Thursday, December 30, 2010

Artist of the Day

Shauna Richardson has taken crochet far beyond the next level. To her, us regular run of the mill hookers look like a dot on the horizon.

She's doing life sized animal crochetdermy.









"At present I am working on a major commission called the Lionheart Project. Celebrating the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012, the work features three giant hand-crocheted lions in a custom-built mobile taxidermy style case that will tour during 2012."

I think I just found my crochet idol!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Most Awesome Hat EVER

I always have a handful of new hat crochet patterns squirreled away to try, and I decided it was time to try the most recent one I'd come across. I started it a few nights ago. And it was just in time too, because I realized last night that the last hat I made for myself is too loose. I think it's just worn out.

This is the most awesome hat pattern EVER. I was wanting to make up a pattern like this, but when I saw Nerdy Hooker's hat and blog link on Craftster, I knew she had a better version of this hat than I could ever make.

I present to you...the R2-D2 beanie!!!


My hat was made out of some unknown red and black yarn (probably Red Heart), Lion Brand Wool Ease in Grey Heather, and Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Dusty Blue.

You can download Nerdy Hooker's pattern in PDF form from the link to her blog above. I love the way she wrote the pattern itself: the font changes color when you are supposed to change color. It's simple to read and easy to follow without being cluttered on the page.

This pattern does seem to run a little big. If you have thicker hair or a lot of it, then the sizing should be just right for you. I can wear my hair in a pony tail with this hat and it'll be just about perfect. If I'm wearing my hair down, it's a little loose. If I ever need to make this again, I'll probably go down one hook size.

Thanks, Nerdy!!!! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

No New Hot Pads

Earlier this month, I made a post about a Star Trek hot pad I'd made. I love the damn thing! And I was so inspired by Ilana's creation that I thought I'd try making some graphed patterns of different icons of my own.

Let me tell you...that's much harder than I thought it would be. Shortly after finishing the Star Trek pad, I tried to do the Rebel Alliance logo. Starting with the top and working down, it got so muddled looking in the center where it flares out on the sides. I even tried making the graph smaller so that the pad would be larger and more detailed. It didn't work. But I wasn't completely turned off trying it one more time.  

Remember those damn cupcake hats?

Tonight, I tried doing the logo for the game, Half Life, because that's still my favorite game of all time. All I was going for was the half life symbol in orange on a black field.

It wasn't turning out. The rows were completely off balance from each other and luckily, I realized it when I was only a fourth of the way down from the top.

So, there's another project I can cross off my list. I'm kind up bummed out that these patterns didn't work out, but I would have loved to make some new geeky hot pads for my kitchen!

Toddler’s Motorcycle Helmet Crocheted Hat

DISCLAIMER: This crochet pattern is obviously NOT for a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet for a child of any age. Please don’t make this as one and then try to say you were misled about its use later on. This pattern was created as a cute hat choice for a child to wear during chilly weather on a riding toy, designed to look like an adult’s half helmet.

This is actually my mom, hiding behind my niece at Christmas, because she's laughing really hard at this hat.

Materials Needed:
--G sized hook
--I sized hook
--Yarn needle
--Stitch markers (optional)
--3 small dark colored buttons
--Regular needle and thread (to match the above buttons)
--2 D-rings, 1” wide
--½ skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Pumpkin (#0254)
--½ skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted Weight in Grey Heather (#151)
--½ skein Caron Natura (Worsted Weight) in Scarlet (#0045)

Hat:
Row 1: Beginning at top of hat, working with the I sized hook and the Pumpkin, ch 3 and 6 DHC. Use a sl st to join the ends together to form a magic ring.
Row 2: Ch 2, work 2 HDC in each stitch around. Do not turn the hat at the end of the rows. Join the ends with a slip stitch. (14 HDC)
Row 3: Ch 2, work 2 HDC in each stitch around. Join the ends with a slip stitch. (28 HDC)
Row 4: Ch 2, 1 HDC in the first stitch, *2 HDC in the next stitch, 1 HDC in the following stitch, repeat from *, ending with the second HDC in the last stitch. Join the ends with a slip stitch.
Row 5: Repeat row 4, ending with the first of the two HDC. (65 HDC)
Rows 6-12: Ch 1 and work 1 HDC in each stitch around. Join the ends with a slip stitch. (65 HDC)
Row 13: This will start the shaping for the helmet above the ears. Use the image of the pink helmet at left (from bizrate.com) as your guide and ch 2 and work 15 HDC. Then, continuing on the row, work 5 SC and then work 15 HDC. Work 5 SC and then work the remaining 19 HDC. Join the ends with a slip stitch.
Row 14: Ch 3 and work 14 DC and 1 HDC. Then, continuing on the row, work 3 SC, 1 HDC and 14 DC. Work 1 HDC, 3 SC, 1 HDC and then work the remaining stitches as DC. Join the ends with a slip stitch and change yarn to the Grey Heather.
Row 15: Repeat row 14.
Row 16: Ch 1 and work 1 SC in each stitch around. Join the ends with a slip stitch and fasten off the yarn.

In the space between the last Pumpkin and the first Grey Heather rows, work a series of surface Grey Heather SC’s. Attach the yarn on the joining row of the hat. Using the I sized hook, work around the hat, join the ends with a slip stitch and fasten off the yarn,

Ear Openings: (Make 2)
These are the V shaped areas on both sides of the helmet where the wearer’s ears would go.
Row 1: Working with the G sized hook and the Grey Heather, ch 2.
Row 2: Turn and work 2 SC in the second loop from the hook.
Rows 3-4: Ch 1 and turn. Work 2 SC in each stitch.
Row 5: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 6: Ch 1 and turn. Work only 1 SC in each of the first 4 stitches across. The other side will be worked later.
Rows 7-8: Ch 1 and turn. Continue working 1 SC in each stitch across.
Row 9: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Work 1 SC in the next 2 SC, and work 2 SC in the last stitch.
Rows 10-13: Repeat row 6.
Row 14: Repeat row 9.
Rows 15-17: Repeat row 6. Work 1 slip stitch and fasten off yarn.

Reattach the yarn to the outside edge at row 6 and repeat rows 6-17 on the previously unworked side.

To find the correct place to sew these on, find the sections in Pumpkin and Grey Heather where you worked the 1 HDC, 4 SC, 1 HDC sequences (rows 13-15). Line up the ear openings so the bottom of the V is lined up with the center of that sequence. Don’t stretch the V’s any larger than they naturally lay. If it helps, turn the hat inside out at the point. Using the yarn needle, sew the top of the short straps to the inside of rows 15 & 16 in Grey Heather on the helmet. Turn the hat right side out and weave in any loose yarns.

Chin Strap:
Row 1: Working with the G sized hook and the Grey Heather, ch 5.
Row 2: Turn and start working in the second loop from the hook: 1 SC per stitch.
Rows 3-60: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch across.
Row 61: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog and the last 2 sc tog.
Rows 62-66: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 67: Ch 1 and turn. Work the only 2 SC tog. Complete with a slip stitch and fasten off yarn.

Using the yarn needle, sew the row 1 end to the inside bottom of one of the ear pieces. On a typical helmet, the chin strap is attached on the left side. Before attaching the chin strap, make sure you know which part of the helmet you want to be the front so you attach the strap to the left side.

On the right ear opening, attach the D-rings together at the outside bottom of the V. You can use the Grey Heather yarn and the G sized hook, doing a series of SC over the rings to the existing piece. For mine, I started with a SC off the ring, 6 SC lined up over the rings and fasten it off with a slip stitch. Weave in any loose ends.

Flames:
The red is going to make some very simple flames, like on this helmet above (from leatherlolipop.com). The finished flames are not going to be even, so you may want to use your stitch markers here to keep yourself straight.
Row 1: Working with the G sized hook and the Scarlet, ch 44.
Row 2: Turn and start working in the second loop from the hook: 1 SC per stitch except for the last 2 stitches. Work those 2 tog.
Row 3: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 13 SC along the row and 2 SC tog. Leave the rest of the row unworked for the time being.

