Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bookmark Christmas Gift

This is another of the projects that I had to wait to post. It's a thread and ribbon crocheted bookmark.

I found the pattern here. I really liked making this one! I might have to make one for myself sometime since I'm forever looking for a receipt or postcard or slip of paper to use... ;-)

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and is ready to gear up for the New Year! We're still celebrating with lots of extended family, so I'll have to catch up with all of your projects soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Recent Crochet Projects

I was finishing up testing another pattern for SmoothFox when my hubby's cousin asked about something like a neckwarmer. I had Marie Anne's neckwarmer pattern open on a tab for several days wanting to find some time to try it, so I told Hannah I'd make one for her.

Merry Christmas Eve, Hannah!
The headbands I most recently finished were also for Hannah...I think she likes the neckwarmer more. ;-)  ...or maybe it's just that warm southern blood that keeps it around her neck all day every day!

Great Pop LOVED the hat (though by the picture, you'd think otherwise!)

Where's that big grin you always have? Oh well. It sounds like he might wear it occasionally (if Great Grandma will let him), so maybe I'll have another chance at a smiling shot.

This necklace and bracelet set

...was a big crowd hit, but apparently we were having to pass the camera back and forth too much, so we didn't get an opening-the-gift picture. Maybe we'll have to save it for another shot of her modeling it.

Well, I've just been searching way too long for a long lost picture, and it's time to get moving. More pictures and stories for another time. We've been away from home all this past week, so it hasn't left much time for sleeping, let alone blogging. =( But there's still LOTS to show you, so I'll keep checking in with little snippets along the way.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Headbands

The last of the Christmas gifts are completed and wrapped! I was almost too excited to sleep, then I woke up WAY too soon. So since I'm away from my computer a lot these next few days, I figured I'd put my insomnia to good use (but then it's back to bed--no arguments!).

Here are a couple more fun headbands for hubby's cousin.

For these, I used Sugar 'n Cream worsted weight cotton, Size I hook for the headband, Size G hook for the large flower, and Size F hook for the smaller one. Hubby helped me decide on colors since my head was swimming after looking at all the options in my stash. It's so nice having a hubby with good color tastes!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Bead Crochet Necklace to show for a little while

Phew! I finished the last one today. This will be for my brother's girlfriend.

The colors were picked out by a 5-year-old boy... hmmm...hope she shares his tastes. =)

All that's left is one more headband and a couple flowers, and everything to make for Christmas is complete! Yay!

If you want to try your hand at Crocheting with Beads, you can find my tutorial here. Send me pictures of how it turns out! I'd love to see it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leprechaun Top Hat!

I found this pattern on Paula's blog a while ago, and I couldn't wait to try it! ...I just had to find the right person to receive it and the reason to make it.

We had finished up our Christmas shopping, but I could tell my sweet supportive hubby wasn't entirely sold on my idea for his grandpa. I was looking around my bookmarks for ideas when I found Paula's pattern again.

Inspiration struck!

This man is VERY (I can't emphasize this enough) proud of his Irish heritage, his mother was also a crocheter so he enjoys that a few of us in the family crochet, and he has a wild goofy side. Put it all together, and here's his Leprechaun Top Hat!

What do you think?

I'll try to follow up with a picture of him wearing it if I can.

(Thanks, Paula, for sharing your pattern!! It was a blast to make it!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bead Crochet Necklace with Charm

Here's another Christmas gift. This one is for my sister. She loves lighthouses. I found this charm LONG before I was certain how I'd use it.

We have this bad thing going on right now that everything we send or try to send to each other gets broken. I really, really, REALLY padded this in layers of bubble wrap inside a cushioned box. Let's hope it makes it! =) Either way, she'll get a kick out of the packaging.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Gift Bead Crochet

The other project I finished this weekend is another Christmas gift.

For purposes of knowing how long it takes to complete certain projects, I kept track of how long each step took. It was a LOT longer than I expected, mostly because this projects was with the smaller 10/0 beads. I really hope she likes it!

