Here is a sneak peek of our newest amigurumi design! Aren’t they cuties? They need names though (either individually or as a set)….do you have any ideas? We’d LOVE to hear your suggestions so please comment below!
The step-by-step blog post and free pattern will be up next week!
This past weekend our little girl turned one! It still amazes me how quickly time has passed by. Those first few weeks were quite rough as I slowly recovered from labour and my body adapted to the sleepless nights. However, then within a blink of an eye Myla was smiling, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing and now on the verge of walking! It is truly amazing to see her development and what a miracle life is. It’s hard to imagine our life before Myla now, and she has brightened up each and every day!
I wanted to share some photos from Myla’s first birthday party that we held earlier when Ryan’s relatives were in town! We were so excited to celebrate Myla’s very first birthday, and we wanted to make it special. I searched for 1st birthday party ideas on Pinterest to get some inspiration, and one of the themes that came up was “Cute As A Button”! It’s always nice having a theme for a party so everything is a bit more cohesive as you can cater the decorations and food around it. I thought the button theme was adorable, particularly since we love crafts!
Ryan’s sister Sharon is an expert at making cakes and has plenty of experience making amazing cakes for her own children! We told her our theme and showed her some pictures of cakes we liked, and she spent hours the night before making this beautiful cake! It was a triple layered chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream, and there was even a surprise pink layer! It was both beautiful and delicious!
I helped make some of the fondant buttons! We were going for kind of an ombre effect with the buttons as there were different shades of pink. The grey and white buttons matched beautifully as well.
It was so special that Myla’s very first birthday cake was baked from scratch with so much love by her dear auntie!
Sharon also made these adorable button cookies with her children earlier and even hand carried them on the airplane to bring them safely here! She is an amazing baker!
We decorated this wall so it could be the backdrop of some of our photos! We cut out triangles and strung them along hemp to make our own pennant banners, filled balloons with helium and made these pom poms out of tissue paper (following the same instructions we used to make the ones from our baby shower HERE).
For our party favours, we bought some white chocolate and mint Kit Kat bars and rewrapped them with scrapbook paper. Then we glued a coral button on each bar to help tie them in with the “Cute As A Button” theme!
We held them in the small chunky crocheted basket that I made last year (see blog post HERE). Baskets are so handy to have around the house!
I had seen chalkboard ideas on Pinterest and I asked Ryan if he could make one for Myla! We went to several stores to look for a chalkboard, but we soon found out there was something called chalkboard spray that we didn’t even know existed! And so, we purchased a picture frame that we liked and then simply sprayed the glass with the special chalkboard spray- then voila, we had our own chalkboard! Ryan spent a lot of time figuring out the layout of the words and writing everything in pencil first. Then, he used chalk maker to go over the pencil…he didn’t make a single mistake! He kept it a surprise from me until he was done everything, and I was sooo impressed with how it turned out! Ryan is VERY artistic and has such nice writing….just look at all the different fonts he wrote!
Here is Myla standing proudly beside her board as if to say, “These are all the things I can do”! She is growing so quickly….since we made this board, she actually now has 12 teeth and is 29” tall! I’m sure she’ll be walking very soon as well!
I also wanted to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to Kay of Mikaylove for gifting Myla’s beautiful dress to her! We were actually on the hunt for a dress for Myla to wear at her party when we received a surprise package from Kay. Along with some beautiful arm candy, we were so touched and delighted to see a birthday card, a little bracelet and this dress for Myla! Kay started Mikaylove around when Myla was born, so she just celebrated 1 year for her shop too! Thank you for being so thoughtful, Kay, and as you can see, the dress fit Myla perfectly! It matched so well with the colours of her party too :)
We have been taking monthly family photos with Myla, so to show her development, we strung many of the photos along some hemp with clothespins! We glued a button on each clothespin too :) She looks sooo different when she was first born! I of course don’t notice the change since I see her everyday, and it’s not until I look at old photos that I realize how much she has grown. I am so thankful for photos that help capture these special moments and help us remember!
