Wednesday, December 16

Our new adventure...

We're expecting a baby in May 2016!
We learned the news around the beginning of September and we're super excited! I'm about 20 weeks now and I've knitted some socks and a hat. I'm sure they're are many more baby knitting projects on my needles in the upcoming months :-)

Thank you for your sweet comments on my latest post, by the way!

Sunday, December 13

DIY: Christmas Clay Ornaments


About seven years ago I made clay ornaments to decorate my tree. It just happened out of the blue, I felt like making something with clay and that was the result. While I was living with my parents-in-law for four years, they decorated their tree with the ornaments. Recently we moved so I took all my ornaments with me but I made a set of 8 new ornaments to give them as - one of the - thank you presents for letting us stay with them.
Anyway, it took me a week to make them, because I used air-dry clay and -of course, distracted me- bought terra clay in stead of white clay, wherefor it needed two layers of white paint before I could decorate them with golden paint. Include the drying time of the clay and white and gold paint layers and a layer of varnish and you're busy for a week ;-) I used several materials that I had left from years of collecting all little things. I save everything when I get a present. I was once given a very kitchy Christmas wreath and I totally took it apart and saved the bits and pieces I could once use for crafting).

The box pictured above caught my eye in the crafts store in the wooden department. It only costed 3-4 euros. The dark oak varnish I bought in a local DIY store. First I removed the lock and hinges and then I polished the box with sand paper. It got two layers of varnish.
Once everyting was painted and varnished properly, I filled the box with some strawy filling that was in a basket my mom gave me earlier that week. (Whenever I say I'm going to craft, she gets all excited and jumbles her attic to get rid of things she doesn't need, which benefits me of course!)
Before the clay ornaments are all dry, I put in a wire so they have this little ring or hook to thread a golden ribbon.
And last but not least, I found a little bag of wooden green trees. A layer of golden paint and some glue on the back and it makes a perfect decoration for the inside of the box, don't you think?

Saturday, December 12

DIY: Snowy Ball

Since it's almost Christmas and I got tons of crafty ideas from Pinterest I travelled my whole town and neighbouring cities to find the supplies for many crafty projects. First: a snowy ball! It's really simple to make, at first, but there are a few tricks that will keep your project from failing.

You'll need: a mason jar, paint spray (not pictured), some kind of layering to put in the lid (not neccesary but while working on another project and searching in my old craft box I found these two jars full of little stones, once bought in a garden center to make a layer of stones in terraria), water resistant glue, a plastic animal that fits in the jar, sprinkles (I chose gold and silver, but also added some red stars while making it).


I first spray painted the lid with golden spray (because I was making golden animal keychains - blog post next week! - which needed to be spray painted and I thought why not spray this lid as well?)
As soon as the lid was dry, I put some glue in the middle - not in the border, it still has to fit the mason jar- and put in some stones, imitating a snowy landscape. Looking at my photo now, I realize I forgot my golden stones! Anyway, once that's all dried, stick the animal really tight onto the stones or whatever kind of layering you've put in the lid, as pictured above.

Next, fill the mason jar with all kinds of glitters and water (some suggest glycerine). Before gluing the lid to the mason jar, try it out a few times: first I had way too few sprinkles and too little water. Also, the stones that I put in the lid deposited a white chalky substance, my water wans't clear enough. So it's best to rince them first thoroughly with water. When you think all is like you want it, glue the lid into the mason jar and firmly close it. Let dry.

You can also decorate the lid with some rope, or ribbon as you like.


Tuesday, December 8

Home made beeswax candles

A few years ago, I heard that the candles or tea lights, made of paraffin wax, are kind of bad for your health. Paraffin is a petroleum by-product and releases al kinds of nasty chemicals when being burned (like toxic benzene) and it also releases smoke and soot. A much healthier alternative are candles made from beeswax or soy wax. They don't release chemicals and they kind of 'clean' the air.

It took me a while to find a beekeeper in the vicinity that sells pure beeswax (you can also buy unfiltered beeswax, but then of course you have to filter it first). An online search on Google and YouTube usually does the trick for guiding me through the process. (You can find a tutorial here and here.) Because I was going all natural with this I also decided not to use a wick holder (as seen in the video), but to stick the wick down to the bottom with a bit of tape.
They're very easy to make and they smell good! I decided to give away some of them as Christmas presents: some to fancy up the wrapping or just as a little gift.

Linking up with Nicole.

Tuesday, November 24

Knitting: Blóm



We've moved into the house, it was so busy and in contrary to what you'd expect in stressfull periods, I didn't knit. This week, being a bit more settled and all, I finished my Blóm shawl.
I casted on this wonderful pattern somewhere in late August. I choose this shawl because a) it's gorgeous b) I just finished another pattern by Melody and felt empty when I finished that one and c) I was hooked on knitting shawls in a sudden (something that I would have never guessed, because the first time on Ravelry, two and a half years ago, I didn't understand the fuss about knitting and wearing shawls...now I do :-) )


It's very lightweight, which makes the draping so soft and cosy and I'm really happy with the colorway I've chosen.

I'm really happy with it, it's more of a Spring shawl though, but I'm sure I'll be wearing it often, like I I am wearing my Canopy shawl almost every day.