Outside Flame:
Row 4: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 11 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 5: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 9 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 6: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 7 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 7: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 5 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 8: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 5 SC. Do not work the last 2 SC tog.
Row 9: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Then work 2 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 10: Ch 1 and turn. Don’t work the first 2 SC tog. Work 2 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 11: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Work 1 SC in the last SC.
Rows 12-14: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each SC.
Row 15: Ch 1 and turn. Work the 2 SC tog. Complete with a slip stitch and fasten off the yarn.

Middle Flames:
Row 3: Do not flip the piece over. Keep it so the first flame is on your right side. Go back to row 3 and attach the yarn to the left of the first flame. Work 1 SC in each stitch across and the last 2 SC tog.
Row 4: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog. Work 9 SC in as many stitches and work 2 slip stitches in as many stitches. Then work 1 SC in each stitch across (10 SC).
Row 5: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog and then work 7 SC across. Leave the rest of the row unworked for the time being.*
Row 6: Ch 1 and turn. Work 8 SC across.
Row 7: Ch 1 and turn. Work 3 SC in as many stitches. In the 4th SC, work 2 SC. Leave the rest of the row unworked for the time being.@
Row 8: Ch 1 and turn. Work 4 SC in as many stitches. In the last SC, work 2 SC.
Row 9: Ch 1 and turn. Work 2 SC and the last 2 SC tog.
Rows 10-12: Ch 1 and turn. Work 3 SC across the row.
Row 13: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog and end with 1 SC in the last stitch.
Rows 14-16: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 17: Ch 1 and turn. Work the 2 SC tog. Complete with a slip stitch and fasten off the yarn.

Row 5: Go back and attach the yarn at row 5 (marked with an @), keeping the flames still on your right side. After attaching the yarn, work 3 SC.
Row 6: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog and the last 2 SC tog.
Rows 7-9: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in both stitches.
Row 10: Ch 1 and turn. Work the 2 SC tog.
Rows 11-12: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC. Complete with a slip stitch and fasten off yarn.

Row 7: Go back and attach the yarn at row 7 (marked with an *), keeping the flames still on your right side. After attaching the yarn, work 2 SC in the same stitch.
Rows 8-9: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 10: Ch 1 and turn. Work 2 SC in the first stitch and 1 SC in the last stitch.
Row 11: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog and work 2 SC in the last stitch.
Rows 12-13: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 14: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog and work 1 SC in the last stitch.
Rows 15-17: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 18: Ch 1 and turn. Work 2 SC tog.
Rows 19-21 Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC. At the end of row 21, complete with a slip stitch and fasten off yarn.

Outside Flame:
Row 5: Do not flip the piece over. Keep it so the flames are on your right side. Go back to row 5 and attach the yarn to the left of the middle flames. Work 1 SC in each stitch across.
Row 6: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog, then work 6 SC across, and work the last 2 SC tog.
Row 7: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch across.
Row 8: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog, then work 4 SC across, and work the last 2 SC tog.
Row 9: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog, then work 3 SC across, and work the last 2 SC tog.
Rows 10- 12: Ch 1 and turn. Work the first 2 SC tog, then work 1 SC in each stitch across.
Rows 13-14: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC in each stitch.
Row 15: Ch 1 and turn. Work both SC tog.
Rows 16-18: Ch 1 and turn. Work 1 SC. At the end of row 18, complete with a slip stich and fasten off yarn.

Weave in all loose ends.

Completed length of flames (of the first chain): 9”

To Attach Flames:
Decide which side of the flames you want facing out. Center the flames on the front of the helmet between the ear V’s, keeping the bottom chain on the row of Pumpkin above the Grey Heather. Using the Scarlet yarn and yarn needle, use whipstitches to sew the flames onto the Pumpkin. If you go through the Pumpkin stitches correctly, your Scarlett stitches will not show on the inside of the hat.




Attaching the Buttons:
The buttons represent the snaps used to attach a partial face shield to the front of the helmet. Working on the Scarlet of the flames, line the buttons up on the second row as such: 1 button on the front center and the remaining 2 buttons on the ends of the flames. Use the image to the left (from BikersDen.com) as a guide for button placement.






Proper Care & Washing:
Always wash this item in cold on the gentlest setting. Do not use bleach. Washing in hot water may lead to shrinkage. Either line dry or allow to dry flat. If you must use a dryer, dry on low or no heat.

Fastening the Chin Strap:
Once you have the completed motorcycle helmet hat ready to be worn, put it on the child by pulling it on over his/her ears until the bottom edge of the motorcycle helmet touches the ears. Pass the strap through both rings from inside to outside of helmet and let strap fall. Separate the rings, grasp the free end of the strap and pass it back through inside ring only (outside to inside) and pull it comfortably tight.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby “Froggie Beanie” Crochet Pattern

This is the pattern for the Froggie Beanie I did this summer, when I did the Chicken Beanie.

Materials Needed:
E sized hook
I sized hook
Yarn needle
1 skein of Caron Simply Soft in Sage (#2611)
Small amount of Caron Natura in Black (#0007)
Small amount of Caron Natura in White (#0001)
Small amount of Caron Natura in Scarlet (#0045)
Small amount of Fiber FillOptional: Small amount of matching eyelash or other novelty yarn for edging

This hat should fit a baby 3-6 months old.

Hat
Beginning at top of hat, working with the I sized hook and the Sage, ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2, work 13 dc in ring, join with a sl st in first dc. 13 sts.
Rnd 2: Ch 2, do not turn, 2 dc in each st around, join with a st in first dc. 26 sts.
Rnd 3: Ch 2, do not turn, dc in first st, *2dc in next st, dc in next st, repeat from * around ending with 2dc in last st, join with a sl st in first dc. 39 sts.
Rnd 4: Ch 2, do not turn, *dc in first two sts, 2dc in next st, repeat from * around, join with a sl st in first dc. 52 sts.
Rnds 5 - 12: Ch 2, do not turn, dc in each st around, join with a sl st in first dc. 52 sts. Do not turn at end of last row.

At this point, you can decide which side of the hat you want to be the outside. I flipped mine inside out when I got to this point.

Optional Edging (If you are making this for a little girl):
Ch 1 and turn. Alternate 1 sc and 2 sc in each st around, join with a sl st in first sc. Fasten off. Weave in ends of yarn.

Eyes (Make 2):
Beginning at the center of the eye, working with the E sized hook and the Black, start with a magic circle: chain 1 and 6 sc. Pull tight and join with a slip stitch.
Rnd 1: Change to the White. Chain 1 and do not turn. Work 2 sc in each stitch around, including in the joining slip stitch (14 sc).
Rnd 2: Ch 1 and do not turn. Work 2 sc in each stitch around, but not in the joining slip stitch this time. Join with a slip stitch.
Rnd 3: Change to the Sage. Ch 1 and do not turn. Work 2 sc in each stitch around, in the back loops only. Join with a slip stitch.
Rnds 4-5:Ch 1 and do not turn. Work 1 sc in each stitch around, in both loops. Join with a slip stitch.
Rnds 6-7: Ch 1 and do not turn. Work 1 sc in each stitch around, in both loops, but decrease this row by 2 evenly spaced sc. Join with a slip stitch. At the end of row 7, fasten off yarn but leave a length of several inches.

To finish of the eyes, go back with the E sized hook and the Sage yarn. In the space between the White and Sage, work a surface row of sc. This will make a raised edge. Fasten off yarn and weave in ends.

Lay the hat flat and decide where you want the eyes to be sewn on. For mine, I lined the eyes up so the edge of the Sage is even with the starting chain 4 circle, and slightly forward. Sew the eyes on with whipstitches and the Sage yarn. Once each eye is halfway sewn on, start stuffing the eyes with the desired amount of Fiber Fill. Finish sewing the eyes on and fasten off yarn when complete.