Here we are singing happy birthday and about to blow out the candle!
I got kind of sentimental as we were blowing out her candle as it suddenly hit me that this is the smallest and youngest she’ll ever be….our little girl is growing up right before our eyes!
Here is a video from my Instagram showing some of the birthday singing :) I’m glad we can share these special moments with you all!
We are truly blessed to have Myla in our lives and we thank God each and every day for her. ”Myla Brielle" means "Merciful" and "God is my strength”, and we have been seeking and relying on God’s strength and wisdom in learning how to be parents and how to raise her. Thank you for supporting and loving our family, and we hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into her very 1st birthday party and perhaps got some inspiration for your own parties as well! Stay tuned for some new amigurumi projects that I am currently putting the finishing touches on! Much love ♥
[GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Congrats to the winner, Anna S. of “Spool of Sunshine”!]
Hey everyone! I ordered this super cute “Keep Calm and Carry Yarn" pendant on Etsy recently and had to share it with you since I know we are all yarn lovers!!! Click on the pictures to get a better view of it- there’s a ball of yarn on top and it’s a beautiful fuscia colour! I ordered it from a fellow Canadian named Lisa who makes many different pendants using wooden Scrabble tiles in her shop called "Pieces of Me Pendants”. I thought this pendant was really cute since the “Keep Calm” meme is so popular these days and the “Carry Yarn” is a clever take on the “Carry On”!
The good news is that Lisa offered to do a GIVEAWAY for my readers too! She is allowing the winner to choose any pendant and any chain from her shop (I am wearing the snake chain for those of you interested)!!!
Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada and I wanted to share how thankful I am to God for my family, my friends, my church family and the opportunity and blessing to be a wife and a mother. Our little girl is turning 1 this week and the year has absolutely flown by! I am so very thankful that I was able to pursue my creative and crafty side after putting it on the back burner for so many years when I was super busy with school. Sometimes it is still surreal to me that I have a blog and that I’m crocheting little stuffed animals and sharing my work with the world (stay tuned for some new amigurumi coming your way soon)! I am so incredibly thankful to you, my readers, for always expressing how appreciative you are and giving us so much feedback about our work. It really does spur us on and we love reading all your comments and seeing your work! I have made many good friends along the way (you know who you are :D) and it’s been amazing connecting with people with similar passions and interests! I have so many loyal readers who have followed me throughout the years and have seen my style and blogging progress. Every time I hit a milestone on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram I’m always itching to do a giveaway to thank my followers, so here we go!
To enter the GIVEAWAY [NOW CLOSED]:
(1) Leave a comment below (through Disqus comments) saying what YOU are THANKFUL for! I can’t wait to read the entries and share the love :)
(2) Visit Lisa’s “Pieces of Me Pendants" shop on Etsy HERE and take a look at her different pendants and chains (snake, ball or box chains) available. In the same comment above state what pendant and chain you would choose if you are the winner!
This contest is open worldwide and will close on Sunday, October 20th at 8 PM, MST. If you are under 18, please ask your parents’ permission before entering. I will randomly choose a winner! Thank you so much to Lisa for partnering with me in this giveaway!
We recently watched a Japanese anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai called “The Garden of Words”. We were blown away by the gorgeous artwork, landscapes and imagery depicted in the film! It was extra special for us because most of the film takes place in the beautiful “Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden" which we visited last year when we traveled to Tokyo! As soon as the main character Takao entered the park, we recognized it immediately and got excited….isn’t it special when you’ve visited a place from a beloved movie or television show? Don’t even get me started on how excited I was when we visited "Stars Hollow" on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour since "Gilmore Girls" is my favourite show of all time!
We thought we would share some photos that Ryan took from our Tokyo trip when we visited these beautiful gardens in case any of you have seen the film or are planning to see it! Here are the gates upon entering the park…
The garden is incredibly lush and it was so relaxing just walking along the paths.