Silver 10/0 beads
Lime green 10/0 beads
Extra Fine Size 30 crochet thread
Toggle clasp
This is threaded as 4 silver, 2 green repeated 225 times for the necklace and 95 times for the bracelet. I wanted the green to be slightly thicker than the reddish/pinkish one I did since the contrast of colors wasn't as strong this time.

All told, I spent about 7.5 hours threading all the beads. It took about 8 hours to crochet the necklace and about 3 hours to crochet the bracelet.

...and it was probably at least a good 45 minutes to clean everything up when I noticed a mistake in my beads, had to break some off, and apparently broke the thread right along with it. These tiny beads were EVERYwhere, and I didn't know how to fix this midstream since the thread is all on the inside (and you can't risk having a knot show up on the outside somewhere--also, the beads won't move over a knot, even if I tried). Very disheartening. But now it's complete! Phew! Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Items featured!

A couple of my Coffee Cup Collars were featured in an ArtFire Collection!

You can see other items (as well as mine) here.

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift for a coffee- or tea-lover, check these out!

(I'm in a particularly celebratory mood right now--I just finished up the Christmas shopping, and I'm pretty excited about my findings!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One project out of three to show

Three projects have been progressing well this weekend. Yay!! ...lots more to go. Yikes.

One is a Christmas gift...I can't show you until later when I'm sure it won't be seen. ;-)

The second one ended up being more (and also better!) than I expected. I'll save that for its own post.

The third one I can show you! Background: I got my hair cut the other day, and my lady is SO sweet and creative! She comes up with the best ideas, but she doesn't feel like she can make them. In this case, she came across the Earwarmer/Headbands that are becoming so popular, and she wanted someone to make them for her. I'm up for the challenge!

I looked around online to see if there was a pattern similar to what she described (I LOVE that she is so detailed! She knows exactly what she wants). Nothing struck me as what she really wanted, so I made a new pattern.

I was so excited to take the finished product to her that I forgot to take pictures (bad blogger, bad blogger, shame on you!). Thankfully, I was already working up the second one and just finished it up!

I like the simplicity of it that she was looking for, and I think she was happy with how it turned out.

If you're looking for other options, I'm a teeny tiny bit jealous of that great pattern that Tamara has been using lately! See if you can find that book!

Michelle also has a great pattern for a wider headband.

Here are two more patterns--one done with a pretty shell pattern and one worked along the length of the headband rather than the width.

And a last one--a very simple pattern to stretch around the head rather than connect with a button.

Hope you find something you like!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Testing Patterns

I had the honour/opportunity to test three patterns for SmoothFox this weekend. I found her blog a couple weeks ago, and I loved the idea of being a pattern tester!

Turns out that she's making the patterns available on her blog, so pop over there to try them out for yourself!

I used some extra Christmas colored yarn that was hanging around.

The Granny for Christmas square:

The Holiday Coaster:

The Holiday Star:
This star was done in worsted weight cotton. I really like how it turned out!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's just a bit demoralizing...

This summer, I came across the song "O Sifuni Mungu" online that was being sung by the African Children's Choir. It was so fun! I had sung the song in choir several years ago, but it was amazing how fast all the words (in Swahili) came back to me.

I've been singing it around the house since then. Now, my 5-year-old is singing along... Yikes.

He's been asking me what the words meant, and I wasn't 100% sure that I had it right, so I decided to look them up today. In the process of searching, I came across this video.

I figured he'd like seeing it. It wasn't so bad until he asked me, "Is one of those people you?"

Excuse me for a moment while I go die.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sing-Off

Did anybody watch The Sing-Off on NBC last year?

Now I only watch 1 maybe 2 shows in any given week. We'll also watch football. But when we heard about The Sing-Off, we were SO excited. It's not like American Idol that lasts for 17 months of the year. It's short and sweet. (Don't get me wrong...I've watched American Idol before, too. Big fan of Melinda Doolittle and Phil Stacey. There are definitely some talented people out there. But I do think it gets a little too dragged out.)

