What's a Saturday in spring/summer without a yard sale? Even museums are getting in on the act. If you're in Toronto, you should totally check out the More than Just A Yardage Sale at the Textile Museum of Canada. Heck, I'd check it out just because it has a cute name! Sadly, I'm a few too manhy provinces away.

My lack of skills on the sewing machine doesn't stop me from coveting such a sale - I love designer fabrics and I'm nuts for buttons (it comes with the sock monkey territory). I think my love of great fabric is what keeps me determined to learn to sew.

I think I'll plan my next trip to visit the in-laws around next year's yardage sale.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, May 31, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Free Pattern Friday: Random Cute Crochet

I put down my socks yesterday in order to work on a different project (yep, I'm still alive). I really want to add something to the EAC Stitchin' Fish Sea Floor at the Loop and I'm almost out of time. So, last night I took out the plastic bags, put on some Degrassi and started to cut. Why the plastic bags? For plastic sea creatures of course! My original method of cutting was something like the "continuous strand method", which I had seen as a technique for cutting fabric for rug hooking (which is on my list of crafts I want to learn). A friend had mentioned cutting the bags would be tedious and I was inclined to agree, that is, until I realised there was a much easier way to do it. Despite the claim on Gooseflesh that it is time consuming, I thought it was a breeze after my previous method.

Since I was crocheting today, I thought I'd share with you some crochet patterns. I usually like to have a theme, but not so much today. Unless I say I'm going with the theme of crochet. Or darn cute.

First up, since I'm working on a jellyfish, is this adorable fellow by Ana Paula Rimoli:

jellyfish by ana paula

If you like this pattern, you can buy her other adorable patterns on etsy (my favourites are the mushrooms) and you can read about her work in an interview on Plush You.

From sea to land with a crazy cute set of acorns from PlanetJune:

acorn1 by planet june

Personally, I think I'll make one small change to the way the acorns are put together - I've always seen acorns as having hats, so I'd need to turn those acorns upside down.

And finally, another thing that grows on trees (you see, I'm stretching to make these things fit together): A frakking adorable pear by Amigurumi Girl.

pear+small by amigurumi girl

I can hardly handle the cute.

So that's it for tonight. I'm going to get back to my jellyfish and watch those handsome Winchester brothers kick demon butt. I'll share photos of my jellyfish once I reunite my camera with my camera cord.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, May 30, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Etsy Time and other news

Hooray me! I managed to list something on Etsy! My shop has been empty lately. I decided to focus on selling monkeys through Love, Me, rather than Etsy. But since money is tight at Chez Pineapples, I thought I'd try to get my act together and sell what I do have made (only two sock creatures). Hopefully I'll manage to make a few more things to add to my listings.

In other news...

Sock monkeys will be at the Telethon on Sunday! My friend J.Lau (it's my nickname for her, sounds like J.Lo) got the socks last night (apparently stripes aren't popular this year. And Hannah Montana really doesn't work well for sock monkeys). We're going to try to put together the pieces tomorrow and Saturday. And there is always a possibility that the monkeys will be spotted on TV. You never can tell.

Still no socks in the mail box. There was a package in my box yesterday and I got excited for a moment, but alas! Not socks. It's funny. Normally I'd be excited about unexpected packages arriving, but since I was hoping for the death knell, I was a little let down when I saw it was not my socks. Instead it was this:

shakespeare duck

Yes, that is Shakespeare as a rubber duck. To be specific, he's the Shakespeare CelebriDuck.

And if you think that it is odd for us to receive that in the mail, you should see what the Downstairses gave us for Christmas:

pope jp2 duck

Seriously! It's the Pope John Paul II CelebriDuck! (Hard to explain, but friends sometimes buy us stuff having to do with the late Pope...we both grew up Catholic, so I think that is where our fascination with him comes from. The comic book we were given a few years ago is a riot).

We now have an accidental collection of CelebriDucks. The sender of Shakespeare has never met, nor heard of, the Downstairses, so this was not a plan. And while we enjoy them and think they're pretty funny, I hope this does not become a trend. Because I still hadn't figured out where to put our Pope Duck, let alone two CelebriDucks. (Also, what an odd idea...making celebrity inspired rubber ducks. They sort of creep me out, since they have people faces with duck bills in the middle of them).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, May 29, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Wednesday's Website of the Week

New "feature" for the blog! The Wednesday Website of the Week! I give myself themes in order to make it easier to remember that I'm supposed to be posting (because otherwise, a blog with no entries would be a very dull blog). I also try to use alliteration whenever possible. I think alliteration is my all time favourite literary device.

