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Showing posts from December, 2013

Our New Custom Microwave Cabinet

Are you kidding me with that talent? Can't wait to fill the bottom up with my Kitchen Aid and other goodies. I love additional storage space!

Toddler Road Trip Successes

Having just survived a big road trip with a 25-month-old I thought I'd share a couple successes for keeping her entertained. It was by no means easy or fun, but it was manageable. I just wish she'd sleep more!

We have this amazingly cool travel tote box with one side as a white board and one side as a chalk board. It slides open to store goodies -- crayons, books, etc. I had bought some window gel clings from the dollar bin at Target, thinking that Jane and I would decorate our French doors and sun room windows. That didn't work out so well/she wanted to keep pulling them down and playing with them, so I brought them with us so she could do that on the white board. That was an activity that was a lot of fun for a long period of time. She would rearrange them, pick them up and put them back on their plastic holsters, etc. I'd definitely recommend that or something like it if you're trapping a toddler in a confined space for a long time. (Or if you just need one to s…

Christmas Crochet: Pink Chevron Doll Bed Blankie

I made this little blanket to fit my daughter’s Ikea doll bed that she’s getting for Christmas (about 16x20 inches). I used leftover yarn and tried a “cornrows” stitch pattern from a book I have.

Basically a chevron (7 SCs in each up/down) and every stitch in backloop only, making the blanket much stiffer and seeming thicker. A really neat effect, although I was glad it was such a small project because it was tedious.

Christmas Crochet: Festive Toddler Hats

Inspired by browsing Pinterest, I used the toddler ear flap pattern ( to create a flurry of festive Christmas hats for the toddlers in my life. Once I started I couldn’t stop. There are so many ideas for hats, and I have many more I want to make. My own toddler will not want for head gear!

For my nine-year-old nephew I made an Angry Birds hat (thinking he’d think any Christmas-themed hat would be too lame), and I used the same pattern with a slightly larger hook. The baby reindeer hat was made with the baby version pattern (6 months) for a baby. I improvised the starflake, and the snowflake is from an pattern (it’s so ad-heavy I don’t want to link it). I used the buckle part of Micah Makes’ Santa belt hat pattern:

So far they've been a big hit with everyone who has acknowledged receipt!

In addition to the ear flap hats I a…

Christmas Crochet: Barbie Charted Afghan

I made this huge afghan for my sister for Christmas. We opened presents together today due to a confluence of things, so she has it and loves it, so I can post about it! It's for her Barbie-themed guest room and is intended for a full-size bed, although this photo was taken on a queen size.

When I decided to attempt this project I couldn't find a pattern, so I made my own with a free online program called Knit Pro. Instead of filet crochet, where the pattern is made by leaving open squares, I decided to try changing colors and carrying the unused color behind. It worked out fine, as you can see, but it took about three tries to get started.

Also, the graph pattern that was created wasn't completely square, and neither are double crochets. I did two DCs to each block on my pattern, and the result was slightly squatty. It wasn't as obvious in the "Barbie" part and I worked from the bottom up, so by the time the silhouette didn't look as good as I'd hop…

Baton Rouge Zoolights

We went to the Baton Rouge Zoo's Zoolights this year, and we went on the perfect night. It wasn't cold or even chilly -- we didn't even wear jackets. For all my complaining about the weather it is a good benefit for evenings out.

Zoolights was a nice, easy stroll around the zoo, although there were a couple parts that weren't lighted so I was confused as to whether we were going the right way, particularly around the tiger cages. It turned out that we were, but it was a little stressful.

It cost $13 for the three of us (two adults at $5 each and Jane was $3). It's the only lights display I know of in Baton Rouge, and it was worth it as a fun thing to do.

We ate supper early and then drove the ~20 minutes to the north side of town. Jane loved seeing the lighted animals, and she liked talking about ZOOLIGHTS! They also had a snowman, and the PA system played Frosty at one point, so she was especially happy then. She didn't want to leave!

There is another…

Pinstrosity: Better Than Salt Dough

Jane loves the homemade play dough we made this fall, and I thought we could try our hand at salt dough ornaments for Christmas. I kept seeing pins on Pinterest for "better than salt dough" with the most beautiful image of pure white ornaments. I knew I couldn't get anything that looked like that, but I was still tempted.

The link for the pin led to a private blog (WTH?), so I couldn't use that for more info. The caption seemed to have enough info so I mixed up the ingredients. Uh ... it was a big soupy mess. I did a bit of googling and found a tutorial that told me to COOK the mixture (just like I did with the original play dough recipe).

Ta da! I had pretty white clay, and once it cooled Jane and I played and I made some ornaments with cookie cutters. I also made a baby hand (she wouldn't do her left hand, Grandma Dale) and then trimmed around it. All seemed OK.

I think I made them too thick/didn't roll out the dough enough. I KNOW that I left them in the …

Christmas on the Bayou

So I love Christmas movies, and not big Hollywood ones like Elf or the like. I mean the crappy, low budget Hallmark and Lifetime movies. Oh man, they are so bad they are good.

This year there is one called Christmas on the Bayou, and it was actually filmed in Louisiana. It's a formulaic plot -- busy, overworked NYC single mom comes home for Christmas and finds love, resists love and her kid learns about the true meaning of Christmas, i.e., Santa Claus (or Papa Noel in this case ... and played by Ed Asner).

At least they didn't have it snow in Louisiana -- although that seems like the closing "miracle" for every Christmas movie I've seen this year otherwise, including those supposed to be set in the South. (Christmas in Conway was another one I enjoyed with a southern setting, but it did have the snow-at-the-end bit.)

This will be our fourth Christmas living in Louisiana (although we've never actually spent one here), and this is the first year I've heard …

Blue & White Chevron Crocheted Baby Blanket

My latest "FO" (finish off) crochet project is a blue and white chevron baby blanket. It's made with a stitch from a crochet dictionary I checked out of the library (I am a sucker whenever they put out anything crochet-related on the new releases table). It is much wavier and less chevron-y than I envisioned, but as it worked up I fell more and more in love with it.

I did three rows of each color and on the color changes I crocheted in the back loop only. That made a nice texture and makes the stripes almost appear to be floating above the other colored stripes -- depending on which side you have up. I finished with a round of single crochet and then crab stitch/reverse crochet (basically my favorite finishing stitch ever). I am not good at crocheting-in-the-sides-of-stitches, so the sides of the blanket aren't quite square, but I'm still very happy with how this turned out.

I hope the mom-to-be likes it. I haven't sent it yet, but it's packed up to go w…

A Toddler and Her Christmas Tree

Baby Hand Wreath

After my mother-in-law made a passing comment about "is this it?" re: my Christmas decorations I have been feeling that something is missing, that I should have more. It's a horrible feeling I try to stamp out -- I want to want LESS and to ultimately be satisfied with what I have in every aspect of my possessions, including Christmas. It's a constant battle.

In any case I decided to make this baby hand Christmas wreath. First, Jane loves to have her hand traced, and two it seemed easy. I bought the construction paper (got a multi-pack so I can use other colors for other things later) and a red bow for the top of the tree.

Because Jane and I have November birthdays and because I am unable to throw out most perfectly good boxes, we have quite a collection of cardboard in our house. I used a dinner plate and a salad plate to make a wreath base -- just traced around them onto a flattened Amazon box.

Cutting the cardboard was a real pain in the hand. My scissors aren'…

The War on Glitter

We went to Hobby Lobby today for yarn. I am making a baby blanket and ran out of white. Yesterday I got some at Walmart, but it ended up being not as soft as what I had been using ... oh well, another excuse to shop! Jane and I (and all our purchases) came out of there covered in glitter.


It's so pervasive, and while beautiful is a real bitch to clean up. I am still finding glitter on our couch from an unfortunate T-shirt I bought Jane that vomited its glitter everywhere. It was her most expensive shirt I'm sure since she only wore it once before it hit the trash. Ugh.

I also bought some red Christmas (non-glitter) balls today, and I put them in my cake stand in the china cabinet. It's reminiscent of a big brandy snifter that my Grandma Jane had at her house and filled with red Christmas balls every year. I can't remember if it lived in the old fashioned bedroom or on the piano (maybe both different years or times of the year), but I always loved the look of it. …