Friday, March 29, 2013

Continuing Acts of Kindess

Back in December, I joined up with others in the country to commit to 26 Random Acts of Kindness. I've haven't been posting each individual one, mostly because of some of the criticism surrounding the movement. Yes, there are some bah-humbugs out there who think they have the right to tell people if their act is "good" enough. Personally, I think any selfless act, no matter how small, is a contribution to humanity and we need more of it. I'll put my soapbox away now.

Like any crocheter, I have a stash of yarn. Please try to contain your shock. I set a goal to reduce that stash significantly and I'm making great progress by teaming up with my Acts of Kindness plans. This is also something the non-crocheter/knitter can do as well. A few years ago, I purchased a small, round loom called the Knifty Knitter made by Provo Craft.
You can buy it separately or in a set. I just bought the little blue one. K2 wanted to learn to crochet, but at the time she was little and couldn't quite get the hang of it. I thought a good way for her to start would be this loom. It's so simple that any craft-challenged person can do it.
You just wrap the yarn around the pegs and then use this funky tool to pull the yarn over the top of the peg. The best part is that it works up quickly and easily, so no time to get frustrated or feel like you aren't getting anywhere. This smaller loom makes baby hats and socks effortlessly. There are even free patterns you can find for free on the Internet. I can now make a baby hat in about 30 minutes. It's perfect for when you are watching your favorite T.V. program, because you don't have to read any patterns or watch what you are doing. It's just wrapping and pulling the yarn over.
Look at all these little cuties I have made. This is just some of them. I have already given a few away. The rest of these are going to our local hospital to give to the new little babies as part of my Acts of Kindness support. 

Are you participating, too? I would love for you to share what you have done. Before you go, don't forget to enter my 200 FaceBook Fan giveaway



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

200 Facebook Fan Celebration

As promised, I have a giveaway to celebrate having 200 fans on Facebook. K1 has been getting pretty crafty here lately and she has agreed to share the giveaway prize, but also instructions if you would like to make your own beautiful pendant necklace. Thanks, kiddo!
These little glass pendants can be purchased at your local craft store. You can choose from different shapes as well. Extra bonus - you get to use your favorite nail polish color, too! 
 Apply a thin coat of base polish to a clean pendant.
 Let dry completely.
 Paint your favorite color of nail polish to the back, flat side of the pendant. 
You may need more than one coat, so be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next. Finish with a clear top coat to protect the polish and keep the colored polish from contacting your skin.
Look at all the pretty colors!

Even easier, K1 has donated one just for you! Entering to win is easy - just use the rafflecopter widget below. There are several ways to enter so complete them all! More entries mean you have more chances to win. And don't forget to share with your friends! This is my first solo giveaway, so it should potentially have moderate participation giving you better odds of winning! Don't forget to leave your email with the comment if you are posting anonymously.
Win a pendant necklace!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 25, 2013

Anything Goes

I'm letting this show title inspire me and giving you a behind the scenes look at our Broadway shows experience, minus my stressful commute into Downtown Tampa which is always a treat remedied by a glass of wine upon arrival.
 After parking in the low ceiling, narrow mazed garage (stressor #2, for those of you counting) we always stop for a posed photo with the current show poster. K1 has been getting braver with her poses here lately. I guess when you have legs as long as hers, tucking them under you while sitting on the ground isn't very comfortable.
We get our playbill and head to our seats.

Photos aren't allowed during the show, so we get in what we can prior to the lights going down. Sometimes we get a nice display on the stage to photograph as well. Then the fun begins. You wouldn't believe the work it takes to get one good photo in to share on the blog.

Photo #1 

 Whoops. Too dark to not use the flash.

Photo #2

OK, but K1 didn't like it.

Photo #3

Oh my sweet, goofy girl. I could box your ears!
Notice that I put some lip gloss on? 


Photo #4

 I swear she didn't have any wine. "Do it again, mom. I'll open my eyes real big this time."

Photo #5

Yep. She did. Really big.

Photo #6

Seriously? I'm going blind from the flash with all these pictures and you close your eyes?!?!

