Category Archives: crochet

A New Scarf Pattern

I have a couple of family members who occasionally email me crochet patterns that they think I might be interested in making. This one was sent by Aunt Donna. I though it was an adorable pattern and decided to make it into a child size scarf just to try it out. I have a feeling I will be using this pattern again.

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What do you think?

 

** Editors Note: In case the pattern is not clear in the photo – it’s puppy paw prints. ūüôā

Sharing Christmas With You

Christmas 2019 was filled with blessings. Let me share some our Christmas with you.

Gifts

Gift giving,¬† especially buying lots of commercially made gifts,¬†is not the focus of our Christmas.¬† If you read my previous post about homemade gifts¬†you know that I have been working on making gifts since just after Thanksgiving. That certainly wasn’t too soon to start because I didn’t actually finish up until the afternoon of December 24th. Whew! That was cutting it close! and I didn’t even have time to bake any Christmas cookies this year.

This year since all of our daughters are living in their own homes or apartments I decided to crochet them each a doily. I have several doilies, that were made by my mother, grandmother and my husband’s grandmother, that I treasure. I have them on dressers, book cases, our entertainment center, and¬†our dinning room table. I think they add a touch of class.¬†I also think it is not something that my girls¬†were going to buy for themselves.

As I mentioned I finished up the last one out of four on Christmas Eve and I only snapped a couple of quick photos as I was pressing them because I still had wrapping to do.

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The other thing I have been working on for at least as long is making candles. Actually making bees wax candles is something I have been trying to get right for quite a while now. Bees wax seems to be incredibly finicky and will not burn or melt properly if it does not have the right wick.

I spent the month doing candle trials with bees wax, bees wax blended with coconut oil, bees wax blended with tallow and some that were plain tallow and using different types and sizes of wicks that were recommended for bees wax candles. I was able to find a  few combinations that burned well, but in  no way have I mastered the art of making bees wax candles. (If I ever do I will blog about it.)

As gifts I gave votive candles in a candle holder with an inspirational message attached.

 

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The message was one of these two quotes:

‚ÄúLearn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone‚Äôs life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.‚ÄĚ

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

The Weather

Having a white Christmas here in Michigan is hit or miss. Last year on Christmas Eve we had a snow storm. We woke on Christmas morning¬†to a world that was blanketed in the white fluffy stuff. It was picturesque. We had the “White Christmas” that everyone is said to “dream of”. The snow that fell made driving treacherous. I heard accounts from people who were out in it. They said¬†driving took two to three times longer than normal to get where they were going. It also created a lot of work. My husband spent last Christmas morning plowing and shoveling snow – first at the farm, then bringing the tractor home to clear parking spots for our guests. He also did some plowing for (much grateful) neighbors along the way. As it drew closer to time for our guests to arrive I received phone calls from my aunt and one of my daughters who had started out and ran into blinding snow squalls. These hazardous driving conditions prompted their decisions to stay home and safe.

This year we celebrated Christmas without snow. It was a chilly day with temperatures hovering around the freezing point. The ground was brown, the trees barren, and the skies mostly gray, but we did not have the extra work involved in clearing snow and travel conditions were good for our guests. I was not at all disappointed that we did not have a white Christmas.

Food

I spent Christmas morning preparing our meal. The menu included a fresh fruit platter, cheeses and crackers, smoked salmon (my husband smoked it the night before) and olive mixtures for appetizers. The main meal was tossed salad, lasagna and garlic bread. For dessert we had pumpkin pie, (Aunt Donna’s) cheese cake and birthday cake (for Jesus). Not necessarily a traditional Christmas meal of turkey or ham but very much a hit with all of our guests.

