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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Avocados and Halloween- Ghoulishly Green

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Avocados from Mexico for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Halloween and avocados from Mexico are a great combination for parties and get togethers. Tomorrow is Halloween and "Spookamole" recipes are fast and wonderful to serve to adult guests while children go out trick or treating.
At the end of this feature are some free printable Zombie Apocalypse recipe cards for your own favorite Halloween recipes. 
Halloween recipes are available at Avocados from Mexico. My personal favorite is the

Lump Crab Guacamole:
2 avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, divided
1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
8 ounces lump crabmeat
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Lump Crab Guacamole: 
In a medium bowl, coarsely mash avocados. Add onion, chile, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice and 1 teaspoon of the salt; mix well. In a separate bowl, combine crabmeat, lime zest, chives, remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; toss gently. Mix crab mixture into the guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips. 
I use Alaskan Snow Crab of course, it's fairly inexpensive here, and it's my favorite. While I could weigh it out, generally I just buy a pound of clusters, and whatever doesn't get snacked on while getting it out of the shell winds up in the recipe! Snow crab clusters, like King crab are already cooked. Just thaw and go. 
2 of my favorite things in the world makes for a very rich dip that's just amazing.

Follow Mexican Avocados on Pinterest,  

Right click the image below and choose save target as or click on the image then hit the back button. The link will take you to a high quality 300 dpi layout that will print 4 cards on one page. I recommend using a black pen to fill them in!
zombie halloween printable recipe cards

Looking for more fun ways to Green your Halloween? Green Halloween has some EEK!-o-friendly ideas. (Green Halloween is a registered trademark of Green America.)
Visit Sponsor's Site

Star Mandala to color

I hope you enjoy this starry celestial 70s inspired mandala to color!

Click on the images for larger versions, print and color!

Small JPG version:
Large transparent PNG version:

Spoonflower 2 for 1 Fat Quarter Sale, spoons and other things

There are only 2 days left of Spoonflower's 2 for 1 fat quarter sale, and my dishtowel calender IS available now. I ordered my sample calendar in linen-cotton canvas and a fat quarter of that is 18x27 inches. It's opaque and heavy, and because of their printing methods has enough of an edge to just turn that over and hem it. The top will have a couple repeats of the border strip and can be turned into a casing for a dowel hanger. I'm deciding if I just want to turn and hem the edges or use a black bias tape to bind the edges.  I'll get a photo later of the fabric to post. We ordered a fat quarter of a Doctor Who print for TG and fat quarters of some of my designs which I plan to use for jewelry projects.

We watched a video together last night on spoon carving. I'll be reviewing it soon, it was fun watching it with my husband and son, and talking to them about spoon designs. They are of course more enthused about working with axes, adzes and knives than about spoons. I'm pretty happy to think that they will be making me spoons for my kitchen soon.

Yesterday was also my eye exam and the medication is working. My optic nerves are getting back to normal now. Yay!

It's really cold here! We went out this weekend for some local Halloween events. TG was a fantastic Sherlock Holmes. I forgot my camera, but Michael brought his so there will be pictures later. One of the things about her costume that was just great is that she couldn't find a double breasted overcoat at a thrift store she liked, so she used the military surplus one from her Wygie costume a few years ago and converted the mock double breast into a double breast by adding hand stitched button holes in red and shifting buttons. Her scarf was knitted by her, and we ordered a deerstalker hat from England as the purchased item to go with her costume. Dad of course trick or treated at the events we went to. 64 year old man or not, the man is not giving up a chance for candy! It was lots of fun.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review- The Nepal Cookbook

The Nepal Cookbook by the Association of Nepalis in the Americas is a wonderful collection of Nepali recipes contributed by various people to help the Association of Nepalis in the Americas with their goal of being an information resource to continuing tradition.

The introduction includes the table of contents, the purpose of the Association of Nepalis in the Americas, a preface explains a bit of the food traditions and history of the region and a good special ingredients section to help you find those region specific ingredients. The special ingredients section also has a recipe to make your own garam masala from scratch.