Photo #7

Ok. I'm just done. Actually, we usually take a lot more. K1 starts getting really goofy and if we are early enough to the show, we will spend ten minutes sticking our tongues out at the camera. Like we did here at "Sister Act".
No one can accuse us of not having a good time. 

Parking = $4
Ticket = $220/season tickets
Being crazy with your daughter = truly "priceless"

Friday, March 22, 2013

T.V. Puppy

This little guy is a lot of work! Not difficult, but lots of little body parts. Good thing it works up quickly. K1 just loves him and is ready for me to make another one in worsted weight yarn for a bigger size. I like the little one with the soft baby yarn. So soft and cuddly! Ready to make your own? I hope you do and share pictures with me. My crocheted Fiona hat has been such a huge hit, I wanted to do another Adventure Time project for all you fans. You may use my pattern, but please do not sell it as your own or I won't continue offering the patterns for free and if you use any of my patterns, I would appreciate the acknowledgement. I've also included a Scribd link at the end for easy printing or saving, but this is new to me so let me know if it works for you. Thanks!


Adventure Time
T.V. Puppy
Yarn: I used left over baby yarn in light purple, white, black, yellow, pink and mint green. You only need small amounts for each. You can make T.V. a larger size by using worsted weight yarn with the appropriate hook. (Note: you most likely won’t be able to find black in baby yarn. Use Caron Simple Soft, or similar, instead.)
Hook: F if you are using baby yarn, G or H if you are using worsted weight (H if you crochet tightly)
Other supplies: needle, small amount of fiberfill for stuffing, contrasting yarn for embroidering (optional)

Special Note: Because of the striping, you cannot work this project in the typical rounds of amigurumi. You must finish off each round on the body to match up the lines, as indicated in the pattern.


Body
Make Magic Circle Using purple and f hook
 Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 6 sc; place a marker to indicate beg of round; move marker up as each round is completed. Join with a slst to first sc.
Rnd 2: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. Work 2 sc in each st around. Join with a slst to first sc– 12 sts.
Rnd 3: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. *sc in next st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc– 18 sts.
Rnd 4: * ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc in next 2 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc– 24 sts.
Rnd 5: * ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc in next 3 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc– 30 sts.
Rnd 6: * ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc in next 4 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc– 36 sts.
Rnd 7: * ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc in next 5 st; 2 sc in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc – 42 sts.
Rnd 8-14: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc around. Join with a slst to first sc and switch to green– 42 sts. (insert hook into top of 1st sc, but pull up next color instead of the current color)
Rnd 14-15: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc around. Join with a slst to first sc and switch to purple
– 42 sts.
Rnd 16: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc around. Join with a slst to first sc and switch to yellow – 42 sts. .
Rnd 17-19: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc around. Join with a slst to first sc and switch to pink. – 42 sts.
Rnd 20-24: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc around. Join with a slst to first sc – 42 sts.
Rnd 25: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. *sc in next 5 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc – 36 sts.
Rnd 26: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. *sc in next 4 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc – 30 sts.
Rnd 27: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. *sc in next 3 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc. – 24 sts.
Rnd 28: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. *sc in next 2 st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc – 18 sts.
~Stuff~
Rnd 29: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. *sc in next st; sc2tog (sc decrease) in next st* rep between * around. Join with a slst to first sc – 12 sts.
Rnd 30: ch 1 and work 1 sc into joining sc. sc2tog (sc decrease around –6 sts. 
Finish off leaving long enough tail to weave in and pull tight.

Ears
In purple - make 2
Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 4 sc
Rnd 2-4: Sc around, finish off leaving long enough tail to sew onto body.

Eyes
In white – make 2
Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 6 sc
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around - 12 sc, change to black in last st and leave long tail of white for sewing onto body.
Rnd 3: Slst around in back loops only. Finish off and weave in black.

Snout
 In purple
Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 6 sc
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around - 12 sc
Rnd 3-5: Sc around, finish off leaving long enough tail to sew onto body. I used a darker shade of purple to embroider on the nose. Nothing fancy, just sew yarn around one sc at the end of the snout. You can stuff or leave empty. The same applies for the tongue (in darker pink).
Horn
In white
Rnd 1:  ch 8, join to form ring being careful not to twist.
Rnd 2: Sc around - 8 sc
Rnd 3: Decsc, 6 sc
Rnd 4: Decsc, 2sc, decsc
Rnd 5: Sc, decsc, sc
Rnd 6: Decsc, slst to join leaving long tail to sew. Thread yarn onto needle and bring tail through the top of the horn down to the base. Tuck your starting tail into the horn and stuff lightly before using the long tail to sew onto top of body.

