Showing posts from November, 2011

Mini Crochet Christmas Tree

Here's another quick n' easy crochet ornament for you. I am developing these to decorate my Vintage Granny-Square Christmas Stockings.

MaterialsA few yards each of yarn in green, brown, and your choice of contrasting color

Crochet hook (mine is "G" gauge)

Stitch Key
ch = Chain
hdc = half double crochet
dhdc = decrease half double crochet *
sl = slip stitch

* Thanks to the author of this Baby Cloche pattern for the following description of the "decrease half double crochet:" To dhdc, (yarn over, insert hook in next hdc, yo, draw loop through) two times, yo, draw through all 5 loops on hook]
Put another way, you are performing the first half of a half-double-crochet in the first stitch, but instead of completing with yarn-over and pulling through the two loops, instead yo and insert hook into the *next* hdc stitch and proceed as normal for another hdc, finishing by pulling the yarn through all five loops. Clear as mud? Look it up on you-tube! ;…

Toddler Toys: I Spy Jar

Anyone who actually follows this blog, poor soul, will have noticed that I am all over the map lately. You never know if you're going to get a digi-scrap post, recipe, toddler tip, or even a crochet pattern. I'll give you a clue to the common factor: practically everything can be done in 30 mn or less, with a distracting child or two in the room!

Today's second project: The "I Spy" Jar. For several years, a couple of "Find It" games have been showing up at our annual church retreat. Filled with colorful plastic "sand," these approx. 12 inch tubes also contain about two dozen small plastic objects which may be revealed by carefully shaking and rolling the container. The object is to check off each hidden object from the list - including the always elusive penny. They're surprisingly diverting for adults and kids alike. They're also about $25 from the manufacturer! My version is essentially free.

Materials 1. Sturdy clear plast…

Quick n' Easy Crochet Wreath Ornament

I've picked up my hook again this season: my first project was my daughter's Christmas Stocking, but I got inspired and starting making hats. Finally, I started visualizing ornaments I could add to my stockings. Grammy's were made of felt, but I'm feeling more comfy with the hook this year, so here's a cute little wreath for your tree, hat, headband, or you name it!

Materials: Yarn in green and contrasting color of your choice
Tools: Crochet hook (I used size G) Scissors
Key: ch = chain hdc = half double crochet dc = double crochet sc = single crochet sl = slip st = stitch

Here's those instructions again, in case you can't quite see 'em in the photo 1. ch 12 and join with sl st to form ring 2. (Round 1) ch 2 (counts as first hdc), 12 more hdc in ring; sl st to join 3. (Round 2 - eyelet) ch 3 (counts as first dc + ch 1). dc + ch in each hdc st below; sl to join 4. (Round 3 - scallop edge) sc, hdc, sc in space formed by ch 1 below. sl st in top of …

Recipe: Salsa Sausage Sandwich Braid (Adapted)

Another adapted recipe today, this time from my favorite paper cookbook "Family Feasts for $75 a Week" by Mary Ostyn. The original recipe may - and should be! - seen here.I cannot say enough good things about this practical, frugal cookbook. Seriously, go buy it!
In the meantime, I've made the sausage braid about 3 times now, and while the concept is good, we weren't thrilled with the flavor of the filling, which tends towards the bland. Part of this, I freely confess, is undoubtedly because I rarely have on hand (or remember to buy) things like green onions, fresh parsley, and bell pepper, which are therefore left out of the recipe. The modifications I've made speak both to our flavor preferences and compensate for what is most likely to be in the fridge or freezer.
Ingredients 1 pound bulk sausage (the stuff that just looks like ground beef), pork, chicken, or whatever you like. 1/2 cup chopped onion (I use frozen pre-chopped. No tears!) 1/4 cup choppe…

Simple Pumpkin Molasses Cookies - Adapted from Bakers Royale

This recipe is adapted with only a few modifications from this one at Bakers Royale. All credit should go to her, but my modifications were key enough I thought they should be written down - for my own benefit if no-one else's!

Every year about this time I go on a pumpkin kick. This year I've even taken the wild step of rendering my own puree. My favorite applications are baked goods - primarily cookies and breads. Usually I fill everything full of chocolate chips, but these cookies are an actually welcome exception. The end product are soft, cakey, and taste

Makes about 30 one and a quarter inch cookies. | Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or lightly coat with cooking spray.
Ingredients ½ cup of butter, melted (not hot) 1 large egg 1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar ½ cup of dark brown sugar, packed 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of unsulphured molasses ¾ cup pumpkin puree 2 teaspoon of cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1…

Todder Tools Quicky: Build a cheap faucet extender

My 2-year-old needs to get used to washing his hands in the sink. The problem is, he's *short!* An adult can hold him up, but usually at the expense of squishing his belly, and getting water everywhere at the same time. Yesterday we picked up a couple of fairly tall plastic step stools at Ikea ($8, not available online.) They get him most of the way, but he can still just barely get his fingertips into the water.
Google quickly reveals that I am not the first person to have this problem: a neat little product called the "Aqueduck" is on the market. It's simply a duckbill-shaped piece of plastic that attaches via a shnazzy silicone sleeve to your faucet, channeling the stream of water out another 6 inches or so. Simple, elegant - and expensive! (About $13 plus shipping - and I needed two!) Certainly I ought to be able to jury-rig something for a fraction of the cost. While one part of my brain was planning a trip to the hardware store, the other part noticed …