The recipes are wonderful. There aren't any full color photos, instead the focus is on the recipes. They are separated by food types; snacks and appetizers, soups and lentils, vegetables, meat dishes, chutney and pickles, rice and breads, and desserts.

The recipes are mostly quick and easy to prepare, and a lot of them are very low cost. There are also a lot of very healthy recipes in here which make it a good choice for families like mine that are constantly busy but also really enjoy good food. The seasoning is what makes the food taste amazing and unique, there are a lot of spices and herbs used in the various recipes.

Curry lovers will enjoy the range of curry recipes which include all the seasoning ingredients. If you've never made your own curry from scratch, you're in for a treat. These are in both the vegetables chapter and the meat chapters. So if your a vegan, or choose to eat vegetarian meals occasionally, you'll enjoy the seasoning of the cauliflower and potato curry. There is also a super easy egg curry in the meat section which makes a great fast lunch.

My favorite chapter right now is the lentils chapter. I love soup anyway, and lately have really been loving lentils. The spicy spinach lentils are becoming a new favorite with all the flavors in them.

The pickles are cooked, and best kept cold and fresh. The breads are unleavened and quick to make.

My daughter of course went straight to desserts, then stunned all of us by deciding the recipe she wanted to make was for carrot fudge. We expected it would doughnuts or mango ice cream cones. She liked how that turned out, and wants to try almond fudge next.

Published by Snow Lion Publications, a part of Shambhala Publications.
Find out more about the Association of Nepalis in the Americas

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Knotwork Embroidery Pattern and Coloring Page

I haven't drawn a knot in a while. This round knot is one that I think would look nifty as clock face since it has 12 "petals".

Click on the images for larger versions to print.
Small JPG version:
Coloring Page- round knotwork
Large Transparent PNG version:
Celtic knot- round

Embroidery pattern- JPG
knotwork embroidery pattern

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Gardening in Alaska

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you live in a zone 4-1 climate, fall gardening is all about preparing for next year. You prune, get the last of your herbs cut and in the freezer, you feed and mulch, you plant bulbs for next year for those early days of spring. You also start planning for next year. 

(1) Miracle-Gro

Gardenieres has a bunch of great videos to help you get started on that planning, and also to give you ideas for fall. Gardening enthusiasts, they also talk about fall and winter gardens for places that won't be buried in 2 feet of snow in a month.

This doesn't mean that gardening is done for me. Not by a long shot. 

Teena Spindler, in this video is talking about planting herbs in a container, planning it for outdoors. A lot of herbs grow simply great indoors, and that style pot can be used with proper lighting and good a potting mix. 

Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix works well for indoor plants as well as outdoor container gardening. Generally during the winter, we have two sets of herbs growing, one at the house, and my husband keeps an herb garden at work as well. So we get to have the taste of fresh herbs that grow well indoors throughout the winter in our cooking, and also get the benefit of how they scent the air when it's just too cold to open a window. While herbs grow easily, you'd be surprised how often I wind up asking him to bring home a handful of something!  He grows them primarily to keep his office from getting too stuffy and because they are so easy to grow. 


We plant bulbs, we feed everything, and we mulch, but when it's getting to be winter, we skip the nice wood chip mulching for something much easier to set down, and plan our beds for next spring at the same time. Cardboard boxes. We save boxes  throughout the summer, and cut them apart to plan our spring beds. (remove all tape and staples) They work really well. We put down a layer of compost, then top it with a double layer of cardboard. In the spring, after snow has soaked and melted into the cardboard, it will come apart easily, but it also keeps the early spring grass and weeds from coming up. Then we mix in Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables and plant the seeds that need to be planted in spring. We will also feed our berries at the same, which really seems to help output. If you have lots of strawberries like we do, I really recommend planting spinach in the spring. It comes up easily from seed, and spinach and strawberry salads are fantastic!

This is one of my favorite vidoes on the Gardenieres website. It's about sustainable edible gardening. 

