Thursday, December 12, 2013

Another Easy Crochet Pattern Share - snowman coffee cup coozy

I do a lot of socializing at Starbucks and I meet a lot of people by simply crocheting in public. It's an amazingly simple marketing/networking strategy. Here's an easy-peasy pattern that I use to draw attention to myself!

I like to use a J hook but you can adapt this to any hook you like to use.
I used 2 strands of yarn for most of the coozy (Knit Picks Cotlin DK for the scarf and hat, Knit Picks Shine Sport for the face). I really think that 2 strands, no matter the weight, makes it look better.
scraps of black and orange - both of these happened to be Shine Worsted.

ch - chain
sc - single crochet
sc3tog - single crochet together
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
slst - slip stitch
sk - skip

I like to use a no-chain single crochet foundation row b/c it leaves such a pretty edge. Here's a video tutorial which I totally think is necessary if you've never done a foundation row before.

Foundation Row: 29 stitches or 9 inches, being careful not to twist the row and slst join, do not turn
R2: ch1, sc in the same stitch as the slst, sc around, slst join
CHANGE YARN HERE to white for snowman face
R3-6: ch2, hdc in the same stitch as the slst, hdc around, slst join
CHANGE YARN HERE to hat color
R7 and hat: ch2, hdc in the same stitch as the slst, hdc 17, TURN,
ch1, sk next stitch, sc in the next stitch, sc 7, slst in next stitch, TURN,
ch1, sk slst, sc in next stitch, sc7, slst in last stitch, TURN,
ch1, sk slst, sc in next stitch, sc5, slst in last stitch, TURN,
ch1, sk slst, sc in next stitch, sc 2, sc2tog, slst in last stitch, TURN,
ch1, sk slst, sc in next stitch, sc2togslst in last stitch, TURN,
ch1 sk slst, sc2tog, ch1, sc down the side, hdc in the same space as the last stitch before the first turn, continue hdc around the round, slst join
R8: slst around R7, keep going thru the hat portion, not around it, join and bind off.  I do the seamless join with this that I learned from The Lovely Crow - pull the end thru the last slst so there's a loose end on the outside; with a yarn needle, thread the loose end, then go under the first slst in the round and back thru the last slst so you can't find the join.

Scarf end
I only use 1 strand of the scarf color for this so it lays down nicely. Leave a long tail (8 inches or so) at the beginning.
R1: ch4, sc in second chain from hook, sc to end
R2-3: ch2, hdc in same stitch, hdc across
R4: ch1, slst across
use 4 strand for fringe, slst on. I wanted to use 3 section but I only fit 2 on. I also tucked my end into the closest fringe - that's my favorite part of fringe - no weaving in ends!

I really don't like making pompoms but...IT'S JUST SO CUTE! Here's a tutorial - I only used 2 fingers for this since it's a mini.

Eyes (make 2)
10 sc in your magic ring (complete with cheesy music, here's Planet June's video tutorial), invisible join and bind off.

Carrot nose
ch4, slst in second chain from the hook, sc in next stitch, hdc in last stitch, bind off.

PUT IT TOGETHER: Use the loose ends at the bottom to finish that edge - I pull it thru the bottom of the last stitch and tie it off like I do a sewing stitch. Weave in the ends including the ones from the bottom. Using long tails, sew on the scarf, eyes and nose. Weave in those ends. Fold down the hat and sew on the pompom through both the tip of the hat and the coozy. Weave in those ends and VOILA! Enjoy your yummy drink (butterbeer anyone?)

nah - this one's better for the Butterbeer!

(This pattern hasn't been tested by others, just by me. If you find a mistake, send me a message or leave a comment)

Also - Introducing PRINCESSES! to my fabric sandwich bag repertoire!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photo Organization

I need a photo genie. Earlier this week, I went looking for a baby picture of my son for school only to realize that my photos are (a) a mess and (b) mostly digital and (c) limited by the time I got to child #3. I am excellent at organizing my digital photos. They are organized by year, month and event (YYYY-MM - event). 

It's magical because I can just search by any of those things and making our annual MyPublisher/Kodak/Shutterfly/who-ever-has-the-best-coupon-code photobook is a cinch because I take 3-5 photos per month or special event and drop them into the book editing software, add a little text and SHAZAM! send that to the printer! 

not all coupon codes are created equal and I would highly NOT recommend
canvas bound photo books when you have young children (2004),
even paperback is risky (2005-2010)...
Now, my pre-decent-digital camera photos are stored in a cardboard box, actually 2 cardboard boxes... 

