Saturday, December 29, 2007

Making a Blanket

This is my friend (the one who made the nightshirt) and her husband making a fleece blanket for his grandpa for Christmas. The two of them made a TON of these blankets for family members (we can all relate to how ONE little craft project turns into a TON of projects, can't we?!) Since the grandpa is in his ninety's, they wanted to do something extra special so they made this video and gave him a dvd of it for Christmas. Along with the blanket, of course.

Be sure to watch the video all the way to the end for a surprise visitor.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Stick a Christmas Fork in it

I just finished up the twins' capelets - the Christmas presents are done! And I still have 30 minutes to spare until we have to leave for Mass.

Merry Christmas everybody!!!!

I can SEE the finish line!

I am so very happy about the gifts I've made over the last two days. Check 'em out:

The Poncho & Bunny Hat intended for my 9 month old niece. Poncho is from Holiday Knits and Bunny Hat is from Itty Bitty Hats (if you have any babies in your life, BUY THIS BOOK!) Yarn is CottonEase (discontinued colors.) I wanted to use a little of the green yarn in the hat. I tried I-cord (too fat); I tried simple yarn bow (too skinny); finally settled on a simple crochet chain stitch. I debated embroidering a face on but opted to keep it simple. I also didn't embellish with a pom pom tail for safety reasons.

I don't recall where I got the pattern for the hat. It is made from some leftover wool yarn I had and a pattern that is a simple hat with basketweave brim. It will go to my brother along with the hat I made for my SIL for their daily walks.

And a pair of PJ pants for my 13 year old. It's a camo flannel fabric I found in the clearance section of Hancocks. Cost about $2!

And some food gifts:
The Hawaiian vodka I mentioned a few weeks ago. I wanted to embellish with some little pineapples but couldn't find any at Michael's so i opted for a tropical looking flower. The bottles will go to two of my friends along with the martini apron I made recently and a martini glass ornament.

Have you heard about these Rolo Turtle Candies? It's not a new recipe but they haunted me this year. I overheard the sales staff at the yarn store talking about them on Saturday and saw the "recipe" on several blogs the same day. I decided I had to make some. Took all of ten minutes to make, no lie. (Buy the individual packages of Rolos so you don't have to unwrap them.) And they are DELISH!



60 Mini pretzels

60 Rolos (unwrapped)

60 pecan halves


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place 30 pretzels on the first sheet. Place a Rolo on each pretzel (center each). Bake for 4 minutes at 250 degrees (or a little less). Remove from oven and press a pecan half into each Rolo, until it spreads. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then set in the refrigerator to set up.

Store in a sealed container.

Makes 5 dozen

All I have left to do is make two little polar fleece capelets for a pair of one-year old twins. I was unexpectedly invited to their house later today so my son and I made a quick trip to JoAnn's for the fabric and trim and this pattern ought to do it!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Craziness

Alrighty fellow Bloggers. I luv ya but you are truly a bad influence. You're those "kids" that mom never wanted me to hang around with because I'd "jump off a bridge" with them. A little background....

A month or two ago, I decided to play it low-key for Christmas. Lots going on in life and didn't want the added stress. I told my kids that I was scaling back and they were good with that. I planned to significantly cut back the rest of the Christmas list. But about two weeks ago, I thought, "How 'bout I just make a little something for everyone to let them know I'm thinking about them." Well, you all know where that leads, don't you? A hat here... an apron there... a pair of pj pants over there.... and before you know it, I have a list of to-dos that I don't have a prayer of getting to-done and in the mail by Christmas. I finally recognized Thursday that I wasn't going to get some of the presents that needed to be mailed to their recipients before Christmas so I sent emails saying Santa B would be a little late this year. Whew.... Relief fell off my shoulders and I was loving Christmas again. As of last night, I finished all the projects except for the bunny hat for my almost-one-year-old niece, which I figured I would finish over the weekend and get that last package in the mail on Monday.

I went to bed last night feeling good but still eyeing a very long list of things I needed to do today. Woke up early, got ahead of schedule and so I dared to look at Bloglines. OMG, the CUTE projects I saw!!! "Hmmmmm, maybe I can squeak out a few more gifts."

