the joy of quick stitching

It was a short work week but some­how it felt very long and exhaust­ing. So I decid­ed to spend Fri­day night enjoy­ing a new episode of Fringe (yay!) and mak­ing myself a new hat. I think I real­ly like wear­ing hats.

I recent­ly bought scored a retro-look­ing plum-colour down jack­et from Val­ue Vil­lage for $15 (!), and I could pic­ture it going real­ly well with a grey slouch hat. I used this love­ly pat­tern on Wee Robin, main­ly because I was drawn to the flower motif on the back of the hat.

I made it in an evening, and it made me hap­py. That’s the mag­ic of crocheting.

I’m quite pleased with this hat. It does­n’t give me hat hair like my oth­er hats, and still keeps my ears warm.

And today we went out for a walk. It was a wind­less after­noon, with snowflakes falling qui­et­ly around us.

Mike brought along his cam­era, so I was bor­row­ing it for a while. It has a nice macro lens.


Found a bud­ding branch! :D

Spring will be here soon, any day now!

Have a love­ly weekend!

the art of slow


The cable owl was actu­al­ly a real­ly quick project, but I’m think­ing about knit­ting in gen­er­al. I have been avoid­ing knit­ting for quite a few years now, shy­ing away from pat­terns I actu­al­ly like, telling myself that “it would take too long,” and “I don’t have the patience for this”. Cro­chet­ing is indeed much quick­er, more straight­for­ward, and more of the “instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion,” I guess. A cro­chet cardi­gan would prob­a­bly take me no more than a week if I work on it every evening.

On the oth­er hand, I have been work­ing on this knit cardi­gan since the begin­ning of Feb­ru­ary, and I have to say, I’ve quite enjoyed the process.

This is actu­al­ly the begin­ning of the sec­ond sleeve, the last com­po­nent of the pat­tern I have to knit before sewing every­thing togeth­er. I think what I like about knit­ting now, is the process of tak­ing the time to do some­thing real­ly well, with­out think­ing about whether it would be worth it, and whether it is tak­ing too long. And more impor­tant­ly, it is dis­cov­er­ing that I do have the patience for this. Not only for knit­ting, but oth­er things as well. Oth­er per­haps more impor­tant things in life that requires patience, will­ing­ness to invest, concentration, perseverance, and hard work. I find knit­ting a good men­tal exer­cise for those things.

My recent attempt in knit­ting has sud­den­ly opened the door to tons of beau­ti­ful knit­ting pat­terns — now I feel like I’m able to make these things! Not that I did­n’t know how to knit before — my mom’s taught me how to knit when I was in grade three — but I had just always thought of myself as, you know, a cro­cheter, who would­n’t both­er with knit­ting. Until now. That said, I still don’t know how to read most knit­ting short­hands, and I don’t know how to fix mis­takes like dropped stitch­es, which can be a prob­lem. I used to be able to just ask my mom when I lived at home. But now I’ve found the inter­net to be a won­der­ful thing when I need some expla­na­tion or demon­stra­tion. A friend once told me that is help­ful, and I total­ly agree.

In fact, that’s where I learned what c4b and c4f mean when I was attempt­ing the knit cable owl pat­tern :D

I used the alpaca wool I got for Christ­mas. The one on the right is the first one I made and the nee­dles I used were too small and it looked a bit uptight (even surly :/). So I tried again with a larg­er nee­dle and the cable twists looked a bit bet­ter. It took me a long time to find the per­fec­t iri­des­cent but­tons for its eyes. And then I sewed a piece of felt on its back to make it a bit stiffer and to attach a pin to it.

I think I will make more in dif­fer­ent colours! :D

Anoth­er thing I like about knit­ting is that it uses less yarn. I heard that it uses 40–60% less yarn than cro­chet­ing. I don’t remem­ber where I heard that, and I’m not sure whether I remem­ber those num­bers cor­rect­ly. But either way, I’ve found that a ball of yarn goes a long way in knit­ting. So yes­ter­day I ordered from the library all three of the One Skein Won­ders books, so I can put my very large (and grow­ing) stash of sin­gle (and may par­tial) skeins of yarn to good use.

