covered in icing

My day  ended covered in icing.  Always, when I make the birthday cakes, since the parties are usually on Sundays, I bake on Thurs, dirty-ice on Fri and decorate on Sat.  So today was decoration day.  I knew better than to risk starting to make my buttercream while the boys were up, but I wasn’t worried about getting a late start because of how much I got done being home yesterday.

In the afternoon my neighbor brought her 7-month-old daughter over for us to babysit, and my boys had a BLAST playing with her.  She was seated in her Bumbo like a princess on a throne, and the boys didn’t stop parading in front of her trying to make her laugh.  First Jakob would do somersaults across the room, then Henri broke in with a guitar solo, and Jakob wouldn’t be outdone, so he grabbed some maracas and got in on the performance.  It was a riot.

Luckily she practically put herself to sleep just before the boys went down, and I was able to get to work on the cake.  But I forgot to take pics with my cell, and my camera isn’t with me at the moment, so instead of cake pics, here’s an update on the holiday gifts for the boys’ daycare teachers.

This is what each teacher (5 in total) got.  A red platter, topped with a back scrubber, a crocheted chain-8 dishcloth, a crocheted soap-saver bag with a scented bar of soap inside, and a crocheted bath puff, all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon of red yarn.

The chain-8 and bath puff are the standard patterns I’ve been using for years, and are linked from the projects on my Rav pages.  The soap saver I just made up on the spot, and is basically just a sc1-ch1 pattern around, with a drawstring near the top.  All was done with 2 shades of holiday Bernat Handicrafter cotton, plain white Handicrafter, and a 4mm crochet hook.

I’ve made these as teacher gifts before, but both my boys are with new teachers now so none of these 5 have received this gift before, so I didn’t mind recycling the idea.  The daycare owner, however, has already received this gift, so I needed to come up with something new.  She also happens to be pregnant, and due with a little boy any day now.  So she got this:

It’s 2 shades of Bernat Baby Coordinates from my stash, worked in a simple granny square, using a 4mm crochet hook.  I would have liked to have gone bigger, but it was late, she was leaving on mat leave the next day, and my hand was starting to cramp into a claw.


but no pressure


It’s 3:30pm. I’ve completed 5 bath puffs and washcloths, and have to crochet 5 soap saver sachets and a baby blanket by tomorrow morning. None of which are started yet. And I’m maybekindasorta high on pain killers (I’ve got strep AGAIN) and I’m also mildly allergic to them so I have to keep stopping to scratch. Woooooo…….


how it all went together

1 bridal shower + 14 days = 14 knitted and crocheted items. Not bad, huh?

If you’ve been following along then you’ve seen all this, but to recap:

top row- 4 Ballband Dishcloths (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in White with Red, Rose Pink, Sage Green and Hot Orange)

middle row- Puffalump Limbo Line Facecloth (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in French Blue), 2 Mug Cozies (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Jewels and Delft Blue), and Velvet Oblivion (Lion Brand Chenille Thick ‘n Quick in Wine and Bernat Boa in Raven)

bottom row- 2 Reverse-Bloom Washcloths (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Playtime with Hot Orange, and Summer Splash with Banana Yellow), Back Scrubber, Soap Saver Bag and Bath Puff (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in White and Navy, and Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Holidays Sparkle in White Sparkle), Calorimetry (Bernat Satin in Florals)

Here’s how I put it all together as a coheisive basket. It was a “time” themed shower, and my time was 9:00am. I decided to put together a gift basket with a little package for 9:00am at every day of the week. I wrapped each day’s package seperately, and printed a label with the name of the day, and wrote a little message on the back of each label with a hint at the contents. The bride-to-be’s mother has her own handcrafting business, and the bride-to-be herself always comments on the stuff I make (not on the blog, in person), so I hoped I was safe in assuming that she would appreciate handmade items as a part of her gift.

Monday’s package:

To start the week off on a sweet note- Tim Hortons Hot Chocolate (a favorite in their household) and a mug with a mug cozy).

Tuesday’s package:

To take care of the dishes from the weekend- some dishwashing detergent and matching dishcloths.

Wednesday’s package:

To celebrate making it halfway through the week- French Vanilla Cappuccino from Tim Hortons (another one of their faves- and mine too!) and another mug with a cozy, this one purples (the bride’s favorite color).

