November 30, 2009

Mmm...Morning Bread Recipe

I had an itch to make some homemade bread, it was morning so I wanted something that would serve as breakfast and keep me full till lunch time. I came up with this great recipe I call "Morning Bread" it would also be great to have in the afternoon with some tea or you could toast it in for a snack before bed!


1 1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons butter

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour

1/2 chopped walnuts

1/2 sultana raisins

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Add all ingredients to your bread machine and put on "basic" setting. Enjoy!

November 26, 2009

Felting Your Projects By Hand

This is a bowl that I felted and added a flower design. The first photo is of the bowl un-felted and the second and third are of the felted bowl.

I was doing some felting the other day and thought that maybe I should post a "how to" for those of you who haven't felted before. Although most of you probably prefer machine felting, I like to see the transformation right before my eyes. Some elbow grease is required though!

To start your wool needs to be felting wool or 100% wool, otherwise you will not get a felted result. First fill your sink, bucket or bathtub with HOT water. Place your item in the water and begin agitated the wool. It helps to add some dish washing liquid to help open the fibers and speed the felting process up.

Rub you item against the bottom of the sink, bucket or tub rub the wool against itself using your knuckles, finger nails etc... there is no need to be gentle here! I also wear yellow rubber gloves, they have little bumps on the palm that help to agitate the fibers.

After about 5-8 minutes check your process, you should see that you stitches are beginning to disappear. Shock it with some cold water then place it in the HOT water again, you may need to add more HOT water to keep the temp up.

You are the boss and can make the decision when you want to stop. Different wools felt at different speeds so it will take different time frames for each. You also don't have to felt something completely if you don't want to.

You can still block you item after it is done felting, depending what shape you want. You can let your item air dry, I place mine on the air vent to dry. Also you can use different item to help shape your item in the drying process. If you decide to throw it in the dryer just remember you have no control on how you item will shape. Also it may shrink quite a bit more.

Please remember you item will shrink, so when you are knitting it you should probably felt a swatch to see how much you will lose in the felting process.

November 25, 2009

Cherished Hand Me Downs

I am so thankful to have thoughtful people in my life, at times it feels like I am surrounded by them. About a year and a half ago when I felt like my life was spiraling downward yet again, I decided to make a change.
I am very much an introvert and feel comfort in my home, I am the type of person that could easily become a recluse in a remote area and live off the land without ever looking back.
The change I decided to make was to join a workout class. Little did I know that I would be about 30-40 years younger than the other classmates. After walking into the gym and seeing everyone, I thought to myself "how is this going to benefit me?" The title of the class was "Gentle Strength and Stretch" and after having my son about 6 months earlier I thought this is what I needed to get back in shape but then second guessed it when I saw the people that surrounded me.
The first session was about an hour and a half in length and I will tell you by the end of that class I was sweating like a pig, partly because I was out of shape but mostly do to the fact that I had a wonderful instructor who treated us all as individuals and knew that I was more capable than the elderly others.
A year and a half later having never looked back I am probably in the best shape of my life, being surrounded by people that are generations older than me, comforts me and I know that I walked into that gym room for a reason!
Unfortunately for me and for the others in my class our instructor is moving on with her career, I am happy for her and wish her all the best.
Yesterday as I pulled into the parking lot she opened the trunk of her car and handed me a bag full of 17 hand knit sweaters that she had made for her children many years ago. She had been saving them for someone special and that someone is my son! I am so grateful and thankful that there are people like her in my life, she defines true kindness!

November 24, 2009

Snake Hat Pattern

I decided to design this snake hat after getting an order from a friend of mine asking what types of boys hats I could create. All this hat consists of is a basic knit cap with an I-cord snake attached to the top, really basic yet has lots of character!

SIZE: 3-6 mos, Child 5-6.

Cast on 72 (78)sts. Beginning with a knit row, work in St st until piece measures 6 (61/2)from beginning, end with a WS row.

Shape Crown
Row 1:
*K4 (4) k2tog (decrease made); rep from * – 60 (65) sts.
Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl.
Row 3: *K3 (3), k2tog; rep from * – 48 (52) sts.
Row 5: *K2 (2), k2tog; rep from * – 36 (39)sts.
Row 7: *K1 (1), k2tog; rep from * – 24 (26) sts.
Continue in this manner, working 1 st less between decreases, until 12 (13) sts remain. Cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread tail through remaining sts, and pull tightly to secure.

