Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yummy Rainbows

Pretty Cool!

After the Naughty Leprechaun incident on St. Patricks Day. I decided to make the maniacs some treats for them and their friends for our walk home from school.

Rainbow Cupcakes for St. Patricks Day

I am not a baker. I fully admit to this. I however DO like to EAT baked goods. But usually the baking in my family gets left to Ross, my mom or my sister. I like to cook. But I saw this fun recipe in my favorite magazine - Family Fun. And I thought I would try it for St. Patrick's Day. I am 1/4 Irish, after all. ;-)

Baked Rainbows fresh out of the oven

Okay, really it was the pretty rainbow effect that sold me. You know I LOVE rainbows. They were really, really, really easy and turned out great. I just added some white frosting "clouds" along with some rainbow colored sprinkles and we had a big hit on our hands.

I LOVE RAINBOWS!
Finger lickin good
Peelu's Yummy Rainbow

As you can see, Peelu thoroughly enjoyed them as well. I mean, what's not to like? Rainbows & Cupcakes? Yeah, she's a girl after her Mama's heart. And let me tell you. After we passed them out to our walking home crew - we were the envy of the elementary set!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting the Granny on...finally

Swap design decicions

I've only got to mail them out for The Great Granny Swap in a week or so. Nothin' like waiting until the last minute. But now my craft ADHD is kicking in and I am not sure what designs to go with..... AArghhhh

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Regular, traditional grannies? Flower grannies? 3D flower grannies? Round into square grannies? Help me!! It's terribly addicting and fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. All these patterns I have been saving for the past few months are calling out for me to try them. But really I just need to sit down and focus.

Focus.
Focus.
Focus.

But my mornings are consumed and my afternoons and my evenings...oh yeah, somewhere in there I do feed the kids. But if I am not crocheting I am THINKING about crocheting.

I have a problem.

Grannies in the late afternoon


But at least it is a beautiful and COLORFUL problem.


P.S. Check out the super cute swap button on the left that super cool Steph Dillon from our swap created.

Naughty Leprechaun Pranks

What the naughty leprechaun did

Oops! I am a bit late with this post but I just had to share what the naughty leprechaun did at the Eldridge house this year. As you can see from above and below...

Hot Rod did follow the trail to get some gold...

...the leprechaun was a bit upset by the trap this year. That is the only thing I can come up with as to why he WROTE on Hot Rod & Lil' Mermaid. Yep, they woke up with green Xs on their face. And Hot Rod had a mad face written on his hand and Lil' mermaid had "hahaha" written across her arm. I almost peed my pants when they rushed out of the bedrooms at 6:00 in the morning and ran to their leprechaun trap. Suddenly I heard a shriek...."aaaahhhhhh you have a green x on your face!" "Ohhhhhh so do you...." "Mamaaaaaaaaa!" Then feet pattering into the bathroom and screams as they discovered the other body graffiti.

The note left for the leprechaun

They were sure the trap was full proof this year. Hot Rod constructed most of the trap and Lil' Mermaid was responsible for the psychological warfare. Her note on the outside of the trap (in case you can't read it) says: "To Mr. Leprechaun. I hope you like your new home. And I made you some books and magazines. Love,Your friend."

Inside of the trap

You can see that she went the extra mile and indeed created some miniature magazines and books, a table and chair with shiny stars, all to lure in that dad-burned leprechaun.

The leprechaun trap

I mean, the crafty design was meant to spring shut when the leprechaun went inside. But. You can see he escaped, although barely with the hair on his head.

Left some hair

(Yes, that is leprechaun hair caught in the staples). He must have gotten a bit torqued, because then he sprayed some leprechaun dust around (the sparkles that look similar to corn meal and green cookie sprinkles). Then he knocked over our kitchen chairs and went and peed in our toilets. I did not take evidence photos of the toilets. I know you are thankful of that. But I can attest to the green pee that was in them when we woke up. He must have realized that only the children in the house who can write were the ones trying to trick him...hence his green marker business on the two first graders!

