Sunday, 29 April 2012

At last you are the proud owner of the much longed for Sewing Machine.

Written in March, 2009:

The other day, I met some friends at the Chertsey Bookshop. I had half an hour from finishing work to rush home, pack up EV and be there by 10. Of course, I was running late, so I texted my friends and said so. When I walked into the bookstore, I didn't see anyone I knew. Is today Wednesday, I thought? It must be because yesterday was Tuesday. I checked my friend's text to be sure that we were meeting on Wednesday at 10. Wrong! Wednesday at 11. I was an hour early when I thought I was late. It was not a big deal because I needed groceries, anyway. After groceries, I still had time to kill, so I browsed through some charity shops (thrift stores). In the window of one was an old sewing machine for £30.00. I was immediately interested and they put it on hold for me. Today, I returned to the shop and had the lady demonstrate that it worked. She knocked off £10.00 and I bought it for £20.00! What a deal! Now I can hem my trousers and sew EV some animal costumes. The best parts are that the machine is hand powered and it has the original instruction manual with an entertaining opening letter.

Some of my favorite bits from the letter:

"Dear Housewife...At last you are the proud owner of the much longed for Sewing Machine."

"Although everything is still quite clear to you, it is possible that in time some of the directions given to you for making the various adjustments may escape your memory."

"Before using your machine we advise you to glance briefly at the pages of this bokklet."

"After reading these you will have become thoroughly acquainted with the working principle of your sewing machine; you will look upon it as living thing that has been placed under your care and protection."

Written today:
The pictures below are of some items I made on my treadle machine. It became impossible for me to use when I was pregnant with my little boy. It was too heavy and I was in too much pain from my SPD to crank the machine. On a happy/sad day, I donated it to a charity that helps ladies in Africa learn to sew and make a living from it...and then I bought a nearly new Janome. It's nothing fancy, but gets the job done, and I love it!

My very first project was a skirt for my baby girl.

 A dress made from one of Happy Together's tutorials.

An original fairy skirt and a bee costume (McCall's MP366).

3KDBWDAY7 - Crafting Balance

Today's topic for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is all about crafting balance. Am I a knitter or crocheter or both? Well, if you read my last post, you'll know that I am a crocheter with the goal to become a knitter. I love crochet and struggle with knitting, but I usually love the look of knitted items more than crochet items. I always have crochet projects on the go and aspire to have some knitting ones in the near future!

Left: One of my first crochet projects. Middle: Son's baby blanket. Right: Another first crochet project.
Can I interrupt myself to ask a question here? Thanks.

I'd like to knit a cowl - which one of these do you think would be a good first project for a new knitter?

1) Moss Stitch Cowl               2) Lyndhurst Cowl               3) Elphaba                4) InstaCowl

Besides loving to crochet and my desire to knit, I also really enjoy sewing. I love how quick it is to sew up lovely items. I was a frequent sewer from the time I learned at 9 years old through my university years. I remember hand sewing clothes for my barbies, browsing through pattern catalogues at the local fabric shop, borrowing cute dresses from my friends and using the to sew my own, and earning an award for best student in Home Ec. (at the time I was slightly embarrassed, but now I'm proud) after making an abundance of pillows and stuffed animals in middle school. I put aside sewing when I started travelling, mainly because it was impossible to pack my sewing machine. However, a little more than three years ago, I found a sewing machine at a charity shop and began sewing again. In my next post, I'll show more of the first few things I made and share the story of that first machine. It was a treadle machine without the treadle!

Back to the topic, though...I think I have a pretty good balance with the crafts I love. Crochet an item - Sew an item - and hopefully Knit some items soon!