Sew seam. Weave in ends.

For Snake:
2 dpns size US 6. Work around (I-cord).

Cast on 4 sts. (After each round, do not turn work, slide sts to right end of needle, pull yarn to tighten.)

Round 1: k4
Round 2: k1, m1, k2, m1, k1
Round 3: knit 6
Round 4: k1, m1, k4, m1, k1
Round 5: knit 8
Round 6: ssk, k4, k2tog
Round 7: knit 6
Round 8: ssk, k2, k2tog
Round 9: knit 4

Continue to knit till snake reaches desired length for hat.
k2tog, k2
k2tog, k1
cut end and pull through. Knot yarn for eyes and attach red tongue.

To attach snake to cap pin in desired location, then take a different colour to add stripes or use the same colour as snake and sew around the body wrapping about an inch or so apart to firmly attach snake to cap, sew in loose ends.

Copyright 2009.

November 23, 2009

Productive Weekend

Well I got a lot done this weekend, had a great time at the museum and booked my booth for next year! Just walking around viewing all the talented artists gave me some new ideas. Have any of you played around with recycled sweaters and things like that??? I think I am going to give it a go. The weather was almost too nice Sunday and we didn't have as much traffic as we did on Saturday, but none the less had a wonderful time.

After the show on Saturday it was time to take my little guy to the Santa Clause Parade, we had a great time and he was in so much awe of all the floats going by. It was great that the parade was at dusk, all the lights were glowing and the street was full of ambiance!

November 19, 2009

Waiting Room Knitting Club!

My dad had his surgery today, everything went according to plan and he is recovering well. As I was waiting for him to have his surgery I had to wait in the busy waiting room for a few hours. I was actually surprised at how many people were knitting and crocheting including myself. I counted over the course of about seven hours, eight or so women quietly knitting/crocheting away. It was amazing to see the beautiful works of art that were being created almost effortlessly. The women were drawn to each other, there were two in particular that were sitting beside each other sharing tips and flipping through each others knitting magazine's, then parted ways as their names were called. It just seems so natural and comforting to be surrounding by people that have the same interests as myself and others. Note to self for next time, "bring more knitting!!!" I had under estimated the amount of time I would be waiting for my father and finished my knitting within the first couple of hours, I don't want to see another celeb magazine for a long, long, time!

November 18, 2009

Snake Hat

I was trying to think up some new ideas. It seems like a lot of the knits I have designed are directed more so towards girls rather than boys. So I decided to create something that I knew little boys and maybe even some bigger boys would adore!!! I am really pleased how this turned out and is actually made to fit a 3-6 month old.

Time for yet another busy weekend. My dad has yet another show, this time at the Simcoe County Museum. Unfortunately he will not be able to attend due to the fact that he is under going surgery tomorrow morning. So I am on my father is a very talented artist among other things and has created a beautiful Christmas C.D. plus a few other C.D.'s that I will be selling for him. Needless to say I will probably be doing a lot of knitting at this show, just like many craft shows you have a lot of time to "catch up" on a few projects. I have a couple of orders I will complete for Monday then I will start some new projects, I still have to get those leg warmers under way...hmmm what else can I come up with?

November 15, 2009

Ten Healthy Foods For Your Kids!

I try to be as health conscious as possible not only for myself but especially for my son. So here is a list of 10 of my fave healthy choices from my little mans menu!

1. Baby Carrots-This has been my sons all time favourite since he started eating solids. Carrots are full of beta-carotene and are super handy to grab as a quick snack.

2. Broccoli-Broccoli is full of calcium, vitamin C and A. If your tot is not a fan you can hide it in pasta, on pizza or mix it in mash potatoes. Try it steamed too!

3. Eggs-Probably second to baby carrots on my sons fave list, eggs are full of protein and vitamin D. I hard boil a bunch at a time so they are just ready to grab when hungry strikes!

4. Pizza-This single item covers three food groups, grain, dairy and veggies. The options are endless with all the different pizza types you can create. Kids can even help prepare by topping their own mini pizzas with there favorite individual items.

5. Yogurt-Full of calcium, try to stick to plain flavours to avoid all the sugars. Look for brands that have live or active cultures that provide more health benefits.

6. Whole Wheat Bread-So fiber rich! Key is to introduce whole wheat breads, pastas, rice etc at a young age so children get use to it and you don't have to transition them.