Back to The Sing-Off. Truly great competition. Talented people working together to make great music with ONLY their voices. All the trumpet blaring, percussion clanging, violin screaming, and guitar distortion is done with voices. It's a sight to behold ( earful to behold?). Really--I LOVE music, and I often find that I have to force myself to remember that it is all voice that I hear.

Last year's competition was amazing, though I'll admit I wasn't thrilled by the winner. They weren't bad, there was just a nasal quality to the singing that I didn't enjoy, and I was rooting for another group to win.

One favorite group last year: The Bubs (aka The Beelzebubs)--a school group that has been in existence for decades. (Here's their official site)
Another favorite group: The SoCal VoCals--another school-based group. (And their official site)
Go check out some of their songs. I highly recommend The Bubs' Come Sail Away and The SoCals' Somebody To Love. You can find them on Grooveshark.

I'm hoping this year will draw more viewership though and a wider voting base. If there are any Gilmore Girls fans out there, it looks like The Whiffenpoofs will be in this year's competition.

You can hear this year's groups do some Christmas Songs here.

Since this is bloggy-world, go check out Judge Ben Folds' blog about the process! That will have to fill in since I can't get any pictures off The Sing-Off site to let you have a peek.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Party Food

It's been a busy week, but that's what we expect for December, right?

We had two Christmas parties to attend this weekend. Fun times. Shocking practical jokes (sorry Moe, still couldn't resist it...). Excessive amounts of delicious food. TOO much sugar! Don't get me wrong, I love sweets as much as the rest of you, and I come by it honestly. But, if I plan to survive the Christmas season AND fit in a nice dress come spring, I'm going to have to pace myself.

Here's what I made on Saturday:
 Homemade Twix Bars from Cupcake Lady at Hoosier Homemade. Delectable but SO rich.
As evidenced by the horribly shifted one in the center of the picture, I must advise you to refrigerate for as LONG as possible after spreading on the frosting. Please. Other than that, it's a fun and simple recipe! No baking involved.

This next one, on the other hand, took lots of baking! I can take absolutely no credit for the deliciousness that is this Chocolate Raspberry Cobbler. This is all the work of the amazing hubby. On this one, I implore you to allow extra time for baking before you have to rush it out the door to the party with toothpicks keeping the casserole carrier from sticking to the top. Also, the "1 1/2 cube butter" that's listed as the first ingredient actually means 1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 C.
Please make this. Anyone that is not diabetic will thank you. (The picture doesn't do it justice.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bead Crochet Items

We now have several Bead Crochet Bracelets and Necklaces available for sale in our ArtFire Store along with other Crochet and Vinyl items.
8 3/4" Bead Crochet Bracelet (size 6/0 beads) Colors shown
If you're looking for any fun and unique Christmas Gifts, check these out.
9" Bead Crochet Bracelet (approx 8/0 beads) Glossy blue and frosted purple

Custom orders are available, but order soon if you want it in time for Christmas.
15 1/2" Bead Crochet Necklace (size 10/0 beads) Silver and reddish/pinkish/orange-ish color

There are many bead sizes, colors, and patterns that can be created!
19" Bead Crochet Necklace (size 6/0 beads) Red, black, and silver
I'm really excited about how this one turned out. The red has some silver through the middle of the bead, and it looks really classy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mystery Project Revealed!

I finished the project!

...then I wasn't sure I should post it in case it was "seen." Hubby assured me that I should, so here it is:

It's a little Baby Washcloth/Hand Puppet Frog! (also, it's really hard to photograph when it's not on a hand! I had tried to prop his mouth open with the needle I had just finished using to attach the eyes, and it just felt wrong...) =D

I found the pattern here at Lily Sugar'n Cream patterns.