I hope you've enjoyed Eskimimi Makes' Knitting and Crochet Blog Week with me. I have loved every minute of it. It has been a great challenge and delight to think about these two crafts and their significance in my life. I have also been very pleased to discover new blogs and to have read others' thoughts on the topics. I have laughed, sighed, and almost cried. Thank you Eskimimi Makes!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

3KCBWDAY6 - Improving Your Skillset

                                                                   Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

My skill set. Hmm. Crochet is definitely included in there, as well as sewing and random crafting. I love how relaxing it is to sit down with my hooks and yarn to make a hat, a scarf, a baby blanket, and so on. I have no fear of trying to make patterns that might be considered "difficult." I understand the language of crochet as if it were my first language. great am I? Can I tell you some more? (just kidding). The thing is, crochet just came naturally when I re-learned it 5 or 6 or 7 years ago, most likely because I had already learned it as a child. 

                                           Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

When I became so confident at crocheting, I attempted knitting. Immediately Humbled. It was the farthest thing from easy. My hands were so awkward managing two needles. When I dropped a stitch, I had no idea how to fix it and would either begin again or just leave a hole or the ribbing would become unbalanced. I don't even really know what I'm talking about right now, so hopefully all you fabulous knitters can understand that last sentence. When I'd try a knitting pattern, I'd constantly be on google looking up terms. My best friend at the time was I made two hats...then attempted another project a few months later and gave up. 

                                      Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Now, recently I have been inspired by my mom who is always attempting new things in her sewing, crochet, and knitting. You can take a look at her blog to see her diverse assortment of creations. She is currently knitting socks for the first time. I have come to the conclusion that I need to knit! I always see knit items that I love, but push the thought of making them from my mind. So, I'm making a goal. Yikes! Now I really have to do it!

So, inspired by Knitting and Blog Week...and inspired by my is my goal:

Skill I would like to have a go at: KNITTING
When: learn in MAY...finish 4 projects by the end of 2012

Now, I think I'll need some help from you. Do any of you who knit have any suggestions of a good project to learn on? Do you think it is possible for me who will be a new knitter to finish 4 projects by the end of 2012 or should I aim for less?

 ***To view more blogs participating in the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, search Google for 3KCBWDAY6***

Friday, 27 April 2012

3KCBWDAY5 - Something a Bit Different

I must admit, I didn't have much time today to put much thought and effort into Something a Bit Different for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. However, I had a great time making this short movie with my kids! My favorite parts are "singness" and our magical popsicle stick wand.

***To view more blogs participating in the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, search Google for 3KCBWDAY5***

Friday Foto - Dragonfly (17 of 52)

Bug that grows when submerged in water for 3 days.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

3KCBWDAY4 - Through the Seasons

Today's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week topic has to do with knitting and crocheting throughout the seasons. Basically, I have to answer the question, "
How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?"

This one is definitely one of the most meaningful topics to me this week. The whole reason I started my blog was to help motivate myself  to create throughout the year, but especially in the dark months.

                                                                   Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Since moving to England, I have experience a major lack of sunlight and warmth compared to what I was used to for most of my life. I always knew that I loved the sun, heat and lying on the beach, soaking it all in. What I didn't know is how shorter darker days would effect me emotionally. Year to year, the winter has brought me down more and more.

Time to fight it.
I made a list of the things that make me happy and lift my spirit: Bible Study, Exercise, Creating. Oh, and ask for a S.A.D. light for Christmas!

I signed up for a weekly Bible study, (slacked on the exercise), and started this blog to document my creations. It has helped immensely. I have created more this winter than I have in years. Typically, I have crocheted items according to an occasion - new babies, need for a new hat, etc. 

