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Chevron Baby Blanket

6 Jun

blanket

I started this blanket…a very long time ago. I think it was around the third trimester, maybe when I was about seven months pregnant with my now-almost-six-month-old. But of course, adding a baby in to the mix makes knitting go much slower, so I’m just happy I finally finished it! I fell in love with the fun striped colors of this blanket the second I saw it on the Purl Bee’s blog. I knew that if I only made one blanket for our little one, this would be it. Since I didn’t want to spend a gazillion dollars on the “suggested” yarns, I stuck with my favorite: Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn. It took at least three trips to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby before I was able to finally decide on the right color combination, and I’m really happy with how it ended up.

blanket1

blanket2

I used circular needles, just because it was so long, and I’m glad I splurged on a bamboo set. Bamboo needles are sooo worth it, and that’s all I really see myself buying from now on. It makes your knitting feel so much more comfortable, and the stitches stay on the needles really well. I don’t have any particular insight on the pattern, just that you will likely need to pull out a row or two at some point. It’s worth it to keep the chevrons nice and pointed, and since the stitches alternate between two cast on amounts (increasing and decreasing), it’s easy to count and make sure you’re still on track.

Charlie loves it. It’s perfect for playing on, as it’s quite thick, and it works well as a stroller blanket. It’s pretty thick, and not something I’d suggest using for wrapping up a tiny newborn in, but it’s great hanging over a rocking chair. I have a feeling it will get even more use as he grows, and since it’s machine washable, I don’t worry too much about him partying on it.

blanket3

blanket4

One happy, snug little guy!

Yarn Along

5 Jun

Joining in on the Yarn Along at Small Things.

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

yarnalongjune

I finally finished Charlie’s blanket (post on that to come) and am now working on my first double-pointed needle project in the round. It’s a hat, for one of the many sweet little babies that are getting ready to join the world this summer! Y’all, DPN (double pointed needle) projects are haaaaaaard. I’ve pulled it apart three times and am close to doing it again. Joining properly, geting the increases and decreases right….they are all super difficult when you’re dealing with so many needles.

I just started reading the Baby-led Weaning Cookbook (after finishing the first Baby-led Weaning book). Charlie is going to be six months in a week and he’s just about ready to start eating solid foods! So far his only source of nourishment has been from his mama, and I’m excited to see how he enjoys different types of food! If you’ve never heard of baby-led weaning, this site is a good resource. I also love all the info from Nina Planck’s Real Food for Mother and Baby: simple, just the way I like it!

Yarn Along

30 Apr

Inspired after reading Kristen’s posts over at Snow Joy, I thought I’d join in the Yarn Along that goes on every Wednesday at Small Things. I don’t know that I’ll be posting every Wednesday (at this point in life, you’d be seeing a lot of the same things), but I’d like to do it at least once a month.

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

yarnalong1

Right now, I’m finishing up Charlie’s Chevron Blanket and reading Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island. It feels so good to finally be nearing the end of this blanket, since I started it when I was pregnant with him. It’s an easy enough pattern, but I’m just now getting to the point where I actually have time to knit again. The best is when I’m sitting with him, waiting for him to nod off, and he just watches my needles clackity-clack together. I think he really enjoys seeing all of the different colors of yarn in this blanket.

I just started Notes from a Small Island, thinking it might be fun to get a perspective on the UK from a resident who is just returning. I had flipped through it at Barnes and Noble back in the States, but already I’m enjoying it much more since I can better picture the things and places he describes.

DIY Felt Flower Wreath

27 Sep

Felt Flower Wreath

In our last two apartments, I’ve avoided putting anything on our front door. I don’t really know why–I’ve seen many a cute wreath, door sign, etc. I think it stems from looking at wreaths in stores one solitary time and seeing high prices. Door decor is not something I’ve ever considered an area I wanted to excel at, so I shrugged off the whole DIY idea as well. I just resigned myself to keeping our front door minimal and empty.

But then.

Then I saw this sweet, welcoming wreath on Etsy.

