It’s the small things

It truly is the small things that are getting me through all the chaos of the kitchen renos, the whining baby, the messy house, the lack of routine. Here’s my list of small things that bring a smile to my face:

Chocolate dipped strawberry bouquet
Mother's Day bouquet of chocolate dipped strawberries
Toy guitar
Listening to Sam strum his guitar and sing to himself
Pink mums
Pretty flowers from my mama
Granny square blanket
A scap granny square blanket that keeps getting bigger each day
Beer and chocolate
Beer and chocolate after baby boys goes to bed
Square card reader
My mobile credit card reader finally arriving in the mail

One Moment

(One moment in a busy week, captured in a photograph. Time to slow down, reflect, give thanks, and enjoy.)

Baby crochetCrochet
Granny square
Crochet hook
One person
Baby boy
Lower half
Bare feet
*Finally a bit of craft time to save my sanity*

A Look Back

All this talk of making things for babelettes reminds me of a project which I have yet to share with you here. It was started well before the birth of this blog, although I did mention its completion in an early post here. And so the details on that project which were to follow are coming to you now, only slightly behind schedule. You’re so very patient.

Along the road of improving my crochet skills, I decided that what I really needed to do was to learn how to make granny squares. They seemed like some fundamental crochet technique that was imperative to acquire. As it turns out, making granny squares is really not all that difficult, or perhaps I’ve just only made the easy ones. While I had all of this brewing in my brain, longing for some purpose for which to focus this granny square making (I really do need an end-goal or things tend to lay unfinished), we were simultaneously starting to struggle with motivation at work. It hadn’t been the easiest of years and as yet another massive, monotonous project was laid out before us to tackle, let’s just say that the team was feeling less than enthusiastic.

At the start of this massive work project, we had already decided that what we really needed was a visual progress bar or else we might go completely crazy (or crazier). As all my keyword co-workers are crafters, it seemed natural that our progress bar be something crafty that we could all appreciate. This is where the granny square project was born. Combining work and crochet?! Well, sort of. I did refrain from actually crocheting at work, but it gave me some purpose and something soothing to do in the evenings after work. Cheap therapy, that’s what crafting is all about!

Granny squares in office
Thanks to Ellen from Craft Interrupted for the pic
With hook and yarn in hand, I settled into the couch and started making square after square. I swear I used a granny square tutorial on Attic 24, but do you think I can find it now?! No matter, the granny squares I made were very basic. I do remember that the pattern called for three colours per square, but I quite liked just the two.

At the end of each week, as we totaled all our work, more granny squares would get hung up around our desks. I believe each square represented 4,000 entries that we had to go through. Now you understand the need for a visual progress bar. The more work we completed, the more colourful our entire space became and the more people stopped by to see what we were up to. It was lovely!

Granny square baby blanketThankfully, that massive work project did come to an end to the great satisfaction of everyone. The granny squares which were no longer needed, came back home with me where they sat for a time without much purpose. That is, until my friend from work told me she was expecting her first baby in October. Wouldn’t you know, I had the perfect number of granny squares made up for a baby quilt! Just one extra square. With the realization that I would also have to be off work for two months to recover from my surgery, it seemed that things were coming together just perfectly for me to make an entire granny square blanket. I used a basic scalloped edge to create a bit of a border along the blanket and voila! Soft coziness to keep a babelette warm! There are some more pics here of the completed blanket.

The moral of the story, is that obviously, granny squares are incredibly versatile! They go from work to play in no time flat. So the next time things are getting a touch repetitive at work, consider bringing crochet onto the scene. You’ll be glad you did.

Nancy and I (part 3)

Felt starfishI had all sorts of grand plans of crafting that I wanted to do while I recovered, but I started out with reading. I had stocked up on some new paperbacks (working my way through some Charlaine Harris books) and also pulled the entire Harry Potter series out to re-read. Sipping ginger ale and cranberry juice while reclining with a book became my new routine. Eventually I gained a bit more mental and physical energy and eased myself back into crafting. I started out simple with just some hand sewing. I’d been working on these starfish decorations in between other random projects for a while. It was very relaxing just sorting button and thread colors.

I then moved onto a fairly simple crochet project (“simple” because I didn’t have the patience and energy to worry about counting stitches or working row patterns). My friend at work is expecting her first baby towards the end of October and I was really keen to make her a baby blanket. I already had a bunch of granny squares made-up and it turned out to be the perfect number for a baby-sized blanket. Prior to my surgery, I had the forethought to organize the layout of the squares and number each one, so that when it came to assembling them, it wouldn’t take much mental power. I sat watching an assortment of borrowed dvds (the likes of “The Lakehouse”, “Calendar Girls”, “In Good Company”, “Waking Ned Devine”, etc) and attached granny square to granny square and row to row until I had completed a sweet little autumn baby blanket. More details on this particular project to follow.

Crochet nappy pantsWhen I finally started to feel like I had the energy to try out a new crochet pattern, I turned to Tina Barrett’s Natural Crochet for Babies & Toddlers. It was love at first sight with this book! For a super avid crafter, I don’t buy a ton of craft books, not because I don’t want to. Seriously, I would go crazy ordering craft books till every shelf in our house was filled and then some, if I could. Being on a tight budget though, I’m often inclined to spend my crafty funds on supplies rather than inspiration. However, Tina Barrett’s crochet book was just too lovely to pass up. I borrowed it from the library originally just to flip through and when I realized I wanted to make every single pattern in the book, I ordered it. The first project I attempted from that book was the nappy pants. So very adorable! Although I wasn’t able to make them out of fancy natural soya or cotton called for in the pattern, since I had to make do with my stash, I think they turned out pretty cute.

After finishing my first pair of nappy pants I started thinking about Christmas. I haven’t a clue why, but I just started thinking about what to make people for Christmas and that led to thinking about how last year I never got a chance to try making crochet snowflake ornaments for our tree. I mentioned this to my mom and on one of her post-surgery visits she brought all of her old snowflake patterns gathered from magazines from the 80s, white crochet thread and the smallest crochet hook I’d ever seen. Between all of her patterns and ones I tracked down online, I kept busy working up snowflakes. I actually got pretty frustrated trying to make them and I had a hard time reading the patterns, but before I decided that maybe snowflake making was too advanced for me, I tried a pattern posted on Attic 24. Although the Lucy’s pattern uses a DK weight yarn, and I used crochet thread, I loved the shape of the snowflake AND I was finally able to understand how these darn things worked up. So I simply added some more rounds and with my usual improvisation ended up with a nice little snowflake.

It was like a light bulb went on (or I guess in this case a glowing snowflake) and I eventually made these guys too.

Crochet snowflakeCrochet snowflakesCrochet snowflakes

From Christmas, my thoughts turned to Halloween. I know, that was sort of in the wrong order, but who can control one’s crafty thoughts? After my adventures in snowflake making, I started thinking about decorations for Halloween. What could I crochet for Halloween? I liked the idea of making something similar to the snowflakes, that I could starch and hang, but with a Halloween theme. I poked around briefly online, but didn’t find what I had in mind. So I figured I could make it up, after all I had just completed six snowflakes, how hard could it be? After some experimenting, it turned out to be a bit difficult, but not impossible and I managed to created these creepy little friends.

Crochet spidersCrochet spidersCrochet spider

Phew! Well, I managed to complete quite a bit during my weeks of recovery. Definitely didn’t waste the time off and all the lovely crafting kept my sanity!