Mouth:
Use the yarn needle and the Black yarn. Lay the hat flat and embroider on the mouth. Using the eye placement as a guide, have the smile go from the outside edge of each eye across the hat. For correct tongue placement next, make sure you embroider the smile on straight for at least 1 ½-2”.

Tongue:
Rnd 1: Working with the E sized hook and the Red, chain 6.
Rnd 2: Turn. Starting in the second chain from the hook, work 2 sc. Work 1 sc in each remaining stitch.
Rnd 3: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each individual stitch, for a total of 5 sc. Work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 4: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each individual stitch.
Rnd 5: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each individual stitch, for a total of 5 sc. Work the last 2 sc together.
Rnd 6: Chain 1 and turn. Work the first 2 sc tog, and 1 sc in each remaining stitch. Fasten off yarn and leave a length of a couple inches.

Use this length to sew the tongue onto the hat. Line the short straight edge of the tongue up below the embroidered mouth. Attach it with a few whip stitches and fasten off yarn when complete.

Proper Care & Washing:
Always wash this item in cold on the gentlest setting. Do not use bleach. Washing in hot water may lead to shrinkage. Either line dry or allow to dry flat. If you must use a dryer, dry on low or no heat.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Crochet Project I Want to Try

I saw these on Craftzine.com and I want to try this someday as a funky wall hanging in my crafting room. I would think that plastic hubcaps would be fairly easy to find for cheap or damn near free, in thrift stores or on Craigslist.


"I love these crochet hubcap flowers from artist Julie Kornblum. They are so fun and unexpected, and prove you can crochet into just about anything. Plus, they are made using discarded hubcaps and plarn, so they are a great recycle as well! [via Recyclart]"

Lucky Me, Part 2

I have to brag.

My husband got me three cakes of glow in the dark yarn for Christmas!!!!


"Nightlights Glow in the Dark Yarn" by Woolstock Yarn Shop: "How much fun is this? Now you can knit with yarn that will glow in the dark! This 100% nylon fiber is infused with a substance that allows it to glow for up to 4 hours when charged under a light source for 1 hour. This yarn is completely machine washable and dry-able, so it’s perfect for adding as an accent to childrens' clothing. Add glowing stars to a blanket, or scary ghosts for a Halloween sweater. Nightlights is also great for the athlete or sportsman in your life. Incorporate the yarn into headbands, vests, etc. for joggers or bikers. Even use it in a sweater for your dog for those late-night walks. Nightlights is recommended as an accent yarn, not as a full garment yarn. Yarn is available only in off-white, and glows a fluorescent green. Each 2 oz. ball contains approximately 175 yards. Equivalent to dk weight yarn-approximately 5 ½ st per inch on a size 6 US needle."

God, I can't wait to get started with this! I'm going to make myself a Minion from Despicable Me! :)

Christmas Cobbler Recipe

I'm not letting the fact that it's Christmas stop me from posting. In fact, all of the guests have gone home, the kitchen is clean and the dishwasher is doing the dirty work for me right now.

Of the cooking I did for today, I made this cobbler last night.Sam the Cooking Guy had this as peach and raspberry cobbler. I made ours as blackberry and raspberry.

  • 2-16 oz cans peaches in heavy syrup
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries, approx
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Dump peaches into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan
  3. Scatter raspberries on top of peaches
  4. Dump the cake mix over the peaches
  5. Dump the melted butter over the top, and spread around
  6. Dump the cinnamon even overly the top
  7. Bake approximately 40 minutes. 
This looked absolutely wonderful on his show. However, I've realized that this is a dessert that should not be baked in advance. If you want it for a certain occasion, make it right then and there. It has since turned somewhat mushy and the berries have taken on kind of a dark pink glue look in appearance. I'm sure that if I had made this tonight, it would have tasted wonderful! Instead, because I waited, the flavored blended EXTREMELY well and actually it becomes quite (naturally) sweet, almost too tart, in taste.

Baby “Chicken Beanie” Crochet Pattern

Earlier this year, I posted some photos of the Chicken Beanie I made for my newest nieces and nephew. Here is the pattern for the Chicken Beanie.

Materials Needed:
--E sized hook
--I sized hook
--Yarn needle
--1 skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in White/Multi (#301)—This yarn is mostly white with a very fine iridescent strand woven through.
--Small amount of Caron Natura in Lemon (#0076)
--Small amount of Caron Natura in Scarlet (#0045)
--Optional: Small amount of matching eyelash or other novelty yarn for edging

This hat should fit a baby 3-6 months old.

Hat
Beginning at top of hat, working with the I sized hook and the White, ch 4, sl st in first ch to form ring.

The body of the hat is to be worked in dc’s. However, through the entire construction of the hat, alternate working the dc’s in the back and front loops only. This will create a finished look that is not smooth. See the diagram at left for an example. This image is used without permission from StitchDiva.com.

You also need to alternate which loop you start each row in. For example, if you start round 2 in the front loop, then start round 3 in the back loop. This close up at the left shows what the finished hat should look like.

Ch 2, work 13 dc in ring, join with a sl st in first dc. 13 sts.

Rnd 2:Ch 2, do not turn, 2 dc in each st around, join with a st in first dc. 26 sts.
Rnd 3: Ch 2, do not turn, dc in first st, *2dc in next st, dc in next st, repeat from * around ending with 2dc in last st, join with a sl st in first dc. 39 sts.
Rnd 4: Ch 2, do not turn, *dc in first two sts, 2dc in next st, repeat from * around, join with a sl st in first dc. 52 sts.
Rnds 5 - 12: Ch 2, do not turn, dc in each st around, join with a sl st in first dc. 52 sts. Do not turn at end of last row.

At this point, you can decide which side of the hat you want to be the outside. I flipped mine inside out when I got to this point.

Comb:
Rnd 1: Working with the E sized hook and the Red, chain 8. This is going to create the front of the comb.
Rnds 2-3: Turn. Starting in the second chain from the hook, work 7 sc in each of the remaining 7 stitches. Chain 1 and turn at the end of row 2.
Rnd 4: Chain 1 and turn. Work first 2 sc tog. Work 1 sc in each of the remaining 3 stitches.
Rnds 5-6: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each of the 3 stitches.
Rnd 7: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc each in the first 2 stitches. Work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 8: Chain 1 and turn. Work 2 sc in the first stitch, and work 1 stitch in each of the remaining stitches.
Rnd 9: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each of the first 4 stitches, and work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 10: Repeat row 8.
Rnd 11: Repeat row 5.
Rnd 12: Repeat row 8.
Rnd 13: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each of the first 3 stitches, and work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 14: Repeat row 8.
Rnd 15: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc each of the first 5 stitches, and work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 16: Repeat row 8.
Rnds 17-18: Repeat row 5.
Rnd 19: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each of the first 2 sc, and work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 20: Chain 1 and turn. Work 2 sc in the first stitch, and 1 sc in each of the remaining stitches.
Rnd 21: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in the first 4 stitches, and work 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnds 22-23: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each stitch.
Rnd 24: Chain 1 and turn. Work the first 2 sc tog, and work 1 sc in each of the remaining stitches.

Fasten off yarn and leave a length of several inches. Use this length to sew the comb onto the hat. Line the first dip in the comb over the beginning chain 4 loop circle at the top of the hat. Attach the comb over the top of the hat with a few whip stitches and fasten off yarn when complete.  

Eyes (Make 2):
Working with the E sized hook and the Blue, start with a magic circle: chain 1 and 8 sc. Pull tight and join with a slip stitch.
Rnd 2: Change to the White. Chain 1 and do not turn. Work 2 sc in each stitch around, including the joining slip stitch.

Lay the hat flat and decide where you want the eyes to be sewn on. For mine, I lined the eyes up so they were evenly spaced out, using the comb as the midline. If you keep them in the top third of the hat, you’ll have enough room for the beak later on. Sew the eyes on with whipstitches and the White yarn.

