Monday, July 27, 2015

You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best!!

I've finally finished the last two KISS gnomes (at least for me anyway. I've gotten a request to make another Gene and another Paul for family members for Christmas).

These are the before pictures. I bought a set of four 10" tall rubber Art Line gnomes from someone on eBay. They were damn near perfect: no fading, no staining. I don't think they ever saw the outside world.

Space Ace with a cute little lamb. He did have a tall wooden branch in his left hand originally. Because of the belt and vest, there's no enough room to put it back into his hand. I did keep it though for one of the other gnomes, just in case.
It was actually harder to make these gnomes because of their size, compared to the Gene and Peter gnomes I already made. They were bigger and the extra room made it easier to detail and paint them.
Look at Gnome Paul's little tushy!!
I was barely able to force the shovel handle back into his hand, and I don't know why. It became a really tight fit, and I can't help but wonder if it was because of heating the clay so close to it.
This time, there was minimal swearing and complaining, because I wasn't having as many problems with the silver Testor's enamel paint as I did last time...thank God!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Slow Cooker Pineapple Glazed Ham

Again, without looking for them, I came across a treasure trove of slow cooker recipes.

While I didn't take note of the original site, each recipe was marked with the site it originated from. This recipe, Slow Cooker Pineapple Glazed Ham, supposedly originated from Sixsistersstuff. I say supposedly not to be snarky, but when I went there tonight to direct link to it, I couldn't find it on their site.

Anyway, here it is:

  • 4 thick pieces of boneless ham, fully cooked
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 20 oz crushed pineapple, not drained
  • 2 T Dijon mustard (optional)--I didn't have Dijon but I did substitute a healthy squirt of regular yellow mustard. It was probably only 1 T though.
Mix ingredients together and cook on high for three hours, or low for 5-6 hours. Since my slow cooker is a handful of years old, it cooks everything fairly quickly and on too high a temperature. I've realized that for a recipe like this (where your meat or main ingredient should already be cooked), I can use the "keep warm" setting on my slow cooker. It basically cooks for you on a lower low setting, so I had this going today for about 7-8 hours.

Full disclosure here: I don't really like ham or pineapple. But I did like the end results of this recipe. I was looking for something easy to make, and something in which I already had all the ingredients. After having company for about 2 1/2 weeks, I wasn't about to hit the grocery store again. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I think this is actually going to be a keeper recipe, to be made again at another time. If you make a ham for a big dinner, something spiral cut and you've got leftovers, this could be a good recipe to dig out when you're looking for another way to prepare the leftovers.

Friday, July 24, 2015

An Adventure With Jake the Dog and a New Pattern

My time with Jake the Dog was short lived. I'd like to think he's off on an adventure of his own, making his way back to the Land of Ooo, to find Finn and the treehouse.

What really happened is that the little shit fell off my backpack this morning, somewhere on my way to work. Oh well, I've got more yellow yarn (Thanks, Tammy!), so I'll make myself a new Jake. A bigger Jake. A Jake that I won't hang on my backpack.

Until then, I've got my girl, Cake the Cat, here to keep me company. I finished writing this pattern tonight, and she was inspired by Mia Handcrafter's original pattern for Jake. If you make it, let me know what you think. I have to say already, just from looking at her, I should have made her arms and legs a little shorter.

Every aspect of Cake was a stashbuster for me. Good Lord, I realized I'm a fairly serious packrat when then it comes to artsy fartsy supplies!

·         E sized crochet hook
·         Stitch marker
·         White yarn, medium weight
·         Dark tan yarn, medium weight
·         Felt and matching thread: white, black, pink, and dark tan
·         Straight sewing needle
·         Curved sewing needle
·         Tapestry needle
·         Straight pins
·         Scissors
·         Ruler
·         Ink pen
·         Fiber Fill

Finished size: 9" tall

NOTE: Remember to leave long lengths of yarn at the end of your pieces. You can use them to attach the pieces to the body. Don’t cut any lengths until you’re finished. You can weave those ends into the piece for extra security.

Ears: Make two ears with tan yarn.
Row 1: ch 6
Rows 2-3: Turn, and starting in second chain from hook, work 1 sc in each stitch across. For row 3, chain 1 when turning.
Row 4: Turn, chain 1,  work first 2 sc tog, last 2 sc tog, and 1 sc in the stitches between.
Row 5: Turn, chain 1,  work first 2 sc tog ,1 sc in the middle stitch and the last 2 sc tog.
Row 6: Turn, chain 1,  work first and then the last 2 sc tog.
Row 7: Turn, chain 1, work first 2 sc tog and 1 sc in remaining stitch. Finish off and leave a long tail for sewing.  
Sew a smaller triangle of pink felt to the inside of each ear with whip stitches (start by putting your straight needle through the felt first, and then stitch around the triangle, coming up through the yarn from behind and down through the front of the felt, working with small (tiny) evenly spaced stitches). Directions can also be found here.

