Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hooded Scarf...

...because I love hoods and not all things are hooded. 

Note: I was left to my own devices for the photo shoot so they leave something to be desired. Please just focus on the cuteness of the scarf!

I am not one to buy books on how to crochet things since there is already sooo much available on the internet, but I guess there's always an exception.
While browsing in Michaels one day, I came across a gem called Hooded Scarves to Crochet by Leisure Arts. I had never seen anything like them and I knew I needed to make one!

This pattern is called "Warm & Woodsy" and I am not sure about the plagiarizing laws/rules as far as sharing the pattern, but I am gonna go out on a limb and share it with you. YOLO! 

  • Medium Weight Yarn - (5 oz, 244 yards / 141 grams, 233 meters) - 2 skeins
  • Crochet hook - size H (5 mm) or sized needed for gauge
Gauge: I'm lazy and don't ever do the gauge and since I am too lazy to do that, clearly I am too lazy to type it out... so here it is:
Photo of print from book noted in above text.

Chain 281

Row 1: Sc in 41st ch from hook (fringe loop made) and in each ch across: 241 sc
Row 2: (Right side): Ch 40 (fringe loop made, now & throughout), turn; sc in back loop pnly of each sc across
Note: Loop a short piece of yarn around any stitch to mark Row 2 as right side
Row 3: Ch 40, turn; dc in back loop only of first sc * ch 1, skip next sc, dc in back loop only of next sc; repeat from * across:121 dc and 120 chs
Row 4: Ch 40, turn; sc in back loop only of first dc, (sc in next ch, sc in back loop only of next dc) across: 241 sc
Row 5: Ch 40, turn; sc in back loop only of each sc across
Rows 6-17: Repeat Rows 3-5, 4 times: 241 sc
Finish off.

Row 1: With right side facing, skip first 80 sc ad join yarn with dc in back loop only of next sc; * ch 1, skip next sc, dc in back loop only of next sc; repeat from * 39 more times, leave remaining 80 sc unworked: 41 dc and 40 chs
Row 2: Ch 1, turn; sc in back loop only of first dc, (sc in next ch, sc in back loop only of next dc) across: 81 sc
Row 3: Ch 1, turn; sc in back loop only of each sc across
Row 4: Ch 4 (counts as first dc plus 1 ch), turn; skip next sc, dc in back loop only of next sc, * ch 1, skip ext sc, dc back loop only of next sc; repeat from * across: 41 dc and 40 chs
Rows 5-9: Repeat Rows 2-4 once, then repeat Rows 2 and 3 one more time: 81 sc

Joining Row (Back Hood Seam): Ch 1, turn;with right side together, matching sts on Row 9, and working through outside loops of both thicknesses, sc in first 34 sc, decrease 3 times, finish off.

And that's it! The only thing I might change for next time is take away the "fringe" at the bottom.  If you give this a try and have any questions - fire away! I will do my best to help! Happy hooding!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Santa's Belly

I know, I know! It's toooooo early for Christmas! Can we please get through Halloween and Thanksgiving before we start on Christmas?! Trust me, those that know me know that I despise how the retail industry shoves Christmas down our throats so it's the last thing I want to do to you... But look how cute this guy is!!

When I bought the glass ornament balls for my niece's Invitation Keepsake Ornament, I of course couldn't buy just one, I had to buy four. So when I saw this little guy on A Crafty B's blog, I couldn't resist making one.

  • Paint black strip around the ornament (I used regular acrylic paint - I think Crafty B used puffy paint)
  • While that dries, cut red card stock into strips. I did various widths and lengths. I also lucked out because I had a ton of strips already left over from a different project I had done so I didn't have to cut that many! :o)
  • Touch up the black paint strip/Santa's belt. Allow it to dry. 
  • I used some silver glitter glue stuff that I had in my scrapbooking supplies. (Crafty B used white puffy paint.)
  • I was impatient and didn't want to wait for all that to dry before I started putting the paper in so I used a roll of masking tape as a holder so the ball would stand straight and there would be no damage to the drying paint. 
  • Roll the paper strips tightly around a pen or a paint brush or your finger or whatever you see fit. Slide the paper off the contraption you use and then drop it into the top of the ornament. Don't worry - it will unravel a little. You can also roll them a little less tight to give it varying degrees of tightness. I also rolled some of mine in a spiral around said apparatus just to give it a different texture in the ball.
I think this little guy is just precious, so simple, and inexpensive! I would be surprised if everyone in our family doesn't get one for their tree this year! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Crescent Pizza Rolls

These guys were ... interesting. At the same time, they had potential.

