with glowing heart and beaver tail

It’s Canada Day on Friday! And proud Canadian Beaver, with glowing heart, is here to celebrate! :D

I was surprised how difficult it was to find glow-in-the-dark stickers at the dollar store. There were plenty of glow sticks, but no glow-in-the-dark stickers. Eventually I settled on some reflective fabric appliqué. So Beaver’s heart badge is more shiny than glow-y, but it will not dampen his celebratory spirit.

You may have noticed already, but Beaver is made exactly the same way as Groundhog, except for the tail. (I also made Beaver’s teeth a bit larger than Groundhog’s, with bits of white felt.)

To make your own Beaver friend (and celebrate Canada’s birthday with us! :D), follow the Groundhog pattern for head/body, ears, and arms.

To make Beaver’s tail:

Tail is made in continuous rounds, with 3.5mm hook and brown worsted weight yarn:

ch 3, 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in the top of beginning ch, *2 sc in next sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 sc*, repeat from * to * once.

1 sc in each sc around until piece is 3/4″ long. Then *2 sc tog, 1 sc in each of next 2 sc*, repeat from * to * once.

2 sc tog, 1 sc in each of next 4 sc. Leaving a 12″ tail for sewing, fasten off.

The result will be a pouch shape. Flatten the pouch and, with the tail left for sewing, sew a line of running stitch through both layers, like so…

Embroider crisscross pattern on top layer only, then sew to body.

And here’s to Canada — glorious and free! *waves flag*

Cheers! :D

 

 

 

 

ode to kiki

 

Last weekend I bought some plain plastic headbands for my tea rose project, but the colours and texture work out so I just ended up using an elastic headband I had for the rose.

The plastic headbands were 4 for a $1 from a corner store nearby. I tried them on for fun and was surprised to find that the red one actually complements my hairstyle quite nicely (I don’t wear red very often). Then Mike took this picture to test out his new phone…

Then he said, “you look like a cartoon character with that headband, but I don’t know from which cartoon.”

This one, perhaps? :D

 

If you haven’t seen it, Kiki’s Delivery Service is an animation created by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released in 1989, and, According to Miyazaki, “the movie touches on the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls. Going far beyond coming of age themes, the work deals with the nature of creativity and talent, and the central difficulty every person faces in becoming themselves, whether through luck, hard work or confidence” (source).

It’s a timeless piece. I find myself in Kiki’s shoes time and time again, trying to find my own voice in new surroundings.

And now, with Filbert the cat in the picture, I find myself in Kiki’s headband, just missing a bow! (Kiki’s cat is named Jiji, by the way.)

There’s no way I can pull off wearing a giant bow on my head. So perhaps I can make a small, stylish, grown-up-ish bow. Like these ones, perhaps.

The problem is that the red headband is made of a shiny plastic, and so ribbons or crochet would look out of place. Pleather (aka faux leather)? Vinyl? Trust me, if I have a red vinyl purse or anything like that I can cut from, I would go straight to it. But I don’t.

What I have is this -

It comes in a roll -

It’s super sticky on the one side -

It’s shiny on the other -

It comes in all the bright colours -

Give up?

ELECTRICAL TAPE! :D

And here’s how I made a bow with it.

I used: a bit of electrical tape, a headband, scissors, a ruler, and hot glue gun.

1. Cut a piece of tape about 5″ long, turn it sticky side up and fold it lengthwise about 1/3 of it toward the centre (to keep the fold straight, it helps to start folding in the centre, then work your way out toward each end).

2. Fold down the other long edge in the same manner. There would be air bubbles trapped in the folds. I used my thumbnail to gently scrape and push the air out of the folds (again, it helps to start scraping from the centre, and work your way out toward each end).

3. Narrow the ends by cutting off the corners, so when it’s folded under to form the bow the edges won’t show.

4. Fold the plastic strip in half, make a light crease, unfold, and mark the half way point with a pencil.

5. Fold each end toward the centre, 2–3mm from the half way mark.

6. Tape down the ends with a narrow piece of tape.

7. Cut another piece of tape about 3″ long, repeat the first two steps, except leave a 2–3mm gap in the centre when folding the long edges, thus making a wider strip.

8. Turn the bow so that the ends of the strip are facing down, then hot glue it to the headband. Forgot to take a photo of this step, sorry ^^;

Place the wider strip on the centre of the bow, extending about 3/4″ to one side, like so… (the exposed adhesive on the back of the strip will help keep its place before it’s glued down in the next step)

9. Turn to the underside of the headband, fold down the short end of the wider strip and hot glue it down, pushing the end into the space between the 2 rows of combs.