Body: white yarn
Round 1: 7 sc in magic ring--If you don't know how to do the magic ring, it's super easy and you can find directions for it here.
Round 2: Work the remaining body in rounds from here on out. 2 sc in each stitch
Round 3: sc, inc (repeat)
Round 4: sc, sc, inc (repeat)
Round 5-21: sc in each sc (repeat)

Midway through Cake’s body, sew on the spot underneath where her right ear will go (see below). Then, attach the left ear  with the extra yarn and the tapestry needle, so they are standing up. Look at the picture of Cake on this pattern and the hole from your starting magic ring to help with the placement. (Note: you may notice the ears on my Cake are different. I thought she had one white ear and one tan ear. This was wrong.)

For Cake’s right ear, because of the spot underneath it, you might have to use needle and thread to attach it, instead of yarn. Or, you can put the right ear first for placement with the extra yarn, and then cut a slight edge out of the spot to place it around her ear.

Round 22: sc,  sc, dec (repeat) --Start stuffing the body. After the body is stuffed and stitched shut, you can always give her a little squeeze or two to readjust her shape and the filling density.
Round 23: sc, dec (repeat)--Finish stuffing to your liking  (I like firmly packed toys)
Round 24: dec (repeat until bottom of body is closed. If you run out of enough room for your hook, work a slip stitch and fasten off the yarn Thread the tapestry needle with the tail and weave it through the last row and pull tight like a drawstring.) Once completed, fasten off yarn.

Tan Spots:
This is where you need the 360 degree picture of Cake (in this pattern). Her spots are going to be cut out of the tan felt and then whip stitched on to Cake’s body with the curved needle and matching thread. You might want to trace out the pieces first with a pen on the felt and then cut them out instead of free handing them. You might want to pin these to Cake’s body as you work on them. I was able to hold the felt in place with my left hand, and sew them on with my right hand, without needing pins.
·         2” circle to go over the right side of Cake’s face
·         1 ½” x ½” kidney bean shape to go on the middle of Cake’s back
·         2 ½” x 1 ½” oval to go on Cake’s belly and wrap slight under the bottom rows of her body (but not up onto her back)

Cut two ¾” circles out of white felt

Cut two thin ovals (1/2” tall x ¼” or narrower wide) out of black felt. Sew the pupils to the center of the white felt  first (do a couple of stitches straight down the center of the black, instead of trying to whip stitch the edges), and then sew the completed eye (with vertical pupils) to Cake’s face. On the right hand side of her face, the eye should overlap the tan spot some. The whites should not touch each other in the center of her face (keep about ½” apart). The outside edges of the whites should be outside the edges of tan spot on her chest.

Cut one 7/8" x 1/2" oval out of the tan felt.

Using the black thread, embroider on a small black oval nose in the center of the oval. (I actually made another mistake on my Cake and gave her a triangle nose.) Underneath, embroider on a small kitty smile.

Whip stitch the tan piece to Cake's face with the matching thread. It should overlap both of her eyes, and her nose should line up with the bottom of the whites of her eyes, but not touch the spot on her tummy.

Left Arm:
Round 1: Starting with the white yarn, leave a long length of yarn and chain 9. Switch to tan yarn and chain 5 and turn.
Round 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work 4 sc along the tan section. Switch back to white sc’s to match the first row. Ch 1 and turn.
Round 3: Work 1 sc in each stitch along the white section. Switch back to tan sc’s to match Cake’s paw. Ch 1 and turn.
Round 4: Repeat round 2
Round 5: Repeat round 3. At this point, it may start to look like an unwrapped cigarette paper.
Round 6: Repeat round 2.
Round 7: Repeat round 3. Secure yarn with a slip stitch.
Roll the yarn into a tube and whip stitch the length of tube closed with matching yarn. The tan section is Cake's left paw.

Right Arm:
Round 1: Starting with the white yarn, leave a long length of yarn and chain 5. Switch to tan yarn and chain 5. Switch to the white yarn again and chain 4 and turn.
Rounds 2-7: Match up the color of the stitches in each row. When completed, roll the yarn closed like you did with Cake's left arm. The smaller white section is Cake's right paw.

(Note: if you have a hard time getting the color changes done correctly for Cake's arms and legs, you can crochet them compeltely in white, and then sew on felt spots.)

When sewing Cake's arms on, line them up with the top of the oval spot on her tummy and the outside edge of her ears.

Cut out two pieces from the white felt, with three bushy areas, like shown in the picture. The entire length should be about 3 1/2" long. (Think foxy and bushy.)

Cut two pieces from the tan felt, to cover the ends of the bushy areas, like shown in the picture.