We saw many artists who would sit and draw or paint the landscapes before them. It was neat peeking over the shoulders to see their work!
These gardens are a popular spot during cherry blossom season- I can only imagine how breathtaking it would be….I hope to visit again one day to see the cherry blossoms all in bloom!
We spent some time in this pagoda to soak in the scenery (it’s in the movie too!). It’s hard to imagine that all of this lushness and peacefulness can be found right in the middle of the busy metropolis of Tokyo. In this way, it kind of reminded me of New York City’s Central Park!
Here I am walking along a little bridge that leads to a gazebo that plays a significant role in the movie! I can’t believe we actually took pictures here….after watching the movie, we totally went back through our photos to see where exactly we had visited!
This is the gazebo where the two main characters meet! It just so happens that my brother Corey was resting here when Ryan snapped a photo, hehe :) You can see this gazebo in the movie poster for “The Garden of Words” at the beginning of this post!
Going to Tokyo was our “babymoon”, or our last trip before baby Myla came! I was 5 months pregnant with our little sweet pea during this time….I can’t believe she will be 1 year old in about a week! Just as everyone says, time really does fly by…
We love traveling, and we often reminisce about our fun trip to Japan! Japan is beautifully depicted in “The Garden of Words”, so do check it out if you come across it (it’s a super short movie at only 46 mins long)! Apparently the backgrounds in the movie were based on photographs of the park, and you can see how realistic and beautiful the animation is with this comparison HERE. Have any of you visited Japan or visited the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park before? If you’re planning a trip, you must stop by these gardens for a breath of fresh air and a chance to soak in some beautiful scenery!
It’s so special whenever you incorporate items that you’ve crocheted in your home or workplace, and I have been loving this new crocheted piece that I use on a daily basis that goes whenever I go in my purse! I found this easy pouch pattern on Ravelry HERE by Melissa “Missa” Hills and was so excited to give it a try. I knew which colours I wanted to use- one of my favourite combos….grey and pink!
What gives this pouch a more delicate, refined look is the use of thin cotton vs. thicker acrylic yarn. I used my trusty Patons Grace yarn that I have used in so many of my previous projects (Teddy Ornaments, Dragon, Mesh Bag). The bottom part is crocheted in joined rounds, thus making the seam visible as shown in the picture below.
Then you continue working in unjoined rounds after a certain point so there is no more seam as the pouch expands upwards. Isn’t this pink a gorgeous colour?
Then you switch to the second colour and continue crocheting round by round. Using a stitch marker for this project was very helpful since I didn’t need to keep the count. I have been loving my Clover stitch marker that I blogged about HERE- it was interesting hearing so many different opinions about stitch markers and what people use!
The base has a beautiful round shape! Crocheting this pouch went by very quickly since I didn’t need to keep the count like for amigurumi.
Now the crocheted part is all finished! It actually turned out bigger than I expected…you could always add or decrease rounds to make your pouch bigger or smaller :)
I love the look of these tight, small stitches! Some people added a zipper, velcro or button closure at this point. I knew that I wanted to try and add a zipper as well as fabric lining to give my pouch a more polished look. With the crocheting done, now came the tough part for me: the sewing *dun dun dun*…
We went to a fabric store and had fun choosing a fabric for the lining! We brought along the pouch and after placing different fabrics into the pouch to see how they’d look, we went for this subtle gingham pattern :)
You may remember that I actually sewed the curtains for Myla’s nursery after learning how to use a sewing machine last year! However, I must confess that I haven’t touched the sewing machine since then, which was more than a year ago! Instead of relearning how to do everything, I decided to sew the lining by hand, particularly since there were some trickier elements here (zipper, circular base). Thus, even if you have no sewing experience, have no fear! I have very little sewing experience as well, and I really envy those who are talented in this area :) It is do-able without a sewing machine!
