Capucine and a Giveaway

So with my renewed love of knitting I chose a hat to work on for a gift for this Christmas. I don’t have much luck with hat sizes, I must have a particularly large noggin or something, but they always, always turn out too small even if I meet gauge. This one turned out beautifully, but way too small for it’s intended recipient. This pattern is wonderful and it is such a cute, cozy hat. As I think I will have just enough yarn to make a bigger version, I did leave off the tassels on this version and just added braided cords. I think it looks just as cute though. This hat fits my two year old, and my six year old, and would probably fit a woman with a smaller head than I have (probably not hard), so I thought this would be a perfect time for a giveaway. I knit this with a wool blend yarn so it is machine washable and oh so cute. If you would like a chance to win it, just leave a comment. In order for it to start winging it’s way to it’s new home in plenty of time for Christmas, I will make this a short giveaway and close comments on Wednesday 8th of Dec. at 12:00pm Mountain Standard Time. I will ship to wherever you are, so come on, throw you name in the hat. Have a great day everyone, and remember to stop and breathe!

gifts, knitting • Monday, December 6th, 2010 • 14 Comments »

Toast

I learned how to knit about six years ago, and worked at it for quite a while. I made scarves, hats, even tried some smaller items on double pointed needles. I got really frustrated with double pointed needles. I could never get the hang of them and it was more trouble than it was worth at that point. I put down my needles for years and picked up crochet instead. I found it easier, and really got the hang of it quite quickly. As I’ve gained more confidence in learning new stitches, following patterns etc. I kept thinking about picking up some knitting needles again. I wanted to work on some wristwarmers but knew this was going to entail doubled pointed needles again so I was very, very excited when I discovered the magic loop method. It means that I can knit something I would normally have to use dpn’s for on a single circular needle, hurray. I found this tutorial and happily dove right in. I must admit it took a bit of figuring it out (only on my end, the video is excellent) but once I got the hang of it, it was great. In my quest for fantastic high impact, low budget gift ideas I came across this pattern for Toast wrist warmers. They are gorgeous and with this magic loop method an absolute breeze to make. I’m already on my second pair. They took me more than just a couple of hours to knit (though I am definitely on the slow side), but they are gorgeous, highly practical, and depending on your yarn choice could either be really budget friendly or a little bit of luxury. I’ve been a member of ravelry for a while, but now that I’m getting back into knitting and finishing up quite a few crochet projects, I’ve started filling in some projects. It’s taking me a while to get some of my recent projects on there, but it’s nice to have them be in one place with all the info I need for them. I’m theprairiegirl, so stop on by and say hello, and I’d love to see the things you’ve been working on. I hope everyone is staying warm, the weather seems to definitely be heading into winter most places. It’s been freezing, very windy, and snowing for more than a month out here, so wrist warmers were the perfect cure. What are you doing to stay warm?

gifts, knitting • Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 • 7 Comments »

For Those on the Go

This next gift idea is for those on the go. I love the idea of being able to throw an apple in it’s little jumper and it stays protected in your bag from bumps and scrapes, perfect for the time you want to eat it. I want the majority of the gifts I give this Christmas to be handmade, but that also means I can’t take weeks on each one. I have been working on projects that take less than an evening, somewhere between two and three hours. It’s the perfect opportunity to sit down with some tea and a nice movie and work on something for someone special. This pattern is perfect and at $3.49 it fits right in with my high impact low budget gift ideas. If you make more than one the cost per apple cozy goes down as well. This is the first time I have done crochet cables, and I love how they turned out. If you are unfamiliar with any of the stitches there are loads of videos you can look up online as well, that’s what I did. These are really quite sturdy as the stitches form these sort of ribs (like inside a bell pepper) so I know my apple is going to remain in pretty good shape. Give it a shot, they are adorable, and a perfect fairly quick gift for those on the go.

crochet, food, gifts, green • Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 • 7 Comments »

