Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I don't know about where you are, but let me tell you here in Southern Ontario we are having one heck of a wind storm!! School buses were cancelled and the winds have been howling all day long!

After work I decided to go to Value Village. I walked out of there with a big old bag of buttons. Do I need them? Absolutely NOT. But they make me so very very happy.

I sorted through them when I got home and quickly got rid of the icky old white shirt buttons with thread and fabric attached to them. Once they were sorted and I could actually see the treasures, I was quite happy.

We're off to the casino tonight to redeem a coupon I have for a free dinner for two. I've been thinking about that all day long! :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

some more soap

On Sunday, my girlfriend Laura (who went to the soap-making workshop with me) came over for the day to make soap.

She made two batches of Lavender/Rosemary oatmeal soap.

I made a batch of Vanilla Oatmeal soap and a batch of Chocolate Tangerine (the photo of the Chocolate Tangerine didn't turn out).

As a brand new soap-maker, I think I've been really fortunate. All of the batches I've made have turned out. I haven't had issues with the mixture separating, the soap being brittle or any of the other common problems that can occur. The thing I do have a problem with is the scenting. I chock it up to being a newbie and not knowing exactly what scents go together or how much to put in.

I'm done with soap-making for a while now (I'm sure you'll be pleased to read that!!!). I want to wait until the soaps I've made have completely cured so that I can try and figure out my mistakes.

Now I'm going to try to finish knitting the bag that I started BEFORE Christmas!! I thought it was going to take me a day or two to knit and I'm still not done! The bag is knit, half of one strap is knit, all I have to do is finish the strap I'm working on and make the other one. Once the knitting is done, it's time for the fun part, felting!!! I might try to finish that up tonight.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I've got the soap-making bug!!

Yesterday I made two more batches of soap.

The first (3 lb) batch is mocha soap. I used fresh-brewed (cooled) coffee to make it instead of water. I added cocoa, a splash of vanilla fragrance oil and some coffee grounds at trace and when it was poured in the mold I sprinkled some more grounds on top.

In theory it sounds wonderful, doesn't it?? (ok, maybe it doesn't, I don't know).

Well, let's just say that if the scent doesn't improve, this batch is headed to the garbage bin. I'm ok with that, I have a LOT to learn.

I got the kitchen all cleaned up, had dinner and then it hit me, I HAD to make another batch, but my mold was already busy. I wanted to make a batch of "manly" soap for Joe, so I dragged everything out again and made a smaller 1 lb batch of "Muskoaka Boathouse" (cedar scent) soap. I used a tupperware container as a mold, it turned out ok (using that mold) but I think I have to beg Joe to make me a small, 1 lb wood mold.

Anyways, I had some serious doubts about this soap right up until the point that I cut it. I'm kinda digging it now. It is quite heavily scented, but I really think that the scent will fade as the soap cures.

On Sunday, my friend is coming over to make soap. I'm sure I'll make another batch with her, I am thinking "Vanilla Oatmeal".

While I had my camera out the other day, I was able to finally get a picture of Jake, she's our 20ish year old cat who doesn't like to be photographed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I came home from work to find a dozen assorted long-stemmed roses on the kitchen counter. I couldn't assume they were for me, although I don't know why not! (he he he) I called Joe to inquire and he said that they were for me, "just because". AHHH!! How much do I love him?!?!?!?

Let me tell you, after the day I had at work today, it was such a treat to come home to such a special suprise!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's done!

Ok, I dashed home from work, threw off my coat and unmolded the soap. It's all I could think about all day.

I *think* it's ok. It wasn't jelly, or full of bubbles or anything.

I'll need to work on soap photography a bit. I totally meant to take a picture of the soap before I cut it but I was way too anxious for that!

Now I just have to wait three weeks *ahhh!* for it to cure before I can use it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I'm a soap-maker

Yesterday morning I dragged a friend to a soap-making workshop. It was a two hour demonstration on how to make cold process soap. I've probably been researching soap-making since early December. I've read everything I could find on the Internet and in books about the soap making process. Even though I felt very prepared to dive in and make my first batch, I was really happy to have had the chance to see someone else do it before trying it for myself.

I was so excited when I got home from the demonstration yesterday. I gave Joe the dimensions of the mold that I wanted him to make for me. I had NO IDEA that he would make me the most beautiful soap mold I've ever seen. I must have told him a zillion times how beautiful it is and that he did NOT NEED to bevel the edges!!!!!!!

Anyways, here's the beautiful box he made for me.

So this morning, before the sun was even up, I gathered all my supplies together so I could try my first batch. After I did that I threw a load of laundry in the washer, changed kitty litter and did a little tidying up. I was very scared to actually start soap making.

Once I got started, it was fun!! The first thing I noticed though (and it made me a little scared) was that the lye seemed almost electrically charged and was jumping out of the container.