My plan is to pick a site that I enjoy, that is not a blog (although, there may be exceptions to this rule), and share it with you, the darling blog reader. So without further ado, here is this week's website:

Martha Stewart's
Craft of the Day

Yes, I know. Martha Stewart. She's not always popular among the crafty set, but I like her. She may seem a little too perfect, her recipes and crafts a little too complicated, but she has some really great ideas. This is probably because she has a gigantic staff that are on the lookout for awesome things. Or should I say, "good things".

I like the craft of the day because it really is something new everyday. I don't always like the choice of craft, but with a different craft each day, I'm bound to like something. Sometimes the craft is super easy, other times it's a bit out my league. But truthfully, most of them are quite do-able. I really like yesterday's craft, which was a fabric silhouette using the super pretty fabric designed by Anna Maria Horner.

Bird Silhouette by Anna Maria Horner/Martha Stewart

pretty, non?

I've made 'Craft of the Day' one of my regular bookmarks. I check it in the morning, along with e-mail, facebook, and Natalie Dee. I don't know how many of the crafts I'll actually make, but I think it'll be good for some crafty inspiration.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

No Socks in my mailbox!

Sock Wars update: still alive! Amazing!

My assassin's assassin is now dead (giving my assassin more time to knit). I guess this buys me more time. Interestingly enough, a bunch of people below my target (her target and then some) are all dead. So I imagine that my target is a fast knitter and I'm helping her win the game. I think I will have to e-mail her soon, to reassure her that I am indeed still in the game and that she's just a lucky sock warrior.

Speaking of socks, I may have to consider throwing in the towel if I'm not soon assassinated. This weekend is the IWK Telethon and for the past couple of years, I've been volunteering to help kids make their own sock monkeys. The IWK is the children's hospital for the Maritimes and I'm part of a section of groups that provide activities for the kids. There's usually Michael's Crafts doing foam crafts and the Discovery Centre doing sciencey stuff.

Each year I get a little wiser and try to get more and more of the sewing done before the Telethon. The first year that I was there, I had the kids sewing the whole monkey themselves! Aside from some monkeys with stuffing coming out of their limbs, the kids were able to do the sewing, but I was completely overwhelmed - I ended up doing most of the sewing for kids. I had one friend with me and one or two of the ladies from Michael's abandoned their table to help. It was madness! Last year was better, but this year I'm going to make sure that all they have to do is stuff, do a quick whip stitch over the hole and then give it some buttons. And since I want to get this monkey prep work done before Sunday, I will need to either quit the sock war or put my socks on hold until next week. I'll probably put it on hold; I suck at quitting things.

I had brought two sample monkeys with me last year to the telethon and someone from the Michael's booth actually bought one! Seeing as I wasn't there for the sales, that monkey money went back to the IWK.

And on the topic of socks and monkey money: I also need to get some monkeys to Love, Me. I have a few started, but haven't had the chance to work on them because of the quilt and sock wars. And most unfortunately, the darling Mrs. Downstairs moved out of town and now I have no one to help me with some of the sewing. She would help me by doing up their legs and arms on the sewing machine. Although, I suppose, even if she didn't move, she kind of has her hands full with a one month old. Baby Downstairs is not quite ready to sit idly by while her mom is at the sewing machine. I guess this means I've got to get over my fear of sewing machines and either (a) figure my machine out, or (b) sell my machine and get a simpler one (with drop in bobbin).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Free Pattern Friday Sunday Night

Friday didn't happen as I was off bbq'ing with friends in the North End. Lots of red wine and cake and this hilarious game called What? (try googling that...almost impossible to find it that way. Far too vague a search). All in all, a really nice night out with some of my super friends. Saturday was no go on the free pattern as the Downstairses needed help cleaning up their apartment. We got them all cleaned up and out the door and off to the airport by late afternoon. Now I am downstairs-neighbour-less, which is really quite sad. They've been there for three years and the two years prior to that, it was home of the Gerkins. Now it is sad and empty.

