Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crocheting for Me

 I have been working on cleaning up one our bedrooms that was originally designated as my crafts room.  It has since become a dumping ground for all of the "extras" in our house.  A storage room of sorts.  I am trying to reclaim it, and when I do, the above colorful Coastal Kaleidoscope throw will be residing there with my rocking chair.

For now it stays in the living room, where it actually goes quite well with my ripple blanket and the pillow I made my mother years ago.  My daughter is quite taken with it, and has been laying on it on the living room floor while she watches cartoons, playing peek-a-boo behind it, and stomping around on it.

I think it's really one of my favorite pattern designs.  Definitely my favorite of my own designs.  I began the one below a while back.  I have left it unfinished, mostly because I was out of the colors I needed, and was debating on its final size.
 I love the feminine colors of this one, and the combo of soft acrylic and warm wool.  The back is just as cool as the front, and I still can't believe it is sitting unfinished!  I have decided to give this one to my little girl.  It will look lovely in her room as either an area rug or throw on her bed.  I am going to by another couple of skeins in cream and pink(seems to be her favorite color these days) and finish it off soon.

I also started the one above a while back.  I absolutely love the yarn (it's Mosaic in Medusa), and I bought several balls of it.  The problem is, I love the yarn soooo much that I go back and forth, debating what I REALLY want to use it for.  I know I could buy more eventually(I don't need to buy anymore I keep telling myself), and I'm sure I will, but I seem to start several projects with it, and wind up frogging them.

This project is still in tact and I think I will complete it with all of the yarn I have on hand (though I will need a bit more of one of the other yarns I am combining with it, heehee).  I don't know whether it will become a Christmas present or perhaps be listed in my shop, but I probably don't need to keep it.  I'm certain I have enough of these (not really, and I really want to keep it!), and it would probably make a delightful gift for my cousin perhaps...... We'll see.

 In other news, I have finished the shawl that I was working on.  I would share pics,  but the light wasn't great, so maybe another day.  I enjoyed making it so much that I have two others in progress, and will definitely be doing more.

I find that I am enjoying the simplicity of crochet these days, without having to design a pattern, write things down, do the math, make size adjustments and countless edits.  Though I do love pattern writing, and I still have a notebook full of sketches and ideas, I find that sometimes it takes a little bit of the fun out of things.  So I am taking a little break from pattern writing.  I'm sure it will only be a brief one, but I need to get back to the pure enjoyment of crochet.

I also have been itching to use my sewing machine.  Something about spring makes me feel like sewing.  I did the same thing last year, and I wound up making my daughter a bunch of skirts as a result.  I may do another few skirts, though I think I will change my design a bit, and I would like to try some dresses too.  There are those half finished quilts that need my attention as well.

So, off to finish a little crafting for me today!  What are you working on lately?  Do you find your crafting changes with the seasons?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Modia Diapers Review

 I have been cloth diapering my daughter since she was 6 months old.  I had a friend who was doing it with her child, and I decided to research it for myself.  I was shocked to find out that the world of cloth diapering has changed quite a bit over the years.  It's not those pins and horrible rubber pants that we think of our grandparents using.
They're cute now!
I did my research and tried different brands and types over the past couple of years.  After going "big brand" to start, I began trying WAHM's instead, and I was quite pleased with the results.  
There was one particular WAHM company that caught my eye: Modia Diapers.  I don't recall when I first saw them, but it was probably about a year ago.  They were just gorgeous, and I was dying to try them out, but money was tight and I had accumulated quite a stash of diapers already.  I had lofty plans of early potty training(hasn't happened yet), and so I just periodically perused their facebook page and website and drooled (just a little).
Then something fabulous happened!  Hannah, one of the amazingly talented moms behind the company, put out a call for fellow crafters to do a Christmas time trade.  I answered.  We set up a trade in which I would get a diaper (I chose the cow print) and some sherpa/obv wipes, and I made her two crocheted stuffed animals (a hippo and elephant).
We couldn't have been happier on our end.  And I found out that their diapers were even better than I thought they would be!  The cow print diaper became our go to diaper.
 These wipes are absolutely fabulous!  So incredibly soft, and they can be used as washcloths or wipes.
We were so happy with the trade, so when Hannah asked to trade again for a hat that I made, I jumped at the chance to score some more super soft wipes.
A few weeks later, I purchased another diaper during a sale they were running.  I know she will potty train soon, but I just couldn't help myself.
This diaper, the hot pink with barnyard animals is by far my daughter's favorite!  She always asks to wear her animal diaper.

