Posts filed under ‘knitting’


despite (or maybe because of) the scoffers and naysayers (aka: my sisters), i have successfully completed my hefty to-do list for the month of january regarding my list of new year’s resolutions.  you can see the full post here, but i’ll summarize below:

  1. bible in a year: on track! loving the bible project app, and totally recommend it. 
  2. stretching after working out:  i started out january with an ankle injury and no time to rest it, but modifying my workouts and stretches has kept me successful with this one.
  3. meal planning: stayed consistent with this.
  4. not wasting food: i was far from perfect on this, but i did order my groceries online as planned, and that definitely cut back big time on the wasted food. also, my freezer is full of jars of veggie stock! room for improvement next month, but also experienced an improvement compared to 2016.
  5. blog once per month: yup.
  6. practice flute 3x per week: i’ve loved being reunited with my flute! fave thing to do: put on some beatles music and play along with it.  i’m in the band!
  7. practice french every week day: finally broke the 40% mark! i’ve been struggling with getting out of the 30s for so long, and that threshold felt reeeaaally good!
  8. knit something: i knit a clapotis scarf out of knit picks chroma, and although it was a boring knit, it was a perfect project to get back into the craft, and the self-striping yarn kept me interested.
  9. home improvement:  i mudded, repaired, and sanded every wall on my main floor, plus the back stairwell that has been neglected for over a decade.  huge task, but what a relief to have it finished even if my house is now covered in drywall dust.
  10. woodworking: this was by far the most intimidating item on my list! it had been too long since i’d built anything, i couldn’t make a decision, and i was honestly just intimidated by the whole process.  odd, considering how comfortable i used to be in a woodshop. time does strange things.  anyway,  i eventually settled on an easy project from to get me back into “it”, and i had a lot of fun! the smell of sawdust will always feel like home to me. 

and now it starts all over again! choosing projects for february and finding time to complete them. i’m definitely enjoying the feeling of productivity that accompanied january, and am looking forward to another big list at the end of this short month.

how are you guys doing with your new year’s resolutions?

February 4, 2017 at 15:55 1 comment

my blog died.

i’m never home, and when i am, there are sixteen hundred and forty two thousand things for me to do in my free time.  i write in my head, but by the time i’m sitting at the computer, i have no idea why i sat down in the first place.  so that’s my apology with an excuse for anyone who has been wondering “whatever happened to that little blog of joan’s?”

and now i’m just going to pretend that i didn’t fall off of the face of the earth, and pick up right where we left off:

i retired.  but i kept making stuff, obviously!  i love making toys and always having yarn in my hands!  so there’s a little problem there, and let’s see if anyone out there caught it.  anyone? anyone? hmmm.. i don’t see any hands in the air, so i’ll just tell you:

i have loads of stuff with nowhere for it to go!   so today i made a facebook page for all my stuffs. of course, i’ve made the facebook page mentally many times over the last few months, but today i actually had time, opportunity, motivation, and a computer– all at the same time!

if you want to check it out, here is the link.  and just an FYI- it says “happiness made from YARN!”.  i’ll be fixing that cover photo up lickity-splickity.

my little page

November 29, 2014 at 17:13 Leave a comment

twenty fourteen

i’m actually in shock that we are on this end of the holiday season already!  it’s been an amazing blur of parties and gift wrapping and visiting with friends.  for two months leading up to christmas, my fingers were busy with knitting, crochet, and sewing, as is common for this time of year.  each year gets a bit busier, and this year i unfortunately had to turn down work because there just wasn’t enough time for it all (shown here are most of the items, i didn’t have time to photograph some of them before they were packaged and gone!)

our family worked really hard to keep christmas about Jesus this year, and shifting the focus back onto Him.  we did more acts of kindness, and gave more gifts that didn’t require wrapping.  it was the very best christmas season that i’ve ever experienced, and i’m hoping to duplicate it for many more years to come.

2013 was a big year of changes for me.  i got older, i cut my hair (multiple times), i pierced my nose, i dropped 20lbs, and i had my braces removed.  i learned to control my illness with diet, and am so so thankful for that victory.  i also got cats; two of them.   i learned (through trial & error) to be a better mom, and to be a confident homeschooler.  i quit yelling at my kids, then fell off the wagon, then humbly scrambled back onto it again.

looking ahead, there are things in 2014 that i want to do differently, and things that i want to stay the same.  always, always, always– cherish the time i have with my kids and other loved ones.

my “new years resolution”, is to get back into my 30 day schedule of self-improvement.  i have a few lined up, and i love it when you guys join me in them!

