It is an unfortunate truth for me that I really love wearing scarves but I do not love knitting them. I get so impatient doing the same things over and over! But I really wanted a scarf to wear with my purple coat, so I gritted my teeth and made this one this winter. It was worth it–I love this squishy, warm scarf! This pattern suggests using two self-striping yarns. One of my yarns, Chroma worsted in Avalon, self-striped but my other, Preciosa Tonal in Stormy, changes colors but not exactly in stripes. They worked well here anyway. I used the ZickZack scarf pattern but changed it a bit by doing yarn-overs (thus making eyelets or holes in the scarf) instead of knit-front-and-backs.
This is my now 10-year-old in 2009, wearing the brand-new bunny hat I crocheted for her that spring. I also crocheted the border of her homemade dress and a cape, which she refused to wear.
This is the same hat on my 2-year-old yesterday. The crocheted border caught in daughter #1’s shoe and fell off during Sunday School 7 years ago, so although I saved both dress and lace, I pulled out neither for this Easter. (Bygones, right?) And the little cape that was so unloved back in 2009 later became a dress up box staple and was used so much it became ratted and tangled and was eventually thrown away. But the hat! It got a second life, right? And it was really nice to see it on daughter #2 this Easter. Happy Easter!
This is a hat I made for my daughter’s friend. I didn’t use a pattern just did a ribbed band, three rows of purl, a knit band, three more rows of purl, and then every-row decreases for the crown. I used Red Heart Boutique Treasure yarn and was unimpressed with that. Really I knew better than to buy yarn from a big-box craft store, but the color was pretty and I was weak. I gave the hat a nice soak in Eucalan before I gifted it, so I hope that took care of the itchiness. It did look cute on the recipient.
This was another gift I gave recently. We use 7 inch square flannel baggies (really kind of like tiny pillow cases) to make ice packs when my children get hurt. We slip a plastic baggie of ice into the flannel bag and hold it over the injury, and it miraculously heals 90% of real and imaginary boo-boos. I’ve made these as gifts before, and gave this one to my cousin for Christmas. I’m pretty sure it’s not fun to open a boo-boo ice pack as a gift, but hopefully it comes in handy in their home as it does in ours. Because boo-boos are going to happen anyway, right? And it’s nice to have a low-budget, no-chemical miracle cure that won’t hurt and might genuinely help too!
This is a cowl I made with some bulky yarn from KnitPicks. I used the pretty “Tell Me” cowl pattern by DROPS design, but changed it around a bit to use the bigger yarn. I just did fewer repeats. It worked up very fast and is soft and cozy. Wearing great big, chunky cowls feels a a trend mostly embraced by women younger than me, so the first time I wore this out in public I felt a little self-conscious. But then I got hit on by someone slightly younger than me at the Subway, so there you go. Crochet this cowl, get hit on at Subway by slightly younger men who can clearly see that you are toting around three children and have a wedding ring. Hmmm.
I’ve been experimenting with a recipe that has been circulating on the Internet. It promises an easy meal or party food in the form of hot ham and cheese rolls. Sounds good to me! When I first saw the link (for some reason this recipe is haunting both my Facebook and Pinterest feeds) I didn’t bother to click on it, but set about making some immediately with ingredients in my fridge. I made a batch of bread dough in my bread machine, rolled it out, layered ham and mozzarella cheese, rolled, sliced, and baked. My oldest daughter just about lost her mind when she tasted my first batch–thought I’d fed her dessert for lunch. They were pretty good, but they were doughy in the middle and didn’t contain enough ham (I didn’t have a full package on hand) and probably contained too much cheese.
For round 2 I actually clicked on the recipe link but was disappointed to see that it involved refrigerated pizza dough in a can, which is a category of food product we don’t eat at my house. (I’m not being judgy. I don’t care if you eat it. We just don’t, and because we’re already at home all morning doing school it is reasonable for me to make dough on my own.) But it also included a yummy-sounding glaze made with mustard and butter and some other things, and sliced Swiss cheese, which sounded a little more flavorful and tidier to slice than the shredded mozzarella that had gone into my first batch. So I tried it again, this time using homemade pizza dough and the glaze. I thought these were yummy, though with the glaze they did start to feel more like a party food and less like the lunch than what I was hoping for out of this recipe. My daughter was very disappointed because she a) didn’t like the glaze, b) didn’t like the much less doughy pizza dough, and c) didn’t like the Swiss cheese as well. The younger kids weren’t impressed either, and I was basically forced to eat a whole pan of party-worthy ham and cheese rolls myself, which honestly wasn’t much of a hardship.