 I forgot to take a before shot - the one on the left is now organized and full of baby books, some large unframed photos, frames without photos, my graduation caps (white was high school, black was college), BS hood and a soccer jersey from my travel team. The one on the right had the frames you see which are family portraits (not hanging b/c we rent this place and where I'd like to hang them is wallpaper), our wedding album, wedding photo proofs, all the photos from the disposable cameras at our wedding (really, Kevin?), 2 photoboxes of photos, more photos in envelopes, professional and school photos and more photos just tossed in there.
one of the boxes of photos - 9x12" full of my photos before I met my husband -
that one on top is my 18th birthday party that I had 4 days before heading to college!

I'm ready for some organization... photo boxes are purchased and labeled by person, family and other people (okay - so it's mostly Really Awesome Photo Greeting Cards).

and now they fit in the larger of the 2 boxes and I can just pull out a box when I need a photo of someone or have a new photo!

Any tips for staying organized? what do I do when I need a box for some other project?

I'll leave you with this adorable hat that I haven't listed yet. Don't forget to visit Hamburke's and become a fan on facebook!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Crafting for the Holidays

The exciting craft season really starts at the beginning of October with Halloween Costumes. I usually spend the entire month planning, creating, scraping and starting over on frivolous but fun crafts (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all at once!) that make me feel warm and fuzzy about the holidays! I just couldn't get into the spirit of Halloween this year for the longest time! But my husband more than made up for it! He spent the entire month of October working on a MOVING magical eye to be Allister Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter! (I have a video but have no idea how to post it - I'll have to get Chris to set that up for you to see!)

The kids were easy this year -
A was a cat (black leggings, a leotard that's still too big for her sister, a length of craft marabou, a cheap flexible mask and velvet over-elbow gloves handed down from an older dancer friend),

E was the Greek Goddess, Artemis, from Percy Jackson (It was her vision too - we had the bow, Goodwill for the tunic, Chris made the bracers and leg guards out of foam sheets and I made the cape)

and M was Luke from Percy Jackson (jeans, tee, foam sword painted bronze on one side and "steel" on the other for BackBiter and a foam chest plate also made my Chris).

I jumped in at the last minute with a "What Does the Fox Say" costume (why do I love that song so much?) - Most of it was already in my closet and I made the mask with glitter and craft feathers the night before the annual party we attend. I actually spent more money on make-up than I did on my costume since I wear so little of it to begin with!

Finally, I got into the mood and made The Pumpkin Hat by Crochet by Jennifer and listed it in my Etsy shop. Turkey clippies and Santa hat are already there so I'm all ready for the next 2 holidays!!

Let's hope that the crafting spirit stays for a while! I have a lot to get done!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A crochet pattern: Heart Face Scrubbie Pads

This week, I'm being featured over at Violet's Buds and it's given me a bit of confidence and incentive to write and write early!

I don't write many patterns but this is my first go at sharing one and I'd love some feedback! This pattern is worked in rounds.

Yarn: Kitchen Cotton - I use Lily Sugar'n Cream worsted
Hook: H (5.5 mm)
Yarn Needle

Gauge: not important to this pattern

ch - chain
slst - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet

Make 2:
R1: magic loop (tutorial here:, 11 sc in the loop, slst join in the first stitch (11 stitches)

R2: in the next stitch, sc hdc,
in the next stitch, hdc dc
in the next stitch, dc hdc
in the next stitch, 2 hdc
in the next stitch, 2 sc
in the next stitch, dc ch1 dc
in the next stitch, 2 sc
in the next stitch, 2 hdc
in the next stitch, hdc dc
in the next stitch, dc hdc
in the last stitch, hdc slst
(23 stitches including ch1 and slst)

R3: slst in the next stitch,
in the next stitch, hdc
in the next stitch, 2 hdc
in the next stitch, hdc
in the next stitch, 2 hdc
in the next stitch, 2 sc
sc in the next 4 stitches,
2 sc ch1 2 sc in the ch1 space,
sc in the next 4 stitches
in the next stitch, 2 sc
in the next stitch, 2 hdc
in the next stitch, hdc
in the next stitch, 2 hdc
in the next stitch, hdc
slst in the next 2 stitches
(28 stitches including ch1 and slst)
Bind off the yarn on the first one and weave in ends, do not bind off the second one but weave in the center

R4 (crochet hearts together): hold both hearts with wrong sides facing. With that last unbound loop on the hook, insert the hook through the first stitch in both hearts (photo) and slst
The hook is through the loop and through the first stitch on both hearts
*sc in the next stitch of both hearts* repeat 2 times
2sc in the next stitch of both hearts
sc in next 10 stitches of both hearts
2sc ch1 2 sc in both ch1 spaces
This photo is half way around the outer round (R4)
sc in the next 10 stitches of both hearts
2 sc in the next stitch of both hearts
*sc in the next stitch of both hearts* repeat 2 times
bind off and weave in end


I've got a bunch of new hats in my shop too! Come see!

EDITED TO ADD: Order the finished product here:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I need to keep a journal...

I already have an alarm set so I sit down and write but when I do, I forget all the cool ideas that I had to write about! I have some new products, new causes, new things my kids did but I don't always have a lot to say about them that I don't already put on Facebook...

