If you know me, or have been following my blog for very long, then you probably know that much of the month of December I spent making Christmas gifts.
In early December, with a plan in mind, I ventured to Joann Fabrics to get the supplies that I would need. It was a fun outing because I met my youngest daughter there. She wanted to pick out some fabric for a project that I am now making for her. She also helped me select fabric for the gifts I would make for Jackson and Addy.
For Jackson and Addy I decided to make fleece bathrobes.
I also made them each a pair of flannel pajama pants and a stuffed puppy to match.
I was quite pleased with the way everything turned out.
The puppies were a little more challenging that I expected.
For my daughters, who are all dog lovers and puppy parents, I decided to make paw print scarves. I also crocheted them each a pair of slippers since it had been several years since I had made them any.
Somehow I neglected to take a picture of the four scarves all of which were the same pattern as the one above but in different colors. At least when I realized this I still had one scarf and pair of slippers that had not been delivered yet.
It wasn’t until I saw Addy putting on the slippers that I made for her mother that I realized that I wasn’t quite finished with the outfits I made for the grandkids. Can you guess what I’m crocheting now?😉
I was working on this post in early March but, for reasons that likely need no explanation, I got distracted and never finished it. Summer was busy and I didn’t do any crocheting but now that it gets dark early again I find myself picking up the crochet hook and yarn each evening. Since the projects that I am working on will be Christmas gifts I won’t be posting pictures until after Christmas so for now you can take a look at the projects that I completed in February.
Something fun for my Valentine.
My husband asked me to make him some mittens because we have a hard time finding gloves that really keep our fingers warm. He said the mittens were better than gloves.
The problem with wearing mittens is that it is difficult to do any thing with your fingers, so I though I would try making some mittens that the top would flip back. I worked off of the same pattern that I used to make my husband’s mittens. I began by making the lower half of the mitten. Then I finished that part off and attached the yarn a few rows down on the back of the mitten and crocheted across the back then made a chain/foundation stitch across the front adding a few extra stitches so it would slip over the lower part.
The one on the right was the first one I made and I discovered that I did not attach it low enough so it created a gap in the mitten. On the second one I attached the yarn lower on the back of the mitten so the top overlapped the lower part and it came out just as I had hoped. Thankfully these were just prototypes because when I had them finished I realized that I had two right-hand mittens. Oops!
I made a 5 of these hot pads using three balls of crochet cotton. I gave two of them to my neighbor who was thrilled to have them.
My sister sent me a pattern for Yip Yips. I actually had no idea what Yip Yips were. Thank goodness for internet search engines. I learned that Yip Yips are alien-like Sesame Street characters. (did you know that?)
I made two Yip yip’s and thought I would put some chocolate bunnies in them and give them to Jackson and Addy for Easter.
Well it was a nice thought. Lockdowns happened and family gatherings for Easter did not. The best I could do was send the Yip Yip’s home for Jackson and Addy with their dad when he came out to the farm to hive the package of bees he purchased this spring. Hopefully I will be able to give Christmas gifts in person this year.
As January comes to a close I decided to write a post about my crafting projects for the month. I picked the title then when I began reviewing the projects I realized that the title, That’s A Wrap, actually seemed to be a theme for this month.
You might remember that in the beginning of the month I wrote about the first hairpin lace project I made.
This hairpin lace scarf. That’s a wrap.
I then decided to do a second hairpin lace scarf with a different type of yarn. I didn’t make it an infinity scarf this time and I had enough yarn leftover to make a matching ear warmer.
Hairpin lace scarf and ear warmer. That’s a wrap.
Next I decided to make a scarf using the broomstick lace method that I have done in the past. I thought it might be interesting to compare the two to find out if I preferred one method over the other or if I preferred the results of one over the other. I can honestly say I don’t have a preference. (Do you?)
I plan on finishing up this scarf later today but might make a matching ear warmer.
Broomstick lace scarf. That’s a wrap.
The other big project that I completed this month was making my bath robe. I think it was back in November when I wrote about my plans to make this. I had purchased the fabric and thought I would get started soon. Before got I started on the bath robe reality struck and I switched my attentions to making Christmas gifts instead.
