Variation of a Cabbage Patch Hat

I had a rush request on etsy over the weekend for a halloween costume hat… I started it this morning on the commute train, and finished it on my lunch break, using an adaptation of my free Cabbage Patch Hat Pattern, here is what I ended up creating…

Crochet Hat, “Abby from NCIS”
Size 2T
Hook: Size H crochet hook
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice Soft, Black
Round 1: ch 3, join to form loop, ch 3, 11 dc
Round 2: 2 dc each dc around. Place a “marker yarn” in a different color to keep track of rounds.
Round 3: *2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc*, repeat from * around.
Round 4: *2 dc in next dc, dc in next 2 dc*, repeat from * around.
Round 5-9: dc in each dc around.
Round 10: hdc in each dc around
Round 11: sc in each stitch around.

Making Pigtails
Cut 32 strands of yarn, 20 inches long. Tie a 10 inch string in the middle of the strands with a double knot.

Attaching Pigtails
Use the top loose string ends to join to the hat between rows 3 and 4, toward the back. Trim the pigtail so that it just reaches the shoulders, but don’t trim too even so it still looks realistic. Repeat for the other side!

Attaching Loose Bangs in the Front
Cut about 46 strands of yarn, 8 inches long. Tie two at a time to the front 16 stiches of row 7, and to every other stitch of row 8, the row underneath to add depth. (Do a loop tie, by holding the yarn in half, then using a crochet hook to pull the loop through, and drawing the two loose ends through the loop.) Trim the bangs very even, just barely above the child’s eyebrows.

(the photo is terrible, taken at work with a borrowed camera, and before the bangs and ponytails were trimmed.)

Simple Avocado Salads

My New Favorites!!

Romaine Avocado Salad
1 RIPE avocados – peeled, pitted and diced
2 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
3 romaine hearts, chopped into strips
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine and enjoy!

Guacamole Kale Salad
1 head kale, all stems removed
1 avocado
1 small tomato finely diced (optional)
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Salt & Pepper
1. In a bowl add avocado and lime or lemon juice, and salt/pepper. Mash together to form guacamole.
2. Place kale in a salad bowl and top with guacamole. Fold guacamole into kale. Massage all ingredients together. Stir in tomatoes.

Pencil Drawing Outline Scrapbook Page

A couple months ago I posted how to turn a photo into a pencil drawing, I did this initially because of a photo I saw where just the outlines of pencil drawing where scrapbooked into a beautiful mess of a page. And I wanted to recreate that. I love how the first page turned out, and as I turned to the second page decided to type the steps out as I went along:

Place the pencil drawing on a solid light colored background paper
Change the blending mode to “Darken”
Use “Eraser Tool” to remove anything extra around the subject
Use the “Dodge Tool” to soften edges if needed
Place a patterned paper over everything
Use “Eraser Tool” set large on a feather brush with “Opacity & Flow both set to 50% to remove the pattern over the face
Use Blending tools to mix papers and elements around the face
Clip papers to the words by putting the paper over the text and press “Alt & Ctrl+G” to create a “Clipping Mask”
Finish scrapbooking with elements

This is different than anything I’ve ever done before, more artistic than archive, and I love it!!

(click on it to see more detail)

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup
Follow the recipe, or add any available summer veggies!
2 medium zucchini, sliced in ¼-inch slices
2 summer squash, sliced in ¼-inch slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Coconut Oil Spray
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups water
6 tsp vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and place chopped vegetables on it. Spray with coconut toil, and sprinkle with spices, toss to coat. Cook vegetables for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly fork tender. Add water to a stockpot, and bring pot to boil, add broth, and return to boil. Remove vegetables from oven and scoop into the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Adapted from a recipe in: The Wheat Free Diet & Cookbook

Glass Watering Pot

I was looking for watering pots, but most are plastic, the few that are metal are expensive and will probably rust. I was using a canning jar for a while, when I realized that we had an extra glass pitcher! Eureka! It was one we’d picked up at goodwill for three dollars one day, and easy as breathing now it’s my new watering pot!!

