Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A Quick Knit Hit

I spent a good chunk of this past weekend as a couch potato. Poor little Chi-Chi came down with a nasty tummy bug on Saturday night. As a result, he was flaked out on the couch for the day, dozing, resting, nibbling Popsicles and watching a couple of movies (a very special treat!). With my boy feeling miserable, I parked myself next to him for the majority of the day to keep him company and provide a dose of comfort when needed. Thank goodness it was the weekend and Daddy was around to keep high-energy Muffy occupied and content.

I found myself with idle hands in desperate need of a project! After a quick Internet pattern search and a rummage through my wool stash, I came up with the perfect pick-me-up for my Chi-Chi. Every Santa-loving boy needs his own custom made Santa hat! I chose this free pattern from Lion Brand and made a few adjustments based on the wool and needles I had selected. By the end of the day the hat was complete and put into action by a perked up little boy.

So, just 30 days and counting until Christmas! We are in full blown holiday mode in these parts. I turned my back for a minute this morning and discovered my little monkey had dug this out of the basement. What, might you ask, is this bedraggled looking thing? It's Chi-Chi's personal Christmas tree from last year of course (minus the needles). Recycling at it's best! That's my boy (:

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My Anti-Aging Solution

Despite the fact I've got a holiday crafting list that might even give "Martha" a fright, I simply can't stop myself these days. It's often the spontaneous "in the moment" ideas that are the most fun and rewarding. As the boys grow older, it is fascinating to sit back and quietly observe the creative play scenarios as they evolve and take shape.

On a chilly afternoon last week I found my two very rambunctious monkeys quietly cuddled up with all the "babies" they could get their hands on, playing the game of family. Well, my heart melted of course! With a ball of yarn and crochet hook in hand, I found myself fiddling away until I came up with this simple little set of itty bitty babies to add to the clan. I dug out these tiny baskets I had picked up at the thrift store to provide the new babies with a spot to nap. It always amazes me that a few plain and simple items can unlock their imaginations. What fun the babies had that day, travelling by boat to Singapore, as well as participating in some serious potty training.

Another recent project was inspired by Muffy. Ever since my birthday a few weeks ago, the little guy has been throwing elaborate parties for me several times a day. While doing some on-line Xmas browsing, I stumbled on this wooden cake set and immediately knew Muffy would adore it. A bit of tinkering in the workshop lead to the creation of a festive little wooden cake for the play kitchen. I realize I probably should have waited until Christmas to give this gift, but I couldn't resist. Besides, it always seems these special handmade items are most appreciated when the distractions of a holiday are not present. It seemed the perfect gift for an ordinary Saturday morning with the family.

Although it is very rewarding to witness the enjoyment my children experience with my hand-made creations, it is more satisfying to see the skills I'm handing down to them. Last week I heard some squealing going on and discovered two very excited little boys digging through our kindling box. What I had considered woodworking scraps were apparently undiscovered treasures. Who knew there was a leaf blower and a power drill hiding among the sawdust and wood chips? Some glue, sequins and a bit of sandpaper quickly transformed some bits of wood into some of the best homemade toys around here. Hubby will soon be getting in on the action. He signed up for a very ambitious Christmas project...though I'm not sure he knows what he's in for!

The most brilliant aspect of the birthday cake? It possesses an anit-aging agent! It has a four year age restriction designed into perfect is that?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Fun with Felt

We've been so blessed with a streak of gorgeous, sun-filled fall days this past week. As I enjoy my morning cup of peppermint tea at the picnic table, the boys are enjoying a chance to stretch their limbs and voices in the warm sun. It's so wonderful to witness lots of creative action unfolding in our much-loved sandbox.

In preparation for the much cooler weather that awaits us, my brainstorming sessions these days have focused on indoor activities for the wee ones. A recent crafting adventure lead me to the creation of a felt "story board". This was a simple twenty minute project which involved glueing a large piece of craft felt to a prepared blank canvas from the art-supply store. The real fun began, of course, once I started creating felt pieces to stick to the board. Wow! The possibilities are endless! I started out with the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and quickly moved on to "The Gruffulo" and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". The kids are having a ball telling their own verions of these tales with lots of interesting and quirky twists. Armed with a good pair of scissors and my felt stash, Chi-Chi went to work creating his very own characters and objects. It certainly adds a touch of visual fun to story time and it also serves as a useful interactive learning tool.

For anyone interested in trying this out, I purchased acrylic felt from my local craft store. The Wool Fariy desparately wanted to use wool felt for the project, but sadly it seemed too heavy to stick to the board. I was, however, able to find some eco-felt made from post-consumer plastic bottles and was very pleased with the results.

My blogging these days has fallen down a few rungs on my list of priorities. With the holiday season fast approaching, I've got a project wish list that seems to be growing by the hour. I've been rotating my precious free time between the scroll saw, sewing machine and knitting needles. It looks like this Christmas elf has some serious overtime hours ahead of her over the next month!