Sustainable Gardening

Check out Miracle-Gro Facebook page for lots of ideas and conversations about gardening. It's a great place to ask questions as well. 


Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cute Little Vampire Printable Box and Coloring Page

Cute Vampire- Halloween printables
It started with this cute little witch box, then I had to do a little Bride of Frankenstein's Monster box, and now a little vampire. All using the same body and face, with different dresses and coloring. I'm not sure if this is the last box in this series or not.

Click on the image for a larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score, fold, glue.

And here's the matching coloring page. As usual, in both JPG and transparent PNG formats.
Click on the images for larger versions.
Small JPG version.

Large Transparent PNG version:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inspired by a Western Shirt Mandala

This geometric mandala to color was inspired by a shirt I picked up recently at a thrift store. Click on the image above for the small JPG version.

Click image for large transparent PNG:
mandala to color

I also recently posted some new I voted patterns on BellaOnline.
This year will be the first time my son votes in a presidential election!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mom's birthday, a hair cut and other things

knitting quote
The graphic above? Love is someone who offers to find your stitches when you drop them? That actually happens to me. I'll grumble about dropping stitches when I'm knitting and Michael will offer to help me find them. :) You can share the quote on FB from here.

For various reasons, my son didn't get his hair cut all summer. It was making him nuts and leading to lots of gentle teasing from friends, family and even his boss (who told him to stay home during bear season!).
This is what it looked like when he was out gathering chamomile a couple months ago.
Recently I found a decent clipper/trimmer set at the grocery store in the markdown bin for 15 dollars (thank heaven for smartphones and finding reviews instantly), and figured, "Why not?" and he was actually willing to let me cut his hair.
I'm not a barber, but  I'm actually happy with how it turned out. He was really happy with it. Of course maybe the right time to remove a thick head of hair isn't just when winter is starting. But yay! I cut his hair. Why was I so afraid to for so long?
Tips? If the person who needs a hair cut and wants anything fancy or involved, leave it to professionals unless you are professional, then leave it to yourself! I wouldn't even attempt my husband's hair. Otherwise, read through the instructions that come with your set, and use the guide combs. With William's hair, it's so curly and grows so fast and thick I was reasonably sure that mistakes would correct themselves fairly quickly unless I actually clipped down to skin. The guides prevented that. The clipper/trimmer set paid for itself with that first hair cut, and with proper care, it will last a long time to handle many more trims.

Today we finally went out for our Annual Mom's Birthday Dinner. Before that, we went to see one of my favorite local potters/soapmakers, Silverbear Sundries and picked up lip balm for the winter and a gorgeous new cup. If I'm not making the lip balm myself, my husband's favorite is the lip balm she makes. So we got him a couple tubes.

Then on to the thrift store. If you recall, Mom's last birthday, we went out to eat, then to the local SPCA thrift store. So that's what we do for her b-day dinner. We go to the thrift store and out to eat and switch up the order sometimes. TG found some clothes for herself, and William found a great big squirt gun (he paints and models squirt guns into neat looking steampunk accessories). I found a stack of magazines. Some back issues of a wire jewelry making magazine I love, and lots of vintage craft magazines from the late 70s, early 80s, 2 mid-70s booklets on macrame, and a star shaped cookie cutter for fairy bread. Then we went to eat at the restaurant that's in the same place as the one we took mom to for her last b-day dinner. It's a Mexican place now. We ate well and laughed much. We talked a bit about the history of crafting, and all sorts of other things.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Bride printable box and coloring page

Frankenstein's Bride printables

After drawing the basic body/face for the Cute Witch box recently, I decided that I liked it too much just to have it for the witch. So here's a Bride of the Frankenstein Monster matching box and coloring sheet. Hopefully in the next day or so, there will be a vampire and maybe a zombie as well.

