Cloth Napkins

To make cloth napkins I went super simple.
One side flannel, cotton muslin on the other.
Sewed them together, leaving a hole to turn.
Turned them right sides out, ironed them all.
Sewed around the edges, including the hole.

201508026 - cloth napkins

Hall Rug

I really really wanted a very small rug to protect the carpet in between the front door and the shoe rack. Since I had some leftover fabric from the placemats I decided to try a blog post I’d read a while ago on I am Momma Hear me Roar, and seemed super easy.

Although, I simplified it even more. I sprayed the fabric with the last of the “Thompson’s WaterSeal FabricSeal”, let it air out a good two weeks, then duc taped it to the rubber mat we’d bought by the foot at Home Depot. Done! Easy! No spray adhesive, no Polyurethane, and it seems to be working just fine!201508025 - rug

Little Felt Starfish

The little town of Seaside holds an annual treasure hunt around the city every summer. At the beginning of the summer they release nine picture clues with a matching written clue. If you enter the contest in the most creative way you can think of, you could win a paid vacation to Seaside for four! So I made a little seastar out of orange felt, we bought him a stick, and we took a photo of him with each clue so he was our little friend for our whole vacation while we searched for “treasure”!

Since the seastar is Seaside’s logo, I started researching felt seastars, and the one I loved best was at the blog While She Naps, that gave me the inspiration to do one with wavy arms instead of strait like when they are dried. I googled starfish outlines, and came across a pattern by Kid Spot, you can download it here: Starfish Pattern

I used the larger of the two patterns, cut one side out in orange felt, the other out of yellow felt, and added the eyes and mouth. I blanket stitched them together with orange embroidery floss, stuffing it as I went, and left a little hold near the bottom for the stick. Easy!

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 2TBlack Hat
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.

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!

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!!

2014 Garden – Day 3: Small Garden Archways

I saw this photo on Pintrest, and thought how great that would be for another children’s garden hideaway, a little lower and it would be a tunnel!

Shopping List:
Garden fence roll, ($24 at home depot)
Wire cutters (for garden fence) ($9 at home depot)
12 four foot high rebar ($3 each at home depot)

Push rebar where you want it, (after soaking the ground, or a good rain).
Cut strips of the fence roll, and weave it into rebar.

All told it took three people an hour to construct, and at about $70 total this was the most expensive object in the garden, but soooo worth it!! I can’t wait to see cucumbers and squash climb all over the thing!

Fabric Paint. A whole new world!

I’ve really love the unique look of painted fabric, however I’ve been too timid to try for a long time. After reading Alabama Channing’s books, and seeing the way she paints fabric, I began researching it again the other day, really meaning to do it this time. I spent a dreadfully long boring hour looking at stencils at JoAnn’s and eBay that clearly had not been updated since the 1990’s, they all looked so blah and drab, I just could not stand it, so I moved on and kept searching styles of fabric painting. When I came across a blog article at Craft Critique, I realized that I’m not bound by typical store bought stencils, and suddenly remembered that the wonderful point of Chain’s chapter on stenciling was that she made her own! And that is something that I can easily do with Photoshop, so I got to work! I tried out of the stencils on a simple black skirt, and it turned out okay, I think you used the wrong brush, but more practice and I think I’ll get it, I’m just getting started!!

Here is a free pattern download: Stenciled Skirts Patterns

Travel Games

The girls and I are going on a flight today, all the way to Arizona! And since we are only using carryons, space for travel toys is limited. We are each taking one pad of paper and pen though, so I quickly googled some ideas for paper and pencil travel games! Here is what I found that I’ll try on the plane:

Two or more players. One player thinks of a word and writes a line for each letter, then draws a gallows. Not a bad idea to give some adult help on this step. The other players try to guess the letters in the word. Each incorrect letter means the first player draws a body part on the gallows. The object is to guess the word before you get “hung” – which is a full body picture on the gallows.

Draw rows of dots. Take turns drawing a line between two dots. The object is to make a box with your lines and the most boxes wins. Players write their initials in the boxes they draw.

Morse Code Writing
Print out the code and have your kids make secret messages in Morse Code.

Story Add-On
Get a piece of paper. The first person writes down a beginning to a story – it can be one sentence – then folds the paper to cover what he wrote. The second person continues the story without looking and adds a detail or action. That person folds the paper over her part. And so forth, until someone ends the story. Open, read, and laugh!

Monster Add-On
Fold a plain piece of paper into four horizontal sections. The first person draws the monster head, folds over the paper so it is covered. The second person draws the neck, shoulders, and arms then folds over. The third person draws the body then folds it over. The fourth person finishes with the legs and feet. Open and check out your masterpiece!

These were found at: Imagination Soup

Eating an Alphabet
Let your half-starved brood describe how hungry they are in this game, best played about half an hour before you make a pit stop for food. This version of the “I’m Packing for a Picnic” game begins when you announce “I’m so hungry I could eat an aviator” (“alligator,” or “apple”). The next player adds on with a B word. She might say, “I’m so hungry I could eat an aviator and a bunny rabbit” (“belly button,” or “bologna slice”). See if you can keep it up until your family is eating zoos, zippers, or zigzags.

