Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

You have already read about my look back at 2009.  Now let's take a peek at what I have planned for 2010.  Some of these includes links so you can join me in my resolutions.  If you decided to join on any of these, please leave me a comment and let me know that I am not alone!!!

First, a closer relationship with and better understanding of God.  I plan to accomplish this by reading though the Bible chronologically.  (To be honest I have already started this one, but you can still join in.)  You can join my by clicking this link. or go to to chose your own preferred version.

Second, I want to see the me I see in my head start to appear in the mirror.  I plan to start this goal with Sparkpeople's Spark Your Body Bootcamp Challenge and Contest.  I have talked about Sparkpeople on here before so hopefully you have picked up on those posts.  If not, check it out.  It is completely free, they help plan your meals, count calories for you, free exercise plans, and exercise videos.  I lost 40 lbs last time I sparked and I plan to lose even more this time.  If you do join up, please look me up...I am sunflowers4me on Sparkpeople.

Third, I plan to start charity crocheting again.  Now that baby A is starting to entertain herself a little more and I can find some time to crochet some, I really want to start making things for babies again.  I primarily make items for God's Tiny Angels, and have off and on for years now.  I have a lot of respect for the woman who organizes it all as she does so with no financial compensations.  If she doesn't collect enough to mail packages out she covers the cost herself.  She really has a heart for these babies and children and for serving God using the talent He has provided her.  I plan to donate 50 items to GTA in 2010.

I have many others, but I really think that I will follow through on these 3 so those are the ones I am sharing.  chicken? Yup!  don't want to post it if I probably won't follow through with it!  Happy New Year's Eve to all!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Earflap Hat

I really love the look of the earflap hats!  I wanted to make one for baby A as I think that she may actually keep one like this on her head, but have had a really hard time finding a pattern that I like.  I finally came across the Speed Hook Earflap Hat on the Lionbrand website but I didn't have the right yarn or the right hook.  So I passed it over and spent quite awhile trying to find something else only to keep coming back to the Lionbrand pattern.

After about the 100th time, I looked at the pattern and decided to modify it for what I had.  At first I tried an N hook and 2 strands of WW yarn together, but I really thought it would be to bulky for my little one.  Then I switched to a smaller hook and one strand of yarn.  After some trial and error (read this as making 2 gauge swatches and completing all but the ear flaps only to discover that my gauge was off and the circumference was 2 inches to small so I had to frog it and start over!) this is what I came up with.  This fits an 18-19 in head circumference.

Earflap Hat
You will need:
WW yarn (I used Red Heart Super Saver in Buff Fleck)
size H  5mm hook
optional size I 5.5 mm hook
darning needle
piece of 3 inch cardboard

gauge:  (This is REALLY important!)  14 stitches and 14 rows equals 4 inches

Pattern begins here

with I hook (or with H hook just be sure to work loosely) chain 68.
R 1: work sc in second chain from hook and each chain across. ch 1 turn (67 sc)
R 2: work sc in first sc,* ch 1, skip next sc, work sc in next sc.  Repeat from * to end.  ch 1 turn. (34 sc, 33 ch 1 spaces)
R 3:  * work sc in next sc, ch 1, skip next ch 1 space.  Repeat from * across.  ch 1 turn
R 4 - 14: repeat R 3

R 15: sc in first sc, *sk ch 1 space, sc in next sc, ch 1, sc next ch 1 sp, sc in next sc.  Repeat from * across.  sc in last sc, ch 1 turn.  (34 sc and 16 ch 1 spaces)
R 16-17:  sc in first 2 sc, * ch 1, sc in each of the next 2 sc.  Repeat from * across.  Ch 1 turn.
R 18: sc in each sc across, skipping every ch 1 space.  Ch 1, turn.  (34 sc)
R 19:  sc in each sc across.  Ch 1, turn
R 20:  sc in first sc, * ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next.  Repeat from * across ending sc the last 2 together.  Ch 1, turn.  (17 sc, 16 ch 1 spaces)
R 21: *sc in sc, ch 1, skip ch 1 space.  Repeat from * across ending with a sc in the last sc.  Ch 1, turn.
R 22: repeat R 15.  (17 sc)
R 23 sc in first sc, * ch 1, skip ch 1 space, sc in each of the next 2 sc.  Repeat from * across.  ch 1, turn.
R 24: sc in first 2 sc, *skip the ch 1 space, sc in next 2 sc.  Repeat from * across ending with ch 1, skip the ch 1 space, sc in last sc.  Ch 1, turn.  (17 sc)

