Maria The Monkey – New Pattern Available

Meet Maria the Monkey. She’s my newest pattern and stuffed animal available for sale. Maria the Monkey

I finished her a few weeks ago but was only able to sit down and write out the pattern last week. I think she is just darling. The pattern can be found on Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy. The finished Monkey can be found on Etsy.

Happy Crocheting,

Ashley

James at 11 Months Old

Today my baby is 11 months old. I can’t believe it. I know I’ve been saying this at every month but time does go quickly when they are young. In the blink of an eye my little newborn turned into an always moving 11 month old.11 Months

James at 11 Months Old

  1. He can climb the stairs. He loves climbing the stairs. He’ll even cry in front of the baby gate in hopes that I’ll let him go upstairs. It’s great when I want to tire him out before naps or bed time. Just let him clim the stairs a few times. However there’s only so many times momma can climb the steps before her legs give out.
  2. He still isn’t walking. Surprisingly, he has no interest in walking either. He’ll take a few steps while I’m holding his hands but once he notices how slow we’re moving he drops to his knees and speed crawls away. That’s right speed crawls. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. I have to be in a slow jog to catch up to him.
  3. Teeth have yet to make an appearance. He acts like he’s teething. The drooling, the whining, the chewing on everything. Yet still no teeth.
  4. He’s at least 30″ tall and this doesn’t include his impressive arm reach. We have very few surfaces left that are James free. Actually there’s only the kitchen counter and kitchen table that he can’t reach. And every day he finds something new that I have to move out of his reach.
  5. He loves Crosby more and more everyday. He’s always looking for him and pointing at him and smiling. He tries to play with him throughout the day. For the most part Crosby plays with him too. James can be a bit rough, more hitting and less petting. I know he’s too young to grasp the concept of ‘gentle’ yet and no matter how much I show him how to pet the dog (with his own hands) he still likes to hit him, or pet him very rough.  Crosby has been perfect, sitting there and taking the abuse. When the dog gets fed up he walks away. I love this and am so proud of Crosby.
  6. He still eats and sleeps like a champ. I always feel like I’m going to jynx these habits by talking about them, especially his wonderful night time sleeping habits.
  7. He’s more interested in toys. He would play with his toys before, but now he can sit for 10-15 minutes and play with one of his toys. I’m quite please that he’s able to play independently even if it’s a short period of time. IMG_1585 IMG_1449 IMG_20160818_085018 IMG_20160815_133458 IMG_20160812_130854 IMG_20160809_140845 IMG_1590

I can’t believe this is the last monthly birthday post. The next will be when he’s a year old. My mind seems to be baffled by the fact that I have an almost one year old. I better enjoy his last month as a baby and truly cherish James at 11 months old.

Ashley

2016 Goals Updated

Surprisingly I’ve been able to work on some of my 2016 goals this summer. I’ve been able to accomplish more this year than any previous year. It’s been quite motivational when I see the progress I’ve made. It’s slow progress but progress none the less. I have to remind myself that these are yearly goals and I still have 4 months to complete them. So here they are.

2016 Goals

  1. Create 6 new blanket patterns to add to Etsy and Ravelry
  2. Create a simple baby sweater that’s customizable
  3. Crochet a Christmas Tree Skirt
  4. Slippers for the cottage (approx. 8 pairs)
  5. Knit a nice pair of socks.

Completed Goals

  1. I’m working on the third baby blanket. The Three Stripes Baby Blanket (second blanket) can be found here. I frogged the other blanket I was working on. The beige blanket with the diamonds. I didn’t like the look of it and I wasn’t feeling it. As strange as that might sound, my heart has to be in the project or it will never get finished. It’s doubtful that I’ll be able to complete 4 blankets in 4 months but I don’t plan on giving up.Baby Blanket Goals
  2. I’ve had this goal in my head for quite some time. However, I can’t justify sitting down and working on a simple baby sweater when I’m working on other projects and have a severe lack of time. I did manage to start a somewhat simple baby sweater. I may use this sweater as my simple baby sweater. However, it won’t be customizable. This shouldn’t be a problem because I will have future years to work on a project of this nature.
  3. I’ve found a few patterns that I like for a Christmas Tree Skirt. I plan on taking a few ideas from different patterns and meshing them together for a skirt that I love. I still have my crazy must-have list for this project and I believe it’s attainable. I simply need to sit my butt down and get these ideas out of my head.
  4. My mom still has to choose a wall colour for the family room at the cottage. Until then, I won’t plan any blankets. Oh, in case you’re wondering I’m changing this goal. My parents have been fixing up their new cottage and I’d rather make them a nice throw for the family room.
  5. When I first wrote out these goals I thought for sure this would be the one that I wouldn’t complete. I’ve always wanted to knit socks but never found the time or a suitable pattern. Surprisingly in the last goals update I had found a pattern and started a pair. I can happily say that I’ve finished these socks. They’re done.First Pair of Socks