This past week though, I remembered what I was going to write about: BURIED LEADS! My good friend, author LynDee Walker's, second novel has come out! Okay, I'm cheating - I'm writing on Monday to be published on Wednesday (it's a busy week and I have a few minutes here) so it's coming out tomorrow, er, yesterday, Tuesday, October 15! I can't wait to go to the launch party on Wednesday (I'll update with a photo or 2)! Look for it in your bookstore, on Amazon (it's available as an eBook too), or if you want a signed copy, order from Fountain Bookstore here in Richmond! I can't wait to read it!

EDIT: okay, my pictures were terrible! but thankfully, someone else took some good ones!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to School!

We're almost ready! Tonight is the first BTSN (Back To School Night) - it's on a new, before-school-starts schedule! I kind of like the idea but the way it's set out is confusing and parking is limited. Fourth graders come with the parents for a meet and greet tonight, first graders stay home in the morning and then magically appear at school immediately following the parents portion for a meet and greet - did I mention that the parking lot isn't that big? I'm glad we living within walking distance! And that my oldest is old enough to babysit - she's been a pocketbook saver this summer! She'll walk her brother up to the school to meet me so I don't have to go back and forth several times.

Back to School related - here's what I have Ready To Ship (sorry about the iPhone photos):
WRAPS: lilac aviary, alphabet soup, argyle, dinos

SNACKS: argyle

SANDWICH (velcro): circles, argyle, newsprint, rainbow mustaches (2)

SANDWICH (foldover): flowers, argyle

SPECIAL: swirly flowers

Wraps are $10, bags are $7.50. Email me or order on Etsy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Allergy Testing

The kids and the hubby have seasonal allergies every season. I "suggested" that they get allergy testing done - and by "suggested", I mean "made appointment for, drove to, filled out forms for, sat with and paid for". I found out that they are basically mildly allergic to just about every environmental thing that's around us. The big ones are a lovely variety of trees that grow in Virginia, grass and grass smut (that's a mold that's prevalent on wet grass), dust mites, ragweed, and various molds.

I had to hold the kids so I didn't get a good view of what they were doing but I got step by step pictures of my husband!

We forgot to stop his Zyrtec 7 days prior to the appointment (we did it 5 days out) so they did a histamine (H)/saline (S) control test prior to the actual testing. 
Here's the scratch test tray after they applied it to him - we're non-smokers but don't complain about second-hand smoke and don't live in tobacco country so they skipped that one.
Here's hubby right after the scratch test.

3 minutes

9 minutes
AH! sweet relief for this guy who can't stand creams and lotions
Now on to intradermal testing - 
so fun for the guy who can't stand needles! (well, it was fun for me at least!)
These are titrations of some of the allergens and it's injected like the TB test

If you are ever at the allergist getting allergy testing done and you notice an itchy throat , things get WILD! 4 nurses and a doctor in this tiny room checking vitals and ready to administer aid. In this case, they gave him an Allergra and monitored his BP (high) and pulse-ox (normal) until it worked.

The remedy for my family? dust mite covers and nasal steroids - I'm AMAZED at how quickly my family improved after these simple changes! I've cut my tissue budget down to pennies (it almost makes up for the cost of the new meds)! Thanks so much Dr. Gelber and Richmond Allergy & Asthma!

What about business? I'm doing a vendor fair tomorrow with mostly snack and sandwich bags. I have quite a collection to show off (including some new fabric!).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I heart Fabric

There are a lot of people that can say this - I know I'm not alone - but I absolutely love fabric! The texture, the feel, the mood it brings to a room.

About  8 months ago, we got a new-to-us couch - bought it from some friends who were moving - and it came with 2 throw pillows. I love the couch! It's green and kind of a mid-century modern couch - boxy and off the floor (oh how I love that feature! no more losing thing under the couch). The pillows, well, my friend even described them as "beaten up"... The corners are fraying and there are pulls all over the fabric. I needed to re-cover them.

For me, that seemed like an overwhelming task! I have all this access to such beautiful, high-quality fabrics (although I usually keep my eye on the fun kid-themed one) and I have to pick one that I'll look at ALL.THE.TIME!  I wanted something that has energy but isn't too loud for this '80s deco den (wood slats to the chair rail and then this hideous marble-look rose-navy-forest green wallpaper). I didn't want a panel or to quilt it and it must be washable. Oh yeah, and it must feel good if someone wants to take a nap on it! I finally decided on a quilting cotton and purchased this lovely Michael Miller fabric - Hoopla Dot in lagoon - when my favorite fabric seller was having a sale! Today, while the power was flickering, I cut out the pieces for 2 envelope style pillow covers and sewed them up after the kids went to bed. I hope I still like them in 2 weeks!

Next up, making sandwich bags with the remnant like I did for this fabric!