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Handmade gifts for 2013 Holidays

Just a quick post to share…

I had a very good year for making handmade gifts in 2013.

A friend has opened up her studio one day a week and I have been doing some neat stuff there that ended up being good enough to offer up as gifts.  In fact I had at least two people as for certain pieces if I was in a mood to give them up.  So after hunting down some nice frames and spending an afternoon doing the work, they were added to my pile of gifts that were ready to go.

For mom

For mom

For Son

For Son

For BFF #1

For BFF #1

For BFF #2

For BFF #2

I found a sweet set of figurines that seemed to be perfect for my brother, except for the ghastly colour they were painted.  Kind of a crap brown with a few badly placed spots of cream that were meant to be highlights.  I spent the money [it was through a hospital gift shop, the money goes to fund the hospital] and decided to do a new paint job on them.  I forgot to take a before photo, but here is how they turned out.

bro's buddha's

bro’s Buddha’s

Next came the knitted goods…  I meant to try and get it all done, but I was down to the wire on Son’s socks to the point were I forgot to snap a photo, but they got wrapped and packed in time for gift giving on the big day.  Here are some of the other things I did get done, a cowl and a pair of hand-spun, hand-knit, lined mitts for d-i-l.  You will just have to imagine the socks in your head… tube style, green cuffs, purple foot… what can I say, the kids love funky socks!

k's cowl

k’s cowl

k's mitts

k’s mitts

[EDIT – Son stopped by for a few minutes to grab some stuff before heading back out and happened to be wearing his hand-knit socks so I grabbed a quick photo of them in situ to add here]

Son's Socks

So that left the items in which only some of the parts were done and some were still in progress, the house vest for my mom [which BFF #1 was helping with] and a hand-spun, hand-knit mobious cowl for BFF #1.   The Vest for mom still needs to be seamed and finished, but the cowl is done except for the sewing in of the yarn ends… looks pretty nice though, the trim has fur from her poodle who died a couple of years back spun into the yarn, so it’s a lovely memory piece for her too.

BFF #1's cowl

BFF #1’s cowl

I will have to take a photo and share the vest when it is finally done, but I hope you have enjoyed my handmade gift gallery from  the 2013 holidays.

Such a simple idea…

For anyone that isn’t a spinner that needs to wash out skeins after they are finished being spun, who like me, waits until I have a bunch [or a couple dozen] of them to do all together and make the effort worth the time, you can take a pass on this blog if you want…

For anyone who is, please read on…  I got a brilliant light bulb moment back about 6 months ago and finally tested my theory out the whole way and I have to say it saved me a ton of stress and angst.  I use the washing machine, fill it with hot soapy water, soak them awhile, spin them out, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse water, soak again, spin out again and then hang them to dry.  While they are all going through that washing, rinsing, being all wet cycle, my paper tags can’t stay with each skein and then I lose track of what each one is and yardages on each, etc.  Memory like a sieve most days, some of you have to hear me on this…

anyway, brilliant idea came about when I realized there were a pile of bread tags in a dish that we had been saving for some reason no one could remember and I was going to toss them out when I happened upon the idea of using them as ID tags for my skeins.

I picked out the white tags with no printing on them and with a sharpie marker I started labelling them “A, B, C, D, …” and so on until I got to R [ran out of tags at that point], then I grabbed hinged ring to keep them all together and neat while not in use.  All I needed was a notebook and I started ID’ing my skeins and listing all the pertinent information on that skein under the letter on the bread tag.


Finally got to a point where I really needed wash the skeins I had finished, or make up more bread tags and tossed all my skeins into a wash & rinse cycle… Lo & behold!  There are all my skeins, clearly tagged and now I just have to refer to my notebook to create paper labels for each one once they are dry and ready for sale or storage.

How easy [and cool] is that!

It’s all about how the keys fall

We all have our little quirks, the little things and rituals that make things “right” with our world.  Your bacon fried crispy in the morning, your eggs sunny side up, your chaotic purse, your well organized work station, I could go on, but I imagine you have my drift.


One of my little quirks is my keys.  I have kept my keys on a large ring with a bolt clip like you see in the picture for nearly 20 years now.  Each key is sorted on the ring and placed based on its usage and importance.

Over the years extra things get added and removed, again based on need and importance.  It seems so trivial to some the small addition of a little tag for some store, an extra key for a lock at work.  For me, every extra ounce/gram I have to carry around can be a hurdle, especially on a bad day, so I try and keep my purse and keys as minimal as I can.

For the first time since I started as a member & as president of the board of directors for my co-op, I am responsible for more then a random couple of keys.  In fact, my job description lays out the types of keys I should have in my possession in case of emergencies and day-to-day needs.

What does this mean for me?  Five – count them – [5] new keys I have to keep with me.  Two of them could technically get left on a separate ring at home, but three of them have to stay with me when I leave the house in case of an emergency.  So in the last 3-5 weeks, a bunch of locks got changed/upgraded and I ended up with these 5 new keys.  I dutifully added them to my key ring, but as the number of bits on my ring increased, the careful balance seemed to be off.  I had to search for my important keys more often and things just generally felt off.  Call it bad key chain feng shui or whatever you want, but the whole thing was driving me mad.

Today I decided that something needed to be done about the key thing.  Yes, yes, I can hear the snickers over there, who else goes all feng shui on their keys?!?!  Any way, after a bit of fussing around and much taking off and putting back on of all the bits and bobs that make up my key ring, I finally found its balance with the added keys and have harmony with them once again.  Call me crazy [it is not like that would be the first or last time], but it’s hard to explain the feeling of being able to flip the keys in such a way that the key I want will fall into place, the right way up, so that I am not fumbling and struggling in the dark for a key I need. 


It just made me feel good, like it was the first step in starting the whole spring cleaning thing. 

Yikes, I may be in for some real trouble later on…

I have a few disaster zones I have been neglecting around the house…