Monthly Archives: April 2014

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Christmas ornament

Buried deep in my yarn basket is a good intention and a promise unfulfilled.

When a local craft store was going out of business last year I bought some sparkly red yarn. Esther asked me to make her a Christmas ornament and I enthusiastically agreed. We found a pattern for a 3D snowflake and I got to work.

But the thing is, I really dislike the pattern and I couldn’t tell you why. It requires 3 crocheted snowflakes and I pushed myself through two. And then I stopped.




So this one missed Christmas 2013. I promised Esther to have it done by Christmas 2014. That will require crocheting one more snowflake and then assembling the whole mess. It’ll take less than two hours.

Given my current Thing budget situation you’d think I’d be all over this. It’s Free! And it’s a Thing!

But truthfully? I’ll just stuff it back in my yarn basket. And probably pull it out somewhere around December 23.

Thing 113

Maybe I should call this Lingerie Week, because today’s Thing is another bra, again for Martina, and again the Anna Cross Over pattern. This time it’s in pink, the same lycra/micro jersey used for the princess dress and the unsuccessful undies, and lined in white t-shirt remnants.


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I made another modification to the pattern, cutting the back piece on the fold so that it was one long piece. This avoided a seam down the middle of the back.

I used lavender fold over elastic for all the trim and straps, except ran out before I did the bottom trim. I used regular elastic for that. Because it’s not the extra soft lingerie elastic I didn’t pull it as tight as the fold over elastic around the top edge. I didn’t want it cutting into her skin. It looks uneven like this but it fits well.


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Martina loves this one. It’s comfortable and pretty. (The pictures really don’t do it justice.) I’ve already cut out the fabric for another one, this time with the last of the silver fold over elastic. That should keep her going for awhile.


Cost of this Thing: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €169.84


Thing 112

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my first attempt at homemade underwear. They were not a roaring success. (Apparently they leave something to be desired on the comfort front.)

My favourite indie designer, Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns, has been on a lingerie kick lately and has piqued my interest in this whole area. I was determined to try again.

One of the most popular lingerie pattern designers, Merckwaerdigh, is based in Rotterdam, about half an hour away. And she teaches classes! I’m going to sign up for one but I’d like to first get some experience in basic lingerie sewing so I can get the most out of a class.

Tasia tried out a pattern from another lingerie designer, Ohhh Lulu. Her patterns are a little more beginner-friendly. Martina and I browsed her ebay shop together and she picked out the Anna Cross Over Bralette.

Today I assembled the pattern and gave it a test run with an old t-shirt of Sandor’s and some silver fold over elastic from my stash.


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I made a few modifications. I didn’t want to buy anything (hooks, straps, rings, elastic) so I used the fold over elastic for everything, made the shoulder straps a fixed length and sewed up the back strap to make it a slip-on.

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Aside from the ratty old fabric, Martina likes it and says it passes the comfort test. She’s a good sport. I’m not sure how I would have felt about this at the age of 13.


* Quick message to my mother: Mom, thank you for 1) never making me bras out of Dad’s old undershirts, and 2) not posting pictures of my underthings for the world to see.


Cost of this Thing: €6.72 (pattern)
Cost of all Things to date: €169.84




Thing 111

After a crazy couple of days of celebrating, today was blessedly quiet. The girls and I spent most of the day playing Lego. (We’re rebuilding sets that got smashed when a bookshelf fell.)

I took a brief interlude upstairs to sew a quick zipper pouch for today’s Thing. I used the leftover fabric from the flower pillows of last week, and lined them with the Ikea curtain fabric that features in so many Things. The hot pink zipper was from my stash.  I kept it simple and flat, like The Atrium bag.


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I love the bright colours and think this would make a great summer accessory. It could hold a passport, credit card, and a ticket to somewhere warm…


Cost of these Things: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €163.12

Things 108 – 110

Koningsdag! Lang leve de koning!

Today’s Things are three more crowns, so all my adult guests are appropriately attired. (The kids have plenty of orange in their wardrobes.)

Our local shopping area was full of celebrations. The vrijmarkt (lots of kids selling their old toys) was bustling this year. The beautiful weather helped — the sellers could spread out. Last year they all crammed into the covered areas.


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Martina and her friend, Annika, played violin and flute. They raked in the cash with their duets, ranging from Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring  to Wrecking Ball to the Dutch national anthem. Wilhelmus van Nassouwe, ben ik van Duitse bloed…


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Esther and her friends, Catherine and Linnea, sold cupcakes. Duncan Hines was a big hit here in Holland.




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And we all wore crowns, beautiful crowns…




But now the activities are done, and it’s time to fire up the barbecue.

Happy Koningsdag!


Cost of these Things: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €163.12

Things 106 & 107

The next two days are going to be very orange. And not subtle, subdued orange.

Which brings me to my bright orange yarn. I never did find my 5mm crochet hook but my yarn lady at the shop around the corner (De Briekorf) very kindly lent me one. A courtesy hook, if you will.