R 25: (sc 2 together) repeat all the way across, sc in last sc.  ch 1, turn.  ( 9 sc)
R 26:  sc in each sc across.  Ch 1, turn.R 27:  repeat R 25.  (5 sc)
R 28: sc in first sc, ch 1, skip 1 sc, sc in next, ch 1 skip next sc, sc in last.  (3 sc and 2 ch 1 spaces)  Fasten off leaving a long tail (at least 12 inches).  Weave tail through top loops of the stitches on this row and gather tightly.  Fasten this securely leaving the remaining tail to sew the seam together later.

Beg on opposite side of beg chain skip first 7 chains, join yarn in next ch with a sc.
R 1:  join yarn with a sc, sc in each of the next 13 sc – 14 sc.
R 2-3: ch 1, turn.  work sc in each sc
R 4: ch 1 turn, sc 2 together, sc across to last 2 sc, sc 2 together.  12 sc
R 5: sc in each sc across
R 6: repeat R 4.  10 sc
R 7: sc in each sc across
Repeat R 4-7 once
Repeat R 4-6 once more.  You should now have only 2 sc
R 15; ch 1, turn, sc 2 together.  Fasten off and weave in ends

Skip next 20 sc of the foundation row after the first earflap.  Repeat from Row 1 for second earflap.

Using 1 strand each of A, B, C, and D held together, join yarn at edge of opposite side of beg ch, sc in first 7 ch; *work 14 sc evenly along the side of the earflap, ch 6, sl st into 2nd ch from hook and remaining ch, work 14 sc evenly along next side of earflap**, sc in next 20 stitches of the foundation chain; repeat from * to **, sc in remaining 12 ch. Fasten off. Sew back seam. Weave in ends.

Tassel (make 2)
Using 1 strand of yarn, wrap it around a 3 inch piece of cardboard 15 times. (or you can cheat like I did and wrap it around 4 fingers of your hand!) Cut a 10 in.  length of yarn (if wrapping yarn around your hand be sure to do this first as it is REALLY difficult to do with yarn wrapped around 1 hand!) and thread into large-eyed blunt needle. Insert needle under all strands at one end of cardboard. Pull tightly and knot securely near strands. Cut yarn loops at opposite end of cardboard. Cut a 10 in.  length of yarn and wrap tightly around loops 1 in. below knot to form Tassel neck. Knot securely. Weave tie ends into center of Tassel. Trim Tassel ends evenly. Sew a Tassel to end of each Earflap.

 Hope you enjoy the pattern!  It hasn't been tested so if you find a problem please let me know.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Musings

I can't believe that this is the last Monday of 2009!  It seems that this year has gone so very, very fast!  In the span of a year I have seen baby A learn to crawl and then walk.  I have heard her learn to vocalize and then talk.  I watched K adjust to high school, J adjust to middle school, and H adjust to being in a school all by herself for the very first time in her life.

My husband and I began the year with him laid off of work (almost a year total), to begin a job making a phenomenal amount of money but we both hated it, to being offered his job back with a company we both absolutely loved.  He took the job and started back working days only to discover that he is now (and for the next year) on nights.

The year started with us trying to find a place in our church and ended with both of us serving faithfully in capacities that we really feel called to.

We have grown closer as a family, closer to our church family and closer to God.  It has truly been an amazing year of growth for all of us.