10. Fold the longer end over and mark where it overlaps with the other end but does not extend beyond the width of the headband.

11. Cut where it’s marked and hot glue it down.

 

And we’re done! :D Pretty simple, eh?

 

It completes the picture :D

 

I’m actually really happy with the way it turned out, which is surprising because I’m not really a bow person. But I love how it matches the colour and the plastic feel of the headband perfectly. Like the bow came with the headband when it was bought, not added on later. With electrical tape.

My favourite part has got to be the electrical tape :D

I was lucky with the red; it may be tricky to match the exact shades of electrical tape to headband with other colours, but I imagine black or white would work perfectly. But then the colours don’t have to be matchy-matchy neither. What about a black bow on a white headband? Or yellow bow on a blue headband? I imagine the plastic headbands can be bought cheaply in most dollar stores, and so can electrical tape :)

This made me really happy last night. I hope you’re finding things throughout your day that make you happy too! :D

tea rose for pony

 

Tea roses don’t look quite like that, I realize. It’s more like those wild roses (we used to have them in our front yard), but “tea rose for pony” sounds nice. And reminds me of a book I read in high school called Flowers for Algernon.

Anyway, I saw a girl wearing small floppy pink flowers on her pigtails one day, and I wanted to make my own.

 

My hair wasn’t quite long enough for a pony tail, so I was wearing pig tails. So I guess this could also be a tea rose for pigs :P

The hair ties I buy at the drug store get worn out quickly, so I wanted to make the flower detachable. When the hair elastic is worn out, one could attach the flower to a new hair elastic. See?

 

I’m sure there are tons of patterns for crocheting roses, but I’ve never made one before and wanted to figure out how to make the petals overlap. So I thought I’d write it all down :)

I used:

Pink crochet thread

2.35mm hook (I used it because that’s what I have, but one could probably use a smaller hook)

One button

Yellow seed beads

Sewing needle and thread

Glue gun

Top petals:

ch 5, sl st into first ch and form a ring.

First petal: ch 3, 4 tr into ring, ch 3, sl st into ring

Second petal: ch 2, turn and insert hook into the base of a stitch in the middle of previous petal, pull up a loop, ch 3, turn, 2 tr into the ch 2 space just made, like so…

Then work 2 tr into ring, like so…

Complete second petal with ch 3, then sl st into ring.

Repeat second petal until there are five petals.

Sixth petal: ch 2, turn and insert hook into the base of a stitch in the middle of previous petal, pull up a loop, ch 3, turn, 2 tr into the ch 2 space just made, 1 tr into ring, 1 tr into the base of a stitch in the first petal in the front, like so…

Complete last petal with ch 3, then sl st into same st in the first petal. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Top petals, complete :D

Bottom petals:

12 dc in magic ring, sl st in top of first dc to form a circle.

First petal: ch 3, 2 tr in same st, 2 tr in next st, ch 3, sl st in same st.

Second petal: ch 3, 2 tr in next st, 2 tr in next st, ch 3, sl st in same st.

Repeat second petals until there are 6 petals altogether. Fasten off, leave a 10″ tail for sewing.

Bottom petals, complete :D

Sew top and bottom petals together, then sew seed beads to the centre.

Find a button that could roughly cover the first round (12 dc in magic ring) of the bottom petals. Thread a 5-inch piece of crochet thread through the button holes, like so…

Ensuring that both ends of the crochet thread are roughly the same length, glue the button to the tea rose with a hot glue gun, like so…

And that’s it! Now we can tie the tea rose to a hair elastic. (I tie a bow, and then tie the “ears” together again.)

And then tied to pig tail…

 

I tried tying it to a bobby pin, it works as well :D

 

A larger tea rose can be made with regular yarn rather than crochet thread. I made a yellow one with a light worsted weight yarn and a 3.5mm crochet hook, for a headband.

 

I attached a small safety pin to the back with pieces of felt, and then attached it to an elastic headband.

 

Because it’s detachable, I can also wear it as a brooch! :D

 

I like making multipurpose things :)

Have a great start to the week!

 

 

 

sunday video: beet cake

 

I had some delicious baked beets that my sister-in-law made earlier this week. Then I remembered this video I bookmarked a long time ago, about making a beet cake from tiger in a jar (with recipe too!). I don’t bake very often, but I completely agree that there’s definitely something beautiful in the process of creation — whether one is making a cake, or crocheting a blanket, one stitch at a time.

I just love everything about this video — the colours, the music, the design, the handwritten script.