K first saw this recipe on Facebook. When I went to make them, of course I couldn't find the recipe of Facebook again and I knew Pinterest would have it. They did. I didn't find one that linked back to a particular blog so I don't really know who the proper credit should go to.

The recipe on Facebook was for a large family. There are only two of us, so I scaled it down quite a bit.

  • 1 can Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Pepperoni Slices
  • Jack cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Parmesan, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Preheat oven to 425*F
  • Cut 10 smallish pieces of each cheese
  • Flatten biscuit
  • Put a couple pepperoni, the cheese, and a couple more pepperoni
  • Fold biscuit around pepperoni and cheese
  • Place face down in a 9x9 pyrex dish (I'm sure a pan would work, but I would spray it first)
  • Repeat 9 more times
  • Once they're all in the baking dish, lightly brush them with the egg
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan, Italian Seasoning, and Garlic Powder
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes
  • Use pizza sauce for dipping
Sooo, these were Oh-Kay. I'm not sure I was a huge fan of the Italian Seasoning. If I were to do these again, I wouldn't use it. I also would have used mozzarella cheese. (I used what I had on hand.) I also think we had the buttery buttermilk biscuits which I think gave it a weird sweet kind of flavoring.

At the same time, I think these had potential. With the small changes I mentioned above and maybe using other ingredients like olives, or Hawaiian style ingredients, they could be better. I might make them again if my nieces or nephews were in town, but I doubt I will make the for K and me again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Outside My Comfort Zone

WARNING: This blog is long. Longer than usual and longer than I prefer. If I was the reader, I would likely deem it, "too many words" and not read it. So my feelings wont be hurt if you're not in for the long haul. 

I had surgery to remove my gall bladder a little over a week ago so I am off work. I have been antsy since about two days after the surgery. For the most part, I am finding things to do around the house so I can lay low and properly heal, but today was a different story.

Today, there were tree trimmers outside our window starting at 8am. Not just "a clip clip here and a clip clip there" kind of tree trimmers, but the kind with the wood chipper to grind the trimmings up. So it was LOUD! For some reason, the noise was really getting to me and giving me a lot of anxiety so at about 11am, I decided it was time for me to get in the shower and leave the house.

The question was what should I get out of the house and do?

I have been wanting to go to thrift stores because there are some things I want for projects, but I am not a huge fan of thrifting. It requires patience I typically don't have and I rarely find what I am looking for or anything for that matter. I was feeling lucky tho so thrifting was on my radar.

So was the beach. I have been wanting to read The Happiness Project for quite some time and I thought now would be a good time since I am off work and have the time to process it and get the most out of the book. So which would it be?


I decided to Google thrift stores in Laguna Beach and see what I could find. Then after that, I would head to the beach for a bit, people watch, and dive into my book.

Here's the thing. All of this was kind of outside of my comfort zone. Sure, I have been to Laguna Beach a multitude of times, but always with family and friends. Never alone. And only one other time have I ever driven there by myself. Don't get me wrong, I know my way around there well enough, but having to drive and navigate it alone made me uneasy.

Apparently, there is some truth in the following quote:
I don't want to mislead you into thinking that I had some great life experience because it was nothing of the sort. I just learned some things about myself. I wanted to share some of those things: 
  • I don't really do alone that well. Some things I do fine alone. Like regular things - grocery shopping, errand running, getting gas, even going to the movies - these are all things I can do alone. Apparently, thrifting and going to the beach, I prefer to do with someone.
    I was unsuccessful at the first thrift store. I looked at my phone to see where the other thrift stores were and tried to figure out if I could walk to them. Laguna is awesome, but parking can be a pain sometimes and I already paid for parking where I was so driving wasn't an option. Thrift store #2 that Google sent me to was no longer a thrift store and was a fancy schmancy restaurant. So I wandered. Like I said, I love Laguna and all it's little touristy shops. I can spend hours in them! That is, when I have people with me. I would walk in to a store, look at a couple things and then bolt out. I literally walked in circles trying to figure out what to do with myself.
    So I started to try and walk to thrift store #3. GPS said it was half a mile. I could walk that, no problem. So I started heading in that direction. And then I came to a large uphill slope and got to thinking - I am still recovering from surgery. What if it's too much? I don't have anyone with me. How would I get back to the car if it was too much and I couldn't make it?! What if I had to ask a stranger for help? Oh my! The humiliation of it all! So, I decided against it.
    I headed back to the car to put my wallet away. It was time to just grab my book, grab something to eat, and head to the beach for the remainder of my allotted parking time. (2.5 hours to be exact.)

  • Decisions and patience allude me when I am outside of my comfort zone. Trying to find somewhere to get something to eat was just stupid. There was a Whole Foods close to where I parked and the few times I have been to that store previously, I remember a wide variety of deli type foods. This was not the case at this store. It was like 1/2 of the normal store. But I found the deli and thought I'd just get a sandwich and be on my way. Sure, that would have worked if there wasn't someone in front of me and I wasn't out of my comfort zone and had the patience and desire to wait. So, like I did with the shops I entered and then I bolted.
    I continued to wander in circles trying to find another place to eat. In my wanderings, I saw a Irish Pub. Oooh, stopping for a pint of Guinness sounds awesome. Maybe I will do that! Oh, there's a patio too... How nice would that be? Oh. There's two guys on the patio. They're together... I'm alone. No, thank you - that was just too much discomfort for my liking. Guess I wont be doing that.
    So after wandering in circles for another good 15-20 minutes, I went to an overpriced deli I am semi-familiar with and got an overpriced sandwich and an overpriced cup of iced tea just because it's a place closer to my comfort zone, and headed to the beach.
  • I am sooo judgmental. But I tend to have more compassion and less judgement for the elderly. While sitting on the bench people watching, there was this older lady (probably late 60's - early 70's) with red and white striped pants on that were apparently on the thin side. Under the striped pants were what appeared to be blue and white patterned undies. It made me smile.
    Later, when walking back to the car, there was a woman who I would like to think was older than me, but was likely my own age, wearing white shorts. Under the white shorts were some dark colored undies with white polka dots. I rolled my eyes and visibly shook my head. She should know better!
    This is something I work on regularly. It is a constant battle. Not to mention this probably has A LOT to do with why I am not comfortable doing things alone. For some reason, being judged alone is more scary than being judged with other people. LOL What kind of sense does that even make?! <-- an="" br="" epiphany="" if="" just="" me.="" occurred="" that="" to="" will.="" you="">
  • I would have more fun in life if I worried less about what people thought. The whole time I was having this adventure, I kept thinking about blogging about it because it was somewhat absurd, yet funny to me and I thought it would be fun to share. However, I kept thinking snapshots of me along the way would be a fun way to chronicle the adventure. But I am too worried about other people judging me. "Look at the crazy chick all by herself taking random pics. What a sad life she lives. Doesn't she have any friends?" This is what I am convinced everyone would think when the reality is most people wouldn't even pay attention. And those that would might have kinder thoughts like, "Good for her for getting out and enjoying the day." Or perhaps someone might even admire my courage to get out and have a good time by myself. Not in my head, though. In my head, everyone is mean and negative.
  • I should work on spending more time in my heart and less time in my head. My head is not a safe place to be, but I spend waaay more time there than I should. Sometimes when I am left alone with my head for long periods I am annoyed when someone comes home because they are encroaching on me and my time with my head. Usually being in my head for too long is not good. I tend to start looking at and thinking about everything that is wrong or that I don't do that I should and I get really down on myself. Anyway, I didn't realize that I did this when I was out and about alone too.
    What I realized about this today is that my head is kind of a toxic place. Maybe if I didn't spend so much time up in there, my life would be somehow different. Perhaps rosier. Maybe I need to spend more time in my heart where the focus is love and compassion. I think it will help me see the word in a different way.
  • If you're looking for serenity, stay in your comfort zone. I tried to get comfortable on the beach, I really did. I didn't bring a chair or blanket so I was stuck sitting on the benches on the boardwalk. Unless, of course, I wanted to sit in the sand with no blanket/towel. For some reason, sand caked legs and sand in my undies wasn't all that appealing to me. Grass was also an option, but grass makes me itchy. That didn't appeal to me either. So I sat on the bench.
    As I mentioned before, I want to really process and absorb The Happiness Project. The beach outside of my comfort zone while alone is not the ideal place to do this. Concentration was at a minimum. Next time I want to be outside, alone, and find a place I can relax - I will stay in my comfort zone. Like a shady spot under a tree at an nearly empty park.
I finally gave up and decided I would start leisurely heading back to the car. I had maybe an hour left on my parking time so I would have fun and kill time taking pics on the way back. Here's what I got:

Impressive, right? SMH. I ended up pretty much just heading back to the car. I decided, though, that I deserved a little something for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. So, I headed to my favorite souvenir shop and bought Kelly a shirt. Right next door to that shop, is the store that sells the candles I love so much, so I bought one of those too and headed home. I was back in the comfort of my own home before my allotted parking time expired.

If you hung in there and are still with me, thanks for reading. I thought this was absurd in the way I seemed to wander like I was lost. It's absurd that being alone and in foreign territory has such an affect on me. (Is anyone else like that?) I also realized how much work I could (and should) do on myself. So, I wanted to share.

I definitely want to keep going outside of my comfort zone because look how much I learned! Or rather, how much was brought to my awareness. I believe the more aware and conscious I am, the more I can improve my self and all these quirks I have. Ultimately achieving a more care free and peaceful life!  

What are your thoughts on all this?
Is there anything you can relate to?
Have you done any work to improve areas like these? What have you done?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Random Act of Kindness Bookmarks

Ever since I saw these little gems on Pinterest, what seems like forever ago, I have wanted to make these (or something similar.) Sadly, bookmarks are a dying breed because everyone has one of the many various brands of an e-book these days so no one really reads books that need a bookmark. Don't get me wrong, I have an e-reader too... but I have yet to actually use it for it's intended purpose. And even if I do convert to reading books electronically, I think I will still read and have real books.

I am sure I have confessed this before, but I am somewhat of a book hoarder. I love books. My dream house will have a library similar to the one Belle had in Beauty and the Beast.

Anyway, I recently put the smack down on my book hoarding and got rid of about three storage bins full of books. Since then, I have also restricted myself from buying new books. I need to read the ones I have and get rid of them before I bring more in. I have been really good about this (as long as you don't count the book I got for a dollar from Friends of the Library. That doesn't really count, though. I didn't pay full price for it and it went to a good cause by supporting my local library!)

Which brings me to the loophole I found in my no buying new books rule. The library! It's genius, really. I get all the books I want, I don't have to pay a penny for them (unless I don't return them on time - which may have happened once or twice), and I'm not allowed to keep them and therefore don't clutter my house/garage by hoarding books I likely wont read because they're in a box buried in the garage waiting for the home library that I will likely never get.

One of the books I checked out happened to have a San Francisco bookmark left in it, which gave me this idea! I will make paint chip bookmarks and tuck them in the books I check out before I return them. How long they will stay tucked in the book before the next reader discovers it? Who will check it out next? Will the person keep the bookmark for their personal use? Or will they leave it tucked in the book for the next reader? The mystery of it all makes me smile.

Ok, on with the project... It wasn't as easy as one would think:

The paint chips have a weird texture. I'm not sure why or how I didn't realize this before, but it's slippery. Therefore, makes stamping impossible. The ink just bled and smeared and didn't stamp right. It was quite disappointing. After this major fail, I went to the original blog, "Bella Carta" and realized I should have used "Stazon" ink. *Sigh* One day I will learn to read the directions before starting a project/recipe!