Fortunately I waited, because making the bath robe was not as easy as I expected it to be. I am not going to go into detail about all of the mistakes that I made, but I do want to share some thoughts about the fabric that I used.
My choice of fabric for this project was Luxe fleece and to be fair to the pattern designer it was this choice that lead to a lot of the difficulties I had with making the robe. What I do love about the fabric is that it is super soft and warm and even though I usually don’t wear purple I do love the color and how it looks with the contrasting trim. I did, however, find it difficult to work with this fabric while making such a large garment. There was a lot of bulk in the way while trying to sew. The fabric is not one that can be ironed. so pressing seams in place was not an option and the fabric did tend to slip so many pins were required to hold things together until the sewing was complete. The other thing I will mention is that my small straight pins tended to get lost in the fabric so I had to do several checks to make sure I removed them all. (OUCH!) The last issue that I (we) had with the fabric is that the fabric sheds when it is cut and continues to shed until it is sewn together. Each time I worked on this project I made a big mess. Fluffy stuff everywhere! My husband actually offered to bring in the snow shovel for cleaning it up, (LOL!) but the vacuum worked just fine.
My wrap around bath robe. That’s a wrap.
Incidentally Ranger got in on the action as well. One day last week he seemed to be getting bored while waiting for his afternoon walk. I cooked up two beef bones (one for Ranger and one for Trooper) thinking that chewing on a bone would keep him busy while he waited. We have an old table cloth that we put on the floor when we give them bones so they don’t mess up the carpet. I placed the two bones on the table cloth and invited the boys to enjoy their treat. Trooper sniffed his but walked away apparently uninterested. Ranger was niffing the bones as I returned to the kitchen to continue what I was doing. A few minutes later I walked through the living room and noticed that one of the bones was covered with a corner of the table cloth. Ranger was sniffing the other bone. A short while after that I discovered that both bones were buried in the table cloth. Apparently Ranger was planning to save them for later. LOL!
Bones buried in the table cloth. That’s a wrap. (I wonder if he could learn to fold clothes. LOL)
As for January 2020 – That’s a wrap. 🙂
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
It seems so long ago that I wrote about buying a loom to make hairpin lace. It was certainly before all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and it wasn’t until after Christmas that I figured out how to use the loom.
For my first project I chose this infinity scarf. The link to the pattern has a detailed video which includes both making the hairpin lace and constructing the scarf. I used a different type of yarn so my results are different from the one created in the video. I took a few photos during the process to give you an idea of how this works.
To create hairpin lace the yarn is looped around the pegs of the loom and each loop is secured in place by a crochet stitch. On this loom both the top and bottom cross bars are removable and there are holes at various distances so the hairpin lace can be made different widths.
At first I found it quite awkward using both the loom and the crochet hook but after a while I was able to get into a rhythm and it went quite quickly from there.
To remove the lace from the loom I only had to remove the bottom cross bar then slide the lace off of the pegs. While this piece has about 30 loops on each side, the scarf I made had four strips like this each with 240 loops on each side.
After I had all four strips made, I joined them together by slipping five loops of one strip though five loops of a second strip then slipping the next five loops of the first strip though those five loops. This process was repeated though the entire length of the strips and created the braided or rope-like appearance. I didn’t get any photos of that process but it can be viewed in the above video. The edges were finished by slipping five loops of the strip over the next five loops of the same strip and repeating the process along the entire edge.
This is the finished scarf. I like the braided effect and can see this process being used to make an afghan, poncho or ear warmer. In fact I have decided to make an ear warmer using this design.
This design is one of many ways that hairpin lace can be used, and from the beautiful, intricate items I am seeing made with it, I would guess this is probably one the easier method of using it.
Now for a couple of bonus photos.
My sister KC, the one that has been teaching me how to sew, made me this really cute hat for my birthday.
She also made matching bandanas for the dogs. LOL. Her fabric choices were perfect.
If you look closely you can see the white fabric has red barns, windmills, chickens and sunflowers – it’s like this fabric was made for me. The yellow print is filled with honey bees. She knows me well!
What do you think of pets dressed to match their people?