Legs
In pink – make 2
Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 4 sc
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around - 8 sc
Rnd 3-8: Sc around, finish off leaving a long tail to sew onto body and stuff lightly. Attach to bottom of body.
Note: You can make these as short or long and you wish - just add or delete in rounds 3 to 8.

Arms
In purple - make 2
Rnd 1: Make magic circle and work 6 sc
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc in each st around - 12 sc
Rnd 3-15: Sc around, stuff, and finish off leaving long enough tail to sew onto body.
Note: I made longer arms like the photo of him swinging. You can make these as short or long and you wish - just add or delete in rounds 3 to 15.
Tail
In purple
Slst in the back of body where you want to place the tail. Ch 7. Working back on the chain, 2sc, 2hdc, 2 dc and then slst in body. Finish off leaving long enough tail to weave in.

Easy printing/saving here:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sneak Peek

I finally finished my Adventure Time baby T.V. and he is adorable! However, with all that color changing and body parts, it's taking me forever to get the instructions typed up. I'm hoping for tomorrow, so cross your fingers. Meanwhile, here's your sneak peek!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shamrock Classic 2012

K2 has been participating in a running club, the Mustang Movers, at school and they wanted to celebrate the end of the program by competing in a race. Some of the kids ran the 1 mile fun run and others challenged themselves with the 5k. Most of these kids had never ran in a race before, so it was a big deal. K2 knew that she would do the 5k from the beginning since she has ran in one before. 

Our local running club, the Brandon Running Association, hosts the Shamrock Classic every year in our home town so we decided to not just go to support K2, but to run with her. I love our family races and this one did not disappoint. It was the 35th annual Shamrock Classic, and we are so glad we decided to join in.
K2 stuck by her dad during the race. I think that we've only ran once since the Gasparilla races, so we just took it easy and enjoyed ourselves.
The morning started chilly, but I quickly warmed up while running. Some day, when I get my breathing under control, I will start working on lengthening my stride. Until then, my focus is breathing and not clenching my fists. It's a bad habit that causes my shoulders and neck to ache. You'll see me shaking them out periodically while I run just to re-enforce the correction. 
Our biggest surprise of the race was K1 winning 3rd place in her division. We all missed her name being called because we really weren't expecting to win anything. K2 kept insisting that she heard her sister's name called, so we double checked and sure enough she won a trophy! How cool is that? Her first one. 

This was a fun race and even more so since we all did it together as a family. I'm so proud of us for finding an activity that we can do together that keeps us active and healthy. I'm looking forward to the next race!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blueberry, Walnut, and Brie Tarts

I copied this recipe to try last year and just now got around to trying it. It was so long ago, I can't even remember where I found it. I think I put it off because I thought it was going to be too hard. Then blueberry season was over, so I put it off again.  Boy was I surprised when I discovered how easy these were to make.  Want to make some, too?


INGREDIENTS:


1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/4 cup blueberry (or blackberry) preserves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1 round (8 oz) Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into 24 chunks
Fresh blueberries, if desired

DIRECTIONS:


  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal. 
  • Cut each into 6 squares. Gently press squares into mini muffin cups (dough will not completely cover inside of cup; do not press too much). Spoon 1/2 teaspoon preserves into each cup. Top with rounded 1/2 teaspoon nuts and 1 cheese chunk.
  • Bake 16 to 19 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Cool in pan on cooling rack 5 minutes; remove from muffin cups. Garnish each with fresh blueberries.





Monday, March 11, 2013

Flashdance

Oh, what a feeling!


Surprisingly, this wasn't K1's favorite show. I think she might have seen it differently if she had seen the movie. It was rather nostalgic for me. I knew what to expect from the story and she did not. It did seem like  there was a lot of the story line lost with the restrictions of a stage versus the film version, but I still enjoyed it.