This is what the inside looks like.  You get the cover (made with waterproof PUL) with a long hemp fleece liner, and a bamboo doubler.  There is a pocket that you can stuff the liner into, but I prefer to use ours as a cover(AI2 style).  There are snap closures, as well as a snap rise to adjust and grow with your child.

 Here is a shot of the pocket
 Isn't that cow print precious?!
 I love that the cow print carries through to the inside!  So stinkin' cute!

We got these little extra goodies with our Barnyard diaper purchase.  My daughter loved the diaper cream (which is cloth diaper safe).
If you cloth diaper, know someone who does, or if you're considering it, please check out Modia Diapers.  They make incredibly high quality products and have excellent customer service!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Deceptively Delicious Pancakes

 I was given this book by my sister in law a while back, and I thought it was such a great idea for those with fussy eaters.  Fortunately my daughter always ate her veggies (has been a vegetarian from the start, though we recently started introducing meats) and her meals for that matter.  That was until recently.
For some reason she refuses to eat anything lately (except for M&M's, which she constantly requests), and it's making it very difficult to get proper meals in her.  It feels like we have a big negotiation during every meal.  Lots of "I no like that!"  
Then me,"Will you have a yogurt then?"  
Her, "I no like blueberries!"
Me, "Aghhhhh!"
So I decided to bust out the Deceptively Delicious cookbook!
Written by Jessica Seinfeld (yup, Jerry's wife), this book is full of recipes that sneak fruits and veggies into them by pureeing.  Pretty fabulous if you ask me!
From breakfast foods like pancakes, french toast, oatmeal and eggs, to dinners like burgers, mac and cheese, and meat loaf, there is something for everyone.  She has even figured out a way to make cookies and brownies nutritious!
I decided to start with pancakes this morning.  One of my daughter's favorite things to eat, I figured this would be the best choice.

 Doesn't that pic look delicious?!
It's very simple.  You basically mix water, pancake mix (I used Bisquick), and the puree of your choice (I chose sweet potatoes, though you could use butternut squash too) in a bowl. 
 I took the easy way out today by adding some organic sweet potato baby food instead of pureeing my own.    It's really a great way to use up some of your left over baby food.  I still had quite a bit left in my pantry after my daughter outgrew it.  Both methods work just fine depending on the amount of time you have.
 You can add cinnamon or pumpkin spice ( I used cinnamon) to flavor it up a bit.  Your batter will be thin but lumpy.
 Then you just spoon some "blobs" onto the griddle ( I melted a tab of butter/margarine in there first), let them cook on one side for a minute or two, then flip.  I don't suggest making the blobs too big, or you will not be able to flip them well.  These make thin pancakes, as you may have noticed, the recipe has no egg in it.
 Cute golden silver dollar pancakes!

 Don't they look scrumptious?  I am getting hungry again just typing this post (heehee).
And here's the best part....... 
She ate them!  She finished a meal!  A meal that was good for her!
Yay!  Small victory for Mama today!
I will definitely be making this one again and again.  We even had left over batter, so I popped it in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.
My next attempt will probably be the french toast, as my daughter has a real sweet tooth and love of breakfast foods.  I would also love to try the quesadillas, lasagna, grilled cheese and mac an cheese recipes soon.  There are so many great ideas, and if you have a picky eater at home, I highly recommend this book to you!
How do you deal with picky eaters?  Any go to recipes for the fussy kiddos?  Please share your tips here; I am open to all suggestions;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Springtime and Strawberries

