Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- My Little Princess

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Hodgepodge Collection of Crocheted Handbags

Here's the blog with the original pattern.
As I was browsing through Ravelry I came across these super cute childsized handbags.  I thought the pattern was lovely and would work for a more grown up handbag as well.  So once again I was off to modifying a pattern to make it what I wanted!

Have you noticed that I love to take a pattern and use it as a jumping off point?

I added about 40 chains to the original pattern, but followed the shell stitch per the instructions.  I also changed up my handles a bit--it ended up being somewhere between the original Strappy and the Alligator bags--which I think works quite well for the size that I made.

The shell/granny stripe consists of *three double crochets in the same space* repeated until the end of each row.  This was worked in rounds.

I still haven't decided if I will line the inside.  I am pretty sure that I have some material in my closest that would work perfectly.  However, I would have to dig it out and that could be an all day project in itself.  Although, I have been itching to get my sewing machine going again. . . . So here is what my (finished?) handbag looks like:

Since I enjoyed making the above handbag so much I also made a very simple little purse, using only single crochet and slip stitches.  It is very patriotic, isn't it?

Here is a messenger style bag that I finished a while ago.  This one has a super long strap to go over the shoulder while the bag hangs at the hip.


I also started another one--I am pretty much free-styling this one--but I intend for it to be a combination of the above Granny Stripe Handbag and the Patriotic Purse.  Here's what I have so far:

I think that I might make some detachable flower pins for these bags also.  That would give them some flair!

Check out all of these awesome link parties in which I am participating!

‘My entry into Fingerprints on the Fridge’s Feature Yourself Friday, sponsored by Appliances Online and Bosch Washing Machines

Friday, February 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

ONE: It has been a super mild winter.  Yesterday when Catherine and I were walking to the dollar store we barely needed sweatshirts.  Even more exciting, we saw daffodils!  They are so bright and cheery and a sign of spring weather.  

TWO: I found a new crochet pattern website that I'm in love with, Ravelry.  I'm probably the last crocheter to stumble up this site but I've already started a couple of projects inspired by it.

THREE: I've started a couple of book reviews for some blog posts.  Unfortunately they have been sucked in the abyss of the draft folder.

FOUR: If money were no issue I would love to have giant closets.  EVERYTHING would have a special place.  Here are two amazing examples:

FIVE: A very "mom" take here... I think Pampers are the best diapers.  With coupons/sales/Amazon Mom I generally am about to get them for 15 cents or less per diaper.  (That being the most I'd like to pay.)  However, a couple of weeks ago the best deal I could find was on Huggies.  They were terrible!  They leaked like crazy and I'm pretty sure they were the culprit behind some diaper rash.  I know that different diapers work for different kids, but wow.  Oh well. We are going to start potty training in a couple of weeks. 

SIX:  This is from almost exactly a year ago.  I can't believe how big my girl has gotten!  I love the scrunched up smile!

SEVEN: I am extremely thankful that my sweet little girl has napped long enough for me to finish this post!  A couple of weeks ago I thought that the afternoon nap had gone the way of the dodo bird.  Last week they were short, but they existed.  This week they've been all over the place.  Naps are nice.  

Check out more 7 Quick Takes here

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slot vs. Cable

Have you seen this yet?  Personally I find it absolutely hilarious.  Mostly because it is so true!  I have this problem every single time I upload photos.

Every single time.

It is nice to know that it's not just me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crocheted Lace . . . Sorta . . .

I'm not really into a lot of lace.  Sure, it has a time and place, and little touches of it can be quite elegant, but generally speaking it just isn't me.  That means that I tend to shy away from crochet patterns with the word "lace" in the title.  Plus, I don't really have any yarn or thread that would be appropriate for lace.  (When it hits a rock bottom price at Michael's, or shows up at my Dollar Tree, or I stumble on some in some other way then I might pick some up!)  However, while flipping through a library book I came across a lace pattern with violets in between lots of trellis work.  Those violets looked awesome--and I thought that they were "me" so I decided to adapt the pattern to something that I would like.

My original idea was to take a couple of rows of the lace pattern and make a year round open and airy scarf/belt.  I planned on using a cheerful color of yarn that should work for any season.  I wanted it to be fairly skinny and long to allow for various wrapping, draping, and tying combinations.

