Saturday, February 27, 2010

Car Constructions

Sam has been constructing yet again, but this time with rubber bands (or "bandannas" in Sam speak.) Here as a few snaps of his latest creations. Mom's help is needed to create such masterpieces, but the design is all Sam.

The proud boy still in his jammies. Hard to get a natural smile out of him lately. I guess 3 1/2 year olds are a bit of a ham when it comes to photos.

Sam thought it was so funny that the semi truck was towing the tow truck. Gotta love kid humor.

What is your child up to lately?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simply Playing Now on Facebook

My etsy shop Simply Playing now has a page on Facebook. This gives you another way to see what's happening in the store. I'll mainly be adding pics of my new creations as I list them on etsy as well as future project ideas. I'm hoping to start a few conversations as well. Because Easter is on my mind I'm currently wondering "What items do you include in your child's Easter basket?"

Become a Fan and you'll receive a 15% discount on your next purchase from my etsy shop. It's easy to do just scroll down to the Facebook Fan Box and click on the words Simply Playing. This will direct you to my FB page. Then click on Become a Fan and your done! When buying one of my creations from etsy write "facebook" in the notes to seller and I'll refund your 15% through Paypal (shipping is not included in the discount.)

Here's the picture I've chosen for my profile picture. It's also a new Easter item in the store.

Hope to be hearing from you soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Plant Dyed Yarn is HERE!

On Saturday I received my first package of plant dyed yarn from Mamajudes etsy shop.
Oh, it is so lovely!

It's Even prettier all balled up using the yarn winder Dan gave me for Christmas. There is something so alive and glowing about the yarn; I just couldn't wait to get started knitting.

Alas, I had to wait as it was Sam's big bus adventure day. So, Saturday night after Sam went to bed I started knitting this crown. The pastel rainbow colorway is so fun to work with and I loved having matching plant dyed felt on hand to applique the heart.

I'm now a complete convert to plant dyed if you cannot tell. Then on Sunday had me knitting this bunny from the book Knitted Animals by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff. He was so simple to make I'm sure I'll make lots more for my etsy shop in time for Easter. He too has a little felt applique on his ears to give him an extra special touch.

Thanks for all your well wishes on my changing over to plant dyed yarn. It's wonderful to read such supportive words.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sam's BIG Adventure

Sam has talked about a desire to ride a bus and we decided it was time for a big bus adventure. Our journey was to Uptown Minneapolis (about a 1/2 hour ride from our house.) We looked around at shops, bought some fun smartwool socks for me and Sam, had lunch at The Independent and took the bus back home. Big for a three year old is relative. We had so much fun watching Sam explore these new worlds; trying out pool and darts at the restaurant, going up and down an escalator and did I mention the elevator? Such fun was had by all. Bear with me I took lots of photos!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Old Stock SALE!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post I am in the process of changing over to using all plant dyed yarn and felt in my creations in my etsy shop. So now it's time to clear out the old stock with a SALE! Valentine gnomes and crowns remain $2.00 off, baby gnomes are $2.00 off and regular gnomes, cats and crowns are $1.00 off their original price. I've grouped all my old stock under the catergory of SALE/CLEARENCE. Come check out the deals!

This little guy could go home with you for as little as $9! Stop by my shop today!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Birthday Gift - Fingerless Mitts

As you can plainly see I did not write on Wednesday about an unfinished project, but instead picked up a completely new one. What's going on here you might ask? My husband certainly did! Well, my oldest friend Emily is having a birthday next week. We don't always exchange gifts, we're both very random that way, but this year I felt she needed a pick me up. Emily is pregnant, in her first trimester, and not feeling very well. So, I wanted to give her something comforting, cheap (trying to stay in budget), that I could knit quickly and that she'd like of course too. I found my inspiration from Waldorf Mama whose blog I read regularly - fingerless mitts!

What was even better was that the pattern was free off of Raverly and I had yarn and needles I would need on hand! I don't know about you, but this hardly EVER happens to me. I got started last night and just finished up this afternoon. This was my kind of project. I used Louet Riverstone Worsted weight yarn in a celery color and probably only used 90 yards total. So, now I'm thinking of making this scarf to go with the mitts. It will use up my yarn (using up yarn completely is in my top 5 favorite things in the world - not even exaggerating here!) make for a fabulous present. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Planted Dyed Yarn and Felt

I'm am so excited I can't quite contain myself! I've been in a bit of a malaise about my etsy shop and the direction I want to take and whether or not I want to keep going. What I've been happiest with as of late have been my magic wands made with beautiful felt and yarn that's been planted dyed. The colors seem so alive and real in a way I've never experienced before with commercially dyed yarn. But, my gnomes and other items aren't bringing me the joy they once did.

