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Turkeys Everywhere!

I don’t know why I like to make more work for myself. It was supposed to be an easy project with materials being easy to acquire. We were making turkeys out of cups. I wanted the kids to make cute little table decorations for our yearly Thanksgiving feast. Right before we go on our Thanksgiving break, we replace one of our snack times with a feast. Parents donate turkey (slices) and bread (Hawaiian rolls), fruits and vegetables, chips and juice and some pumpkin pie. We decorate the tables and watch a holiday movie while we eat our bounty.

I decided on simple turkeys for the tables.

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Cute, right?

It was NOT a mandatory project so I thought only about 8 students (the usual suspects) would make the project. I tried to gather my supplies and discovered how hard it is to find a bag of brown pom poms. I could only find them in expensive bags of mixed colors. I would have to buy way more pom poms than I needed just to pull out a few brown ones. I also wanted brown tempura paint to paint the cups. I couldn’t find any! At least not at the lengths I was willing to go through to find it. Brown cups would have been ideal but I couldn’t find those either! Continue reading

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Crazy Art Project

I had a super crazy thought. A huge, monumental idea. It’s insane that I’m even thinking about it. I pondered a project so big, it could take me years to maybe forever to accomplish. An art piece so outlandish, I might actually try to do it. I even roped my daughter into considering doing it with me. Yes, it’s so big, I need help. I would even have to involve my sister and my husband too. And it might even have something to do with crochet.

There’s this book, a book I absolutely love, love, love. I was 19 years old and visiting my daughter’s grandparents in another state. She was just a baby, and I spent a month with them so they could get to know her. They took me to the library, which I was very grateful for since I was getting a little stir crazy being away from my own family. Reading has always been, and still is, a wonderful escape from…anything that needs escaping from. I came across this paperback called Mermaid’s Song by Alida Van Gores. I fell in love with it instantly. It’s about mermaid’s. I loved mermaids back then. I love mermaids now. It was a match made in sea heaven.

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My favorite book of all time!

It’s a story that takes place in the ocean and didn’t have any of the nonsense about trying to be human. I returned the book, thinking I could find it at my leisure when I got back home. That turned out not to be true. Had I known how difficult it was going to be to find that book, I would have ‘lost’ it and paid the library for it. Continue reading

Skillet Chicken

I don’t really write about food here (or anywhere) but tonight, I couldn’t resist. My son was laughing hysterically after eating my delicious dinner. Before he ate it, I warned him that it was an experiment, so it might not be so great, but I thought it looked good. My son, being the good son that he is, tried it with an open mind. To my delight and his, he liked it. The more he ate it, the more he said he liked it. Then he said it was definitely a keeper.

Skillet Chicken Maple syrup recipe

My skillet version. 

Boy, was I relieved. It took an hour and a half from prep to finished product, so if it hadn’t worked out, I would have scrambling around for something else to make real quick. As we were eating, I told him how I came about this new recipe. I’m not usually very adventurous when it comes to cooking. What I cook, I cook well. I just hate to cook. I love looking at pictures of all the yummy food I see on other blogs, but that hardly ever transfers to my kitchen. Continue reading

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

I have so many things I want to post about and and just haven’t been able to get to them! I want to write about having finally sent off my level 2 projects to the Craft Yarn Council: the new puppet I’ve worked on with the ‘helpful’ guidance from a four-year-old: more work from my students: an emoji puppet I’m almost done with: my balcony that I never use but was excited about when we bought the house 18 years ago and how I might finally start using it: what I might do with all the swatches I’ve accumulated: how I want to rearrange my office so I can open my window and so many other topics.

Instead, I have found one excuse after another to dilly dally.

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Reading is never to be considered dilly dallying!

Continue reading

Craft Yarn Council – Level II

So I just received my email instructions for level II of the Craft Yarn Council’s program. Umm…it looks tough! I just glanced over the assignments and there are a few things in there I’ll have to learn in order to complete the swatches. Like what’s a Flame Stitch? I looked on YouTube and it doesn’t look at like the diagram in the assignment sheet! The instructions are confusing too. That’s ok, I think I figured it out.

Then for the final assignment, I need to follow the pattern for a baby sweater without deviating from the pattern and making sure the measurements match. I think that’s the part that has me the most nervous. I hate following patterns. Their is a second option: making your own design making sure to include all the requirements. Normally I would choose this option but making clothes isn’t my strength in crochet.

I can make clothes but I usually just measure off of my own body or the body of the person I’m making clothes for (which isn’t very often) so I don’t think I want to do that. I can follow a pattern so I will do theirs. I just need to make sure I follow gauge and we all know I hate doing that. LOL

I’ll probably have to buy yarn because the pattern and some of the swatches call for yarns I don’t think I have. I don’t think I have baby yarn in my stash, although I might actually have some. How sad that I have so much yarn I don’t even know what I have! If you know me, you also know I hate wasting money and although I love buying yarn, I hate buying yarn to make something I have no use for. {What a whiner}. I will make the baby sweater and then make a big baby doll to put it on. Or better yet, I will pick the size that fits the life-size doll at work. She will now have a new sweater. 🙂

Overall, I’m excited to start this level. It looks like it will push me to learn some new things and test my skills.

