Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kitchen Reveal ... at long last!!

I'm just going to plug in a whack of photos here so that you can see my kitchen makeover complete!

(well almost complete) 

A rather poorly stitched photo of three

These kind of jobs (painting walls etc) just lead to more things you want to change. We've decided to get new countertops in the new year, and a new backsplash, and two new lights ... but for now, the hard work on my part is finished. My husband said he can manage the countertop, which will be a dark laminate.

There's also the back of the lower cupboards that have to be covered over with a bead board. The wood there is much splintered and we've decided to just cover it up completely (you can see a bit of it in the middle photo, above and in the photo below). We have the bead board now, and it just needs painting and fixing in place.

I've already picked out the lights I want to get, and the ceiling fan/light will be picked up over the holidays. Weirdly enough, every one of the blades of our current light broke off!! (you can just see the bottom of it in the above photo). The first blade snapped off when we were all in the family room watching a movie (which is in our basement). We heard the large clunk! on the floor and then the fan was lopsided and was making a horrible crashing sound as it continued to spin. We couldn't use the fan anymore, but the blades continued to snap off one by one over the next year or so. The metal brackets holding the blades just weakened, failed and fell to the floor.

The range hood will also be replaced with a black one (below).

I want a simple wrought iron chandelier over the table, and the ceiling fan has dark blades but white(ish) lights. It's going to look great, but we're really happy with the transformation at this stage, and nothing more will be done on it before Christmas, except that I will mess it all up with some baking real soon!

One day we'll even get new flooring, but I think we're going to go vinyl there. This vinyl floor has stood up really well for the 20 years we've lived in this house.

I've put out a few Christmas things, but I'm really loathe to add to much out here. I want to keep it simple and clutter free as much as possible.

Below I have a ceramic cookie mold hanging on the door knob, and a snowman cookie stamp below. The blue & white ceramic pot holds tea bags.

Below is our chalkboard countdown calendar where we've been marking off the days. The pottery plant pot holds a few rolling pins from my collection, and Mom's maple cutting board is leaning behind.

Below is Mom's old breadbox with my hot drinks tray on top of it.

We're ready for hot cocoa, tea and even mulled cider (the mulling spices are in the bread box).

We bought the two light switch covers shortly after we moved here. I love the hillbilly ready to shoot the rabbit in the log ... but the rabbit of course has out-tricked him and is calmly watching behind. The three ladies having tea reminded me of me and my two sisters.

These two jars above my pantry cupboard hold some of my tin cookie cutters. The green-lidded jar is antique and belonged to my great grandmother. The silver-lidded jar is a reproduction.

do you see my tiny mouse up there?
Here he is a little closer. He's made to hang over the shelf.

Cody is trying hard to be in all my photos.

I picked up this little plant pot at the thrift store a while ago. I thought I showed great restraint in only buying the one of two that were there. Of course, now that I see how well the poinsettias look in the pot, I wish I had bought them both!

To see previous photos of the kitchen, just search "Decorating", and the posts featuring them will pop up.  Here are a few shots of what it looked like before ...

Well there you have it! I hope you enjoyed the photos. I'm not sure what my time will be like in the next few days, but I hope to have at least one more post when I can show you some more of my Christmas decorations.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


A little sheep made from a homemade pom pom,
felt face & googly eyes glued on, bell tied around the middle.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Clock is Ticking

The clock is ticking, and time is short. This post is going to be short too! I promised Diane a photo of a bear who lives here in our house. I made him a little corduroy hat and coat a few months ago. My dad had some pants that no longer fit, so rather than throw them out, I salvaged the good bits and there was just enough to make this up. The hat is from a fairly new pattern. The coat is from an old pattern from the 50s or 60s that my mom passed on to me years ago..

 If the battery on my camera hadn't just died, and if I already had the pattern out, I would have shown you the pattern too. I believe it was Simplicity, and I noticed that Simplicity has brought back a lot of these old doll clothes patterns ... same pictures on the pattern envelope and everything! 

Right now I have to get back to my tree and finish getting all of this ...

hung from the branches! 
Oh yes, and then there's the matter of sewing a bathrobe for my 6' tall son ... no pressure.

Thanks for stopping by :)


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing the Deadlines

Good Morning Everyone! I feel much lighter this morning now that I've finally got my brother's package off in the mail yesterday. He has two young boys, and I never know what to get them for Christmas. This year I left the shopping far too late and missed the mailing deadline for guaranteed Christmas delivery. Not too worried about that, however, as it's only two days past the deadline. 