So, what have I got for you today? Well, I've found a lovely blog birthday contest (found via Average Jane Crafter) that is not only offering up a fantastic prize, but everyone who posts gets a PDF copy of an applique and embroidery pattern.

bird-images from Nini Makes

Isn't it lovely? I'm looking forward to trying it out as embroidery. Ever since my visit to California, I've had pretty little birds on the brain. So many colourful little birds hang out around my parents' house. Like this little guy, who was one of the regulars at the feeder:


Of course, all embroidery must wait because....I'm still alive in Sock Wars III!! Seriously. WTF? My assassin must be as slow as me at this game. I've turned the heel and knit through the gusset, but then had to frog 'er back to the heel - I was a few stitches too many when I finished the gusset. I spent this evening trying to get stitches dropped in the frogging process back onto the needles. Unfortunately, the end of the TV season means the end of something to watch while I work on projects. I'm surprised I managed to keep focused on my knitting, I was rolling my eyes that much during The Forgotten that it was hard to know if I dropped a stitch or not.

I'm pretty sure I've screwed up the pattern. I'm one of the 8-stitch repeat people in the pattern and it appears that the 9-stitch repeat is the way to go. Oops. They still look pretty enough. And it seems that there is no official ruling from the Supreme Commander as to whether one is right and one is wrong. *la sigh*. I'm kind of hoping that tomorrow will bring me a pair of socks and my death in this game.

Now, off to bed with me! I meant to be in bed an hour ago!

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Monday, May 26, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

Cake Craft

About two years ago I took a cake decorating class at a local cooking wares store (that is sadly closed). I was a bit shakey at first, but after a few birthday cakes for friends, I'm getting better. This weekend I made two cakes that worked out really well. the first was for a housewarming/birthday/victoria day party. I decided to focus on the housewarming element of the party:

the original:


the cake:

house cake

Next day was the Bluenose marathon and the husband and a few friends ran in the relay race. They did really awesome and were 13th out of 37!

bluenose cake

and with the bonus safari animals:

bluenose cake with safari animals

the best part about making two cakes in one weekend? cake for breakfast!
only one piece that I took home from yesterday's party and the bits from making the top flat. I think that cake for breakfast is possibly one of my most favourite things ever.

The husband is totally supportive of my cake decorating, but I think he'd prefer that our kitchen didn't end up looking like this:

killed the kitchen

(this weekend wasn't nearly as bad as some of the messes I've made in the past).

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Monday, May 19, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Free Pattern Fridays: Under the sea..

It's been a week since Sock Wars III started and I am miraculously still alive. My hopes are not up for being a terribly successful assassin, seeing as I've barely managed to knit the cuff of the sock. I have frogged the frakking thing too many times to count. I've really been struggling with the patten for the leg of the sock and screw it up just about everytime. I'm hoping that after trolling through the Sock Wars forums, I've figured out how to get it right (although, no clue as to what I've been doing wrong. And don't even get me started on the teeny needles and skinny yarn).

Despite my distaste for skinny yarn in general, I am impressed with the choice of yarn for this year's war: Tofutsies by Southwest Trading Company. The crazy thing about this yarn is that it includes chitin as part of the fibre, which means it is made from crab and shrimp shells! WTF? (Apparently this stuff makes it naturally anti-bacterial).

Since there are sea creatures used in creating the yarn, and there is a local environmental group, along with a favourite yarn store, working on a project called Stitchin' Fish, which is a knitted/crocheted sea floor (similar to that of the Institute for Figuring's hyperbolic coral garden), I thought I'd find some patterns that would help to create the sea creatures on their wish list. While both The EAC and The Loop's blog do offer you free patterns, I've decided to hunt down a few with the magic of google.

If you've been following along at home, you may be familiar with my posts about octopuses, crochet octopuses, and other sea creatures to knit. Sea creatures are something I really dig when they are made of yarn.

So here are the patterns:
A Coral Reef from Lion Brand. The only trouble with Lion Brand is that you have to sign up in order to access the free patterns.

Hyperbolic knitting
. And from the same person, a copy of the pattern to make a small jellyfish (a Christmas ornament, but totally do-able as a small submission to Stitchin' Fish). Or there is the jellyfish made from recycled grocery bags, which is an awesome way to get a few plastic bags out of the system.

Finally, there is the sea anemone.