He did leave a trail

However it appears that even leprechauns can appreciate a good trap when they let that infamous temper of theirs cool down. Because he came back and made rough jelly bean arrows that (after some deep research) we realized, pointed away from the trap towards other directions in the dining room area. The kids did find some gold after all. Although he fooled them yet again because these were gold coins (like Hot Rod is showing up top) made of CHOCOLATE. Do you think the maniacs minded?

And yes, they did insist on going to school with the leprechaun graffiti still on their body parts - "we now have proof to show our teacher that leprechauns are real!" Oh boy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Felted Granny Coasters

All four stacked

I have combined two rather recent obsessions of mine. Felting and granny squares. But - ha ha - I have combined them to create a useful object - possibly, maybe even a quick and easy gift. So I just had to share my excitement. I know....doesn't take much... And I am not really calling this a pattern because I don't consider either aspect of this project (granny squares or felting) as a new idea. But I do want to share the project and how I did it. Here goes...

Felted Granny Square Coasters
Granny Coasters before felting

I used 100% wool. Any combination of feltable yarn would work. But if you do want each part of the granny to felt evenly, you will probably want to use similar yarn for each round. My grannies have a combination of Paton's, Universal & Cascade yarns.

I used a G hook (4.0 mm) with the worsted weight yarn. There are many, many, many granny square patterns out there. I went with the simple, traditional pattern that I was taught:

-Chain 4 and ss into a circle.
ROUND 1
-Chain 3, make 2 dc in circle then chain 3, [make 3 dc and chain 3]three times. SS to top of the chain 3. Fasten off old color.
ROUND 2
-Attach new color in any chain 3 corner. Chain 3 and make 2 more dc in the same space, chain 3 and make 3 more dc still in the same space, ch 1 (corner made). In the next chain 3 corners, [3 dc, ch 3, 3dc, ch1] three times. SS to top of the chain 3. Fasten off old color.
ROUND 3
-Attach new color in any chain 3 corner. Chain 3 and make 2 more dc in the same space, chain 3 and make 3 more dc still in the same space, ch 1 (corner made). In next chain 1 space make 3 dc, ch1. *In the next chain 3 corner, [3 dc, ch 3, 3dc, ch1] then 3 dc in next ch 1 space and ch1. Repeat from * twice more. SS to top of the chain 3. Fasten off old color.
ROUND 4
-Attach new color in any chain 3 corner. Chain 3 and make 2 more dc in the same space, chain 3 and make 3 more dc still in the same space, ch 1 (corner made). In the next two ch 1 spaces make (3 dc, ch1). *In the next chain 3 corner, [3 dc, ch 3, 3dc, ch1] then (3 dc, 1 ch) in the next two ch 1 spaces. Repeat from * twice more. SS to top of the chain 3. Fasten off.
-Weave in your tails if you didn't already crochet over them. Because we will be felting, they don't have to look perfect.

My 4 round squares before felting were about 4.5 inches. But I am a loose crocheter. They did felt down to a nice coaster size though - about 3.25 inches.

The Felting Business
I am really just starting out with felting but it is very fun. As long as you are willing to be flexible with the results. It takes practice with different yarns and sometimes you get a bit disappointed with the results. But that is why I think this is a fun project to start to learn felting - you can use scraps of wool yarn, the squares are quick to crochet up and you can actually use the results for something useful.

Again, there is tons of info out there about how to felt. I am giving it very basic. I threw my four crocheted squares into a lingerie bag with two pairs of jeans. I used regular laundry detergent, lowest level of hot water and high agitation cycle. I ran them through the agitation cycle twice and took them out before the spin dry cycle (because sometimes your felted items can get creased during this cycle). I thought they looked pretty good but then I ran a regular load of laundry next and just threw them in loose just for giggles. And they felted just a bit more.

Then I took them out and shaped them just the tiniest bit and I put them under two big books so they dried flat.

Felted & Fun

Not too shabby, eh? I wasn't sure if it would felt completely or if my chain 3 spaces would leave big holes - but pretty much it's a solid felted surface. Perfect for cold margaritas, me thinks. :-)

Again, I would caution to have fun with the felting because every yarn can felt different and even the same yarn but with different colors and dye lots can felt differently or the color can bleed slightly.

