Knitted; Kangaroo and Koala

Knitted; Kangaroo & Koala

My most recent commission is for an Australian girl living in Canada working as a nanny. She’s currently working in the Yukon- how crazy! She asked for a kangaroo and a koala, which I thought was an adorable idea. While I have made a few koalas, the kangaroo was a new venture and, I won’t hesitate to say, a painful one! The legs were quite complicated, and the shaping required a lot of short rows and turning and man they hurt my brain. I’m actually really surprised that they turned out the same – even with my writing down every tiny step on the way. Now that it’s done, though, I can always make another if need be.

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I am thinking of making my original patterns available for purchase, as well. Once I have things organized and uploaded, I will set up a link and promote it.

Favourites: Mommy Resources

As a first time-mommy, I once was in a vast land of options and opinions with very little direction. Eventually, I found my way to a few resources that really helped me to focus. The first of these resources is Baby Center. Not only does Baby Center have answers to many, if not all of the questions I had. Once you sign up, you get to follow your pregnancy with a timeline that sends you emails every week with progress. This progress continues once your baby is born! It’s funny, because Brady always checks baby center every time that Atlas has a new month birthday; reading the expected milestones out loud and discussing Atlas’ development with me. It’s really exciting that he is taking such a keen interest in our baby, and I love that Baby Center makes this information available to us in an easy to understand and access platform.

There’s also ‘birth clubs’- I happen to be in two, because Atlas was due in September so I was a member of the Sept 2013 club my whole pregnancy, then joined the August club when he was born early. I really enjoy being in contact and discussion with other moms across Canada who’s babies are the same age as Atlas. It’s a great way to share your progress, questions and concerns with like-minded Canadian mommies.

Prior to having Atlas I was overwhelmed with options for registries. While I was far from family and not expecting a baby shower, I do like to keep things organized and I did have friends asking if there was anything they could gift us with. I found Baby List after the babies’r’us registry on the website didn’t work. I was glad that I did. It is a really neat website that allows you to build a comprehensive registry with products from any website. I put a lot of ‘generic’ products in, too. Since we weren’t picky about brands and cost (thrift shops for the win!) I wanted a list built around ideas, rather than specific brand-names. (This was also born of my inherent discomfort in the idea of ‘registries’- I hate feeling like I am ‘expecting’ or asking for a gift, or being entitled to something.) At any rate, I built our ‘registry’ really easily with this site, and found sharing it equally easy.

What’s even better, is that now that I’ve been a mom for a while, I’m enjoying writing reviews of products we’ve enjoyed or regretted buying on weeSpring. It’s an awesome site made even better if you have friends using it. The idea is that people you know are writing reviews on products; instead of some random stranger on the toys’r’us website, it’s me or you writing the review for our friends to read. There’s also the option of selecting ‘I want’ on products that I don’t have, which is kind of like continuing a registry, or at least an organized compilation of wants. Also, because I had reviewed enough products and showed interest, I was made a featured parent on the weeSpring site! This means I got a blurb and new members might get directed to follow my reviews on products. It’s pretty exciting and while I am still a new mommy, I did feel that our view of functionality following form and appreciation of affordability and quality was a valuable one.

So go check them out and see if they’re helpful to you!

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Throwback: Two months old

Dear Atlas,

 

You were such a sweet little guy when you were this little. You couldn’t roll or squirm away from my snuggles and kisses. You just loved staring at me, and I loved staring at you. Your eyes were so big and curious and blue; I could look at them for hours. You just started discovering facial expressions. From a blank stare, your face would transform into the most brilliant smile when I would coo at you. You also discovered the ‘sour’ expression, from which we all got much glee.Your biggest joy was eating, and of course, snuggling. You would sleep in my arms for hours and hours; so content nuzzled up to your mama’s skin. I loved the feeling of you in my arms, pressed against my heart; where you belong.

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Now I look back at these photos and what life was like then, and I remember thinking I couldn’t love him anymore. That he couldn’t get more interesting and exciting and beautiful and wonderful than he was in that moment. And while, yes, my experience at the time was fantastic, and he was definitely perfect- he’s changed so much since then and we’ve grown so much in our relationship.