I thought my mom would like it, because she makes a lot of carrot loaves and zucchini bread. And my sister-in-law too! She seems to like beets :)

Have a sweet Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

favourite things friday

It is officially summer! I’m going to look out for those super sunny cloudless days to try out this sun print technique — without the use of a sun print kit or photo paper, just fabric, and fabric paint! Isn’t the result just marvelous? How-to on Mary & Patch.

 

More fabric colouring magic from Shirin, Handmade, with instruction for tie-dying using just turmeric, purple cabbage, black tea, and beets! I love the bright shade of yellow from the turmeric, and the tiered design of this shirt!

 

More tie-dye with stuff one could easily find at home — Sharpies! It’s kind of expensive, but I’ve always wanted to get a full set of colour Sharpies. Maybe I’ll get it for myself for my birthday… and I will make a tie-dye t-shirt with them! :D How-to on Crap I’ve Made.

 

More from Crap I’ve Made (the stuff on there is definitely not crap) — I’ve been looking for a simple way to make a high wasted skirt, and this seems simple enough, with no shirring involved (but it looks kind of like it’s shirred, which I like very much). The tutorial is written to make an older child-size skirt, but I’m sure it would be easy enough to modify to fit an adult (especially a short adult, like me :D).

 

I love garments with simple construction, and this is just a rectangular piece of fabric folded in half, seamed together at the shoulders and one side, with the armholes and necklines cut out. I have a large piece of blue polka dot fabric, I might try it out! :D Instruction on Amelie and Atticus.

 

Fancy a cup of tea? Invite the neighbourhood birds to your tea party with this teacup bird feeder! :D How-to on Intimate Weddings.

 

Cool coasters made with soda cans and plain white tiles! I do like the colourful designs of some soda cans (or pop cans, as we Canadians call it :D); it would be a great way to keep pop cans that we don’t get locally, like birch beer. Instruction on The Idea Room.

 

A great way to recycle and decorate! Box lid frames from Artful Adventures. Perhaps also a great way to make shadow boxes, with 3-dimensional objects, like seashells and acorns! :D

 

More framing! This time with an old Scrabble set. I love how one can spell out words with the Scrabble tiles. How-to on Photojojo.

 

This is how every pair of jeans should be repaired. From The Evolution of Home.

 

I’ve actually never tried making things with Perler beads, but I know they sell large jars of them at Ikea — must pick up a jar on our next trip! I need some of these garden markers in my houseplants :D How-to on Smallgood Hearth.

 

These ink bubble drawings are mesmerizing. See the whole gallery of them on Fubiz.

 

And guess what? You can make your own marbleized drawings with just food colouring and vegetable oil! How-to on Momtastic.

 

These brilliant houses are made from old quilts. Simply precious and very inspiring. I just want to hold them in my hands. From Grrl+dog. They’re available from this Etsy shop.

 

A different kind of embroidery and a different kind of awesome. This reminds me so much of Chuck Close’ work. Embroidered portraits by Daniel Kornstrumpf. (via Swissmiss)

Happy Friday!

no glue gun? no problem!

Had a bit of a busy week last week. It was exceptionally awesome, but we had a wedding to attend on the weekend and I didn’t quite have time to think about what I was going to wear.

Actually, I decided a long time ago that I was going to wear the mussels dress, but it needed something cheerful. I was going to make a fabric flower pin like these ones, but I serious ran out of time.

So on our way to my parents’ to pick up the car to drive to the wedding, I wandered into a dollar store and — thankfully — found the perfect flowers to go with my dress.

I was at my parents’ and didn’t have any of my craft tools with me, including my handy glue gun. Not a problem. I snipped off a flower from its stem, secured all the layers of petals together with a few stitches in the middle, and duct-taped a safety pin on the back.

 

Instant flower brooch! One would never be able to tell it was duct-taped :D (at least I didn’t think so…)

 

But duct-tape was really just a Band-Aid solution. It was slowly starting to peel off during the ceremony. Then I left it in the hot car to get groceries on our way home, and the duct tape was really coming off afterward. I think the adhesive melted :S

I really like how the flower look on the crochet dress. So when I got home, back with my glue gun again, I attached the safety pin on it with felt. Now I can wear it again and again! :D (I kind of did a messy job applying the hot glue though… oh well, no one is going to see.)

Happy Wednesday! :D

 

super awesome week! :D

I’m very easily amused, so it’s not hard for me to find awesome things to feel happy about on an ordinary day. But last week was SUPER awesome! Just an accumulation of awesome things that I don’t encounter on a regular basis.

First, the weather was REALLY nice all week. So nice that I started to expect rain — sunny weather doesn’t last more than a few days until the rain clouds start to take over again, and so if I start to expect rainy weather than I wouldn’t be too disappointed about the loss of sun and blue sky.