And I have to admit that it has been a wonderful experience sharing my life with you, my reader.  I feel that I have grown close to some of you.  I have had the privilege of sharing your experiences as well.  You have at times encouraged me with wonderful words of praise, you have lifted me up at times that I needed to hear a friendly voice, and you have at times even validated me.  Thank you.

I look forward with eager anticipation to what He has in store for me and my family in the coming year.  I know that like this year I may not always like the situation that I will be in, but I also know that God will provide for me and that everything will have a purpose.

So Happy New Year to each of you.  Hug your families, let them know how much you love them, and most of all remember to thank God, especially when things get difficult, because His plans are such that will prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)


as always, you can download a better resolution of this by clicking here
feel free to share it in it's original form but please, give me credit and include a link to my blog.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

Hello readers!  It is Christmas Eve eve and I am (believe it or not!) finishing up my very last handmade item!!!  YEAH!!!

At the last minute I found out that the gift I had arranged for my mother was not something that she wanted (even though I told her I was doing it almost 3 weeks ago).  That left me in a quandary as to what to get/make for her as a gift.  I finally decided to buy her a candle (which she loves) and a puzzle (which she also loves) and make her a simple puzzle keeper.  Problem  solved.

By the way, a puzzle keeper is a great little gadget for anyone who works puzzles to have.  Basically you take an empty wrapping paper tube and cut it down to about 6 inches larger than the most common size puzzle that you work.  Then buy some felt ( the kind that comes on a bolt and not the little squares available in the craft stores) and cut it to the same height and the length should be about a yard.  Cover the wrapping paper tube in tacky glue or spray adhesive and then roll the felt onto the tube all the way around it until the felt meets.  Allow the glue to dry.  On the opposite end from where the tube is about 1/4 of the way from the top attach ribbon by folding a 24 inch piece of ribbon in half and crease.  Pin the ribbon about 1/2 inch in from the outside edge of the felt and sew in place along the crease.  Repeat for the bottom side.  Now the recipient can work the puzzle on the mat.  When he/she is done working it for the day simply roll it up (including the loose pieces) and tie it closed.  The felt keeps the pieces from sliding and shifting and you don't have to worry about losing pieces when little fingers or paws come exploring. 

So that just leaves my very last project, a crochet beagle dog for H.  Currently the body, ears, and part of the head are done.  I should have it completed tonight leaving Christmas eve open for baking cookies, making deviled eggs, candlelight communion at church, and our tradition of opening one present each.  And I was worried about getting it all done!  (Usually I am up Christmas eve trying to finish everything!)

Hope each of you have a wonderful and very blessed Christmas.  Please remember to take a moment and thank God for the first, and best, gift ever given...that of his Son.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished crocheting not under the tree,
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care'
Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep---he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6" too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my hook to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.
When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.

And although I was tired--my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.
Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.

"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite! Move over!
Lopi, don't circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you'll work out just fine!
I know this is hard as it's just your first year
But I'd hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!
And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's big boots stomping on the porch floor.

I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were hand crochet from above to below.

A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran crochet sack.
His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:

"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff. So I asked,
"Hey, Nick, did YOU crochet all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to crochet when I was just a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.

He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my crochet hook and yarn for a cap.
He began then to crochet, first one cap then 2--
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a sweet tea on the rocks.
Quickly like magic his hook it did fly,
Good Grief! He was finished in the blink of an eye!

He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your crocheting sometime around JUNE!"

~ Author Unknown

 Ain't this the truth!  I sit here crocheting on J's afghan.  I have 2 rounds each on 6 more blocks to go and then to assemble them and put a border on the whole thing.  I also have to make an ami beagle for H from a pattern off of By Hook, By Hand.  After than I need to make 1 more headband.  I did finish A's kitty to go with her Aristocats book using the pattern from By Hook, By Hand also. 

 In addition, we were hit by the snow storm and it dropped 8 inches last night knocking out our power.  Thank God we were blessed enough financially last year to be able to afford a generator that will power most of the house except things that produce heat.  My wonderful hubby went out today and bought a kerosene heater that is big enough to heat the whole house.  He is getting it started up now. 