Funny how it doesn't seem to matter if she knows the story with the classic Broadway shows. Something must just get lost in the translation and I can't put my thumb on it. Regardless, K1 wasn't impressed.


Good thing she brought a book.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Conversation with K1

 K1: "Wait, what? 
You won a trip to any Sandals resort?"

Me: "Yes. We picked Jamaica."

 K1: "Oh, this is going to be so much fun! This will be a great spring break."

Me: "It's only for two. You aren't going."

K2: "What about me? You know I'm your favorite."

 K1: "That's not fair. You know you would rather take me."

Me: "That's true, but it's for adults only."

 K1: "So, you'll bring me back something great, right?"

Me: "Of course. You know I will."

K1: "Ok. I guess you can go then."

Me: "Gee thanks...I'm glad I have your permission."

Ok, so that's not exactly how it went, but pretty close. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to post these pictures of my beautiful girls. But, I am going to Jamaica for spring break. Without them. They will survive with grandma and grandpa for the week, I promise. 

Now where is that pool boy with my drink?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

'S Wonderful at the Straz

Hooray for Gershwin! 
We love his music, so we knew we would love this Broadway Musical.
It's an all music, all dancing show that moves non-stop. The pianist was incredible and I still can't figure out how he was able to play for that long. My fingers would have been screaming out in pain.
This show was in the Jaeb Theater, which is set up with tables and chairs for a more "dinner theater" type atmosphere. It was a nice change to be in a more intimate setting.
K1 got the opportunity to pose with the cast after the show. What a great group! The woman on the far left, Tai Jemison, is actually a USF graduate (where I work now) so it was 'S Wonderful to see her perform. Her stage presence was hard to ignore and her sultry voice chilled me when she sang "Summertime", my all-time favorite Gershwin tune.
I heard some complaints about the show, but more praise. If you want more acting, this isn't where you'll find it. However, if you love musicals, you'll love it. I love Gershwin and all the "traditional" songs from his most famous shows, so it was perfect for us. Four more shows to go this season...guess I need to get my tickets ordered for next season!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Crispy Edamame

Facebook followers saw that I was making this for dinner Monday night. Tuesday got away from me and I didn't get this posted, but Wednesday is just as good, right?
I pinned this little gem from All Recipes Pinterest Boards. If you aren't already familiar with the All Recipes web site, you should really go. It huge! Anything and everything you could ever want to eat is there with plenty of reviews and reader feedback. Too bad I didn't read all the feedback before I started. 
Pinterest Pin
Mine didn't turn out so crispy, but there are some suggestions to help that on the All Recipe site. Regardless, I'm a big fan of edamame and I liked it. Want to try it?

Crispy Edamame


Ingredients


  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled
  • edamame (green soybeans)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


Directions


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain. Let dry for crispier results.
  2. Spread the edamame beans into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes - longer for crispier results.

This makes about 5 servings. Perfect for a side dish or just for snacking.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Work in Progress

Happy Friday! 

The local weather has predicted that we will be having a cold weekend, with a slight possibilty of snow. I know it's winter, but I live in Florida. This is BIG news. I'm sure it won't happen, but I'm ready to spend my weekend indoors as much as possible. Cooler weather means that I have the opportunity to catch up on projects that were left unfinished.

Hard to believe that it was way back in October that I started this baby afghan.
I have all the squares done and most of them sewn together. I have one row left and then will just need to put a pretty edging around it. I hope to show you the final project next week. 

I also have plans to sew up some napkins this weekend.
Isn't this pretty fabric? I think this would make a great tutorial. Maybe I can get that up next week, too.

K1 has been asking me to make some more Adventure Time related items, espeically withe popularity of my Fiona hat. I can't even remember where I got this image from it has been so long ago, but it's one of Rainicorn's puppies, T.V. 
He's pretty cute, so I think I will try to make up a pattern for him. Or her? I'm not really sure. There is such a huge anime audience, I think this one will be popular. Speaking of, fans...what else would you like to see? Is there something that you would like to see a sewing or crochet pattern for? Leave me a comment below and I'll see what I can come up with.

Stay warm and happy crafting, everyone!