But rain didn’t come! And at the end of most days last week Mike and I were able to enjoy some gorgeous sunsets on our west-facing balcony.

 

Thursday was the day that I was really praying for the rain to stay away. It was the opening reception of a small art show I organized in the community, and the Weather Network called for rain all day. So I was a bit nervous about it throughout the day, but guess what? It didn’t rain. Not one bit.

AND guess who walked through the door at the art show opening?

MURDOCH!!!

 

I still can’t get over it — Yannick Bisson, of Murdoch Mysteries, one of my absolute favourte TV shows, came to the opening reception!

I was too utterly shocked to go up to introduce myself or even to snap a picture (I also had to give a short speech and I’m terrified of public speaking, so I wanted to focus on preparing myself for that). I saw that he was mingling with the directors, so I thought someone would eventually introduce me after the speeches and all that… but he left! He left early, even before I gave my speech :’(

Oh well. It was still really cool to see detective Murdoch in person! :D Murdoch Mysteries is probably my second favourite show at the moment (a close second behind Fringe), because not only is it a Canadian production, it is also set in late 19th century Toronto (you know how I like to visit old houses and learn about life in the past). And so when Inspector Brackenreid mentioned “Mary of Shuter Street”, I know exactly where that is! :D

The next day I had to work at a school picnic. The sky finally sprinkled a few drops of rain on us but nothing major after everything was set up, which I was really thankful for, because otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to run the cotton candy station outside!

I even got to work at the station for part of the day, making cotton candy cones! Despite my hair and glasses and clothes being covered in cotton candy floss, it was way fun!

I also served popcorn from the popper!

I saw this very cool tutorial for making animated image on Make it and Love it, and thought some of the pictures I took of the popcorn popping would make a fun animation. Though I didn’t take the pictures with that in mind and so only two pictures were usable… but I thought I would give it a try anyway :D

Looks like it’s eating the popcorn rather than popping them out :P

nom nom nom nom nom…

The animation was so much fun to make! I’ll have to try it with other pictures sometimes…

And then I got a cupcake at lunch break (on top of all the other great food the parents brought), which I ate while sitting on the grass. The cupcake was as delicious as it was pretty.

Then on Saturday we met up with some old friends and witnessed another old friend being married :D Very exciting indeed. There was sushi as far as eyes could see at the lunch buffet reception. After much eating and chatting and clapping and laughing and singing, and while other guests started leaving and helpers started cleaning, here I am resting by the watercolour, feeling very happy.

Recognize the mussels dress, and my summer shoes? :D

The flower pin is another crafty story in itself. I will have to save it for next time.

I know not every week will be like this one, and some weeks are completely disastrous, but I’m just very, very thankful for all the wonderful things this week. Hope you have a great start to your week!

 

If good things lasted forever, would we appreciate how precious they are?
— Hobbes (the stuffed tiger)

 

 

 

favourite things friday

Sweetest thing ever. Free stitching pattern on Lazy May. (via Feeling Stitchy)

 

I always admire the twig structure that vines grow on in people’s yards. Here’s how to build one! From Craft Leftovers.

 

Portable weaving, involving just cardboard pieces and stash of yarn, both of which I have plenty — another must-try on my list! :D A very detailed and clear tutorial on Gingerbread Snowflakes.

 

I couldn’t help but grin when I saw these. So delightfully simple. Loo roll critters from El hada de papel.

 

I love how the hinge is made of rolled up paper too! Makes a very sculptural home decor. Paper bowl tutorial on Recycle, eh.

 

I’ve heard of freezer paper stenciling but never tried it myself. Say YES! to Hoboken has some really clear instruction for it, and from her projects (like this beautiful Golden Gate Bridge!) it looks like small details translate well — like screen printing, but with equipment one can find in the pantry! I might try it out soon!

 

Perfect father’s day gift and a brilliant idea. How-to for pocket watch album on The Mother Huddle.

 

Also brilliant is this apron with a removable towel. I used to have to wear an apron for work everyday, and I imagine a towel is probably more effective for cleaning hands than the average apron material. How-to on H is for Handmade.

 

Clever and stylish use of the queen Anne’s lace pattern! Spotted on Little Treasures.

 

This little creature reminds me so much of vacation on the East Coasts. Happy times! Free pattern from Karabouts.

 

I was so excited when I saw this — I have a friend who loves to cycle and I was going to make it and mail it to her as a belated birthday present. But then I read the pattern I realized that I need to have the bike on hand to crochet the streamers around the handles (kind of like yarn-bombing!). Doesn’t make it any less awesome though! In fact, it’ll just give me an excuse to invite my friend (and her bike) over :D Brilliant pattern on Specless.

