"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Santa's Little Elf

I am once again playing the role of Santa's Elf this year by making many of the gifts I'll be giving this year.   First on the list, my daughter.  On her list she asked for some clothes for her baby dolls.  SO....Santa's little helper here has been busy busy busy crocheting away some little super chic baby doll outfits.  Check out the first of several...

This is, as I've mentioned, the first of several doll outfits I'm making for Oldest.
Thank you to Baby Alive for modeling this year's newest line ;) ...

The outfit is a shirt and skirt combo.
I found the shirt pattern here and modified the size for a correct fit.

The little ruffle skirt is my own design.
Once again, being the flake that I can be sometimes, I didn't write down the pattern as I made this.  I'll try to work on that as I go along here.
BUT...I'm pretty sure I have it pretty well all in my wee little brain so I'll give you the pattern as I remember it.  For those of you that may try this pattern please be sure to give feedback, suggestions, or let me know of any problem areas you find.
Legal Beagle stuff: This and all other patterns of my own design on this site are copyrighted.  Meaning please don't sell the pattern itself.  If you have a blog or website you may post the pattern for free but please give credit where credit is due and link back to this site.  You may, of course, sell items made from this pattern.


Using a size H hook and baby weight yarn:

Row. 1: Ch. 40 then joined with a slip st. into the first ch. to form a ring.
Row 2: Ch. 1 then single crochet in each ch. around.
Join with a slip stitch into the first sc. 
Row 3: Ch. 3 turn. DC in each sc around. Join with a slip stitch into first DC.
Row 4-6:  Ch. 3 turn. DC in each DC around.  Join with a slip stitch into first DC.
Row 7: Ch. 3 turn. DC in same stitch. *DC in the next DC, 2 DC in next DC, DC in next stitch* repeat from * around. Join with slip stitch in first DC.  It doesn't matter at this point if your increases match up exactly.  Just add 1 DC if you find yourself at the end of the round and it doesn't match up exactly.
Row 8: Ch. 3 turn. DC in same stitch.  *DC in next 2 DC sts, 2DC in next st, DC in next 2 DC sts* Repeat from * around. Join with slip stitch in first DC. Finish off.


Happy Thanksgiving!

We're gearing up for Thanksgiving in my little corner of the planet.   I just finished baking the last of the pies.  We're having Dutch Apple pie, Traditional Apple Pie, Sweet Potatoe Pie, and 2 pumpkin pies.   Needless to say it took all day to bake them.  We also went to Grandpa's this morning to assist in the ugly deed of dispatching a nice plump Tom turkey.  

The menu plan for tomorrow includes turkey (of course), stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes with the little marshmellows (yummy), cranberry jelly, cornbread, sweet rolls, green bean casserole, a vegetable platter, homemade bread which I finished baking yesterday, mustard greens, the pies, coffee, Apple Cider (spiced for the adults, non spiced for the kiddies).

Thanksgiving is a pretty much a giant feeding frenzy at our house which culminates in the women sitting for several hours at the dining room table talking, playing gin rummy and drinking coffee or cider while the men plop in front of the television to watch football and discuss politics before almost half of them drop off to sleep.  The children will likely be playing some board game like clue or junior monopoly and the younger set will be in their rooms playing with their various toys. If you looked into our window on Thanksgiving you'd swear you were looking at a Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover.  Ultra Traditional.  

Unfortunately for me this ultra traditional feast of sorts leaves an ultra large mess.  So this year, I'm thankful for my wonderful family and friends, especially my husband, my best friend, her husband and my Aunt who have all offered to help me clean up.   They are the bees knees (I'm rocking the retro throw back catchphrases).

I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

Doggie Doughnut

I've made toys for each of my kids but I can't forget my furry friends either.
SO....I made this frosted doughnut amigurumi toy for Cookie, my mini doxie.

You can get the pattern on the lionbrand website here.
You could even add a squeaker when you stuff it to add extra puppy fun.

She seems more interested in the treat I was holding to get her to look at the camera than in the doughnut itself.

Kitty Amigurumi

I've finished the toys for the boys and have moved on to a cute little toy for Oldest.  

An amigurumi (ah-mee-goo-roo-mee) kitty cat.
In pink (Oldest's favorite color) pajamas no less.

I was inspired by the pink jammies kitty on Armina's Ani-mals blog.
Although I didn't use her pattern (I made my own up based on general knowledge of amigurumi and crochet techniques) the two look very similar.
The main differences are the ears, I've included a tail, and the arms and legs of mine are a bit larger. 
Still if you like the kitty you can make one very close to it by following the pattern on Armina's blog.  Or...if you really like my kitty you can also ask for my pattern.
I don't have it written down but I would be more than happy to share it if there seems to be a demand for it.