  • january: clean house every night before bed.  the handmade gifts and christmas schedule left me running and dropping a lot, and i’m just ready to snap at the state of my home!  i came across this today, and it totally seems achievable.  so i’ll try for a month and even if i fail half of the days, i’ll still be ahead.
  • daily in february/march/etc, (in no particular order):  practice french, spend 30 minutes with God, delete & clean up my photos.  i dunno, i’m kind of dry on ideas.  i usually have several “healthy eating month” or “30 day shred month” ideas, but my kids are at the gym 4 times a week with programs, so i’m working out during those times too.  and my “special needs belly” forces me to eat healthily every single day, so they’re kind of unnecessary regulars that i can’t fall back on anymore.  any suggestions?

most of all, i want 2014 to be awesome!  in what will feel like 3 months, we’ll be back here again wondering where another year disappeared to, and i want to be able to have nothing but great things to reflect upon.  i’m so ready to work towards that!

thanks for sticking around and reading my musings.  i hope that each one of you have a great 2014, full of God’s blessings and your recognition of them.  happy new year!


January 1, 2014 at 22:15 Leave a comment


i’ve developed a bad habit.  or maybe i’ve broken a good habit.  once upon a time there was a girl who took photos of all the items that she crafted, and then she’d post them on the internet for all to see.

this same girl no longer knits/crochets/sews for herself,  and is always racing a deadline for a commissioned project.  there’s no time for setting up shots when you’re literally finishing the project in the van on the way to delivering it.

i DO have one thing to show though.  well two.  one i feel obligated to give you closure on: it’s the minion, and i really truly finished him on the drive down to niagara to deliver him to a friend and her little boy.

he’s life-sized, and i had a lot of fun making him wave at the cars as they slowly drove past us in congested traffic.  i also had the privilege of seeing him presented to the 2 year old birthday boy, and my heart almost melted into goo when i saw them wrestling together!  it was kind of hard to see the minion go, but seeing him get received was so worth it.

second on the “i made this” list:

once upon a time, that girl also used her good camera instead of the lame-o cell phone cam.

the kids have been doing a very small amount of school this summer to keep their brains sharp and to make sure i’ve covered all of the canadian curriculum bases.  elliot would disagree on the “very small amount” description, but it’s only half an hour out of his otherwise empty day.  to help the kids stay on track, they’re offered small rewards for each month of “extra school” that they finish.  elliot wanted this.

he calls it the “sea-pea”, and it belongs with all of the other plants in plants vs zombies, but the game developers didn’t think of it.  all i had to go on was the picture that he drew for me, and i’m really hoping that it meets his expectations!

there have been other projects that i haven’t photographed, and i’m currently working on a few different projects.

elliot’s birthday is in 5 days, and there’s an angry bird that he’s hoping to receive.  i’ve also been in touch with a photography company in niagara and they’ve asked me to make 4-6 infant hats for photo props, so my hands are going to be busy over the next few weeks.

hopefully i’ll remember to take pictures of that stuff with the nice camera.  speaking of nice camera….  here’s what the photographers in niagara (absolute image) did with the other photo props (here and here) that i made for my friend’s new baby.

definitely motivation to break out the nice camera and be intentional! anyone have a baby i can borrow?)




August 2, 2012 at 23:41 1 comment

Minion problems


I’ve been commissioned to make a minion for a friend’s son. I’m having a great time with it, but i can’t decide on the mouth! I still have feet and hands to do, and the overalls to finish, so I have time for your input.
Who’s your favourite minion?

This guy is HUGE (about 16 inches), so I have room for details if I want the silly toothy grin.
And for even more minion fun, check out this flash minion maker game!

Help me out!

June 16, 2012 at 17:03 1 comment

the astrid transformation

do you remember before christmas, when i made the declaration that i was going to go from this: 

to this?

well i didn’t get it done in time for christmas (shocker!), but i did finish it up by 5pm on the evening of anne’s birthday.  here she is!

i didn’t have a ton of time for photos since she was stuffed inside a prettily wrapped box, about 4 seconds after the last stitch was sewn, but here’s what i’ve got, and a bit of a source guide for anyone who wants to make their own:

groovy girl thora came with pink hair on her head, which i cut out as close to the root as possible.  i bought some patons astra yarn in a yellowish colour because it had the sheen and twist of the original hair.  it’s not a perfect match but meh– highlights.  i used a massive darning needle to replace the pink hairs, and added in a couple lines of hair to the top of the head for astrid’s centre part.  the ‘do was simple: choppy bangs and a chunky braid down the back.
the headband and shoulder guards were made the same way– leather strips dotted with metallic puff paint.

 the sweater was just a knit tube turned tank top when i got to the armpits.  i scoured the internet until i found Stroll fingering weight yarn at in the “tree fort” colourway.  i sewed the shirt onto astrid, thus declaring this a toy with no removable clothing.
the arms are covered in a lightweight hemp, which i sewed in place as i wrapped it.