 

Instruction to make cake in a jar! No, not the kind you have to pour out, add an egg and bake — the kind you can just dig in with all the icing and everything! I mean, cupcakes are cute but I always have a hard time eating the icing and the cake together. With these one could enjoy both the cake and the icing all at once, and there’s no mess, and one could put it down if it’s absolutely necessary and come back to it later, and it’s just as pretty as cupcakes. Brilliant! From Dear Lizzy.

 

French artist Etienne Cliquet designed these origami models to unfold on water through capillary action. Watch the mesmerizing video on Craft!

 

Lego ship in a bottle! There’s even a time lapse video documenting how it’s built here!

 

A gallery of cardboard cities and places in the world — I love the cardboard pandas and the double-decker bus in London :D From Paper Crave.

 

Tetris is my favourite video game (and the only game I can play well. Really well, actually, if I do say so myself), so I have to put this in my list of favourite things this week — Tetris sticky notes! (via Inspire me now)

 

Finally, I must also share this. It’s been in my favourite thing folder for a while, and I open it every now and then to watch the video. It’s a really short video but it delights me to no end. Something my brother-in-law would totally do. It makes me chuckle. Every time. So here it is. I hope it brings a smile to your face too. (From Cutesy But Not Cutesy)

 

 

Happy Friday! :D

house on a hill

 

During Doors Open Toronto last month we visited the Spadina House Museum.

As its name suggests, it located on Spadina Road, and “Spadina” comes from an Ojibwa word ishpadinaa, meaning “be a high hill or sudden rise in the land” (source).

The house was home to three generations of the Austin family from 1866–1982. It was donated to the city and opened to the public as a museum in 1984.

Before the Spadina House, though, there was the Baldwin House, which was burnt down in 1835 (Mr. Baldwin was OK; he later moved to Front St. to be closer to work). The Spadina House was literally built on top of the Baldwin house, as excavation found the ghost of the older house (i.e. the foundation, brick-bordered paths) underneath the floor boards of the newer house. I thought that was pretty fascinating.

 

Coming back up to ground level, we visited the Victorian-Edwardian gardens surrounding the house.

 

Lovely pink tulips (and a bug! I love it when I don’t realize I caught a bug on camera until I look at them on the computer :D).

 

And forget-me-nots as far as the eye could see! (They’re my favourite.)

 

There’s also a green house. I love these window roofs (I don’t know what they’re called :S) for the potted plants.

The house was restored to the 1920–30 period. Beautiful art deco and arts and crafts style wallpaper, carpets and furnishing throughout the house. It was rather crowded that day due to Doors Open, so it was kind of difficult to take it all in. Must go back and revisit one day.

But we saw many cool things nonetheless. Like the headless butler. (It was a display of the butler’s pantry.)

 

The “cozy corner”, for the women of the house. (If we ever own a house, I’m so getting a day bed.) Check out the pattern of the metal covering on the radiator — isn’t that beautiful?

 

Also beautiful are the moldings around the chandeliers. Each is different and so intricate and mesmerizing.

The billiard room has this really interesting wallpaper, kind of fairy tale and children’s book-like.

I think this is the room where the family had gatherings. It has a fun-looking couch (the orange one in the centre). One of the docents said that its for men and women to sit together but not touch. (I think she was referring to that couch, but there were too many people around I can’t be sure whose question she was answering.)

The family was apparently avid hunters, so here’s the elk in the hallway… (if I were a kid growing up in this house, I’d be pretty scared walking through this hallway if I need to use the bathroom at night, being stared down by the looming elk head in a narrow hallway…)

 

… And a pair of wolves in the front entrance. (According to a friendly docent, the young children in the family were really scared of the wolves, and would tiptoe past them every time they walk through the door. I don’t blame ‘em :S).

 

The kitchen is always my favourite place when I visit historic houses. I find it so unpretentious compared to the rest of the house; it’s where people work and laugh and grumble, where people do honest, hard work. Now here’s someone pretending to live in the past for education’s sake. A docent was explaining to Mike the different “new” products in the cupboard, including Maxwell coffee beans.

 

A beautiful stove.

 

Teacup waiting to be washed in the old sink, just like in 1889.

 

An ice box! :D “But… if there was no freezer, how did people make ice to put in the ice box?” asked the child of the technological age sitting in front of the ice box.

And then there are the small things that delights me so much…

 

 

I love museums :)

Thank you for dropping by, have a lovely day!