Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Colorful New Year

It's quiet right now... The baby is napping and the big girl is outside gleefully playing in the snow. The sun is out, the wind is blowing the snow from the trees and I'm finally enjoying my coffee. I live for peaceful times like this and lately they're few and far between. Soon the baby will need me and the big girl will come in and want lunch. The arguing and negotiating will commence (Have you ever tried to negotiate with a five year old? Holy cow, it's non-stop, keep you on your toes, mind-boggling fun! - Insert sarcasm) and my hair will stand on end from the stress of trying to juggle it all. But without the stressful times I don't think I would enjoy the peaceful times so much.

I'm so looking forward to January. It's one of the most peaceful and quiet times of the year. The holiday hustle is over, the big girl will go back to school and life will whipped back into order. Or at least as much order as ever. Chaos will still reign supreme in this house but at least it'll be chaos on a schedule and that I can handle. I'll be hunkering down for the rest of this long winter with my knitting, my kindle, my sewing machine and my babies. I'm not one for New Years resolutions, but I would like to try to be more patient in the coming year. I would like to realize that I can't always be super mom and sometimes the simple things are the best things. I would like to slow down and be able to really enjoy these quiet moments for myself and be thankful for all that I have. For I am amazingly blessed.

As for the above picture, I FINALLY started my color wheel quilt! Horray! The cutting is done and the piecing has begun. So far it's been much easier than I anticipated but don't most things happen that way? It's really brightened my mood to play with such beautiful and colorful fabrics and last night I lay in bed dreaming about where I'm going to hang it. So, here's wishing everyone a colorful and very very happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thrift Score

I was lucky enough to have a few hours all to myself this past weekend to run some errands and I was able to sneak in a visit to one of my most favorite thrift stores. It's a mecca for all things kitschy, old and weird. I love digging through the mess and it's so fun even if I don't take anything home. Lucky for me on this occasion I did get to take some two of these gorgeous lamps! They're in perfect working condition and look amazing on the dresser in our bedroom. Even more thankfully I have a very understanding husband when in comes to thrifting and me bringing home what most husbands would consider "junk". I'm no so sure about the shades I've put on them though, I'm kind of thinking a small barrel shade might look better. Regardless they're the perfect addition to the bedroom and I've been delightfully reading by the light of them every evening.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Wreath

I figured I needed to get this posted seeing as Christmas is next week and after that it won't be valid anymore. This was the only thing on my giant list of Christmas crafting for the house that got done. But I'm so thrilled with it, that I'm okay with that fact.

I've been drooling over this wreath by knockknocking (the goddess of yarn wreaths) for quite awhile. I just couldn't scrape up the funds to make it mine so I decided to try my hand at making one. I had most of the supplies and just needed to buy the wreath form and a few extra doo-dads. I only spent about $10.That little green bird makes me terribly happy and I've been looking for an excuse to use those extra large buttons for ages. I adore it in all it's kitschy glory. I'm thinking I may have to redecorate my living room permanently in red and green so that it can stay up all year long. Or maybe, I'll just have to make another one. Darn, I'd have to get the hot glue gun out again.

When you have a chance check out the knockknocking etsy shop. She's makes such beautiful wreaths!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Knitting Labels

The sun peaked out just long enough for me to snap a picture of these today. The holiday knitting season has officially begun and finances being the way they are this year, there's going to be a lot of it. I plan on not buying any yarn for gifts, only using what I have stashed. I'll get to pare down my stash so I can buy more yarn in the future as well as save some money on Christmas this year. So I whipped up these cute little tags to sew into knitted gifts to make them just a tad more special, using some twill tape and t-shirt iron-ons. I seriously think that printable iron-ons are something every crafter has to have on hand at all times. It's the workhorse of crafting and has gotten me out of many a pinch. I've been any ironing-on maniac the last week making shirts for the kids labels and even some new baby gifts. I can't proclaim my love enough.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Umbilical Cord Hat and Booties

Here's the first of many finished projects I'm finally getting around to writing about and just to warn you the first of many many baby hats that I've knit. They're just so addicting... So portable, so fast and so darn cute! These I knit before Miss Mabel was born. The hat and booties took just 1/3 of a skein of Misti Alpaca. I don't have the band anymore so I'm not sure of the weight but I'm pretty sure it's a sport weight. The color is the palest of pink and so incredibly soft. These will be a "go-to" for gift knitting because they require so little time and yarn and are such a luxury. The hat pattern is of course from the first "Stitch 'n Bitch" book. The bootie pattern is a great match to the hat, here's the ravelry link. The only changes I made were to omit the ribbing at the top to create a rolled cuff, mimicking the brim on the hat. I also omitted the eyelet section because I didn't want to include the ribbon on this pair.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I've Been Busy...