Guests

On Christmas Eve we were extremely disappointed to learn that my Father-In-Law was not up to making the 2 1/2 hour trip to spend time with us on Christmas Day even though my husband was going to pick him up and bring him here. Thankfully everyone else we were expecting made it. Our guests included my Dad, Aunt Donna, all four of our girls and 2 sons-in-law and of course our two grandbabies ūüôā

After we ate we gathered in the living room where we opened gifts, talked, laughed, played, shared memories and created special moments that have now become more precious memories.

One funny thing that sticks in my mind was¬†Kara and Lindell shouting “CAMO CORN” in unison as they each realized at the exact same moment that the bucket of caramel covered popcorn that they had received as gifts was not called Caramel Corn. Nor was it Camel Corn as they thought they had heard someone else say. It was indeed called Camo Corn. LOL!!!

 

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There were precious moments¬†spending time with our two little miracle grandbabies. Jackson who is now two and a half was born at just 26 weeks and spent his first 4 months of life outside the womb in a neonatal intensive care unit. He under went eye surgery before he ever came home from the hospital and when he came home he was still on oxygen and being tube fed. He had surgery to repair two hernia’s when he was about six months old and at this time the surgeon discovered that his appendix was tangled in the hernia, so he had his appendix removed at that time as well. It was only after that surgery that Jackson began eating better and gaining weight¬†and was eventually weaned off the feeding tube.

Each time I spend time with this little guy I am awed by how far he has come after having such a rough start to life. Although Jackson has not yet begun to speak he is learning sign language. When they were here on Thanksgiving his dad was holding Jackson and¬† I threw him a kiss from across the room. His dad showed Jackson how to¬†throw a kiss back to me. We each repeated the action several times. As I stopped and began having a conversation with someone else Jackson signed “more”. When his dad asked “more what?” Jackson leaned in and kissed his dad. Precious moments!

Jackson seems to have an innate curiosity about the world and how things work. He notices little things and studies things as if trying to figure them out. On Christmas we spent time looking at the Christmas lights that hang from our mantle. He would touch one and I would say the color, then he would touch another and I would say the color –¬† then I would say a color and he would look for a light that was that color. He also took an interest in¬†some of the tree ornaments that were hanging at his eye level. Together we looked at them but learned not to pull on them.

When it was time to open presents Jackson started with a gift from Aunt Donna. He took the paper off the box and I removed the gift from the brown card board box. It was a set of 4 wooden puzzles. They were bound together in a plastic wrapper. When Jackson saw them his face lit up. His Mom prompted he to say “thank you” and he signed “thank you”. Then quickly signed “please” indicating that he wanted to play with the puzzles. My husband sliced open the plastic so we could get out one of the puzzles. Jackson removed all of the pieces from the puzzle then began picking up each piece and studying it, then fitting it back into it’s proper place. Later he¬†and he dad spent time¬†playing with the farm set (tractor, cow, horse, corral) that my husband and I picked out for him.

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His little sister Addy is now almost 14 months old. It was not¬†Ken and Tina’s¬†plan to have another baby while Jackson still needed so much attention, but God often has plans that differ from we humans.¬†Addy’s entry into the world was much smoother than Jackson’s but only with the aid of much medical intervention. The special prenatal care Tina received allowed her to carry Addy to the¬†date that the doctors had planned her C-section. While it was not a full-term pregnancy she was only a few weeks premature and¬†her development has been¬†normal.

On Christmas day I heard Addy say both¬†“mama” and¬†“dada”.¬† We will be working on “grandma” soon. LOL! While Addy spent some time playing with toys, her¬†activities more so involved being on the move. She busied herself by quickly crawling in whatever direction she was facing. I wanted to¬†give her the freedom to explore but not allow her to get into trouble in our non-baby proof house, so when she took off crawling I would follow along behind her on all 4’s. When she noticed that I was there she would stop long enough to turn and give me a “what the heck are you doing?” look. Then she would quickly be on her way. When she reached¬† a point where I felt she was getting close to trouble I would lift her up and turn her around. Each time I would pick her up she would loudly voice her objection (scream), but once set down she would¬†be¬†happily¬†on her way.

