Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finished: Flower Tote + Doll Set

WIP's? No problem! I'm almost caught up now. Here's how:

Embellishing my little tote bag with flowers from my stash was easier than I thought. I simply used some cotton yarn and my large tapestry needle to stitch them on. Easy peasy. I think it turned out pretty cute, too.

The blanket/doll blanket/doll set I started last week is also finished. After adding to this project several times (clothes, matching hats, etc), I finally got all the pieces together for my niece. And then in a moment of serendipity, realized I could put it all together in the small tote I had just finished. Yay!

Here's another pic of my finished work. Both were such fun projects that I'm thinking of doing them again for another niece.

Flower Power

Months ago, when I first got on this mega crochet kick, I found a pattern for making little five petal flowers.  They were super easy and quick to make, so I made up a bunch. 

Then, I didn't know what to do with them.  Most of the kidlets in my family are little boys, and they don't have much use for flowers, so my stash has been just sitting at the bottom of my crochet bag. So sad.

Recently, I spent a relaxing afternoon wandering around my local craft store. Seriously, I simply wandered around for HOURS checking out all the crafting supplies. It was WONDERFUL!

Well, during this meandering trip, I finally found a use for my stash of flowers- embellishment for a canvas tote.  The totes I found are small, washable, and come in a variety of colors. In other words, they're perfect for kid-friendly crafting.

I'll post soon to show the finished results.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Next up on my Log Cabin

Here's my yarn stash for the next part of the log cabin afghan I'm working on. I've been slowly getting yarn together using coupons... I know, crazy, right? But I've got a craft store on my way home, so it's easy to stop in with my weekly coupon and pick up a skein or two (and so far I've lucked out in finding all from one dye lot).

I can't wait to start this next section. I think I'm going to try a cable-type motif.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Log Cabin Afghan- Part Two

I finished the first, center piece of the log cabin afghan I'm making. This photo doesn't do it justice. Up close, it's textured with soft shell-like shapes and super soft. I can't wait to do more on it.

Here's the pattern for those interested.

Modern Log Cabin Afghan

Color A- 2 skeins Copper
Color B- 8 skeins Mocha
Color C- 8 skeins Beige
Color D- 8 skeins Oatmeal
Color E- 8 skeins Dark Blue

Needles: Size J crochet hook.

Finished Size: Approximately 55" x 70".

With Color A, ch 70 or a multiple of 3 plus 1 to get the 26" length.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 69 chs. Ch 3 and turn.
Row 2: In 3rd sc from hook, work 1 sc and 2 dc in sc.  *Skip next two sc, work 1 sc and 2 dc in third sc.  Repeat from * across, single crochet in turning chain.  Ch 3 and turn.  
Repeat Row 2 until piece measures 11" wide.  Fasten off.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Work in Progress

Here's what's been keeping me busy lately. I'm new to the granny square, and I love it, but boy does it seem to get slow near the end of a project! I'm still chugging along with this gift for my niece.

PS- inspiration for this blanket came from Crocheting the Day Away. She's got lots of cute projects going on. Pattern is available here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I wanted to make a blanket...

...but I didn't have enough yarn on hand to make it.

I did have enough yarn for a doll blanket,though, so I planned on making just a small one for my niece.

But I just couldn't give her a doll blanket without giving her a doll, too. Right?

So I made a doll last Saturday. Isn't she adorable? I'm naming her Clara for now.

Well, a doll is great. And a doll and a doll blanket is pretty nice, too.

But what 2 1/2 year old wouldn't love a doll, doll clothes, a doll blanket, and... a matching Big Girl blanket, too?

Hmm... I need to get to work.

P.S. My sweet hubby, when he saw the doll and heard about the blanket that inspired me, took me out immediately (at 9:30pm) to pick up all the yarn I need.  What a good hubby!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flower Inspiration

I saw these flowers on Craft Passion. I LOVE them! Seriously, aren't they sweet? You could use them as an embellishment or put them together in a scarf, afghan or even a placemat or table runner. They're great for this time of year, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recent Baking

So far this hasn't been much of a cooking blog. And well, I guess that's because I don't create a lot of meals. Like I do with crocheting, I like to find the directions for how to make something, get started and then promptly do my own thing. So in the end, I'm not so much creating as modifying other people's recipes.

One of the recipes my hubby tried recently is worth sharing here. He made some AMAZING soft pretzels. Seriously, these were delish (especially lightly salted with nacho cheese sauce for dipping). Here's the recipe (exactly as we/he made them)-

3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) water

3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
pretzel salt

Mix and knead the dough ingredients together—by hand, mixer, or machine—till the dough is cohesive and fairly smooth. It should be slightly sticky; if it seems dry, sprinkle it with a tablespoon or two of water. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, fold it over a few times to gently deflate it, then divide it into six pieces, each weighing about 3 1/4 ounces. Roll each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the water, sugar and baking soda. Shape each rope into a pretzel, and dip in the baking soda solution; this will help the pretzels brown. Sprinkle with pretzel salt if desired, and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and serve warm. Yield: 6 large pretzels.

