Friday, November 22, 2013

It was a yarny kinda week

I started off my week with my personal knitting projects (still in progress). They're going slow ...mostly because I'm usually more motivated when I'm knitting/sewing for an order, than when I am doing so for myself. So my socks and knitting needle case are coming along nice and slow.

In the meantime, a member from a sewing group I belong to, asked if I could knit something with a Celtic theme. It was for her mom's birthday gift. I had just the thing in mind. A Celtic cabled neckwarmer. I have had this pattern saved in my Ravelry library for a while now.

She chose this yarn from what I had available - a KnitPicks Swish Tonal called "Canopy", definitely Celtic!
Canopy 2

The pattern is a fairly easy to follow, knits up amazing, and it really showed off the variations of color in the yarn.



I absolutely love how this neckwarmer turned out. It's in the mail and I hope it gets to the lucky mama soon... Mailing out packages during the holiday rush always makes me a little nervous!

Next up, I have some newborn-sized and 6-9month sized woolies on my list, along with my ever present personal knitting projects.

With that, I'm off for the night. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Soap Dispensary


There's this cute little shop on Main street, in Vancouver, that I've walked past or driven past a few times. I looked them up online a few weeks ago, and was so impressed! 

It's called The Soap Dispensary. The idea is you go in with your own empty bottles, and get refills of a variety of soaps, oil, laundry detergents, natural cleaners for the home, hair and body care products, natural cleaning ingredients like borax or washing soda, sun care lotions, sanitizers, bug repellents, salts, clays, soap making ingredients, solid and liquid oils and butters, herbs.... the list goes on and on.

They sell some really great empty bottles and jars as well --- so if you're plum out, you can always buy one for a few dollars right there. They have clear bottles, as well as the dark amber colored ones. And you can also buy pumps for the bottles - very handy if you're getting refills for lotions or oils.

I went into the store with some very specific needs in  mind. Dr Bronner's Baby Soap, Unscented Eucalan, and pure lanolin. Here's a breakdown of what I spent:

Dr.Bronner's Baby Soap (500 ml)       $7.50 

Unscented Eucalan wash( 500ml)       $9.00

Pure Lanolin (60ml)                         $2.10

TOTAL - REFILL                             $18.60

How does that compare to retail prices?

Dr.Bronner's Baby soap (473 ml)     $14.50

Unscented Eucalan  (500ml)            $12.25

Pure Lanolin (2oz or 59ml)              $ 8.50

TOTAL - RETAIL                             $35.25

That's a 50% savings... just like that!

Here's a pic of my purchase. The Dr.Bronner's bottle was quite full  - the little bit that's missing, is what I used to make a 250ml bottle of baby wash for my little one.


I used about 1/10th of the Dr.Bronner's to make a 250ml bottle of baby wash for my little one. Her washes normally run me about $12/bottle. So this is a significant savings, while still getting something gentle and natural for her. 

The Eucalan will probably last me a couple of years. I only need about 1tsp in 1 gallon of water, so a little goes a really long way. I only wash her woolies once every month or less. 

The lanolin again will last me forever! I need about a pea sized amount to lanolize each time, depending on how many woolies I am doing.

I am so pleased with this little shop! They carry a ton of refillable products - so I know I am definitely going back once I run out of anything else around the house, that this store carries. 

If you live in the Lower Mainland, a trip to The Soap Dispensary is definitely worth it!

Do you have a shop like this near where you live? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Yarn Dyeing Guide


Apart from knitting, sewing, crocheting and blogging, I am also a Technical Writer. I mostly use my skills as a technical writer in my day job - to write manuals, procedures, trouble shooting guides, or just plain instructions when passing on a project. 

It's a fun vocation, and I really quite enjoy it (as boring as it might sounds, it really isn't). 

A few months ago, Lindsay Baker (the owner of Family Roots ) posted on her Facebook page that she was looking for a technical writer to help her create an ebook on how to dye yarn. I responded, we exchanged a few messages, talked a couple of times and decided to work together. 

I was extremely excited about the project. It was the perfect combination for me - writing and yarn! Over the next several weeks, we worked on the eBook, chapter by chapter, and created a beautiful guide to dyeing yarn - complete with a lot of step-by-step photos, and recipes to her most popular colorways.