The process went quite smoothly. Thank goodness it's absolutely freezing here because when I needed to cool off my oil quickly, I just took the pot outside and left it there for a few minutes.

The only other mishap I had was with the stick blender. After I added the lye to the oil, at one point I think I lifted the blender a little too close to the surface and splashed the soap everywhere.

I used a recipe I found online for chocolate mint soap. I decided to get a little creative which was probably a big mistake for my first batch. I added the fragrance oil (peppermint), all the time keeping my fingers crossed that I added enough. And then I scooped out some of the mixture before I added the cocoa. I poured the mixture into the (beautiful) mold and then poured in the reserved uncoloured soap. I attempted to make swirls, but that didn't work out too well.

I covered the soap with plastic wrap and put the lid on the mold.

The mold is now wrapped in two towels and a blanket and the soap inside is hopefully "doing it's thing". I have to wait 24-48 hours before I can remove the bar from the mold. I'll do that tomorrow evening after work. Once the bar is removed, I have to cut it into 1" pieces and let the bars dry for 3-4 weeks before they can be used.

If you're interested in making soap, my advice is to educate yourself. Once you think you know what it's all about, read some more. I have been reading and asking questions for almost two months now and I was still very afraid to do it.

I have NO IDEA what I'm going to discover tomorrow evening when I get home from work and open up the mold. Now I'm scared about that. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My town

I had a dentist appointment today. For those of you who've been reading my blog for a while now will KNOW just how much I enjoy going to the dentist.

Anyways, I still had to take my Project 365 photo of the day and right outside the dentist's office was a huge Tim Horton's sign.

Then, since my camera was sitting on the passenger seat on the way home I decided to document my drive. Probably NOT the smartest of moves, but nobody got hurt in the process :)

Driving along the highway:

Waiting to make a turn:

And driving up our street:

Notice the paved lines on our road, up until 10 years ago those were train tracks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

toys, computers and dpn pouches

I've been feeling "not right" ever since Saturday, a little bit queasy, but not queasy enough to stop eating (of course). That's my excuse for being a Project 365 slacker. You heard me. Honestly? I'm amazed it took 10 days. I'm going to keep going (even though I'm TOTALLY tempted to quit). I know it's such a great thing and most days it's fun, so I'm going to hang in there.

Speaking of queasiness. Here's a funny story. Last week I realized I had a TON of Sony points on my Sony Mastercard. I looked online at what I could buy with them and I thought a PSP (Playstation Portable) would be a fun toy. So I ordered it. I bought a couple of cheap games on the weekend so when it arrived I'd have something to play. The PSP came yesterday. Joe and I set it up (I'm dumb when it comes to those things) and I popped in my new game, Practical Intelligence Quotient.

I went through the tutorial and I wasn't feeling so great so I put it down. It's a 3D puzzle/maze kind of game and at this point I was still really excited about it. So...a while later (when I was feeling better) I picked up the PSP and loaded up the game. After about 15 minutes I felt SOOO SICK!!!! I felt like I had the worse case of car sickness I've ever had! It was too bad too, because the game was really fun.

I turned off the PSP (without even closing the game) and ran to the bedroom and tucked myself into bed. The room was spinning and I wanted to die! (I'm laughing at this now). Joe had run across the street to the convenience store when I initially wanted to die. He came in the bedroom looking for me and I asked him if it was possible to get sick from playing a video game. He said it certainly was and it had happened to him before.

I feel better today, but I'll be selling that game, you can count on that!

Next up, my computer issues. I have no idea what happened but every time I opened Internet Explorer I was getting error messages that it had to shut down. I have anti-spyware software and anti-virus software on my computer so I am pretty sure (but not positive) that it wasn't a virus. Joe suggested bailing on IE and installing Firefox (that's what he uses) so that's what I did. I really do NOT like change and I was missing my IE so after trying several more things, I did a system restore, backdating my computer a couple of weeks and all seems to be (seems is the key word there) good again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!!!

And lastly, some sewing.

I bought a set (actually 2) of bamboo double pointed needles from eBay during the holidays. I was tired of spending $10.00 a set on them every time I needed a different size. I needed to find some way to store them. Traditional DPN rolls never work for me, I always end up losing needles.

I stumbled upon this great tutorial for DPN pouches and knew that's exactly what I needed.

So today I started on them. In typical Karyn style, the first few I made didn't really work out. I had stamped the needle sizes on some twill tape and I just didn't like the way it looked when I stitched it to the needle pouch so I ended up just folding them in half and stitching them into the seam. I like this solution much better than my first few attempts.

I really like the fact that even when working on a project I can stick unused needles in the pouch. Perhaps now I won't find them hidden in the couch!

Do you recognize the fabric Lera?

Monday, January 14, 2008


We woke up on Sunday morning to someone knocking on our front door VERY timidly!