Pattern: Blóm by Melody Hoffman (Mandarine's)
Yarn: Drops Baby Alpaca Silk in the colorway 'Graulila'
Ravelry details here.

Linking up with Nicole.

Friday, September 4

(a belated) Yarn Along



Knitting: I started knitting Blóm. A shawl pattern by Melody from Mandarine's. I'm using Drops Baby Alpaca Silk in a grey-purple colorway (Graulila).

Reading: I finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Recenly I ordered a bunch of classic books online. On advice of a few of my blog readers I started reading this book. I'm glad I ordered it in English in stead of Dutch, because the spoken dialect makes the story much more convincing and trustworthy. The story itself has great value and a moral message that is applicable to many issues in the world today, not only the black and white issue.

Linking up with Ginny.

Saturday, August 22

Monthly Sock Challenge Video


Since the sock challenge has ended for me, I made a little video slide show of all the socks I've knitted the past 12 months. Enjoy!




Sock Challenge 12/12 - August





I finished my last pair of socks from the monthly sock challenge! This pair's a pattern by cabinfour. I chose Cream because I wanted to practice a bit of Fair Isle knitting again. The main color is Quince & Co. Chickadee in the color Clay and the contrast color is Buckaloo View's Worsted I in the color Cherry Bark.


Tuesday, August 18

Canopy

And suddenly...on a Summer evening, rain pouring from the skies and temperatures around twelve degrees celsius, I finished my Canopy Shawl.


I have never been so in love with a knitting pattern before: it's genius I think. Well, I don't know much about designing knitwear but after two years of self taught knitting, I've learned a lot of things, but actually designing this is a whole different story.
It's the perfect mix of complicated things at first but then 'aha moments' and lovely 'I wish this never ended momentes' too.
Thank you Melody for creating such a fine pattern. I'll be wearing this shawl a lot.

Pattern: Canopy by Melody from Mandarine's
Yarn: Drops Alpaca (2.5 skeins) in colorway Dark Grey Green (7139)
Modifications: I added an extra lace and stockinette part because the yarn asked for a smaller needle

Wednesday, August 12

Yarn Along

Now, if this doesn't count as a Yarn Along, I don't know anymore ;-)
I just got home from working at our house (painting, washing windows, planning the flooring,...) and I found this great package on the doorstep! Besides yarn mail, book mail is very loved here too!

Knitting: The Potter's Socks (pattern 'Cream' by Cabinfour). She has such great patterns, so for the last month of the sock challenge I definitely wanted to knit a pair of her sock patterns. It was hard to choose. I ordered Quince&Co Chickadee in the color 'Clay' and first I wanted to knit the contrasting color in natural (Cascade 220) that I had leftovers from. But then I saw Liesl's lovely Cherry Bark in my stash, that I used for the Clara May hat and thought it matched the main color much better.
I'm also knitting on my Canopy (pattern by Melody from Mandarine's). The border is almost finished! It's a very enjoyable knit and I can't wait for Fall so I can finally wear it.

Reading: Well, it's kind of hard to choose, since I ordered so many books at once, ahem... . I can eliminate one option and that is Black Hole by Charles Burns. I already read it a few months ago. It was really good, that I had to have it in my graphic novel collection. Which one do you guys think I should read first?

Linking up with Liesl, Ginny and Nicole.


Monday, August 3

I love not man the less, but nature more (G. Byron)


Past weekend, I was off from work so instead of doing chores for the house construction, we impulsively decided to go on a camping weekend in the Belgian Ardennes. The weather was nice, I had an extra Monday off from work, so why not? We did a walk close to  Malmedy, in the forest, along the river. It was truely pacifying to be this close to nature again. It had been a long while since we were out for a simple walk this year and clear our heads.



Overnight we camped in the woods. I had a good night's rest until 6 am because I forgot my pillow and I used my fleece sweater instead but it wasn't ideal. :)


The morning was full of sunshine, we baked eggs and sausages and had some bread and tea.


The rest of our Sunday was spend on a lake in a rowing boat in Robertville and on our way home we stopped in Orvifat, to visit Reinhardstein. It was a lovely relaxing weekend. I hope your weekend was sunny and relaxing too.

Monday, July 27

Sock Challenge 11/12 - July


It has been a race to get these socks finished on time. It has also been quite the challenge to knit a bit of Fair Isle in the round. I was so thrilled with the color combination and it knitted up beautifully.
Then I tried them on....the horror! I could nearly get them over my heel! I had a feeling that this would happen, so I tried to keep my tension the same all the time, not too loose, not too tight. Anyone has tips on that matter? I tried knitting the second sock a lot looser, but then it was way too big and the Fair Isle part ended 2.5 cm below the ending of the Fair Isle of the first sock, so I frogged the second sock and started over.


So once I've put them on, I won't take them off too soon! In the pictures above, the socks aren't blocked yet.  I hope the Fair Isle part will become a bit more even after blocking.

Nordic Mist Socks
Pattern: Southern Fiords by Dianna Walla
Yarn: Regia (White and Greyish, fingering), Buckaloo View Fingering II (yellow)
Size: medium