Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pumpkin Love!

So, much like all the other white girls in yoga pants, I'm in love with fall!  My world is flavored with pumpkin pie spice! I'm dreaming of the end to this heat wave in SoCal so that I can bust out my boots and cozy clothes. It's just not right to spend all of September in shorts... However, the water park near our house is staying open through October because of the heat, so maybe it's not all bad.  It just doesn't feel like fall.  More like we're in Summer Overtime.

Despite the crazy hot weather, I've been festooning my abode with pun'kins! Every year I make Jake buy me these insanely expensive fairy tale pumpkins (as opposed to the much more reasonably priced carving pumpkins) to decorate the house.  I rationalize it by saying that if we buy them in September I can leave them out until the day after Thanksgiving and we're set for our entire fall decorating scheme.

However, this year I've decided to crochet my own pumpkins!  For a girl that is used to paying $15 each for the real-life suckers, this is quite a steal, since I was able to make 2 pumpkins from one skein of Super Saver.  Plus, I can snuggle with them on the couch, which real pumpkins don't enjoy very much.

I saw some gorgeous blue pumpkins on Pinterest (don't you just adore Pinterest?! I'm on there, like, 18 times a day.  Pinterest is my Facebook... but I digress...) so I had to make myself a blue pumpkin too.  It's a little darker than a real life blue pumpkin, but I'm claiming creative license here and adoring it anyway.

I'm really happy with the way that the stem of these pumpkins turned out. It's hollow, so you can bend it and it stays in place.  So cool!  The ridges make it look like a real pumpkin stem, which makes me giddy every time I look at them.  I was able to do it by using front-post half-double crochet, which I abbreviated to fphdc (so when you see it in the pattern, that's what I'm talking about).

If you'd like to make one (or twelve) too, here's how I made mine:

(to make one 9" pumpkin)
180 yards of worsted weight yarn for pumpkin body (for my pumpkins, I used Red Heart Super Saver in Soft White, Aran, and Pumpkin, and Caron One Pound in Azure for the blue pumpkin)
Small amount of green for pumpkin stem (I used Red Heart Super Saver in Tea Leaf)
Size J crochet hook
Polyester Fiberfill Stuffing - I used approximately 10 ounces
Yarn needle

(use main body color)
R1: 9 hdc in a magic loop, pull loop tight, sl st to first hdc to close round. ch 1 (9 st)
R2: 2 hdc in each hdc, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (18 hdc)
R3: (2 hdc in first st, hdc in next st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (27 st)
R4: 2 hdc, (2 hdc in next st, hdc in next 2 st) 8 times, 2 hsc in the next st, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (36 st)
R5: (2 hdc in first st, hdc in next 3 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (45 st)
R6: 2 hdc, (2 hdc in first st, hdc in next 4 st) 8 times, 2 hdc in next st, 2 hdc, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (54 st)
R7: (2 hdc in first st, hdc in next 5 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (63 st)
R8: (2 hdc in first st, hdc in next 6 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (72 st)
R9: sc in each st around, sl st to first sc to close round, ch 1 (72 st)
R10: hdc in each st around, sl st to first sc to close round, ch 1 (72 st)
R11-26: repeat rows 9 and 10 (72 st)
R27: (hdc 2 st tog, hdc in next 6 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (63 st)
R28: (hdc 2 st tog, hdc in next 5 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (54 st)
R29: (hdc 2 st tog, hdc in next 4 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (45 st)
R30: (hdc 2 st tog, hdc in next 3 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (36 st)
R31: (hdc 2 st tog, hdc in next 2 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (27 st)
R32: (hdc 2 st tog, hdc in next 1 st) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (18 st)
Fasten off, leave a long tail (like 2 yards)

Stuff the pumpkin! Stuff it very full, it will look lumpy and not very good at this point, but that's okay!  Just make sure it's stuffed very tightly.

Attach stem yarn anywhere along the edge of R32, ch 1
R33: (hdc 2 st tog) 9 times, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (9 st)
R34-41: fphdc in each st around, sl st to first hdc to close round, ch 1 (9 st)
R42: fphdc in each st around, sl st to first hdc to close round (9 st)
Fasten off, leaving a 18" tail.