I was in love. And I said to myself (as I’m often wont to do at places like Anthropologie…and the internet), “I could make that!” Except this time, I actually did.

Felt Flower Closeup

Now, of course the best (and most nicely made) option is to simply buy the wreath, but since the seller is on vacation (and I really did want to try my hand at some felt flowers), I went straight to the craft store.

$4.99 got me an 18″ grapevine wreath, and I grabbed a a spray of 99¢ fake hypericum berries, along with few felt sheets in gold, light/dark brown, cream, and pink. I would have preferred coral felt, but apparently it’s nowhere to be had (not kidding, I checked two Michael’s and two Hobby Lobby. I really like coral). If I’d had more time I would have ordered it from a seller on Etsy, but sometimes you just have to get a project done.

Felt Flower Wreath

I found some great tutorials on making felt flowers, and the round ones were incredibly easy. The puffy ones weren’t quite as simple, but they’re definitely doable. Just be careful, or you’ll end up with some nice hot glue gun battle scars.

Once the flowers were finished, I hot glued them to the wreath, stuck in the spray of berries and hung it happily on my door.

My future sister-in-law (yay!), Angela, recently wrote on Twitter, “Time to flip the switch from admiring to making for the evening. And go.” I’m really glad I didn’t let this DIY project pass through my mind like so many have before. Sometimes, when inspirations strikes, you have to turn off the computer and start the making!

Simple Baby Gift: Knit Bunnies

19 Jul

I love knitting things for babies. To start with, babies are small—therefore the projects are small, and are usually accomplished quickly. It’s so nice to start and finish in the same weekend. It doesn’t hurt that babies are extremely cute, so whatever you make for them is instantly elevated by their adorableness.

I came across this pattern when I was looking for something to make for two mom-to-be friends of mine. It’s from a great book called “Vintage Knits for Modern Babies” by Hadley Fierlinger. All the patterns are pretty easy to follow, and the knits are cute and classic. I always enjoy making things that seem timeless, so that hopefully one day I can pass down the same projects to my children.

Knit Bunny looking for carrots

This bunny knits up quickly and is pretty simple. It’s a nice size for newborns because it’s easy to tuck in to their car seat but it’s not so small that it gets lost in a bag. I use natural cotton yarns with the thought that there’s a good chance a little guy (or gal) might be chewing on it at some point.
Nana’s Bunnies
Beginner / intermediate

Finished Measurements
Height: 5½”

Materials
1 65 g skein Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Organic Cotton (100% cotton; 150 yds [137 m]) in #30 Birch (MC)
1 65 g skein Skinny Dyed Cotton in #305 Pink (CC)
US 4 (3.5 mm) straight needles
Yarn needle for finishing
Small amount of organic carded wool or polyester fiberfill or yarn scraps for stuffing
Yarn or embroidery thread and needle for embroidering on face and details
1 (¾” [2 cm]) pom-pom
Tip: The 2 skeins of yarn will make 2 to 3 bunnies, if you want to make several.

Gauge
28 sts and 34 rows make 4″ (10 cm) in St st

Directions

Body
Beg at bottom of bunny. With MC, CO 12 sts.
Row 1: *Inc1; rep from * to end—24 sts.
Knit even for 7 more rows with MC.
Knit 8 rows with CC.
Knit 2 rows with MC.
Knit 2 rows with CC.
Knit 2 rows with MC.
Knit 2 rows with CC.
Next row: With MC, k4, (k2tog) twice, k8, (k2tog) twice, k4—20 sts.
Knit 1 row with MC.
Next row: With CC, k3, (k2tog) twice, k6, (k2tog) twice, k3—16 sts.
Knit 1 row with CC.
Break off CC.

Head
Cont on 16 sts in MC only.
Next row (RS): *K1, inc1; rep from * to end—24 sts.
Work 9 rows St st, ending with a purl row.
Next row: *K1, k2tog; rep from * to end—16 sts.
Next row: Purl.
Next row: *K2tog; rep from * to end—8 sts.
Using yarn needle, thread yarn through rem sts, pull tight, and fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing up the back.