Sew the tan pieces to the white pieces, but only whip stitch on the inside edges of the tan. Because there are two sides to Cake's tail, you will need to sew them on opposite sides of the white felt.

Once you have the tan edges sewn to the white, lay the tail pieces together, insides together, with just a bit of Fiber Fill in between. Whip stitch the tan parts together first, and then stitch the white parts. Leave the narrowest end of the white felt open and unstitched.

Sew on Cake's tail on the center of her rump, low on her body, with the white thread.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jake the Dog Amigurumi Keychain

For about two years now, I've had a pattern bookmarked from Mia's Atelier and I finally got around to making it tonight: a key chain of Jake the Dog from "Adventure Time."

This is my little Jake here. Since I wasn't able to make mine the way Mia mad her's, I had to improvise a little bit. The link above is to her pattern. My notes are here.

There's nothing wrong with Mia's pattern. It's just that I don't have as small of crochet hooks as she does.

How I made my Jake:
I used an E sized hook for everything. (when I did have those tiny hooks, trying to use them just about killed my hand.) You'll also want to use a stitch marker for Jake's body. Unless otherwise indicated, I used one strand of yarn at a time.

Row 1: 6 sc in magic ring--If you don't know how to do the magic ring, it's super easy and you can find directions for it here.
Row 2: Work the remaining body in rounds from here on out. 2 sc in each stitch Round 3: sc, inc 
Rows 4-15: sc in each sc--I made my Jake a little longer than the original pattern. After the body is stuffed and stitched shut, you can always give him a little squeeze or two to readjust his shape and the filling density.
Row 11: sc, dec --Start stuffing the body. Because it uses such a small amount of filling, I just stuffed him with the same yellow yarn I used to make him. The nice thing about this version of stuffing: the inside of the body will be super stringy with will be good when you are attaching (and knotting ends) his appendages. I didn't need any glue here.
Row 12: dec
Secure with a slip stitch and finish off.

I used two lengths of yellow yarn at one time. If I had been making a larger Jake, then I would have loved to make the mouth the way that Mia made it: as a yarny tube. Awesome idea!
Row 1: Chain 8.
Row 2: Turn and starting in the second chain from the hook, work 1 sc in each stitch. Fasten off yarn with a slip stitch and leave a long tail for sewing.

I used two lengths of yellow yarn at one time.
Row 1: ch 3, sc 2 (2)
Finish off and leave a long tail for sewing. When you sew them on, attach them so they hang down, like floppy ears.

Hands and arms:
I used two lengths of yellow yarn at one time.
Row 1: Chain 8.
Row 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work the following: 1 sc, 1 slip stitch, 1 sc, secure the yarn with a slip stitch, and then fasten off the yarn.
Finish off. Leave a long tail, which will be his arm and it will be used to sew it to the body. For the lengths left over in his hand, separate the yarn and weave them individually through his paw.

Feet and legs:
Row 1: Leave a long tail and chain 9.
Row 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work the following: 1 sc, 1 slip stitch, 1 sc, secure the yarn with a slip stitch, and then fasten off the yarn. Leave a long tail, which will be his arm and it will be used to sew it to the body. For the lengths left over in his paw, separate the yarn and weave them individually through the center of his foot and leg, in order to make a 90 degrees angle.

Row 1: ch 4

Row 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work 1 sc in each stitch across.  Finish off and leave a long tail for sewing. When you attach Jake's tail, sew it to his rump vertically, so you can put each strand through a separate stitch hole.

Then just follow Mia's directions for putting Jake together. I used white felt sewn onto black felt for his eyes, because I didn't want to be heavy handed with white paint and I knew that's what would happen.

I made mini-Jake to hang from the zipper on a backpack I keep in my scooter. Yeah, because a 41 year old woman on a scooter isn't odd enough, she needs a mini yellow bull dog! The funny thing about this ami is that his arms and legs get all wonky because they are just short chains of yarn, which makes him look more like his cartoon version.

BTW, because of Mia's pattern for Jake, I've started writing a pattern of my own for Cake! It should be up in a few days. I'm excited about it because it's been a while since I wrote an entire pattern.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finished One More Hood

Wow, it's really kind of amazing what can be accomplished once you do a little bitching! :) It wasn't just me though. I think Nicole the Knitter may have laid down some law with her friends.

So here is the most recent hood, just finished tonight. This is a bear hoodie.

It was almost two skeins of Caron Simply Soft in Charcoal Heather (#9508), some random brown from Tammy (probably Red Heart), a little bit of black furry yarn (also from Tammy), and a couple of wooden buttons from Mom's stash again. I made this one with a little more of a cowl collar than the fox hood, because I didn't want them to be the same body.