I’m happy to say that my goals are coming along nicely.

Happy Knitting,

Ashley

Summer Knitting

Isn’t the summer wonderful? The sun shining makes everything and everyone seem happier. I love the heat, the longer days, the cottage time and just summer in general. Something about this season feels like a vacation, feels like a holiday. Since I’m still on Maternity Leave I’ve adopted this school mind set and now I’m on summer vacation. The fact that my leave is up in September isn’t helping this whole vacation mind set.

A lot of people say that they don’t knit or crochet in the summer. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the lack of time. I don’t usually have this problem. I always have a project on the go. And if by some sort of freakish accident I don’t, I’m planning my next projects.

Summer has always been my ‘catch up’ and ‘plan’ season. I can catch up on those projects that are still sitting in my WIPs basket and I can plan what’s next and what I’ll be making for Fall and Winter and most importantly Christmas.

This year has not worked out quite as expected. Simple foolishness on my part. I have a baby now. A baby who doesn’t care about letting me finish just one more row, or the fact that I’m counting my stitches. Or taking his usual naps so I can get some posts written or items listed. So I’ve come to the realization that my work expectations need to change.

I won’t be able to catch up on all of my project and I won’t be able to plan a lot for the upcoming seasons. And that’s ok. It’s the summer and I love spending time with my little guy.

I have managed to complete some projects and start on some new ones. Here are some projects I’ve managed to accomplish.

Summer Projects

  1. Three Stripes Baby Blanket: The pattern can be found on Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy. The finished blanket can be found here.Summer Three Stripes Baby Blanket
  2. Crochet Monkey: Isn’t this guy so cute? So far he’s my favourite. I’m still writing out the pattern, but it should be available shortly.Crochet Monkey
  3. Crochet Rhino: I made this guy with bulky yarn. He seems a little bit sloppy. Once I’m done writing the Monkey pattern, this guy will be next.Crochet Rhino
  4. Baby Sweater: I’ve been wanting to start a baby sweater for some time now. I have tried to create this in a few different sizes, but I’m only knitting the one for James’ size (which is 18 months). Soon I will be looking for test knitters for the remaining sizes.Summer Baby Sweater
  5. Baby Blanket: I just started this one a few days ago. It’ll probably be on my needles for a month. But hey, at least it’s started.Baby Blanket
  6. Crochet Monsters: I’ve been working on a handful of smaller crochet monsters. These are for James’ First Birthday. We’re going with a monster theme and I want these guys to be hanging around. The bonus is that I can give them as favours at the end of the party. I want to have at least a dozen monsters. I have over a month left. So far I’m in good shape, I think.Crochet Monsters

How’s your summer knitting and crocheting?

Ashley

 

 

James at 10 Months Old

10 Months OldThis post is a tad late but last Tuesday James turned 10 months old. Everyday he’s become more and more like a toddler and less like the small baby I brought home from the hospital. I know I’ve mentioned this but it bears repeating. I was not a fan of the infant stage. In fact I hated it. Lack of sleep does not bring out the best in me, and I’m positive my husband will agree.

But as he gets older and older I’m feeling more nostalgic for those infant days. The days where he slept for 18 hours. Not 18 hours continuously and definitely not at night, but I was able to accomplish so much more because of his numerous cat naps. And the cuddles. At least 2 of his naps were spent on my chest while I knit and some random show was on in the background. And as I miss those days and want to go back to them, I have to remind myself (almost daily) that I hated that stage when I was living it.

