Monday, December 17, 2012

Potholder Pattern #2 (A Tutorial)

The following post is a copy of my guest post over at Sugar Bee Crafts from earlier this month.

(I'll leave my little introduction intact, just in case you are a new reader!) Hello, Sugar Bee Crafts Readers! My name is Rachel, and I blog over at The Philosopher's Wife.  I like to blog about my life, my crafts, things that matter to me, and whatever piques my interest.  I am a Stay-At-Home-Mom for my adorable daughter Catherine and I am wife to my wonderful husband, who, you might have been able to guess, is a Philosopher!

I love making pot-holders!  (You can read more about that here.)  I'd bet that many of you have a pot-holder loom hanging around the house.  It is time to dig it out, because I am going to share a pattern with you today that you're going to want to try!

(Before beginning, I highly recommend using the Harrisville Designs Pot-Holder Loom, but I especially recommend their loops.  Many of the loops that are found in craft stores these days are made from a cheap jersey material that is purely for decorative purposes--it even melts when it gets too hot!  The Harrisville Design Loops are 100% cotton and make pot-holders that can be used for years!)

Make sure that you have enough of both colors that you intend to use.  

Start with Color One (Red) on both ends and add the loops as every other until they meet in the middle, where there should be two Reds.  My loom has 18 spokes, so spokes 9 & 10 should both be Color One--in this case, Red.

Do the exact same pattern, again with Color One (Red) on the outer most and in the middle, while doing a basic weave.  

Before trying to hook off the ends, push all of the loops towards the center.  Do this from all four sides and you should be able to easily crochet the ends together.  Add a few stitches with needle and thread to the final loop for added strength.  

Have your kids help make some pot-holders and then they can give them as gifts at Christmas.  Better yet, put together a couple of cookies-in-a-jar, some hot-chocolate jars, and the pot-holders in a basket with some ribbon and you have a lovely handmade gift that is easily tailored to anyone's tastes.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial!

I have another pot-holder tutorial that you might be interested in: the "Houndstooth" How To.

Thank you, Mandy, for this opportunity to guest post!

If you want to get really fancy with this pattern, you can try to make  a pot-holder like this one:

As always, I love sharing my projects around blogland.  
You can check out some of my favorite places to party on this page.

Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes

1.  If you are a blogger, have you noticed how many of the great linkys happen on Wednesday?  I mean, Wordless Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, Works in Progress Wednesday, plus all the awesome craft parties that are on Wednesday?  I could spend an entire week getting posts ready for Wednesdays.

2. How many other crafters out there have procrastinated to the point where they have about a half dozen (or more) gifts that they intended to hand make and they only have mere days to finish everything?

3. Speaking of which, I am attempting my first complete quilt.  (I've started others in the past but took on too much too soon.)  This one is a simple three piece quilt: back, batting, and one non-pieced non-blocked non-anything piece of fabric.  It is going to be a Christmas present for my daughter and I am determined to have it finished.

4. I finally found a pair of gloves for Catherine today.  It has been oddly difficult.  I wanted her to have actual gloves, not mittens.  I also didn't want to spend much on them, because let's face it, she's two and will probably lose at least one before the end of the weekend.  I couldn't find any small enough for her at Target, Wal-Mart, or various dollar and thrift stores.  (All the ones on Amazon I thought were pretty expensive.)  Where did I find them?  At Claire's.

5.  My hubby and I have been playing Mario Galaxy lately.  I've really enjoyed this because the second player doesn't have to have much skill to have fun.  Which is great, because while I enjoy video games here and there I'm the player who is constantly running into walls.

6.  Yikes, I almost didn't include any pictures today!  I can't do that!  Here's a picture of cuteness from Christmas 2010.  When I look at this picture and then at the toddler climbing on the couch I almost can't believe it!

7.  My Etsy shop is having a sale today through Sunday!  December 14-16, 2012 enter the coupon code GOOSIE15 to receive 15% off!  Any orders will be mailed Monday and then the shop is closed beginning the 18th until January.  (There are also some items that are not listed that you could purchase -- some of them can be found in my Facebook albums here and here.)  While it is probably too late for a custom order to show up under your Christmas tree, if you want something that you don't see just ask--many items aren't photographed and I just might have something for you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I Wore Wendsday

I am pretty happy with my outfit today, so I decided to go ahead and share it!  

Be warned, I would rate the pictures only as "Fair" quality.  I was playing with the timer function -which did work well--indoors, which never works well in our apartment due to poor lighting.  As always, my adorable little helper was at my side through it all!