I liked this color yarn (Nicole picked it out), and it was made using the same pattern as the previous hood. The interesting thing about this color is that in real life, it's much more of a true charcoal color, rather than the bluish tint that's shown here (the flash was needed).

Before I added the brown, I actually considered using an off-white and regular white. I got two rows in with that, and it really changed the overall appearance of the charcoal. It actually made it look blue in real life, like in the photos. I've never seen "Frozen," but that original color combo made me think of Elsa for some weird reason. I ripped out the off white and regular white, and went straight for the brown.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fre Thot

I saw this graffiti this morning on the way to work. for some reason, I thought this was terribly funny.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Another Entry (Kind Of) Off The Bucket List

My father-in-law and one of our nephews have been visiting. One of the things we did today was charter boat fishing out on the Chesapeake Bay, which kind of strikes off one more thing off my bucket list.

We didn't take cameras with us, but we did catch some fish. I managed to catch a croaker and something called an oyster toadfish. The first mate on the boat seemed a little surprised by that, because they aren't all that common. 

Unfortunately, my nephew (17 years old) didn't catch anything though.

There was a woman onboard who caught the thing I most desperately want to catch: a shark! She said she was using a chunk of croaker as bait. I don't know what kind it was, but it was about four feet long, and looked like a weird little cross between a Great White and a goblin shark. I don't know the requirements on keeping sharks, but it did go back into the water.

  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy sub, but my husband and I don't know anyone that works on board a sub.
  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy ship that most people will never get to go on. I got to go walk around under a ship while it was in dry dock, and then I walked up the scaffolding around the mast, almost to the very top!
  • I'd love to go for a ride in a fighter jet of some kind.
  • I want to go jet skiing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • I want to go scuba diving or snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  • I want to go to the top of the Washington Monument. 
  • I want to go to NYC, and see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, and go to a show of some sort. We went there in 2000 and saw The Late Show with David Letterman.
  • I want to go to the Saint Louis Arch. We did this in 1999.
  • I want to go to Niagara Falls. We did this in 2000.
  • I want to go to Universal Studios Florida. We did this in 2001 and I'd love to do it again!
  • I want to go to the Poconos and stay in one of their themed suites. We did this in 2006 and stayed at Caesar's in the champagne glass suite.
  • I want to stay in a themed suit at the HoJo in Florence, KY. I'm crossing this one off without doing it. I took a look at their rooms again (apparently, they were bought by another hotel chain). The rooms on the new website look pretty cheesy, even for a themed hotel. Plus, the room I would have liked is a smoking room only, so you know it's going to stink.
  • I want to visit Santa Claus, IN, "American's Christmas Hometown."
  • I want to go to Metropolis, IL.
  • I want to get a memorial tattoo in honor of my mom and my mother-in-law.
  • I want to take a road trip up to DC to see the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum and go to Horace and Dickie's Seafood Restaurant This one was both completed (wax museum) and not completed (Horace and Dickie's) in April 2015.
  • I want to write a bad sci-fi horror script and present it to The Asylum to see if they'd be willing to make it into an actual movie for the SyFy Channel. I finished this on April 12, 2015.
  • I want to finally order the "Hell's Admin Assistant" patch for my motorcycle jacket that I've been thinking about for years.--I figure it's a funny alternative to a Hell's Angel patch, which I'm clearly not a member of Hell's Angels. I ordered one from Star City Stitchery
  • I'd like to cuddle a baby gorilla. I really don't know where this one comes from, but aren't baby gorillas the cutest babies EVER??!
  • I want to take a painting class, a la Bob Ross. I did this in a restaurant in Virginia Beach with a bunch of motorcycle riders from an American Legion post, in 2014.
  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC. I did this over Memorial Day weekend with my husband.
  • I want to see the archaeological dig at the Jamestown Settlement.  I did this in April 2015.
  • I want to go charter boat fishing in the Atlantic Ocean: I tried doing this in 2012, but the water was really rough that day. I didn't catch anything but I sure made a lot of chum! In July 2015, we went charter boat fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • I want to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up. 
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. I've actually done two pieces now.
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command.I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA (We did this in 2013) and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods.  We did this for the end of the year in 2014.
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I can't drive a clutch and have no desire to learn, but I'd like to go for a ride in a 1957 Chevy BelAire and a mid-80's Lamborghini Countach.
  • I'd like to sit in any of the Batmobiles (did the original series Batmobile at ROFCON 2015), ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters, KITT from Knight Rider, and the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • I want to go to Rhode Island, Boston and Seattle, just for the sake of going.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day.--I've been to Hanoi and Hue, Vietnam, but it wasn't close enough.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California.  I had to cross this one off: On April 28, 2014, Ferguson announced that he will leave the show on December 19, 2014.
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion I was accepted in December 2014!
  • I want to ride a mechanical bull. --I did this in April 2015.
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. Did this in July 2014.