I was scared when he was an infant that I wouldn’t like any stage. Because everyone loves a baby. At that age they’re so cute and cuddly and bring back fond memories to mother’s whose children are grown. And if I hated it what hope did I have as he was getting older. But when my friend had her baby in February and I reminisced, it dawned on me that everyone loves the baby stage as long as you’re not the sleep deprived parent. Everyone loves a baby they can cuddle and love and still get a full nights sleep.

Luckily, I’ve been loving each stage that followed the horrible infant stage. He’s not even a year old and I feel like we’ve passed so many. But each new skill he learns makes him more fun and lovable. Everyday he does something that makes him cuter than the last.

James at 10 Months Old

  1. He loves to eat. Everything! His favourites so far are toast, spaghetti, chicken and yogurt. I’m sure if he could he would only eat those foods.
  2. James went on his first African Lion Safari adventure. I’d like to say he loved it but I don’t think he realized what was going on. None the less it was a fun day that I will remember.
  3. He is always on the go. No more cuddling, no more sitting in one place and playing with his toys. He can spend hours crawling from one end of the house to the other.
  4. He loves playing in the dog food and water bowls. I have fished a few kibbles out of his mouth in the beginning but now he likes to throw it all over the floor. And when you firmly tell him no, he grunts back. It’s like his version of talking back. And he knows he’s not supposed to touch because when he crawls to it, he’ll turn back to see if you’re looking and if you are then he walks away, but if you aren’t then he makes a mess.
  5. He still loves the water. The pool is his favourite. We haven’t had a chance to get him in the lake at the cottage but there is no doubt in my mind that he’ll love that just as much.
  6. James also went on his first 4 track ride with Pepere. He acted like he owned it the moment he sat down. His arms went straight to the handle bars like he didn’t need my dad to drive. I’m sure Pepere has already bought him his own.
  7. His 2 favourite people are Nana and Memere (both grandma’s). His face lights up when he sees them. And he only wants to be held by them. Actually, his Dad should be on this list too. If I say let’s go see Dad, he gets the biggest smile. A slight blow to my mothering ego but I’ll take it because it means that he has plenty of people in his life that love him and that he loves.

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This month was also a very difficult month for us, as a family. On July 10th, my Father in Law passed away. It has been such a devastating loss to our family. Words cannot describe how much we love and will miss him.

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Ashley

James at 9 Months Old

9 Months OldAhh. I can’t believe it. My baby has been in the “real” world longer than I grew him in my belly. Today he’s 9 months old and it feels like a big milestone. Well all of his monthly birthdays are “milestones” but this one feels extra special. For 9 months I’ve watched him grow and learn so much. He’s gone from a blob that poops, eats, sleeps and cries (is there a better way to describe a newborn?) to this awesome baby that loves tickles, walks, Crosby and bath time.

And I’ve changed too. I’ve gone from a blob that poops, eats…..just kidding. I’ve gone from sleeping in to early mornings every morning. From loving alone time to never being alone. From knitting all day to knitting a few hours a day – if I’m not too tired. From not being bothered by a mess to always feeling the need to clean. From not being a mother to being a mom. And I love it. Well, not every moment of it. But the good days outweigh the bad days and I find myself loving him more and more each day.