Using yarn needle and stem yarn, whipstitch top of stem closed.  Fasten off and weave in end.

To make the ridges in the pumpkin I used a big yarn needle (trust me on this one, you need a big needle for this, the little ones will get lost in all the fiberfill).  I threaded the tail end of Round 32, and poked my needle straight through the center, from the edge of the stem out through the bottom hole of Round 1.

Then I used a running stitch and wove the thread in a (mostly) straight line back up to the stem.

I pulled the thread snugly to create the side indentation, and made a little invisible knot at the base of the stem to hold the tension.  Then I poked my needle back through the center and did the whole process again on the opposite side.  At this point, it's going to look like a crocheted booty.  Yes, I'm an emotional 3rd grader, because it makes me laugh.

Then I made indentations to create quarters.  Then I made an indentation between each of those lines, ending with eight plump ridges.

I pulled my yarn through the center of the pumpkin one last time and fastened it off at the bottom of the pumpkin, weaving in my remaining tail.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer Vacation is Over!

Holy Schmowzow, Dynamos!  I don't know how it happened, but I lost control of this summer vacation.  Whole weeks slipped by without my knowledge, lost to daily swim lessons and play dates and one delightful week with the cows and the redwoods in northern California.

This is from our visit to the Muir Woods.  It was so beautiful!

I made twenty-five pounds of soap before the weather got too hot, and I discovered that I passed my one-year soap making anniversary with a grand total of 85 batches (totalling nearly 400 pounds!).

My kid read everything in the house this summer.  I found her in her room like this one day.  It was pretty hilarious.

I did virtually no crocheting over the last 6 weeks.  I know, sad face.  But something about having the kid home full time, and the hot weather, and the beach calling my name EVERY SINGLE DAY (we didn't go every day, more like twice a week, but it still CALLED every day. LOL!) made it so difficult to get anything done that took more than an hour to complete.  I did get out my sewing machine and whipped up some summer fun purses.  My one bit of crochet was making the flower for my denim hobo bag.  Yes, that's a Star Lord pin.  Are you jealous? LOL!  I know, you only get jealous over Groot...

Recycling a pair of jeans that were too big!  Win win!

The handles on this one are a little floppy.  Next time I will use fusible fleece inside and they will be perfect!  It's my favorite! 

This was my one bit of back-to-school crafting.  I used THIS tutorial to make some eco-friendly sandwich and snack baggies.  It was ridiculously simple, and they turned out awesome.  I didn't make the cute curved edge on mine, since I wanted to be able to "seal" them all the way across with velcro, so Mims's baby carrots and mini-crackers wouldn't roll out of the bag. She thinks they're cool, which is pretty good.  I don't know how many more years my handmade stuff is going to be okay at school, but she's in second grade so I figure I'm good for at least this year.  LOL!

How was your summer?  Did you make anything cool?  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Can't Win 'Em All...

So, in an effort to save some cash and get a little healthier, Jake and I have switched to only drinking water at home.  Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but for us, it's huge.  I am an iced tea-aholic (note: this does not mean Long Island Iced Tea, or Sweet Tea.  I'm talkin' plain ol' Lipton here.).  And I'm a LAZY iced tea-aholic, which meant that my morning didn't start until I was paying for my iced tea through a drive-thru window.  Being the kind and generous wife that I am, this also included a tea for Jake.  In our neck of the wood, this translates to $5 a day, or $150+ a month, on iced tea.  When we finally sat down and did the math, we were horrified (although the iced tea was our compromise after we did the Starbucks math a year ago...).  So now we've switched to plain water, and we're pretty happy with our choice (especially now that our caffeine withdrawal headaches have gone away).  Plus, the money we've saved has paid for Mims to go to swim lessons all summer!  Score!

Now that we're water drinkers, we are completely obsessed with our Nalgene water bottles. I've become such a water bottle snob.  It's hilarious, and completely ridiculous.  I love my water bottle so much, I don't go anywhere without it.  It's got a wide mouth top so I can add ice easily, so, of course, I ONLY drink ice water.  I know, I'm a nut.

However, I'm completely annoyed at the condensation that accumulates outside the bottle because of my ice obsession.  I constantly have a damp ring on my jeans from resting my bottle on my leg, and the front of my shirt is damp because of the bottle dripping condensation as I take a drink.  Annoying!

