Monday, October 31, 2011


I didn't go all out decorating for Halloween this year. I did the bare minimum. We only took down 3 or 4 totes from the attic. So I didn't really bother taking pictures. I did, however, make some Halloween treat bags for my sons' teachers and aides. One bag for one school/kiddo and 7 for the other.

I used 2 different colored ribbon for most of the bags for a quirky look. My husband made chocolate cake balls and chocolate almond cake balls to put inside. They also contained bookmarks that my sons made for them. My sons (well with my help with the youngest) also made coffin shaped bookmarks for their classmates.

The oldest:

The youngest:

Boy that was a chore. My youngest was tired of doing these after 7. I made him make 21.

Free stuff - yeah!

My husband's boss's wife (snicker) cleaned out her crafting supplies and sent the stuff she didn't want to me. She sent 2 good sized bags of stuff. Here it all is:

There are ribbons, homecoming mum supplies, miniature supplies, some jewelry stuff, batting, etc.

Pillow case dresses

Well I didn't have girls only stinky boys, so I didn't get to make cute frilly stuff for my kiddos. But my brother had a girl (yeah!), so I got to make some pillow case dresses for her 2nd birthday.

I picked up some pillowcases from Goodwill throughout the year.

Here was my first dress:

I had to redo the hem of this pillowcase because it had some weird foldover hem. I realize that kinda defeats the purpose of buying pillowcases to make these dresses (Not having to do the hem), but I didn't know until after I bought the pillowcase. I liked it well enough but I decided to add some embelishments to the rest.

Pink and white flowers with lace:

I added coordinated lace that I already had in my stash to the bottom of this one. After I made this one, I decided to add bias tape to the armholes. It was too much of PITA to fold down the hem for the armholes.

White and green gingham:

I added some buttons and flowers to the bottom of this one and white bias tape around the armholes.

I bought a set of pillowcases for the next 2 dresses, but I embellished them differently for 2 different looks.

Purple with purple polka dots:

I made a purple ruffle out of bias tape for this one and added a bright lime green pattern to it with my sewing machine. I liked how it turned out, but it took FOREVER to do, LOL. I also added purple bias tape to the arm holes.

Green and Purple with polka dots:

I added coordinated lace and bias tape to this one. The colors matched each other better than the picture shows, but it was not a perfect match. I think it looked quirky but cute.

I LOVED making these. Since I have a new niece I hope I get to make more of these soon.

Chair pockets

Last year I made some chair pockets for one of Colin's teachers. This summer another teacher asked me to make some chair pockets for her as well. I added a new feature to these, a place you can put the student's name. Before they were just the chair cover with a pocket, now they have a piece of clear plastic to hold the kiddos' names.

Here are some of the ones I made last year (folded up) plus some pillows she asked for. I made more than is in the picture but I forgot to take pictures of everything.

Jello Shots - Fancy Style

I can't believe I forgot to post this on my blog .

Okay, I'm going to start off this post by stating I don't really do alcohol, so its weird to be posting about jello shots of all things. But I found this really cool link on instructables for jello shots without the mess and posted in on my facebook. Long story short my brother in law asked me to make some for the adults at his party this weekend (combination of his annual crawfish party and high daughter's high school graduation). I asked if he was sure and he said yes. Well I thought he wanted me to make some similar to what was in the instructable (found out later he just wanted jello shots, he wasn't specific).

My husband and I made these together. We had a lot of fun with them and would have made more but we ran out of time and places to put them in our refrigerator.

Anyway here is how they turned out:

Limes are lime jello with tequila - funny story my husband had to ask one of my neighbor's for a cup of tequila when we were putting these together
Oranges are orange jello with orange rum
Lemons are lemon jello with Absolut Citron (lemon flavored vodka)
Strawberries are strawberry jello with creme de banana
Watermelons are watermelon jello with Absolut Kurant (black currant flavored vodka) in a cucumber shell

Some of it stacked in the frig:

These 2 cake pans held all of the lemons, limes and oranges after we had cut them. We had several more pans holding the strawberry and the watermelon jello shots.

Here is what the watermelon jello shots looked like before we cut them.

Hints and Tips - if you decide to do this:
+ The watermelon cucumber is neat looking but if they got too warm, they sweat and the jello would not stay in place, so keep them very, very cool.
+ Use a very sharp knife when cutting the wedges, or like we did, an electric knife.
+ When preparing citrus, cut from stem to blossom end to cut the fruit in half. Then peel the fruit out to clean out the shell. With limes, you may also have to cut the white line in the middle then turn the fruit inside out to get it out. Limes were a PITA and I won't do them again, unless specifically asked.
+ Don't cut off too much of the bottom of the strawberries. Strawberries are hollow and the jello will just pour through if there is a hole. If you find this happened to you, pour some of your extra jello (if you have any) into a different container and after it has set, you can use that to stuff the strawberries. Its not as pretty but it beats wasting a strawberry after you prepped it.

Additional ideas:
+ Our original idea for the watermelon jello was to use chunks of watermelon and create a cup, but we didn't have a small tool to carve out a cup for the jello. So we would have had to cut the chunks too big for bite size.
+ Apples could be hollowed out into a bowl shape like the citrus and filled with jello. We were going to do this and fill them with cranberry jello, but we ran out of time and space. We even bought caramel with the idea of dipping some of the apples too.
+ We bought a pineapple to do similar to what we were going to do with the watermelon. But after that didn't work, we didn't bother.
Really the skies the limits with this idea.
+ Instead of cold water use ice to get the right amount of cold liquid, to keep the potency of the alcohol when the hot water is added.