The nice thing about amigurumi is that it's EASY and quick.  I made this kitty in just a couple of hours.

In amigurumi almost everything is made in the round with single crochet.
Each section is made seperately (usually) then pieced together.
This is the start of the kitty's head.

I embroidered eyes, a nose, and whiskers to make her face.

Then I crocheted her hood and sewed it to her itty bitty head.

Then came the ears.

Which were attached to the her head.

The arms, legs, and tail came last. 

The end result was one satisfied little customer.


I'm not an overly political person and this blog is not intended to be a soap box for me to spout off about my political viewpoints.   However, I'm seeing some trends happening right now that have me more than a little concerned and I feel compelled to at least address them. 

I happened upon a news story today discussing the fact that President Obama has dipped below majority support according to Gallup for the first time in his presidency.   Sooo, I went to check things out on the gallup website itself and I then darted over to Rasmussen.  

While on the two sites I proceed to click around on a few other polls and links to polls and what I find disturbs me.   For one, gallup claims that 58% feel the economy is getting worse, not better.  Another states that trust in state government is at an all time low.   Trust in the legislative branch of our government is at a record low.  Congress has an approval rating of only 21%.   6 out of 10 people believe government is infringing to much on our lives.   Another record number. Yet another claimed that the majority of Americans feel that America's best days are behind us.  Only 33% feel the government is heading in the right direction.

It seems as though the overall mood of Americans is one of disenfranchisement, frustration, anger, resentment.    There seems to be almost no confidence in our government anymore.  What's worse, our political leaders don't seem to care.  They are pushing issues that the majority don't seem to support such as public option healthcare, civilian terror trials, and while America calls for a tougher stance on illegal immigration, our politicians do virtually nothing.  Instead of listening to the American people, our politicians lie, cheat, twist facts, hide information, spin rhetoric, manipulate the media and just work their rear ends off to deceive the people in order to force THEIR agenda down our gullets.  

When did we let our government get so out of control?  We sold our freedom for empty political promises.  I realize that mine is but a humble little blog that is a mere spec in the vast expanse of web space.   But I wanted to put this message out here anyways: If you feel unrepresented, if you feel frustrated and angry with the state of our government, if you feel like the desires of special interest groups, party affiliations and campaign contributors have trumped the needs to the people then you are not alone. I feel it too sometimes and so do many, many others it seems.

God bless America.

Counting Fish

In keeping with my little blog mini series on toys...I've posted some counting fish I've made for Middle.   The idea came to me to make some small counting toys during one of my many attempts to help my 3 year old understand the concept of "more" and "less".

I thought about making up my own crochet pattern for them, but decided (in the interest of time) to check online for a pattern instead.  Viola!  I found a cute one here.  I modified the pattern a bit to make my fish a little "stumpier".  I wanted fish that looked sort of like Goldfish crackers.

Stage one of a little blue fish.  The pattern called for a size G hook and everything is done with single crochets in the round.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The almost completed fish.  In order to make them a little shorter in body I omitted rows 8-9 in the pattern.

A finished fish.  The eyes are french knots made with black yarn.

Then it's just a matter of repeating the process for each color.

My completed "school" of fishies. 
Each fish took about 10 minutes to make and, as you can see, I made 2 of each color.
A really quick, cute project to help the little ones learn their numbers, colors, basic math.
You can make as few or as many as you need depending on the time you have to devote to the project.
Middle definately loves the fish and I really think they are helping him understand the concept of more and less, many and few, etc.

Feeling Better

Swine flu seems to be flying out of the building...soo I've been able to do a little crafting.

First up on the list, I made a neat little nesting baby toy.

This is a super easy craft that requires a little bit of straight stitching and some hot glue.

First, gather you're supplies.  You'll need a clean coffee can.
A hot glue gun. A bag of dry beans (I used navy beans). Scissors.
Several different colored pieces of felt or fabric (2 of each color).
A washable marker or fabric pen.

The first step is to wrap your coffee can with some felt or fabric. 
Start by wrapping the fabric around the can and marking the fabric at the top of the can with a washable marker or fabric pen.
Then unwrap and cut at the line you just marked.
Get your hot glue gun and attach the larger piece of fabric to the can with a strip of hot glue.
Continue to attach the fabric around the can with the hot glue until it completely covers the outside of the can.

Next, onto the shapes.
You'll want to pick out 2 of the same color fabric for each shape.
I drew these basic shapes onto the felt free hand, but you could use a template and create any kind of shape or combination you would like.
You could even use two different fabrics depending on how you wanted the completed pieces to look.
Make sure to mark a space on your shapes about 1 1/2 inches across to leave open for turning and stuffing.