"Hold on a minute!" I thought to myself the other day, "I can crochet myself a solution to this minor, but immensely irritating problem!"  So I crocheted a sleeve for my beloved water bottle.  It was shimmery and gray and beautiful.  I slid it on the bottle, and it was perfection!  It absorbed the excess moisture.  My bottle looked so pretty!  I was a happy, happy girl!

...until I tried to drink out of my covered bottle.  The crochet stretched (as it is known to do!) and the cover started to slide around the bottle.  The dampness of the yarn made the bottle so slippery I wasn't able to maintain a solid grip around it, so as I took my sip, I suddenly discovered that I had 32 icy ounces of water rushing towards my face in an uncontrollable waterfall.  I doused myself, and half of our new couch.  Crochet fail!!!

So you will not be getting a pattern for a gorgeous one liter water bottle cover from me.

You're welcome.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mini Amigurumi

I'm not an amigurumi person.  I know that so many people are, but I've just never gotten into it.  However, I am VERY into crocheting in miniature, and my seven-year-old is very into tiny dolls, so when I went looking for some tiny projects to occupy some of my time this summer, Mini Amigurumi by Sara Scales seemed like a great fit for stretching my crochet muscles.

It took WAY TOO LONG for me to figure out that all of the instructions were written in British crochet terms, but once I finally read the patterns correctly, the instructions were clear and easy to follow.  I used embroidery floss and a size B hook and my projects all came out perfectly, adorably small!

Because they're all so small, I was able to work them up pretty quickly, and was able to turn them into some very fun last minute gifts for Mims and some of her friends.  Tiny crochet is a big hit with first graders.

And after a got the feel for amigurumi, I was inspired to try a project on my own.

It's Perry!  We love P&F around here, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me.  He's about the size of a quarter.  Mims wants me to turn him into a necklace for her, which I will probably do, if I don't turn him into a keychain for me! LOL!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Crochet Wedding Dress Round-up!

My friend Jaime is getting married soon!  She is on the lookout for the perfect crochet wedding dress (or skirt, if that's all we can find...) because, drum roll please, SHE'S MAKING HER OWN DRESS!!! I know, it's awesome!  So she asked me if I knew of any patterns, so I thought I'd put together a round-up of my favorites!

Okay, so use your imagination and picture this in white.  Completely adorbs, right?!  I love the vintage style. The pattern is only $3.50 usd HERE.


This Chanel Style Dress is a free pattern!  Gorgeous!  You can find it on Ravelry HERE
found via Moogly

Okay, it's a little short.  But so was Priscilla Pressley's dress, and it became iconic.  There's something about this one that I just adore.  You can find the pattern HERE for $11.72 aud.

I love the elbow length sleeves, the flirty ruffled skirt, and the empire waist of this dress.  Imagine it in white, but with a ribbon at the waist (instead of the belt). It also looks a little on the short side, but I imagine that an extra row or two of the ruffles would make it respectably tea-lengthed.  It would be cute for an informal wedding, but it's much too casual for a formal affair. The pattern is $9.50 usd HERE.


I love this dress.  The stitch pattern is pretty, but doesn't look too difficult, or like it would take a long time.  I ADORE the flower corsages on the shoulders.  I think it's so delicate and feminine, and not too vintage-y. You can buy the pattern for $3.20 usd HERE.

I would wear this dress everywhere.  I am completely smitten with it.  I would wear it to weddings, I would get married in it, I would wear it to church or to the theater.  It's such a perfect, all occasion dress.  LOVE IT!  And the pattern is only $1.99 HERE!

I love that this dress is so formal, without having to be floor length.  I think the back is very sexy, which might, or might not, be a good thing at a wedding.  The pattern is only $1.99 usd HERE.

I like the little keyhole feature of the back of this dress.  It's a little less sexy than the backless dress above, but I think it's perfect for a spring wedding.  I also think that this pattern wouldn't take a long time to make, which is a big plus in my book... And the pattern is only $1.99 HERE.

I think that this skirt is really lovely. I think the length is so flattering.  It's certainly fancy enough for a wedding, but it would be so wearable after the wedding too.  Lovely.  The pattern is HERE and it's $6.00 usd.