 In the meantime, I crochet...and hope St. Nick will come early to lend a hand!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Musings

I can't believe there are only 10 days until Christmas!  The shopping is done, and the cards are mailed out, but the crafting is now in a race to see if the projects are going to be completed in time!

Be on the lookout this week for my second headband pattern.  It should be posted soon.

I had a few minutes this week to pick one of my favorite verses to turn into a scripture card.  This weeks verse is Matthew 6:21.  Most people may not connect this verse with Christmas, but I often do.  Christmas is about celebrating family love, as well as the greatest love.  It is about remembering what love is...being willing to sacrifice self for others.  If we remember to put love first, then our treasures truly will be where our heart is.  We won't focus on the material treasures that surround us in this world.  Having the newest gadget or 500 cable channels, or the best house, or the fanciest decorations, or the most lights, or buying the best gift won't be nearly as important as our real treasures - family that loves us, a God that cared enough to send his Son.

I was reading an article that talked about God's gift to us.  It said that most of us love to celebrate Christmas.  We love the image of the Christ child as a babe in the manger - sweet, helpless, and innocent.  However, if the Christmas story ended there it really wouldn't be an image of love would it?  God knew when he sent his Son that He would have to sacrifice His life for us.  Did Jesus want to die?  I don't think so.  He prayed in Gethsemane for God to take this cup from Him, to allow Him to live if there was any other way.  There wasn't.  God loved us so much that He sacrificed Himself for us.  We are his heart.  We are His treasure.  Yet we continue to ignore Jesus two requests,  love Him and love others.  If we do those two simple things, everything else seems to be less important.

So this Christmas season ask yourself, "Where is my heart?  Where are my treasures?"  I pray that your heart is first and foremost with God, and that you are blessed with many treasures through Him.

as always, feel free to click here to download a better quality image suitable for printing


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jingle All the Way

No headband created yet (maybe I can get to it tomorrow), but I did write up the pattern for some anklets that I am making the girls for their stockings.  These work up really quickly for a last minute gift, which is a good thing with only 14 days until Christmas!!  Hope you enjoy making them

download now


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wecipe Wednesday

I am WAY late getting this posted today.  K had a doctor's appointment this morning to see if her ear problems had cleared up.  If you know us, you know that this is a BIG deal.  You see, K had a really bad pediatrician when she was first born and a very young, trusting, naive mom.  She had her first ear infection when she was 6 weeks old.  It felt like she always had an ear infection after that.  She would get one and her ped. would put her on antibiotics for a month or more.  Finally it got to the point that her eustachian tubes wouldn't drain at all.  Basically what happened was the fluid in her ear would dry up and since her eustachian tubes were not working correctly a vacuum would be created causing her ear drum to collapse inward against the bones in her ear.  Over time this eventually caused her ear bones to deteriorate.  She has had several sets of tubes and 3-4 MAJOR reconstructive surgeries as well as surgeries to clean the infection from her mastiod (a honeycomb like bone structure behind the ear).  She currently has 50% hearing loss in one ear and can NEVER get that ear wet.  She has to wear earplugs to take a shower and pressure changes can cause her eardrum to burst.  She can't dive underwater due to pressure changes and has to keep her head above water when she swims.  She still gets an ear infection occassionally that causes her eardrum to burst.  (That is what happened this time.  Her eardrum burst while visiting her father.)  Fortunately her ear is finally again dry and clear of infection!

