Friday, March 27, 2020

Free Resources: Crafts & Books

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Life is a little unusual right now.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of companies, large and small, offering free resources.  I love crafts and I love books, so I thought that I would share these two with you!

Craft More Happy Moments
Craft More Happy Moments with Bluprint's FREE Creativity Care Package March 26, 2020 through April 9, 2020!  You can watch over 1,300 creative education classes on topics including: sewing, cooking, family crafts, and so much more!  You will need to register; however, you will not need to enter any credit card information.

Audible Stories
Audible has launched a new service for while schools are closed.  As far as I can tell, there is no log in or registration needed and it doesn't look like there are limits.  However, the overall collection does seem a bit limited, but maybe they will add more!

Have you discovered any new and notable resources?  
I'd love to hear about them!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Our Library Bag: March 2020

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Graphic including books, dragon, castle, frog, the earth, and more.

My library closed!  This bothers me more than most of the closures happening right now.  There are a lot of amazing online resources available now though, with more popping up every day!

What I've been reading:

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin
This was my book club book of the month.  (Of course, book club was also canceled.) Mistress of the Ritz is a novel based on a real life couple set mostly during the German occupation of Paris during World War II.  The glamorous Ritz, with all of the rich and famous, became the stomping ground of the Germans.  The story revolves around the marriage of the hotel propriety and his wife.  (SPOILER ALERT.) It's not exactly a very good marriage. But, oh, the ending!  What a punch in the gut!

Lucky in Love and Listen to Your Heart both by Kasie West
I read both of these while cuddling a sick child.  Both books were delightfully sweet YA romances.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
(This accidentally tied into our current homeschool studies about Africa, which was rather awesome.  Here's a running list of some of the picture books about Africa.)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This thriller had me furiously turning the pages.  So many lies.  So much mystery.  Deeply flawed characters.  Unreliable narrator.  Who can you trust?  Yourself?  Your memories?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
This wasn't actually a library book--we own multiple copies--however, since I just finished a re-reading I feel compelled to share it here.  Every single time I read this book I love it a little more.  It's just so good. I mean really, really, really good.

A few notable picture books from this month:

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker
We all loved this book!  Katherine Johnson was an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race.  Guess who was pivotal in getting Apollo 13 home?  You guessed it, Katherine!

Out of School and into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story by Suzanne Slade
As it's name implies, this is a picture book biography about naturalist and artist Anna Comstock. She was a pioneer in encouraging nature study as a part of a child's education. 

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
This picture book is an adorable look at the ecosystem of a mountain pond.  It's super sweet, very informative, and just an all around great picture book. (I'm adding this book to my Amazon Nature Book List!)

Let's talk!
Do you have some extra time to read this month?  What's on your list?  Is your library open?  How long will it be closed?  

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Free Crochet Pattern: Twisted Knot Ear Warmer

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This crocheted Twisted Knot Ear Warmer works up quickly and makes an adorable accessory!

The yarn is from Kimarie's Knit Knacks.  It's called Unicorn Fields.  I've been hoarding the remainder of the skein from my Sterling Unicorn Hat waiting for inspiration to strike.  I actually had started a couple of projects with the yarn, but they just didn't seem worthy so they were frogged.  The colors are striking, and it's so squishy and soft.  Such great yarn!

Free Crochet Pattern of Sterling Unicorn Hat

Ear warmers are all the rage!  I've even seen a fair share of them here in Central Florida.  As I was cleaning my craft area I came across this yarn again and inspiration struck!  The very next afternoon between homeschooling and library books this Twisted Knot Ear Warmer came into existence.

The lovely, knit-like, detail in the texture of the headband comes from crocheting in the third loop of the half-double crochet below it.  If you haven't done this before it might sound intimidating, but it's really easy once you know what you know where to look!

When working a row of crochet you (generally) end up with a "v" on the top.  The side of the "v" closest to you is referred to as the "front loop" and the side of the "v" further away is the "back loop".  In a half-double crochet there is actually a third loop that's under the "v" that is made from the yarn over (YO) in the stitch.  "HDC in the third loop" means that you are going to create your hdc stitches around this loop under the "v". Doing this will force the "v" to face the front.

Chain 111 using an F hook.

Row 1: Skip the first chain and half-double crochet (HDC) across. This should give you 110 stitches.  Chain 1 and turn.

Row 2: HDC in third loop.

Repeat rows 1 & 2

At this point you have a nice flat, knotless, fabric.  You could sew the ends together and call it a day--that would leave you with a perfectly lovely ear warmer.  However, if you'd like to add a little more flair, then you need one more step.

To achieve the trendy twisted knot we need to sew the ends together just right.  Fold the ends lengthwise so that you end up with four ends.  Alternate the sides and then sew.  I find it helpful to baste first and check to make sure that everything looks right before the final sew.  When sewing the finishing bit, make sure to catch all four layers of fabric.  This is very important!

If you're having trouble envisioning the above step try this first: Make a "c" with both of your hands--your left hand will be a correct "c" and your right will be backwards.  Put them together with your left hand fingers on top, right hand fingers next, left hand thumb, and finally the right hand thumb.

Weave in any ends and enjoy!  (Side note: I know that plastic yarn needles are really popular, but I really love my stainless steel yarn needles.)

Thanks for visiting my blog!  

I love to link up at all of these wonderful blogs!

Other posts that you might enjoy:

 A boy in a red shirt is wearing a crocheted green backpack.  There is wooden fence in the background.  The boy's face is hidden.