For The Little Ones

I love this gift idea for the little ones. Turn one of your favourite children’s books into an audiobook with a familiar voice. Whether it’s for your grandbabies, nieces and nephews, your friends’ children, or even your own little ones, grab a copy of a much loved book and record yourself reading it. If you have the means, you can make an audio cd or just grab a tape recorder and cassette. Send the book and cd or tape all wrapped up and I guarantee it will be a hit. What are some of your favourite children’s books? I hope everyone is staying warm. Despite the fact that it is still technically autumn, it has been snowing every day for the past week here. We are firmly into winter mode, trying to stay warm and happy with four children who have to spend the majority of their time indoors. It’s a little adjustment but we’re getting there. I’ve got some more high impact low budget gift ideas coming soon, hope you enjoy this one.

books, family, gifts • Monday, November 15th, 2010 • 5 Comments »

Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace

Well, up to this point I have been hesitant to start thinking about Christmas, but as we had our first snow a couple of weeks ago and it has now been snowing for the past three days, I’m starting to get into the mood. Curled up with a mug of cocoa and some spiced apricot oatmeal bread, watching the children play all bundled up in their snowsuits, I have been coming up with my Christmas list. Over the next few weeks I plan on sharing some high impact, low budget gift ideas for lots of different gifts. I hope you find something that you like. Up first is this gorgeous crochet bib necklace. I came across the pattern last weekend while searching for some new ideas and I love it. It is quite bold, and definitely fun, and for the right person it would be a perfect gift. It’s such a clever and easy pattern and can be made from start to finish in a matter of a couple of hours. My favourite part I think is that it uses ordinary 100% cotton yarn. You’re looking for a sturdy well defined necklace here so no need to spend a bunch on some luxurious yarns. Total cost? I spend $2 for the yarn and used only half of the ball. I did get the jewelry chain and closing for 50% off at Hobby Lobby, but even full price it would have been less than $2 for the chain and clasp. So, I spent less than $2 for an absolutely gorgeous, handmade, super high end looking necklace. I think so much of gift giving is the thought and effort that goes into it, not just the money. To know what the recipient likes and go about picking out and/or making them the perfect gift means a lot. Even though the cost is very little (which pleases the frugal side of me) I also know that someone who loves bold jewelry and accessories would love that this was made just for them. I’ll be back with some more gift ideas in a couple of days. If it’s cold where you are, stay warm, and if you still have some autumn left, enjoy it.

crochet, gifts • Thursday, November 11th, 2010 • 11 Comments »

Chicken, Ginger and Cashew Stir-Fry with Coconut Noodles

I have recently become familiar with Rachel Allen as I got Favorite Food at Home as a gift. I really like her style of cooking and it seems to fit in a lot with the way we eat. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while now and I finally got around to it. The noodles are cooked in chicken stock and coconut milk instead of water and they are delicious. The stir-fry is filled with chicken, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, ginger and garlic and it really is scrumptious. This week I have been dealing with mastitis so I have been a bit run down, but over the next few weeks I plan on sharing lots of high impact, low budget gift ideas for the Christmas. I have been avoiding the thought of the holidays, but I really should get in gear as there isn’t that much time left if I am making gifts. I hope you all are doing well, I will be back in a few with my first idea for Christmas gifts.

books, food, gifts • Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 • 4 Comments »

