DIY

Last week I posted about starting a new DIY project-a kitchen island inspired by old wooden shutters that my neighbour was selling.

Here it is, in all its glory:

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I’m super happy with it.  I was a little daunted at first, but it came out better than I could have hoped!

A breakdown of the costs:

-shutters: $10 from my neighbour

-plywood: about $12 (including the cutting) from Home Depot

-paint: about $20 (paint and primer in one, thank goodness) from Home Depot

-screws: $5

-top: made from two floating shelves glued together with Gorilla Glue (super strong!), about $25

So that’s it! Under $75, a bit of effort (the painting took the longest), and I’ve got my brand new island.

I love being handy.

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Squishy

It is inevitable.  At some point or another, every artist/knitter/writer/creative-type will find themselves in that place.  What is that place?  Well. It’s the place where literally NO creative juices seem to be flowing.  No new ideas for projects.  Nothing terribly exciting on the needles.  Just….sameness.

Apparently, I have been living there for the last few weeks.  I’ve made wonderful headway on several ongoing projects (photos of FOs to come–once things like blocking and button sewing are completed) but that also means that I’ve been knitting the same pattern/patterns for what seems like forever.

Apparently, I was in a creative rut.

Today, however, I found inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources.  My neighbour posted on Facebook that she was selling a bunch of old wood shutters.  I just KNEW I could do something amazing with them.  So I did a quick Pinterest perusal and Google search, and came up with the coolest idea.  I am going to make my own kitchen island.

I hear the comments now: What?  A kitchen island?  Do you even own tools?  And That sounds….interesting.

My response to those comments: An island.  Yes, a kitchen island.  I own some, and today I bought a power drill. And Yes….I know.

These are some of the materials I will be using:

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I still have to find something to use for a counter top (cue: kijiji search party).  But today’s goal is to assemble the thing and paint it with at least 1 coat (thank goodness for primer and paint in one).  I have plans, I tell you.  Grand plans.  There will be storage.  And shelving.  And a place for dish towels.  And possibly a spot to hang cookbooks.  And room to cut, dice, mix, puree, prepare, and all those other lovely cooking words.  (This is especially important because I have very limited counter space).  It will be glorious, and it will be mine.  And I shall call him squishy…wait, that’s from a movie.  Moving on.

I will let you know how it all turns out!  I’m really hoping it works.  Kind of nervous, too.

What DIY things are you working on?

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Emergency Knitting

In case you were wondering, 90 minutes at the dealership waiting for my car to be serviced is the reason I bring knitting with me wherever I go. You never can tell when you’ll have to wait around.

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http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/pattern.php?id=4564&lang=us

That is the beginnings of a baby sweater I’m making for my university roommate who is expecting her first child this summer.

Thank goodness for emergency knitting.

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Here We Go, Folks!

It’s been far too long since my last post. Instead of me rambling on, catching you up on my comings and goings, here are some pictures that do a better job than I could.

We had a family photo day in September and here are a few of my favourite shots of me and my nephew:

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Beckett said yes and this was my basic reaction. Yes, I’m including this.  It was an important event!

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School continued to be great.  This is what it looked like when 100 students in grades 1-3 gathered in my classroom for a lesson on Hanukkah.  We had latkes, heard a story and played dreidel.

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I received 2 beautiful, handmade scarves from students for Christmas. It was heartwarming and thoughtful, I still get sentimental thinking about it.

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My good friend Steph and I went to Toronto to attend the Vinyl Café Christmas concert at the Sony Centre. It’s one of our favourite annual traditions. This is us on the subway on our way there.

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I knit up a storm for Christmas. Including several of these sets of dishcloths for friends and family:

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And this adorable vest for my nephew DJ for his first Christmas (!):

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Speaking of baby’s first Christmas, here’s a shot of the two of us on Boxing Day:

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and one of my sister, our dad and DJ opening gifts:

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I got some nice gifts, including a set of KnitPicks interchangeable circular needles, season 5 of Castle on DVD and this adorable keychain from my sister and bro-in-law:

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Oh, yeah, I also taught my sister how to knit!

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The last few days I’ve been sick, so I missed out on NYE plans but I did manage to eke out this nerdy cool ipad cozy.

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And I’ve been doing a lot of this:

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So that’s it! the story of a few months in pictures.  In case you were wondering, I have a few knitting-related New Years resolutions…actually, I’m calling them goals. And one of them is to post here more regularly.  A few of them have to do with new techniques I want to learn and some are project-based. But more of that later.

Happy New Year to you all and all the best in 2014.

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Images

I tend to be pretty wordy on this blog o’ mine.  I get going and I get so excited and passionate about knitting that I just can’t help myself.  I got to thinking about my favourite knitting blogs, and the thing they had in common was tons of photographs.  I’m a very visual person, so it surprises me to realize that I tend to have more text than images in my posts.

So my goal today is to be a bit less wordy and more visual.  I shall tell my stories in pictures rather than in words.

First, my sister asked me to create a few “minion” hats for a friend of hers who was dressing up as one for Halloween.  Please ignore the poor quality of the photo, I took it in my bathroom mirror.  Sorry.  (And yes, I AM wearing a Superman shirt, thank you very much.)

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I was pretty happy with the results, but more importantly, so was her friend.  Pattern can be found here.

Remember awhile ago when I said I was entering some knitting into my local fall fair to be judged?  Well, here are some images to tell that story:

Picture 086This was my view while I was judging the youth talent competition.