The credit for this recipe goes to King Arthur Flour (sidenote: have you heard of this flour company before? Where'd he find this, I wonder?). And here's a link for these guys. Yum!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monkeying Around

I had some people comment on the Monkey Book I put together, so I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the other photos that made it into the book. 

When I was taking the pictures, I tried to think of all the things a typical toddler might do during the day.  As you can see, I included things like helping mommy, reading books, playing ball, taking naps, etc...  In the book itself, the page opposite from the photo would say "I can fill in the activityCan you?"  The last page had a picture of our nephew with his sock monkey and the words "I love you."

Our nephew, by the way, loved his book.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Log Cabin Afghan- Part Two

Tonight, I did something I have never done before: I crocheted a test piece to check the gauge of my crocheting. I never bother with that. Sometimes, I end up with wonky finished pieces because I started out tighter/looser than I finished. Usually, though, I’m consistent enough not to worry about it. With this afghan, though, I really want to be sure I get it right. So… I spent time playing around with different needles and tension and even tried out some different stitches.

And speaking of stitches, my hubby (after looking at my test swatch) suggested that I do different stitches in each of the blocks. Great idea, huh? I think so, but I’m not sure how intricate I can be with this bulky yarn. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve tried out so far-

And as far a gauge is concerned, here’s what I’m doing:
Using J-10 (6mm) hook (I tried some larger sizes, but they just felt too big in my hands and thus, uncomfortable)
12 rows or 10 sc= 4 inches

Last thing to figure out is if I am going to change up the stitches. Hmm...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baby Booties

Don't you just love baby feet?  So little and soft and sweet... and needing of some adorable booties!

Photo: New Free Photos

I've been wanting to make some baby booties for a while now.  After two failed attempts to "just make some," I finally admitted that I needed a pattern.  An hour or two later, I found two patterns on the web that I was ready to try.  These little beauties are from a pattern by Lion Brand that you can find here.

Verdict: they are cute and they will match a hat I made earlier.  They are not, however, as amazing as I want my booties to be.  Next up, is to try another pattern I found.  And if that doesn't work- let's be honest, even if it does work- I'm going to have to go freestyling some more!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Log Cabin Afghan- Part One

A while back I book marked this project I saw at Purl Soho for a Log Cabin blanket. I think what appealed to me were a) the warm, natural colors of the yarn and b) the sort of modern/minimal/geometric feel to the blanket. Recently when I began looking around for an afghan pattern, I suddenly remembered it and knew that it was just the thing I was looking for.

With that decided, I spent 2 ½ wonderful hours wandering around Michael’s yesterday and found the yarn I’ll be using. My requirements for this project are that the yarn be bulky (it’ll be a gift for someone in the North Star State) and low-maintenance (in other words it has to be machine washable and dryable). Although I like using natural fibers like wool or cotton, this afghan needs to be something they can simply throw in the laundry and not worry about. What I found that meets these needs is Michael’s Loops and Threads Charisma. To start my project, I picked up skeins in copper and brown, and I think I’ll also be using beige, gray and navy in some of the future blocks.

This morning, I spent a couple hours planning out the exact dimensions I want this afghan to be. And yes, I’m not following a pattern. I’ll actually be devising my own as I go along.

Here are two images from my planning this morning. The first is the “drawing” I did to plan out the color scheme. It was also helpful for showing my hubby what I’m thinking. The second is the exact dimensions I want each block to be. I noticed that pattern changed a little when I went from drawing it to graphing it out, so I’m glad I went through that extra step of planning.

Next up, I want to crochet a test swatch and make sure I settle on the gauge I want.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Inspired by Log Cabin Crochet!

This morning, I started working on a new afghan that I’ll give as a Christmas gift later this year.  Yes, I know it’s only June.  And no, I’m not crazy.  It’s just that I love being organized, I love crocheting and I love giving Christmas gifts. So what’s a highly-organized crocheter who loves Christmas going to do in June?  Get started on making gifts, of course!

I’ve known for months that I wanted to make an afghan, but it was only recently that I finally found a pattern that I thought would suit this person.  It’s the Log Cabin pattern.  Here's some photo inspiration for what I’m thinking of doing:

Granny's Log Cabin by Neatly Tangled
Image of <font color=red>Log</font> <font color=red>Cabin</font> <font color=red>Afghan</font>
Log Cabin Afghan by Lion Brand
And the afghan that originally got me interested in trying this out-
The Half Log Cabin Ombre Blanket at The Purl Bee

Log Cabin Bliss!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Strawberry Baby Love

A few weeks back, I made a couple of these strawberry hats for some new babies on the way.  I loved how they turned out and wanted to use them as baby gifts, but felt like they could use a little something more.  So how about a quick baby washcloth with a coordinating strawberry?  Aren't they cute together?

Baby Love!