Welcome friends! I thought I would give you fair warning that this post turned out to be quite lengthy, so you might want to grab a cup, glass or bottle of your favorite beverage to enjoy as you share in our pre-Christmas and Christmas activities.
O Christmas Tree
I had intended to include several photos documenting the cutting of our 2019 Christmas tree as I have done in past years. Regrettably, it was not meant to be. Although I snapped many pictures as we ventured out to the farm and cut our tree, it seems they are trapped on my cameras SD card. When I put the card in the computer the photo program seems to search for them but then freezes up and refuses to retrieve any photos. Fortunately upon buying a new SD card I am able to once again take pictures and load them onto my computer, so it is only those few that I will not be able to share.
Even though I cannot access those photos, I felt it was important to document this event since part of the purpose of this blog is to journal our activities. This is our fourth year of cutting a Christmas Tree from our farm. The trees we have been cutting are either Norway Spruce or Blue Spruce that we planted as when they were 12 – 18 inch seedlings in 2012. When we planted the young trees it was not our intention to grow our own Christmas Trees but this has since become our tradition.
It was Sunday, December 15, when we headed out to the farm to cut our preselected Christmas Tree. The temperature was hovering around freezing, and though the sun was shining bright as we walked out the door, the clouds quickly moved in and produced a brief snow squall. By the time we got to the farm, about 5 minutes later, there was a thin layer of snow blanketing the driveway, and setting the Christmas-like mood. The snow subsided as quickly as it had appeared and eventually the sun reappeared and melted the snow away.
After going to the barn to retrieve a saw we headed to the south-west corner of the property. The tree we had chosen was in a line of trees that were planted near the west property line to separate our property from the neighbors to the west. It is a lovey blue spruce that is slightly over four feet tall. We will plant a tree to replace this one in the spring.
I won’t bore you with the details of setting up the tree and decorating it since it all went smoothly and within a couple of hours the task was complete.
Made With Love
As in past years, I spent the month before Christmas making gifts. Since I have been working on increasing my sewing skills lately I decided to make aprons for the girls. This may seem an odd gift since only one out of four of them likes to cook, but I decided to personalize them.
The first two were made from a pattern that I bought several years ago and have never used. The second two were made out of worn out blue jeans, using this tutorial. I learned new sewing skills while making each of the patterns – the first involved hand basting a seam before sewing it in place and top stitching (that actually turned out pretty well). The second pattern involved making a ruffle and bias tape. On the last one I got very bold and changed the design from a ruffle and bias tape trim to a cut flannel, rag-type, trim. I was very pleased with the way they all turned out.
It was then time to personalize them – I wanted to capture each of the girls attitude for cooking.
The first was Tina who simply does not like cooking. She laughed when she saw it and agreed that described her.
This one was for Kara, who doesn’t like to cook, but calls me often with cooking questions. I’m always happy to get those calls. She too laughed when she saw the words and realized it was an apron.
The third one was for Hanna. While she may cook occasionally she is more likely to spend time painting, so I decided to make hers a painters apron. The old blue jeans that I used already had some paint stains on them and I added some more splotches with fabric paint.
The last one was for Lindell. She is the only one that seems to enjoy cooking and has recently told me about some of the meals she has made. When she tried on her apron she smiled and said “I love that it has pockets!”
The other big project that I made as a gift was a afghan that I crocheted. This was one of those situations where you might think “everything happens for a reason” or as I prefer to think “God was working behind the scenes”.
I started crocheting this afghan around Thanksgiving time simply because I found a stitch pattern that I wanted to try. I really had no plan for what I was making or what I would do with it. I began with alternating rows of red and blue yarn but when I ran out of the blue yarn the piece was not really big enough to be anything. I went to my yarn stash and found that I had enough of the gray and green yarn to at least double the size of this project. When I finished the gray and green section the afghan would have been a good size for a child, but since I didn’t much care for the color pattern and I didn’t have any children in mind to give it too, I decided to add a third section to make it large enough for an adult. I again went to my yarn stash and found that I had enough black and orange yarn to make a third section.
It was about this time that my husband asked me who I was making it for. “I don’t know,” was my answer, but I began to think about what to do with it. I realized that in the past I have made blankets for all of my daughters except Tina, so I thought I would give it to her. I wasn’t sure if she would like the colors but I was sure she would like wrapping herself in it as she tends to be chilly a lot.