Optional Edging (If you are making this for a little girl):
Ch 1 and turn. Alternate 1 sc and 2 sc in each st around, join with a sl st in first sc. Fasten off. Weave in ends of yarn.

Beak:
Rnd 1: Working with the E sized hook and the Yellow, ch 9. This is going to make the back of the beak where it attaches to the hat.
Rnd 2: Turn. Starting in the second chain from the hook, work 1 sc in each stitch.
Rnd 3: Chain 1 and turn. Work the first 2 sc tog, 1 sc in each of the middle sc, and work the last 2 sc tog.
Rnd 4: Repeat row 2.
Rnd 5: Chain 1 and turn. Work the first 2 sc tog, 1 sc in the middle, and work the last 2 sc tog.
Rnd 6: Repeat row 2.
Rnd 7: Chain 1 and turn. Work the first 2 sc tog the last 2 sc tog.
Rnd 8: Repeat row 2.
Rnd 9: Chain 1 and turn. Work the remaining 2 sc tog.
Rnds 10 & 11: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc.
Rnd 12: Chain 1 and turn. Work 2 sc in the one stitch.
Rnd 13: Chain 1 and turn. Work 1 sc in each stitch.
Rnd 14: Chain 1 and turn. Work 2 sc in each stitch.
Rnd 15: Repeat row 13.
Rnd 16: Chain 1 and turn. Work 2 sc in the first stitch, 1 sc in each of the middle sc, and 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 17: Repeat row 13.
Rnd 18: Chain 1 and turn. Work 2 sc in the first stitch, 1 sc in each of the middle 4 sc, and 2 sc in the last stitch.
Rnd 19: Repeat row 13.

If you’ve done this correctly, you will have an hourglass kind of shape. With the yarn still attached, fold the beak in half into a triangle. The narrow point of 1 sc will become the end of the beak. Working along the outside edge, do a series of slip stitches around the beak to “sew” it shut. It took me 18 slip stitches to work around the beak. I did 3 slip stitches at the narrowest point to work around it. When finished, leave a length of several inches. It should look like a little wedge of cheese.

Do not sew along the 8 sc edges. This will be where the beak is attached to the hat.

If your slip stitches around the beak show more on one side than along the edges, make that side the underside of the beak. Stick your index finger into the beak to pop it open a little. (Optional: if you want, you can stuff a tiny bit of Fiber Fill into the beak to help hold its shape before you sew it on.) Sew it to the face on the hat, centered between the eyes. I placed my beak quite close to the eyes. While sewing, give the outside corners of the beak a little squeeze to keep the backside open. Sew the top chain and bottom chain separately.

Proper Care & Washing:
Always wash this item in cold on the gentlest setting. Do not use bleach. Washing in hot water may lead to shrinkage. Either line dry or allow to dry flat.
If you must use a dryer, dry on low or no heat.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chinese Fortune for the Day

I didn't want to cook tonight for us, since I've already gotten a start on cooking for tomorrow, so we got Chinese delivered tonight. We split a dinner and got one fortune. My husband doesn't care much about fortune cookies so I snagged this one.

"You are the master of every situation."

God, I wish! :)

Jack Skellington Crochet Hat and Scarf for an Adult


"There's children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads,
and absolutely no one's dead!”
--Jack Skellington, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Materials Needed:
--H sized hook
--K sized hook
--N sized hook
--Yarn needle
--1 skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease #301 White/Multi and 1 skein of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice #100 White (both for the hat—makes it more like a suitable hat for the winter)
--1 skein of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice #100 White (for the scarf)
--1 skein of a medium weight cotton black yarn (for the eyes, nose, mouth and scarf)
--1 skein of Bernat Boa Furs in grey (color # 81946) for the scarf

Hat:
With the K hook and working with both white yarns at the same time, ch 4, join with sl st to first ch to form ring. DO not turn at the end of the rows. Continue working them all in the same direction.
Rnd 1: Ch 2(counts as first dc),9 dc in ring. Join with sl st to top of beginning dc (10 dc).
Rnd 2: Ch 2, HDC in same st, (2 HDC in next st) around. Join (20 HDC).
Rnd 3: Ch 2, 2 HDC in next st, (HDC in next st, 2 HDC in next st) around. Join (30 HDC).
Rnd 4: Ch 2, HDC in next st, 2 HDC in next st, (HDC in next 2 st, 2 HDC in next st) around. Join (40 HDC).
Rnd 5: Ch 2, HDC in next 2 st, 2 HDC in next st, (HDC in next 3 st, 2 HDC in next st) around. Join (50 HDC).
Rnd 6: Ch 2, HDC in next 3 st, 2 HDC in next st, (HDC in next 4 st, 2 HDC in next st) around. Join (60 HDC).
Rnd 7: Ch 2, HDC in each st around. Join (60 HDC).
Rnd 8: Ch 2, HDC in next 4 st, 2 HDC in next st, (HDC in next 5 st, 2 HDC in next st) around. Join.
Rnd 9: Repeat round 7.
Rnd 10: Ch 2, HDC in next 5 st, 2 HDC in next st, (HDC in next 6 st, 2 HDC in next st) around. Join.
Rnd 11: Repeat round 7.
Rnd 12-16: Ch 2, HDC in back loop of next st, (HDC in front loop of next st, HDC in back loop of next st) around. Join.
Rnd 17: Ch 2, HDC in each st around. Join.
Rnd 18: Ch 1,hsc in same st as join and in each st around. Join. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Once the hat is complete, press it flat with your hands and have the front of it facing up.

Eyes (make 2):
With the H hook, leave a length of black yarn (enough to sew the eye to the hat) and chain 4.

Row 1: In the second chain from the hook, do 1 HDC. Do 1 HDC in each remaining chain, but do 2 HDC in the last chain (4 HDC). Chain 2 and turn.
Row 2: Do 1 HDC in the same loop as the 2 SC, 1 HDC the rest of the loops, and 2 HDC in the last loop. Chain 2 and turn (6 HDC). Chain 2 and turn.
Row 3: Skip the same loop as the 2 SC, 1 HDC the rest of the loops, and 2 HDC in the last loop. Chain 2 and turn (7 HDC). Chain 2 and turn.
Row 4: Do 1 HDC in each loop as before (7 HDC). Chain 2 and turn.
Row 5: Do 1 HDC in each loop, but do 2 HDC in the last chain. Chain 2 and turn.
Row 6: Do 2 HDC in the same loop as the 2 SC, 1 HDC the rest of the loops. Chain 2 and turn (9 HDC).
Row 7: Do 1 HDC in each loop. Chain 2 and turn.
Row 8: Dec the row by 2 HDC: one at the beginning and one at the end. Chain 2 and turn.
Row 9: Dec the row by 3 HDC: one at the beginning, in the middle and one at the end. Chain 2 and turn.
Row 10: Dec the row by 2 HDC: one at the beginning and one at the end. Fasten off yarn. If you don’t think you left enough at the beginning for sewing, leave a good length of yarn here in addition to the beginning.

Remember, Jack’s eyes are not always the same. If you want, make one eye as shown and make the second eye different (add in an extra HDC somewhere in the middle, decrease the shape by one HDC somewhere, or maybe even leave an entire row out). His eyes change shape according to his mood, so they don’t have to match.

Nostrils (make 1):
With the same hook you used for the eyes, leave a length of yarn (enough to sew the nostrils to the hat) and chain 8 and finish off yarn.

Flatten the beanie and find the center. This is where his nose will go. Thread the same crochet hook into the beanie. Make sure you have 2 HDC’s over the hook. Hook one of the loops from the center of the chain onto the hook and pull it halfway through this space. (Think of this like you’re doing a latch hook.) The nostril length should now almost look like an upside down U, with the white yarn covering the curved part of the U.

Thread your yarn needle with one end of the length of yarn. Pull the nostrils into a parenthesis shape and sew one side into place. Repeat on the other side.