We measured the height and circumference of the pouch with a measuring tape. My pouch was approximately 3.5” in height and 9.75” around. You must remember to leave extra room for the seam allowance (when you fold and sew the pieces together). Ryan drew a rectangle that was approximately 3.75” high and 10.25” wide. The smaller rectangle is the actual dimensions of the pouch while the larger one includes the seam allowance. Ryan even included little tick marks to show me where to stitch to help make them more even :)
We traced out a circle using an item that was a similar size to the base of my pouch (a cup). Then we added 0.25” around to allow for the seam allowance and then cut out the circle.
First we folded the top edge of the rectangle down, ironed it and then I backstitched across (see how to backstitch here). Sewing by hand took a lot longer than using my sewing machine :P Then I backstitched down the width of the rectangular piece. We then pinned the circular base to the bottom of this rectangular piece.
Sewing the circular base to this rectangular piece was tricky and took a lot of time and concentration. I then inserted the lining into the crocheted pouch to make sure the measurements were right and that the lining wasn’t too big or too small!
Next up was the zipper part! My fabric store had a wide array of colours, and adding a colourful zipper can really add a fun pop to your pouch!
We opted for a more subtle white zipper since we wanted the pink crocheted part to stand out more!
I pinned the zipper in place and then sewed one side of the zipper to the lining (wrong side of zipper facing wrong side of fabric). Ensure that there is enough room for the zipper to be pulled without it catching on the fabric. Then I unzipped the zipper and sewed the other side of the zipper to the other side of the fabric lining. Since the original zipper was too long, I sewed a stop, trimmed the end, and then Ryan added some hot glue to ensure that it wouldn’t come apart.
Next I inserted this fabric lining + zipper piece into the crocheted pouch and sewed the white zipper edge to the grey crochet part using grey thread! I attached the zipper towards the bottom of the last round of crochet so that the edge of “v’s” was kept clean! For further information, check out these tutorials I looked up to see how to add a zipper lining to crocheted pieces HERE and HERE!
Here are some different angles to show my completed zipper pouch! The white zipper looks so crisp against the crocheted grey and pink and gingham lining. The sewing parts took a long time and definitely required a lot of time and patience. I’m sure this would be a cinch for people with sewing experience, and if you have any advice or tips do leave a comment below! I was so happy with how my pouch turned out, and the uneven hand stitches remind me of all the hard work I put into it :)
I am in love with my adorable little pink and grey pouch!
It’s actually quite a good size- I am using it to hold my change, but you could also use it to hold other items, such as your make-up!
I carry this pouch with me wherever I go now in my purse, and it’s fun unzipping it to get my change!
I was tagged by Kay of “Mikaylove" to show what’s in my "Phillip Lim for Target" bag :) Once again, my friend Natalie of “Coquette" is hosting a giveaway for this same mini satchel in black or yellow so head over to her site HERE to win your own (only open to US residents, closes Oct. 7)! I love carrying something handmade and crocheted in my bag :) And I seem to love grey and pink (I’m even wearing my new favourite grey and pink chunky cross weave MIkaylove bracelet found HERE in the pictures above, hehe)!
If these colours look familiar, it’s because they’re the exact same colours I used for my mesh bag that I blogged about recently HERE!
To wrap up this blog post, here is a fun Instagram video we took showing the pouch in action! Isn’t it a great way to show off the finished piece?
Hope you had fun reading about this pouch that I made! Once again, get the free pattern HERE. It was a fun challenge adding the fabric lining and I am so proud of how it turned out. I might work on a rectangular zipper case that could function as a pencil case too (or to hold crochet hooks)! Thank you for reading and let me know if you’ll be giving this pattern a try! I followed it exactly and used my trusty 2 mm hook :) Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to get my latest updates!