Felted Granny Coaster 1
Felted Granny Coaster 2

This one is my fave of the bunch:
This one is my fave
Felted Granny Coaster 3 up close

I hope you enjoyed my little pseudo tutorial. Please let me know if you see any glaring errors or have any questions. And I would LOVE to see how yours come out! Please do share.

See - it works.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yep, another swap


(photo from Kate)

And this one hosted by the lovely Kate at Fox's Lane. One of my new favorite on-line haunts. It is a pin cushion swap. I mean, who can't use a pin cushion, right? See, another useful swap. Am I thinking ahead these days or what?

But now the only problem is I have to make a decision on what kind of pin cushion I want to create. And as usual, I have way too many ideas floating around in my garbled brain.

Here's some web sites I have perused recently for ideas (as if I really needed more!) And some web sites with specific designs that I want to try......oh the dilemma....

TipNut's Comprehensive Pin Cushion List

Red Thread's Great List of Pin Cushion Tutorials

Flickr Pin Cushion Group
Doily Pin Cushion
Cutest Little Bottle Cap Pincushions
Sweet Baby Jar Pin Cushion
Another cute jar Pin Cushion
Granny Square
Martha's Yummy Tomato Pin Cushions
Mini Flower Crocheted Cushion
Crocheted Cupcake Pincushion
Crocheted Teacup


Ay yi yi. You can see where I am going here. Too many cute ideas! And I have a ton more swimming in my head. Maybe I'll do "Eenie Meanie Minie Moe" to make my decision. More likely I will become obsessed and make a whole bunch of them. Guess what ya'll are getting for Christmas presents this year!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Posters & Pretzels

The VIP

We had a VIP in the house last week. That means VERY IMPORTANT PERSON. Lil' Mermaid finally got the chance to be the VIP in her first grade classroom. (They go alphabetically and her brother is the following week after Spring Break). They are sent home with a poster to fill out - questions like favorite color, likes and dislikes, what do they want to be when they grow up, etc. They can decorate the poster however they want and attach it to a larger poster board and add photos. Of course my kids made me print out about 50 photos and then poured for hours over which ones to use. Finally, at 9:00 the night before she had to turn everything in, Lil' Mermaid, finished her poster. Phew. It was fun to watch her make decisions and think about what she really liked and disliked. And she went through every photo to re-tell me the story about every event (as if I wasn't there?). It was a bit hard for me not to be heavy handed and tell her what to do, but we both got through it. Phew.

So Happy

And a few days before the poster making party she asked her father to make some bread with her that she could bring into the classroom during her VIP week. We checked with the teacher and had to get "special dispensation" but she was allowed to bring in some homemade goodies. We decided on pretzels because we have always wanted to make them from scratch. Of course, this is where I turned it over to the Bread Geek. We used this recipe from Family Fun, (which of course Bread Geek says he will tinker with the next time he makes them).

Lots of kneading involved:
Giant pretzel ball
Back and forth
Knead, knead, knead

Bread Geek had to lend some considerable muscle:
Papa lends some muscle

Then he made Lil' Mermaid do some math to figure out how many balls they needed to make:
Pretzel dough balls

Next came the rolling out and the patented pretzel wrap method:
The pretzel wrap method
Working on her pretzel design
Finishing touches to the pretzel wrap

Then the personalized finishing touch a la Lil' Mermaid. She opted for sugar sprinkles instead of salt:
Finishing touch - sprinkles!
Going in the oven

And here we have the first batch ever of Lil' mermaid pretzels:
Sprinkled Pretzels

Oh yeah, thanks to Bread Geek:
The Pretzel pair

What a pretzel Pair!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Scissors

The cut hair

Yes, Peelu has finally made her first attempt at hair design. Before school on Thursday I heard "MOM!!!!! Peelu cut her hair." Of course I dropped the cucumber I was getting ready to peel and ran into the living room.

