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Sunday, March 25, 2012

If You Ain't Dutch, You Ain't Much

I saw this neat knitted market bag on Pinterest a few months back and finally decided to make it this week. It's panels, before sewn, resemble a windmill.

You knit the first panel, then pick up stitches on the side of it to start the next panel. Repeat two more times, then sew up the sides. The blog it was pinned from has a great little illustration explaining that "clear as mud" description (lol).

I used four different earthy tones from Sugar and Cream but since I'm such a tight knitter, I went up to size ten needles. I knitted about 116 rows for each panel, in garter, so it's a very quick project.

You create the handles by knitting I-cords at the top of each panel and joining two together on one side and repeating on the other. I got a bit exuberant on my cords and thus my handles are quite long. Overall, I'm thrilled with the ease, the quickness and the inexpensive cost of the project!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crafty for a Cure

There are so many great causes out there. I'm personally passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer but really, there are so many other needs out there I'd love to support if I have the time. I'm blessed with friends who are just as passionate about the causes that have affected their lives and I do try to remember to take my head out of the sand of breast cancer fundraising and general life busyness to remember to support them as well as they've supported me.

What is great about this cup cozy pattern and this washcloth pattern is that all you have to do is change the color of the yarn, lol, and you've given support to the cause of your passion or a friend's passion.

The cup cozy is done in the round and knits up rather quickly. It only uses YO's, SSK and K2gthr to make the simple ribbon pattern. The washcloth is just a bit bigger but only consists of following a pattern of knits and purls.

As for my sewing frenzy as of late...I found some great fabric at Jo-Ann's to make up a few of my newest favorite 'go to gift', the amazing roll up tote.

Found other fabrics to make up as well, will post when I make them up the next time I am at the machine.

And I finally got some long promised "welcome little one" cards out to my dear college friend who runs a non-profit ministry that supplies care packages to families with newborns affected by Osteogenesis Imperfecta (which I have always thought of as brittle bone disease).

Children with OI are often referred to as "Snowflakes"...each so beautifully unique and so quite fragile. I had found some blank cards at Michael's over Christmas to alter and finally made myself sit down and come up with a template.

My friend and her husband lost their precious baby girl, Zyana Grace, almost  a year ago from complications relating to OI. Please check out her blog and to find out more about OI, check out

Well, my dear readers, what causes are closest to your hearts? Please feel free to post links to other ribbon patterns on the comment field below!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lavendar-Lemon Rice Heating Pad

My sis spotted this simple, easy rice heating pad on my sewing Pinterest "board" and commented that she would love to have one. I picked up some flannel on sale at Joann's and gave it a whirl through my sewing machine while the storm raged outside this past weekend.

I already had the essential oils but did have to stop by the grocery store to pick up white rice (I eat brown and didn't know if the husks on the brown rice would cause the rice to mold at all). I mixed up several cups worth, planning on making two of the heating pads from the material I'd found.

The pattern itself was the kind I like...a bunch of rectangles! (LOL) The first trick was to remember to turn the bag right side OUT before sewing the pouches (SIGH). Good thing I have a handy-dandy seam ripper.

And the second trick was to not fill the pouches up too much because you do have to sew the final seam when the rice is already in the pouches.

I have to admit, I loved how the smell of lavender and lemon filled my kitchen. I even tried the 2nd bag out (intended for my Grandma) and found the experience to be very pleasant and agreeable. Just a minute in my microwave and viola!

The pattern called for type of belt to hold the heating bag but I took the easy way out and tied a ribbon around the pad for my sister. ;0)

My friends on FB gave their approval and I decided to go back to Joann's to look for pink ribbon flannel material to make some for Komen fundraisers. The flannel was on sale for $2.79 and I had a "20% off your ENTIRE purchase" coupon! Can you say, DEAL?! Got three yards of it for under $7.00. If memory serves correctly, I believe I can make at least 8 per yard. That's about $0.30 of material for the bag. Rice is cheap in bulk and I already have the oils. SCORE! I decided I'd sew them up ahead of time to the point of putting the rice in and then store until it comes time to give them as thank you gifts to my generous donors. I'm not sure how long the fragrance of the oils lasts.

