17 May 2015

It's Pin-Wheely Fun

For Jane's end-of-the-year class party I found out we were invited/supposed to/allowed to bring little treats for the other kids in her class. I ordered some pinwheels from Amazon -- I got a dozen for around $5, and I attached a small tag that says "It's Pin-Wheely Fun Being Your Classmate." I thought this was VERY clever, and not something I'd seen on Pinterest (although maybe I missed it?).

10 May 2015

Crochet Cross

The admin assistant at church has created a cross wall in her office, and she asked for donations/loans of crosses.

I have so much thread that I decided to whip up a crocheted cross. I made it in less than an hour, although the pattern was tricky enough that it took me a few tries to get it started correctly.

I forgot to take a picture before I gave it to her to hang, hence the wild picture with reflection from the fluorescent light. It was really easy to make, although clearly I could have framed it better. (It's not mounted, just in a regular 8x10 frame, which is tight enough to hold it in place -- I hope!)

I have so much thread that I should come up with more thread projects. I wonder if I could crochet a top for Jane by holding a couple or three strands together. It's cotton and with the right stitch it could be quite nice...

03 May 2015

Crochet Princess Tulle Dress

Oh Pinterest, how I've come to love you. At first I didn't understand or like it. I'm not that visual of a person, and I wanted more text -- to understand what was going on in the pictures. I still lean that way, but for crochet at least I've found some great things using Pinterest and love to browse. (It's the source for most of my hat ideas.)

One pin I found was from the blog The View From My Hook -- a free pattern for the Kassia Empire Waist Dress. It took me a while to get the tulle for the skirt. Walmart was almost entirely out of them, but I eventually made a trip to Michaels and found them (cheaper than at Walmart too -- $3/roll and I bought three, although I only used two on Jane's skirt).

For the top I used some stash Red Heart hot pink yarn. I thought I had more pink choices left over from my hat making time, but they must just be small remnants in my bag-of-yarn-balls. The top pattern was OK, although I really think a lighter weight yarn would be better and offer greater drape. After making Jane's cape and a couple jackets I definitely see the value of using smaller yarn for better clothes.

I misread the instructions on the skirt and didn't use two strips of tulle held together for each knot. I would have used the third roll if I'd done that, and the skirt would be even fuller. For a dress up, play dress it's plenty full I think. Jane loves it and said "It's so pretty!" the first time she saw it. I also could have been more precise in the strips' lengths -- they vary a bit, even though I trimmed them after the skirt was complete. Oh well.

I'm not sure if it's the yarn or the pattern, but row 9 of the top (which is below the row 8 where I added in the tulle skirt) flips up and exposes the tulle knots. I should probably add a row 10 to try to give it weight to hold down (or maybe blocking/ironing would get it to go the right direction). I probably won't do anything for this one, but I might try to make another one with a shorter skirt using the third spool of tulle I have left. I might use a different top pattern -- maybe the top of the swingset cardigan and have it button in the back? Possibilities are endless!

02 May 2015

Crochet Baby Mermaid Tails

A friend posted some cute pictures of babies wearing mermaid tails on Facebook. She wondered if she knew anyone who could make such a thing. I raised my (virtual) hand and got to work with some stash yarn. It's been so fun. I love quick, little projects (and remember why I loved making all those blasted hats ... of which I probably have 40+ left!).

I found two free patterns: Mermaid Newborn Cozy and Mermaid Tail Cocoon. I kept crocheting, trying to get the waist the right size. Finally I think I got enough options and we'll see if baby girl can fit into one of them. I plan to get them in the mail today. I love the purple the best, but I think it's going to be too small. In the two bigger blue ones I added waist bands -- just a long chain woven between a row of double crochet to make it cinchable, on the off chance that I did get one too big.

I improvised the tops (and only made two because I think they're adjustable enough) -- just 3-4 rows of double crochet with a small double crochet row tied together in the front middle and long chains to add to the back. They are definitely just for show!

21 April 2015

A Little Trisha's Table

I'm a big Trisha Yearwood fan. I have all her albums as CDs and ripped to my iPod (except the compilations they've made over the years mixing up the songs in different ways). I also own all three of her cookbooks. The latest, Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life, came out this month, and I've tried three recipes so far. One winner, one huge loser and one maybe-try-again.

The best one we've tried was the "Neat Sloppy Joes" -- made with ground turkey, beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, onions and peppers. The sauce uses tomato paste, vinegar and a touch of brown sugar that made it super tasty -- and it was a big recipe so we ate on it for a supper and two lunches!

The major flop was "Broccoli Slaw Chicken," which is a recipe without a picture in the book. That's probably a clue that it's not a true winner/maybe is just filler in the book. (Also the recipe is not on Food Network's website, another indicator it's a dud all around.) In any case the picante sauce mixed with broccoli slaw (broccoli, carrots and cabbage, which I bought pre-shredded) and cooked made for a disgusting bite. We barely ate the chicken the first night, and the leftovers sat in the fridge until I finally gave myself the grace to toss them out.

The maybe-try-again is "Raspberry Chicken." We didn't like it very much, although the sauce was OK. I would want to try again because I didn't have the mushrooms the recipe calls for. I bought them, but when I started making the chicken the mushrooms had gone bad in the fridge (my Winn Dixie's produce department is terrible and I should really get my act together and shop at the weekly farmer's market ... but that's another issue). It was edible, and I think we ate the leftovers too. Definitely not a favorite, make-every-week kind of recipe.

Related: I'm way late to the party, but I've just found Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen on Amazon Prime/PBS and have gone down a wormhole watching those (with a notebook in hand to write down recipes and techniques as they show them). I'm going to be trying a few new things I think. Meal planning and cooking has become SUCH a chore for me. I hope this will infuse some new spark and make it more fun again...

Do you have any new recipes you can recommend?

Amazon affiliate links to cookbooks used. (Recipe links go to Food Network's website.) 

19 April 2015


Today marks the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. I remember the lives lost, those who survived and those who are forever changed.

I was an eighth grader and in first period math class when the superintendent of our little school came in with the news. I think a TV was wheeled in and we were able to watch some coverage. My town is about two hours away from Oklahoma City.

A few weeks later our government (civics?) class took a field trip to the site, and we saw the building before it was completely demolished. I was caught up in my middle-school boyfriend/girlfriend drama (I vaguely remember that the boy I liked played a breakup song to signal we were through on this trip, but I could be mixing memories). But I do remember the awe of the devastation and all the stuffed animals and notes tucked along the chain link fence. Somewhere I have some prints of photos I took that day.

The memorial was completed before I left the state, but for some reason I have never been through it. I'm rarely in Oklahoma City proper, although I should make the time to visit it next time I go home.

13 April 2015

Welcome Church Friends

I donated six hats to my church's silent auction, and I included a silvermari crochet business card with each hat. I don't think they all sold, but I know at least Grumpy Cat did. So, if you're checking out my site and are fellow member of St. John's UMC, welcome!

If you want to know more about my crochet, check out the crochet section. Otherwise this is just a site where I write periodically about things I'm thinking about, reading or watching. Hopefully I'm not too grumpy and there isn't too much that's completely embarrassing (to me, Shawn or Jane). It's a fine line to walk when you write about yourself on the Internet.

Let me know if you're reading!