It was two days before Christmas that we learned that we would be having an unexpected guest for Christmas. My father-in-law accepted my husbands invitation to join us for the day. That evening as I finished crocheting and began weaving in the ends I decided to give him the afghan.
Food and Family
Our guests would start arriving around noon so I spent most of Christmas morning in the kitchen preparing our meal. The turkey went into the oven at 8:00 am, then potatoes were peeled, celery and onions were sautéed for the stuffing and frosting was made then the cake was frosted. Meanwhile my husband vacuumed and tidied things up, started a fire in the fireplace and asked if there was anything he could do to help me.
Lindell and Brycen were the first to arrive, so I recruited Brycen to decorate the birthday cake for Jesus. Despite never having decorated a cake before he was eager to help. He completed this task with enthusiasm and I was grateful for the help. I didn’t get any pictures of the cake but I will say – Great job Brycen!
Other guests arrived shortly after. Another picture I didn’t get was Aunt Donna in her Christmas Tree tiara, but in the background of the picture below you can see the comfy-looking elf slippers she put on after removing her shoes. She brought two trays of mini cheese cakes announcing that one tray was made with amaretto. My first thought was “Oh, I’ll have to try that.” My second thought was “that explains the tiara”. LOL! I’m just kidding Aunt Donna doesn’t need to be under the influence of alcohol to do fun and crazy things.
Even before we ate we got Jackson and Addy busy opening gifts. I didn’t make anything for them this year, instead my husband and I spent a few hours perusing toy isles to pick out some gifts.
For Jackson, who has a mechanical mind and is always trying to figure out how things work, we bought this truck/racetrack set. The truck has a horn that blows and a key, that when turned, makes the sound of an engine starting and the headlights come on. It also came with race cars and tools to take the truck part. Once the truck is taken apart the race track is stored inside but we didn’t get it taken apart to see the race track while they were here.
For Addy I picked out a stuffed kitty. I remembered how much she loved Peanut the cat when she met him at our Halloween party, and since her mom said I could not get her a real kitty a stuffed on would have to do.
By far the best gift we received was having the family all together. When the girls were growing up we spent so much time together and never realized how much we would miss each other when they went their separate ways. Nowadays though they keep in close contact through a “sister chat” having them all together happens but once or twice a year.
I am not sure which one of them mentioned having a “sister photo” taken but when they were ready to pose I was ready with my camera. I snapped several photos and when I looked at this picture I wondered what they were all looking at to my left. Then I remembered that Brycen was standing next to me and after I took several photos he said. “now it’s my turn.” Apparently they all looked at him while I stole another photo.
I had the girls put on their aprons and pose again.
Then I handed over my camera and joined the girls. After this picture was taken I said, “now that you are all dressed for doing dishes…” and we all had a good laugh. Actually by this time my husband had many of the dishes already washed up.
Having both of our fathers there was such a blessing. Just like with the girls, the time spent with my dad has become less as the years go by, and the time the girls get to spend with their grandfather is even more rare. Isn’t it true that the more rare something is the more we value it? This was a day to cherish!
Having my Father-In-Law with us to celebrate was truely an amazing gift. This is the first time since we have been together that we have spent a Christmas with him, and I felt honored that at 86 years old he would make the two and a half hour drive from Ohio to celebrate this day with the family.
It had been many years since he had seen the girls and this was the first time he met Jackson and Addy.
When I gave dad his Christmas gift he told me I didn’t have to give him anything. “I wanted to,” I replied. When he said he would open it later, I had to insist that he open it now. He was pleased when he realized that it was an afghan and said he would use it to cover up with in his easy chair. I could relate to this as I have an afghan, that my mom made for me about 30 years ago, that I use to cover up with when I kick back in my recliner for a nap. Dad also marveled that I had made the afghan and asked how long it took. As he was leaving our house to travel home he told me “I can’t wait to use it.” 🙂
Christmas 2019 was a blessed day. As we celebrated the gift of the Christ Child our home was fill with laughter and love.
If you have stayed with me to the end of this very wordy post I thank you, and we wish you many blessings in the New Year.