So I improvized:

My favorite is the blue star fish/shell one. It's simple. Not to mention, that was the punch we used on our wedding invitations, so it's kind of nostalgic. I actually decided to give this one to K. The other two I will leave in books. They're nothing fancy.... I trimmed them down so there was no wording on them, used some punches, and placed a sticker or two. Cute enough.

This little guy is my favorite and I will be keeping for myself!

It's a magnetic bookmark! My mom and I had bought some of these years ago at Barnes and Noble and I loved them! The last one I have is finally seeing the end of it's days so I thought I would try and replicate it on my own. Super simple:
  1. Trim paint chip to about 1 wide and your desired length. Mine is probably about 3-4 inches long. 
  2. In the middle, score/fold a small section to create a gap in the bookmark to make room for the magnets and pages. (See the bottom right image above.)
  3. Embellish as you wish. I still would have preferred some cute and creative stamping. It's totally possible if you wanted to use just card stock. I considered it, but this was the third project I worked on this day and I was kind of over it. So I grabbed a couple stickers and called it cute. 
  4. Stick magnets to back of bookmark.
See? Easy enough, huh?

This fulfills my desire for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). I know it's not anything mind blowing. And part of a RAK is to give something someone might need and no one really needs a bookmark, but I think it's sweet. It made me smile to find a bookmark in one of the books I got. Who knows, maybe that person didn't leave it there on purpose and just forgot it in there, but they made me smile either way and I was grateful. Hopefully the people that get my bookmarks do the same and don't think something like, "Who left their dumb bookmark in this book?" As they toss it in the trash. :o\

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Happily Ever After

September 22, 2013, our sweet niece got her "happily ever after" and married her high school sweet heart and best friend. It was a beautiful day and K and I were most grateful they shared their day with us!

I, of course, gave them hand made gifts. It wasn't really what was on their registry, but I hope the like it just the same. 

First up, the blanket of love.

I had actually been working on this since the beginning of the year. I wasn't 100% certain who the intended owner was when I started it, but I always had my niece and her love in the back of my mind. When K and I realized we were going to be able to make the trip and be at the wedding, I knew this was going to be for them.

There's nothing fancy to the crochet pattern. I chained 100-and-something chains (until I got it to the desired width). Then I double crocheted one row and single crocheted the next two rows until I got it to the desired length.

Next up is the Christmas ornament using their wedding invitation. I got this idea from "... from glitter to gumdrops".

Thankfully, the retail industry starts shoving Christmas down your throat these days before summer is over so I was able to get the glass ornaments from Michaels.

All I did for this sweet little gem is cut their invitation into strips. (I didn't measure the size... I just eyeballed the font/wording. Sometimes it backfired, but I think it is one of those things that only I would notice because I am my own worst critic.)

I used the whole invitation - so even the parts that didn't have writing on it, I cut into strips. The back of the invitation had a cool grey pattern on it so I rolled those pieces so that side showed to give it some color variety.

Once all the strips are cut, I rolled them around a pen and tucked it into the ball. You cant see it in this pic, but I rolled some of them in a spiral just to give some of the curls a different texture.

Their invitation had a yellow ribbon wrapped around it to keep everything together so I used that too and tucked it in with the invitation curls.

You don't have much control on how the spirals fall. I just shook it up until it was presentable enough. It will be interesting to see how this holds up. I cant help but think that as the years pass, the paper will collapse and the ball will look less full. We shall see.

I think this is such a sweet way to memorialize the invitation. I am kind of sentimental so throwing away special things like wedding invitations, baby announcements, graduation announcements, etc sometimes doesn't feel right, but could you imagine what a hoarder I would become if I kept every little thing someone sent me or invited me to?! This sweet project is a great way for me to feel like I am doing something special with it and not just throwing it in the trash.

Again, I am so glad that K and I were able to be a part of their special day. Our niece was a beautiful bride and is one of the sweetest people I know. She deserves all her dreams to come true and a lifetime of love and happiness and I believe she has found someone that will give her just that! We love you M & N and are soooo happy for you both. XO