Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tennessee Fan Hat

My hubby's family is from Tennessee, so there are lots of Vols fans for me to crochet for. I thought I would be adventurous and try something new.

Because I wanted to create a checkered pattern, I held the white and orange together and just dropped the one color every other stitch. 

Note to self: creating checks isn't as difficult as it is time consuming.

I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn in white and orange and and I hook (some men have big noggins). This yarn can be itchy, but softens up a lot when washed. 

1. Using main color (orange)- Ch3, 11 dc in first ch, sl st in top of ch 3. 12 dc

Now, pick up 2nd color and alternate each dc to create checks - or alternate row to create stripes. Be creative!

2. Ch3, 2 dc in each st, sl st in top of ch 3. 24 dc
3. Ch3, *dc in next st, 2 dc in next st* around, dc in joining st below, sl st in top of ch 3. 36 dc
4. Ch3, *dc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st* around, dc in joining st below, sl st in top of ch 3. 48 dc
5. Ch3, *dc in next 3 st, 2 dc in next st* around, dc in joining st below, sl st in top of ch 3. 60 dc
6. Ch1, sc in same st and in each st around, sl st in first sc.
7-11. Ch3, dc in each st around, sl st in top of ch 3

12. Change to only main color (orange)- Ch2, FPdc in each st around, sl st to top of ch 2
13-15. Repeat row 12

I really loved how it turned out and my hubby was very disappointed that I was gifting it to someone other than him. He'll get over it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Owl hats

Charlie - newborn sized hat
When I saw this pattern on Repeat Crafter Me, I immediately knew I wanted to make it. Why on Earth did I not crochet when my kids were babies? Time to find someone to gift it to, because I just HAD to make it. Even though K2's baby, Charlie, looks pretty cute in it, too. Lucky for me, my hairdresser just had a baby.
Crissy - toddler sized hat
Then I decided to increase the pattern slightly to give to a co-worker's/friend's toddler niece.  Darn these cuties are addictive! Of course, wouldn't you know that after I did, Sarah at Repeat Crafter Me posted an update with more sizes. Geesh...well, now I know I can go back for bigger sizes. Better late than never, thanks Sarah!

Want to make your own?

Size: Newborn
• Vanna's Choice® medium worsted weight yarn (I used Barley 
and an accent color such as magenta, turquoise, light pink)
• Crochet hook size H-8 (5.0 mm)
• Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
• Two 3/4" black button for eyes
ch - chain
sl st- slip stitch
SC - Single Crochet
DC- Double Crochet
HDC- Half Double Crochet
HDC Decrease - Half Double Crochet Decrease

Round 1: Magic ring, Chain 2, DC 12 inside ring, joint to 1st DC, chain 2
Round 2: 2 DC in same stitch and in each around, chain 2 (24).
Round 3: DC in the same stitch as Chain 2, DC, DC, 2 Dc in next, *DC in next 3, 2 Dc in next, repeat from * around, Join to 1st DC, chain 2. (30)
Round 4: DC in the same stitch as Chain 2, DC, 2 DC in next, *DC in next two, 2 DC in next stitch, repeat from * around, Join to 1st DC, chain 2. (40)
Round 5-7: Beginning in same stitch as Chain 2, DC around, join to 1st DC, chain 2 (40) Note: before joining round 7, change color.
Round 8-9: In new color DC around, join to 1st DC, chain 2 (40) 
Do not fasten off, begin first earflap

Earflap 1:
Row 1: Starting in next stitch, HDC 8, chain 2, turn
Row 2: HDC decrease, HDC 4, HDC decrease, chain 2, turn
Row 3: HDC 6, chain 2, turn
Row 4: HDC decrease, HDC 2, HDC decrease, chain 2, turn
Row 5: 2 HDC decreases, chain 2, turn
Row 6: HDC decrease, fasten off leaving long tale

Earflap 2:
Count 9 stitches away from seam.
Row 1: Chain 2, starting in next stitch, HDC 8, chain 2, turn
Row 2: HDC decrease, HDC 4, HDC decrease, chain 2, turn
Row 3: HDC 6, chain 2, turn
Row 4: HDC decrease, HDC 2, HDC decrease, chain 2, turn
Row 5: 2 HDC decreases, chain 2, turn
Row 6: HDC decrease, chain 1 turn (do not fasten off)
Continue to SC around the entire hat, join to first single crochet, fasten off leaving long tail. You should now have a long pieces of yarn hanging from the ends of each earflap. You will use this as a strand in your braid.