So off 16 yr old daughter and I went to finish up her shopping and pick up a few more project supplies. She helped me pick out yarn for a Calorimetry (Thanks, Cheryl!) or maybe Quant for her older sister and little did she know she picked out yarn for her own headband, too.

This yarn store is also a quilt store so we picked out fabric to make some "beach themed" pillowcases (thanks to the fun pillowcase "kits"Allison sent me recently) for my parents to take with them as they head to Florida for the winter.

I also still need to make a pair of PJ pants for my son and daughter and an apron for my friend but I don't need those until Christmas Day so I have TONS of time to finish!

OH! My shopping is officially done and listen to this funny Pay-It-Forward story. Today, my daughter pulls into a Starbucks drive-thru where she orders a Frappuccino. I remembered Sherry at Loopy Ewe's story about paying-it-forward at a Starbucks by paying for the car behind you and told my daughter to tell the cashier that I would pay for the car behind us, too. But no one pulled in behind us. We arrived at the window to pay and the guy says, "The lady ahead of you paid for your Frappuccino and said to tell you Merry Christmas." Tables turned! WHAT A HOOT!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Any suggestions for a pattern?

I love this little top that Ali Larter is wearing. The collar, the raglan sleeves, the empire waist, the bow - everything about it! Can anyone recommend a pattern so I can create something similar? I can see extending this into a dress.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Apron Factory

Aprons are quick and easy, right? Ummm, not quick enough. I had the bright idea to make five aprons for Christmas gifts. Bought the fabric a week or two ago and cut them out last night figuring it would take me a couple hours to sew all of them today. It is taking longer than I expected. I only have three done but they are the only ones that need to be mailed so I am ok. I will finish the other ones later in the week.

"Martini Momma" is made from a pattern called Flirty Skirty by Threaded Pear Studios. I couldn't find a link to the pattern on their website but it is usually available on ebay. I wasn't thrilled with this pattern. The ties were WAY too short and the bias trim is too thin. Their directions were not clear at all. I wanted to add a ruffle to the bottom but I ran out of fabric after having to cut a second set of ties that were long enough. Grrrrr......

This martini apron will be accompanied by a bottle of my homemade "hooch", otherwise known as Hawaiian Vodka. I steep a whole pineapple (cut in pieces) in vodka for two weeks . Then mix 3 parts of the pineapple vodka with 1 part vanilla vodka and 1 part coconut rum (like Captain Morgan's). Shake vigorously with ice and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with pineapple. Doggone good!!! Can also be served over ice with a splash of club soda.

"Neon Nights" is a reversible apron made from the same Flirty Skirty pattern. The tie is some grosgrain ribbon I had in my stash because the ties I cut were too short. (Did I mention that the ties are too short in the pattern?)

"Bee-Youtiful" is made from tried and true McCall's 3979 from which I made the Lucy and Ethel aprons a couple months ago. HIGHLY recommend this pattern. I will be making a scalloped edge half apron from this pattern later in the week.

And how about the adorable apron Christmas Tree ornaments found on a blog called Bits and Pieces (beautiful photos) - tutorial here. Obviously, they match the aprons and I'll tie them on the outside of the packages. It would have been cute to embroider them with the recipients name but I had that brainstorm after I made them (story of my life).

Knitting FOs

The hat is made from my favorite rolled brim pattern and some Wool-Ease i had in my stash. It will go to my SIL for her daily walks. I'm not sure what I'll do with the headband. I originally intended it for my mom along with some mittens or fingerless gloves but I've run out of time plus she and my dad just decided to spend winter in Florida. How nice!