A few hints:
I used a Size G hook and did it REALLY tight. I'm hoping this will help it to keep its shape better when wet.

"Embroider" the nostrils BEFORE you put it all together. grrrr. You could do the eyes, too, but they weren't as bad.

I used worsted weight cotton for the body of the frog. I used regular cotton (HL I Love This Cotton) for the mouth. Since that will be that part that mostly touches baby's precious skin, I wanted it really soft.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Ideas Galore

Dittle Dattle is hosting her first link party today. Hop over there and check out all the great crafting and decorating projects over there (especially if you're like me and need help in the Christmas Decorating department!).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Movie Character

If you could be any movie character, which one would it be? (I know this doesn't seem like a very Thanksgiving-ish post, but bear with me.)

My answer would probably change regularly, but this time of year, I can't help but think of You've Got Mail.

Remember that scene where Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is in the grocery store, and she's desperately trying to avoid Joe Fox (Tom Hanks)? She's standing in the Cash Only line and is mortified because she only has $1 and just wants to pay with her credit card and get out of there. Naturally, Joe Fox comes to "rescue" her and tries to make nice with the cashier.

Joe: Rose. Great name. Rose, this is Kathleen, I'm Joe, and this is a credit card machine. Happy Thanksgiving.
(Rose stares at him. She's not going to budge.)
Joe: Now it's your turn to say "Happy Thanksgiving" back.
Rose: (deadpan) Happy. Thanksgiving. Back.

I want to be Rose in You've Got Mail! Every year, my sister and I say this to each other. We're pretty messed up, I admit, but it's a thing we do.

Now you have a terrifying insight into my mind.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving contributions

We missed out on hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I only have a small list of items that we'll be making.

Honey Wheat Rolls (hubby found the recipe and might still be changing his mind...I'll update later)

Pilgrim Hat Cookies (these are SO adorable that I just have to try them... unfortunately, I'll have to eat more than my fair share of them because my mother-in-law thinks that chocolate and peanut butter combined comes straight from the devil)
Here's how mine turned out:

Cranberry Sauce (made this for Christmas last year, it's already a favorite)

my "famous" Cranberry Tea. This recipe is so easy and so delicious, you have to try it!
Ingredients (I'll be doubling it)
4 tea bags
2 C. boiling water
32 oz. cranberry juice (or cranberry + another flavor juice--Cranberry Raspberry is really good)
1/3 - 1/2 C. dried cranberries (optional)
1/3 C. sugar
1 lemon, sliced 1/4" thickness OR a healthy squirt of lemon juice
4 cinnamon sticks (depending on how large they are)
If you'd like to go for the "mulled" flavor, add 6 whole cloves.

Place tea bags in Crock Pot. Pour boiling water over tea bags; cover and let steep for ~5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags. Stir in cranberry juice, cranberries (if desired), sugar, lemon, and cinnamon sticks. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 1-2 hours.
Remove and discard lemon (if using slices) and cinnamon sticks.

The cranberries will plump up as this warms. I like having the bits of fruit in the tea. If you have leftovers, chill in refrigerator. This is also VERY good cold! I don't enjoy the cranberries as much in the cold tea, but you might like it.

This is a great recipe to throw together after supper before you go out for a crisp fall walk. Walk in the house with the rosy cheeks and nose and have a warm pot of tea waiting for you and filling the house with delicious aromas. Ahhhh! (Can you tell we've done this more than once?)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mystery Project - pic 2

After adding more since the last picture, I have taken it all out and started over.

Here's where the project stands:
 Any new guesses?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mystery Project

This is my current project.

Any guesses what it will be?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bead Crochet - smaller beads, complete

My recent Bead Crochet project is least as far as the beads go.

It ended up being ~13.5", so I'll be crocheting a few chains on the ends before attaching the clasps so that it's not completely a choker.