As a thank you to my yarn lady, I crocheted a tiny crown for Lily, her chihuahua that hangs out at the shop. I embellished it with a round Dutch flag. 


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(I’m not counting this as a Thing because this is actually Thing 4 reworked to be smaller. Lily is one wee dog. And my apologies to Moxy, the Californian cat, who will no longer be receiving a bright orange cat crown. Meow.)


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Your majesty…


Things 106 & 107 are Koningsdag crowns for two loyal subjects, Martina and Esther. (Never mind they’re not actually Dutch citizens.)


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Esther requested a crocheted ruby at the centre point of her crown and Martina went for pure orange.


I referred to the original crown pattern, but have since edited it quite heavily to suit my purposes.

Using very chunky yarn and a 5mm or 5.5mm hook:

  • Chain 72, join with slip stitch to make a loop, chain 1.
  • Single crochet around, join with slip stitch to chain 1. (72)
  • Skip 3 stitches, double crochet 3 times in 4th stitch, chain 1, double crochet 3 more in same stitch, skip 3 stitches, slip stitch in 4th stitch. Repeat around. (9 points to the crown)
  • Slip stitch all the way around, except at each crown point do the following into the chain 1: slip stitch, chain 2, modified puff stitch (see below), chain 2, slip stitch in same chain.

Modified puff stitch: Yarn over, put hook in stitch, yarn over, pull through, yarn over, pull through one loop, yarn over, put hook in stitch, yarn over, pull through, yarn over, pull through all five loops. (This makes something simple sound complicated.)


With this version I can get 5 crowns out of a ball of chunky yarn instead of two. The crowns are also more comfortable to wear — it’s a thinner band of sweaty acrylic around the head.


Cost of these Things: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €163.12

Thing 105

Last night was beading night. The bead collection pickings are getting slim, but there’s still some fun stuff to be found. Turquoise hexagons and coral rounds spaced with seed beads make for a summery 3-strand bracelet.


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This was the beading equivalent of a scrap buster. The wire pieces were all leftover bits from other projects — too small for a necklace, too big to throw away.

I can wear it with the clasp up…


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Or down…

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But I probably won’t wear it at all. Turquoise and coral aren’t really my colours. This will go into the sale box/gift stash.


Speaking of colours, things are turning orange around here…





Cost of this Thing: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €163.12


Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Wool Shawl

Today I’m introducing a new category: Work in Progress. I’ve mentioned before that my yarn basket is home to many unfinished Things. Hopefully by throwing them in the public light I’ll be motivated to finish them. I may or may not publish progress reports.

I’ve been thinking about starting Work-in-Progress Wednesdays for awhile now, but was finally driven to it by today’s lack of a Thing. I had grand plans to whip up some more orange crowns for Saturday, because frankly, once Koningsdag is passed, I will have little use for bright orange acrylic until next year. However, I couldn’t for the life of me find my 5mm crochet hook. It is NOWHERE. And the bright orange acrylic is still gracing my coffee table in non-crown form.

So I needed something to post about. And quick. It’s beading night tonight.

Last year, when I was in my Japanese crochet pattern phase, I found a pretty shawl pattern. I tested a square with some blue wool, blocked it, and liked the result.


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In January of this year I picked up some super fine merino wool in black to get started on a full shawl. So far I’ve made nine squares. The pattern calls for 39, though as the wool I chose is much finer than the pattern suggestion I’ll probably need to make 60 to achieve the same size.


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I make one square every Saturday morning in the cafe at the pool while Esther has swimming lessons. I also try to bring it along to Martina’s violin lessons. If I can make two per week, I may finish this by winter. That’s a big if, though. I’ll keep you posted. Or not.


Cost of this project so far: €4.95 for one ball of wool. (I’ll get 10 or 11 from each ball, so this won’t be a cheap Thing by the time it’s done.)






Things 103 & 104

Today’s Things are two more throw pillows for my sister’s guest room. These ones are small — 30x30cm. The fabric is from a drawstring bag that my summer purse came in. The back of the pillows is, you guessed it, more of my husband’s dress pants. I don’t have any pillow forms on hand so I stuffed them with sweaters to get the effect.

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Don’t they go well together? They’ll be on beds with sea foam blue bedding. I’ll get my sister to send me photos.


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Cost of these Things: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €163.12



Things 101 & 102

My sister brought over some old clothes from Canada with a project in mind: throw pillows for the twin beds in her guest room.

She had an old pair of striped dress pants as well as a dark grey skirt with lace trim (both hand-me-downs from her daughter). I used one leg for each pillow front, which resulted in a seam running down the middle. I covered the seam with the grey lace from the skirt. The back of the pillows is dark grey wool from an old pair of my husband’s work pants. I seem to have an endless supply.

I stuffed them with 40x60cm pillow forms from Ikea.


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Do you recognize your old clothes, Kelsey?

Cost of these Things: 0
Cost of all Things to date: €163.12