Thursday’s package:

How do the dishes multiply so fast? More dishwashing detergent (in purple!) and matching cloths.

Friday’s package:

To remove some of the stress from the week- a facial set. Calorimetry to hold her hair back, exfoliating face scrub and face wash, and a face cloth. (By the way, yes, I know Calorimetry is supposed to be a headwarmer for Wintertime…but I like it as a headband).

Saturday’s package:

A kit to luxuriate in a long shower, get ready for the weekend, and pamper herself. Dove Go Fresh Soap and Body Wash, an exfoliating body wash, the bath puff, back scrubber and soap saver, plus an apothecary sampler kit I got her with an assortment of creams and lotions in a mix of scents.

Sunday’s package:

Hehehe. Sunday’s package is for 9:00am Sunday mornings, when her husband will be home with her…velvet oblivion, a massager and some vanilla-scented massage oil. The 302 Calories edible thong was supposed to go in this package too. ;]

I wrapped each package up in its own colored tissue (the background you see behind each collection of items, above), and when I was finally done wrapping, I had 7 little packages all lined up on the couch.
Ever trying to be practical, Yannick had been at Zellers that morning and picked me up a laundry basket to put it all in.
A quick “9:00am” label for the top (we were asked to mark our gifts with the assigned time) and I was done. At 2:35pm. Not bad for 2 weeks’ worth of work!


and the rest of the stuff

My fingers are sore! I’ve been knitting like mad all week- here’s how the rest of the projects went down:

Sunday I was able to spend some time knitting while Jakob slept, which gave me a 2 hour block. I worked on the Puffalump Limbo Line facecloth while we watched Fools Gold, which meant we had a weekend of Ray Winstone movies. The movie was cute, but it felt like I was watching a Harlequin Duets book come to life, and when there were about 20 minutes left to go I had no choice but to go upstairs and get ready to leave…and I didn’t ask Yannick to stop it. I could tell where it was going, and it really didn’t change anything having watched it or not.

Sunday night was a lot of fun, my friend Maia was in a play from the Yiddish Theater, and a bunch of us from Jakob’s playgroup bought tickets, grabbed our moms (and some bubbies) and made a night of it. Because the show started at 7 we went for an early dinner at 5. I brought the washcloth in my purse and took advantage of the 15 minute intermission to do a few rows.

I was reminded at dinner that the following day’s playgroup would be celebrating 2 of the little girls’ birthdays…which threw me into a panic. I’d been making cupcakes for each kid, remember? So now, in addition to having one week left to finish all the projects for the bridal shower, I had to squeeze in 2 cupcakes…that night!

I got home from the play around 9:45 and parked myself on the couch to watch tv with Yannick and knit cupcakes. I finished the second one at 12:50am…finally!

I’d kinda screwed up, though. I always alter the pattern, every time I knit it. I don’t like the way the top comes out if you follow the pattern, it is too flat and round for me (does that make sense?) I prefer a top that looks more like a muffin-top, almost bloused over the edges of the base. (I also ALWAYS omit the first row of the pattern, after casting on I jump right into the increases, without a plain row. This is to avoid a pointy center to the base).

This is the first one I made.

It’s lumpy because I don’t put anything in but stuffing, so there is nothing to hold the shape of the base in where I’ve increased for the top. Still…it’s not bad.

This is the second one. See the problem?

It’s an artsy photo- trying to hide the flaws. I was exhausted and too tired to play around, so for this one I followed the pattern as written. It’s basically a tube with a round top. It’s cute- but not like the others I’d given. And also a lot smaller than the one above. And I was supposed to give them to the 2 girls together.
I didn’t have the energy to stay up later and knit a third…so I decided the moms could pick for themselves. (Let’s ignore the fact that I brought them on Monday and forgot to give them to the girls, after all that work and staying up so late!)
In a way I was glad I was still up that late, because no sooner had I changed into my pjs, taken out my contacts and pulled back the sheets to climb into bed- Jakob woke up crying. And I mean CRYING. It took me until 2:30am to rock him back to sleep. I don’t know if he had a bad dream, or if his molars are hurting him, but even in my arms, with a bottle at one point he was still inconsolable.
On Monday I finished the facecloth I’d started over the weekend: the Puffalump Limbo Line (Ravelry link).