With this sweet, sweet baby. I haven't gotten much done due to excessive cuddling, rocking and kissing those perfect little toes. This week however was my first week back to work, so I'm slowly getting back into a "normal" routine. Although normal for us is still a bit nuts. 

I have so many backlogged projects to share, so my goal is to post at least once if not twice a week... If I can pull myself away from those pudgy toes!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Simple Yet Effective

An appropriately named project. Simple, mindless knitting with gorgeous yarn... Does it get much better? This is JUST what I needed. I have probably a dozen completed projects both sewn and knitted that need photographed and blogged but my brain is just too full of baby right now to do it. There's FIVE different socks that need mates knitted and a baby sweater that needs the ends woven-in and blocked. For some reason I just can't face them right now... I needed something to keep my hands busy and my mind clear. No thinking, no counting, just repetitive movement. Listening to the clicking of the needles, feeling the yarn travel through my fingers and watching the stripes come together...complete relaxation. Nine days until this baby girl is due to enter the world and this project has been such a calming influence. All the other stuff can wait.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Junebaby is 5!

I can't believe my Junebaby is 5. Happy Birthday sweetheart!
Where in the heck does the time go? I whipped up this little sundress for her last weekend just in time for her party. I completely underestimated the lengths those little legs have grown to so shorts are a must underneath. I can't say enough for this fabric, it's absolute heaven. The weight is just perfect for summery things and the print is adorable to boot. It was super simple to sew, basically just a tube with the smocking at the top. Which, I have to say was a blast to do. It was so neat to see it start scrunching up after a few rows. When it was done I wetted the top down and used a steam iron to get it to "smock" even more. It's so deliciously soft, I really want one in my size. I used every inch of the half yard that I purchased, not a single scrap remained. And B loves it, so mission accomplished!

And no, I haven't started cutting for the color wheel quilt yet. Baby sewing, knitting and nesting in general has kind of taken over, so it'll probably be awhile!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Washed and Pressed

Two years ago for Christmas I received the fabric bundle set from Purl to make the gorgeous
Color Wheel Quilt from Last-Minutes Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.

Ever since the fabric has sat on my office shelves looking beautiful with me too terrified to touch it. I've gotten a few quilts under my belt in the interim and I think I'm finally about ready to tackle this one. Last weekend I washed and pressed all of the fabric and I'm hoping this weekend I'll be able to make the leap of faith and start cutting. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Louise Cardigan

Louise Cardigan from Vintage Baby Knits
3-6 months
Louet Gems Fingering Weight in Cherry Red (2 skeins)
Size 3 Needles

I was so anxious for this book release and I have to say it's one of the first knitting books that completely lived up to my expectations. The book itself is gorgeous with beautiful photography and great layout. The patterns are perfect and it was so hard to decide which to knit first. This baby girl in my belly is going to have a full knitted wardrobe by the time I'm through. I ultimately decided to start with a project I already had yarn for. This louet sock yarn was originally going to be a pair of Baudelaire socks but it seemed like a perfect match for this adorable sweater so I made the sacrifice. I've knit with the louet gems one time previously and I can't say that I'm a huge fan. I think it's got a little bit too much twist in it for my liking, it makes the stitches uneven and bumpy looking. Blocking helps quite a bit but I think I prefer a smoother yarn for projects where there's a pretty large section of stockinette where the uneveness is really obvious.

The pattern itself is so incredibly simple and oh my, so fast!
I was a little daunted at first by knitting with such fine a yarn and such small needles but it took less than a week for me to finish, it literally flew off my needles. I love the way it's constructed, from the bottom down, in the round. The only seaming was the underarms and sleeve seams. I made some covered buttons with fabric from a vintage apron that I had in my stash and I love the way they look with the sweater. This is by far one of the most satisfying projects that have come off my needles in awhile and I can't wait to knit more from this book. I've got some yarn on the way for another project that I'll hopefully be able to start this week.

Congrats to Kristen on her first book. In my eyes it's a smashing success... I can't remember the last knitting book where I really loved 90% of the patterns. I hope there's more to come from her.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where does the time go?

I really didn't mean to disappear for THREE MONTHS... it seriously just flew by without hardly a blink of the eye. Life got in the way and I don't think I ever really bounced back from the holidays in the way I wanted to.  Also a  few months ago my gmail account was hacked and I lost my address book and was unable to receive any emails. So, if you've tried to reach me I probably didn't receive the email and I sincerely apologize. That kind of put a damper on things and I just haven't had the motivation to try to put things back in order.

This pregnancy has also brought into focus a lot of things about myself and has truly made me see the importance of my family and how precious my time is with them. That's why I've chosen to not reopen the Etsy shops at this time. I've been focusing on crafting for my family and this new baby and having such a wonderful time doing it. I've really been missing sharing my crafting endeavors though and would like to slowly work my way back into this space if you'll have me. I'm thinking with the new focus perhaps I'll change the name and look of the blog and of course because I have to change my email address this also makes sense. Just mulling things around in my head, we'll see what happens!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Winner Is...