The next knit­ting project will be for my mom, because she gave me all her nee­dles :P and because her birth­day is com­ing up in May (yes, it will take me that long to fin­ish the project). I found a cardi­gan that she might like, it has a lace pat­tern and involves cir­cu­lar nee­dles, so it will be a bit of a chal­lenge, but I hope to be able to fig­ure it out.

And just to clar­i­fy, that I am in no way turn­ing my back on cro­chet­ing — I still find it enjoy­able and fun, espe­cial­ly when it comes to mak­ing plush­es. But it is good to know that I can enjoy knit­ting as well.

Any­way, back to stitch­ing I go…

Have a won­der­ful Thursday!


The crim­son glow of the set­ting sun paints a rec­tan­gle of light on my wall.

The day is get­ting longer. Soon we can take walks after din­ner. The promise of spring gives me hope.

May your evening be rest­ful and filled with peace.

favourite things of the week — accessorize!

That was the fash­ion tip a dear friend gave me. Except that my idea of acces­soriz­ing appeared to be quite dif­fer­ent from hers… I think we’ve agreed to dis­agree, as we have been since high school (that, or she’s giv­en up on me after all these years :/).

But I still love her to pieces anyway :)
(And I promise not to wear any of the below to a job interview!)

So, any­way, today I brought you some cool acces­sories that one can make!


Scarf repur­posed from cool graph­ic tees! I love that it uses a #10 enve­lope as tem­plate, because I don’t like measuring :/
Tuto­r­i­al at Just Some­thing I Made.


How love­ly are these? Just strings and paper­clips. I love the sim­plic­i­ty, and I espe­cial­ly love the yel­low pair. Tuto­r­i­al by Evie S.


But­tons one can spell words with! Bril­liant. I know I have some Fimo hid­ing some­where in the craft draw­er… Tuto­r­i­al at Design*Sponge.


I bor­rowed the cable nee­dles from my mom so I can make this! I don’t look good with bar­rettes so I’m going to wear it as a pin. Pat­tern by Ysol­da.


Acces­so­ry per­fect for the night owl, I think. To live noc­tur­nal­ly one needs all the sleep one can get dur­ing the day, but it can be dif­fi­cult to fall asleep with all that day­light. So I would high­ly rec­om­mend the owl eye mask. Pat­tern on Roman Sock.


And final­ly, acces­sorize the lol­lipops! With these cute super­hero print­a­bles on Zak­ka Life! They are designed for V‑Day but with a few tweaks I’m sure they will be a hit at par­ties for all occa­sions and all ages.


So, put on your favourite acces­sories and have your­self a great Mon­day, friends! :D

green with deliciousness — round two!

My mom request­ed some green tea leaf cook­ies for the week­end, so I thought it would be a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to try a dif­fer­ent recipe, because last time the tea leaves turned out a bit too puffy. So this time I used Martha’s green tea short­bread recipe, and they looked fab­u­lous! :D Kept their shape through­out the baking.

The cook­ies are very, very but­tery (so deli­cious…), but it also makes the dough a bit dif­fi­cult to han­dle. But the leaf-shapes turned out alright. I used reg­u­lar salt­ed but­ter because I had some left over from bak­ing last time, but next time I will buy unsalt­ed but­ter, because I think the salti­ness of the but­ter kind of took away from the sub­tle green tea flavour, and if the cook­ies weren’t green one may not even know that they were green tea cook­ies. But they were still quite delicious.

And then we cel­e­brat­ed sev­er­al birth­days over the week­end — my dad’s and my par­ents-in-law’s :D I found this recipe that makes a dou­ble-lay­er cake, so I made 2 cakes out of it, one in a loaf pan and one in a round pan. The bat­ter was so green! And I thought it makes a nice pho­to as the yogurt was being mixed in…

The green tea flavour is eas­i­er to detect in the cake than in the cook­ies. I was rather hap­py with it.