Not having the finer crochet thread, I opted to use some of my Peaches and Creme pink and purple yarn.  It is easy to work with and 100% cotton.  First I worked some trellises (pretty much just chains and single crochet--dramatic and yet simple).  They looked pretty cool, but it was a little too big open for me using the larger hook and yarn combination; plus, I really wanted this project to be skinny and if I had two rows of trellis, a row of violets, and two more rows of trellis it would be pretty wide.  So I scratched the trellis work and opted for a row of single crochet to work the violets into.  (That is one nice thing about crocheting--if something doesn't turn out how you'd like all you have to do is unravel it.  No biggie.)

Then I began working on the violets.  They are mostly constructed of treble puffs.  I had to make a couple of changes to the pattern here and there to account for all of the differences (yarn, hook, trellis vs. single crochet, etc).  Two of the petals are worked in the first row with the other three being worked into the next row.

Once the two rows that create the violets were finished I mirrored the beginning rows and finished with slip stitches all around.

Overall, I like the finished product!  I think it is cute (and if you don't agree with me, that's okay!).  I do think that I would like to try this project again with a finer yarn and smaller hook.  I also think that these violets could be pretty worked into an afghan.  But that is a project for another day!

Check out my Facebook page for a few more pictures and the original crocheted lace pattern.  I'd be tickled pink if you "like" me!

I will be linking up at the following link parties: 

Ninth Street Notions
Some Good Times

Confessions of a Stay At Home Mommy
homeworkThese Creative Juices
Go Team Duncan

Fine Craft Guild

Also check out my crafty link page!

Friday, February 17, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

ONE: Last night Catherine fought taking a bath for quite awhile.  Then she fiercely fought leaving the tub.  So we let her play in there for about forty five minutes.  Of course we did keep adding warm water for her!  So here is a (slightly stereotypical look how cute my kid is in the tub) photo:

Check out that awesome hairdo!
And yes, she still loves her Ducky tub.

TWO: I was much better about blogging this week!  Not everything ended up in my draft folder.  I consider that an accomplishment.  Also, I participated in quite a few "link parties".  They are a great way to see other people's blogs as well as announce that mine exists.  I'd love to get my blogging to be more regular and to have a steady increase of traffic to my site.  That's what I'd like, but we'll see what happens!

THREE: I mailed my application for a Spring Craft Fair.  I think as long as there are openings I am in, but I will still be waiting nervously for their response.  I really want to participate in another craft fair and there don't seem to be a lot of spring ones around (I already have a few fall ones penciled in on my schedule).  This also means that I should focus my crafting time on items that might sell at a spring fair.  

FOUR: Lent starts up next week.  I need to get baking cookies and such out of my system before then.  I should also look up Ash Wednesday Mass times.  On that note, (growing up and a little bit now too) I always thought that Ash Wednesday should be a Holy Day of Obligation.  I guess mainly because it has "something extra"  (the receiving of ashes), but also because the beginning of Lent is a big deal.  It is by far the non-obligatory Mass that I try the hardest to attend.

FIVE: Still wishing I had a magical way to clean.  Sheez, even if I had a couple of toddler free hours every week that would help.  I guess that I could get up super early or stay up later--but somehow that just doesn't happen.  To those mommies out there with lots of kids and spotless houses, how do you do it?  I have one wonderful kid and a tiny apartment (which is part of the problem, IMHO--because there simply is no storage) and nine times (okay, 9.9 times) out of ten it is a mess.  Although, I tend to be rather OCD about some things--such as the floor.  We are a no shoes in the house family and I often scrub it on my hands and knees.  We live in a large metro area and I've seen enough bodily fluids, etc deposited on public walkways to turn me into a little bit of a germaphobe.  The living room especially is often clean enough to eat off of--which is good because it seems like that's Catherine's favorite place to store her Cheerios and raisins!

SIX: Peter and I tend to go in spurts with what game we play.  Some weeks the only game we'll play is Carcassonne, other weeks its Dominion, other times its cards.  The game that we've been playing the most lately is Family Business.  It is also nice because we have a family friend that has returned to the area--so he's been able to come over for games quite a bit.
SEVEN: I have been sorting through my coupons, there are a couple of great deals out there this week.  I am hoping to hit Safeway, CVS (I have ExtraCare Bucks burning a hole in my pocket!), and Harris Teeter (Super Doubles, baby!).  We shall see if I actually set foot in any of these stores this weekend, but I should be prepared!  Plus, it doesn't hurt to go through my massive stack of coupons.

Check out more 7 Quick Takes here

That Last Little Bit of Peanut Butter

First world Problems II - its so hard  to get that last little bit of peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar
From Meme Generator

But seriously, why do they design jars with nooks and crannies, and even RIDGES, for peanut butter?!?!  It's one of the yummiest, stickiest, cling to the roof of your mouth (and everything it touches) substances.