7. Cheese-Once again full of calcium, you can use cheese as a topping to disguise foods that your children may not usually eat, like Brussels sprouts.

8. Potatoes-Potatoes are full of fiber and potassium. Slice and bake them as an option instead of unhealthy french fries.

9. Whole Grain Cereal-Fortified cereals include numerous healthy vitamins. Cereal is great first thing in the morning topped with fresh fruit. Breakfast is super important for the body and is needed to function properly throughout the day.

10. Mixed Veggies (frozen)-choose frozen instead of canned to avoid preservatives. They are easy to add as a side or to toss in a soup or rice dish.

November 7, 2009

Busy Weekend

Another busy weekend under way!!! I have been at the Barrie Molson Center all weekend so far... helping my dad with the annual Christmas Craft Show. Needless to say I have gotten a lot of knitting done. I have completed two hats, and a never ending scarf that is absolutely beautiful and will hopefully be finished tomorrow...I have had so much fun at this show and love chatting to the friendly folks that pass on through. There are so many talented people in this world! I try to get as much of my Christmas shopping done there as possible, as I always try to support local people and their abilities. Looking forward to another beautiful day tomorrow and more knitting!!!

November 4, 2009

Top Ten Children's Books

I have been reading to my son since he was in my womb. We read everyday especially at bedtime. He is a lover of all books and loves looking at them on his own. We frequent our public Library about once a week or more. Remember, it is never too late to begin reading to your child.
#1 Where the Wild Things Are by author Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are is a story about a young boy named Max. Max has been sent to bed without dinner and chooses to wear a wolf costume to bed. Max's adventures are ones you will want to share with your children. Where the Wild Things Are is a winner of the Caldecott medal and is listed as one of the best illustrated children's books of all time. This is my sons favourite book at the moment. Out right now is the feature film.
#2 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
This is a great story about love. Teaching our children to give and to love others can sometimes be a challenge. Read this story to your child. It is sure to be a favorite.
#3 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
This famous bedtime story will rhyme your child to sleep for sure. Considered one of the most loved picture books this one is popular with all ages. Margaret Wise Brown, a former teacher, wrote this book about a little bunny who wishes goodnight to all his surroundings.

#4 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
This easy to read book by Dr. Seuss is so easy to read that you will find yourself memorizing the words. This one has great rhythm and humor. If you love Dr. Seuss books you are certain to love this one.
#5 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judy and Ron Barrett
Hilarious is an understatement for this book. It is definitely a must read. This book is fun to read and even more fun to talk to your child about once you have read it. A stormy day begins this fantasy about raining food. Your imagination will run wild with this one.
#6 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar has eaten its way into the hearts of millions of children and adults around the world. This is the story about a very hungry caterpillar that eats way too much.
#7 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Waking up with gum in his hair is a sign of the kind of day Alexander will have. He finds his day getting worse and worse as the day goes on. This story helps us teach our children to find humor even in the worst situations.
#8 Guess How Much I Love You by author Sam McBratney
This book teaches children how to express their feelings in more ways than one. With great content as well as artwork, this award winning story will bring your children begging to hear it over and over again.
#9 Pat The Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
Published in 1940 this story about Paul and Judy has been classified as timeless. Whether babies are learning to play peek a boo or older children are learning about their senses, this interactive book will thrill them all.
#10 Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
This humorous, sentimental story hardly ever leaves a reader with a dry eye. This is a simple story that will touch your heart. Love You Forever is not only a must read, but a must have for any library.

November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

I had a great time last night trick or treating with my little man and his cousins. My son was a monkey, my Nephew was Buzz light year and my little Niece was a beautiful ladybug. I am amazed at how little fear my son shows towards the horror of Halloween. He seems intrigued by it all and is almost in awe. He loved going door to door last night but I don't think he fully understood the concept 100%. Some houses he would walk up to the front door and just stand behind his cousins, then would walk away before receiving one ounce of candy.
At one house the lady had taken his bag to put a few candies inside and he just walked away saying thank you even though she was still holding his pumpkin bag. It is so sweet to see the innocence of these children and the pure joy that they endure. Now I guess it is time to start putting away all the ghosts and goblins and in a couple of weeks we will begin digging out the Christmas items to display. I can't wait until this holiday season and to see his little face when all the festive activities begin, I just love it!
Here is another project that I completed over the weekend, I am very pleased with the colour on this hat I think that it turned out well!