Materials used:
Transparent Silver seed beads 10/0
Transparent holographic seed beads 10/0 reddish, pinkish, orange-ish depending on the light ;-)
Extra fine crochet thread, size 30
Size 12 steel hook
Finally obtained a twisted wire needle for threading the beads--made life MUCH easier with these tiny beads.
Toggle clasp to be added soon!

With the photographer of the family unavailable for input at the moment, I couldn't decide which picture most clearly represented it. =D Here are two.

Enjoy your weekend! I have big plans to accomplish a lot...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How did I forget to post this?

While we were painting a couple weeks ago, I was talking with my friend when she asked me to come look at something. As I turned to set the roller down before following her, this happened:

Oops! Mama painted the wrong thing! I didn't see him sneak up on that side of me! He wasn't too sure about getting his picture taken, can you tell?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Make your own Refried Beans

My new found love is dry beans.

Inexpensive. Good protein. Good fiber.

...bad reputation.

I love to save time and money, and I understand that canned refried beans are super cheap. But when a huge bag of beans is even cheaper and the flavor is so much better, it's worth a try, right?

Here's how:
2 C. Pinto beans. Sort through the beans to remove any dirt (or, as I found one time, popcorn kernels...true story!) Rinse thoroughly. Soak overnight in 6 C. water. They'll come out with the water looking a little cloudy. Rinse thoroughly. This soaking process is part of getting rid of that bad reputation...

Add beans to a large pot and add ~6 C. fresh water. Simmer with lid tilted for 2 hours (preferably more) stirring frequently to get the beans to start breaking down.
Add 1 C. salsa. I really liked Dei Fratelli, but any salsa will do.
Continue cooking another hour or two to allow flavors to blend and water to cook down. Keep stirring!
You can see that my salsa is in and my beans are breaking down. At this point, it was a little too watery. I should have turned up the heat and let a little more of the water cook off, but oops! I just did it later.
Time for the stick blender.
Getting creamier!
Here it is all blended.
Time to check for thickness. This is where I decided to cook it down some more.
Ah, that's more like it!
This recipe works really well as a double batch, then freeze half for later.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bead Crochet - smaller beads

When I first wanted to try to crochet with beads, I wasn't sure how it would go.

I finished my first project, and I really loved it (once I got the hang of it).

Then I made myself a necklace. I love it, even if it is pretty heavy!

Next step was to try a smaller bead for a more dainty bracelet. I had to go to a smaller hook size, but I really liked how it turned out.

On Friday, we made a little family trip over to Hobby Lobby*. I wanted to get some more of the small beads and some smaller thread to go with it. (There were also a couple final items needed to make a Christmas present for a certain little boy...) I couldn't wait to get it going. I started threading it on Saturday, finished threading them on Sunday, and started crocheting right away.

Here's what I have so far:
I tried to make the picture big enough to see the differences. On the far right is the first one--largest beads (6/0), largest hook (size 7). In the middle is the bracelet with the smaller beads and smaller hook (size 10). On the left is the one with smallest beads (10/0) and smallest hook (size 12). I'm hoping it will be long enough to be a necklace. I can't stop working on it, so I'll post a finished product soon!

*The next day, I got to return to Hobby Lobby and attempted to make the biggest fool of myself that I possibly could. My friends, it was not a beautiful moment!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today's headache

I'm sure it has nothing to do with threading all those beads and crocheting something so tiny last night, right?

It will go away soon, and then I'll be able to post pictures to tell you all about it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Maybe drooling just a little...

This book crossed my web-path today.

There is a tiny little part of me that wishes it hadn't. There are plenty of patterns on my To-Do list!!! (keep repeating...)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Coasters

A quick evening project while watching Monk.

I used this pattern that Ellie shared recently.

Size H hook
Leftover yarn

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A little Christmas Wreath

Here's my little project from Sunday night.

 With or without the red bow?

Super easy, and pretty much free!

Size G hook
Milk jug ring
Green yarn

Edit to add: If you're looking for the pattern, click here. Thanks!