Eyes (Make 2):
In first color (this is your accent color):
Magic Ring, Chain 2
Round 1: 10 DC in chain, Change color to white before joining to first DC, chain 2 (10)
Round 2: 2 DC in same stitch and in each stitch around, join, chain 1 (20)
Round 3: SC in same stitch, 2 SC in next, *SC, 2 SC in next, repeat from * around, join to first sc, fasten off leaving long tail to sew on (30)

After sewing crocheted eyes on, sew 3/4" black button in the center for the eyeballs
Chain 6
Slip stitch in 2nd chain from hook, SC, HDC, DC, DC, fasten off leaving long tail to sew on
Cut two strands of 12 inch long pieces of yarn in each color (6 strands total). 
Loop through 2 DC's in the crease of the 3rd round.
Knot and trim to approx 1"
Braided Tails:
Cut three 1 yard strands of each color (9 strands total).
Pass through last space in earflap. You should now have 18 strands to braid with.
Make knot and braid approx 5.5 inches long, knot, trim ends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cinnamon Apples

My Grandma used to make me cinnamon apples when I was little and I loved them so. About 13 years ago, I put together a family cookbook with my mother and I'm so thankful that this is one of my grandmas's contributions to the book. Not that it needs a recipe because it is so easy!

Core and slice about 7 cooking apples. I like to use Jonathon apples. They are firm, crisp, and less expensive. You can peel if you like, but I leave mine on. 
Place in a heavy pot. If you don't have a heavy pot, put in 1/4 water to keep apples from burning. Add 1/2  to 1 cup of granulated sugar - depending on how sweet you like your apples. I usually go in the middle with 3/4 cup. Sprinkle on 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a dash of cloves. I like to give a dash of nutmeg, too just to be wild. The secret ingredient here is a handful of cinnamon red hots. It gives the apples color and a little punch. 
These don't taste like Cracker Barrel cinnamon apples. More like a candy apple without the stick or the mess. Yummy! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The girls are getting older and we suddenly realized that we have never taken them to the circus. A serious crime since their headquarters are just a few miles down the road. Let me tell you, today's circus is not like I remember it.
How cute is it that this elephant paints? They gave that painting away in a drawing, but we didn't win.
The prices were outrageous. I suppose since they have to compete with other large shows, they have to keep up with what they offer. It was all really well choreographed and fun to watch.
The tigers used to be exciting to me. Now it's just kind of sad. I much prefer to see tigers out in the wild. K1 doesn't like seeing white tigers. She discovered that white tigers are "created" by inbreeding and usually result in birth defects. I had no idea.You can read more about it here.
Bring on more thrills. I had my doubts that this young woman could be shot out of a cannon in such a small space, but sure enough it happened!
My favorite part of the whole circus was the elephants. They seemed to enjoy the crowds and the audience. I know that they are social creatures, but they all really seemed to love performing.
How amazing is this? I swear those elephants were smiling. They are truly extraordinary. We spoke to one of the caretakers and you could see how much she loved working with these animals. 
I think everyone should experience the circus at least once. Who knows what it will be like in another 30 years?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sink Clutter

I thought that the holidays were busy, but they aren't anything compared to starting the spring semester. I'm teaching two sections again, on top of my already full-time job at the university. Lots of activity going on at work and home life isn't any slower. Thank goodness we have two bathrooms, because last weekend one of our toilets bit the dust. Non-repairable (read: expensive replacement). So, this upcoming weekend I will be installing a new toilet. I guess I should embrace that I will be learning something new. Or not.