As soon as I finish these socks/get assassinated, I'm starting in on some deep sea knitting.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, May 16, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Free Pattern Fridays: Get your stitch on

After weeks without free patterns, I'm offering up a few sites with some nifty embroidery transfers and tutorials:

The transfers

Floresita has a blog devoted to her vintage transfers. I'm of two minds when it comes to vintage transfers - some are the kind of kitsch I love, but many take that step beyond kitsch and into the land of hokey. But to each their own. What I do like about these transfers is that Floresita occasionally photoshops them up to make them awesome, like the Saucepan Sabotage transfer:

Saucepan Sabotage from floresita

Awesome, non? (you can get the full size transfer here)

Some of the finer embroidery bloggers have pooled together their vintage transfers in the flickr pool, Hoop Love. With 645 pictures in the pool, I'm sure one of them will fit your embroidery needs.

Needlecrafter.com also has a great selection of transfers, many of them vintage and a lot of those seem to be from old Vogart collections. I haven't looked closely enough to know for sure, but you may find some overlap in Vogart transfers within the various vintage transfer sites. Needlecrafter also offers an insane glossary of stitches, as well as articles, links, and more. Even if the vintage stuff isn't your style, there is probably something useful at Needlecrafter.

the tutorials

Found this tutorial for Japanese Sashiko embroidery via a post on Feeling Stitchy. The Purl Bee claims that Sashiko only looks difficult. I'll have to wait and see about that - it does seem to require some special materials.

the not so free

These patterns by Peapies aren't free, but they're so darn cute that I have to share them:

Embroidery design by Peapies designs inc

There's a good chance I'll be purchasing at least one of those designs in the near future.

the inspiration

In need of some embroidered inspiration? Then check out Feeling Stitchy's flickr pool. There is some amazing work to behold in that pool.

and finally...
the just plain old awesome

Have I mentioned Feeling Stitchy before now? It's a recent find for me and I might be in blog love. They have a number of fantastic tutorials, including one on needles - something I could use since I (a) haven't a clue about which needle to use when; and (b) I broke a needle while working on my quilt the other evening (snapped in half!). And if that weren't awesome enough, they also have the Crafty Blog School tutorials. That's one I'm intrigued by since I'm still new to the world of blogging (unless you count my time on LiveJournal a few years ago...but that didn't have much of a focus).

Purl Bee, the blog of Purl Soho, is another great stitchy crafty resource. I was excited to see that the most recent post is on thimbles. It's a bit of serendipity for me, seeing as it was only yesterday that I was complaining to le husband about needing either a callous or a thimble for my thumb (a thimble would be preferable). That pain in the thumb is from holding onto the needle and trying to pull it through the fabric; I also need one for pushing the needle through or for general poke protection.


So that's it for today. Happy Weekend and happy crafting! I picked up my tofutsies yarn from The Loop (one of my LYS) today. Why the tofutsies? For Sock Wars III! My dossier arrived via e-mail at noon and I've got to get my knit on tout de suite. The only trouble is: I detest working with eensy needles. Even 4mm needles are small by my standards and this stuff (like a lot of sock yarn) calls for 2.75mm needles. Teeny needles and dainty yarn will be my undoing in this war. Regardless, I will be giving it the old college try.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, May 10, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

colouring blogs

if you're noticing that this blog is starting to go a little crazy colour wise, that's because I'm fooling around with templates and colours. I'm not really happy with it at the moment, but it's after 1am, so I really need to stop this and either do some work or go to bed.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, May 09, 2008 0 comments Links to this post  

In Stitches...again...

My thesis has me a wee bit stressed this week, and by wee bit, I mean that I'm really freaking out totally stressed. Getting me through it has been embroidery and m&m's. Although, I think I need to add some kind of exercise to the mix - or else those m&m's are going to add up.

Anyway, my thought to write a post about embroidery was totally in sync with most of the blogs I was reading/stumbling across this week. So much fun embroidery stuff out there!!

First things first, my project:

quilt squares to be

each of the squares were signed by guests at a baby shower. Instead of a guest book, I'm embroidering the names onto the squares and it's being made into a quilt. It makes it a permanent, useable guestbook and a nice reminder of their friends and family here on the east coast, seeing as they are moving later this month. It was totally a Martha Stewart idea (I'm a Martha Stewart junkie) and it's starting to look awesome.

quilt in progress

My mom and I sewed together the top while I was visiting (okay, my mom sewed it together - I'm still sewing machine challenged). A few squares had to be traced over - the names came a little close to the edge and would have been lost when sewing the squares together. I'm trying to keep things looking as close to the original signatures as possible.