Next, sew along the outline of the shape, leaving the space between your markers open.
Be sure to back tack at the start and finish points of your shape so that you can turn inside out without popping the stitches.
Then cut the shape out with your scissors..

Turn the shape inside out.

Repeat the process for each of your other shapes.

Now comes the fun part.
Get your beans ready and begin to pour your beans (very carefully...those things go all over) into the opening in your shapes.
Fill the shape until you are happy with the weight and feel.
Then hand sew the opening closed SECURELY. 
Remember that this is for a baby or young child and small beans and little mouths don't mix so you want to make sure that everything is sewn up securely.

You can embelish the can with more little bits of fabric cut into shapes and then hot glued on or you could sew them on before you attach it to the can.

Then sit back and watch the little ones enjoy your handy work.

This is a cool little project because the possibilities with it are almost endless.  You can embelish the coffee can any way you like.  You could use ribbon, buttons, etc (as long as everything is attached securely).
You can use different fabrics, appliques, ribbons on the bean bag shapes.  You could even insert a bell or crinkle plastic. It's a really great project to flex those creative muscles and become an awesome sensory experience for your baby.
It also serves as it's own toy box.  When the fun is done, put the bags in the can, snap the lid back on and you're good to go.
All at a price tag under $5.   Can't beat that.

Big Blogging Plans..Thwarted.

I had big plans for this blog this week.  I really did.  I had gotten a bunch of stuff together to do a whole little blogging mini series about toys.   But, you know what they say..."the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry".  

We were hit, and hit hard, by...wait for it....wait for it....SWINE FLU.

Yep, that's right.  The national "emergency" pandemic has officially hit home. Confirmed by a trip to the emergency room two nights ago for Youngest when his fever hit a boiling 104 degrees.  

What irks me is that I broke down after hearing about a little girl in our area who nearly died from complications of swine flu and I got the kids vaccinated.  I stood in line in a crowded, currently out of business, department store for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  I literally wrestled my 3 year old into submission so that he could have vapor shot up his nose.   I then spent 20 minutes calming down the youngest after the "ordeal" was over.

We went through all that only to have Oldest come home from school looking more than a little pale 3 days later.   By that night she had a nasty cough, a nasty temperature, and an even nastier headache.  

It has since been systematically moving through our family, taking each of us down one by one.  By that weekend, Middle was sick with the same thing.  Then the hubby.   Then Oldest started feeling badly again...it had turned into bronchitis.   Then Gran got it, although, thankfully, for her it was not so bad.   Then Youngest.   Now me.   Yep, as I sit here and type I'm rocking a 103.5 degree fever.  My head is pounding and I've spent most of the day in bed.   In between fitful bits of sleep I've been kicking myself for bothering with the vaccine in the first place since it clearly did us no good. Apparently it takes a good two weeks to even become effective.  

At least some of our family is moving out of it's clutches.  Oldest finally started to feel better, but she still has the occasional coughing fit.   Middle is still pretty sick but he was up playing today and the fever has been gone for awhile.   The hubby is still not well but his fever is gone as well.  Youngest, as is usual form for him, is happy and bubbly regardless of his illness.  He's been sleeping alot though but at least his fever is under control.   I swear to you that kid would smile through almost anything (accept a shot).   Gran's all better.  She was better after about a day.   SO, I'm the last in the line. 

It's going to be a battle, but I'm up for the fight.   Bring it on bacon flu...

Happy Veteran's Day!

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”-Elmer Davis

Take A Moment To Thank A Veteran

When you see someone in a uniform

Someone who serves us all,

Doing military duty,

Answering their country’s call,
Take a moment to thank them

For protecting what you hold dear;

Tell them you are proud of them;

Make it very clear.
Just tap them on the shoulder,

Give a smile, and say,

"Thanks for what you’re doing;

To keep us safe in the USA!"
- Joanna Fuchs

Happy Veteran's Day!  Thank you to all of the brave men and women who have fought and currently are fighting for our freedom.

Sewing and Playing in Leaves

What we've been up to the last two days: a photo essay

We have been outside, enjoying the sunny weather

And playing in the leaves.

I've been gathering scraps...

Too make a soft block (unstuffed in this pic)...

That becomes a really nice baby toy.

And, I've turned fishies into winter pants.

To quote Calvin and Hobbes..."The days are just packed" :)

Finally Finished

That's it.  We are finally done with the pumpkin stand.   I'm relieved because it took up almost all of my time, especially last week with trick or treating thrown in there on top of it all.   Towards the end, I wasn't even able to find enough time to craft (gasp!) 

BUT, I have many plans for the coming days.  With the gardening all but finished, most everything canned and ready to go, and winter slowly starting to creep in I'll be able to devote more time to making STUFF.