Peter Pan Creamy is probably my absolute favorite peanut butter (taste-wise).  The bottom of their jar isn't too bad, but that bump around the top is impenetrable by knife.  The only good way to get that stuff out is with your fingers.  (And that's not exactly polite!)  Aldi's store brand peanut butter is my second favorite.  Their containers have ridges on the bottom.  How are you supposed to get that out?  Even succumbing to the finger method doesn't get you far with ridges.  

I'm not the only one that finds it frustrating to see a sandwhich's worth of this gooey deliciousness just beyond my grasp.  Online suggestions for getting that last bit out include various utensils (from the mundane spoon to the more specialized icing spatula), microwaving (with the warning that too long can cause the oil to separate and possibly catch on fire), to sawing the jar in half with a large knife or hacksaw.  Some people just give up entirely and let their beloved pets have at it.  (Should dogs even eat peanut butter?)

But isn't all that a little much?  This guy designed some jars that Skippy et all should check out.  They have lids on both sides, and a flat cylindrical jar.  (I don't think that a flat cylinder is geometrically possible, but you know what I'm trying to say!)  Basically, there is no place for the peanut butter to hide.  Victory will be ours!

So, all you peanut butter jar makers out there listen up!  We like your product.  We will buy more.  Even if we finish our current jars.  But we would really appreciate it if you'd stop (purposely?) frustrating us!  We know it must frustrate you too.  
These are the six pound jars available from Sam's.
Forget the ridges, can a knife even reach the bottom?

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday--Me and My Silly Little Goose

Check out more "Wordless Wednesdays" here.  

Pot Holders, Potholders, Pot-Holders . . . You know what I mean!

(Totally random starting rambling . . . the word(s) potholder/pot-holder/potholder drives me nuts.  I can't find a definitive answer online right now.  It seems like everywhere I turn there is a different "correct" usage.  I'm going to say that since there is disagreement I am free to use whatever version I prefer!)

One of the iconic toys for little girls is a pot holder loom.  Most of us had them.  The higher quality ones where/are made of metal and then the cheaper models were/are made of plastic.  I had a red plastic loom as a child.  I remember going to Michael's to buy loops with money I won at the county fair.  I made quite a few pot holders for my Mom and Grandma.  My Mom still has some of them floating around--a little faded, perhaps.  I have a larger place-mat size one that I use regularly.  It is great for hot serving dishes on the table.
I finished this Green on Green Pot Holder
last week.  I really love the nine different
striped squares.  Two colors + Under-over
weaving = So many possibilities!

I now have a higher quality metal loom.  I love it!  The metal spokes don't bend or give the way the plastic one used to.  I've also been using Harrisville Design Loops, which are a lot better than the ones that I used as a kid.  These are 100% cotton.  They also go through a more rigid quality control process.  I remember being frustrated by the number of loops that didn't fit on the loom as a kid--I've made about a dozen pot holders and have yet to come across a loop that doesn't fit.  (Also, you have to watch out for the cheap imitation jersey loops.  Those make pot holders that are for decorative purposes only.  They offer little protection from heat.  Even worse, when exposed to extreme heat--like a cookie tray, or something from the oven--they can melt.  Yes, that's right MELT.  Not a good characteristic of a pot holder.)  Anther fabulous plus for making pot holders is that it is a project that from start to finish can be completed during Catherine's nap time.  Which is great, because lots of colorful loops and a toddler don't really mix well.

Besides using "crafting time" to make a useful product and the soothing quality that weaving has, I absolutely love coming up with patters!  It is amazing how many things you can come up with just doing a simple over and under weave.  Combining and alternating colors to make an appealing design can be a bit of a mental game.  It isn't always easy to visualize how a pattern will turn out.  Of course, it you don't like it you can always unravel it and start again.  (And yes, I have done this!)  Anyone that knows me knows that I love color--this is a great way to add color to a boring apartment kitchen.  (Or any kitchen!)

Bottom line, I love making pot holders!  I make them for me, I make them as gifts, I make them to sell.  I try to post photos of my various creations on Facebook.  (And it would totally make my day if you "liked" me!)

Be sure to check out some of my potholder tutorials!
"Pattern #2"

I am linking to a couple of "link parties" such as the following:

Oopsey Daisy
Katie's Nesting Spot

Ninth Street Notions

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
The Shabby Nest

Tickled Pink at 504 Main
I Heart Nap Time