Here goes…

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Confession time, I already started! That’s the flame stitch in the middle. That one gave me some trouble. The one on the left is giving me trouble now. I can sort-of cross stitch but the way they want me to do it is new to me. It’s a learning curve for sure. The bottom one is my practice swatch. I kept having to undo the cross stitches. I think I have it figured out now but we’ll see. 

A Nudge From Mom – Swatch Found

Yay! I found it! {Jumping up and down with glee} Where was it? I’m embarrassed to say, but I will confess. It was nowhere near where it was supposed to be. I’m also pretty sure I checked there already and didn’t see it.

See that mess that is the top shelf of my craft closet? See those clear bags with junk in them? The one on the top left has scraps of rags I sometimes use for stuffing my dolls. It’s sitting on top of the looms.  I rifled through that yesterday (among every other place in my office/craft room) looking for the swatch. And I do mean RIFLED! I didn’t find it. The clear bag on the right sandwiched  between a white bag on top and a white bag below was pulled out as well. That one has baby clothes in the event I want to make large dolls.

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The swatch was on top of and to the back of the clear bag on the top left.

Knowing it was originally in a clear pouch that had other mis-matched pieces of crochet I didn’t know where else to put (things like little flowers and bows, disembodied doll arms and legs and my mom’s swatches), I opened up my big blue bin. Continue reading

Freebie Friday – Double Crochet Reversible Square Pattern

My mom used to love making us all (my siblings and I and our children) beautiful crochet blankets. We all have a variation of one in particular. It is a reversible blanket that looked like a series of little squares made using double crochet where the posts are interlocked, woven, interlaced or what ever other language you want to use.

When my mom passed away a few years ago, I kept a little swatch of this pattern in case I ever wanted to try to make it.

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Mom’s swatch

I had made one of these blankets with her guidance 29 years ago.  I was pregnant and I was trying to get it finished before my baby was born. It was one of thee most frustrating experiences of my crochet life up to that point. It’s a super simple pattern to make once you get going. After all, it’s just double crochets. But if you mess up, it’s like ripping back two blankets because of how it works up. Equally, it took me a long time to make it because it’s like making two separate blankets at the same time.

So it took me forever to make it and when I messed up, it hurt even more to rip it back. And it was only a baby blanket so it wasn’t that big. Admittedly, I was a lot slower then than I am now and I didn’t know how to fix my mistakes. All I knew how to do was rip back to fix a mistake. Now, I would finish much more quickly and I would know how to fix it and keep going without having to rip.

Needless to say, I felt on the verge of tears when I was working on it, thinking I would never finish it in time. I did though. I didn’t give up and I finished it right before my daughter was born (I think she still has it lying around somewhere). The satisfaction I felt when I finished it can’t be described but lets just say I was extremely happy it was done and I never made another one.

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This is my daughter’s blanket. It’s a little beat up because it’s 29 years old!

Fast forward many years and my mom started making them for everyone. My daughter got several new ones and my son got one.

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This is my son’s. He loved orange and picked the colors. He was about eight or nine. He’s 17 now and he’s still using it. 🙂

We all loved (and continue to love) them. When mom passed, I had no desire to make any. I’ve since figured out how to make other blankets she’d made but not the ‘squares’ one even though I have the swatch.

More recently, I’d say within the last two years, I went on an internet search looking for the pattern. I tried all kinds of language looking for it and never found it. I always told myself I could probably figure it out from her swatch but I wasn’t 100% sure I could. What if I undid her work in an effort to make one and couldn’t? Her work would be unraveled and I wouldn’t have the swatch anymore. Then it would be lost! So I never undid it and kept searching the internet.

Then one day within the last six months or so, a blogger I follow wrote a post about that same pattern! I was so excited. The name for it was so simple that I thought I would never forget it. I was going to respond but I got distracted and forgot about it. Then when I remembered, I couldn’t remember which blogger it was. I spent hours and hours searching through all the blogs I follow looking for it and never found it (if you’re that blogger, let me know who you are!). At first, I searched the ones I thought most likely to have posted it and then I searched through all of them going back months, to no avail. I finally gave up and tried to remember the title she used to describe it. It was something like interwoven double crochet but that didn’t bring up what I was looking for.

Then a couple of days ago, I tried searching the internet again, using as many descriptive words as I could and I found one video on YouTube! It’s mostly the right pattern and I got busy working up a swatch.

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My swatch

Then I went looking for my mom’s swatch to compare and I couldn’t find it! Oh no! At least I know it’s here somewhere. I must have put it someplace safe, so safe I can’t find it. Heh! But at least I know how to do it now. Luckily I took a picture of the swatch and used that to compare to my swatch.

Mine is slightly different. Mom’s edges look better and neater. I need to find her swatch so I can make the adjustments. I think she started her’s a little differently than what I found.

I am so grateful for that video but I think I’m going to make my own version. Her video is very long and I think I can make one that is a little more condensed but still useful. I also want my video to match my mom’s pattern (as soon as I find her swatch). Plus I worry that the video could disappear and I  would be out of luck again. At least if I shoot my own, I’ll always have it. It certainly can’t hurt to have more than one tutorial on the pattern.  🙂