The eBook was published slightly ahead of schedule in the last week of October 2013, and has been receieved really well by the knitting and yarn dyeing community. If you have ever thought about dyeing your own yarn - whether for personal use or to sell as a business - I strongly recommend checking out the Family Roots Legacy: A Guide to Dyeing Yarn .  There are two versions available to purchase. Both versions contain complete instructions on yarn dyeing. The smaller version includes 5 of the most popular colorways, and the larger versions includes 12 of the most popular colorways. 

Lindsay will also be offering up individual colorways (recipes only) for sale, so there is something for everyone. 

I am extremely proud of this project, and am loving seeing so many people be able use eBook successfully. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Warm that noggin!

The cold weather has certainly crept up on me! It was quite a few days of cool/sunny days and all of a sudden, its COLD! I had to go digging in my closet for my favorite hat! 

Speaking of hats, I tried out a new-to-me pattern by the lovely Lindsay Baker of Family Roots. It's called the Hudson Hat. Such a fun little pattern to knit up! I already have my little one asking me to make her one in pink! (yes honey, I'll get on that).

I made this one for a 1 year old little boy, all wool ofcourse. With a nice big pompom on top of the hat! I hope he likes it. The hat is on its way across the country, so hopefully it gets there soon. 

It's not the best photo unfortunately, but it was the best I could get in the lighting.


I'm working on my 2nd Hudson Hat of the season now... a scrappy one this time, in a newborn size. Can I get an "awwww...." . This time the mama chose a small tassel on the top of the hat. It's going to be so cute! I hope to get good pics of that one as soon as its done :)

That's it from me for today. I'll be back tomorrow with a post about something totally different (ok, may be not *that* different). 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Finished orders :)

I finished and sent off my last order a couple of weeks ago. My high-school friend ordered a custom made waldorf-inspired doll for her little girl, and some mug rugs for herself. 

I had so much fun making these. Apart from picking 2 main fabrics for the mug rugs, she let me have free reign with the designs, the accent colors, shapes and sizes. Maybe too much free reign - I picked and re-picked patterns for a long time!

Here are the 4 completed mug rugs. I have been told that they are being loved and used already :)


Next up, the doll. The little girl picked all the colors for this one - hair, skin, eyes, dress, shoes. I was only too happy to oblige and create the dream doll for her :)

She requested rainbow hair, brown eyes, tan/light skin, and a sweet smile.

Photo 2

Hair that she could dress up, so the doll can grow with her....(this request was made by the mom)

Photo 3

A green dress, and yellow shoes! So I hand-knit a sweet overall skirtie, and crocheted up a pair of boots that could be worn high or folded down halfway...
I also made the little doll a pair of bloomers ;) 

Photo 1 copy

She stands 18.5" tall! Definitely the biggest doll I have made so far.

Photo 2 copy

The best part is that the little girl I made the doll for, LOVED it! I am told the doll has a special sleeping space in her bed, and not with the rest of the toys. This is also the biggest doll the little girl has ever seen - my friend sent me a photo. That big smile, the arms tight around the doll -- that is priceless! 

I hope she gets years of love and play with this officially named Holly! awww!


I just finished up another order - a knitted item. This one is a surprise for one of my reader's daughter. So I won't post about it till after the item has been gifted ;) It was a first for me, so I hope it's well received :) It's all packaged up and heading to the post office very soon!

With that I'm off to get on with my day.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Planning projects

I received some gorgeous new fabrics from Warp & Weft a couple days back.  This store is my absolute favourite! I love all the prints Esmari brings in, and her blog is very inspiring as well. I ordered these at the end of the month in September, and they came in pretty quick.

Let's take a look at what I got =)

First up is "Petite Street" by Dashwood Studios UK. I absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous line when I saw it. I'm envisioning a little baby quilt with this line. The sweet little houses would look great fussy-cut and centred into a quilt block. The clouds would be perfect as the border. I'm playing around with the prints, trying to come up with a placement that looks *just right*. 

Next up is "Enchanted Forest", also by Dashwood Studios UK. This line was inspired by Enid Blyton's "The Faraway Tree" books. Did you read Enid Blyton growing up? I did! So when I read about this inspiration behind the line, how could I not get it! Besides, its way too cute to pass up! 
Flowers, mice, snails, hedgehogs, squirrels... oh my! hmm...what would you like to see this collection made into?