Position the eyes in the space above the nose. Depending on how you made them, one side should curve out more than the other. Place the eyes with the curved sides facing the center. The bottom of the eyes should just about be even with his nose.

It doesn’t really matter how you sew the eyes on. For mine, I just did a whip stitch around the edges. With a little care and attention, you can actually work your sewing stitches through the HDC’s and not have to go all the way through the front of the hat. The only time my stitches go through the front of the hat is when I was securing the final stitches.

Smile:
Thread a yarn needle with a length of black yarn, and embroider the bottom of the beanie as shown: start before the edge of one eye and continue past the other eye. The smile does not have to be perfectly straight. Go back over the smile with 10-13 evenly spaced “stitches,” placed about 2 HDC’s apart. At this point, it would probably be easier to go all the way through the front of the hat you’re your stitches, through the holes between the HDC’s. Finish off yarn.

Scarf:
Starting with the black yarn and the N sized hook, make a chain of SC in the length you want your scarf to be (minus tassels).

Row 1: Once you’ve reached the desired length, do a HDC in the second chain from the hook, and continue it the length of the chain. Chain 2 and turn.
Rows 2-3: Do 1 HDC in each loop. Chain 2 and turn (for a total of 3 rows of HDC’s in black).
Rows 4-5: Switch to the Bernat Boa Fur in grey, and do one row of HDC’s. Chain 2 and turn.
Rows 6-7: Switch to the Vanna’s Choice in white, and do one row of HDC’s. Chain 2 and turn.
Rows 8-9: Switch to the Bernat Boa Fur in grey, and do one row of HDC’s. Chain 2 and turn.
Rows 10-12: Switch to the black yarn, and do one row of HDC’s. Chain 2 and turn.
Row 13: Do 1 row of SC the entire length. Finish off yarn.

Without the tassels, my scarf is 58” long. The tassels add about 4” more to each end.

Proper Care & Washing:
Always wash this item in cold on the gentlest setting. Do not use bleach. Washing in hot water may lead to shrinkage. Either line dry or allow to dry flat. If you must use a dryer, dry on low or no heat.

Shutting Down the Etsy Store

On Dec. 1, 2010, I finally decided to open an Etsy store. It was called Shabby Cro-Chic and my intention was to sell crochet patterns to start and see where it went from there. I only had about eight items listed, spent about $1.60 in listing fees and made one sale for $2.50.

Etsy does a great job of sending newsletters to it's shop owners, to keep them up to date on various things. It was in one of those newsletters that I learned I was expected to charge sales tax. That was a bit of a surprise, because I've sold things on eBay (as an individual, not as a store) and never had to charge sales tax there.

I contacted our tax guy and spoke with his assistant. It turns out there are a bunch more things I'd need to provide in order to get our taxes done, because of having a "business." As something that's supposed to be a hobby for FUN, I'm not trying to make all this work for myself.

I've deleted all the items from my shop but I'm keeping my account active because I want to be able to continue to buy from Etsy sellers.

So, in the interest of continuing having a good time with my crochet, I'm just going to start posting all of my patterns here for free. Lots of other people list their original patterns online to share, so that's what I'm going to do here.

If you decide you want to use one of my patterns, I'd love to know how it works out for you. Happy crocheting!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Just Love This Video

It's been making me giggle since I came across it months ago. I had it bookmarked so I could watch it when I needed a laugh.

Sackboy Went on Vacation

Last August, I made a Sackboy for Nicole's supervisor's son. Shortly after receiving him, the mother and son went on a cruise for summer vacation. While they were cruising, I heard that Mom told Son, "Whatever you do, don't drop Sackboy. If he goes overboard, you're not getting another one."

Thankfully, Sackboy did not go to Davy Jones' locker. In fact, he had a good time with Mom and Son, and even got some clothes while he was away so he's no longer running around naked.

But the best part? I got my picture of the son. I swirled his face because he is a kid and I don't want to put up random pictures of kids here, but I wish you could have seen the giant cheesey grin on his face. He's holding onto Sackboy like a proud papa.


Or maybe he looks like he just won the showcase showdown on "The Price is Right." :)

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

And he volunteers with Fire and Rescue in Virginia Beach.

I damn near cried like a baby at work when I read this article in the Virginian-Pilot. It's just beautiful, and I don't normally get all mushy over things involving kids. These men just get it...the undeniable faith children have in Santa Claus and how he'll always come through for them when they really need it. The article needs to be cut and pasted here to read.

It's Santa - coming to the rescue in Virginia Beach!

Kathy Adams
The Virginian-Pilot
© December 22, 2010

It was a cold Christmas Eve two years ago when Dan Daugherty, a volunteer paramedic with the city, and his crew aided a woman who'd fallen ill in a Rosemont Forest home.

She was fine after some attention from the medics, but her two granddaughters, who were about 5 years old, were terrified.

That is, until Santa stepped in.

Soon a hearty "Ho! Ho, Ho!" came through the crackle of Daugherty's radio and Santa himself asked to speak with the girls. He reassured them the medics were there to help and reminded them to leave out some milk and cookies for his visit later that night.

By the end of the conversation, they were smiling again.

For the past six years, Santa has made himself available - through a direct radio connection to the North Pole - to speak with Virginia Beach children who experience an emergency in the days leading up to Christmas.
This year, he's on call starting today and continuing through Christmas Day.

The program, called Santa on the Air, is intended to lessen the impact of an emergency, such as a fire or illness, on a child, said Division Chief Bruce Nedelka, a spokesman for the Department of Emergency Medical Services. An EMS volunteer inspired by a Christmastime call started the project in 2004.

"He was disturbed that their Christmases from then on were always going to be tainted by the fact that this had happened," Nedelka said. So he recruited Santa to help.

Now all of the city's police officers, firefighters and medics know how to reach Saint Nick if they discover a child in distress. While Santa can't promise that everything will be OK, he reassures children that the responders will do all they can to help. He also guarantees he can still find them to deliver presents, even in the hospital, sorts out naughty-or-nice list concerns and entertains last-minute gift requests.

During an interview earlier this month, "Santa," taking a break from his Christmas preparations, said he fields about eight to 10 calls a year through the program. While on call, he keeps a cell phone and radio handy.

"Kids come to rely on Christmas as a kind of point in their lives when something special is going to happen, and when an emergency happens, all of a sudden everything about Christmas sort of gets swept by the side," he said. "It's hard for a child to understand that."

"We want you to know that somehow Christmas will still come to you," he said.

The calls from Santa make a big difference, said former EMS volunteer Robin Helfant, who used the program to help a little boy in the emergency room several years ago.

"He was very scared," she said. "It was just absolutely amazing how one little call on the radio can distract from fear and chaos and even pain."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not What I Was Looking For

I realized the night before last I was missing a pair of earrings. Red stone and gold clip on earrings that belonged to my grandma. Last night, I decided to feel around through the couch and move it out of the way to see if I could find it. I only found one of the earrings but I also found a golf fee, a quarter, two pennies, and some wool yarn I didn't know was missing. I'm not sure but I think the cat's involved.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lucky Me, Lucky Me!

Look what my friend Nicole the knitter brought me from her Seattle-Portland-Chicago vacation! (These goodies came from the Seattle-Portland portion of her trip.)


The bamboo hook, like the yarns, are from Japan. But it's labeled as being a knitting needle. That must be what crochet is called in Japan. It's quite thin, so I don't know what size it is. I've never had a bamboo hook before and I really like how slick it feels when I'm using it. The yarn seems to slip and slide on it really well.


Both of the yarns, the purple and dusky greens, are my favorite colors. In fact, my kitchen used to be these colors. They are both boucle yarns and very light. Each package is only 25 grams in weight but it feels heavier than that.

I can't wait to use these for something fun. I'm thinking something flowery for a coat.

Thanks, Nicole!