Hope your week­end is fabulous!

if pain

I have been work­ing on this for a while now. I start­ed a paint­ing on a small wood­en braced pan­el but I did­n’t feel very inspired to con­tin­ue, so the paint­ing, with print­ed leaves in fall tones, had been sit­ting on my shelf col­lect­ing dust for a few years now. Last fall, one of my teach­ers brought in the idea of mak­ing shad­ow box­es, and I had been want­i­ng to try mak­ing one. When I looked around the house for boards and things to make shad­ow box­es with, I saw this half-done paint­ing and I thought, the back of it would make a great shad­ow box.

But still I did­n’t start work­ing on it, because I had no vision for what could inhab­it the shad­ow box. And then on the first Sun­day of the year, I saw this quote in the ser­mon note:

If pain caus­es us to go inward, there is no com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the world out­side; if it caus­es us to go out­ward in retal­i­a­tion, then we lose the mes­sage we bear… If pain caus­es us to go for­ward, then we are not bear­ing the pain, we are using the pain.
- Dr. Samuel Kamale­son, 1976

Some­how that led me to the image of the Walled City. Like I had men­tioned before, I have nev­er set foot in the actu­al Walled City. All I have of it are sto­ries, from videos and posters and muse­um exhibits and a friend who’ve spent time there, and a tour of the metic­u­lous­ly man­i­cured park that holds the same space as the Walled City but looks noth­ing like its for­mer des­o­late self.

I sup­pose it’s easy to roman­ti­cize what life was like in the Walled City. The pover­ty, the injus­tice, the suf­fer­ings of the soul, the resilience of the peo­ple. And frankly that’s what I imag­ine, but I also know that the real­i­ty of the place was any­thing but roman­tic. And I have no idea, and I will nev­er have any idea, about what it was real­ly like to live there because I have nev­er been there.

But some­thing about that place res­onat­ed with me. Per­haps not the real­i­ty of that place but what it rep­re­sents. And I can’t real­ly explain what it rep­re­sents to me. I sup­pose that’s why I made this, because I don’t know how to express it otherwise.

I used the clas­si­fied sec­tion of a Chi­nese news­pa­per, with small box­es of text and many men­tions of the word “home”. And ink, which react­ed with the adhe­sive I used to paste the news­pa­per and crack­led in frost-like pat­terns. And pieces of roots, which were sal­vaged from a yuc­ca plant that did­n’t sur­vive the win­ter. On what was the front of the pan­el I wrote part of the quote, and the leaf prints were still vis­i­ble through the black paint. I think as a whole it has said what need­ed to be said.

I have been work­ing on this for a while now. The mak­ing of the image is com­plete, but the work of learn­ing, and of under­stand­ing, isn’t.

Hope you are well. Enjoy the weekend!

favourite things of the week!

I’m hav­ing a cup of tea as I write this :)

I love how the han­dle of the mug con­ve­nient­ly works as a hand­bag hang­er. They remind me of my school days when I would occa­sion­al­ly walk past the indus­tri­al design depart­ment and mar­vel at all the bril­liant con­cepts that I would nev­er in a mil­lion years come up with myself. I’d love to see a cof­fee shop filled with these.

Cof­fee chair from Sun­han Kwon.


And these delight­ful spoons, for stir­ring tea.

For­est spoon by Nen­do.


Both the cof­fee chair and the for­est spoon, along with their love­ly pho­to com­pos­ites, came from Inspire Me Now, a stream­line blog filled with, well, inspir­ing ideas! If you haven’t heard of it I would high­ly rec­om­mend pay­ing a visit.

And I just can’t write a favourite-things post with­out shar­ing some­thing we can make our­selves :D Here are some wall hooks made from coat hang­ers and papi­er mâché. I think the one with the ban­dit mask looks fantastic ;)

Detailed tuto­r­i­al on Bloe­sem Kids.


Have a hap­py Thurs­day, everyone!

quick afternoon

The to-do list start­ed to grow as we approach the week­end. One of the to-do items is mak­ing a hat for my aunt, who want­ed a gift for her friend’s new­born baby. She request­ed it after see­ing this on a Zeller’s flyer.

It’s a knit hat, and I don’t have much time before deliv­er­ing it to her this week­end, so I was look­ing for a cro­chet pat­tern — because it would be much quick­er for me to cro­chet than to knit, and because I’m not famil­iar with infant head-sizes.