This little bundle is an assortment of prints from different lines. The prints are from Piper, Tsuru, Carnaby Street, Glimma, Ruby, Koi and Sew Stitchy. I'm thinking these will make some really cute wristlets, zippy pouches, iPad sleeves... oh! the possibilities!!

This gorgeous gorgeous line is "Bungalow" from Joel Dewberry. Don't you just love that little birdie? I love the color and print combinations here. Lap quilt, cushion covers, iPad case, placemats? This line would make any of those items look amazing!

Finally, here is "Tule" by Art Gallery Fabrics. This line is so sweet and delicate. The soft feminine prints, punctuated with the striking blue triangles makes an amazing combination I think. A purse maybe? a wristlet? a mug rug and coffee sleeve set for a special lady? 

I love the project planning phase. The possibilities are endless, and I love seeing how my ideas translate from paper into the finished product.

Is there anything specific you would like to see any of these fabrics made into?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October is here!

It's October 1st, and I am wondering where the year has gone! I love Fall weather. The changing leaves, the crisp air, sipping a hot coffee snuggled under a blanket, warm soups and comfort foods, baking!

Which brings me to one of my favorite things to do in this rainy weather. Knitting! I'm going through my yarn stash and picking out some colors to knit a pair of longies for my little one. She still fits the ones from last year, but barely. I am also still working on the socks for me. I hope to also have the time (and motivation) to knit up some mittens for myself. 

We don't really do anything for Halloween, and I haven't seen many kids around the neighborhood either. So we might head out to the mall to see some decorations, events; maybe visit the park, etc. 

That's it from me for now. I'll be back later this evening to post about Day 1 of our food-budget tracking that I am doing this month.  

Do you like the Fall weather? What's your favorite thing about it? 

Friday, September 27, 2013

New month new budget

Recently, we had a discussion on food bills in a Facebook group I am a part of. 

It was really interesting to see the numbers everyone came forward with. The differences in family sizes, ethnic backgrounds, eating & cooking habits/preferences, geographic location, shopping styles ... all seemed to make a difference. But the average came out to around $600-$800/month. 

So over the next month, I will catalog all the meals I prepare - breakfast, lunch, dinner- any snacks, any beverages, take outs, dine-out, everything. I will break down the cost and post how much each serving cost. Let's see how much it really costs (me, personally) in food bills per month. This way, it's a serving cost comparison as opposed to a family cost comparison. That might be a better way to look at things since some families consist of 6 members while others only consist of 3. 

I will, ofcourse, be posting about meals I specifically eat with my dietary restrictions. So they will be gluten/ soy/ peanut/ egg /dairy free, and vegetarian. 
For those of you wondering why I don't just say "vegan", I do consume butter and honey on occasion :)

What I will include in my costing:
All major ingredients - fresh produce, frozen ingredients, canned items, flours, grains, lentils, coffee beans, creamer, herbs, juices, and so on. 

What I will not include in my costing:
Condiments, spices, oils/fats, seasonings, sugar, water, etc. 

Feel free to follow along with your own food bill tracking, or share where you are vs where you want to be on your food bills, and any tips or ideas to help other readers. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Project recaps, ups and downs.

We had a lazy morning - which is a good thing! I am editing and putting together some photos for a recipe post that I will put up this week.

Other than that, I am also chugging along on my order list :

1. Pincushion for swap: done!! I mailed it out last week and am waiting to hear that it's been received!

2. Pincushion order: I got an order for a patchwork tomato pincushion for an "Alice in wonderland" themed sewing room! Here's what I made --- I quite like how it turned out. What do you think?

3. Pincushion order: I did another pincushion order - a patchwork turtle. He is just too cute! Here he is "at work". Looks like he's getting an acupuncture session. ;)

4.Mug Rugs x  4: quilting done, needs hand binding

5. Doll: parts are done. Need to sew them together and embroider the face. Then the hair!

6. Doll outfit: made some good progress on the knit skirtie. I had to restart it yesterday as the yarn I had picked was just nasty. It was destroying my needles! Let alone the nightmare that it was to knit with. I don't think it was cotton like I initially thought. Going with some squishy soft washable wool now.