Tina had brought along the sweater and hat that I had made for Addy’s birthday so I could get pictures of her wearing them. When we put the sweater on I was delighted to see that it was a perfect fit. Tina sat Addy on the beanbag and so we could get pictures. I then placed the hat on her head, but before anyone had time to snap a picture Addy had removed the hat. I thought the hat looked very cute on her but I have no proof because each of the several times I put it on her she immediately removed it before we could get a photo. Oh well – I decided I would at least like a photo of her standing up¬†wearing the sweater. She is still wobbly on her feet unless she is supported so I held her up. As soon as her feet touched the ground it was like her legs became springs. She began bouncing up and down as fast as she could and continued bouncing for a good couple of minutes while I held her trying to get her to stand. This little girl’s antics had everyone in the room laughing and I never did get the picture I wanted. (I think her mom got it on video though.) I really don’t see a career in modeling in her future. LOL!!!

Though our time together lasted only a few hours it was a lovely day packed with Christmas blessings. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. ♥

 

 

There Is Always More To Learn

I first learned to crochet more than 3 decades ago and have been seriously crocheting for about 8 years now. By “seriously” crocheting I mean I have been increasing my skills by trying different patterns, learning new stitches and stitch combinations, working with different yarns and threads, making things for gifts and even selling a few items.

Earlier this year I learned a new crochet term. The term is frogging. I first saw this term while reading another blog about crochet and I had to look it up to see what I had been missing. Come to find out frogging is something I had been doing all along. Yes, I am sure I frogged even my very first crochet project, and many of the projects that I have made have been frogged, including the one I am currently working on. Being able to frog a project is in fact why I would prefer crocheting to sewing. Come to find out frogging is the act of tearing out a portion of (or all of) the completed work. It is usually done because you are not satisfied with the results or because you have discovered a mistake you made and need to go back and correct it.

You may be wondering, as I did, why this is called frogging. I laughed when I read the explanation Рbecause you rip-it, rip-it (sounds like a frog).

On a couple of my recent posts about crochet projects some readers have commented that I am “very talented”. While I appreciate these comments, I am humbled and I don’t want my posts to be misleading. I am not sure that “talent” is the right way to describe my crocheting. I often find myself frogging large portions of projects because I have made an error and have to go back and correct it, or even entire projects because the type of yarn wasn’t right or I just didn’t like the end product. The beauty in crochet is that you can easily “rip-it, rip-it” or undo the work and redo it without ruining the yarn. I think¬†what you are seeing¬†as “talent” is just plain stubbornness, or maybe¬†determination, ¬†coupled with the love of crafting.

There were also a couple of comments from readers who said something along the lines that they could “never do that”. I¬†want to tell you – you really never know unless you try. ¬†If you have tried and still can’t get it, I have great news for you. There is another (easier) option for yarn crafting that I intend to share with you.¬†Like knitting and crochet you can create beautiful hats, scarves, fingerless gloves, and so much more. I will be blogging about it soon so be sure to watch for that post.

Until next time be well my friends. ūüôā

 

 

7 Years of Homemade Christmas Gifts

For several years now I have been making Christmas gifts and that is what I am spending a lot of time doing right now. I can’t tell you what I am making this year because it would ruin the surprise (my daughters do occasionally read my blog) but I thought I would¬†tell you about¬†some of the gifts I made in years past.

Making something for the girls (our daughters) has always been my first priority, but now that we have grandchildren and sons-in-law they are also recipients. The growing family is really challenging my creativity. ūüôā Since we have four girls I usually (but not always) make¬†four gifts, the same – but different, for them.

My very talented sister K.C. inspires my sewing projects and is always on stand-by ready to counsel and console me when I call about sewing projects. Some of the things I have learned from her are:

  • Fleece and flannel are forgiving fabrics (I am thankful for this because if there is a ‚Äúsewing sin‚ÄĚ I will undoubtedly commit it.)
  • Use LOTS of pins.
  • Press seams.
  • When you get frustrated take a break and come back later.