Ear (Make 2)
CO 6 sts with MC.
Row 1: *Inc1; rep from * to end—12 sts.
Work 11 rows in St st, ending with a purl row.
Next row: *K2tog; rep from * to end—6 sts.
BO.

Finishing
With RS together, using long yarn tail at top of head, sew back seam of head and body, leaving bottom open. Turn bunny right side out, stuff lightly, and then finish stitching bottom. To create “legs,” using same yarn, stitch through stuffing up the middle about 1½” (4 cm) or to first band of CC. Join ear seam, stuff ears lightly, and sew to head. Weave in ends. Embroider face on bunny using embroidery thread or yarn oddments. Sew on pom-pom for the tail.

Knit Bunny just chillin'

The pattern is reprinted from The Oregonian with permission from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies. Copyright © 2009 by Hadley Fierlinger, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

DIY Succulent Planter

8 Jul

Succulents

My friend Nikki’s birthday was Tuesday, and I wanted to make her something fun. I decided to use succulents–they’re fun, organic, modern and best of all, easy to take care of. With just a few supplies and some lovely little plants, I made her a simple succulent planter. I took pictures along the way so you can make your own (as a present or just to spoil yourself).

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Succulent Planter Supplies

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need the following:

• a variety of small to medium succulents (3 to 5 plants works best)
• a container to plant them in (mine was from the thrift store, it was originally a light fixture)
• a bit of soil to fill in the planter
small rocks or pebbles (I used natural fish tank gravel–very inexpensive at your local pet store)

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Succulent Planting

2. Arrange the succulents and fill in the soil

Remove the succulents from their containers and place them in your container. Move them around until you have an arrangement that you’re happy with. Try to vary the heights and sizes to add interest. Once you’re set, fill in the gaps with your extra soil (use an old spoon to get in the sides or odd angles.

..

Pebbles cover the top soild of the planter

3. Cover the top with rocks or pebbles

Use a small amount of your rocks/pebbles to cover over the bare top soil. This keeps the soil from getting too moist, along with preventing weeds (and making it look more polished).

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Birthday present, check!

4. Add a special note and enjoy!

Use twine, yarn, or rope to attach a note (if it’s a present). If it’s staying with you, use a toothpick or half of a wooden skewer to place a whimsical sign in the planter.

Instructions for care:

Lightly spritz or water once every two weeks. Keep in as much sunlight as possible! You may encounter some dried or brown leaves every now and then, just remove them and more will grow.

New Things in the New Year

30 Dec

Okay, so as promised I am back. This time with thoughts about what this year will bring:

1. Uncertainty. As in, I am uncertain about whether or not I will have the same job in the next six months. Our company is being sold, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is very up in the air whether or not my department will remain here. And I’m not going anywhere.

2. Learning. As in, I may be learning to be a Middle School English teacher if my formerly mentioned job disappears. I have enough credits in English to get a Florida teaching certificate (I was an English minor in school). I’m actually a little excited about this…granted, I am praying that my job will stay the same and I won’t have to worry about a career change, but the prospect of teaching English (and getting summers off, wow) is a teensy bit appealing. We shall see. I’m glad I have a backup option.

3. Eating. As in, Mr. Jones and I will be eating much more natural and healthy food this year. I feel like 2009 was my big awakening about food and its true effects on our health. So in 2010, I will be using my new Nourishing Traditions cookbook, making as many things from scratch as I can, and eliminating high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, and white flour from most of our diet (all about the 80/20).

4. Crafting. As in, I will continue on the crafting spree that I started earlier this month. I have really been inspired to turn off the TV and MAKE THINGS! Plus my Christmas presents all got rave reviews, so the goal is to keep the tide flowing with crafted gifts for the rest of this year. Not to mention a few fun crafty things for myself. I might just start taking pictures and posting them here, wait and see.

There you have it, 2010 and the things that will be on my mind New Year’s Day. I’ll post my resolutions here on Friday so I have a place to keep myself accountable. See you in the NEW YEAR!

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