I need to make another run to the post office this week. I have about 5 packages to send out! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday morning, and a guest post!

Morning all!

I've been away for a whole week here, and didn't even realize it. I've been busy behind the scenes with some orders and personal projects. 

For the blog, I've decided to dedicate one day a week to posting recipes. There will be appetizers, entrees, soups, salads, desserts... some Indian, some non-Indian, but all will be based on my diet which is vegetarian, and free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanuts, and corn. 

For this week, I am sharing a recipe over at my friend Carla's blog as my first guest post. Please check it out and I hope you try making it yourself. Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions or suggestions, leave me a comment :)

Here's the link to the recipe guest post:

What recipes would you like to see in the coming weeks? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fabric Mail!

I've been really good about sticking to my budget this month. Since I bought this fabric more than a month ago, it doesn't really count in my month's budget ;)

I found this gorgeous linen fabric on Etsy while browsing one day, bookmarked it and left it at that. A week later, I found myself still wanting it so I went ahead with the purchase. It arrived this morning and I couldn't be happier with it! It is absolutely gorgeous...even prettier in person.

The seller even included a set of sweet butterfly wooden buttons in complimentary colors. Very thoughtful! 

This gorgeous fabric is going in my stash and will available for custom orders. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Scottie's OTB!

As much as I love sewing, I also love to knit. I don't do as much since it takes me quite a bit longer per project. 

Recently, a really sweet online friend of mine asked if I would knit a soaker for her newborn baby boy. Of course I could! How could I say no? :) 

So we got to chatting, and came up with a cute little idea for the soaker. A simple grey and white combination, with a drawstring at the waist and rolled cuffs that will be gentle on his thighs. Then for some fun, an embroidered 'Scottie' on the bum! 

I got sketching on my graph paper and came up with this. I had help from another knitting (grand)mama in perfecting the sketch on paper. 

It took me a couple of weeks to knit the actual soaker, and then another weekend to embroider the design onto it. I used 'duplicate stitch'  - a technique in knitting where you mimic the knit stitches in the desired shape, with another strand of yarn. Thus, "duplicating" the stitches.

Over all, I was quite happy with how it turned out.

Steamed it, set it, packaged and sent it off to its new owner.

Then a few days ago, I got a message from her. With a photo. Of her baby wearing my creation. It is so much cuter on him! I just about squealed, I was so happy it fits him so well :) 

Now I can't wait to make another one...with a different design ofcourse ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A couple of finished orders, WIP Wednesday, and a *Giveaway* winner!

It's been a wonderful long weekend here, and just getting back into the swing of things. I had a pretty productive weekend somehow, and managed to get one order completed. 

Two mugrug/coffee sleeve sets for a lovely lady and her mama! This first set uses fabrics from the Riley Blake line called "Happy Sunshine". Love the cheerful birds and the spring-y colors. It's sure to perk up any morning / coffee break / snack time. The mug rug is a generous size and will easily hold a biscotti or scone or muffin alongside your beverage. 

 The second set - for the mama - uses some batik prints and coordinating solids. I asked about what kind of colors or patterns she liked. She collects Fenton Glass, so that gave me the idea to do a star quilt block. The watery effect of the batik fabrics is very reminiscent of some of the glasswork done by Fenton. I hope she likes it!

Here is the set together. They're on their way to their new homes, and hopefully arrive soon.

 Next up is the giveaway winner's prize! She asked for a coffee sleeve and picked the Dr.Seuss fabric I had in stock.
The fabric has some really large prints on it, so I tried to get a good *cut* and get some of the characters actually on the sleeve! I think it came out pretty cute! :)

With all these awesome fabrics, it's no wonder I *love* doing what I do :)

Now for *WIP* part of this post .... 
I'm knitting myself a pair of socks for the winter. My first time ever knitting socks. So far so good...they seem pretty easy. I am just not used to knitting with fingering weight yarn, so it seems to be taking me forever! 

I'm using this lovely yarn from Family Pendragon (she closed up shop on December 31st, 2012...and I was lucky to snag some in time!). The colorway is called "Winter". How appropriate :)

Think I'll be done by winter? ;)

I'm off to start my day. Hope everyone has a great day :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Mail!