Click on the box for a larger version. Print on card stock, cut out, score, fold, glue!
printable Bride of Frankenstein gift box

Coloring pages
Small JPG version:
printable Bride of Frankenstein coloring page

Large transparent PNG version:
transparent PNG- printable Bride of Frankenstein coloring page

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2013 Printable Calendar

This year's printable year at a glance calendar is based on the design above which I created (without the Don't Eat the Paste url) for the annual tea towel calendar contest on Spoonflower (voting 10/18/12-10/24/12). The Spoonflower version will be available for sale soon for home sewers who like the design.

Click the image below for a larger version to print on paper.
Printable 2013 Calendar

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cute Witch Box and Coloring Pages

Almost every year, I draw a new witch just for the season. This is this the with for 2012. What should we name her?

Here's a witch printable box. Click on the image for a larger version, print on card stock, cut, score, fold, glue!
And coloring pages! Which you can also use for other crafty purposes.Click on the images for larger versions.
Small JPG version:

Large Transparent PNG version:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A few of my favorite things on a Tuesday in October

The first one right this minute? Being featured on Cut Out and Keep ! You can see the blog post featuring my crochet pumpkin here. Cut Out and Keep is TG's favorite craft site and one of mine, so I'm superthrilled about it.
As seen on Cut Out + Keep

Reading together! Today 2 books came out in series my husband and I both read. The first is the new John Corey book by Nelson DeMille, The Panther. The second is the second book in Justin Cronin's post-apocalyptic vampire series, The Twelve. The fun thing about reading with my husband is talking about the books afterwards.

CherryMan's Cherry Man teeshirt giveaway on FB. I haven't won yet, but they are giving away one a day for the next couple of weeks, and they are so cute!

Mint in the freezer! Since it's been dropping to freezing, I went out and snipped the last of my mint last night and now it's all safely frozen for drinks over the winter.

My cold is nearly gone, and there have been gorgeous cold, clear nights with the aurora shining even in the city.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review- Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets

Abby Dodge's cookbook Mini Treats and Hand-Held Sweets: 100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat is a collection of small desserts that can be eaten without using silverware. Perfect party desserts with more sophisticated palettes in mind.

An amazing collection of recipes with lots of flavors and textures, this book has desserts for every season. There is a lot of emphasis on fresh flavors with recipes that use fruits, berries and good dairy products for creamy flavor. Unlike a lot of collections, this one doesn't have photos of every single recipe because there are a lot of recipes! The photographs that are shown are gorgeously displayed, or they are photographs that help you learn how to do something specific for the recipe.

Some of the recipes use prepared ingredients like ice cream or everybody's favorite, Nutella. There are tarts, cheesecakes, cookies, ice pops and it's probably easier just listing the chapter titles than to try and list all the types of desserts.

Chapter 1 is Cookies- My chocolate loving daughter loves the Chunky, Chewy Brownie Drops. My personal favorite is the Lemon Meringue Pie Poppers which combine lemon curd, meringue cookies and a crunchy topping of ginger snaps. Combining 3 of my favorite things into one delicious, bright tasting sandwich cookie.

Chapter 2 is Mini Pies and Slab Pies- We are fans of a popular speculative fiction television show about 2 brothers who fight demons. One of them loves pie, so my daughter decided this was her favorite chapter, and that we should make pie for Wednesday nights as a new tradition. She wants to bake her way through this entire chapter. The Nutella Chocolate Hand Tarts are like toaster pastries for adults. So very good. This chapter has a lot of fruit, and includes turnovers and instructions for an easy puff pastry dough.

Chapter 3 is Whoopie Pies, Cake Bites and Mini Cakes- I haven't tried much from this chapter, but do recommend the Carrot Cake Cones with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting. Or even just the frosting, it's too good.

Chapter 4 is Bite Sized Treats - tiny 1 and 2 bite desserts like cheesecakes, tarts, mini scones and sliced roll cakes for pretty little pinwheels. My favorite in this chapter are the strawberries filled with a cheesecake filling. Like a mini-cheesecake with a strawberry crust!