The past months, I've been at a loss at times because there haven't been many occasions. It has helped me explore a bit more and I've enjoyed making amigurumi (here and here, along with some I haven't posted, yet). 
I've also crocheted in new places just to keep my fingers moving and my emotions even. To sum it up, I've learned that I need to create in all seasons. During some, it comes easy and naturally. During others, it definitely takes more of an effort. But, through them all, the creative process helps me process my thoughts and maintain a sense of peace and joy regardless of the weather!
                                                                   Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

***To view more blogs participating in the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, search Google for the tag 3KCBWDAY4***

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

3KCBWDAY3 - Knitting and Crochet Hero

My knitting and crochet hero :: My Mom
This one is so easy for me. The only person that I could ever consider as my knitting and crochet hero is my mom. She is the one who taught me how to crochet when I was about 8 years old. I remember spending hours fingering chains long enough to stretch across the living room. I gave up crochet for a long period of time, but when I picked it up again 6 years ago, my mom was right there to answer any questions I had and fix my mistakes.

One of my dearest memories is the day my mom, my sister, and I spent at a cafe, drinking coffee and learning to knit one, pearl one.

 Besides learning the how-to's from my mom, she has taught me so much more from her love of stitching, sewing, and crafting. Her creations are so full of talent, but even more full of love. 

She has been told for years, "You should sell your stuff." But she never has. The beautiful things she makes have only ever been true gifts of love.

 Even if she was trying to sell, she'd end up just giving her creations away and feel even more full of joy and satisfaction. She's given things she's made, her time to teach others, and most of all her love.

To sum it up, my mom is my hero because of all the things she's taught me about creating, caring, and giving selflessly.

Thanks Mom! ...don't cry ;-)

*You can check out many of my mom's creations on her blog Jerry and Kay*

**All crocheted and knit items on this post were created by my mom, Kay (except my green hat, which she helped me learn to knit)**

***To view more blogs participating in the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, search Google for the tag 3KCBWDAY3***

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

3KCBWDAY2 - Photography Challenge Day 2

I am excited to participate in day two of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (3KCBWDAY2). I missed the first day because I came down with another bug (tonsillitis again!), went to the doctor, got meds, and slept a lot! This has seriously been the most unhealthy month of my life. I'm already starting to feel better, so I thought I'd do day 2 - Photography Challenge Day! I'm especially excited for this because it involves yarn which I've used for a number of years now...and photography which is something I've just began to explore somewhat more than before.

I drew my inspiration from my overflowing stash of yarn and uncountable projects that I have begun and have not managed to finish, yet. That and the fact that my little guy was watching Bob the Builder for an hour this morning while I tried to get a bit of rest.

In my imagination, I created WIP & FROG Co. which is a company that will help you with any mess of yarn that is taking up space. Their trucks are driven by peeps (the one in the pics made by my mom - you can see more on her blog called Jerry and Kay). This pink peep must be new on the job because she's struggling with the load I've been storing in my drawer for up to 5 years now! Yikes!

I hope you enjoyed the pics!
If you LOVE them, you can nominate me here.
~ Jessica

“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.”
-William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well

Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday Foto - Catch Up (11-16 of 52)

Six Tulips from our Garden

Reasons for lack of blogging in March & April:
1) Busiest work month of my year.
2) Tonsillitis one week & same week as Yearbook deadline.
3) Bronchitis the following week.
4) Husband out of town & kids out of school for same 7 days.
5) Parents least one good thing!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Our Creative Easter

It's been the most hectic March and April of my life, and has lacked health and time for creating or blogging or doing much of anything that I really enjoy. The week I was the most sick was the week with the best weather to top it off. The highlight was when my parents visited. Besides spending a beautiful day in Windsor, and another two sunny days in London, we had a bit of creative enjoyment with my little ones during Easter week.

Easter baskets with goodies inside from Nanny and Papa. They are extra special because the Baskets, Chirpies, and Peeps were all made by my mom (check out her awesome blog here called Jerry & Kay).

Bunny Pancakes!

 Bunny Bread!

 Dying easter eggs, of course! 
Our colors were not as vibrant because of the brown eggs...but still just as much fun!

Decorating easter hats...EV was really into decorating hers and chose what to decorate with and where to put everything (very symmetrical). CW wasn't into decorating his at all, and instead played with the eggs left over from our egg hunt. So my mom and I made his. :-)

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