Vegetarian Party Food : Three Quick Crostini Toppings

It’s Christmastime! (Swipe and Click)

    A Family Tradition : Making “The Mix” - Homemade Nuts and Bolts Snack
    Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares
    Handmade Gift Tags using Paper Aged with Tea

    Week 34 Creative Challenge : A Crocheted Mouse with an Outfit

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    Hello! Here is my weekly post for this year's Creative Challenge . I wasn't sure what I'd make so I took a look at an ongoing list I keep on my ipad called "Things to Remember". Way down at the bottom, I found a link I'd saved years ago, to a tutorial on making a cute crocheted mouse.

    If you'd like to make one, too, you will find that pattern here, complete with both written instructions and a video. Thank you to Sharon Ojala for the free pattern.

    I made the mouse and then kept on going, adding a sweater, a hat, and a cross-body bag, all of my own design. Those took shape as I went along, so I didn't write down the patterns but if you make the mouse and would like to know how to make the other pieces, please send me an email at the address in the footer.

    The original pattern was intended for a "Little Red Riding Hood" theme, so there are instructions with the mouse pattern for a hooded cape, a shawl, and a granny hat. There's also a pattern for a cute wolf, that I plan to try to make sometime soon.

    I finished off the mouse's outfit with a scarf made from a scrap piece of cotton.

    The last little detail was a tiny envelope with a note inside, that I tucked into the mouse's bag. I think I made this for a child in my life but we'll see if it ever makes it over to her home because I've grown quite attached to this creature, and I do have a collection of mice! I might have to make another one.

    Week 33 Creative Challenge : A Sewing Needle Book

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    Last week's make for my Creative Challenge was something I needed, so I tried combining a useful item with one that is nice to look at and feels good in the hand.

    If you're not a regular hand-stitcher and are thinking to yourself, "What the heck is this necessary for?!", there are many different kinds of sewing needles for different jobs -- some are big, some small, some thin and some chubby, some very pointy and some purposely blunt, some with large eyes and some with tiny -- and this helps to keep them all organized! I even have a needle that was my husband Nick's, that he's had since the late 80s. It has a special tip made for sewing through leather. He had it before I met him (when I voluntarily took over all his stitching tasks), so I "inherited" his sewing needle, haha! I also still have and regularly use, the very same tapestry needle I got when I first began crocheting when I was 7! That is all to say that if you keep your different sewing needles organized in some sort of case / holder, they will last you a lifetime!

    I made a sewing needle book about 8 years ago, and although I've used it a lot, it had some obvious shortcomings, so I finally replaced it with this new and improved version.

    Week 32 Creative Challenge : Bitten by the Miniature Bug!

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    Hey hey hello! I hope you're doing well.

    Checking in with my 2023 Creative Challenge results for last week.

    If we go back to the first week of this year, I was joining Instagram for the first time. As the algorithm went about trying to figure out what type of content I enjoyed, it served up some images of ways people were decorating miniature doll houses. I was enchanted with what I saw and hearted (yes, hearting is now a verb) the posts, so was given more. And so on. Fast forward to now and a day doesn't go by without some sort of pondering over how tiny things are made. Since my "main" craft is crochet, fine cotton threads and a very small hook have been purchased and many teeny tiny stitches have been made.

    I also binge watched all the two seasons of the reality competition series "Best in Miniatures" which I found steaming on CBCs Gem App, thanks to my friend Chris. Now, I'm working my way through all the back copies of "Dolls House & Miniature Scene" magazines found on the reading app offered by the Toronto Library.

    It is safe to say that before this year, I had no appreciation for the vibrant world of miniatures that has been going on without my knowledge! It has been a lot of fun to explore, for sure.

    Based on this new found interest, this week I made two pieces of furniture from scratch. The first is a chair based on the design of a couple of vintage mid-century chairs, in the teak Danish style, that we have in our lounge area. The most common miniature size is 1:12 scale, meaning 1 inch for every 12 inches in real life, so I measured our big chairs to get the dimensions for the little one. I used some vintage cotton velvet that I've had in my stash since I was a teenager (no kidding, I find it hard to get rid of things!). The second is a tiered table roughly based on one I saw online. I also crocheted a small cushion for the chair and a doily for the table.

    Week 31 Creative Challenge : Vintage Barbie Dolls Get Dressed

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    Hello! Before I go any further, I want to dedicate this post to a very kind friend I met online, who generously sent me the male doll (Allan, Ken's best friend, made in 1960) and the small doll (Skipper, Barbie's little sister, made in 1963), plus all the clothes in this post, except for the white cardigan and white shoes. She also gave me a whole bunch of other Barbie clothes and accessories, too. I am moved by, and very much appreciate, this kind gift. Thank you, again, "you know who you are". Some people are just so nice and make this world a better place!

    The larger female (Francie, Barbie and Skipper's teenage cousin, made in 1965) was also a treasured gift, given to me by an old friend a long time ago. Previously shown in this post.

    What a joy it is to have this great collection of vintage "first edition" Barbie dolls. (By the way, did you know that old Barbie's have the year they were made stamped on their backsides? I didn't until I was getting these guys dressed.)

    It was so much fun going through all the clothes my friend included in the package. While there were some contemporary pieces, many items appear to be from the 60s, including all the cotton garments in this post. These are all handmade and seem to have been created by the same person, based on the way they were made, the fabrics and supplies used -- including the most adorable tiny rick rack trim -- and the level of corrosion on the old snaps.

    As my friend suspected would happen, I was particularly taken with the red and white gingham dress. My Francie doll was manufactured to be slightly smaller than the regular Barbie, and she has a smaller chest, so the dress is a bit loose on her, but it's still so cute.

    I designed and made the crocheted cardigan last week, for my Creative Challenge , especially to go with this dress. The little button is a vintage one -- it was all alone, hanging on a loose thread, on one of the other shirts, so there was only one of them. (A funny side-story about that button -- it was very warm in the room when I was finishing the sweater. I had it in my lap and had lined the button up where it was going to go. In the middle of threading the needle, the heat overtook me and I leaned over and switched on the fan on the table beside me. When I looked back down at the sweater, you guessed it, the button was gone. I thought that maybe the fan had blown it away. I ended up looking all over for it, moving furniture and even getting a flashlight out to look under the sofa. I was ready to give up when I heard the tell-tale tinkle of something small hitting the floor. That tiny button had been stuck to my arm! I couldn't believe I found it.)

    I also spent some creative time refreshing the clothes, including re-stitching seams, reattaching snaps, hiding hanging threads, and ironing. There is still much to do on the rest of the pile of clothes, but these three outfits are ready for their debut! Not shown are Skipper's little bloomers, trimmed in lace, but modesty keeps me from showing those off (plus the fact that I didn't get a photo of them).

    Week 30 Creative Challenge : Refurbishing a Curbside Find

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    Hi. I hope you're doing well. Here's what I did last week for my  Creative Challenge .

    Last spring I found this shelf thing put by the curb in a "free pile" while out for a walk with my mister Nick. Although it was quite dusty and dirty, and Nick was suggesting that I leave it, I had a vision so decided to pick it up. We were quite a way from home and after about a block of carrying, I thought about putting it down again, but now that I've refurbished it, I'm glad I held onto it.