 Sweater: J. Crew $3 at Value Village a couple weeks ago
T-Shirt: Old Navy $2.50 at an ON clearance sale last year
Jeans: St. John's Bay $5 at a JCP clearance sale a couple of years ago

I'm even wearing accessories today!

 I entered a giveaway and won this pretty necklace from The Swiss Dot.  This piece is a deviation from normal for me, but I really like it!

These beautiful earrings were made by my friend Jeanne.

Finally, a photo-bomb shot with my sweetie-pie! 

Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday Catherine and I did the annual Christmas card photo shoot.  This shot didn't make the cut for the card, but I still thought it was super sweet!

I'd love to see your (mostly) Wordless Wednesdays!
Link up below!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Crafter

Do you have a crafter in you life?  Are you having a difficult time finding something for them this Christmas?

Here are a few ideas:

Every crafter needs an organized place to store supplies.  These two pieces of furniture would be welcome additions to a crafter's home.

Harbor View Craft Armoire $349

Original Scrapbox Ez View Craft Scrapbooking Desk 


Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have the type of space the above gifts need.

Here are a few smaller scale items:

This would be handy for either a knitter or a crocheter! It holds up to eight skeins of yarn at a time.
Yarn Drum
Many crafters love books! I know that I do.  Books can be great for learning new techniques, patterns, and finding inspiration.  The following would make many a crafter happy:

Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts [Paperback] $16.49


 I've endorsed this book before, and I think that just about any crocheter would learn something from it and would love to have it on their shelves!


Last, but certainly not least, supplies are always a welcome addition.

These can be a bit tricky.  Gift cards are the "safe" option when it comes to supplies.  However, you don't have to limit yourself to Michael's and Jo Anne's (although both of those are incredibly awesome places to get gift cards for!).  Etsy now has mostly site wide gift cards and many of the individual shops have their own gift cards.

I reviewed some yarn from Sunrise Fiber Co. a while back, which I loved, and I think many knitters and crocheters would love to work with that yarn.  I am happy to report that they have gift certificates exclusive to that shop!

Friday, December 7, 2012

7 Quick Takes

My husband and I recently became hooked on Downton Abbey.

Whole cranberries always look so delicious  but I rarely purchase them because I just don't know what to do with them!  I picked up a bag for super-cheap the other day and made this dessert.  I highly recommend it!

I really liked this article about kids in Church.  Especially this quote:
[W]e’re a family [at Mass]. Families include colicky newborns and sassy toddlers and fidgeting kids and high schoolers who text at warp speed and people with awful coughs who are always overly eager to shake your hand during the passing of the peace and the man who sits behind you every week who loudly refuses to learn the new responses and the woman who sings off key … you know what I mean. We’re all in it together. If someone is making it hard for you to concentrate during Mass, offer up a prayer on her or his behalf.
Well, while I'm commenting upon articles I've read this week, how about this one, "Catholics, Awake! Marriage Doesn't Just Happen!" I was married before 24 and I did hold hands with my now husband while we dated.

Last week was a very difficult week for our little family.  I had a miscarriage.  I'd very much appreciate any prayers that you have to spare.

I have a giveaway for a fun pair of earrings that ends this weekend.  You should enter, because even if you don't want the earrings for yourself I am sure that you could find a pair for someone on your Christmas list!  I'll even post the Rafflecopter form here to make it super easy to enter, but for the full review go {HERE}. 
(Continental US only, please.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email.  The Philosopher's Wife is not responsible for prize shipment.)

Here are two pictures of my sweet Catherine helping me with my Crochet Snowflake photo shoot.  In the one she is full of concentration and was getting a little frustrated that the snowflake wasn't co-operating as she wished and the other she is just so full of joy.  Isn't she adorable?

PS: There's still time to order from my Etsy shop!  

For more Quick Takes visit Jen!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Crochet Snowflakes

Even though I have the windows wide open today, and Catherine and I wore short sleeves outside, it is December.  While I very much have enjoyed the park this week I am ready to get in the mood for Christmas.  And who doesn't love a white Christmas?  Here's a slightly less chilly take on a white Christmas!

Crocheted snowflakes.  

If you haven't crocheted before or haven't in a long time, don't be intimidated by snowflakes!  Crocheting really isn't that difficult and there are so many awesome and easy to follow tutorials out there.  With the right pattern, even if you are a beginner, you could make a few  pretty snowflakes in an afternoon!

I tried a couple of different snowflake patterns, and ultimately decided that the pattern from Redheart for Snowflake #1 of the garland is the simplest with the most dramatic appearance (see below).  It requires only very basic crochet skills: chains, single crochet, and slip stitches.  