i was hoping to find skull and thorn buttons on the internet, but can you believe that they don’t exist?! i know, i was shocked too.  so i bought some white and metallic silver fimo at micheal’s, and got sculpting.  i pressed 4mm jump rings into the backs of each skull & thorn before baking, to make them something that i could sew onto astrid.  i just used a thin sharpie for the skull details.
skirt:  i bought a strip of leather, and cut slits into it (which i rounded off to size).  to sew on all of my new buttons, i had to first punch holes for my needle to go through.  a push pin and a cork board were great helps in this step.
underskirt: you can’t really see it in any of my pictures, but before i sewed on the leather skirt, i sewed a rectangle of dark brown felt onto astrid.  after i’d sewn the leather skirt on, i went between each of the rounded leather strips and cut the points into the felt (like the picture from the movie, above).
legs: i painted groovy girls legs blue with a sharpie paint pen.  i also coloured her underwear with a brown sharpie because thora came with sunny yellow ones and i’m all about the details.
boots:  i tried to just colour over thora’s yellow boots with both a sharpie marker and paint pen, but the glitter kept showing through and it wasn’t going to work.  so then i tried to make boots out of leather and that nearly killed me.  eventually i made them out of the same dark brown felt as the underskirt.  they were definitely the hardest part of the project- can you believe that i’ve never made boots before?  haha.  the fur on the tops was also a bit of a challenge until derek found a toy beaver at value village.  it died well, bravely and without a struggle.  elliot was completely horrified at the death of a stuffed animal, but he loved the creation process too much to make a big deal out of it.

so i think that’s it!


from this:

to this:

to recap, you’ll need:

  • sharpie paint pen in blue
  • sharpie markers in dark brown and a thin-tipped one in black
  • fimo, white and metallic silver
  • 4mm jump rings
  • leather in two colours: reddish-brown and gray
  • grayish-brown fur  (from an old toy or if you can find it at a craft store– i couldn’t!)
  • dark brown felt
  • metallic silver puff paint
  • yellow yarn
  • lightweight hemp
  • stubbornness, time, and attention to details.
  • a beautiful and enthusiastic six-year-old who will love and adore the transformation:

February 11, 2012 at 08:54 1 comment

the christmas project parade

i’ve been super-busy since the beginning of november with knitting, crochet, woodwork, and sewing gifts for my family.  i’ve already shown you the hats and kirby plushes that i made for some friends to give to their loved ones as gifts, but i had to keep all of my gifts secret until they were unwrapped on christmas morning.  here’s the lineup:

  1. derek’s birthday hat.  his birthday is at the beginning of december so it qualifies as christmas knitting for me!  this is the hardest piece of intarsia that i’ve ever done, and at one point i had 15 bobbins hanging from my needle at one time!  it was a very time-consuming project, but i consider my time to be part of the gift.   he loves it :)
  2. mommy’s christmas gift this year was a thread spool organizer.  don’t you find parents so difficult to buy for?  i feel like they already have everything they want or need, so i have to get creative at christmas and birthdays.  i found the tutorial here and knew that this was the gift for my über-crafty mama.
  3. remember the beach robes that i made for my kids?  i loved the robes so much that i decided every little niece/nephew needed one as well.  i also decided that white bias tape was boring, so i made my own from some fat quarters which turned out to be the perfect amount for each robe.  the towels that i bought from ikea had hanging loops sewn onto the bottoms of them, so i re-used them at the nape of the neck to make the beach robe easy to hang.  i love this pattern and it’s a great pattern for beginners because EVERY step is photographed!  find it here.
  4. the older nieces and nephews got boring stuff like gift cards, but one of my sisters requested a knit sweater for her daughter’s doll.  time was rapidly running out at this point so i finished the project at the sister sleepover (post coming soon, promise!) and quickly snapped a photo before passing it on.  pattern link here.
  5. with the lebrun christmas out of the way i was able to focus on other gifts that wouldn’t be given away until christmas day.  i thought i wouldn’t have time for this guy, but i’m glad that derek requested that i make an effort because he really wanted his brother to have it.   it was quite well-received, so i’m thankful that i made time for him.  it’s sack boy from little big planet (a video game for playstation), in case you have no idea what you’re looking at!  here’s the pattern
  6. and finally, when i was all done and christmas was just two days away, i looked at all that i had done for other people and felt horrible.  i felt horrible because my kids had seen me working for several weeks and had been told “i can’t, i’m too busy” too many times, and i had nothing for them.  they had several store-bought gifts waiting for them, but as i said earlier about derek’s hat:  my time is a huge part of the gift.  so i picked up some yarn and needles and cast on for the bat plushes that had been catching their eyes for several months.  they’re a quick knit and i love all of the mochimochiland patterns (i’ve made so many!)
    not a stellar photograph, but you can see some great pictures if you click here to get the pattern.

i’m pretty sure that’s all of them!  everyone liked everything that they got and even though it was busy, i was happy to give handmade gifts to the people i love. i received some pretty awesome homemade gifts myself this christmas, and they are among my favourites because i appreciate the sacrifice of time that it takes!  i think that my absolute favourite gift this season was from my mama who used her precious time to type out recipes that were staples around our home while i was growing up.  some of the recipes even go back as far as my great-grandparents, and it is a total treasure.

how did everyone else do over the holidays?  which gifts were you excited to give or receive?