I’m very happy with how it came out; I think it will make a great facecloth and has excellent scrubber potential. The yarn is more Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (as have been all the washcloths I’ve shown so far) and I think this one was called French Blue.
Up next was Knitty’s Calorimetry (Ravelry link).
This was a VERY fast knit, and I enjoyed it so much that I want to make one for myself.

I did alter it a bit though- my yarn (Bernat Satin in the Florals colorway) was knitting up much bigger than the pattern, and had I cast on 120 sts like suggested I would have had a headband that was at least 6″ wider than the head circumference…so I only cast on 80 sts, and did my short rows accordingly.

Calorimetry was followed by a Reverse-Bloom Washcloth (Ravelry). Using a 5mm needle meant that there was not enough in one 50g ball of the variegated cotton (Playtime colorway) to finish the washcloth, so once I ran out I switched to the solid Hot Orange I’d used for the Ballband Dishcloth.

Here’s the reverse, for those of you who like that.
And here’s another one, this time in the Summer Splash colorway, with some Banana Yellow for the center (again, all Bernat Handicrafter cotton).
…and the back…
Up next is one of my favorite projects, although I’ve only made it twice, each time I want to keep it for myself!
Can you tell what it is? By the way, yes, it is crochet, not knitting. (That’s why this is the “handmade by jennifer” blog, and not “wicked knits” like it used to be).

It’s a bath puff! As still more of the bridal shower gift, I made the bath puff with a matching back scrubber

The back scrubber came out narrower than I’d remembered from the last time I made it, but it was still cute. The scrubber and puff are from a 5-piece crocheted bath set, a free online pattern. (Ravelry link). I didn’t do the face or wash cloth, and I didn’t make the soap saver bag from that set either…I found it too frilly for the bride-to-be. Instead I did one from another pattern (also a free one online but I misplaced the link). I was told by my cousin (the groom-to-be) that their bathroom is navy, so I made all the pieces predominantly white with navy and white sparkle accents. (Seriously, if you ever have the urge to make yourself a bath puff, make this pattern! It takes only an hour or so and is awesome- I MUST make one for myself!)
Would you believe that I only finished that stuff by Friday night? The bridal shower was Saturday at 2:30pm, and it was already midnight and I couldn’t force my eyes open any longer. I banked on the fact that Saturdays are Yannick’s day with Jakob, and told myself I’d finish (and wrap!) the gift the next morning.
I couldn’t force my eyes open too early, so once I was up and had breakfast, it was already about 10:30 Saturday morning when I sat down to plan out a design for a mug cozy. My first attempt didn’t give me what I later realized I’d wanted (it closed with buttons instead of being seamless) but it did give a “gauge swatch” so I could make my second attempt practically perfect.

I knit the blue one first (Handicrafter in Delft Blue) then the purple one (the Jewels colorway).
The pattern is quick and easy, and I’ll be typing it up when I get a free moment and will post it for free here and in Ravelry.

So now it was 12:30pm Saturday. I had one more gift to knit, and I still hadn’t showered.

I really, really wanted to include Knitty.com’s 302 Calories (Ravelry link) in the gift basket. Really wanted to. But it was not to be.

I had the licorice laces, and I had the 6.5mm needles (instead of chopsticks)…but it just didn’t work. First I had done about 3″ worth when I noticed a hole down below where the licorice had snapped and come open. I started over with fresh licorice and was FINISHED…just “weaving” in the ends…when I found 3 other torn spots.
See in the center there? That’s one, there’s another right below it to the right, another right below it to the left. I gave up. I had enough for the gift basket without it (!) and I just didn’t have the time to spare to go for a third attempt.

I started wrapping the gift, which of course took longer than I’d thought, and had to force myself to go take a break at 2:05 when I remembered I still hadn’t showered or dressed. Luckily the party was only 5 blocks away from my house, and I wasn’t even being picked up until 2:30…so I rushed, showered, got dressed and hurried to keep wrapping.

I made it just in time…but is it any wonder I ended up with a migraine all afternoon? Still, the party was a lot of fun, the bride-to-be is a really sweet girl, and it turned out to be a great day. (It didn’t hurt that my friends from Ottawa were coming in that night and would be coming over for dinner, so I had even more to look forwards to).

Next post- how it all came together…