Joe went to the door and there was a young man standing there who mumbled something like "Ummm...I just hit your car". Joe went outside him to look at his truck when the young man said "No, the car". Uh-oh. Joe knew he was in big trouble now!!

So, Joe came in to fetch me so that I could go out and look at the damage. It really wasn't much. The tail light was cracked and that's it!

I think (if I remember correctly) the first words out of my mouth were "I'm very upset that my new car is broken, but I'm not mad at you at ALL"! I was just so happy that the this guy was honest enough to confess what he had done.

My car will be fixed, at no cost to me, thank goodness! I KNOW I was very lucky.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It seemed like a good idea at the time

And I'm sure that I will be really really happy that I've done it, but I'm finding myself fumbling through Project 365.

10 days down, only 355 left go go!!!

I'm determined to improve my photography skills, but I'm realizing that there's so much more than just snapping a photo each day and posting it. I'm trying (somewhat unsuccesfully so far) to actually learn something new or try something new every day. I'm NOT giving up.

I'm very excited about it (even though it doesn't really sound like I am). I think I'm just finding it a little more time consuming than I thought it would be. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A new notebook

Ok, I've been reading everything I can about digital SLR cameras and I have little bits of paper with notes on them everywhere. I knew I needed a notebook specifically for photography notes.

I stitched this up early this morning. It was a breeze to make. I just have to remember to change the needle on my machine the next time I sew.

The front:

And the back (just for fun):

I've had a terrible migraine for a couple of days now. I suspect it's related to this wacky weather we've been having. It was over 60 degrees here yesterday, that is unheard of for Canada in mid-January!!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lucky lucky me!

Lera sent me the one of her "limited edition" super-duper-special, snowflake embroidered zippered pouches. I can't tell you how much I love it.

And some red baker's that too!

The very best part of the gift is a bar of her homemade soap. THIS is the reason I'm so eager to try my hand at soap making.

She also sent me two cute little candle holders that I left at home on my coffee table. Oops!

Thanks so very very much Lera!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Knitting and candy

At the beginning of the Christmas Break I started to knit a felted bag. I honestly thought it would be a quick knit and I had plans to knit another before the break was done. Well, that didn't happen. Unlike other bags I've knit and felted before, this one is knit on regular-size needles, not great big needles making for a fast knit. I'm just about done the bag and I still need to knit the handles and the pocket. I should be able to finish that in an evening.

For the sake of Project 365 I have been dragging my camera (my Fuji, not my new Canon, it still scares me) around with me. Today I found myself at the Bulk Barn (a bulk food store). Like a dork, I asked the manager if I could take a few photos for a project I'm working on and he agreed.

Ok, it's not candy, but I like the photo...

Friday, January 04, 2008


These are the books that are sitting on my coffee table right now.

I love books.

I love looking through craft books and sewing books and knitting books and lately photography books too. Occasionally, I actually make something from these books!

I have another gift card to spend at Chapters and I'm trying to decide what to buy. Felicia highly recommends Crazy Aunt Purl's drunk, divorced, and covered in cat hair but I'm sure I have enough to buy a second book. Any great suggestions?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New PJ bottoms

I've seen to have been collecting flannel fabric to make PJ bottoms. Oh, how I love flannel PJ's!!!!!

I managed to sew all three pairs and finish the waist on one pair. I still need to do the waists on two pairs and hem them all. It won't take long to finish them, I may even get them done tonight.

Yay for stash busting!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My new camera bag

Nothing too crafty happening around here today. I'm mostly just cleaning up, doing laundry and cooking.

I did take a photo of my new fancy Crumpler camera bag though. I plan to tote my new camera around with me and I wanted a very good bag to keep it in. I think I got it!

Edit: I took my first photo yesterday for Project 365 and I learned THREE things about my camera. Yippee!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Welcome 2008!

New Year's day I always find myself thinking about resolutions and things that I would like to change in the new year. I've never ever made a list of resolutions before because I know that as soon as I commit to something in "ink" that it won't happen.

I am very committed to learning about my new camera. I was surfing around looking for tips and tricks and I stumbled across Project 365. The idea is that you take one photo a day for a year. I am really excited about this and I plan to start today.

Fear not. I will not pollute my blog with boring photos every day. I think I'll actually learn how to use Flickr and make up a set or group or whatever it's called where I upload my daily photos. I'm thinking that updating to a "Pro" account might be called for.

Another goal I have for 2008 is to learn how to make soap. I love handmade soap and it's my favourite thing to purchase from Etsy. I've already bought several books and I'm gathering the supplies to make it. I feel almost ready to attempt my first batch.

First thing this morning, while running on less than 4 hours sleep, I decided it was time to sew the cover for my 2008 planner. I am a list maker and the Mead yearly planner with a page-a-day helps me keep my life somewhat organized. I don't like the plain plastic covers so each year I make a fabric cover for it.

Happy 2008 everyone!