A Quick Baby GIft

One more baby blanket to add to the growing mental and photo pile of the ones I've already done this year. :)

This weekend was spent whipping up a quick little baby gift for a coworker. My goal was to have it ready for her on Monday (tomorrow) and all I have left to do is make her a card. She's having a girl and all I have are cards for baby boys.

She's already got two daughters and was hoping this would be the son she wanted. I thought she already had a son but I was wrong. She's still holding out hope that she'll see a little something at her next sonogram but so far, it's looking like another girl.


As usual, it's another funky, stashbuster granny square travel blankie. Made with a K sized hook, it's about 33" across. I'm really starting to think of these weird little blankies that I'm throwing together as more freeform in color than anything else. It's made with:
--Premier Yarns Angel Shelf Shading in Peach Candy (#63-201)
--the leftover unknown Confetti yarn (I swear, this better be the last of this yarn...how can I keep finding more of it???)
--Caron Natura in Cream (#0214) and it's damn near identical twin, Premier Yarns Merit (100% wool) in Cream (#35-101)
--Lily's Sugar 'n Cream in Strawberry (#00144), which was also what I used to make the crocheted mousies out of this year. Hope she doesn't mind! :)
--Lion Brand Fun Fur in pink (#101), which was the same edging on my sister's daughter's starghan from August.

But I didn't just make this funky little blanket. I decided that since she is going to be a spring baby, she needed a cute little springy hat to somewhat match the blanket.

This was made out of the same Sugar 'n Cream yarn, so it does tie in with the center of the blanket. It was made on a thin, unknown sized crochet hook from this pattern. I didn't want to make another typical little beanie. This one worked up so much faster than any hat I've ever made, most likely because it's made with treble crochet stitches, which are quite long. However, because of the length of those stitches, it's an airy, open hat and wouldn't be good for winter since it's not going to really keep a baby's head warm. But it would do a great job of keeping the sun off her little head.

I also learned a new edging for this hat: the popcorn stitch. To me, it looked kind of elaborate but couldn't have been easier.

Hopefully, this little project will be handed over to it's new owner tomorrow, provided I can get my crafting room cleaned up enough today to make that card!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Crochet for the Kittehs

I finally got my crocheting done for Dixie (previously referred to as my daemon) and Odin (Nicole's cat and bunneh snuggler). In case you've lost track, Dixie loves me (usually) and Odin hates me (permanently), but that's not stopping my crafting for Christmas.

Earlier this year, I blogged about the Cozy Crochet Kit and today's post is about another pattern from it. There is a pattern in the kit for crocheted cat mousies. I've made Dixie a few of them in the past, stuffed with Fiber Fill and catnip, and she LOVES them.

This year, I decided to try and make amends with Odin and made him one as well. I like to overstuff the ones I make so they are firmer. Hopefully, they'll hold up better that way because Dixie beats the holy hell out of her mousies. And this year, we ended up getting some really quality nip, the Kong brand, from PetsMart.

The only thing I don't recommend doing with this pattern is using a mohair-type yarn. I think these need a sturdier yarn so they'll hold up better. I've used boucle and even the ugly ass yarn from my friend Jan, and Dixie puts a hurtin' on her favorite toys, so this year I'm trying a sturdy cotton yarn.


Pink meeces. I included the can of cat food to give you an idea of how these are for size. I don't know what size hook I used because it was a thin, unlabeled hook. See how plump these suckers are? I think the creator of that pattern probably figured they should be stuffed with about half as much Fiber Fill as I used. Dixie will grab a toy, roll over onto her back and wrap her arms around it, while kicking the crap out of it with her back legs.

I had a good little giggle while making these, just because of the color. It's Lily's Sugar 'n Cream in Strawberry and they hardly need any yarn to complete. I'm almost hoping cats are colorblind (because who can know exactly how an animal sees?) because once Odin sees his girlie-looking mouse, I don't think he'll forgive me. Despite being a Mama's boy, he's a pretty tough little guy.

Adventures in Pork

I am usually at a complete loss when it comes to how to make pork chops since I make them so rarely. I took one out of the freezer a few nights ago for my husband and it was time to look for a recipe. This one turned out amazingly well and made the best gravy ever, which was a feat in itself because I usually can't make gravy.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I didn't have any buttermilk so I substituted a quick shot of regular 1% milk.)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess. 


Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly.

Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Somehow, this instantly made gravy with the easiest bit of work I've ever come across in a gravy recipe. If it had been any easier, it would have come out of a jar.

A Fast Paced Christmas Carol

Friday, December 17, 2010

A True Fortune

I got this in my fortune cookie today. Seems pretty true to me.

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."

Turns out that it's a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best "Peanuts" Theme

"Linus and Lucy" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio from "A Charlie Brown Christmas."



My holidays aren't complete until I see the Peanuts holidays specials!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Greatest Christmas Carol EVER

Tater Tot Breakfast Bake

On Saturday night, I did a mental inventory of the breakfast items we had in the house for a good breakfast the next morning. I typed in a few keywords in Yahoo and came across the Tater Tot Breakfast Bake recipe.

This is one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time, and it made enough for leftovers for a couple of days. In fact, even reheated the next day, it was still just as good as it was fresh out of the oven. The flavors of everything had time to really meld together overnight in the frig.


  • 6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (this was the only thing I had to leave out because I didn't have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 16 ounces tater tots
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat together eggs, milk, salt, mustard and pepper.
  3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Layer bacon, egg mixture and cheese.
  4. Arrange tater tots on top.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until eggs are set and tater tots are golden brown. When I made it, I know my oven was properly preheated because our oven has a digital readout and actually dings when it gets heated up to the temperature you want. But for some reason, maybe it was the pan I was using, it needed to bake another 10 minutes, for a total of 50 minutes. After 40 minutes when I took it out and cut into it, the milk and eggs were still a bit runny. 
Like I said, this was a wonderful breakfast. With the Tater Tots on top, it really turned this into a firm casserole. It's definitely a keeper recipe! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Little Something For Me Today

It's fun to lurk on other people's knit and crochet blogs because you never know what you're going to find. Now, I don't know how to knit (I tried once and the two needles just left me confused) but some knit patterns can easily be converted to crochet right in your own head.

A while back, I stumbled across "Off the Hook Astronomy" by Ilana. Aside from being a grad student in Astrophysics at University of Toronto, she also knits and crochets. In 2009, she created a kick ass knit pattern for a potholder. It's of the Star Trek: The Next Generation logo.

Even though I don't knit, I was able to look at her pattern and figure out how to do it in crochet, because she made it into a chart, like the Steelers blanket pattern that I did earlier this year.

There are some minor changes going between knit and crochet. While Ilana's knit version measured 8" square, my crocheted version measured 13.75"x9", which makes for more of a hotpad than an potholder. But that doesn't matter to me! :) I love how this turned out!


It was crocheted on an H sized hook with 2 strands of each color yarn (from my Grandma) at a time: 1 skein of Red Heart in Jockey Red and 1 skein of Pamida brand Wintuk in Black. (I think the Wintuk was a part of Red Heart's line.) These are some of the new yarns I got from her after she passed away, that are about 26 years old and still in beautiful shape. I did rows of SC's, but not in Tunisian stitches because I haven't figured that out yet. The black is actually all one long continuous piece of 2 strands, but I added in the 2 strands of red for each row it appeared. After finishing it, I trimmed off the tails and gave it a little tug in each direction and I'm very happy with it.

Many thanks to Ilana for posting this pattern. I'm heading back over to her blog to let her know someone else made it.

While I was working on it, I managed to figure out a way to use Photoshop to graph some other images into squares to crochet into potholders so those will be coming in a few days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just When You Think People Suck...

.you realize that people don't suck...little bullies suck.

"Katie Goldman's universe extends from her home to her first-grade classroom. She is a big sister to Annie Rose and Cleo, a piano player, a Spanish student, a wearer of glasses. She loathes the patch she has to wear for one lazy eye. She loves magic and princesses and "Star Wars," an obsession she picked up from her dad...