With all that going on, I needed to focus on something I could resolve. Sink clutter. This little mess has been bothering me for a long time.
 I think the bottles are ugly and I'm constantly knocking them over. The sponge is a whole other battle. I'm forever griping at my hubby about leaving it wet (ewww...gross) and scour side down - which sticks to the sink when it dries. I DO NOT like scraping the sponge off of my stainless steel sink. While out running errands, I ran across this little beauty:
Isn't that much better? $10 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Well, before my 20% off coupon, cha-ching! It holds almost the entire bottle of dish soap. I know, I know...this is so trivial. But it makes me feel so much better. One step at a time. Besides, it takes my mind off that looming toilet project. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Christmas at Sea World Orlando

Before January gets too far gone, I wanted to share with you our little outing to Sea World to see the Christmas decorations. We actually delayed our holiday travels so we could go. The month of December got away from us and we just barely made it in time.
 K2 was totally excited to get inside the giant snow globe for a picture. 
This is the closest we get to snow in Florida.
 It's so nice to have the aquariums to look at while waiting in line for rides. 
They are really well maintained, too.
 Such cute decorations throughout the park.
 We really enjoyed the Polar Express experience they had set up. It was very popular with all the guests.
 I think the shows are so much fun, but we have always been impressed with animal performances. 
It was actually a little cool out and we were ready for the sun to go down to see the lights.
 Aren't the trees on the lake pretty?
 My sweet girls...this hardly ever happens. It needed to be documented.
Don't get too mushy over the affection. When the sun went down, the temperature dropped.
It must have been a good day because we wore her out. Some good memories made.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Walt Disney Art of Animation Resort

Not too long ago a new resort was opened in Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. We have been waiting for the initial excitement to die down before booking a stay to check it out. Living less than an hour away, we don't always stay at one of the resorts. However, we had plans to be in Orlando late for a field trip anyway, so this was a perfect opportunity for us.
It's set up much like the other Value Resorts, so it was easy to find our way around. We stayed in the Little Mermaid section.There are lines of Conga Fish everywhere and K2 has to have her picture with all of them. Funny kid.
Next to us was the Lion King area. There was a big "dino boneyard" playground for children. Mine are a little too big for that anymore, but they still got a kick out of it.
Behind the main building is the BIG pool and Finding Nemo area. It was a little too cool for me to go swim, but the water was warm enough that K2 got in for a little while.
 The last section is dedicated to Cars. 
Isn't Mater cute?
K2 wants to stay in the Cars section next time. It was a lot of fun exploring and we can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Sister Act

Second show in our season passes to the Straz Center Broadway series...Sister Act! It was very similar to the movie with Whoopi Goldberg, which I loved. K1 hadn't seen the movie, so she was a little skeptical of this show. 
Of course we got dressed up, but not as much since it was an afternoon show. However cute we looked in our sweater dresses was soon  regretted as the Florida sun showed us who was really in charge of December weather. So we made the best of it and had some lunch outside by the water.
K1 looked so pretty with the fountains behind her that I forced her into a little photo shoot.
 See what a lucky mom I am?
Soon it was time to head in for the show.  The singing was amazing only to be outdone by the costumes. As a 70's era show, there was lots of glitter, feathers, and disco balls. It was quick paced and over before we knew it. A sure sign of a good show. And yes, K1 loved it.
I'm sure the people sitting around us were glad to see us leave, too. We take a gazillion funny poses before getting the right one.
No shows for January, but we have THREE coming up in February. Whew...going to be busy!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

After taking last week off to travel to two different states for the holidays, it's time to get back into the swing of things. Starting with wishing you all a Happy New Year! I'm optimistic that 2013 will be a year of adventure and happiness.

Last year, my resolution was to "DeCrap MiHouse". Although I didn't get as much done as I would have hoped, I still think I have made strides in the right direction. I got my laundry room cleaned up, removed the aluminum foil from my oven, cleaned up my headlights, cleaned my makeup brushes, and organized my kitchen drawers, just to name a few. 

So what will I do for 2013?

1) Continue to make progress in cleaning out my house to make things less stressful.

2) Keep up with participating in 26 Random Acts of Kindness...I don't plan on stopping at 26. This is something that I want to make a lifelong habit in order to commit to my community and country.

3) Continue making gifts to give for next Christmas instead of waiting until December.

4) Live life to the fullest by taking risks, chances, and opportunities.

5) Be the best mom and wife I can be.

2013 is going to be a busy year. We have several trips planned already, including one overseas (uh oh...need to get passports). K2 will be finishing elementary and then going to middle school. K1 will be trying to decided what college she wants to go to. Who knows what else will come our way? 

I hope you will all join me along the way. This blog has gone from 11 posts in 2011 to 151 posts in 2012. At the beginning of the year I had less than 100 page views and today I have 19,373. The growth has been amazing and I hope to bring more crafts and travel to you all in 2013. 

From my family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy, and harmonious 2013!