Showing me where she cut the hair from

I am really surprised that it has taken her this long to do it. Because unlike her brother and sister who basically reached the age of three with very little stuff around for them to get into (due to a massive home re-model and yard landscaping projects), Peelu has a plethora of piles to peruse. How'd you like that alliteration? And since this house is maniacally crafty, it makes sense that scissors are all over the place. I probably shouldn't admit to such un-safety-ness in public but....it's the truth. We try to teach them to be safe and responsible - I mean, these were kid safety scissors.

Very pleased with herself

Just, obviously, not safe enough to prevent her cute little locks from falling onto the couch. She was just as obviously NOT repentant of the act. She kept proudly showing me what she had done. And really, you can't tell too much because of the layered way her hair has naturally grown out. But still, I sniffed a little. I love her oh-so-slightly wavy locks. She is the ONLY one in our family who has any curl at all to their hair. So holding that little curl in my hand, made me feel a bit sappy.

So I quickly ran around the house and gathered up all the scissors for the day. I didn't think my heart could stand a repeat performance.

I owe it all to GLEE

Fronts of completed potholders

Phew! They are finished. All five potholders for the 2010 Potholder Swap. I kept thinking, man, why is this taking me so long. Then I realized that really I was crocheting 10 squares since I had to do a backing. Duh! That is a lot of crocheting for ME.

Backs of completed potholders

And yes, I do owe the final finishing to watching Glee on the computer. Have you seen this show on Fox? I have been terrible at watching shows when they are actually scheduled and mostly we watch them through Netflix or on the laptop. I love that we can do that now. We really should just cancel our cable. Eventually I think we'll get to that.

Dahlia Block front of the potholders

For now I can explore a fabulous array of old and new shows and movies that I can watch to keep my crochet habit flowing. It REALLY helps me, in that department. And Glee is just too much fun. I have always loved musicals and on top of the fun singing I just love this shows dialogue. It cracks me up. Not that I have sophisticated sense of humor, mind you. But it keeps my crochet hook movin' along and me giggling to myself.

Pinstripes back of the potholders

So anyway, here are the potholder details:

The front pattern is the Dahlia block from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton. I KNOW you are familiar with this pattern book by now. If for some strange reason you are NOT. CHECK IT OUT! I love it. IT has figured heavily in my crochet posts this year! I changed the blocks a bit to make them slightly larger and to get the front and back to fit together a bit better. Sometimes I forget I am still relatively new to crochet (really I've only been doing it since summer) because I tend to get upset with myself when I don't think I have done the patterns as good as they should be. I know they probably look fine and I am happy with them but I can totally pick out the stitches I would like to re-do. Aarrghhh!! I just need to mail them off, right?

The back pattern is the Pin Stripes Block also from the Fab Book.

All of the yarn I used is Elann Sonata It is supposed to be DK weight yarn, but I think it is more of a sport weight mercerized cotton. My first time using mercerized cotton. I like it but it does twist up a bit on me. I think all of the colors I used are: Antique Gold, Chamois,Grand Canyon, Ruby, Deep Fuchsia, Cedar, Pesto, Ivory, Alaska Blue,...hmmmm...I think I am missing some.. I love bright colors so much, but combining colors so that they look good together is still a skill that eludes me.

It was my first time sewing on a plastic loop that I crocheted around and I think my hand sewing with yarn skills need to be improved. But those dang loops are NOT going anyway, let me tell 'ya.

I used a D hook. Ummmmm...I think that is it. Here's some close-ups of the blocks:

Purple-y Potholder -frontPurple-y Potholder -back
Red Potholder - frontRed Potholder - back
Pumpkin-ish Potholder - frontPumpkin-ish Potholder - back
Turquoise Potholder - FrontTurquoise Potholder - Back
Golden Potholder - FrontGolden Potholder - Back

Okay, I swear I really am happy with them. But as I am writing this post and keep looking at the photos I am picking my crochet work to pieces. So I better go and get them in the mail NOW. And I CANNOT wait to get 5 lovely potholders in a big envelope addressed to me in a few weeks! Yipee!