I Spy
Someone says, “I spy with my little eye something green.” Whoever guesses the item correctly goes next. You could limit the items to what’s in the area. Or you could get tricky and play I Spied, selecting items that you’ve already passed.

These were found at:

Also we have a great game we play in our family, it’s a portable Scattergories, here is how to play:

Fabulous Real Watermelon Cake!

I saw this idea first in a photo facebook update from a raw vegan about a year ago, and my daughter loved the idea! We really love fruit in our household! After two semi-failed gluten free vegan “cakes”, we remembered this fruit cake, and realized we were going at the problem the wrong way. Instead of trying to find things that sort of taste like our old life, we should just fully embrace the new! So I went looking for watermelon cake instructions. The best I found were here at Paleo Cupboard, however we didn’t even attempt the whipped coconut frosting, our family doesn’t seem to ever like anything made with real coconut. I did some google image searching and discovered that people were making these cakes layered using toothpicks, and that was just too cool not to give it whirl! I wanted to try a fruit compote over it, and even found a good looking recipe, however Meg wanted it fruit and she wanted it all raw, and so it was! She chose all the fruit, and the candles, decorated it herself, and she LOVED the effect!

Meg’s Watermelon Layered Cake
2 Personal Watermelons
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries
Small can pineapple rings
Cookie cutters
Cut the ends off the watermelons, then cut the rinds off in a circular fashion. Leave one block of watermelon whole, cut the other block into two rings, cut the rings smaller to make layers. Attach all the layers with toothpicks. Decorate with fruit using more toothpicks!

Crocheted Rainbow Bracelet

Just wanted to quickly share this little bracelet that I made for Kaylee in rainbow colors…

Rainbow Bracelet Crochet Pattern
Gather the rainbow in embroidery floss:

Starting with red, chain until you have the right size for the wearer
Still with red, sc in second chain from hook, and in every chain to the end
Sc a row in each color until you have completed the rainbow.
Tie the ends into a secure knot!

DIY Ottoman

I’ve always wanted an ottoman large enough to fit the couch blankets in, but refuse to put a couple hundred into it. So, I don’t remember where I saw this idea, but I love it! I bought the fabric during the crazy black Friday sales, and picked up the largest tub Target carried, and presto! A huge ottoman for under $30!

I used about two yards of Felt by Yard in gray for the tub, and about a yard of Faux Fur in black for the lid. I took notes as I winged this pattern, but I lost them! If I ever find them I’ll update this post.

This was my little helper during this project:

Spring Time Hat!

My daughter recently asked me to make her a new hat, so she picked out the yarn, and I got started. I was going to make an earflap hat like I’ve done in the past, and I had it nearly finished, when I decided that she needed a different look, not only because she is growing up, but because spring is coming! So I took apart all my work and started from scratch. I made this pattern based on a conversation that I had on the train with another crocheter, and I LOVE how it turned out!

Ready for Spring Brimmed Hat
This pattern made a good hat for my almost eight year old.
Warning – I used VERY chunky yarn, and I crochet loosely.
Yarn Used: Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky Yarn
Hook Size: H hook
Round 1. Ch 4, join to form loop, ch 3, 11 dc in loop, join
Rounds 2 – 6. Ch 3, 2 dc in same stitch, *skip next dc, 3 dc in next dc* repeat from * to end, join at end.
Rounds 7 – 8. Ch 3, 2 dc in same stitch, *skip next two dc, 3 dc in next dc* repeat from * to end, join at end.
Round 9 – 10. Ch 1, sc in each st around, join at end
Round 11. Ch 2, dc in each st around, join at end
Here is where it gets tricky to make the slight bill/brim, bear with me…
Round 12. Ch 1, sc in next 22 st, in next st *3 dc, skip 1 stich* repeat from * 6 times, sc in remaining 22 st
Round 13. Slip stich in each sc to bill, work a sc in each dc stich, then slip stich the remainder around.
Weave ribbon through the double crochets from round 11, a tie the ends into a bow near the front

Meg’s Earring Holder

Meg has been talking about getting her ears pierced since she was five, not ready yet, but interested in the process. Around six, she told me that she wanted to get them done at eight years old, she knows her own mind, and has held to that decision for the last two years. This month she is turning eight, so we had a girls afternoon out to pierce her ears and spend the rest of her birthday money on earrings.

But then arrives the quandary of earring storage. Meg wants to use a pencil case, and all the mixed up earrings will just roll around in it, so I struck on this hopefully genius idea! I got a small sheet of Plastic Canvas, and cut it the size of the pencil case, then edged it with a contrasting yarn. Now it’s a an earring holder, inside the pencil case!

Here is a quick video of meg’s experience with new earrings: