Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Going away…

to bigger and hopefully better things!  I am moving this blog over to a new website.  It's called A Simple Homestead and will be a combination of my personal blog, my recipe blog and an old website I've had around for years.

I plan to have posts about homesteading, crafts, homemaking, family and recipes.  I hope you stop over for a visit!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring crafting

Sometimes it feels as though I’m not spending enough time working on crafts, but when I look back, I’ve actually accomplished more than expected.
My daughter is growing like a weed and I thought it would be great if I could figure out how to sew up duplicates of her favorite pajamas – and maybe even enlarge them for the future.  I grabbed an old flannel sheet that had a tear – so I could practice without using “good” flannel.  I used the favorite as a template, cut up a pattern, and sewed them up.  I didn’t completely finish them because I wanted to just test it out.  Plus, the old flannel was worn thin in places and looked awful.  Now that I’ve learned a few tips … next stop, “real” jammies!
pajama templatesewn-up pajamas

Around February I got the itch to start making another doily.  I found a cute but simple looking Japanese pattern called 26-224-AMI Flower-patterned doily (free). I thought about using this as a project during my travels to Florida – but I actually finished it before I left!  So I quick blocked it up and gave it to my sister when we met.
Flower-patterned doily

The next project is a little sad for me.  Last year around this time I began working on a cardigan sweater for my daughter in a slightly larger size so she wouldn’t out-grow it right away.  I had completed all except one front placket and the sleeves, but sometime during the latter part of 2012, I had to move the project … and lost the pattern.  I think I found the same pattern online, but I was sure I was making a 3T and the online pattern didn’t have that size.  So … a month ago, I ripped it all apart.  Partially because I couldn’t guarantee the size and because if it was a 3T, my “sprout” will soon be out of that size anyway.
frogged sweater

Despite all the growing going on in our house, Emma is still short enough she needs a stool to stand at the sink to wash hands and brush her teeth.  Our problem was that the stool we had had these hard non-skid ridges on the top that were difficult to stand on with socks or bare-feet.  We improvised for a while with a towel on top, but I knew we needed a better solution.  So I found some scrap fabric, determined the dimensions, stuffed a folded-over old t-shirt in the middle and sewed it up.  It has elastic straps to go over the legs of the stool and to keep it from sliding off.
step stool cover

And now for something completely different … Emma and I made these together.  I had bought some felt, 1” magnets and wooden letters.  She helped me paint the letters and I assembled them to go on our fridge.  I started off being precise with one color per letter, but she smeared all hers together and it created a cool marbling effect … so I followed her example and replicated it.  Looking back, maybe I should have used more felt colors than pink and orange.
alphabet magnets

I also “finished” another The Gift Doily, but I’m only going to show a part of it so you can see the colors. It hasn’t been blocked yet so it won’t lay flat and looks strange. Actually this picture looks strange anyway – it’s supposed to be a lovely moss green on the outside. Looks more grey here.
2013_04_15 468 sm unblocked
Whew – it’s starting to sound like a lot of crafting.  But remember when I said I didn’t feel like I was getting anything done?  Time to do some quick projects … washcloths!
I found a pattern that was printed out in my pattern stash … and then had a hard time locating it again online to link to it.  You can find it in the archives at Brenda Stratton – Washcloth.  I made two of these in different yarns – one with a finished edge and one left as-is (which I like better).
Brenda Stratton – Baby Washcloth #1 Brenda Stratton – Baby Washcloth #2

When I was pregnant with Emma and had to go to all sorts of prenatal appointments, I made a bunch of dishcloths.  I made this pattern before – it’s quick and simple, and I like the pattern.  It’s called Almond Back Loop Stitch washcloth.  I like this colorful one more than the blue one I made previously.
2013_04 Almond Back Loop Stitch Washcloth sm

The last dishcloth I made is a design I came up with myself.  Just a simple lace design in knit.  I’m currently having it tested and hope to publish it as a free project soon.  I call it Sick of Winter Washcloth.
sick of winter washcloth

Off to do some more crafting…
150X120 Spring Crochet Patterns Stitch & Share + Giveaway!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Translations of a Toddler

26.5 months
Mom and Dad are doing a pretty good job of figuring out what I’m communicating to them, but I thought you might like to hear what they’ve learned in the past couple of months.
  1. Most commonly used word these days? NO  (I am 2 years old after all!)
  2. Family members are Papa / Daddy, Mama / Mommy, Mamu (Grandma Nuland), Nana (Grandma H), Joe, Tee (Auntie Katie), Nanie (Auntie Jane), Nanna (Hannah), On (Anne).  They keep changing Grandpa / Bestefar / Nampa / Da so I don’t have that down yet.  I’ve been working on the others too including our good friend Weecie (Lucy).
  3. I’m learning my manners.  I’ve known pees for a while but can say deedo (thank you) also.  I say oh towwy (oh sorry) a lot even when there's nothing to be sorry about. I loooove talking on the phone. Pretend conversations are usually ended short with otay bye and a hang up. My parents get such a kick when they ask if I want something and I respond no tanks.  I melt their hearts when I say Ahjoo (love you) – especially when I do it spontaneously.
  4. My favorite beverages are apple joosh, pappy [Pepsi] – as well as milk, water and coffee, but I usually sign the latter.  [yes, my parents let me have a little coffee; mom figures the non-sugared caffeine is better for me than soda!]  I like pizza, pickles, spaghetti, and just about all types of sausage.  I really like hawdaw (hot dog … don’t they feed me well?), and cheese. I don't like when they serve edd (egg) or even potatoes - in any form, unless I can put ketchup on it. toddler dining fun
  5. Bob – really means, I want to watch Veggie Tales, and I want it now! If I don’t see it on the screen, it’s usually followed up by an Ahh! scream at the top of my lungs or I start fake-crying (which I’ve gotten really good at!).  Same goes for tootoo … better get Chuggington on that tv ASAP!
  6. Animals are no longer just sounds – I’m most familiar with pappy (puppy) and tittie (kitty), not to mention bay-er (two syllables) which is a bear but I get confused sometimes and it could also mean a lion.  Baby can be difficult for my parents because it could mean Baby Bear (one of my 3 fav stuffies), a doll, a Fisher Price baby, or my Cinderella night-light.
  7. We haven’t started me on toilet training yet, but I think that’s gonna be soon.  I still get pee and poop mixed up but I’m more likely to tell my parents now when they happen.  I know how to put on my tocks (socks) and sometimes my shooze; I keep getting new ones because my feet are growing as fast as I am!
I got to take a trip on an airplane and spend a week with Nana, Bestefar, Auntie Tee and Uncle Eric. It was nice to be able to wear very little clothes and not shiver when I got out of the tub.  I didn’t care much for the water rushing up to me but I had a lot of fun in the sand.  (The water was more fun in the pool). Not sure if I’ll ever get to go back until I can fly on my own … the return flight was not good.
at the beach

sigh… Mom started this post about me weeks ago, just after we got back from vacation. My vocabulary has increased almost exponentially since then (So they say; I don’t know what exponentially means).
These people have been in my prayers all along but now I can say their names:
Da (Grandpa), Aireet (Eric), Don, Mite (Mike), Nenni (Jenni), Race (Grace).  I’m working on the others and if I repeat after someone they are almost recognizable.
I can now say wawer (water), milt (milk), rawfee (coffee), nanny (candy), and nut (any type). While I don't chew yet, I know Papa likes num (gum).  My latest confusing word for Mama and Papa is bobbul. It could mean bottle, Bible or pillow depending on the context.  If you ask me a question, I’ll turn and say What?  I can tell Mama when she’s wearing a pitsy (pretty) necklace or nail polish.
Besides Bob, I like Tute (Petunia) and will occasionally say Warry (Larry). In addition to Veggie Tales I like watching Weesun (Wilson) and Toto (Coco) on Chuggington. I have a couple of balls and a bubble blower in the shape of Brewster, but he still gets called Weesun (Brewster is harder to say). Papa recently went away for a snowmobile weekend and brought me back a DVD along with a little Tombow (Matambo) matchbox car. I can also identify my Elmo and Minnie bibs, although Mishie (Mickey) is the sometimes the same as Minnie. the food hairstyling look
Instead of starting most of my sentences with Mama! or Papa!, they now are frequently started with I tsee seesee -the long version of "I see".  An example would be I tsee seesee fy (probably a butterfly).  When Mom and I took a trip to see some friends I tsee seesee hot (heart) – as I spotted a couple of Love’s gas stations.  Mom thinks I use that phrase to get in my new daily quota of words. Since I don’t know that many, I have to repeat them! Correction: Mom said just two days later I shortened it to I see. I learn so quickly it's hard for them to keep up!
I know how to ask for hep (help), say oopsie, and of course HEY! at the top of my lungs if they aren’t listening. If something happens, itsaday (it's ok) - and I may ask for a hud or a tiss (kiss). Papa has been working with me on other words like on moush and two mice.  I like riding on the tatture (tractor).  It is big but Papa hangs on tight so I don't faw (fall).  I enjoy coloring and writing with pens and pencils but Mama has to remind me to write on the pepper (paper).
finger painting
I have fun crawling into my new sleeping bag bet (bed). It is nice and I do just fine.  I know how to play the piano – and not just pounding. Sometimes I just my two index fingers!
The computer, the iPad, or really any electronic device I can get my hands on are wonderful toys – even if they don’t want me using them. I like playing with die cast tars (cars) and taking baths (eh - only sometimes). Now when my parents take me grocery shopping I insist on using the "shopper in training" carts and doing it myself. I even help by picking up blocks of cheese and other items that look interesting. It almost takes two additional people to take me shopping - one to handle the cart and other to chase after me through the store!
I know my body parts: knee, thigh, head, hond (hand), and net (neck). I can identify others but not pronounce them yet. I can count on, two, tree, four, and fuv. I like the colors puppul and ret and can identify boo, rarer (yellow) and geen with a little help.
Besides all this vocabulary, I recently discovered just how wonderful puddles can be – even when it’s only around 34°F and my feet and hands get soaking wet.  But watching snow disappear magically when dropped in a puddle is great fun! This week it snowed again and Papa laughed as I literally crawled and rolled in the snow - and not just because I couldn't walk.
snow kitty
I'm growing almost as fast as my list of words - still averaging about 1/2" per month so I'm now up to 37" although I stayed the same last month.  Even though I have my not-so-good moments, Papa and Mama say I’m a good girl and still the best thing that happened to them. 
almost 27 months

Monday, January 7, 2013

Crafting a New Year

I haven’t posted anything lately about the crafts I was finishing … probably because I didn’t finish much until recently.  In October, I finally “finished” a huge doily I’d made 18 months prior but never got around to blocking it.  I decided it would make a great wedding present for my uncle.  The pattern, called Rose Scallop Doily, was part of a Crochet-A-Long on ThreadAddicts Yahoo group.  Someone found a charted pattern online and “translated” it into written instructions.

From Craft pictures

Note: you can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Around the same time I finally finished my daughter’s curtains.  Yippee!  My first real sewing project completed and I didn’t even really follow a pattern.  The polka dot material was actually a 50¢ purchase from Goodwill – it’s a flannel sheet, but I thought it would look so cute as curtains.  I lined the curtains with some white cotton fabric I had on hand.  I would have gotten away with super-cheap curtains, but I wanted something a little warm and better able to block the light.  So I purchased some bright pink fleece to use as a secondary curtain. My husband got the bright idea of attaching them to the first curtains with snaps.  The other big expense were the extra large grommets – but it made hanging the curtains so easy.

From Craft pictures

In December, we had lots of things happening.  Of course, there was a second birthday party!  My brother-in-law, Eric and I had a grand time the day before we celebrated.  I found a recipe for marshmallow fondant and we made up Veggie Tales characters.  Em *loves* Veggies Tales … just ask her Papa who has to watch several episodes a day!  The cake was a bigger hit with the adults (dark chocolate with raspberry filling and Swiss buttercream frosting) … she didn’t eat much of it and preferred the homemade ice cream instead.

I was finally able to finish a shawl remake for my aunt.  I think she gave me the shawl back in the fall of 2010 because she wanted it a bit wider to help cover her arms.  Hopefully it’s big enough this time.  It’s not the same pattern as the one I finished in 2009.  I got tired of trying to make all those special stitches, so I just used a half-double crochet (hdc) in the back loop only.  I like how it turned out. I just hope it’s big enough now.

From Craft pictures

This year the department I work for decided to change how we handled Christmas and instead of chipping in for a larger gift for our manager and he in turn buying something for each of us, we decided on a theme, found a gift, and played a game to exchange them.  It was a lot of fun.  This year, the theme was “Green” – so we needed a gift relating either to the color or to something ecological.  I wrapped up a green colored reusable grocery bag and made a bag and a scrubbie to go with it.  Unfortunately, the bag ended up being a lot smaller than I expected – but they can use it as a produce bag (it’s made with nylon thread so it’s super-strong).

From Craft pictures

I got out my blocking board in late December and finished up several projects including quite a few snowflakes.  The first non-snowflake thread project is called “A Rose in a Dream” by Teresa Misale and it can also be found on the ThreadAddicts Yahoo group.  It was something made in 2011, but I never got around to washing and blocking it.  The second item is from Patricia Kristoffersen’s (I love her work!) Coasters by the Dozen book – #1 Striking coaster.  Not sure how it’s suppose to work as a coaster since it’s a bit 3-dimensional, but it’s pretty nonetheless.  I just made this last week.

From Craft pictures

And here comes the blizzard…

99 Snowflakes #2 99 Snowflakes #21 BHG – Chain Loop


99 Snowflakes #61 99 Snowflakes #53 Martha Stewart Crocheted
Snowflakes #3


99 Snowflakes #15 JPFun Eyelet Lace unknown snowflake



99 Snowflakes #20 99 Snowflakes #7 99 Snowflakes #3


99 Snowflakes #1 Snowcatcher Queen's Stage

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Year - 2013

I was almost reluctant to look back at 2012 and see the long list of what I didn’t accomplish, but I did it anyway just so I could see if I should move anything to this year’s list of goals.  Some highlights:

  • TRY one new recipe per week:  We started off strong, but eventually fell back to old favorites.  On average, we added at least one new recipe per month to our favorites, so I consider this a success.

Veggie Tales birthday cake  braised short ribs and polenta  fruitcake

  • INCREASE net worth: very slow progress, but it’s coming along.  I haven’t calculated the final totals, but I think we may have increased close to $20,000 over the past year.

  • LOSE 10-12 lbs. total:  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  I actually gained weight this past year, so I’m moving this over to 2013.  I started a great plan in the fall and it was working swimmingly … until I ended up with a cold that knocked me out for 3+ weeks and we had the time change so it was dark when I got home from work.  For the last two months I fell completely off the wagon, but I’m working on getting back now.

  • READ the Bible in three years: I changed this and started following along with the Good Morning Girls sessions.  I’m now a co-leader for our Facebook group, so it really keeps me focused.  Means I’m reading less passages, but I’m studying more.


  • FINISH all UFOs (unfinished objects):  I finished three of the five I had listed.  One of the remaining ones will probably get frogged (“rip-it”) and the other is the project from hell I really should finish.

pillows  rose scallops doily  shawl

  • TRY fair isle/colorwork in knitting: I did this right away in February but it wasn’t much of a success. The stitches weren’t at all even.  However, I took a class in knitting ornaments this fall and the one I made turned out better (sorry, don’t have a picture yet)

  snowflake bag    55 Christmas Balls to Knit

(click on the book title to see more information)

  • SEW something:  I made curtains for my daughter’s room.  Maybe not that impressive, but I was rather proud of myself – especially since I worked without a definitive pattern.

2013_01_05 Emma's curtains 27   2013_01_05 Emma's curtains 28

  • ORGANIZE the craft room: in late October my husband and daughter left for an extended weekend at Grandma’s house … without me (yes, it was planned).  I took advantage of the opportunity and completely pulled apart the craft room and reorganized it. Everything now has it’s own place … except for my stamps which are waiting for me to purchase some more drawers.  I even have a little sewing area.  I love it!  Now I just have to find time to use it more often.

2013_01_05 craft room 030  2013_01_05 craft room 031  2013_01_05 craft room 032

  • all other organization projects …. pffft.  Not happening.  At least until my daughter is a little less dependent (read: clingy!) when Mom is home.


Some of my goals for the new year include:

  • lose 10-12 lbs. total (see above).
  • continue with the Good Morning Girls sessions and maybe sign up for (in)RL this year.
  • read a book a month (children’s books don’t count!)
  • create a will (left over from last year)
  • make a quilt
  • make a sweater for myself
  • make play food and/or other activities for my daughter


What are your Goals and Resolutions for the new year?!