Chapter 5 is Frozen Treats and includes frozen fruits, sorbets and pops, including a few just for the adults like the Tequila Sunrise colored Blood Orange and Creamy Tangerine pops which can also be made without tequila for younger people and people who don't drink. Easiest recipe that's a big hit with my family? Frozen Nutella Yogurt Bites which are dipped in chocolate.

Chapter 6 is Candies- this is a chapter I haven't gotten into at all. The recipes look fantastic, and I plan to make the homemade White Chocolate Peppermint Bark using my favorite white chocolate for the holidays.

There is a measurements equivalents table in the back for people using metric, the book is written using U.S. measurements. It also has a good index so you can find recipes based on ingredients fairly quickly.

I do recommend reading through each recipe before gathering supplies. Some of the recipes call for ingredients or suggest variations which are not covered in the basic ingredient list.

It's a great dessert cookbook.

Published by The Taunton Press

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.

Chocolate Cream Cheese and Whey Bread

This is from my old blog. Originally posted July 2008.

I was too impatient to try baking bread with whey to wait the amount of time it takes to make a sourdough starter without yeast, so I went ahead and made up some bread today. It turned out good. E is planning to have some tomorrow with strawberry jam and the chocolate cheese we made.

Chocolate Cheese
Okay, this is fun to do with kids because of how it works. Milk has a lot of protein, sugar and fat solids in it, and the protein is resistant to acids, so when you add an acid to milk which is heated up so the molecules are less tightly together, the acid mixes fine into some of the sugars and liquid of the milk, but not into the proteins, which causes the proteins to separate from the rest. It winds up looking curdled, with solid curds and liquid whey. Most recipes call for a gallon of milk, but I had, like I said, a half gallon of organic milk.Measurements are American, I apologize, worse, we cook by volume, not weight. There are a lot of sites with conversions though.
Sauce pan, one big enough for a half gallon of milk, plus a couple inches head room, spoon, I have a wood angled flat stirrer I use, strainer, bowl (to drain the whey into), cheese cloth, a container to put the finished cheese in, some jars for the whey, spoon, hand blender or food processor (I don't HAVE a food processor, I do have a hand blender)
1 half gallon of milk
3 Tbs white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar, or sugar to taste
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of milk
Line the strainer with a couple layers of cheese cloth, and set it over the bowl. 
Bring the milk to a simmer, about 185° F, or until bubbles are just forming on the sides, stir frequently to keep from burning the milk. Add in the vinegar, you'll see curds start to form immediately, keep cooking and stirring over a low flame or low heat if you have electric pulling the pan off occasionally to keep it from boiling over. Lots more curds will form. After 10 minutes, pull it off the heat and pour the whey and curds into the strainer. You'll probably have to take the strainer off before you get it all poured to pour some of the whey into a jar, so do that, then set the strainer back over the bowl and finish pouring. Take the sides of the cheese cloth and fold them over the top of the solid curds, and push down with your spoon to express a bit more of the whey out, then put a cloth over the top, and set it all some place cool for a couple hours to finish draining.
After a couple hours, take the stainer off the bowl, pour the whey into the jars, close them, and put it in the fridge to use for baking later, it can be used for the liquid in almost anything. Rinse the bowl out, and turn out the cheese into the bowl, add in the other ingredients, blend well. The extra little bit of milk helps make this very creamy and spreadable. I think with a bit of powdered sugar, not too much, this would make an amazing not too sweet frosting for cupcakes. I'm thinking a bit of chocolate ganache, and a dollop of this cheese on top of devil's food. Oh yeah! That's what I'm forgetting, put the cheese into your container for it. I love my Lock&Locks!

Whey Bread
Recipe makes two loaves of bread.
big bowl, wooden spoon*, oil/fat of some sort to grease the pans and the dough while it's rising, 2 bread pans
Proofing the yeast
1/4 cup warm water in the bowl
1 tsp sugar or sweetener**
4 tsp yeast or 2 packets.*** 
Proof the yeast, which means mix the sugar into the water, then sprinkle in the yeast. Give one stir with the wooden spoon. 
Let it set for 10 minutes, if it's foamy looking at 10 minutes, your yeast is living and you're good to go.