"Kids at school insisted that "Star Wars" was only for boys, Katie wailed. Her daughter said she was different enough already -- the only one who was adopted, who's Jewish, who wears glasses, who needs a patch. If sacrificing Yoda for the color pink would make her fit in again, so be it."

So some little brats at Katie's school gave her a hard time about her love of Star Wars. And it made her feel bad. So, it ended up being Mom to the possibly unintended rescue with her blog, "Portrait of An Adoption." And Katie's fellow geeks and nerds, especially females, came to support her. And let me tell you, if you didn't already know, there are more of us female nerds and geeks out there than what you think!

Katie could almost be me. I've worn glasses since I was in kindergarten. When I was in 7th grade, I had bifocals for a year. I used to have short hair (my choice), my ears stuck out like Dumbo's, I had good grades, I liked Spider-Man and I wasn't popular. I got picked on for all kinds of crap and I wasn't a fighter. My mom would invariably find out about the latest bully and she'd be there at the school, which worked to stop that particular bully but was embarrassing as well. As you go through school, it's hard to be popular when your father is a (now retired) cop and he's arresting your classmates for doing stupid shit, especially when he'd come home and tell me who he busted and then I'D get the lecture for what THEY did.

As I got older, I was a late bloomer through high school when it came to dating and such.

But you know what? In college, that's when I started to figure out who I was and that it was okay to be a nerd. So here I am, 36 years old, married to a super sweet guy who loves me, and you know what...he's not a geek. He's wicked smart and has loads of patience when it comes to everything.

I've got a good life, and yeah, I'm still a geek with glasses. I grew my hair out and it covers my ears. My husband calls me "his geek" when I start referring to myself like that. He even bought me Yoda's light saber for my birthday this year. I still love all that sci-fi, superhero, cartoon, comic book stuff I did when I was a kid. Next year, I'm planning to go to Comic Con, and after the start of the new year, I'm going to make a Jedi character for myself so I can join the Rebel Legion so I can hang out with more of my fellow geeks and nerds.

Sometimes, it's just easier to embrace the geekiness than it is to hide it. My computer/crafting room has posters from Spider-Man's movies, bought for me by my husband. I have action figures throughout the room that we've each bought. And I even ride a red scooter with a big ole'Spider-Man head vinyl sticker on the front fender that matches the Spider-Man seat covers I made for it.

It's who I am. I don't try to hide it.

So my message to Katie is this...us female nerds and geeks will always stick together, and you have us all as sisters around the world to share our common loves, no matter the age differences between us. Jedi Katie, may the force be with you, and live long and prosper (don't want to leave out my personal favorite sci-fi catch phrase!)!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not Musical Monday But Still Necessary

Considering today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, I thought of this song by the Barenaked Ladies.

 

I tend the wheat field that makes your bread
I bind the sweet veal, pluck the hens that make your bed
Mother nature and mother earth
Are two of three women who dictate what I'm worth

I'm the farmer
I work in the fields all day
Don't mean to alarm her
But I know it was meant to be this way

You cried a tear, I wiped it dry
I put you up upon a pedestal so high
If you should waver, if you should sway
I'd catch you, spread my tiny wings and fly away

You signed your picture with and O and X
I bet you don't write "love" each time you sign your cheques

I'm the farmer
I work in the fields all day
Don't mean to alarm her
But I know we were meant to be this way

All of this corn I grow I grow it all for you
I took a hatchet to the radio I did it all for you
Well you could have written back
And you could have said "thank you"
But I guess you've got better things,
But I guess you've got better things,
I guess you've got better things,
Better things to do
Better things to do yeah
Better things to do


You say you love me, is that the truth?
Although they've heard the songs, my friends need living proof
I know your address, I ring the bell
I bring you flowers and a twenty-two with shells

I'm the farmer
I work in the fields all day
Never wanted to harm her
But I know it was meant to be this way
I know it was meant to be this way
I know it was meant to be this way


Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Former "Outrage of the Day" Has Been Vindicated

On Dec. 9, 2009, I blogged about Glen Fortsch, an Iowan elk hunter. I was outraged because he was facing charges of killing an endangered animal, a grizzly bear, on Sept. 22, 2009. The bear was going to attack Fortsch and because he decided to rightly defend himself, he was looking at the possibility a $25,000 fine and/or 6 months in PRISON. I just couldn't believe that shit.

On Dec. 2, 2010, the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier had an update to Fortsch's story. "A local hunter who shot a grizzly bear last year won't be charged with killing an endangered animal...Roy Brown, a special agent with the U.S. Department of the Interior who investigated the incident, called Fortsch in June and said the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Wyoming wouldn't file charges. Even though it was a kill-or-be- killed situation, Fortsch said you never know if the court would see it that way."

OMG...justice actually prevailed for the common man!

"As required, the shooting was reported. Brown and two state official investigated. Brown said all the facts backed up Fortsch's self-defense claim.

"For example, Brown said the location of the bear, Fortsch and the bullet wounds, along with testimony of other witnesses, indicate the bear charged."

Congratulations to Fortsch and I hope that what he went through doesn't keep him from enjoying future hunting trips!

Last of the Baby Blankets for Christmas

I finished the last baby blanket for Christmas just a few days ago. This one is for our most recent niece, just born in June, so it's another travel blankie. It's four different yarns in as many different colors, and measures 26" x 28". I started it with nine granny squares in the center and then added the green stripe to two ends later on to make it a little longer than it was wide.


I told myself this one was going to be a granny circle, but I started it and just didn't like it. I started with this pattern and right from the get-go, it was looking like a soft sided granny square. I didn't know if it was just me or the pattern, so I tried it twice. I thought it was the yarn. I had first started with Premier Yarn Deborah Norville Collection Serenity Sock Weight in Saffron(that's the variegated yarn in the photo). It's very fine and almost too lightweight of a yarn for my liking. I switched over to the unknown cream yarn and tried it for the granny circle. It's a medium weight cotton yarn. But it too seemed to make a lumpy granny circle, although not nearly as lumpy as the Deborah Norville yarn.

BTW, for what it's worth, I love the colors of yarns in the Deborah Norville Collection from Premier Yarns. They are extremely pretty. However, overall, I prefer Vanna's Choice from Lion Brand when it comes to overall workability. If Lion Brand could find a way to combine Vanna's quality of yarns with Deborah's colors and shades, then I'd be all set to crochet forever! Maybe it's time for Kassie DePaiva, the former host of "Knit & Crochet Today" and a crocheter herself, to get a yarn line of her own. And let's be honest, more people would buy yarn that had Kassie's name and image on it than they would mine because she's a celebrity. Me, I'm just an amateur crocheter with a blog and en Etsy shop.

Hmmmmmm, maybe there's hope for a line of Lion Brand yarn called, "Kassie's Collection" afterall. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shabby "Cro"-Chic is ONLINE

Well, I finally got my act together and decided to give the Etsy world a try. Remember, I'm a lazy person and just got off my ass to do this.

Shabby "Cro"-Chic is open for business. I actually opened it two days ago and today, I made my first sale! It was a crochet pattern for an Easter Basket pattern. The pattern itself is priced at $2.50 so after Etsy's listing fee of $0.20, I made $2.30! :) Whoo hooo! Thanks, Christine B from Texas.

I'll have to wait until after Christmas to post some certain patterns, as they are Christmas gifts, but I think I have enough stuff squirreled away on my computer to keep things going there for a little while.

So, stop by the shop and let me know what you think or what you'd like to see there.



 

Lil Kim vs. Nicki Minaj? Nah.

"For months, the buzz has been on Nicki Minaj, whose recently released "Pink Friday" features a track, the Eminem-guesting "Roman's Revenge," that many took as a side-slap to Lil' Kim (sample lyrics: "Look at my show footage, how these girls be spazzin' / So f--- I look like gettin' back to a has-been? / Yeah, I said it, has-been /Hang it up, flatscreen /Haha plasma.")

"And last Friday, the Queen Bee bit back."