(Yes, I do look a little pale but only because I'm wearing such a bright red lipstick.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Day... Or How to make Lemonade from Lemons

  • 5:00 a.m. Slap snooze button after rudely being awakened
  • 5:09 a.m. Slap snooze button again
  • 5:18 a.m. Slap alarm off and jump out of bed, remembering an early flight
  • 6:05 a.m. Leave house 10 minutes later than planned
  • 6:35 a.m. Hydroplane across two lanes on the interstate; curse myself for not anticipating the bad weather, which is causing significant driving delay
  • 7:05 a.m. Breathe a sigh of relief at making it to the gate in time for a 7:20 flight and stroll right onto the airplane (I was the only woman on the plane other than the flight attendant - how weird is that? Was hoping the plane didn't crash on a deserted island. Never mind, I digress)
  • Approx. 8:05 a.m. Somewhere between Cincinnati and Detroit. "Uh, Folks, we're sorry about this but there appears to be an issue with our de-icing equipment and we have to return you all to Cincinnati."
  • 9:15 a.m. Eavesdrop on the man yelling at the gate agent because he has a noon meeting in Detroit and if he misses it, "Delta is going to have to reimburse" him for his ticket. Ok, not really eavesdropping. Actively listening and trying to hear Delta's status update to decide if I'll make it in time for my 11:00 meeting or if I should turn around and head to the office instead.
  • 9:25 a.m. Gamble and board the aircraft. Again.
  • 9:45 a.m. Still sitting on the taxiway and recognize I gambled wrong
  • 10:55 a.m. Exit the aircraft in Detroit and call the client to tell them I'll be participating in the meeting by phone. From the holdroom at the airport.
  • 12:15 p.m. Board the same plane at the same gate to return to Cincinnati.

So what's the point of this story on a knitting / sewing blog? I could have taken Path A like the aforementioned grumpy man OR I could take Path B, which is to take advantage of free time on the stalled airplane to knit furiously on the project I decided to do last night for my niece for Christmas. This:

Will become this (see page 40).

I am using my only two skeins of Strawberries and Cream CottonEase that I have been hoarding for almost two years. I will trim it in the light green color (I forget the name.) I plan to make the Bunny Hat from Itty Bitty Hats to go with it.

Oh! And don't ya hate it when you take a new project with you and realize you forgot some of the supplies you need? Like say stitch markers? Check this out:

How handy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Thanks for all the nice comments and emails. Truly warms my heart.

Randomness #1:
My son made dinner last night and it was delish! He decided Fried Rice sounded good so we made up a recipe based on what we had. He did everything - all the chopping, stirring, cooking, etc. and even washed all the dishes afterwards although he did say mid-wash, "Hey, how come when you cook dinner WE have to do the dishes but when I cook dinner, I STILL have to do the dishes." Of course, you know my answer, "Because I'm the MOM." That conversation did take place but we were just kidding with each other and I helped him do the dishes and clean the kitchen. Anyway, here is the "recipe" (all measurements are approximate):

Fried Rice

2-3 T oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup cooked pork, chopped finely
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups cooked rice
soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir fry vegetables until crisp tender and starting to brown. Add pork and stir fry for a couple minutes, just to brown the edges. Add the egg and scramble it around with the vegetables and pork. Stir in rice and season as desired with soy / teriyaki sauce.

Makes 3 average size servings or 2 large ones

Randomness # 2:
I saw this Random Stripe Generator on someone else's blog. Very great tool for designing bags, sweaters, etc. Also, quite a time-waster, if you happen to be in a funk and get sucked into making designs in various colors instead of working on Christmas projects or putting laundry away. Not that I did that or anything... (By the way, there are some great looking recipes with pictures on that same blog!!)

A New Beginning

Today marks a new beginning for me. I wanted to say thanks to all my wonderful blogger friends for providing all the support you do - both the intentional support via emails and comments and the inadvertent support through your interest. I'm glad to put 2007 behind me and look forward to new adventures and opportunities. I was going to post a sunset photo but that seemed a little pessimistic. I thought a sunrise was a better perspective.

I found this beautiful photo on the blog for Sugar Mountain Farm when I googled sunrise images. The colors are stunning and the photo seemed like a good fit for today.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Have I become Ralphie's Aunt Clara?