James at 9 Months Old

  1. He loves the water. The pool, the bath (and soon the lake), you name it and he loves it. If he could, he’d stay in the bath until he was a prune from head to toe. We would have never figured this out had we not done swimming lessons. Best decision ever.
  2. He standing on his own. Does holding onto the couch count as on his own? Probably not but I’ll take it. He also shuffles from one end of the couch to the other. I’d love to say it’s because he wants to learn to walk but in all honesty he’s trying to get the dog.
  3. Speaking of Crosby, James just adores him. He wants nothing more than to play with him – which entails pulling on his tail, pinching him and trying to grab his tongue. Teaching a 9 month to be gentle feels impossible, but we will get there. And Crosby, well for the most part he just wants to be left alone. I’ve watched them go in circles around one of our armchairs as James tries to “catch” Crosby. And every so often I’ll get the look from the dog like “why aren’t you helping me?”
  4. He still eats and sleeps like a champ. He sleeps between 10-12 hours a night and 2 naps throughout the day. I love it and don’t ever want it to change. As for the food, James loves to eat – anything and everything. We had a hard time with pureed peas and avocados but give them to him in chunks and he can’t get enough. He especially loves chicken and spaghetti.
  5. He loves watching cars go by and going for his daily walk. The walks are really for the dog. He deserves them for putting up with James.
  6. He went on his first swing a few days ago. Unsure of it at first, but like everything else he loved it in the end. I’ve yet to find something this kid doesn’t like. Wait….he doesn’t like tin foil. As soon as you pull it out the box he cries. We’ve become a family who can use tin foil silently. Hahaha. Anyways about the swing, he loves it. We didn’t get a chance to play that long. Crosby was crying the whole time. As if he knew we were interrupting his precious walk so that James could play for a minute. How dare we!9 Months Old 9 Months OldIMG_20160610_121106 9 Months Old 9 Months Old 9 Months Old

So at 9 months old he’s a pretty active baby. Always needs to be on the go and keeping me on my toes. He finds – almost daily – new things that I have to baby proof. Like a fan. Who knew that this kid was going to like shoving his fingers in a fan thats turned on – I sure didn’t see that coming.

I can’t wait to see what next month bring us.

On a side note, I’d like to say Happy Father’s Day to my awesome Dad and Father in Law. Keith and I wouldn’t be the parents we are today without your love and support. We love you!

And to my wonderful husband Happy 1st Father’s Day! I love you so much and could imagine doing this parenting gig without you. You do so much for James and Crosby (and me) and we can’t thank you enough. Enjoy this day and I’m looking forward to spending a lifetime more with you 🙂 xoxoxo

Ashley

New Patterns Available

During the last few weeks I’ve been slowly working on a few new patterns. They aren’t my usual baby blanket patterns. They are crochet animal patterns. I’ve been making knitted and crochet animals for a few years now and a while ago I realized that I can easily create my own. I’ve made some monsters for my Etsy shop so making animals shouldn’t be a problem. And it hasn’t been. I’m loving creating these guys.

It all started when James and I were laying with one of his stuffed Giraffes. It’s just a simple toy and as I was looking at it I realized that I could crochet this exact Giraffe. Everything about it down to the ruffle on the back of its head. And that got me think that I could create a bunch of other animals too. But I wanted to start with the Giraffe. I used the basic shape of his toy and started writing a pattern. Then I had more ideas for more animals and now I have a handful of animals that I want to create. But in the last month of so I’ve only had time to finish four. However, only two of them are ready for purchase.

Two New Patterns Available

  1. Giraffe: This is George the Giraffe. I made him used worsted weight yarn and a G6 hook. The finished Giraffe can be found in my Etsy shop. The pattern can be found on Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy.Crochet Animals
  2. Owl: Olivia the Owl. She is made using worsted weight yarn and a G6 hook. She can be made with or without the wings. The finished owl can be found in my Etsy shop. The pattern can be found on Etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy.New Patterns Available

I’m still in the process of seaming and photographing a Rhino made with chunky yarn. I also have to make sense of my notes and write the pattern for the Rhino and a Monkey that I was able to finish last week. By the end of the summer I would like to have about a dozen stuffed crochet animal patterns available. Looks like I’m in for a busy summer – it’s a good thing I love what I do!

What crochet animals would you like to see?

Happy Crocheting,

Ashley

Socks…I Think I Love You

First Pair of Socks It’s taken me a while but I finally got around to knitting myself a pair of socks. And I think I love knitting socks. Well I have yet to come across any knitting that I don’t like. I’m trying to think of a knit project I didn’t like and I’m coming up empty. Regardless, sock knitting is awesome.

I don’t know why I waiting so long to get a pair on my needles. Actually I do. It’s the heel. The heel scared the crap out of me. Not that it would be too difficult, but rather that I would screw it up in some enormous way and the only fix would be to start over. To start from the first cast on stitch. Looking back I see this isn’t reasonable. I mean rarely is a project so far gone that starting from the beginning is necessary.