I think this skirt pattern is also gorgeous, and perfect for a wedding (and for years after as well!).  The pattern is a $5.99 download from KnitPicks.

If you have any favorite crochet dress patterns that you want to share with Jaime, please leave a comment!  I'm sure she'll appreciate all of your great suggestions!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My despicable niece is ONE!

Whew.  Last week went by like a blur!  Spring break is rough on blogging mamas!  Mims was home all week, which was so much fun, but I had completely forgotten how much free time I DON'T get when she's not at school.  It's taken me a day to recover from her vacation!

My niece, the famous Katy-bug, turned one AND got baptized on Easter. It was so much fun.  We spent the morning at church, and then for the after party, her mama (my sister), threw her a Despicable Me birthday party.  I got to make her a minion costume.

While I was at it, I made hats for the rest of us as well. My dad wanted a blue eyed minion hat...

I used the minion hat pattern over at Repeat Crafter Me, and adjusted it for the variety of head sizes in my family.  I like her hat patterns a lot, but they always need a little tweaking to get the right fit for us, but isn't that the case with any pattern? LOL!

Sandy and Katy went as minions.  Katy's dad, Doob, went as Gru.  He even did the voice.  It was very impressive.

And then, as part of her present, I found this adorbs pattern for making a personalized pair of baby TOMS (or in my case baby KATYs!) over at Homemade Toast, and I just HAD to make some for Bug.  I don't know if my sewing skills are to blame, but I found the tutorial pretty challenging to follow.  I'm not complaining, because I know how hard it is to think of everything, but a supplies list would have been very helpful (and would have saved me an emergency trip to the fabric store to get 1/4" elastic).  I swear, I read through the instructions TWICE before I even started, and I still missed it.  

Still, they turned out so cute that I'm going to make her a couple more pairs.  Mims LIVED in little shoes like this until she was about three because they were they only type of shoe that stayed on her feet.  I think I used to pay about $40 a pair for them, so this was a HUGE savings... Even if they were a little challenging for my brain! Now that I've got it figured out, the next pair should be much easier.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quirky Winner 2!

Oh my goodness, my day has gotten away from me.  Jake and I spent the morning fixing the handle of the downstairs toilet, and hanging curtains.  We got (almost) done in time for an amazing visit from my bestie, E, and her little guy, S!  We were showing off our chickens (they started laying eggs this week!  How amazing is that?!) and Jake found a "rubber" egg in the coop.  I don't know if it was from one of the girls that is already laying eggs, or if it was a surprise to our last little chicken that hadn't started laying yet, but it was like a water balloon!  Squishy shelled eggs are a fun novelty, but I'm hoping that there won't be a repeat tomorrow.

Back to the curtains for a second...  Um, so you know how I ADORE Pinterest and I think it's the greatest site ever?  Well, Pinterest and I had our first big fight this week.  Over muslin curtains, no less!  If you do a search for DIY Muslin Curtains, Pinterest will bring you all sorts of amazing curtain projects, and will build up your sewing hubris to the point that you will think it's a good idea to MAKE new curtains for all TEN of our living room/dining room windows.

smh, what was I thinking?!  Off the bolt, muslin is perfect, but in order to make washable curtains that won't pucker or shrink, you need to wash and dry your fabric to remove the sizing.  The thing is, muslin wrinkles.  It wrinkles A LOT.  I ended up having to iron all 23 yards of fabric TWICE, because simply ironing it left it too wrinkled, it needed spray starch.  If I had known, I never would have washed it, because honestly, who am I kidding, I never washed the old lace "Haunted Mansion" curtains that had been hanging for 8 years...

I realize now that while, yes, they worked out to about $2.50 a curtain (40% off coupon at Joanns!) whatever I saved in cash, I more than spent in hard physical ironing labor.  If I ever decide to tackle a project like this again I think I'm going to invest in a steamer.  I hate ironing...

Okay, on to the winner of my 2nd Quirky Giveaway!
I had 28 comments on the post, and used to "draw" a winner of the awesome craft goodies from!

Congratulations to Tammy Crocheter! I will email you to get your info. Thank you to everyone who entered!!!  I loved reading all of your awesome comments!!!


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