One of my favorite Christmas movies is A Christmas Story. I believe that you either find this movie hilarious (like me) or incredibly stupid (like my mom - (I don't get it, Bon. Why is that funny?") Remember the Bunnie Jammies? Well, I hope my niece and nephew who will be receiving the following pajamas and blankets from me for Christmas don't think I'm an "Aunt Clara."

I'm happy with the progress I made today. I had all three machines in action:

Now I'm pooped and I'm headed up to bed to read or maybe do a little knitting. In all likelihood, I'll probably fall asleep within minutes. I'm too old to be staying out until 2 a.m.!

"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out."

Hilarious, I say.

Vogue 2980 - the trilogy

Edited on 12/12/07: "Anonymous" asked I turned the top into a dress. Here is a very amateurish explanation:
I placed pattern tracing paper on my cutting table and taped the top pattern piece to it. I measured how far down my hips were from my waist and marked that as the vertical measurement. Then I measured my hips and added an inch or two for ease and that was the hip width. Obviously, I also added seam allowance.

After I identified and marked the seam edge at the hip, I just extrapolated the seam line down with a slight A-line increase until it hit just above the knee (allowing a 2" hem). I cut out the paper pattern and held it up to both me and my dress form to see if it seemed right. Then i cut the fabric out just a wee bit bigger, just in case. I didn't need the extra and cut it off when I did my final serged seam.

One last note on this pattern... I have made this pattern three times and it was STILL important that I baste, then fit, then correct, then serge. Each fabric fit different and ripping serged seams out would have been a bear!

Yup. I made another V2980. This time I turned it into a dress. I found the first two I made in the size small just a wee bit snug:

so I bought a new pattern and sized up to the medium. Now, the top feels a little bigger than I like but this red knit fabric is a lot stretchier than the other two. It is a "Bamboo Organic" (whatever that is!) that I bought at Hancock's on the clearance table and it screamed "Christmas Party" to me.

The party was quite fun. We ended up with about 50 people and everyone seemed to have a good time. We purchased food from a caterer this year and it was fabulous. And made our job SO much easier. Dessert was the chocolate fountain, which is always a hit. I discovered that the parts CAN go in the dishwasher - much easier for cleaning! I didn't get to bed until 2:00 but it sure was fun.

And finally, I did wear the apron while we finished getting the food ready. It was a hit (even though it clashed with my dress. Hee hee.) My daughter was able to capture Tini in the picture.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

More Blogger Generosity

I recently started following Cennetta's "The Mahogany Stylist" blog. She makes some beautiful clothes for herself and her pretty daughter. She recently offered up some of her vintage patterns that she didn't want anymore and I was lucky enough to be the recipient of two of them! I can't wait to try them out! Thanks again, Cennetta!

And in other blogger stuff... I found a new fun hair accessory that I ordered for one of my daughter's for Christmas. For those of you familiar with the HELLO My name is Heather blog (Heather Bailey is the designer of the Freshcut fabric line), you may have seen her announcement for TrashTies - a unique hair clip/tie that works like a twisty tie. I have no affiliation at all; I just think they are cool and wanted to point them out to anybody who may be looking for cute girly gifts that are a little different.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Sewing Has Begun

Well, the first two "Christmas" sewing projects are finished and both are for ME!! This is certainly not a good way to check off my gift list. Anyhoo, here is the apron made from the panel that Allison sent me. I stopped in JoAnn's today to find a cotton that would coordinate and was so excited to find a fabric from the exact same line (see the burgundy swirly-snowflake fabric in the picture on the left below.) I am co-hosting a Christmas party for the neighborhood tomorrow so I wanted to make it up to wear as we finish the food prep. Thank you again, Allison. It turned out ADORABLE (if I do say so myself!)

The second item is not pictured here yet. It's a Christmas dress to wear to the party I just mentioned. I finished it but I'll wait to take the picture until tomorrow when I'm wearing the entire ensemble. LOL! But I'll give you a hint... Remember this? Remember that I thought it would make a cute dress? Keep your fingers crossed that my Spanx will work some magic for me!

While on airplanes this week, I finished knitting a headband and about half of a hat that will be Christmas gifts. And I cut out four other Christmas gifts that I will sew tomorrow or Sunday. Pictures to come...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Surprise Goodies!