All of that just to tell you that I didn't get to post this when I intended to.  Sure I could have written it last night and scheduled it to go up today but we were busy watching It's Christmas, Charlie Brown and Prep and Landing last night.  Christmas specials definitely come first!  Anyway, this weeks wecipe errr recipe is a quick and easy fudge recipe.  I like to make this up and let it set up in Christmas cookie cutters that I pick up at the dollar tree.  Then, when it is done, you can just wrap the cookie cutter in some plastic wrap and tie a ribbon around it.  Instant gift!  So here is the recipe:

Quick and Easy Fudge
You will need:
1 cup sugar          
1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1/4 cup cocoa       
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk          
2 -2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp butter        
1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)

In a 2 quart sauce pan mix the sugar and cocoa.  Add the milk, corn syrup and butter.  Bring this to a boil over medium heat stirring frequently.  Once it reaches a boil allow it to boil for 1 minute before removing from the heat.  Allow this to cool in the pan until the bottom of the pan feels lukewarm.  Depending upon the type of metal of your sauce pan this could take anywhere between 25-45 minutes.  Once it is warm stir in vanilla and nuts.  Next stir in the powdered sugar a little at a time until it becomes very stiff.  If using cookie cutters, butter the sides of the cutter and cover the bottom with foil.   Place on a hard surface.  Press small amounts of the fudge into the cutter until it is full.  Otherwise press the fudge into a buttered 9 X 5 X 3 inch pan.  Place fudge in the refrigerator until firm, at least 30 minutes.  If it is in the pan, cut and serve.  Otherwise, package the cookie cutter fudge in a cellophane treat bag or some plastic wrap for gift giving.

Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Printable

Last year on Craftsayings a board friend wrote a wonderful poem after a church service about remembering what this season is all about.  Her name is Sally Suiter and she is very talented.  She kindly gave me permission to use her poem and with it I created, per the request of many on the craftsayings board, a bookmark.  I hope that you enjoy her words and are as inspired by them as I was!  You can view the picture below, but please use the link below it to download a clear, printable version of it.

Please click here to download

I pray you find time to focus on the "y" this holiday as well!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas here I come...slowly

My poor house is so confused!  Right now I have my Christmas lights and nativity up outside, pumpkins and sunflowers everywhere inside (Fall decorations) and a half naked Christmas tree in the corner.  Poor thing only has lights and an angel on it.  It does, however, have some presents under it!

Christmas is slowly starting to take over my house.  The problem is that all of the Christmas stuff is under the stairs.  You can only access this area through a door in my bedroom.  What is so bad about that?  Hubby is working nights which means I pull out the boxes on weekends, or in the evening after dinner when my house goes into chaos mode.  Every weekend from now until Christmas is booked solid!  So, I decorate in spurts when the mood and availability of the decorations overlap.  I figure that by the time I get everything out it will be time to start taking it down and maybe it will all be down by Easter!  LOL

Along with the Christmas season comes desserts!  I love to bake or make different deserts that are finger foods to give as gifts to friends and family.  I decided to share some of these with you, my readers.  I don't promise that all of them are quick to make, but I do promise that all of them are yummy!

That being said, this weeks recipe is VERY easy to make, although it is VERY messy.  I came across it on a craft board that I visit often.  There are a great bunch of crafters there and it is a very caring community.  That being said, here is the recipe:

Cake Balls
You will need:
1 cake mix of your choice and ingredients to make cake

1 can of ready made frosting of your choice
1 package of chocolate or almond bark (found in your baking aisle) or you can use any flavor baking chips

 Make the cake according to the package directions.  It doesn't matter what size pan you use just cook the cake.  When the cake has cooled break it up into small and place the pieces in a bowl.  Stir in the entire can of frosting.  Here comes the messy part, unless you are one of those fortunate people that have a melon baller or a tablespoon size scoop.  I put on gloves for this part.  Using about a tablespoon amount of this glop, form a ball.  Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or wax paper.  When you have balled all of the mix, place the sheet in the freezer until frozen solid.  Melt bark or chips.  Remove balls from the freezer and dip each ball into the melted bark or chips.  Allow excess to drain off and then place back on the sheet.  Repeat until all of the balls are covered.  Allow bark or chips to set before touching the balls.  If desired you can roll them in nuts, coconut, or any other desired topping while the bark or chips are still wet.  

Be creative with your combination, how about strawberry cake and icing with chocolate? or chocolate cake with cherry nut icing? or chocolate cake with caramel icing dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut? The possibilities are endless!

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