So about 3 months ago (wow I can be a real slow poke), I cast on my very first pair of socks. After I finished the ribbing, I set the socks aside for a month. Yup, one whole month I didn’t work on them. A severe lack of time was the biggest factor. Followed by starting a handful of other projects.

But then one day I had the urge to finish the first sock. You know that urge. The only thing on your mind is that project, and you want to drop everything else you’re doing – regardless of importance – and knit. That was me. So once Jamesy was in bed, I knit. Every free moment during the next few days I would knit. And finally I was able to finish the one sock. What an accomplishment!

I tried it on, showed it off, then immediately started on the next pair. But as luck would have it, this one took me just as long to finish. Two weeks passed without touching my needles – well the needles which held the second sock. Again, other projects called my name. Other matters – taking care of my baby – called my name. Cleaning up our backyard and getting it ready for summer and BBQs called my name. Our home – in desperate need of cleaning – called my name.

And so every few weeks, I managed to work in a few rounds. And slowly but surely, that second sock was getting finished. I could finally see the light at the end of the sock tunnel. When I weaved in that last end, I wanted to shout from the rooftop. I wanted to let everyone that I did it! I finished this pair of socks.

By the end of it, one pair of socks took me 4 months to complete. And it’s a strange feeling. I felt such accomplishment for one pair of socks. It feels awesome to finish any project. Each is definitely an accomplishment. But this one, this pair of socks was different somehow. Time and other responsibilities tried to pull me away, and I won.  And my glorious prize is my first pair of knitted socks. Socks

About the Socks

The pattern I used was Petty Harbour by Rayna Curtis. It was a great pattern for my first pair of socks. All of the instructions are clearly stated, very little room for screw ups. As you can see by my perfect heels – which by the way, are not so scary after all. Not too simple (all stockinette) and not too complicated (crazy cables I’m thinking of you). It’s a basic four row repeat, which I love. I made the leg longer as I had extra yarn and I love long socks. I’m not a fan of how the toes turned out. Not because of the pattern but it somehow sits funny of my toes, almost lopsided. In all honesty, it’s probably my toes which make it lopsided.  I didn’t realize this until I was finished the sock, so for the next pair I’m going to try toe up socks. This should allow me to notice any toe issues a few rows after cast on as opposed to when I’m finished.

The yarn used is Knit Picks Gloss and the colour is Bordeaux. It’s a wool and silk mix which is surprisingly soft – I had my doubts. I wanted to use yarn with a mix of nylon but I had none in my stash. And as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t justify buying more yarn for this pair. But I’ve already warned my hubby that I’ll be buying new yarn for the next pair. Besides James has never been to my LYS and he’s overdue for some yarn shopping with Mom.

Socks

I’m already thinking of my next pair of socks – toe up socks as mentioned. Maybe something with a more intricate pattern, maybe some cables, maybe some lace. I’ve been looking into a sock kit. One where the pattern and yarn are all delivered to your front door. But I have to find a kit with a pattern and yarn that I like – which is proving to be difficult. Maybe I’m being too picky. Regardless, I shall be knitting more socks soon.

What are your thoughts on socks?

Happy Knitting,

Ashley

Crochet Animals Available

The last few weeks have been hectic. I somehow got it into my mind that I should be selling some crochet animals. And selling their patterns (but more on that in another post). I’ve crocheted a handful of animals before and I understand the basics of shaping, so why wouldn’t I create a whole range of animals (and their patterns) to sell.

Well I know how I got it into my mind. James and I were playing with some of his stuffed toys when I started thinking that I could create the Giraffe he was holding onto. I wouldn’t have all the bells and whistle that his had, but it would be mine. And it would be awesome. I spent a few days drawing it out and working out some of the shaping.

I finally got this guy onto my hook. Made some – well a lot – of adjustments during the process. And now he’s finished. And he’s available in my Etsy Shop.

Crochet Animals The obsession didn’t stop there. I thoroughly enjoyed designed and creating George the Giraffe. So much so, that I started a new design book full of different crochet animals and their patterns.