December 28, 2011 at 22:43 Leave a comment

who wants a free owl?

i got this book for mother’s day:

and i also accidentally washed anne’s legwarmers in warm water several months ago and ruined them.  the combination of my failure, and the gift rewarding my awesome mom-ness resulted in:

the above book by Amy Adams (NOT the same amy adams who plays giselle in enchanted) is so great because it combines toy-making (which i love), re-using materials that would otherwise have been thrown out (or thrown into the back of anne’s sock drawer), and making something completely by hand.  no machines were used in the construction of the bird, and that’s totally my kind of craft.

if you know me at all then you’ve probably noticed that the bird is pink.  like, alot.   therefore, i can’t keep it.  i thought a give-away on the ol’ blog would be fun; so all you have to do to win this little owl is leave a comment.  it should be themed though… so let’s go with the “nocturnal” theme:  leave a comment confessing what you’re usually wasting your time on when you stay up way too late.    if you’re reading this on facebook and want to enter, you’re going to have to go to the original post because randomly generating a winner will be too difficult with comments in two places.

let’s say that the contest officially closes on may 25th at 13:22.  looking forward to reading your comments!

ps: i’ll only ship to canadian addresses!

May 23, 2011 at 00:28 13 comments


1. school is going really well!  like, REALLY.    it’s so much better than i ever thought that it could be, and we’re flying through the weeks at an alarming rate– already into 8 weeks!   i can’t believe that i’m actually enjoying being part of a routine and schedule and being responsible for my kids’ education.  that just floors me.

2. another thing that i didn’t think i could actually enjoy:  sewing.  i’m actually, surprisingly at a point where i’d rather sew than knit.  part of that is because i love learning new things, and part of it is because sewing doesn’t hurt my wrists the way my marathon-style of finishing a knitted project does.    elliot really enjoys sewing as well, actually.  he has a stuffed animal collection, and we’ve been working on expanding that together.  last night we brainstormed a penguin design together, then went out to michael’s and spent $3.30 on felt, came home and sewed up penguins.  elliot traced the beak-triangle on the yellow felt, cut it out (using the sharpest scissors i own!) and drew the pupils into the eyes below:

why two? because i can't make one for elliot without making one for anne too :P

3.  i’m still knitting.  i was recently commissioned to make a dress for a friend of a friend, and i actually got to make it up and ship it off to a stranger!  i can’t really explain why that felt so cool, but it did.  plus, getting paid for knitting is a nice perk.  i’ve also been knitting hacky sacks.  derek wanted a jack skellington one, and then that was so fun i decided to make myself a goomba one.  then people started asking for their own, and suddenly i’m a hacky sack factory.  totally suits me though, since i really live for completing the project and those babies [aside from embroidery] can be done in one movie!

4. i’m trying to learn how to hacky sack.  we played socially during our lunch breaks in high school for a while, but i don’t know if i ever even hit it without someone shouting “hand!” as soon as i made contact.  i’m up to 3 consecutive NON-hand hits, but derek’s at 14 so i’ve got some catching up to do.

5.i’m teaching my kids to walk.  distances.  i don’t think they’re too bad to start off, but since i homeschool and phys-ed is good for all of us, we’re ditching the stroller and the car in favour of strengthening legs and building endurance.  today’s endurance was a little more directed at me, i guess.  as i had to carry anne half of each way squashed between my back and my backpack full of library books.  45lbs.  uphill both ways.  haha.

6. i’m going to see wicked tomorrow!  i’m really looking forward to a train ride (full of knitting) into toronto,  hanging out with a friend and absorbing some performing arts.  as much as i’m enjoying homeschooling, crafting toys, and carrying kids all over the city;   i’m really looking forward to my break tomorrow!


October 26, 2010 at 21:28 4 comments


i have a lot of projects in my knitting queue, but that shiny new ball of hand-painted was taunting me and i just couldn’t wait any longer to see how it would knit up.   so i made anne a headband last night to get an idea of the colour placement.  i’m really happy with the results, i just wish the colours were a bit more muted.  easily fixed though!

June 7, 2010 at 11:29 1 comment

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