Back then, even at two months, I was still so unsure of myself as a mother. I felt, partly, like someone had put this doll in my arms and said, “feed him when he cries, change his diaper when it’s dirty, and don’t wake him up if he’s sleeping” – and that was it. I had nothing else to go off of. Oh, sure, I have four little brothers that I grew up helping care for, and yes, I did my fair share of babysitting in my youth, but none of that really prepares you for being the SOLE caregiver for a human life.

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As a big sister, mom and dad were always just a holler away, or maybe at work or the shopping mall- but they were always coming back and I didn’t have any real responsibilities other than to keep my brothers from killing one another while they were in my care. As a babysitter, the parents always came back in a matter of hours; if I was lucky, the kids were in bed the whole time. Worst case scenario I had to feed a baby some food, change one diaper, and plunk it in a crib. Done.

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There were no parents coming to get this little boy. No one to give me a well-detailed schedule telling me when and how to feed him, what time he should go to bed and nap at, how long he should nap for, and if this or that were normal. No one to tell me how to do this.

And even two months in, I was still struggling.

I was drained mentally, emotionally and physically. While, yes, he was a fairly ‘easy’ baby as far as babies go, he was still a baby and I was still recovering from his surprise, two-week-early- arrival.

 

I am not really sure where I’m going with this other than to say that it took me a long time to feel comfortable. To feel confident in what I was doing. Even now, I struggle and I imagine I will struggle forever. Even when my kids are old and have kids of their own; how can you ever really know if what you’re doing is the best for them? It’s so hard! There are so many choices and things that could go wrong. It’s hard not to worry that you’re screwing your kid up royally by putting him to bed at the ‘wrong’ time or feeding him the ‘wrong’ baby-cereal (or cereal at all for that matter)

Now, now, I feel much more like a mama. I feel like I know my baby so much better than I did before- which I suppose only makes sense seeing as how we’ve spent every day for over seven months together… instead of just one or two. But it just seems crazy how much things can change in such a short span of time.

Maybe I’m feeling reminiscent because he looks so big lately; like a toddler more than a baby sometimes. Plus, when he holds his head just right, he looks so much like his daddy that it breaks my heart a little- in the best way possible. And I imagine what he will be like as a man; a good man, just like his daddy. Realizing that that’s actually going to happen one day makes me so freaked out.

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Okay. Well. That was really rambly; I’m sorry. Hope you enjoyed the adorable photos, anyway. 🙂

DIY: Paint Chip Mobile

I found this DIY project on, you guessed it, Pinterest! While the link to the page didn’t have a really good tutorial, I figured it out anyway. This project involves pilfering supplies from your local hardware store, which my husband shamed me for, but I liked the result and who knows; I might one day use those paint chips to decide on a paint colour so they have, indeed, served their purpose. *cough*

So here is my original Pinspiration;

Like I said, it links to an image fav site; which means there’s no further information whatsoever.

So here is what I did!

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Supplies you will need;

1- this one is optional. String/twine/yarn or something to decorate the hoop.

2- Paint chips!

3- Cross stitch hoop – should mention that you’d only use the inner hoop, not the outer one with the big metal tightening screw on it!

4- Glue stick

5- Thread

6- Circle punch – I used the biggest one my mom had (had to borrow it) the circles are 1 1/4″ wide, the smallest circles at the bottom are 1″ wide.

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So what I did was punch out a zillion circles from the paint chips. I used six colours; blue, light blue, green, light green, yellow, and pale yellow. You can use whatever colours you want! I definitely took inspiration from the original pin even for the colours, but I used shades that I loved and would work for Atlas’ room. The bottom level, the palest yellow, I used a smaller punch than the rest- just because!

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Next, I glued two circles back-to-back (the back of the paint chips is not the same colour as the front- so you’ve got to punch out twice as many circles as you want!) while gluing these together, I put a piece of thread between them; so each glued pair of circles has the thread going between them right up the center. (you’ll also notice that you can see some text from the paint chip’s information that was written on it- if you can find ones without that, even better!)

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Continue this up the string- I put one circle for each colour I did. I used the first string I did as reference for the space between circles as I did the rest of them.

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Once I had enough strings of circles done, I tied them evenly around the hoop.