At the very last minute I decided to make my nephews some pillowcases in addition to their other presents. They have recently acquired a second daschund (wire-haired), and are quite in love with all dogs (including Cody of course). Off I went to the fabric store to find a dog print, and was happy to find one in two colourways ... blue and brown. As soon as I got home, the fabric was tossed into the laundry for pre-shrinking, and then it was a sewing frenzy that afternoon and late into the evening.

It's the details that slow me down. Seams were finished off nicely. A little contrast fabric on the ends, topped with jumbo rick-rack. And a pocket was added to each pillowcase for a furry friend. 

Even though my nephews are getting past the plush toy age, I know they still secretly like them. And I found a little plush dog to go into each pocket after searching in every store I went into yesterday, I finally found two while buying the mailing box in the office supplies store of all places! Don't you love those pleading eyes on the tiny golden retreiver ... "Please take me home". His new owner will be my quiet, shy nephew, and the fox terrier will go to his rambunctious brother.

The parcels were all wrapped, boxed, addressed and popped in the mail by late Saturday afternoon. I was exhausted by the end of the day!

I had already had a long tedious drive to visit my dad on Saturday morning. A tractor trailer had rolled over and spilled paper products all over the highway, and only one lane of three was getting through. so. maddening. And then Dad, who was alert, in a good frame of mind, who knew who I was and I thought everything was going to be good ... fell asleep half an hour after I got in. Well, at least we decorated his room with a bit of Christmas cheer. I took over his own pinecone wreath and a small tree and he helped me put the decorations on the tree, then ZZZzzzzzz. I stayed on and knit him a little snowman and hung that in his window before I left.

Today is "Put up the Christmas Tree Day" ... also later than normal. I think I'll be pressed into baking some cookies this afternoon too. The living room is still slightly disheveled, but not too severe with all kitchen things back in the kitchen. I took over the kitchen table with my sewing on Friday, and I have to get that packed away too. It's going to be a busy day of setting this house back in order and getting it decorated properly. 

It's pretty gloomy out there today, so probably no photos of my decorations and kitchen until it brightens up. 

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you're all enjoying your weekend!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today it Snowed

Today, for starters, it snowed.

Actually, it snowed overnight when we were all snug in our beds. This morning you would have thought it had stopped. But the clouds started to build, the sun disappeared, and the snow began to fall again. It's very pretty out there now. My husband is happily using the snowblower (he loves machinery), and will come in smelling like the fresh outdoors and snow.

Yes, snow has a smell for all you poor folk who don't get any. It also has a taste ... a taste most of us only experience during our childhood when we love to eat fresh powdery snow and have the crystals gently crunch between our teeth. People frown at you if you eat snow as an adult. People also frown at you if you lie down in the snow and look up into the falling snow. But that's exactly what I used to do as a kid. We'd be tobogganing or traipsing through the woods and we loved to just lay down and watch and listen ... so calming. 

After I shoveled the driveway this morning at 6:45 a.m. (I didn't use the snowblower because I didn't want to annoy my sleeping neighbours), my next priority were the birds. I filled the feeders and watched as jays, cardinals, juncos, chickadees, sparrows and mourning doves flitted around in complete happiness. I spied these little snow angels beneath my window. Aren't they cute?

Then I felt rather festive and dusted off my pinecone wreath and pinecone garland (they were stored in the garage, not the crawlspace), and brought them indoors. I now have them hung up in the kitchen. It looks quite pretty with the pinecones, birchbark snowflakes and the wintry background scene out the windows. Can you see the snow falling? Are you jealous?

I made these garlands just a day or two before Christmas last year. I wanted to use up some pinecones I had around and this seemed the perfect solution. I really like natural decorations, and I have a pine branch outside my patio door waiting to be used for decorating inside too.

I saw a pretty little white tree for sale at Canadian Tire a couple of weeks ago. I thought how perfect it would look in my new kitchen! Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of free space in the kitchen so I didn't bring it home (did I mention my husband was with me ... he thought I was crazy to want a white tree). But it's been on my mind a lot! I wonder if it's on sale now. hmmm

I was considering spray painting the wreath white to look all shimmery in the new kitchen. But I just can't decide. I'm horrible at making decisions. Once I paint it, there's no going back, and I'm afraid I might not like it painted ... so it's staying natural for now.

Almost ready to reveal the kitchen. Sorry this is taking so long to show you. I took some photos today thinking it might not be too bad if there's still a lot of stuff crammed onto the counters. But, no, it looked dreadful and my pride won't let me show them to you. You'll have to wait a bit longer. Plus the drawers are still getting their final coat (thanks to my husband ... I gave up).