Picture 090And, yes, dear readers, I won my very first ribbon for knitting!  I entered my jacquard socks into the “Adult Socks” category and was awarded 2nd place.  I was thrilled and incredibly surprised.

And finally, I’ve finished this year’s autumn set, which is a headband, cowl and fingerless mitts.  Remember in my last post I showed you the fingerless mitts in progress?  Yeah, well, I decided I didn’t love the fit.  And I wanted them to match the texture of the Serralada cowl I’d decided to make, so I ripped ‘em out and started from scratch.  Here are a few photos I took outside on a glorious fall day:

Picture 258 Picture 212 Picture 244 Picture 248I’m really quite pleased with the finished product, and I can’t wait to start wearing them out in public.  The weather is quickly becoming perfect for that.  The days are getting cooler and the air is crisp.  It’s really my favourite time of year.  Yarn: Debbie Bliss Glen in “Rosehip.”  Serralada cowl pattern can be found here.

I hope you are enjoying your knitting wherever you may be, whatever the season. What projects are you working on?  What are your recent finished objects?

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Withdrawl

The thing about having a knitting compulsion hobby, is that when you don’t do it for awhile, you REALLY miss it.  Like, REALLY.  I’ve been ridiculously busy the last few weeks.  A new school year is now in full swing, and I am at a new school and teaching a new grade level.  In itself, this brings a lot of challenges (not the least of which is learning the names of everyone on staff–still a work in progress).  On top of it all, I only found out about this job 4 days before the year started.  Which is not a lot of time to wrap your head around things.  Needless to say, I am still trying to get into the swing of it.  But it’s starting to come together.  And I am loving the world of grade 2!

Because of this, though, I’ve had almost no time to knit.  I hate it.  My fingers are itching to pick up the needles.  It’s like when I gave up coffee for awhile last year and developed the shakes.  I’m literally twitching. 

Therefore, tonight, I am devoting to KNITTING and TV.  My two vices.  The things that keep me from biting people’s heads off.  (We all have our little quirks, right?)

This is what I’m working on now:

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See?  Knitting and TV. 

Those are fingerless mitts that I’m working on.  No pattern, I’m basically just designing as I go, but I’m pretty happy with the results so far.  The yarn is Debbie Bliss Glen, which is a bulky weight/12 ply.  It also contains 30% merino and 30% alpaca, which means it is OH so soft.  And yikes, the weather here turned on a dime today and I think the cool weather is here to stay.  This is absolutely my favourite time of year, and I can’t wait to wear them.  A cowl or a hat or headband is also in the works…but only in my brain as of now.

Coming up next…the GNE (Great Northern Exhibition), which is my local fall fair.  I’m actually entering some knitting this year, so I’ll update you all after that happens.  Because I’ve become that person.  You know, the one who enters fall fairs and even volunteers to judge the talent competition.  I’m so small-town.  How did that happen?

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Sometimes I Feel I’ve Got to…Get Away

This is totally not a knitting-related post.  But that’s okay, because our lives are not only about knitting. Right? Right?!?

On Wednesday I, along with three of my closest friends (we’ve known each other since high school), took a little trek to the Niagara region.  First things first, we booked ourselves into a winery tour in Niagara On The Lake at Riverview Cellars (http://www.riverviewcellars.com/visitushours.html).  It was a charming, 22-acre vineyard where the people were extremely friendly and welcoming.  We toured the facility, saw the process, then had a little bit of a tasting.  2 whites, 2 reds and a cheese platter.  Or, as I call it, heaven.

This is a few of us at the tasting (I’m behind the camera):

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These are some of the wines we tried (I loved the pinot grigio and the merlot…in fact, I later bought a bottle of each):

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After our tour we headed towards Niagara Falls proper and along the way stopped for ice wine slushies (seriously, you need to try these) at this place: http://www.theicehouse.ca

After checking in to our hotel, we walked up and down Clifton Hill (the main tourist strip), saw some sights, and meandered down to the falls.  The owner of the restaurant where we intended to have dinner (http://www.spicyolive.com) was standing outside the door, trying to drum up some business from passersby as we were returning to our hotel.  When we informed him that we already had reservations, he lit up, chatted boisterously with us, and proceeded to tell us that he would make sure we got “the best table in the house!” and that when we came for dinner he would “make lots of pictures” of us. I’m Italian, and I promise you that he was the quintessential Italian Nonno. Grandfather, for you non-Italian speakers.

The food was delicious, the martinis were flowing, we had a fantastic time.  And our friend “made” this picture of us:

1234630_10152167155942222_984137856_nAfter dinner it was back to Clifton Hill to do the touristy things we sought out earlier. We did Ripley’s Believe it or Not (fun and weird!) and then….

we did this:

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I have a thing about heights.  As in, I’m terrified of them.  But I put on my brave face and stuck it out.  It turned out to be really fun, and there was a spectacular view of the falls from the top.

We returned to the hotel and relaxed with snacks and drinks, chatting and watching several episodes of Duck Dynasty.  Seriously.  The next day we checked out, stopped for breakfast, and headed out on the 3ish-hour drive home, tired, but relaxed and happy. Sometimes life gets in the way and it becomes rare for us to spend that much focused time with one another, but I’m so glad we made the time.  Glad, and extremely grateful that these wonderful women are my friends.

And I did manage to do a bit of knitting in the car on the way there and back.  So, maybe this post can be called knitting-related after all.

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