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Brady says I didn’t do enough, and that there should be more strings and possibly even a second layer (a smaller hoop maybe suspended inside the bigger one) but I liked the simple look of this one. So you can go wild and do a ton or stick to the simple look like I did.

 

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Now, this part is optional but because I didn’t have a pretty, wooden hoop, I decided to use black yarn to wrap around the ugly plastic hoop I had cut out of an ice cream pail (yeah- that’s some serious DIY commitment right there!) You can also see where I tied the thread around the hoop- not super pretty; I’m sure you could figure out a way to weave the end of the thread in, or make a pretty bow if you’re using something nicer.

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This is one of those projects that you could really change up in a multitude of ways; which makes me LOVE it. I am so excited to make one of these for baby #2 (in the distant future) because I’ve had so many good ideas on how to improve on this one since I made it.

You could use cardstock (which doesn’t have lettering on it!) and even punch tiny holes in the circles and use some sort of links to attach them to one another. You’d have to cut out half as many circles that way (one of the most annoying parts)

Or you could do this to get a custom colour (I think doing this with an ombre pattern – dark to light – would look REALLY neat.)

You could use any shape you wanted!  Here are cutouts of hearts and butterflies!

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Hope you enjoyed!!

Pattern Day: Fave Baby Sweaters

Okay, so, I am in a bind here and don’t have an original pattern to share with you, but I do have a few reliable ones that I’ve found over the years to love. These patterns are simple and quick to knit up; which is totally my style. While I am perfectly capable of knitting complex, painstaking pieces, if you know anything about me; you know that my patience and attention span only extend so far. (Which is why I got into knitting stuffed animal fever- there are so many little parts you can knit up in an hour, then 6 parts later and you have a whole creature!) Unfortunately I have no photographic evidence that I actually made these sweaters. Since making these and giving them away, I’ve begun photographing all my knitting for such an occasion.

First is my favourite little pullover sweater. I have only knitted 3 toddler sweaters and 2 baby sweaters in my entire knitting life; this one I made twice, and loved it. It knit up really quickly and in the toddler’s case, I added a ton of fun intarsia to the chest which was really easy to do, and gave it a great ‘trendy ugly’ sweater touch.

 

Second is a most adorable and delicate and girly sweater. It is beautiful and I love the use of the daisy stitch here. I made this for my niece for Christmas this year and it was adorable. I had to improvise on the sizing, because was four and a half, not a baby, but it turned out really well!

 

This sweater is adorable, cozy and I love the texture of the stitch along the hood and front of the sweater. I made something similar for my niece two years ago; with a herringbone stitch along the front where the buttons went, and, true to form, added some fun, ‘trendy ugly’ intarsia along the chest. Unfortunately I made it a bit on the small side and I don’t think she fit it for much more than a month- oops!

 

This one is on my ‘to do’ list- it looks really simple, but cozy and comfy. It is also worked flat, for those of you who fear or loathe knitting in the round; you just have to do a bit of sewing to finish it up.

 

Ps. In case you couldn’t tell, I really love Ravelry and DROPS designs – go check them out! They are definitely my go-to resources for patterns, barring success there I usually turn to google.

MFFP: DIY for kids edition

I love DIY projects. True, I am a terrible procrastinator and my budget restricts me to the point where I frequently can’t even afford the scant tools to reproduce many DIY projects properly, I still love them.

In this edition I’m sharing my favourites for kid-friendly decoration.

A lot of these ideas will have to wait until we have our own home, which is kind of disappointing, but that’s why I love Pinterest! They’ll keep on my ever-growing boards until that day when I do have a home. How awesome?

THOSE Booties

BREAKING NEWS! 

Remember those booties that I couldn’t figure out the origin of? Well, I asked the lovely ladies in my ‘August 2013 birth club’ over at BabyCenter.ca if they’d ever seen those booties before; and if so, where the heck were they from.

TURNS OUT the illusive, fantastic, brilliant booties are from Dollarama. Dollar. Ama. As in, they cost $3 and stay on his feet better than the $30 Robeez. So run out and buy these for those baby showers you’re attending in the near or distant future. Seriously, they cost less than the greeting card you probably bought to go with your gift. I’m waiting… go get them.

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knittsmith, wordsmith, doodlesmith; Mama and wife