 Something about springtime makes me crave strawberries.  I have been on a strawberry frenzy as of late, which began with jam, then bowls of strawberries, strawberry Quick (loved that stuff as a kid), Fribbles from Friendly's, and now strawberry shortcake!
 I am not much of a chef.  I don't make it into the kitchen very often, I'll admit.  My hubby does most of the cooking and baking in our house.  So when I actually make something, it is a major deal.
Now I didn't make it entirely from scratch; Bisquick was there to assist.  I cut the recipe on the box in half, because there are only 3 of us in the house, and we didn't need 6 shortcakes.
I have never done this before, so I was hoping when I spooned the blobs of dough onto the cookie sheet, that they would actually turn out.

Not too shabby.  I think next time I will try to build the blobs taller, as these kind of spread out.
 While I waited for them to bake, I couldn't help but notice and appreciate this little heart shaped strawberry slice.  Cute, huh?
 Sprinkled the strawberries (for some reason my daughter insists they are blueberries today.lol) liberally with sugar and mixed it up.
 Opened up my shortcakes, plopped in a good amount of cool whip and berries, then another layer on top.

I will definitely be doing this again real soon, and perhaps getting myself a Fribble as well.

 We have also been enjoying our lovely springtime weather this past week.  My daughter wanted to dress up the other day, which I love.  So we went outdoors for a little photo shoot.
Love this one!  
I am still hooked on navy and white, and really any shade of blue lately.
Her springtime shells hat may become a pattern soon.
How have you been ringing in spring this year?  Any favorite recipes or crafts/activities you like to do?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Creating a Memory Blanket

 Just last week two young girls (14 years old from a neighboring town) were walking home from school, when a Jeep crossed the center line, jumped the curb, and struck them on the sidewalk.  One of the girls did not make it, and the other is in serious condition.  My heart just aches for them and their families.  There can be no greater pain than losing a child.

I felt in my heart that I must do something for them.  So I am collecting granny squares to create a memory blanket for the family of the girl who was killed.  I am asking all those who can contribute some to help.  Even if it's just one square, everyone helps.  I am hoping to have about 100, 6" x 6" squares.  I will assemble them once I have enough.

I have started to make some myself.  Not knowing these girls, I am just trying to use feminine colors, flowers, hearts, and anything else I can think of.  Some are plain squares, some have design or items on them.  Here are a few that I have started.
 I found a tutorial to the square I just finished (above), here.  It was a little tricky to figure out, as the instructions are a translation from Spanish, but with the photos, you can figure it out.

It took me a little while, so I am not sure how many of these I will add to this particular blanket, but I would like to try them again in different colors.  I am sure once I make a few, they will go much quicker and easier.

I have a few more ideas for different squares with design elements, and I will be making several plain grannies in various colors as well.  I find there is something therapeutic in crocheting a granny square.
I have volunteers from various areas of the country, as well as some local, but I could definitely use more.

I am looking for 6 x 6 inch granny squares, acrylic yarns only, with feminine colors.  They can be plain, designed, or anything you can think of.

If you would like to help, please contact me either by facebook private message or by email:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pattern Release and Two Winners!

 Ready for release, and now with a name: Simply Sweet Sunhat!

Here is some of the lovely work my testers did with this pattern:
 Nikki from LooHoo Creations made this sweet child sized one for her daughter. (Doesn't she have the most gorgeous hair?!) Love it!
 Michelle Wulf made this lovely purple one for herself, which she modeled in the amazing mountains of Alaska.  Wow!
 And don't you just love this cute little face?  This hat was made by Dianne Vought.

Thank you ladies for all of your hard work and patience with me as I made change after change to this pattern.  You are all awesome!

Now as promised, I have chosen two winners for this pattern in the Name that Pattern contest!

And the winners are:
Elizabeth Marleen Arias!
(for choosing the winning name!)
and randomly chosen by all who took part:
Sandra Kessler!

Congrats ladies!
Please email or private message me with you email address to claim your prize.