I love buying online for a few reasons. Number ONE being, convenience.

I get to window shop, browse, compare prices, change my mind, all from the comfort and convenience of my home. Ofcourse, there's the added cost of shipping but when you factor in the cheaper price per item online, the cost of hunting for something specific in the local shops, etc, online shopping is way cheaper!

Sometimes, I'll make a purchase online, then forget about it in the next day or so. When the package comes in the mail, its such a happy surprise! It's an even better surprise when it comes beautifully packaged!!

This is my recent purchase of some zipper charms from an Etsy store called Tonic and Lime Designs.

All I specified for my order was what I did not like, and my order was *perfect*! I could not have imagined a more perfect selection of charms to match my fabrics.

I can't wait to add these to a couple of new projects :) I will definitely be buying more from them!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I won!

Ok, so this post is coming a little late. Earlier this summer, Harper Collins Canada's facebook page asked their fans to tell them what we "liked" about their page. I responded and they liked me response so much, they sent me one of their awesome mugs! 

I absolutely *love* it!!  

Have you visited Harper Collins Canada's facebook page? 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A package, some goodies and a list.

My supplies order from Connecting Threads is finally here! 

Hobb's Heirloom 100% cotton batting

A Flying Geese ruler (I just needed an excuse to get it... ;)  )

Some gorgeous batik prints with co-ordinating solids,

Some neutral solids,

A few gorgeous matching threads....

And my list for this weekend:
  • 1 Mug Rug + Coffee Sleeve set in "Hello Sunshine Red Birds"
  • 1 Mug Rug + Coffee Sleeve set order in Purple / Aqua batik prints
  • 1 Turtle Pin Cushion --- oh my goodness this one is going to be cute!
  • 1 pin cushion for a swap in my sewing group
If I do well on my time, I might be able to sneak in some sewing time for a new project... or two!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Morning!

Good Morning!

Its been a busy weekend. I had a long list of sewing to get done, but life got in the way ;)  I'm still waiting on my fabric order, so I can't get started on a big chunk of my orders. I wish there was a "Lens Mills" type place close to me so I could just go pick up all my supplies!

Here's my sewing to-do list once my supplies get in:

  • 2 Mug Rug orders in "Hello Sunshine Yellow Birds"
  • 2 Mug Rug orders in "Hello Sunshine Red Birds"
  • 1 Mug Rug + Coffee Sleeve set order in "Hello Sunshine Red Birds
  • 1 Mug Rug + Coffee Sleeve set order in Purple / Aqua batik prints
  • 1 18" Waldorf-inspired doll 
  • 1 complete outfit for said doll

Oh well... it was not a total write off however. I don't normally find time to sew something for myself, and I did get to make myself a sleeve for my iPad. And its gorgeous!! If I may say so myself :)

The outer fabric is Alexander Henry's *Koto - Ancient City* print (no longer in production, sadly). I love love love this fabric, and got it from a super awesome friend in a fabric swap. This print was a complete surprise to me and I love it to bits! 

The lining inside the sleeve (and the pocket) is Heather Bailey's *Welcome Road in Olive*. 

I think I'm going to buy some cute fabrics today - saw some amazing prints on Etsy that I simply must have! =D

That's it from my end today.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some custom eye masks...

Happy Friday!

I had a successful sewing night last night. I made three custom eye masks - complete with quilting, adjustable Velcro straps and backed with super soft cotton velour. 

I still have a long list of orders to get to, but this was a good start. Right? =D

Three custom eye masks, ready to head home to their owners! So squishy soft, and perfect for a relaxing snooze :)

This one uses fabric from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom collection. The print is called "Chrysanthemum". 

...and backed with a lovely lime green cotton velour. 

This one uses Michael Miller's "Toot Toot" print for the front...

...and a gorgeous, vibrant orange cotton velour for the back.

And finally, possibly my personal favorite. The fabric is Timeless Treasures "Boy Meets Girl"...

 ...and a soft lilac cotton velour for the back. 

All three have an adjustable Velcro strap. I made the straps extra long, so the owner can cut it down to their perfect size!

Next time, I will make an encased elastic - easy on/off for those highly interrupted naps for us mommies :)