Crochet Bow

10 Mar

Now that I made 2 more Kitty hats, I remember now how I did the bow! So, I wanted to share the pattern.

Kitty Hats with Bows

Crochet Bow pattern

This was done with worsted weight yarn, in this case Red Heart Super Saver in Dark Orchid, and a size H hook.

Ch 2.
Round 1: 8 sc in 2nd chain from hook. Sl st in 1st st. Ch 1.
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch. (16) Sl st in 1 st. Ch 1.

First side of bow:
Round 1: sc in next 6 st. Ch 1. Turn
Round 2: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 4, 2 sc in last st (8). Ch 1. Turn
Round 3: sc across (8). Ch 1. Turn
Round 4: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 4, 2 sc in last st (10). Ch 1. Turn
Round 5: sc across (10). Tie off and weave in end.

Second side of bow:
Round 1: Sl st into 3rd st from first side. SC in next 6 st. Ch 1. Turn
Round 2: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 4, 2 sc in last st (8). Ch 1. Turn
Round 3: sc across (8). . Ch 1. Turn
Round 4: 2 sc in first st, sc in next 4, 2 sc in last st (10). Ch 1. Turn
Round 5: sc across (10). Tie off and weave in end.

Edging: sc around entire bow to finish off. Tie off and leave a long enough strand to attach to project.

If you want to make the whole kitty hat, I have how I do a the main beanie in this post, along with links to the patterns for the ears, eyes, and nose.

Ground Beef Gravy

3 Mar

I know, this doesn’t look very appetizing, but honestly, we really like it! It’s very simple to put together, and takes about 30 minutes to prep and cook to have a meal. Can’t beat that! I’ve served it over rice or mashed potatoes, and either way it’s great. Tonight, we added asparagus, thanks to a recent sale.

Ground Beef Gravy

Hamburger Gravy

What you need:

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 8 oz package mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon beef flavored instant bouillon
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cups milk

How to make it:

Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms, and cook until onions are translucent. Stir in the flour, bouillon, and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, to prevent lumps. Cook, while continuing to stir, until it boils and thickens, about 5 minutes.

Chicken & Spinach Tortellini Soup

2 Mar

We have had a lot of  Chicken & Wild Rice Soup lately, which we love. I recently got a coupon from Safeway for a free bag of refrigerated tortellini, so I figured that I could do a similar soup with the tortellini instead of rice. It turned out really well, and while I don’t get tortellini often, it’s a recipe to keep on hand in case I do.

Chicken & Spinach Tortellini Soup

Chicken & Spinach Tortellini Soup

What you need:

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon seasoning blend, like Tastefully Simple Rustic Herb blend or Mrs. Dash
1 8 oz package mushrooms, sliced
6 cups chicken broth
1 12 oz package refrigerated tortellini
2 cups cooked chicken
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

How to make it:

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook until tender.

Add mushrooms and seasoning blend. Cook a few minutes.

Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add chicken and tortellini. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.

Add spinach, and cook until it is wilted.

Garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

PVC Stand for 4’9″ Doll for Child Passenger Safety

20 Feb

I actually made this a few months ago, but am just now getting around to sharing it!

After completing a few PVC pipe projects, I am always looking for other creative ways to use it. We have a 4’9″ demonstration doll for our Child Passenger Safety Technician classes, and I like to take it to check events and informational booths we set up to have a visual idea of what 4’9″ really is. This poor guy has been bungie-strapped to many poles, posts, easy-up sides, and usually slumps down pretty early on in our events.

So, I came up with the idea of making a stand for the doll using PVC pipe. At first, I just had a straight stand, but then decided to add the bar off to the side to make it like the height requirement bars for rides at amusement parks. The bottom of the bar is 4’9″, so kids can walk up to it and see if they are as tall as the bar.

Of course, being 8 years old or 4’9″ isn’t the magic age or height to stop using a booster seat, so I also included the 5 Step Test from Safety Belt Safe USA.

So, here is what the sign says:

Your child must be at least
to use just the seat belt.
Or, they need to pass the 5-Step Test.
The 5-Step Test
Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If not, use a booster seat to give them a boost!

He still slumps down a little bit, but it holds him up better than a bungie-strap!