Ini­tial­ly I was just search­ing on Rav­el­ry for a plain infant hat pat­tern, but then I came across this pat­tern on Stitch Tac Sew (web­site no longer avail­able :( when checked again in July 2012) that looks exact­ly like the knit hat on the fly­er, except it’s cro­chet! :D It’s free (score!) and involves using a large hook (dou­ble-score!)! I’ve been look­ing for projects to put my 16mm hook to good use.

I cro­cheted with 4 strands of yarn held togeth­er, main­ly the bulky, wool­ly sort. My aunt sug­gest­ed using pink and white. The hat only took 5 rows to com­plete. I was also delight­ed to see a tuto­r­i­al on how to make pom­poms with­out a pom­pom mak­er on the same blog, because I don’t have a pom­pom maker.

And so, here’s the hat! :D


I like the yarn com­bi­na­tion, it reminds me of straw­ber­ries and cream.

And I hope the small per­son who is receiv­ing this hat will like it too.

So with this project and laun­dry and the fin­ish­ing-up of anoth­er piece of art­work that’s been hiber­nat­ing for weeks, the after­noon went by quick­ly. I will now go make sup­per. Thank you for vis­it­ing, and have a great evening!

we love


It is walk­ing a few extra blocks after work to get her the pret­ti­est cup­cake in the store, or look­ing around the city for that dis­con­tin­ued vanil­la Coke he so loves.

It is spend­ing a morn­ing mak­ing and eat­ing red vel­vet pan­cakes together.

It is join­ing each oth­er not only in laugh­ters but also in frus­tra­tion, pain, and sorrow.

It is, as Moth­er There­sa urged, spread­ing love wher­ev­er we go; let no one who comes to us feel unwant­ed or unloved.

We love, because He first loved us.


Wish­ing you a day filled with joy, peace, and love.




favourite things of the week! special valentine edition

Valen­tine’s Day is just around the cor­ner. I’ve always seen this hol­i­day as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to tell those around me how spe­cial they are to me and how much I love them. So I thought it would be fun to round up some quick craft projects for any­one who’s look­ing for last minute gifts or dec­o­ra­tions to make this week­end :D And, of course, involv­ing mate­ri­als one can usu­al­ly find around the house.

Water­colour win­dow hang­ings! All you need is some cof­fee fil­ter, wash­able mark­ers and spritz of water. How fun! Use them to make bou­quets of flow­ers too!

From Aunt Peach­es.


A clever, quick, and easy print­mak­ing tech­nique involv­ing mask­ing tape, paint and Q‑tips.

From Sac­trip­pers.


I, too, would like a heart doily t‑shirt.

From The Art­ful Par­ent.


I’ve always liked the pat­terns on tis­sue boxes.

Tis­sue box pho­to hearts from Michele Made Me.


A yule log for Valen­tine’s Day? Yes please! :D

Tuto­r­i­al on Pret­ty Lit­tle Things.


Some dain­ty, ele­gant lace hearts (and scent­ed too!) made from paper doily and can­dle stubs.

Instruc­tion by Aunt Peach­es.


Cold days in Feb­ru­ary are per­fect for these love­ly ice sun catch­ers. Great if one has a col­lec­tion of pressed leaves from the fall!

From Twig and Toad­stool.


These are so amaz­ing­ly sim­ple to make and so fash­ion­able-look­ing. Not some­thing I have around the house, but I recall see­ing these rose cabo­chon at my favourite bead store — will have to make a trip there soon!

From The Craft Nest.


Now rick racks might be eas­i­er to find in craft drawers.

See how to turn rick racks to ros­es on Maize in Mon­tana.


Very, very sim­ple heart gar­lands, your choice of paper or felt.

From Craftzine.


And of course, a cro­chet heart! I’m going to make one of these to wear as a pin on the week­end :D

Pat­tern gen­er­ous­ly shared by June Gilbank of Plan­et June.


Last but not least, some red vel­vet pan­cakes to start the day, anyone?

Check out the super easy recipe on Cafe Zupas!


Have a love­ly week­end everyone!