I was tagged by Kay of “Mikaylove" to show what’s in my bag on Instagram! I thought I’d use this opportunity to show a sneak peek of a project that I will be blogging about- can you spot the crocheted item? In this purse I carry my Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet, grapefruit Icebreakers, NYX lip gloss, EOS lip balm, hand sanitizer, hair clippie, iPhone and sashiko kleenex holder (which I blogged about here). I seem to have an affinity for grey and pink things :)
I managed to snag a “Phillip Lim for Target" mini satchel in taupe, and I have been loving it! It can hold quite a bit and the cross-body strap allows me to be hands free. For all you mommies wondering, I carry a separate collapsible bag that has Myla’s diapers, wipes, change of clothes, snacks, change table, nursing cover etc. It’s a nice change from the big diaper bags I’ve been carrying for most of the year!
If any of you are interested in this bag, my friend Natalie of “Coquette" is doing a GIVEAWAY of this same bag in black and yellow (only open to US residents, closes on Oct. 7). Head over to her blog HERE to see how you can enter her giveaway! And stay tuned for the step-by-step blog post of this newest crochet project :)
I wanted to help spread the word about this awesome design contest that “Amigurumi Patterns.net" is hosting! The challenge is to design an animal in a working outfit, and the contest is open worldwide! Check out the contest page HERE to read about all the details!
All the prizes look awesome from books, safety eyes and yarn….and the first prize winner will receive a set of Clover Amour hooks (which I recently reviewed here)! I highly encourage all of you to participate, and I can’t wait to see all the designs when the voting period begins! These events that bring the amigurumi community together are always so much fun :) Happy designing!
Hey everyone! Cute Outfits Online has put together a very sweet and comprehensive blog post featuring my style and crochet fashion HERE! When they first contacted me, I was expecting a short blurb about my blog, but I was astounded by the very long post featuring everything from my cowls and headbands to my maternity and nursing fashion…and even a section on baby Myla’s style, hehe! I could tell that Scarlett, one of the admins of Cute Outfits Online, had scoured my blog and put a lot of effort into the feature, and I was so honoured and flattered by her kind words about my style, projects and blog!
Scarlett recently let me know that they have launched an online shop! They are offering us a 10% discount off the whole cart (excluding Mary Kay products) using the coupon code “AMI10" which is good until December 31st, 2013! You can find their shop here!
The collage above shows some of the projects and outfits that are featured! The free patterns and step-by-step blog posts are available for all of them, and from left to right, top to bottom we have my Chunky Double Crochet Cowl, Urban Jungle Slouchy Beanies, Knotted Headbands and Long Double Crochet Cowl! With the cooler temperatures and fall approaching, now’s the time to break out your crochet hooks and start working on these cozy pieces! Which of these have you made?
Look at what we found at MIchaels! As we were about to pay for our yarn at the check out, Ryan pointed out this cute tin case, perfect for storing craft supplies (like safety eyes!)! It’s actually meant to be a gift card holder, and it’s only $2.29! I love the fun colour and the crafty take on the “Keep Calm" meme! I had to share this cute find with all of you, my crafty friends ;)
The right tools are important for any craft, and hooks are one of the basic necessities for our beloved crochet! Ever since picking up crocheting again a couple of years ago, I had been using aluminum hooks. I was unaware of the many different types of hooks available as well as the basic anatomy of the crochet hook. Nerdigurumi put together a very handy guide addressing these topics HERE. I first caught a glimpse of the beautiful and colourful Clover hooks when Jo of “A Morning Cup of Jo" posted a picture of them on her facebook page as she had received them as a surprise birthday gift! They looked so fun and comfortable!
As many of you know (and often question, haha), I usually use a very small 2 mm hook when crocheting my amigurumi. I like to have very small, tight stitches and I just grew accustomed to using my skinny aluminum 2 mm hook. At times I did notice that my hand would cramp up as I crochet quite tightly and I had to take breaks since I did not want to develop any injuries. In addition, since becoming a new mom, I learned that “Mommy thumb" (or De Quervain’s Tendonitis) is quite common, especially to people who engage in repetitive hand or wrist movement (such as crocheting and lifting a baby!). When Mother’s Day rolled around, Ryan said he wanted to get me a very special gift….a new set of ergonomic crochet hooks!