All PVC is 3/4″ diameter. Need 14.5 feet of PVC pipe, 3 caps, 5 tees, and 5 elbows to complete.
Base: 2 10″ pieces, 4 3-1/2″ pieces, 2 tee fittings, 4 elbows
Then, 2 43″ pieces into 2 tee fittings
Arm props: 2 6″ pieces with caps on the end
Then, 2 11″ pieces, one goes into elbow, one goes into tee fitting
10″ piece across top, 10″ piece out the side with a cap on the end

Stand for 4'9" Doll

All the dolls at a seat check event

Honey Mustard Chicken

16 Feb

A friend of mine posted this recipe a couple of nights ago, and it just sounded so good. And, it definitely was. I did make a few of my own substitutions, based on what I had on hand at home. This one will be made again soon! I may try it in the slow cooker next time, I think it would work well in there as well.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Honey Mustard Chicken

What you need:

1/2 cup Dijon mustard (I used spicy brown because that is all I had)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon or fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried seasoning (I used 1 teaspoon of Tastefully Simple’s Rustic Herb Seasoning)
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, either pounded thin or sliced in half through the thickness if they are very thick

How to make it:

Combine the mustard, honey, soy sauce, and your choice of seasoning in a bowl.

Oven-baking method:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray or oil. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the dish, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 F.

Slow cooker method:

Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock with cooking spray or oil. Arrange chicken breasts in slow cooker, and pour sauce over the chicken. Bake on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours.

Meatball Soup

16 Feb

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of this soup, but there is a good reason – it got eaten too quickly! This is an easy soup to put together, and ready in about a 1/2 hour.

Meatball Soup

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
2 stalks of celery, diced
6 cups beef broth
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (or, if you are like me and are out of canned tomatoes, use 1 8-oz can of tomato sauce and 1/2 lb diced fresh tomatoes)
1 15-oz package frozen fully cooked meatballs
1 cup uncooked pasta, such as rotini, penne, small shells, or small elbows
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until softened. Pour in the beef broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Add meatballs and boil another 10 minutes. Stir in uncooked pasta, garlic salt, and ground black pepper, and cook for 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir in parsley. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Crochet Mario and Luigi Hats

15 Feb

When I saw these hats, I knew exactly who I needed to make them for. He’s a tough little guy who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and he just had his 6th birthday. I found some play mustaches to order to go with these, and he grinned from ear to ear when he saw it all. I’m glad to put a smile on his face, although it’s not hard to because he’s such a happy, easy-going kid. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn in Cherry Red and Paddy Green, and used a size H hook.

Mario Hat Mario and Luigi HatsHere is the link to the pattern for these hats: Super Mario/Luigi Hat Pattern

If you find it hard to follow, scroll down to the comments and someone wrote parts of it out to make it hard to follow. My only change was that I did one less decrease, so Row 31 was 1 sc in each sc to keep it 72 around instead of 66. They were a little big on him, but I wanted them to be bigger and not too small.

I have plans to make these hats in blue for a couple of members of my Kiwanis Club for convention. Instead of the “M”/”L”, they will attach the Kiwanis logo. I will share once I get the yarn and get them made!

Eyeglasses from Zenni Optical

14 Feb

I know I put this in my Coupon category, and while it isn’t technically a coupon, it is a money saver!

Over the summer, my 2 girls and I all went for eye exams, and found out we all needed eyeglasses. Ouch. Double ouch. Triple ouch to our bank account. I think we all know how much glasses cost, and thankfully we have decent vision insurance that covered most of the cost of a pair of eyeglasses for each of us.

But, knowing how we are, I knew that at some point those pairs would get lost, broken, misplaced, etc. So, I had heard about the website, Zenni Optical, from a few friends, and decided to check it out to see if we could get a few pairs as back ups. They have frames starting as low as $6.95, shipping is $4.95, and they have options for different types of lenses, they have tinted lenses, and they offer clip-on sunglasses as well.

They also have this neat feature where you can upload a picture and “try on” a pair of glasses.

I signed up for their e-mails, and after a few weeks, they had a coupon code for 10% off. I decided on the pair shown above, entered in my prescription, and waited patiently the 2 weeks for them to arrive.

Zenni Optical eyeglasses

These are frame #339627, which are $6.95. I got the free lenses, added anti-reflective coating for $4.95, shipping was $4.95, coupon code gave me 10% off, so my total was $15.66. I wear these out on occasion, but mostly these are in my nightstand for when I want to watch TV or read in my room.

