Books · hygge · make do and mend · Making things · out and about · Random Thoughts · the gardens · The Great Outdoors · Uncategorized

Hello again

Well it has been much longer than I had anticipated to get back to the keyboard and write a blog.

Winter around here does tend to get a bit dismal. After all of the colour and excitement of Christmas and blogmas I went into hibernation mode. You can imagine how pouty I get when we have to take down all of the Christmas lights and my garden is so dark at night.

We have had some lovely weather in amongst many cloudy days. This sunset last week was spectacular. Of course way better in real life that this picture can ever convey. The pinks were vibrant and shimmery.

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Today, February 22nd has been incredibly warm. Late in the afternoon it was 15 Celsius. I had the windows open in my office!

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You can see there is hardly any snow out there, and actual blue sky. I go nuts on a nice day.

I get all sorts of energy.

I even get around to blogging for the first time in 2 months!

I haven’t been entirely idle over the winter. I finished a knitting project that is making me very happy.

imageThis is the Light and Up Shawl designed my Caroline Wiens. The pattern is available on Ravelry for free. It is an easy pattern and was a good choice for the beautiful yarn I purchased at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters fair last fall.

It is called Gobstopper yarn and is a 50% Merino and silk mix. Lovely to work with, deep colour penretration and a beautiful luster. I highly recommend it. You can find it here

https://gobstopperyarn.wordpress.com/

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I added an additional repeat of the lace rows to allow the full gradient of the yarn to show. Blue and brown are one of my favourite colour combinations. It turned out lovely, and is so soft to wear.  The colour name is “sinkhole” which made me laugh because I am terrified of sinkholes. But I believe this is the nicest one I have ever seen.

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I was knitting by the fire in January when the weather was much less friendly than today. I’ve been embracing the Hygge and all round cozy-ness. I loved these books.

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“The Little Book of Hygge” by Miek Wiking which is widely available. And “The Year of Cozy” by Adrianna Adarme.

I have read both cover to cover and keep them beside my chair so I can dip in and enjoy again. Lots of inspiration and ideas to make life more enjoyable.

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Nothing better on a winters day.

The weather today is making me think of spring. I have been out poking my fingers in the soil, standing and squinting at areas of the garden that are up for transformation this year, and yes I have already ordered some seeds.

The open window had my nose twitching at the prospect of garden time soon.

Blogmas 2016 · Christmas · Cooking Things · Making things · Uncategorized

Blogmas day 23 The Christmas Elves are busy

cookies-christmas-xmas-bakingHello my little sugar cookies.

It is all on here at Hedgehog Hill. There is baking and cleaning and wrapping going on in every room. Right after Christmas last year I picked up a really cute cake pan. I have never attempted a traditional gingerbread house as I am afraid of the construction. But I though even I could do these cute cottages.

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So I have been waiting about a year to make these. Now that I think about it I could have made them anytime…with any kind of cake, but I get stuck on the rules you know?

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So I had also made a great ginger cake last year from a British cookbook and instead of the recipe on the Nordicware package I used that. What I had not taken into consideration was that the amount of batter would not be the same and I was not sure how full to make the pan….so I’ll be cleaning the oven tomorrow, had a bit of a flow over.

But I just cut the excess off and no one will ever know.

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I’ll have to post the decorated pictures on the last day of blogmas.

But those last gifts I was going to wrap the other day? Still not wrapped.  I need to get the turkey out to thaw, More baking, no more shopping, It is almost here.

I do have to say that I am amazed at how fast this month has gone. Blogmas is almost over and I have not missed a day. The next 3 days are crazy. I’ll try to keep you up to date.

 

Blogmas 2016 · Christmas · Making things · Uncategorized

Blogmas day 16 – the best Christmas gift for all ages

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Hello my little sleigh bells.

So it is the last week before Christmas. Is all your shopping done? Need a last minute gift? Well there is a one-stop idea for all ages and interests. The best part is that not only is it a fun gift but it also can contribute to better mental health. What is it? Colouring books of course.

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They truly are a gift for all ages from the smallest child to grandma or grandpa. Now it may take some convincing to get a grumpy gus to the table to join the fun, but if you can get them started most people find it relaxing.