Here is the original instructable:
We didn't really look at the recipes on this instructable. I think my husband found some recipes somewhere else. But we did get the idea from here.

This would also be cute without the alcohol for kids parties. My sister in law asked me to make some for my nephew's birthday that he could enjoy. He was pretty disappointed that he couldn't have any of these because they were for adults only, LOL. And yes, they were well guarded from underaged revelers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tunisian crochet and other similar techinques

I was looking on the other day and saw someone's Tunisian crochet maze project and was fascinated. Here's the post:
I had never heard of Tunisian crochet, but it looked really cool. Colin used to be fascinated with mazes and so I thought I'd see how hard it was to learn how to do this technique. Now I've had a crohook for a while but had never used it, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn. But where to start looking.... YOUTUBE!!!!

I LOVE Youtube for instructional videos. Anyway, I thought I'd share what I found on Tunisian crochet/afghan stitch, crohook/croknit/crochenit/double ended crochet, knooking, etc (all different techniques).

First here are the stitches, some in video form and some just picture form:

Here are the instructional videos that I found on Tunisian Crochet:
Tunisian Crochet terminology: she talks about how the stitch names are not standardized and it can be confusing and you need to make sure you know what stitch it is for the pattern.

Cast on and Simple Stitch:

Long Tail Cast on:

Simple Stitch:

Cast off:
single crochet bind off:
slip stitch bind off:
knit stitch bind off:

Cross Stitch:

Offset Cross Stitch:

Knit Stitch:
(she calls it the stockinette stitch):

Purl Stitch:

Reverse Stitch:

Honeycomb Stitch (stitch combination of simple stitch and purl stitch):

Arrowhead Stitch:

Double Stitch:

Post Stitch Bobble:

Easy Bobble:

Triple or Treble:

Gobelin Stitch:

Diagonal Stitch (Gobelin on the Diagonal):

Simple Bar Stitches (2 stitches):

Increasing in the Back Hump:
Increase simple stitch:
Increase forward pass:


Twisted Simple Stitch:

Twisted Knit Stitch:

Rib Pattern (uses simple stitch and twisted simple stitch):
Shell Stitch:
Forward row:
Reverse row:

Tunisian in the Round:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Color Changing (whole row):

Color Changing (within the row):
Part 1:
Part 2:
she calls it Intarsia:

Carrying Yarn to the Right (helpful info for color changing):
Carrying Yarn to the Left (helpful info for color changing):

Tunisian Crochet Cable scarf pattern:

Tunisian crochet adding a shell stitch in it:

Just for fun someone made a rug with Tunisian crochet:


Entrelac (like a combination of Tunisian and crochet you don't HAVE to have a special hook, just a regular crochet hook):
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7:
Part 8:
Part 9:
Part 10:
Part 11:
Part 12:
Part 13:
Part 14:
Part 15:
Part 16:
Part 17:

Linked Crochet Stitch (it looks kind of like a combination of Tunisian on a regular crochet hook, very neat looking technique, sort of like the Entrelac pattern):

Double-Ended (crohook, croknit):
Part 1:
Part 2:
in the round:

basic knit or slip stitch bind off:
cast on and knit:
bobble (she is showing a left hand technique):
full length video by Leisure Arts for videos below:
binding off:
Picking up stitches:
Slip stitch and foundation chain:
In the round:
Increasing and decreasing:
Bar increase:
Make one purl increase:
Make one increase:
Purl bar increase:
Purl decreases:
2 together:
Purl 2 together decrease:
Purl 2 together backloop decrease:
Slip1, knit1 pass slip stitch over decrease:

I hope that this was helpful to someone. I had fun looking up all of the information. If you have any additional information on any of these techiniques (better videos, different stitches, more free patterns) let me know and I'll post them. I tried to post like stitches together. If i messed up because something was called a different stitch, let me know, I'll fix it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's the easiest stuff to recycle

My local suburb doesn't have curbside recycling. You have to hunt down where you can take your recyclables. But here are a few things you can recycle with little to no effort:

- Gift bags - this should be a "well duh!" but you would be surprised at how many birthday parties I've been to where these get thrown away. All you need to do is empty them, take off any tags and fold them and put them away for another use. Next party/holiday, pull one out and reuse them. Plus it saves you money on buying gift bags in the future. Win-Win!

- Tissue paper - now I know not many people think of this. Some people who save gift bags often don't save their tissue paper from those gift bags. All you need to do is take a few seconds to smooth it out and fold it up to store. When you put paper into gift bags, it gets crinkled anyway so don't sweat it. I only throw out tissue paper that is horribly wrinkled AND torn.

- Glass Bottles and Jars - I don't know of a local recycler of glass (I haven't really looked since I reuse almost all of my glass bottles and jars). Bottles and jars can be reused to store tons of stuff from nails to craft supplies to leftover food. They can also be used as crafts themselves. I use alot of mine to make halloween props.

Notice I didn't mention cans, newspaper, plastic. I figured those were well duhs also.

I just wanted to mention a few things that may be overlooked at your house.