For the rest of you, the Simply Sweet Sunhat is now available on Craftsy and Ravelry for the low introductory price of $1.99 through Sunday night.  So grab your copy and please share your finished hats with me; I would love to see them!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Homemade Yummyness!

 I have been craving all things homemade now that spring is here.  This tends to happen; I get rejuvenated and feel the need for obsessive cleaning, creating and baking.
Last night I decided to bake so lovely chocolate chip cookies.  I got half my ingredients in the bowl only to discover that we had no eggs.  Ugh...  Hate it when that happens!  Oh well, I was half way there, and we were going to have some cookies.(You can't tell a two year old that you baking cookies, and then just stop; they don't like that)
My hubby has substituted mayo for eggs in the past in brownies yielding mediocre results.  They are still yummy, but tend to not have the same consistency.  I figured I would give it a try though.  So I used a little over a tablespoon of mayo in place of one egg, and I must say, it worked out splendidly!
The cookies were delicious, the batter was completely safe for my little one to eat (she helped spoon the dollops onto the pan, and she just had to lick her fingers and spoon ;) ), and I think I will continue to make them this way.
I have also heard of people using flax seed and water to substitute, and I would like to try that as well.
I decided last night that considering the great weather forecast for the week, we would get up early to get the fixin's for breakfast, pick up some paint, seeds and soil at the hardware store and get some things done.
Unfortunately the forecast was a bit off.  We did have the most amazingly delicious breakfast with eggs, potatoes with peppers and onions, toast with strawberry jam ( I have been craving this for weeks), bacon, and sausage.  So good, and I think I will be full all day.
I got a bit of cleaning done.  I am trying to get a few nice pieces of wooden furniture out of our addition/storage room to redo for my crafts room.  I cleaned two pieces: my rocking chair(a must have for the crocheter/hand sewer) and a cute little end table.  I am not sure exactly what I am doing with the little table yet, but I am painting it purple because, well why not?  I love purple!  And my new crafts room is going to be a colorful delight!
My hubby spray painted the primer on it outside, and within half an hour the sky opened up.  Oh well.
We did get to buy our seeds and soil, and we made a dent in our project.
Now I am settle in for a relaxing evening of crochet and pattern edits.  I should be ready to release my Simply Sweet Sunhat and choose the two winners of the pattern by Thursday.
Happy crocheting till next time!
And in light of yesterday's events I would like to leave you all with a parting quote by a childhood favorite of mine:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.” - Mister Rogers

Friday, April 12, 2013

WIP Friday?

 Somehow I seem to keep missing my WIP Wednesday posts, so here's a peek at what I've been working on this week.
I had this beautiful skein of gorgeousness from Expression Fiber Arts sitting in my cabinet, and I figured it was time to ball it up so that it can fulfill its destiny.  However, after I balled it, and I saw its beautiful color work in full action, I realized that its path had changed.  I had every intention of creating my next pattern(one for my daughter, of course) with it, but wound up designing a brand new pattern for it.  So once again, it sits on the sidelines for now.  At least it's balled.
Side note: that is the most amazing apple puff danish!  Scrumptious
 I had to try to start it at least before I put it away for good(well, for a week or so at least)
 This is what's next on the agenda: my Carnival Ruffle Skirt pattern!
I have this one for my daughter almost finished up, and I am trying to write it up as I go, hoping to make it easier in the end.  We'll see.
I have decided to at least add one more larger size (this one is 2T-4T) that would fit the older girls.  I may add a baby size, but I haven't decided.  Maybe if there is enough interest.
 I love these colors; they make me think of cotton candy.
 This is what I was trying to finish up throughout all of my WIP's of the week.  My new sunhat!
 And ta-da!  It is finished.  I have my new beach hat..... Just in time for the freezing rain we are getting at this very moment.  Oh well, I am told spring and summer are on their way.
The pattern is currently out to testers, and I am hoping to be able to release it sometime early next week.  There is still a pattern naming contest going on over at my facebook page, and I have decided to choose two winners from those who suggest and vote.  So please go check it out, and cast your vote on your favorite name for my new sunhat!
Have a great weekend!