I trudged out in the sleet to get my mail and much to my surprise, there was a package in there with Allison's return address on it. Hmmm..... I wasn't expecting anything from her. Well, it was a "brighten your day" kind of package! And lookie what was inside!!!!!

Two sets of pillowcases for me to sew together in my absolute favorite colors. And look at the one.... it has little spools of thread on it! How cute is that? There is also an apron panel in a very cute Debbie Mumm pattern. I will try to make that up this weekend so I can wear it for the holidays.

Allison, you are the best. Your sweet note and thoughtfulness truly did brighten my day.

Lemming # 427 Reporting for Duty

So, if you pay attention to sewing blogs, you may have noticed that one or two (or 50) sewers have been purchasing the Anna Sui silks from Fabric Mart. Someone figured out it would make a luxurious and beautiful lining and at $4.95/ yard, it's not much more expensive than the cheap poly lining from JoAnn's and the like. Well, add me to the list. I purchased a couple pieces myself along with some great jersey knits ($0.99 and $1.99 / yard!!) and a wool blend that will become a jumper very soon. [There is still some silk left if you're interested.]

And it is our turn for wintry weather. We have an inch or two on the ground and a little more to come. I'll be working at home today. I'm so thankful to have a job that has such flexibility! The view of my back yard at 6:30 this morning:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

V8420 - a dud for me

Edited on 12/4/07: Thanks for all the encouraging comments! I guess I will try to salvage it based on some of your tips. I wasn't too sure about the color but it sounds like it's a winner. I don't wear much green but people do seem to comment on it when I do. Not sure if it's due to my skin color or green eyes? Who knows.

Cheryl, if I have no luck altering it for me, I will email you! I think the color would look great with your hair.

Isn't this top adorable? And look at the two versions made here and here. Cute, right?

Well look at mine. ICK!

It's obviously way too big but even after I tried to make it smaller, it's still not gonna work. I think this pattern is more suitable for someone who is a little more... ummm... blessed up top. Anybody want Vogue 8420 cut out in a size 10?

How to warm up a rainy, dreary day

Well, thank goodness we decided to get our Christmas tree yesterday instead of waiting until today. We are just east of the nasty snow/ice storm that is hitting much of the Midwest but we are getting deluged with rain and the temps are right around 40 degrees. YUCK! So what better way to deal with it than to make some hot chocolate and a batch of yummy cinnamon rolls!!


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 T butter
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • ½ package instant vanilla or butterscotch pudding
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz butter, softened
  • 1 cup chopped nuts or raisins, optional

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press into 18 x 10” rectangle
  3. With mixer, combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. If too stiff to spread, soften in microwave for 10-20 seconds.
  4. Spread dough with butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle with nuts/raisins. Starting with long edge, roll up dough and cut into 1” slices. Place 12 rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan and remaining 6 rolls in a lightly greased 10 x 7 or square pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes.
  6. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 4 oz butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving
Step by step:

Cable Headband Pattern

A couple people asked me for the "pattern" for the headband. I just made it up but here it is. (In the photo, you will notice the cables changing directions. I decided that looked silly so the following pattern only has the cables going in one direction.)

Measure the circumference of your head where the headband will sit. The finished headband will be 3" smaller than that.

For the Malabrigo, I think I used size 6 needles. I am making another one now out of some Peru Luxury DK (merino, alpaca, silk) and am using size 4 needles. I'm a loose knitter.

C6=Place 3 stitches on cable needle. Move to front. K3 off left knitting needle. K3 off cable needle.

Cast on 18 stitches.

Row 1: K3, P3, K6, P3, K3
Row 2: K6, P6, K6
Row 3: K3, P3, K6, P3, K3
Row 4: K6, P6, K6
Row 5: K3, P3, K6, P3, K3
Row 6: K6, P6, K6
Row 7: K3, P3, C6, P3, K3
Row 8: K6, P6, K6

Knit in pattern until headband is 3" shorter than the circumference of your head.

Bind off.

Sew two ends together.