Melissa S.! B helped me draw the name out of a hat for this one. Thank you so much to those of you who entered and thank you especially for your kind comments and well-wishes. I appreciated them so much!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A YEAR in the Making

Seriously, yes, this quilt took me a YEAR to finish. I was debating for the longest time about whether or not I was going to divulge that little tidbit. It is pretty darn embarrassing. This was my first "real size" quilt and really not a difficult one. I seem to remember piecing the top in a weekend last winter and started on the quilting right away but for some odd reason or another just stalled. I'm really not sure what it was that forced this project to languish for so long. Every now and then I would feel guilty, pull it out and quilt a few lines. Then it would go back in the corner and be forgotten about for another few months. With a resolution of finishing everything I start this year this project was at the top of my list. And once picked up, it only took a few days to finish. The quilting was almost done and the binding was the biggest hurdle to completion. I think that's probably part of my inability to finish this darned thing... I was TERRIFIED of the binding. While it was the most difficult part of the whole thing for me, it really wasn't that bad. Yes, it was time consuming and tedious but a few movies later and it was done. And I'm so glad it's done. I absolutely love it, in all it's wonky, crooked, wrinkledness. It's so, so far from perfect but that's what I love about it. And to make it even better, the very moment I put the last stitch in the binding it was snatched away by a very happy 4 year old and put to immediate use. Seriously, the new "blankie" didn't leave her side all night. It was used as a play mat, a booster seat, a pillow and a cape. It really doesn't get any better than that and what excellent motivation for finishing the rest of those projects gathering dust. Okay, enough babbling, here's the details:

Stacked Coins Quilt from Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts (supposedly a 8-12 hour project, FUNNY)
Size: Approx. 52in x 65in (Perfect for a little person)
I used an old sheet with a really cool circle pattern on it for the background (you can see the pattern the best in the second photo), and used a mix of new and vintage fabrics for the coins. The back is a super soft, fleecy fabric that was a little tricky to quilt and even trickier to bind because of it's thickness. I hand-quilted this beast and made my own binding from leftover fabric from the coins.

Now for the next quilt... The same year I started this quilt I received the kit for making the Color-Wheel Quilt from the same book. Maybe I'll wait a little while to tackle that one!

Thank you so much for all of the incredibly kind comments and well-wishes on the Giveaway post. You are all just awesome and each and every comment means so much to me! If you haven't already entered the giveaway you have until Thursday 6PM Central. I'll announce the winner this coming weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Starting to feel like myself again definitely has it's perks. I've spent the last week or so working on some new designs for the Apples in June shop. The shop as been updated with some cute new Valentine's and a bit of a new look for the spring that I hope is around the corner. Check 'em out!

In addition I'm offering this hearts template for free! Just shoot me an email at and I'll reply back with your free pdf.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


My sincerest, heartfelt apologies for my neglecting of this poor blog for so long. I can finally announce that we're expecting our 2nd child in August and thus the reason for my absence. The nausea and sheer exhaustion were enough to put me in serious hibernation for such a long time. It's slowly, slowly getting better and I'm starting to feel a bit like myself again.

I've been promising this giveaway for such a long time and I'm finally getting around to posting about it. I've had a very limited edition series of prints and original drawings available here at the Shiny Squirrel since December. To celebrate (a bit late) I'll be giving away a set of the "girls" shown above. To enter just leave a comment and I'll pick someone at random to receive the prints. (Worth $60!) Deadline is next Thurs. the 5th of February. (OMG, I can't believe next week is February already, somebody slow this ride down!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day in History

The benefits of working at home today included being able to stream the historic events right to my desktop. Not much work was done this morning (hopefully the boss isn't reading) as I watched with pride history being made. The past eight years almost seem like a dream and today the awakening. There's not much to say that hasn't already been said by thousands of others so I'll leave it by saying today was a good day and hopefully a new beginning for America.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It's been far too long since I've written a proper post so I thought it was about darn time. I'm honestly doing a bit of hibernating these days. I feel a bit like a bear who's retreated to his warm cave for the duration of winter. Curled up in bed with a book and some knitting is about the extent of my activities these days. An occasional trip to the kitchen to forage breaks up the monotony but that's about it. I'm in a bit of a post-holiday slump I think. I feel like everything is stuck in the snow, from the cars to my motivation. And there's so. much. snow. The tires are spinning but they just can't get any traction. Maybe that's okay, maybe this is exactly what I need right now. A nice long break to clear my head, refocus and start afresh is the ticket I think. Taking a cue from mother nature to slow down and just be still for awhile. So the shops will remain closed for a time, not sure how long but at least for the foreseeable future.

But, in an effort to not disappear completely I'm going to (try) to post a couple of times a week. I'll most definitely be back later in the week with a giveaway that I promised such a long time ago.