Diet Comparison Chart

It all kind of started with eggs. They were one of the last things that I finally took out of our diet so we could be completely vegan… but I’d always intuitively felt that they were healthy, and I missed how good they made me feel. When I had an omelet that my brother made me in Arizona, I really began deliberating over the whole vegan thing. Only lately staying strictly on a high carb vegan diet, my weight refused to budge even an ounce. Even working out really hard, such as in a group class, in a cycling class, on the treadmill, nothing was working. Next I made a strange discovery that whenever I ‘cheated’, and ate an egg, would I lose a bit of weight. And that began to really make me think critically about the way I was eating.

I looked into the reasons why other people had ‘fallen off the vegan wagon’, and discovered that it was because they were lacking vitamins to make their body run correctly. They were experiencing fatigue, digestions issues, hair loss, cavities, loss of appetite, weight gain, unrestful sleep, lowered immune system, depression… I was surprised to realize that my husband and I, combined, had all or most of these problems… and that we didn’t have them before. And in kids, symptoms of vitamin deficiency included unrestful sleep, less vibrant skin, loss of appetite, fatigue, and distended bellies… the girls were showing all of these ills, things I had noticed in them, but had not even considered was due to our ‘perfect vegan diet’.

I remember feeling so wonderfully healthy when we started eating vegan about a year and half ago, so what had gone wrong? How did we get so unhealthy, and how did we not notice? I imagine what made the biggest difference at the beginning, was merely removing all the processed foods from our diet, and starting to eat vegetables that caused us to feel so well, but slowly we became deficit in the foods we were restricting ourselves from, and the last couple of months we’ve just been feeling awful. So, after reviewing everything I had learned, we decided to stop being vegan.

But then… what do we eat? I started looking at how people eat, and why, and success they have with their chosen diet, and as I researched I put all the ‘diets’ into a simple chart. What I discovered was that the people eating ALL these different diets… were ALL healthy! But how could that be? Some don’t eat meat, some eat meat but no dairy, some eat grains, others don’t, and it became very confusing. Finally I started looking at the linking factors, which seem to be vegetables. A LOT of vegetables. Everything else had its place in the food habits of these people, but veggies at every meal seem to be at the core of success for them all. Also, quality of food was a link between the diets. Pasture raised eggs, organic grown produce, raw nuts, whole grain bread. No junk food, or processed food. Whole, natural food, that was the reigning theme throughout all the library books, eBooks, medical sites, diet sites, and blogs that cataloged how this or that diet was the best because BLANK. The link I am sure is the vegetables, and quality of food.

Here is my chart, the green is things that you are allowed to eat on the diet. The light green with “Lim” is for things that are allowed to be eaten in limited quantities. The dark green with “Focus” is the main food group of the diet. There are complexities to each diet, but undressed, down to the basics, these are their do’s and don’ts.

Click on the photo to see it clearly, or download it here: Diet Comparison Chart

Diet Comparison Chart

I had eggs for breakfast this morning, and am full and satisfied. I’m glad that we did the vegan thing for a while, because it stopped our cravings for most processed foods, and we had to learn to cook and enjoy vegetables. So with our new healthier eating habits, we’ve started incorporating meat and dairy back into our diet. And instead of focusing on any specific diet, as a family we agreed to simply eat the best quality food we can.

My Garden Kitties!!

Umbrella Table Cloth

I’ve been meaning to make a table cloth for our new patio table, but I could not think of the color I wanted.

I suddenly realized that I’d picked up a free table cloth at the end of a yard sale last year! It had a few holes, and was not something I wanted to actually use as a tablecloth indoors, but as an outdoor table cloth it would work just fine!

I had to cut it to fit around the pole through the middle of the table, and then used my new snap press to make sure it could go back together! Free tablecloth! Yay!!