I found some more material for future projects that I will share later...until then, happy crafting!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gone Green for St. Patrick's Day

Pinterest is keeping my "to do" list quite long these days! I've been attracted to sewing with greens and browns lately, and I figure it's just in time for the springtime celebrations of St. Patrick's Day and Earth Day.

My plastic bag collection is OUT OF CONTROL so I decided to try some patterns for storing them. I patch-worked together some scraps and used the proportions found this tutorial here. It was my first solo attempt using elastic and it took me a few tries to thread and sew it properly but the end result looks good enough.

As usual, Phat Cat wanted to be in on ALL of the action when I worked on a mini plastic bag holder.

I used fusible interfacing to make the pieces somewhat stiff.

I used nursery print material in the hopes of giving it as a gift (for mom to keep it in the diaper bag) but in all honesty, I need some more experience sewing straight while maneuvering around curves.

And while the sewing machine was out, I made up some of my roll up tote bags.

Definitely no reason to not combine stylish cuteness with celebrating the green and protecting the earth. ;0) I've been sewing more than knitting but have some projects going on that I'll post pictures of down the road.

It's a rainy weekend here in SoCal, perfect for crafting...what projects have you been up to?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's the "Pits"

I haven't been in the "mood" to blog for a few weeks now. I've still been knitting and sewing and I have a few posts worth of projects to share, I will catch up this weekend. I've just have had a lot on my mind...literally. Well, not a LOT...more like cyst on the tiny, pea sized pituitary gland inside my head. A routine CT scan on my sinuses (just part of the post-sinus surgery routine I go through every few years) showed an enlarged pituitary gland. A MRI on the area showed a "probable" cyst on the gland. A thorough round of blood tests confirmed that the cyst isn't affecting my endocrine system, now the only loop to jump through is to confirm that it's not putting pressure on my optic nerve and altering my peripheral vision.

I've gone for a preliminary eye exam and have the "Field of Vision" (FOV) test next week. The prelim exam, however, showed two NEW issues with my vision that don't seem to have anything to do with the cyst. I have high "ocular hypertension" (that is, eye pressure) which can lead to glaucoma as well as a condition referred to as CSR in my left eye. That has to do with an accumulation of fluid that could leak under the retina.

My first response...."REALLY?!?!" Geesh!

No, I didn't want another couple of medical balls to have to juggle but at the same time, neither condition is currently threatening my vision. Whew. Time to focus on the "pit" gland for now. I see a neurosurgeon in two weeks to see what he thinks about things, then I'm hoping to get a referral to an endocrinologist...just to get a second opinion on things.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, emotionally, anyway. Honestly, last night I went to the grocery store to pick up a RedBox movie and picked up a few items. I got home only to realize I'd left the bag of groceries in the shopping cart. :0( Sigh. SMH.

I have a deep faith in God to help me get through this and a positive attitude that it's going to work out. I'm still scared and worried. I don't think that makes me weak or faithless. I just think it makes me honest and real. ;0) For now, I'm just taking it one day at a time. ;0)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

I am all about breast health...from monthly self exams and preventative mammograms to the benefits of breast milk for babies. Our society mostly identifies breasts as a sexual organ only and yet, our "boobs" are so much more! Oh, it's fun to joke about them and such but there is much more to them than "meets the eye" ;0) There's been a lot in the news about differing views of public breast feeding. I'm personally very modest but am all about "supporting" the breast feeding cause!

Anyway, a few weeks back, my cousin posted a picture of a "boob beanie" and asked if I could make one for his son. He said that he, like his father, was a "smart @$$" and he expected his son to be one as why not start being a smart @$$ at a young age? ;0) My cousin offered to pay for one but I told him all I wanted in payment was a photo of his son wearing it for this blog.

As for the pattern, I found a few few pattern's posted online and figured out the basics.  Cast on whatever skin tone color to make a beanie (I did either 64 or 72 for the baby's hat and either 80 or 88 for the adult with worsted weight on size 8 needles). A few rows after you start to decrease, switch to the nipple color. End with an I-cord of approximately 6 stitches for about four rows. All of these sizes (and colors) can be customized as desired.

And because the theme behind the request was "like father like son" I knitted both a baby cap and an adult hat. My cousin's wife graciously took this picture and titled it "Nice Rack."