Well, drive safe and keep warm if you're getting this same snow. I don't know how much they're predicting now, and I'm not listening to the weather reports. As long as I can drive on the highway on Saturday to visit Dad, I'm fine. I did some Christmas shopping last night which made me feel a little less anxious. I have to go out again tonight to shop for my nephews in BC. The deadline is ticking already passed (oh no!!) for me to send out their package. I also picked up my Christmas cards last night ... do see how far behind I am. I think after shopping tonight I'll sit with a coffee and write my cards out for tomorrow's post.  

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you're all enjoying the Christmas frenzy/calm ... whichever way you roll.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Knitted Snowman

It was a bleak wintry sky this morning. Still no snow, but cold enough for it.

Obviously we need to bring a little snow into our homes since the weather isn't providing it for us. Why not knit up a little frosty snowman? 

I used fingering weight yarn and size 2.25mm (1US) needles, but you can use any type of yarn and needles best suited for that yarn. This little snowman is 2 inches tall without the hat, and 2 3/4 inches tall including the hat.

Knitted Snowman

What You Need:
White yarn for snowman; Black yarn for hat
Set of 4 double-pointed needles (dpn's)
Small amount of fibre fill

Knitting Terms:
k = knit
p = purl
kfb = knit in front and back of one stitch
k2tog = knit two stitches together as one
st / sts = stitch / stitches

Using white yarn, cast on 6 stitches and distribute 2 sts on each of 3 dpn's
Join for knitting in the round.

Rnd 1: kfb of each st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: *kfb, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 3: k
Rnd 4: *kfb, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 5 - Rnd 10: k
Rnd 11: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 12: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Rnd 13: k
Rnd 14: *kfb, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 15: k
Rnd 16: *kfb, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 17 - Rnd 22: k
Rnd 23: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 24: k
Rnd 25: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (12 sts)

stuff with fibre fill at this point

Rnd 26: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (9 sts)
Rnd 27: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (6 sts)
Rnd 28: k
Rnd 29:  k2tog to end of rnd (3 sts)

Break yarn, thread through darning needle and draw through last 3 sts. Embroider eyes, "coal" mouth and carrot nose. Run a single thread straight through his body, leaving about an inch of thread extending out from the body on both sides for arms. Tie a piece of yarn around his neck for a scarf.

Snowman's Bowler Hat

What You Need:
Small amount of Black yarn
Set of 4 dpn's
Small amount of fibre fill


  • Cast on 3 sts, leave on one needle
  • kfb of each st, use a separate needle each time you knit into one stitch, so that you have 2 sts on each of three dpn's
  • Join for knitting in the round.

Rnd 1: kfb of each st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: *kfb, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 3: *kfb, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 4 - Rnd 6: k
Rnd 7: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 8: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Rnd 9: k
Rnd 10: k
Rnd 11: *kfb, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 12: k
Rnd 13: k
Rnd 14: bind off loosely

Stuff the hat with a tiny bit of fibre fill to give it some shape. Using black yarn, sew hat to top of snowman. You can embellish the hat with bits of embroidery thread for leaves & berries, or a silver band around the hat ... whatever you like.

I still haven't got my house back in order, and the kitchen still isn't quite finished. The four inadequately small drawers are being painted now, and all the utensils they hold are strewn across the countertop. No point in taking photos just yet. We all keep walking into the kitchen and pondering the look of the newly painted cupboards. It looks so bright compared to the darker stained wood. A ceiling fan still needs to be purchased, curtains need to be finished up and hung and we need to decide how best to cover the patio door. A day doesn't go by that I'm not reorganizing the cupboards. I've gotten rid of all kinds of dishes, but oddly enough there seems to be less space in there. It's frustrating me no end, and I won't stop shifting dishes around until I'm satisfied. My husband keeps reminding me that we most likely won't have huge gatherings here any more, so we can get rid of a lot of extra plates and glasses. I'm loathe to take such drastic measures and take my time deciding on each dish. I pared down my cookie tin collection and had two bags full of tins to take to the goodwill!

I still have to go deep into the back of my coat cupboard in the basement, open the tiny door to the crawlspace and with my flashlight crawl on hands and knees into the cold, dark and dusty interior to find the Christmas boxes of decorations and drag them out. Not a prospect I'm looking forward to. There are a lot of spiders in there :P  Of course whenever I crawl in there, I can't help but look over all the other stuff stored in there with a critical eye and drag out a bit more to send out the door. It's starting to be a catchall place, not a place to store seasonal items. 

I haven't got one decoration up, only a few presents purchased, no Christmas treats baked, no cards sent out. I'm cutting things a little too close for comfort this year. I think next year I won't be saying "Let's decorate the __room before Christmas this year!".  What was I thinking.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Knitted Santa is Coming to Town!