I waited until a promo to order again, which was right after Thanksgiving. This time the promo was buy 2, get 1 free, so I decided to get each of us a pair. We all picked out frames that were $9.95, Katie picked #281125, Sophia picked #297216, and I picked #281221. We got the free lenses, added the $4.95 anti-reflective coating, and shipping was again $4.95. Cost for all three pairs : $34.75. Can’t beat that! We took these on a recent trip so that our nice glasses for school wouldn’t get lost or broken. We all love the pairs we picked out. I’ve also been wearing my pair on a daily basis just because I like them so much.

Our Zenni Optical eyeglasses

We have only worn these minimally, but have held up well so far. They aren’t really fancy, but they are still nice frames and lenses that get the job done – we can see! This is a great, cost-effective way to get glasses, either as a main pair, a back up pair, or a pair or two to wear for different occasions.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or asked to write this, and I have no affiliation with Zenni Optical. I just like to share a good deal when I’ve found one! 

Autism Awareness Puzzle Knit Hat

14 Feb

This hat was requested by a friend of mine. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I was certainly up to the challenge. I have knit scarves and blankets, but not a hat. Plus, this hat pattern uses a technique I was not familiar with before, intarsia, where you use a separate bobbin of yarn for each color in a row. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube, practiced on some scrap yarn, and was ready to give it a go.

Now, I did do a little crossing in mine, just because I was getting tangled up enough with all the bobbins of yarn already, but these pictures give you an idea of what that involves. At times, yarn was everywhere!

Start of the Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat One set of puzzle pieces done

It took me about a week to really sit down and get it done, and I am very pleased with how it came out. I love the colors, and I really like the Vanna’s Choice yarn. It’s the same yarn I used for the green in the Ninja Turtle crochet hats. It was tricky to get the ribbing (K1, P1) and the color changes done at the start of the hat, but I made it work. I have plans to make another one, and I may do the ribbed band at the bottom in the navy color, and then start the puzzle piece pattern.

Finished Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat Finished Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat Finished Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat

Here is a link to the pattern: Autism Awareness Puzzle Hat Knitting Pattern. It was easy to follow, and the charts for the puzzle pieces were amazing.

Crochet Blankets

10 Feb

Along with the hats, I have a few blanket projects that I have completed over the last few months. I already shared the knitted blankets that I made, but I decided to try out crocheted blankets as well.

I started out small. Our previous neighbors had just had a baby, and their now second youngest asked if I could make him a blanket when he saw the other blankets I was working on. He likes to carry toys and things around as he goes, so I knew that a smaller blanket would be easier for him to take around. I found a green yarn in my stash, that was his favorite color, and found a pattern I had wanted to try out, Little Boys Favorite Throw. I don’t remember how many chains I started with, but I want to say it was around 45. It wasn’t very big, about 13″ x 21″, even after adding an extra row to the border, but he loved it.

Start of the blanket

Start of the blanket

Almost finished with rows

Almost finished with rows

Finished blanket

Finished blanket

After that, I was a lot more confident with my skills, and apparently so was my husband, because he asked if I could make a blanket for one of his co-workers that was expecting a baby boy. JoAnn Fabrics happened to have a 50% off all baby yarn sale at that time, so I picked up 2 skeins of Bernat Baby Blanket yarn in the Little Boy Dove color. I found a cute pattern, Baby Bobble Blanket, and made a few modifications. Instead of 5 in each cluster stitch, I only did 3, but still got a good “bubble” with each stitch. I also used a white yarn for the edging/border, and did the following:

Start white color in corner.
Round 1: sc in every stitch, sl st in first sc at end
Round 2: ch 3, 2 dc in the same stitch, skip ch 1, sl st next 2 stitches, skip ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 1, repeat from all around, making sure to make the “shell” in each corner. Sl st to ch 3 and fasten.

This made a little bubbling in the border to go along with the bobbles in the blanket. It came out to be about 36″ x 36″

IMG_20141209_224835_172 IMG_20141209_225359_092 IMG_20141209_231010_188 IMG_20141209_231036_694

After completing this blanket, my husband said he had another co-worker having a baby, and asked if I could make a blanket for them. With the previous sale at JoAnn Fabrics, I bought a Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn in Pastel Blue, which was perfect since they were having a boy. I decided to use the Little Boys Favorite Throw pattern again, and do the full blanket. It was quite time-consuming, but I was really happy with how it turned out. It’s a very nice pattern, and may be my go-to pattern for baby blankets in the future. This blanket was 36″ x 36″ as well.

IMG_20150206_221423_692 IMG_20150206_221612_459 IMG_20150206_221655_987 IMG_20150206_221736_192

I have plans to make blankets for my girls at some point too, but I need to decide on a pattern and size for them.


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