Todays adult colouring books are not the ones we had as kids. Everything from detailed fantasy designs, to Harry Potter or Game of Thrones is available. No matter what your special interest or hobby someone is making a colouring book aimed at you. You can’t walk by a news stand without seeing a new selection, and they are for the most part very affordable. There are also general ones small enough to fit in your purse to take along for a spare moment.

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My particular favourites are mandalas,  the designs are balanced so the part of my brain that likes order and symmetry can fall into the  calming repetition of it. On days when I am the most stressed, or when my mind can’t settle to do anything I often pull out one of my colouring books and lose myself in it until I feel better. I have used Coloured pencils, fine makers, and even good old Crayolas, it is really a matter of what you enjoy. I recently bout a box of pencils that are different colours on opposite ends, great for my pencil case to take with me on the go.

Of course there are specialty Christmas books. The one below came free with another magazine.

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A quick search on-line and you can find free pages to download for all occasions. I have linked one below. Great for Family Christmas activities to keep the kids (or adults) entertained.

Relax over the festive season with some pencil crayons and you may find you have found a new hobby. Enjoy

http://www.easypeasyandfun.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Intricate-Christmas-Coloring-Page.pdf

Blogmas 2016 · Christmas · Making things · sewing · Uncategorized

Blogmas day 5! Felt Crafts

Hello my little festive crafters. Today’s post is going to be photo heavy, Lots to look at.

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I love using felt for crafting. It is such a versatile medium, has great colours, requires only basic skills, is inexpensive, and makes you look like a crafting genius.

I made these little felt guys a couple of years ago. Miss Murfin and I sat around the kitchen table for a couple of hours and had a blast.

She created an entire set of Charlie Brown character Christmas ornaments, while I went for the more traditional route.

None of these shapes are difficult. I drew them free hand, but if you are not too confident with a pen, you can trace a cookie cutter or a colouring book. And of course the internet is full of templates. One of the glories of felt is that is doesn’t fray so you can just cut on the lines you want and sew together. If sewing intimidates you glue works too.

One of my favourite felt designers is Laura Howard. Her book “super-cute felt” is pictured on the right, and her web page is http://bugsandfishes.blogspot.ca/  I learned a lot of my basic techniques from her and still want to try more of her designs.img_1774On the left is a book + kit that Miss Murfin gifted me.  “Cath Kidston Make your own Christmas Decorations” is a favourite and all the supplies were included. I still have more of those to finish.

But today I thought we would make a replica of Geoffrey! img_1759

As I said above I like to find a shape and free hand the design. Felt is very forgiving and if in doubt add a little extra and cut it down as you go. Geoffrey is basically 3 blocks of colour with only a little shaping. I added a little to the top of the face over-lay piece and the bottom of the hat so I could join the pieces together. I layered them with the hat over the top of the face colour.

img_1761When I am laying design elements over other pieces I like to use sewing thread in a matching colour and a whip stitch being careful to keep the stitches similar length and spacing,

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Then I add all the elements together. using my eye to keep it looking even.img_1765

I laid both sets of pieces together to make sure both front and back will be the same length. Also, as I finish sewing each piece I just do a couple of back stitches on the wrong side – they will be on the inside.

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After have both sides assembled  and I add the eyes and nose, I pin them wrong sides together to sew the edges. OK in truth I forgot the add the eyes at this point and had to sneak them on at the end. It would have been EASIER to add them now.

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I decided to use a running stitch around this guy. He is going to hang on the tree so will not be getting handled too much. If I was making a toy or a jewelry, I might use a blanket stitch to close up the edges.

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Before I closed him up I added a bit of stuffing, but not too much as felt will rip if you over stuff it.

And there he is ! Geoffrey 2.0 along with his pal Geoffrey the 1st.

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Of course Christmas is not the only time of year that felt is great. Laura Howard has a great design in her book Super-Cute Felt that I HAD to make.

A Hedgehog Hill mascot of course!hedgie 3

 

Blogmas 2016 · Christmas · Making things · sewing · Tea · Uncategorized

Blogmas day 2 – Advent Calendars

Hello my little Advent Angels

Well here we are at day 2. So lets get right to it and open up some advent calendars.

I love advent calendars, but not the usual ones with the little waxy bits of chocolate. I’d like to think we deserve better than that wouldn’t you?  Happily lots of other people – retailers, crafters and even writers are jumping on the advent calendar train. I think there are more available and more variety every year. Let’s look at a few of mine shall we?