At first I wasn’t sure if I should get the Clover set I had previously seen since I had slowly been accumulating hooks over the years…none of them were ergonomic, but was it worth it since I already owned many of the same hook sizes? We decided to take the plunge since I do crochet a lot and they could prevent future injury! I started researching Clover Amour hooks and discovered that there seemed to be two sets, each with varying sizes.
The “Clover Amure" set consists of 8 hooks ranging in size from 2, 2.3, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5 and 6 mm (see here). The “Clover Amour" set consists of 10 hooks, ranging in size from 2.25, 2.75, 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6 (see here). With the “Clover Amour” set, you have the option of purchasing it as a basic set or as a gift set with a case (price difference of about $10-15). I decided to go for the “Clover Amour” set since it included more hooks and I liked the range more ….and I had to get the case too since I knew it would be a great way to store my hooks! I compared sellers on eBay and went for the cheapest one at the time.
I excitedly checked the mail everyday, waiting for my crochet hooks to arrive! When my Clover Amour gift set finally came, I ripped open the package to examine my new Mother’s Day gift! I absolutely love the bright green case with pink edging- what a fun and eye-catching colour combination! The back of the case has a zipper compartment that you can use to store stitch markers or needles too.
When you unzip the case, you can see all ten of the beautiful Clover Amour hooks that were made in Japan! It makes me happy seeing all these fun colours whenever I reach in to grab a hook. The colours help me remember which size is which as well (e.g. I always remember the red one is my 3.5 mm hook!).
As soon as I started using one of my new Clover Amour crochet hooks for a project, I could immediately feel the difference. The soft, rubbery handles are very comfortable and easy to grip. It felt so different holding the rubber handle compared to the hard aluminum hooks that I was accustomed to. I noticed the biggest difference when using the smaller hooks since my previous aluminum 2 mm hook was so skinny and difficult to grip. Even though the hook size may be small, the Clover handle is big, making it so much more comfortable.
The smooth aluminum hook glides through the yarn easily and is more “inline” compared to the previous hooks I was used to (read about the difference between “inline" and "not inline" hooks here). I feel I can grip and hold the yarn well without much splitting of the yarn because of its shape!
These hooks look so sleek, and I really like the shape and contour of the elastomer rubber handle. I use the knife hold when crocheting (see knife hold vs. pencil hold here), so the flat wide part in the front is a great thumb rest.
Here are the pros of these Clover Amour hooks: they are very comfortable, easy-to-grip and oh so pretty. The cons are that they are expensive (especially if you buy the whole set) and once you start using these you cannot go back to using your other non-ergonomic crochet hooks because your fingers will notice the difference! My Clovers were in another room recently so I started a project using my old aluminum hook. It felt so foreign and I was wondering why my fingers were hurting, haha! I wish the range of sizes was a little larger too as I don’t know how much use I will get out of the 2.75 or the 3.25 mm hooks. Having larger hooks than a 6 mm would be great too!
If the sets seem like too much of an investment, you can also purchase the Clover Amour hooks individually so you can simply buy the one or two sizes that you use the most (see here). Be sure to check different sellers on eBay, Etsy and Amazon to scout out the cheapest prices for the sets or hooks at any given time (we bought our set on eBay)!
I LOVE my Clover Amour set and have been using them for the past couple of months. My hands, fingers and wrist do not get as tense as they used to and it feels so comfortable whenever I’m working on my projects. I think they are worth the investment and I get excited whenever I get to use them! Let me know about your experiences with different crochet hooks, if you also have any Clover Amour hooks or if you’re interested in getting them too! I’d love to hear about it!