There are many more complicated patterns out there and quite a few fairly easy ones as well.  If you're a member of Ravelry there are many gorgeous patterns to chose from.  (If you aren't a member, I highly recommend you join if you crochet or knit. It is a very handy FREE website!  )

I think that my favorite snowflake is the one below.  The pattern can also be found at Redheart.  This is another fairly simple pattern.  

Of course, snowflakes don't have be made using crochet thread--you can use "regular" yarn as well!  These were made using a sport weight yarn and are about the size of a small plate while the others are roughly three inches from point to point.

What are some good uses for these cute little works of art?  

  • Make a bunch and hang them on the Christmas tree!  They are especially great if you have kids or pets, as they won't break and aren't poisonous.  
  • Stitch them together and make a beautiful garland.
  • Hang them from your fan pulls.
  • Put them on a wreath.
  • Use them as curtain tie backs. 
  • Add one with a gift tag to jazz up a present.  

If you like the look of the snowflakes I made, but don't want to make them yourself, I sell some in my Etsy shop!  (I welcome custom orders, but hurry!)  I had a bunch of these at the craft fair this past weekend, and I was shocked how fast they sold out!

Since my little helper was just too adorable while helping me take pictures, here's another one of her! She ever-so-carefully hung the snowflakes on the bush for me. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Southern Stamper Review and Giveaway

This is the final installment of the Earring Extravaganza!
Many of the giveaways end this week, so be sure to stop by and enter.
I hope that you enjoyed this event as much as I did.

I don't drink coffee or tea.  I'm a Dr. Pepper girl. So when I came across these Dr. Pepper Earrings I just knew they were for me! 

The Southern Stamper has lots of awesome bottlecap earrings in her Etsy shop.  Seriously, you can get anything from Tinkerbell to Mountain Dew--or your very own custom earrings!  I love the idea of the custom earrings--there are just so many possibilities!  Your kid's school logo, your kid's sports team logo, various club logos, etc., would all be great things to "immortalize" on a pair of earrings!

I would consider these to be "statement sized" earrings.  The Dr. Pepper image is one inch wide.

An actual bottlecap was used in the making of these earrings.  (It wasn't harmed, only flattened.)  A slightly glittery epoxy covers and protects the images.  The silver toned ear wires are comfortable and work well with the bottlecap.  

These are great casual earrings.  They would be perfect with jeans and a sweater.

The Southern Stamper has generously offered one lucky winner 
their choice of one pair of earrings!

Please enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Continental US only, please.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

The Philosopher's Wife is not responsible for prize shipment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One Artsy Mama Review and Giveaway

This post is part of the Earring Extravaganza!
Be sure to check out all of the fun.

A little while ago I was lucky enough to win a pair of Wire Wrapped Briolette Earrings from a contest that Amy, over at One Artsy Mama, hosted.  (Her blog is one of my favorites!)  I loved these earrings so much that I just had to include them in my Earring Extravaganza.

Amy's Etsy shop, also named One Artsy Mama, has many adorable items and lots of quality handmade jewelry.  I love all of the earrings!  She has all of the earrings in the photo above for sale right now, and all of them are quite reasonably priced.

My earrings are the Passion Pink Wire Wrapped Briolette Earrings.  They are perfect for me!  This color is a bright hot-pink with turquoise-like veining.  The teardrop hangs about an inch below the earlobe.  The size is a great--not so small they disappear but not so large that they dominate.  They are very comfortable and provide a great punch of color.  

I would say that these earrings are best for casual situations; however, I think that they would look fantastic with a little black dress.

Amy generously is offering one lucky reader a pair of the
Wire Wrapped Briolette Earrings.
You get to pick the color!

Please enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Continental US only, please.  

The Philosopher's Wife is not responsible for prize shipment.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag & Wallet Giveaway

Be sure to check out my Earring Extravaganza & Giveaways tabs!

Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag & Turn Lock Wallet Giveaway

Welcome to the 

Vera Bradley Giveaway!

Hosted and sponsored by Giveaway Promote.

The crazy Christmas giveaway season has begun!
This is a fantastic time to win some amazing prizes. To help you out, Giveaway Promote is adding tons of brand new giveaways to their site every day.

Don’t miss out on your chance to win!

As a subscriber to Giveaway Promote Daily, you’ll get all of these great giveaways sent directly to you via email.

You’ll also be eligible to win this giveaway for a gorgeous Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag and Turn Lock Wallet Set in the gorgeous Viva la Vera print!

A Little About Giveaway Promote:

If you love entering giveaways, sweepstakes and contests, you’ll find the latest and greatest listed on Giveaway Promote.