I never thought to compare Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj to each other. They are two totally different kinds of performers. Apparently, up until her prison-stint, Lil Kim was a hard-core rapper. Since getting out, she's cleaned up her image and even appeared on "Dancing With The Stars." Her last album came out in 2006 and she's only had individual releases since then, not another album.

Nicki Minaj is more hip-hop and hasn't been performing as long as Lil Kim, either professionally or as an amateur making her own mixed tapes.

I don't personally know much about Lil Kim's music. What I have heard, I've liked. I have heard more of Nicki Minaj's music though. She said she was influenced by Lil Kim but I look at her and think Gwen Stefani. Her appearance and style are her own but she reminds me of Gwen. Until reading the CNN article (linked above), that's who I would have guessed her influence was.

But the odd thing is this: if you read Nicki's lyrics in the article, I don't see how it could be taken that Nicki was insulting Lil Kim in the first place. Right now, it seems more like Lil Kim is trying to keep herself relevant and Nicki's the way for her to do it. Lil Kim needs to get back in the studio and get to work on a new release of her own and showcase her own talents. She can be relevant again and she doesn't need Nicki or anyone else to be compared to.

Monday, November 29, 2010

(Bird) Food For Thought

I got an email from the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) the day before Thanksgiving. I had sent them a small donation earlier this year for the work they were doing for birds in the Gulf of Mexico because of the oil spill. It was an email to get me to donate again, I'm sure. It was very well written and very interesting. I want to share some of it here. It was from Jay Holcomb, Executive Director of the IBRRC.

365 — days each year we are caring for oiled and injured birds at our two rescue centers in California.

5406 — total number of birds treated at our rescue centers so far in 2010. The five most common species treated were: Mallards, Brown Pelicans, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Western Grebes, and Canada Geese.

2839 — number of Pacific birds admitted and treated at our two rescue centers in California between April 20 and September 30, during the height of the Gulf spill.

4 — number of smaller West Coast oil spills IBRRC responded to in 2010.

5 - the number of oiled birds received in the last week from natural seep along the California coast.

600 —number of critically ill pelicans treated by us following the heavy rains, flooding and pollution from run-off that hit the California coast in January 2010.

5 — pounds of fish consumed by a recovering pelican every day.

25,000+ — hours logged by IBRRC volunteers in 2010.

39 — number of years IBRRC has been rescuing and saving injured seabirds from crises. (That’s right, 2011 is our 40th anniversary!)

24/7 — hours and days a week IBRRC is on-call for wildlife emergencies.

Musical Monday

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Another finished Christmas gift, that is.


I managed to get this blanket for our newest nephew done about two days ago. It's just a big five-sided granny square. I guess that would make it a granny pentagon. This nephew has just turned a year old this fall but he's a little guy because he was a preemie, so I decided he needed kind of a  funky different blanket, hence the odd shape. It's about eight different kinds of yarn with as many different shades of blue. After my version of blocking, each side is about 34" long and from top corner to the closest bottom corner, it measures about 40" long. I was thinking it would make a good travel blankie.

When it's laid out like that, it reminds me of a butterfly.

One more travel blankie to go for the newest niece. I'm going to wind up with carpal tunnel! But it will be worth it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I Learned From "The Golden Compass"

I finally got around to watching The Golden Compass a few nights ago. I had recorded it just because of Daniel Craig.

"In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization."

Apparently, this is from a series of books. Like I said, I wanted to see it because Daniel Craig is in it. However, I really thought that he had a wasted presence in this movie and was severely underused. Because of the way the movie just seems to cut off at the end and there's not a sequel, it makes me wonder why they used him. They could have used a lesser actor.

That being said, I did learn something from this movie. In it, people's souls live outside their bodies in the form of animals. As children, because they tend to be more spontaneous than adults, their souls (called daemons) tend to be shape shifters. It was really interesting to watch the daemons in this movie because almost all of them looked incredibly real. Because of how they move and interact with others, and the fact they talk, the daemons were CGI. 

Pan is Lyra's daemon. He's a ferret/bird/cat/rat daemon, spending most of his time as a ferret and cat. When Lyra and Pan are sneaking around the college she lives at, looking for something to steal, he reminds her they need to be careful. If they get caught, "...if you get a smack, I'll feel it too," he tells her. Humans and daemons feel each others physical pain.


And then it dawned on me. I have a daemon. I think most pet owners would consider their pets to be their daemon. It's not my dog, which is who I figured it would be, but rather my cat, Dixie. We've had her for 12 years and she was a birthday gift.

Dixie, sleeping off the turkey stupor, Thanksgiving 2009
I feel like she and I have a bond that even after eight years, I don't have yet with my dog.

If I'm hurting or sick, she's right there with me, like the world's smallest Florence Nightingale. Pain does go both ways, in a way. Several years ago, Dixie had to have surgery to repair an umbilical hernia from when she was spayed at 1 year old. Because of the worst case scenario of an untreated hernia, I decided to have it repaired.

When we brought her home from the vet, she was still so groggy and drugged up. The anesthesia hadn't worn off yet and she couldn't even hold her head up. On the trip home, she was like a newborn baby and didn't make a peep.

We made a little nest of pillows and blankets in the second bedroom for her to sleep it off and keep her away from the dog. Once we got home, she turned into an angry little tiger...a drugged tiger, but a tiger nonetheless. She was angry and growling (I've never heard her growl since then), dopey and unable to walk without falling over. And all of a sudden, it hit me. She was telling me why she was so angry: her belly hurt, she didn't feel good and she didn't know why.

It absolutely broke my heart. I just remember thinking, why did I do this to her. My husband tried to convince me that the surgery had been the right thing and she'd feel better in the morning.

"If you get a smack, I'll feel it too."

She did feel better in the morning. I didn't sleep worth a damn that night. I got up at 4 or 5 AM the next morning to check on her. She was sitting on a chair and looking pretty perky. I asked her how she was feeling and told her I was sorry for what happened. I actually asked her if she forgave me (yes, yes I did because I thought she'd blame me for dropping her off at the vet). I got a head butt from her in response. She head butts when she's happy, so I knew everything was fine. My daemon still loved me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Not Me...It's You

I decided to take another crack at the crocheted cupcake hat pattern for my nieces for Christmas. I wasn't about to let a single hat get the best of me.

I looked for another pattern and came across this one, by Kay Meadors, owner of the Natural State Knitting blog. This looked like a better option to me, because it's worked first with the ribbing (cake part) and then from the bottom of the frosting up to the top. All of Kay's rows are counted out by stitches so there's no real measuring, which I liked.

As I worked on the most recent one, I saw a simple change that should be made to Kay's pattern. Kay has the pattern written in such a way that you work on the hat as a flat piece and then pull the short edges together when completed to sew the hat into the right shape. That was the only part I didn't like, so as I worked on it, I actually just brought my edges together sooner and worked the hat in rounds instead of individual rows. Of the seam that I did have to sew shut, I thought it looked bumpy and uneven, but I know the edges were lined up correctly.


But you know what? Even with that one change, I can't bring myself to make any more of those damn cupcake hats. I made the first one in a soft buttercream medium weight Lion Brand yarn and the frosting in a soft variegated chunky soft (almost like mohair) Lion Brand yarn (the actual colors are unknown since they were leftovers). Sounds nice, right?

Those hats are just damn ugly in real life.

I've since realized of all the places I've seen those completed hats online, no one is wearing them! They all seem to sit so prettily, probably stuffed with tissue paper or something to give them a nice shape.

I don't mind making funny hats for our nieces and nephews, but I'm not going to purposely make ugly hats for them. As a crocheter, I am officially deleting the cupcake pattern from my computer and crossing it off my mental list of things to make. The kids can get other things for Christmas!

I decided to send this one sad sack looking hat to my niece for Christmas because my mom said she loves wearing hats.

My mom (pictured with my niece) and my sister actually raved about this hat...the one I couldn't stand looking at!