Full confession, I may have gone a wee bit over the top. And you will be seeing the offerings from December 1st as we are one day behind here to allow for writing etc.

First up is my David’s Tea calendar. I really did not intend to buy this one. But I was in the mall, I just popped into the store, and whoops it came home with me. But I am so glad I did because I’m really impressed with the construction of this one. It opens up like a book and has an adorable woodland scene on the left hand side,

The picture below is a split picture showing the cover on the left and the open calendar on the right.

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There are 24 numbered drawers and inside each one is a little tin of tea. The drawers come right out and after you have “opened” them you replace them backwards to slowly reveal the rest of the woodland scene.

 

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I think this is really clever and makes the whole thing totally reusable next year.

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Each tiny tin has the name of the tea on the back and a clear top. I’m not sure if I will enjoy them all, I tend to be a pretty plain tea girl, but I plan to brew up every evening. I’ll let you know as the month progresses how I feel about the flavours. It is a great way for me to test them out before purchasing a large amount. Well done Davids Teas!

 

I can’t even tell you how excited I was to discover the next one. The Short Story Advent Calendar. Published by Hingston and Olsen it is the brain child of Michael Hingston of Edmonton and designed by Natalie Olsen.

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Beautifully boxed in a sliding cover case each story is simply bound and numbered  1 – 24. Each has a different image highlighted in orange against the neon green cover. Will this be a clue about the story? I’ll have to see. The image on the story for the first is a drumstick….with a bite out of it.

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Hingston and Olsen have created a whole social media community to enhance the enjoyment of the stories. After you read the day’s story you can visit the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts to read about the author and discuss with other readers the themes, ideas, and your reactions. I LOVE short stories as a medium. I so admire when a author can transport you away with so few words. I’ll be reporting back on this as well. Maybe enjoying a read as I sip my  Christmas tea.

But really would it be Christmas if I didn’t also have a chocolate advent calendar? I had to do it. So I opted for the Lindt one. At least the chocolate should be of a better quality.

I think advent calendars are a great way to work up to the big day on the 25th. It really is a lot of pressure and expectations  to put on a single day, a mere 24 hours. The calendars help to build that excitement through the month and give you some kind of present each day. There are so many choices: makeup and body care, yarn/wool, wine or beer. But I also think homemade is best –

so I pulled together a simple one for my Mom this year.

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Using a pre cut 5″ charm square bundle of assorted Christmas prints I created pockets with a green felt back.

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I didn’t do any fancy lining or turning, I just folded down the edge to make a faux cuff and sewed them with a zigzag stitch around the edge.img_1735

 

I found a great string of numbered mittens attached to mini clothes pins to hang them on and slipped a Christmas tea in a foil pouch in each one.

But really you could add all sorts of treats to the little pockets.

This year I have seen more ideas for advent calendars than ever before. I hope this trend continues, I know I have several new ideas for next year!

Until tomorrow…

make do and mend · Making things · sewing

Don’t mind the dust

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 My my it is more than a bit dusty in here don’t you think? What!  Almost a year and no posts? I think it is time Mrs Murfin puts her pinny back on, cleans up the place and writes something. I have been doing a lot of sewing, and a lot of knitting and crochet too, so it’s not like I don’t have stuff to show you. The weather has been nasty and I have cabin fever. So let’s warm this place up a bit. Don’ you love this divided fabric basket? Pattern by Noodlehead . I’ll make some tea and be back in a flash or in a day or two.

Making things · sewing · Uncategorized

Too Cute

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I took advantage of the quiet afternoon snowed in and cozy by the fire and made a hedgie from my new book Super-Cute Felt by Laura Howard. I have to say that the instructions were very clear and easy to follow and I picked up some good tips for working with felt.

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He worked up very quickly. In the end I made him just like in the book. I will be making more in future for other ideas still want to try hin on a tea cozy, and he would be cute on a piece of clothing, or a tote bag…. I was getting pretty excited when I had to put him aside to make dinner. But I got back to him after dinner and making some pineapple squares.

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Ta Da! He is so adorable. I also looked up Laura on Chapters and Amazon and found her blog at Bugandfishes.blogspot.ca  there are lots of great ideas and tutorials there as well.

I also sent her a message on her face book page and she was nice enough to message me back. Hi Laura! I love that it is such a small world.

I found more felt this morning at the dollar store…some new colours. I am off to stitch a broach!