Mixing the Dough
2 cups of whey
3 Tbs butter or other fat
6-8 cups of flour, I used an unbleached, organic all-purpose flour, if you are using a dark flour, you might need a bit more.
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs sugar
Preparing the liquid parts of the bread
My old Betty Crocker cookbook from the 60s calls for scalding milk, but microwaves make it so easy.
Put cup and a half of your whey mix into a microwave safe cup, I use my Pyrex measuring cup, add 3 Tbs of butter, zap it for a minute. Stir in a half cup of cold whey to cool it down to "won't kill happy little yeast" temperature. Pour into your yeast mixture.
Put 2 cups of flour, the salt, and the sugar, and stir it in the liquids. 
Keep stirring in the rest of the flour a cup at a time until you can't stir anymore, then flour your hands, and get in and start kneading in more flour. After you've added most of the rest of your flour (I've never needed all of it before I can't add more) keep kneading until it gets smooth and elastic. Kneading develops glutens, which creates the chemical reaction that turns your mix of whey and flour into a big mass of nice smooth uniform bread dough. I love this process. Now, most people turn it out onto a counter top, with a working surface of some sort put on to it, I just knead in the bowl, less clean up. When it's all a nice big smooth uniform ball of dough, oil the dough ball all over, and cover the bowl with a clean towel, and let it rise for an hour in a warm place. 
Baking the bread
After an hour, grease your bread pans then check to make sure the dough doubled by pushing down with a fingertip, if the indention doesn't rise back up out of it, it's doubled. Punch it down, and knead again. Divide it into two balls, form loaves, and put it into the pans. Lightly grease or butter the tops, cover again, and set someplace to rise again. After it's risen the second time, put in the oven at 425°F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check by thumping the bread, if it just goes *thud* it needs a couple minutes more, if it sounds hollow, it's done. Let it set for as long as your family will let you. Which in my case was less then 10 minutes, then E was finding my bread knife. I think it's a hint I don't make bread often enough. She had a big slice off the heel of buttered bread fresh out of the oven.
The bread turned out a bit sweet, whey has a lot of milk sugars in it, and it rose a bit more then my usual recipe rises. It's a lovely bread.

*Yeast can be reactive with metal, and slow down or even stop the process, so I always use my big glass bowl, and a wooden spoon, it does make a difference in how much rise you get.
**NOT a no sugar sweetener, yeast won't grow on Nutrasweet. Honey, molasses, cane sugar, raw sugar, organic cane sugar, maple sugar, or birch syrup is fine. Something with sugars in it for the yeast.
*** Since E loves making pizza, we always buy jarred yeast, but if you only make bread occasionally, packets are the more economical choice since you won't risk it going bad waiting for next time. My ex-husband never saw the point of proofing the yeast until a batch failed on him. He wound up making cinnamon-cayenne crackers (also unintentional, he meant to make cayenne savory and cinnamon sweet) which were good, and an excellent reuse of failed bread, but really, it only take 10 minutes to proof.

This recipe, and several more yeast bread recipes are available in my Kindle e-book.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stained Glass Bat Coloring Page

Stained Glass Bat
I hope you enjoy this stained glass bat effect coloring page. The lines are thick to look like leading. As usual, you can use this for any crafty purpose.
Click on the images for larger versions.
Small JPG version:
bat coloring page
Large Transparent PNG version:
Halloween bat coloring page- digital stamp

Friday, October 12, 2012

Argyle Spider Box

I made this design for the contest currently voting at Spoonflower - Creepy-Crawlies. There are a lot of great designs in this contest, and if you have a Spoonflower account, it's worth taking a look. Unless you suffer arachnophobia because there are a LOT of spiders.

Click on the box for a larger version. Print on card stock, cut out, score, fold, glue!