My Mom is my inspiration when I crochet. She taught me the basics of crochet, but she was the one that always had crochet projects going for the whole family. She passed away in 2011 and now when I crochet I feel connected with her.

Some of the gifts were made before I started blogging and taking photos so there are no pictures to show but I will do my best to describe each.

 

Fleece Bath Robes – I think this was the first year I decided to make Christmas gifts for the girls. I had an old sewing machine that I decided to learn how to use. My husband saw me struggling and decided I needed a new sewing machine. At least this one came with directions – LOL.

This was a fun project because there are so many colors and patterns of fleece to choose from. The bath robe pattern that I selected was a simple wrap around with a tie closure, so I would not have to deal with buttons or zippers. I then selected a  different fleece for each of the girls.

Most of the girls were still living at home at this point which meant I had to schedule my sewing time when they were at school; it also meant that I got to see them wear their gifts often. ūüôā

Flannel Pillow Cases – Notice I again choose a “forgiving” fabric to work with. The pillow cases were made with a solid color for the main part and a complimentary pattern for the trim.

Each girl or couple got a set of two pillow cases and I purchased new bed pillows for them as well.

Sister Shirts – This was one of my favorite projects and it involved neither sewing or crochet.

Here is a little background on sister shirts РI have 3 sisters, and like my parents, I have 4 daughters. When my sisters and I were growing up my parents, especially my dad, often got our names mixed up. One year when we were teenagers my sister J.B. and I (jokingly) decided to give dad a hand with that problem. We had t-shirts made for each of us. We each had a different color shirt. On the front it had our name, on the back it had the year we were born and our DD# (darling daughter #).

Several (more than 10) years ago I decided to have our shirts remade as sweat shirts this time (yes, Dad still gets us confused). I wear my “sister” shirt often, not necessarily for dad’s benefit, mostly because it is comfortable.

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One day one of my daughters, I can’t remember which one, said “we need sister shirts” and that got the wheels spinning. I had to come up with a “sister shirt” design for them. Even though I do have the “parent with too many kids to keep straight syndrome” I decided my girls needed something different. The girls are very close and I wanted to make something to express how they feel about their sisters.

At this point I was well into the DIY Christmas gifts so I had to figure out how to make them instead of having them made. I¬†found printable iron on transfer paper at the craft store and purchased plain hooded sweatshirts for each of the girls. I found a¬†picture of¬†all four girls¬†together and printed it¬†as an iron on (4x). I also printed the words “SISTERS ROCK!” and ironed that message under the photo on the shirt.

I have seen each of the girls wear their shirt many times over the years and it always made me smile. ūüôā

 

Slippers РThis is a pattern very similar to the ones my mom used to make. Her pattern called for two strand of worsted weight yarn held together and she would usually use two different colors to give the slippers a variegated effect. I began using heavy weight yarns (only one strand required) to make these.

The year my mom passed away I made these for everyone – all of my daughters, sons-in laws, sisters,¬†mother-in-law and even my husband now has a pair. I wear mine in the house throughout the cold seasons and like to keep a couple of pair made up incase I (or someone else get a hole) in one. ūüôā I will be making more as soon as I finish this years Christmas projects.

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Fingerless Gloves and Ear Warmers РThis was the year I realized that all of the girls had smart phones and were spending lots of time swiping their phones for one reason or another. Fingerless gloves seemed a practical gift since they were probably swiping even when they were out in the cold.  I found this beautiful, free crochet pattern online.  http://www.beatriceryandesigns.com/2015/02/09/amazing-grace-fingerless-gloves-free-crochet-pattern/

I also made the matching ear warmers using the same stitch pattern.