I knitted up a little Santa as a present topper last year, and wrote some haphazard notes for a pattern. Today I scrounged around, found the notes and retested the pattern. I would like to share the pattern with you today. You can make this in any size, depending on the yarn and size of needles you use. The Santa below was knit on size 2.25mm (1US) needles with fingering weight yarn. He's about 2-1/2 inches tall (and awfully cute at that size!).

The Santa below was knit on size 4mm (6US) needles with worsted weight yarn. He's about 4 inches tall. Whichever yarn you use, choose the needle size that best suits the yarn. This pattern is written from the bottom up. You will have a lot of yarn ends as you change colours. I just tie a knot when the new colour is introduced. There's no need to weave in these ends, just stuff them inside the Santa (I have noted when to do this in the pattern).


What You Need:
Scraps of Yarn: red (body & hat); black (belt); pink (face); white (hat brim); blue (eyes); gold (buckle)
Set of 4 double-pointed needles (dpns)
Small amount of fibre fill, or you can just stuff it with scraps of yarn

Knitting Terms:
k = knit
p = purl
kfb = knit front & back
k2tog = knit two stitches together as one

Using red yarn, cast on 6 sts, and distribute 2 sts on each of three dpns
Join for knitting in the round (see ** at end if you need help with this)

Rnd 1: kfb of ea st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: *kfb, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 3: k
Rnd 4: *kfb, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 5: k
Rnd 6: change to black yarn ... k
Rnd 7: change to red yarn ... k
Rnd 8: k
Rnd 9: k
Rnd 10: change to pink yarn ... k
Rnd 11: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 12: k
Rnd 13: change to white yarn ... k
Rnd 14: p
Rnd 15: p
Rnd 16: change to red yarn ... k
Rnd 17: k
Rnd 18: k
Rnd 19: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Rnd 20: k
Rnd 21: k
Rnd 22: k

stuff with fibre fill at this point ... stuff all yarn ends inside the Santa at this point too

Rnd 23: *k2tog, k2, repeat from * to end of rnd (9 sts)
Rnd 24: k
Rnd 25: *k2tog, k1, repeat from * to end of rnd (6 sts)
Rnd 26: k
Rnd 27: k2tog to end of rnd (3 sts)

Break yarn and draw through last 3 sts, leaving a tail about 6 inches.  Make a tiny pom pom for the hat in white and secure using the red yarn. I made my pom pom the old-fashioned way with two tiny circles of cardboard, the centre hole was made with a hole punch (see photo below ... if you need help with that, just ask!). Embroider eyes and belt buckle using scrap yarn.  

these are the cardboard circles I used to make the pom pom

** This is how I join for knitting in the round. Cast on all stitches and distribute on the dpns as suggested. Arrange the needles so that the last stitch you cast on is on the left-hand needle, and the first stitch you cast on is on the right-hand needle.

1. Using the right-hand needle slip one stitch purl-wise off the left-hand needle and onto the right-hand needle;

2. Now with the left-hand needle slip the second stitch* from the right-hand needle over the slipped stitch in step 1, and onto the left-hand needle (*the stitch immediately to the right of the stitch you just slipped onto the right-hand needle).

Basically, you just exchange one stitch from the left to right and from right to left and it holds the stitches tight so you can now knit in the round.

I hope this makes sense ... let me know if you have trouble.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Five on Friday

... taking five minutes from my day to enjoy five things

This is the imprint of a mourning dove being smushed into my patio door recently ... hot on his heels (wings?!) was a Cooper's Hawk. Both birds crashed into the window, then to the ground, but the hawk recovered first and flew away with poor dovey in his talons.

My favourite beautiful pink Christmas cactus from Mom. Once it's finished blooming I'll have to transplant it to a bigger pot, and hopefully have even more blooms next Christmas.

The day following the hawk 'n dove crash into my window, the hawk made a reappearance. He struck the patio doors again!  This time he didn't catch a bird, and I wonder if he didn't knock himself a bit senseless. He perched upon the arbor in my yard for a while to recover himself ... he's a beauty!

Oh yes, the kitchen makeover is finishing up now ... very excited to reveal it to you all soon!!

A Christmas vignette at my front door. My baby sled and my favourite wooden toboggan that was a Christmas present when I was about 7 years old. The toboggan went down many hills at my country home, and through the woods at nighttime to Lowville where the entire village would be out on moonlit nights tobogganing.

Please be sure to visit these other gals with their "Five on Friday" posts today at these wonderful blogs:

Leanne at Today's Stuff

Janet at Macque

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