Enter round 3! This time I went back to bread dough, but made up a smaller batch so that when I rolled it out there would be less of it. I used shredded mozzarella but measured it so I knew I’d be getting a reasonable amount, and I brushed the whole thing with butter and sprinkled it with a little bit of seasoning at the end instead of a glaze. These were awesome! My daughter and I both thought this round was great, and I’m glad to have another lunch trick up my sleeve. These feel really decadent on a cold day but aren’t difficult to make and are nutritionally similar to a regular old ham and cheese sandwich on homemade bread. (No nutritional powerhouse here, obviously, but it could be worse. We use all-natural ham and ate them with a side of fruit!) Out of curiosity I used an online calculator to figure out the calorie content and found out that there are 210 calories per butter-brushed roll, made using the recipe below, in case you care.
1 cup water
2 TB butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cup bread flour
2 TB dry milk
1 TB sugar
2 tsp yeast
1 package deli ham
1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TB melted butter
1 tsp Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle, or seasoning of choice, if desired
Place all dough ingredients in a bread machine pan (liquids first) and set for dough cycle. If not using a bread machine, make a bread dough using the ingredients above however you usually do it and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
After the dough is done preheat the oven to 375 and roll the dough out into a rectangle shape. (It’ll be about 18″ by 12″.) Arrange one package of all-natural deli ham evenly over the dough, sprinkle the ham evenly with the cheese, and roll it all up on the long side. Using a serrated knife cut the log in half, cut each half in half, and then cut each fourth into thirds to make 12 even rolls. Place in 4 rows of 3 rolls in a 9×12 glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle any shredded cheese that fell out when you were slicing evenly over the rolls. Brush the rolls with the melted butter and sprinkle with the seasoning if you wish. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Sometimes projects are inspired by different things. This project came about because I had earrings with no outfit to go with them. It’s all well and good for me to watch PBS dramas, lust after the costumes, then see show-inspired earrings on Amazon.com while innocently browsing for something reasonable like homeschool workbooks, then to add them to my wishlist, and to actually receive them for Christmas (in 2014)…but it’s another thing altogether to find something in this Kentucky homeschool mama’s closet to wear with Downton Abbey earrings. So crocheted a shawl to go with them! I used Andean Treasure yarn from Knitpicks for the first time, and it will not be the last. I loved, loved, loved this yarn. It may be my favorite yarn I’ve ever used. It’s soft and delicious, the color was so complex and beautiful (I used midnight heather), it didn’t split, it didn’t grow when I blocked it, and it doesn’t appear to be pilly. Wow! The pattern was nice too. I like the patterns by DROPS design; they are clearly written without over-explaining and they have clear charts. This pattern, 104-11 Crochet scarf, is mostly just a chart but it makes good sense. The result looks more complicated than the crocheting. I didn’t love the look of the ends of the scarf so I sewed mine together to make a loop. It’s quite possible that now I need a cup of tea and a Downton Abbey jeweled pin to go with it…
This project was inspired by a bout of lusting after all the clothes in Sundance Catalog. All the nice (expensive) basics in that catalog seem to be just good quality but ordinary things with a creative twist that make them unique and special. I was at Costco after drooling over that catalog one day and I saw this pink sweater, which looked to me like something the catalog would have sold, but with cute embroidery along the front and at a markup of about 400%. So I bought the sweater for $29.99 and decided it wouldn’t hurt to try and give it the twist myself. I used Curio yarn from Knitpicks and some instructions from this booklet because I am absolutely not a person who knows how to hand embroider. I had to pick out at least as many motifs as I stitched on, but I was happy with the final product. I probably should have practiced some stitching on something that wasn’t my sweater first, but I didn’t, and really it turned out fine. One of my concerns with this project was how well it would wash, but I did launder it on gentle and hung it to dry and it doesn’t seem worse for wear. I’ve been keeping a Pinterest page now of “plain sweater rehab” ideas, so maybe I’ll do this again on a thrift store cardigan or even a tee. It’s always fun to learn a new crafty skill! I’m amazed by the lovely embroidery that some people can do; I hope to learn how to do it better.
Daphne needed new mittens, and shouldn’t a girl who gets new mittens get a hat to go with them? I used the Little Scallops pattern for the hat, but chose unwisely because the tidy little scallops were obliterated by the identical color pooling from the variegated yarn I used on the crown. Oh well! It’s still cute enough, and she’s happy and warm. This was really cheap acrylic yarn I got on sale from KnitPicks and it’s not impressive so I’m glad I didn’t pay much for it. I thought it would be similar in quality to their Brava yarn, but instead it was rougher and duller. That said, it made pretty good mittens for a 2-year-old because it is cheerful, it washed up reasonably soft, it’s warm, it hasn’t pilled, and it launders nicely.