If you’re hosting a giveaway or are organizing a giveaway event, you can submit them to Giveaway Promote and they’ll promote them to their large audience of over 40,000 giveaway entrants.  I submit all of my giveaways there and have been very happy with the resulting traffic! 

Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag

A recessed zipper closure opens to reveal our latest pocket-happy handbag. Six interior compartments and a front slip pocket promise to contain all you wish to carry, while double quilted handles and channel stitching offer a stylish touch. Measures 12" x 9¾" x 4¾" with 11" strap drop. - Vera Bradley
Mandy Handbag Viva la Vera
Mandy Handbag Viva la Vera - Inside

Vera Bradley Turn Lock Wallet

Elegance doesn’t have to stop at handbags. For a high-style look from your clothes to your cash, this wallet is for you. Pair it with any favorite handbag style that incorporates silver hardware for a cohesive look. Unlock your style! Measures 7¾" x 4¾". 
Turn Lock Wallet Viva la Vera
Turn Lock - Inside
The Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag and Turn Lock Wallet are both in the Viva la Vera pattern shown below.  Isn't it cute?

Enter to win a Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag and Turn Lock Wallet in the Viva la Vera print.

Open in the United States and Canada.
Ends at 11:59pm EST on December 2nd, 2012.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Philosopher's Wife is not responsible for prize shipment.
Bloggers, we'd love for you to join an awesome group giveaway event like this one! Sign up to be emailed about future events hosted by Giveaway Promote.
If you'd like to hear about the upcoming group giveaway and hop events hosted by all bloggers who've submitted their events to Giveaway Promote, subscribe to Giveaway Promote's weekly group giveaway events and hops newsletter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rito Originals Review and Giveaway

This is part of The Earring Extravaganza!  
Be sure to check out the other awesome earring giveaways happening now!   

"Wearable art."

That's what you get from Rito Originals.

Amber, a Stay-At-Home-Mom (like me!), makes gorgeous jewelry as her creative outlet.  Her shop is filled with her unique designs.  Of course, this is part of my Earring Extravaganza, so she has beautiful earrings, but she also has lovely necklaces and rings.  My favorite ring is the Tanzanite Sterling Silver Ring.

Today I am going to be highlighting The Freshwater Pearl Pendulum Earrings.  They are a modern take on a classic look.  Simple, yet stunning.

Pearls are always elegant and sophisticated, and these are no exception.  The gorgeous white pearl is securely attached to a sterling silver pendulum earring.

These earrings are incredibly lightweight and very easy to wear. At a little over an inch long, I love that they have a "dangley" feel even though they are completely stationary.

While you certainly could wear them with jeans they also would be great for a fancier occasion!

Rito Originals has generously provided a pair of the
Freshwater Pearl Pendulum Earrings
for today's giveaway!

PS: There is another giveaway happening at the Rito Originals Facebook Page!

Please enter on the Rafflecopter below.  Continental US only, please.  The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.

The Philosopher's Wife is not responsible for prize shipment.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes

This week I made slow-cooked BBQ pork in the crock pot and my new favorite mac & cheese.  This combination is delicious!  Sadly, today is Friday and we don't eat meat on Fridays.

My Earring Extravaganza Event is happening now!  If there are any guys in my audience,  remember your wife, girlfriend, mom, or co-worker would love a pair of earrings for Christmas, so you should enter the giveaways too!

I've been working on some super cute hats for the upcoming craft fair!  Anyone live near Mount Rainier, Maryland?  Come say hi!  

(Also, if you tell me you read my blog I'll totally give you a discount!)

I've always been a little wary of the diagnosis of "brain death" and this article is yet another instance where it was premature.  A "few days" after having her respirator removed this woman recovered.  Did you notice that they waited "days" for her body to shut down?  Scary.  

Also interesting and some-what related, this man was in a "vegetative state" for years is able to communicate with his doctors.  

I wish I had the cool app where I could take pictures of checks and they would automatically be deposited into my bank account.  Of course, my bank would need to be a little fancier.  I would probably also need a smart phone.  I am happy with both my current bank and my current phone so I don't see this happening . . . ever.  However, it would be nice.  

What would you say are the truly educational kids shows out there?  Are there any?  I'd love any recommendations that you have!  (Bonus points if they're "Play it Now" on Netflix!)  Catherine is two and I don't want her watching much TV, but I do put something on for her when I need her to be occupied (i.e., in the shower or cooking dinner).

Christmas is coming!  Get ready by shopping in my Etsy shop or Amazon!  

(I'd really appreciate if you'd use my Amazon affiliate link!)

Want more Quick Takes?  Visit Jen!