My cousin loves Owls and her birthday is coming up. So an owl was the next on my list. This gal took a few days to complete. She’s pretty simple. Not too many adjustments to my original pattern which made her a breeze to crochet. Along with this stuffy, I want to create an oversized pillow. My cousin would love that. Olivia the Owl can be found in my Etsy Shop.

Crochet Animals I’ve also started a rhino. However, I’m not quite feeling him. I used chunky yarn and he seems somewhat unpolished. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s something that I don’t like. I’m thinking it’s the horns. They look unfinished. Or not pointy enough. Whatever the case, he drives me crazy every time I look at him. I’ll most likely frog him and start again with worsted weight yarn.

crochet animalsAnd lastly, I’m almost finished this monkey. This guy took a while. His face gave me the hardest time. And for some reason he looks a little crazy. My husband says that’s ok because he’s a monkey and they’re supposed to be a little bit crazy. I was going for more cute than crazy but once he’s all put together I’m sure the cuteness will start to show. I’m hoping to have this guy available in my shop by the end of the week and his pattern next week some time.

crochet animals

The pattern for these crochet animals should be available shortly.

What’s on you hook?

Ashley

James at 8 Months Old

These last 8 months have flown by. In the moment, it felt like it would never pass. I thought the newborn stage was never ending. When you’re in the middle of it, it sure feels never ending. But now at 8 months I can safely say that I miss that newborn stage. At the time all I wanted was a full nights sleep. Just a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And now that James is more active, I miss all those 2 hour naps he used to take. All the naps he used to take on my chest while making the cutest noises. But now he’s more toddler-like (when does toddler-hood begin anyway). He’s more active and fun and I’m thoroughly enjoying this age.8 Months Old

James at 8 Months Old

  1. He crawls everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And if there’s something blocking his way like say a couch, he tries to push it out of the way. Or proceeds to get frustrated and screams.
  2. He picks everything up off the floor. And it goes right into his mouth. I’m pretty sure he’s eaten a few broken pieces of dog food that Crosby has left laying around (we have a very messy eating with that dog). I feel like I’m always sweeping.
  3. Speaking of sweeping. James loves the broom. He follows me everywhere when I sweep and when he reaches the broom he giggles and wants to play with it. Makes keeping the floors clean a bit harder. I used to be able to keep him in his bouncy seat or his exersaucer but as soon as he sees that broom he cries until he’s set free. Free to chase it and me.
  4. We’ve been doing swimming lessons. It’s mostly playing in the water, getting them used to the water. We’ve dunked his head in a few times. He’s not a fan. But he does love splashing, especially when it’s in my face.
  5. He’s on somewhat of a routine. He’s up at 7am and goes to sleep around 7:30pm. He also has 2 naps throughout the day, a morning nap between 9:30am and 11am, and an afternoon nap between 1:30pm and 3pm. This works great when he actually takes those naps and for the most part he does. It’s the morning naps we’re working on. I give him solids around 8am and he usually falls asleep in his high chair soon after, then he’s up at 9. So I’ve been taking him on long walks so that he can get in that extra shut eye and I’m not dealing with a monster until his afternoon nap.
  6. He loves food. Even food he’s not eating. We’ll show him what we’re cooking and his eyes light up. I’m hoping that this is a good sign that he will be an awesome eater.
  7. He loves pictures of himself. Our screensaver on the apple tv are all pictures of him and Crosby. As soon as it starts he gets the biggest smile and stares at the tv. It’s absolutely precious. He may be a little vain when he’s older. Hahaha.
  8. He stood up on his own for the first time yesterday. I fear walking is soon then there will be no stopping him. No stopping the trouble he will get into. IMG_20160503_091511
    Watching our screensaver of himself on the TV

    Watching our screensaver of himself on the TV

    The struggle to crochet while James is awake

    The struggle to crochet while James is awake

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He seems to be reaching major milestones on his monthly birthday. I’m quite excited for next month, maybe walking, maybe a tooth, maybe talking.

On the knitting front, I haven’t had much time. An active baby makes it quite impossible to accomplish knitting. I’ve been working on a pair of socks. It’s taken one month to complete 1 sock. Tonight I will start the second, and in one months time I should have myself a pair.I have been working on a few other items but that’s for another post.

Happy Knitting,

Ashley