Now, since my mind has been split between Veronica Mars' negotiation of identity and embroidery, I'm going to share with you some of the coolest embroidery stuff I've found online this week:

Average Jane Crafter points out an interview with Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching on Craft Sanity AND there is a free sublime stitching template available. Sweet! (the template isn't exactly my style and I already have the mod templates, but free is free).

Speaking of the awesome Jenny Hart, I came across her blog Embroidery as Art via Feeling Stitchy. Both blogs are worth reading and were both added to my Google Reader this week. Jenny Hart's blog led me to some of the most outstanding embroidery I've seen in ages by Takashi Iwasaki. Seriously, check it out:

Puberty by Takashi Iwasaki

I was completely blown away/inspired by his work.

I've got more, but I think I'll save those for later...I'm going to attempt a post dedicated to embroidery as art.

Totally off topic: Sock Wars III starts tomorrow!! I'm a bit nervous to tell the truth. I'll have to go pick up some yarn tomorrow morning, before I get my assignment.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, May 08, 2008 3 comments Links to this post  

Found Crafts: The Gingerbread House

The Yarn Cart has inspired me to post about crafts that I find out and about. I love finding random things on the street, even more so when it's something crafty. Although, some things cause me to wonder why someone would abandon them (if they were indeed abandoned). So, from my Christmas vacation, a gingerbread house:

Found: Gingerbread House

Found: Gingerbread House

I can't decide if it was abandoned or if someone wanted to share the joy of gingerbread houses. Either way, I was happy to find it that day.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, May 03, 2008 2 comments Links to this post  

Found Crafts: The Yarn Cart

As we were about to leave the grocery store yesterday, I looked up and saw this on the other side of the window:

yarn cart

A grocery cart covered in yarn! So of course, I quickly went outside to get more photos:

yarn cart

and a close up, so the work that went into it can be admired:

yarn cart - close up

I don't know who did it or why they did it, but I love that they did do it. The time and work involved in such a project is almost mind boggling. Renegade Crafter, I salute you!

Finds like this make me really happy that camera phones exist. I have a pretty decent kodak digital camera, but it's a bit too bulky to carry around in my purse. So despite the lower megapixel count (this one weighs in at 2 megapixels - almost as much as my first digital camera!) and picture quality, I'm happy that I always have a little camera with me.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, May 03, 2008 1 comments Links to this post  

Home again and Workshop postponed

Well, it's taken a few days to get back at this. The last few days in Palm Springs were busy with last minute shopping, hanging out with the parents,and the dreaded packing. I had to borrow a suitcase and my two pieces of luggage each weighed in at 49.5 lbs. Anyway, I've survived my "red eye" flight and the jet-lag. Since getting home, I've spent most of my time sleeping and complaining about the cold and the damp. Happily, today is giving me some much needed sunshine (I think I was in sunshine withdrawal yesterday). I think the worst bit about my travels was losing my wee embroidery scissors in Toronto. I incorrectly assumed that if I was allowed scissors at LAX security, I'd be allowed to have them when I cleared customs. Apparently not. I was given the option of checking a carry on in order to keep my scissors, but they were cheap and I wasn't about to line up again. So there's a tip for anyone traveling with crafts: itty bitty scissors are allowed on flights in the States, but not on Canadian flights. Before Thursday morning, I would have thought it was the other way around, considering security in American airports make me take my shoes off and Canadian security doesn't always do this.

I opened up my Google Reader today to discover that my time away has meant that not only was I not posting in my blog, but that since I wasn't reading blogs, I had 1000+ blog entries unread! That's a bit unmanageable, so there's been a lot of clicking "mark all as read" for various blogs. Although, I'm still trying to read a few of my favourite craft blogs. If only to give me some inspiration (perhaps some motivation) to get some crafting done.

I got good news/bad news last night from Love, Me: the Sock Monkey workshop that was supposed to take place today was cancelled, but, two different people were interested in having the workshop on another day with at least five of their friends. So while today's was cancelled, it's going to be replaced with two! Not a bad deal. And more good news: when I stopped by this morning, I found out that three monkeys have sold! Yay! Time to put down my embroidery and pick up the socks. It's pretty exciting to think that people are wandering in off the street and liking my monkeys so much that they buy them. It's a little weird to think of that. Weird because I still find it odd that people buy something that I've made. Up until the past year or so, my crafts were for me or for friends/family, never for sale. I think I can get used to it though.

Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, May 03, 2008 0 comments Links to this post