midst of fireworks and glasses of ginger ale. Today he’s having some down time on the windowsill, enjoying a bit of sun. He’s about the same size as a typical filbert.

 

I think I’m going to try making some animals next. More specifically, a cat. A cat named Filbert.

I once took out this book from the library and it has such lovely photography and excellent instructions for making realistic-looking felted pets. So a trip to the library is in order!

 

Happy Tuesday! :D

it’s 2011!

Happy new year! :D

The first day of 2011 is unusually mild. We woke up to a thick veil of fog outside our window. We went out to our balcony and it was like stepping into a cloud. It felt strangely serene.

 

 

 

 

I joined the Zumi group on Flickr and saw lots of cool black and white pictures. I thought I don’t use the black and white mode quite enough and so here’s a B&W picture of the foggy neighbourhood.

 

 

And when we went back inside for breakfast I heard the birds chirping, which reminded me of this quote I read on Duo Fiberworks:

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,’
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.”

- Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

 

Wishing everyone a healthy and wonderful 2011!