Colour

Are you the type of person that is drawn to a colour even more because of it’s name? I am. Last year when we repainted our kitchen I had to choose between dozens and dozens of cream colours and the one we eventually picked was called crumb cookie which was just perfect for a kitchen. I am drawn to yarn even more when I discover they have chosen the colour description of something like currant, or pea pod. This is my second claudia scarf and this one is for me. Growing up I was always choosing purple over pink, and just recently my love of all things purple is coming back strong. I especially love tweedy looking purples, heathery purples, not anything too light, at least for wearing. When I was picking out the yarn for my scarf I found this gorgeous bamboo and wool blend yarn in just the right shade, but was disappointed when I looked at the colour name. Purple, that’s it, purple, why on earth they didn’t come up with something more creative is a little beyond me. Perhaps I am odd in that the name can make such a difference, I think it is such an opportunity to heighten the deliciousness of the yarn, or paint, or just about anything that comes with a colour name. So I’ve decided to call it my thistle scarf as a rememberance of my years in Scotland. I made this one longer than the original pattern calls for as I really like my scarfs loooong. I love how it turned out and this truly is a fantastic pattern. It’s deceptively easy and so easy to pick up and put down, and helps pass the time while I am waiting for ballet class to be over. With extra rehearsals for the Christmas recital I’m getting quite a bit done quickly as well. So if you are in need (or want) of a new scarf, or need to get some handmade Christmas gifts done I would highly recommend this. If you don’t know how to crochet, it’s a great project to learn with. The pattern is very repetitive and quite easy to learn. What are some of your favourite yarn colours that you’ve come across?

crochet, gifts • Friday, November 5th, 2010 • 5 Comments »

The Perfect Banana Bread

Now that the weather has taken a turn for the chilly and very windy I have put my baking hat on again. I love banana bread, but banana bread recipes are tricky. They are usually too dry or either way too sweet or not quite sweet enough. The day after I tried a new recipe (which ended up being disappointing) I saw Steph’s post. I bookmarked it and made a point of making sure I had all of the ingredients. This is the last recipe I will ever try, it is absolutely perfect. Just the right hint of sweet, and spice and if you can manage to wait (which is next to impossible) until the next day they are even more moist and perfect. I admit I am not patient, so instead of making a loaf, I made muffins. They took me 17 minutes to bake, but do check them sooner as I know for a fact my oven is awful and never is quite accurate. This recipe made 20 muffins which truth be told didn’t last long at all. Oh, and I didn’t have any hazlenuts, so I swapped out pecans and they were great. The kids love having their own little banana bread cakes and seriously they are the most amazing banana bread muffins. Here is the recipe, go on, try them. You won’t regret it.

food • Monday, October 25th, 2010 • 6 Comments »

Elemental Swap

Recently I did a swap with Amy over at Elemental. I had fallen in love with a pair of earrings she made and asked her if she would be interested in doing a swap. She enthusiastically replied and asked me to make something for her girls. She gave me a few ideas of things that the girls liked and I picked up on one in particular, something to put little things into. I knew exactly what to make. My kids love their “just their size” bags, and they are just perfect for filling with lots of little things. As my girls love to match, I chose to make matching bags except for their handles, then they would always be able to tell them apart. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there are pockets on the front for holding a special friend. I really enjoyed this swap and working with Amy was great, she is such a sweetie. If you are in the market for some new jewelry and/or gifts that are just amazing and lovingly handmade, check out her shop. Thanks Amy, I love my new earings.

gifts, sewing • Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 • 4 Comments »

Fantastic News Monday

Sorry this will be so short, off to take half of the family to the doctor as coughs have progressed to really nasty coughs, but first I wanted to share some great news. First off, my daughter turned six last week, six, can you believe it? They grow up so fast. We had a wonderful couple of days of celebration and she is enjoying being another year older. Next, my brother flew his first solo helicopter flight which sounds terrifying to me, but I am so very proud of him. Last, but definitely not least, last Thursday we paid off the last of our debt. I don’t think it has still quite hit me, but all of those hospital bills (and some others) are finally done with. It took quite a while to do, but it feels so good to not owe anything to anyone. Almost every day the babe will pluck a little wildflower out of the garden and have me pin it in her hair. Last week she came in with a tiny baby lettuce sprout and asked “what flower?” I told her it was lettuce and she said “lettis perfick for mine hair” with a big beautiful grin, how could I resist?

family, gardening • Monday, October 18th, 2010 • 8 Comments »