Incidentally, when the girls were over for Thanksgiving, Kara mentioned that she lost her ear warmer. She said she wore it all the time and asked if I could make her a new one in the same color. I happened to have one (a different pattern but same color) already made up and she was wearing it when she left. It is a wonderful feeling when you know your gifts are used and appreciated. ūüôā

Memory Quilts – This was a challenging but¬†super fun project. The idea came to me after my youngest daughter, Lindell,¬†moved out and I discovered that she had left behind all of her t-shirts from high school. When the girls were in school they had t-shirts from every activity that they participated in; homecoming shirts every year, sports shirts, band or choir shirts, drama club shirts, there was a whole stack of t-shirts that she hadn’t worn¬†in a while an apparently didn’t plan on wearing again. They didn’t seem like the kind of thing you would want to donate to a charity since they wouldn’t hold any meaning for the person wearing them, yet they held too much meaning to my daughter to just throw them away.

While looking through the pile of shirts I discovered that there were two separate piles, one belonging to Kara and one belonging to Lindell. I decided to make them into keepsakes for the girls.

Below are the girls with their “High School” memory quilts. There are many online tutorials for these. Lindell’s (on the left) was made as a rag quilt with flannel ¬†backing and Kara’s (on the right)was made with a fleece backing.¬†Perhaps their smiles in the¬†photo give you an idea how much the girls liked these blankets.

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T-shirt Bags РLast year I was in a quandary about what to make for the girls. I thought I would like to make them market bags or tote bags. It seemed like a practical gift that could be used for so many purposes. I looked at several crochet patterns but realistically I knew I did not have time to crochet 4 of them. I  started searching for other ideas and found this https://www.mommypotamus.com/no-sew-t-shirt-tote-bag-tutorial/. It was super simple.

I had used all of the girls t-shirts for their quilts the year before and I did not want to buy new shirts for this project, so I went to the Salvation Army resale shop. I was able to find shirts that matched each girls personality for only a couple dollars each. There is one for the Disney lover, one for the MSU fan, one for¬†the musician and one for the girl who loves to visit the Aquarium. ūüôā

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This was a quick easy project and I filled the bags with homemade treats – banana bread, honey or jam, and soaps and balms.

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I am not certain if the girls use these bags but I am sure that they enjoyed the contents of them. ūüôā

I am certainly not a master crafter and I admit that some of my projects have flaws but there is much to love about homemade gifts

  • There may be a cost savings, though this is not necessarily the case.
  • I find joy in creating things and especially for those I love. (I¬†rarely find joy in shopping.)
  • The gifts can be one of a kind and tailored¬†specifically for the individual.
  • They are always made with¬†Love or TLP as¬†I like to call it – Tender Love and Prayer.

Thank you for reading. If you have ever thought about making Christmas gifts I hope you have found some inspiration here. If you are a crafter who makes Christmas gifts please tell me about your favorite project that you have made, I am always looking for new ideas.

God Bless.

A Gift For Addy

We celebrated our Granddaughters first birthday last week.

Meet Addy.

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I made her a birthday gift.

IMG_4614This sweater is loosely based off a free pattern I found online. I found the written pattern somewhat difficult to understand. I¬†am thankful there was a video tutorial as I did have to view parts of it for guidance. I added the cuffs and changed the collar and trim to match. I chose lady bug buttons because Addy’s nickname is Ladybug. The matching beret was my own¬†design, having made larger berets in the past I used the same process to make a smaller version.

When I went to sew the buttons on the sweater I discovered that the ladybug antennae threatened to snag the sweater when passing through the button holes.  To prevent this I added snaps on the inside of the sweater, so the ladybugs on the outside are only for decoration.

I would liked to have gotten pictures of Addy in this outfit but by the time gifts were opened and cake was eaten our precious¬†Ladybug was ready for a nap. It was not the right time to expect¬†her to model and pose for a pictures. Instead, as I held her she put her head on my should and closed her eyes and I savored these precious¬†moments. ūüôā

Thanks for reading.