Snap Holder

We were so excited by our new snap machine that we bought snaps in all kinds of colors! But then I was presented with the dilemma of how to store them without buying plastic… I considered making little pouches out of scraps, but that seemed time consuming, and then how would I store those? A bigger pouch?? Then I remembered a bunch of tiny bottles that I’d picked up free at the end of a yard sale one time. I almost didn’t take them since they didn’t have lids, but now I’m so glad that I did! I rubber banded them in threes, and tucked them into one corner of my sewing notions drawer! Perfection!!

Snap Hand Press

There have been a few projects that I’ve wanted to put snaps on, the metal sew on kind are cumbersome, so I looked into getting a snap press. The reviews about most of them are quite terrible, until I found this one:
KAM Snap Pliers Hand Press Setter Tool
and it works wonderfully!

Backyard Fire Pit

My hubby has always wanted a fire pit area in the backyard of ANY place we’ve lived, and he finally managed it here. He started by bricking in a small square to set a fire bowl on. While he worked I handed him stuff and took pictures of his progress…

Step by Step
1. Dig Hole the right size for bricks.
2. Put down a layer of gravel, then a layer of sand.
3. Place all the bricks.
4. Pour sand over the bricks to fill in the holes.
5. Place a fire bowl on top of the bricks, chairs around it, and enjoy a s’more!

Yummiest Green Juice

Green Juice
Yield: one quart jar

1 cucumber
4 apples
8 leaves of kale (one bunch)
1 small lemon
1 red pepper

1. Wash
2. Chop
3. Juice
4. Strain
5. Enjoy!

Charging Station

Our electronics and their chargers have been scattered all over the house for a long time, which is uncharacteristic of my usual tidiness. I was looking into buying a charging station, when I realized that a charging station is less a product, and more a state of mind. So I:

1. Located an unused power strip from around the house.
2. Cleared nearly everything off the top of the small shelf next to the computer.
3. Taped the cord in place so it was in the middle of the shelf.
4. Gathered the electronics (rechargeable batteries, the camera battery, the MP3 players, the kindles, and the cell phone), and gathered all of their chargers from around the house.
5. Placed everything around the plug.

DIY Kindle Cover

I love the smell and feel of books, and just would not consider trading those for another screen in my life, however, I have finally broke down and bought a kindle.

It’s hard to hold onto a heavy book when you are standing on the train, and often there are things I want to read that are not audio, but are in ebook form. However, the main reason that I finally agreed to a kindle was to replace my recipe book in the kitchen. I was forever printing new recipes, or making changes to a recipe and reprinting it. So now I store my cookbook files on my kindle and access them without running all the way to the computer or wasting paper by printing them. It’s a system that is working very well!

The one thing I could NOT agree with was wasting money on a cover. So using scraps I had around the house, I made a soft cover.
1. Measured out a scrap of flannel, and a scrap of cotton.
2. Hem the cotton.
3. Pin the cotton inside to the flannel outside with a layer of felt in the middle for padding.
4. Also pin in the straps.
5. Sew a finishing stitch around the edge of everything.
Simple :)

Shoe Bag

My grandpa was from the Ozark mountains in Arkansas, “barefoot arkie” was proudly used as a common term in my family’s household, and possible for that reason no one in my family suffered shoes unless necessary. I was raised barefoot , or in sandals, during Arizona’s nearly unbearable summers, and after my brief three year stint in elementary school, returned to being barefoot as much as socially acceptable. So I was no stranger to the practice of being barefoot, what changed was my perception of why we should be barefoot, and why it’s healthier for our feet, from the book Born to Run, and since then I’ve worn shoes less and less in public. Carrying my sandals in my backpack to put on for stores, but enjoying every textured sidewalk between my home and my destination. In my last backpack I had a pouch dedicated to housing my shoes. I now have a new-to-me lighter weight backpack I got at a yard sale for 75 cents, but my shoes will have to go where I put my lunch, that’s a no go! Hence, a shoe bag! I started with a circle and 6 double crochet, then increased rounds until I got the size base I wanted, next I did 1 double crochet per double crochet up until I got the height required for my sandals. Another quick easy project for the train ride!!


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