Then a woman emailed me on etsy to find out if my knit crowns were plant dyed as her children are allergic chemical dyes. This comment really got me thinking about what I'm doing and why. I love making all natural toys for children, but maybe they are not natural enough?

So, I made a big decision to change over to using solely plant dyed wool yarn and wool felt in my creations. The Simply Playing shop will still carry gnomes, cats, crowns and wands, but now all will be made out of in plant dyed wool. I will also add some new baby items as well to the store in case there are others out their that need an alternative to chemical dyes. The phasing in will take me some time so keeping checking in for them and for some deals on my old stock!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Old Project #1 - FINISHED!!!

Well, I'm so happy to say that I finished my first sweater for myself. Putting it out there in the blog world that I was going to do so really was a motivator (more than I expected.) My biggest challenges were evenly picking up stitches for the collar and attaching the sleeves at the shoulder. Anyone out there have any tips for these tasks? I must admit I just winged it instead of seeking help. The yarn was purchased online instead of my local yarn shop Skeins (not usual for me, but she didn't have what I wanted). This left me feeling a bit funny about going in to ask for help on this project.

Overall, I am pleased with the fit - it's big and snuggly. A perfect Saturday sweater. I wish I would have cast off a bit looser on the collar, but that's my only complaint. Here it is - what do you think?

Now, to pick out another unfinished project to list on Wednesday - so many to choose from, but not for long!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Books

As I was going through Sam's books the other day I decided we needed something new to spruce things up a bit. I like to shop at Half Priced Books, but the books I want for Sam I can never find there. So, I let my fingers do the shopping at We love Daniela Drescher's "In the Land of Elves, Fairies, and Merfolk" books so I purchased 2 more of her books "The Elves Big Adventure" and "What's Hiding in There".

There's a great fold out picture of Redcap Elf and Bluecap Elf trying to land Redcap's hot air balloon.

As you probably guessed "What's Hiding in There" is a lift the flap book. It's filled with wonderful little discoveries like elves, nuts, butterflies and berries hiding in the forest. Sam loved both books, but "The Elves Big Adventure" is the favorite as it has a dragon (friendly) in the story. What new books have you added to your bookshelf?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Giveaway at Natural Suburbia Blog

Linda from Natural Suburbia Blog is having a great giveaway. Just visit her site by Feburary 12th and leave a comment to enter. Below is a picture of all the fabulous items in her giveaway.

Items in this giveaway:
a handmade rainbow felt sheet,
a hand carved crochet hook,
a skein of hand dyed rainbow cotton,
a skein of hand dyed rainbow mohair,
a skein of hand dyed merino,
a ball of pink banana leaf yarn,
a felt holder wrap for block Stockmar crayons (crayons not included:)
Little black lamb.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finishing Old Projects - #1 My Sweater

Well, I decided I need to start finishing some of the bigger projects gathering dust on the shelf. Like many people I have great momentum in the beginning and if I run into a stumbling block I come to a full stop. This sweater's moment was when I realized I did not have enough yarn to finish even though I purchased the amount indicated for my size. Common issue. I now know to always buy at least one skein more, but this irks me as I love to use up all my yarn (I hear you - find another hobby then.)

So, this happened back in October when I thought I get our Christmas picture taken with this sweater as I was clipping along at a good pace back then. Now, it's February and still it sits on the shelf. That is until today, being armed with another skein of yarn (sadly not the same dye lot) and a bit of time while Sam is at preschool to find out where I left off.

I found this book Textured Knits by Julia Cooper at Half Priced Books and luckily fell in love with the one sweater in my size (not much for us busty girls in this volume, but lovely patterns none the less.) It just looked so cozy for a winter's day. I splurged on myself (not at all usual as most moms experience) and bought Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande for the project. It's so light and extremely soft which makes me think this sweater will be worn constantly - when it's done of course.

It has a very easy but unique looking rib pattern that is for the hem and cuffs but it also goes up the center of the front and back for decoration. Here's a close up.

I'll be posting when it's finished and then will start on another unfinished knitting project. Hopefully I'll inspire you, as well as myself, and won't let so many partially completed projects build up again. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Valentine's Day Sale on Etsy

I'm having a Valentine's Day Sale in my Etsy Shop. I knit up a bunch of gnomes and crowns special for Valentine's Day with knitted heart appliques. And now that Valentine's Day is fast approaching they need to find new homes. I've marked the gnomes and crowns down by $2.00 so, instead of $12.00 they are now on sale for a mere $10.00! They are made in lovely shades of cream, pink, purple and red and some with mohair yarn to add a bit of fuzzy love to them. Here are just a few examles:

Please take advantage of this great sale while spreading a bit of love this Valentine's day!