Want more spiders?
Want more Halloween?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2 Hour Crocheted Kitty Hat

First- this hat is definitely sized for larger heads. I'll include a couple tips at the end for people with smaller heads or a lot less hair than TG.  Originally, I had planned on just a plain ear flap hat with big pompoms, but after it was done, TG said "It should have kitty ears."

This did take 2 hours to make start to finish for me using bulky yarn and a big hook.

You will need:

  • Size Q plastic crochet hook*
  • Size L aluminum crochet hook*
  • yarn needle
  • 3x5 inch piece of cardboard
  • scissors
  • Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick - 2 skeins- I used Wheat
*I got both hook sizes from a Crochet Dude set available at Michaels

ch = chain
sc = single crochet
rsc= reverse single crochet (optional)
st or sts = stitch or stitches
sl st= slip stitch
dec sc= decrease single crochet- insert hook in first stitch, pull up loop, leave on hook, insert hook in next stitch, pull up loop, yarn over, pull through all 3 loops on hook.

Round 1: With the great big size Q hook, chain 2 OR do a magic ring. Work 6 sc in first ch or in magic ring. Slip stitch to join.
Round 2: Ch 1 (does not count as first sc here or throughout)- 2 sc in each sc around, sl st to join. (12 sts)
Round 3: ch 1, sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc, *sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc,*, repeat ** around. Sl st to join. (18 sts)
Round 4: Ch 1, sc in each stitch, sl st to join. (18 sts)
Round 5: Ch 1, sc in first st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st,* sc in next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st,* repeat ** around, sl st to join (24 sts)
Round 6: Ch 1, sc in each st around. Sl st to join. (24 sts)
Round 7: Ch 1, sc in first st, sc in next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, *sc in next st, sc in next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st,* repeat ** around. Sl st to join (30 sts)
Rounds 8-11: Ch 1, sc in each st around, sl st to join. 
Break off yarn.

Ear Flaps:
Count 6 stitches from back seam, and join in yarn using Q hook.
Row 1: Sc in next 6 stitches, ch 1 to turn
Row 2: rsc or sc in each stitch from previous row, ch 1 to turn
Row 3: dec sc, sc in next 2 sts, dec sc, ch 1 to turn (4 sts)
Row 4: rsc or sc in each sc across, ch 1 to turn
Row 5: dec sc, dec sc (2 sts) ch 1 to turn
Row 6: rsc or sc in each stitch. 
Break off yarn, and repeat on the other side

This makes the back of the hat 10 stitches between flaps, the flaps at 6 stitches wide, and the space in front is 8 stitches. 

With Q hook, join yarn at back seam, and single crochet in each stitch around until the bottom of the ear flap. *Switch to L hook, and sc in first sc on the bottom of the flap, ch 40, sl st back up ch, sc in next st on the bottom of the of the flap,* switch back to Q hook, and single crochet in each stitch until you reach the tip of the other ear flap, repeat **, switch to Q hook, and sc in each stitch back to the first st, sl to join.
Break off yarn.

Ears (make 2):
Round 1: With the great big size Q hook, chain 2 OR do a magic ring. Work 5 sc in first ch or in magic ring. Ch 1 to turn.
Round 2: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc, 3 sc in next sc, sc in next sc, 2 sc in last sc. 
Break off yarn leaving a tail to stitch ears to hat. Stitch to hat. I centered them over the ear flaps and stitched them starting from the 3rd round on the hat.

Pom poms (make 2):
Cut a length of yarn about 10 inches long, lay it across cardboard lengthwise. Wrap yarn 140 times around the cardboard and the piece of yarn. Cut off and slide yarn carefully off the cardboard. Tie the 10 inch pieces tight around the yarn loops, and knot securely. Cut open loops and trim to make it round leaving the tie ends alone. Sew the pom poms to the end of the ties and knot securely.

Weave in all ends! 

To make it smaller- I don't recommend a smaller hook size because there is so much difference in the bigger sizes. Instead, for much smaller sizes, don't do the increase to 30 stitches, and do 5 rounds of 24 stitches instead. For just a little smaller heads, instead of starting with 6 stitches, start with 5 stitches. 

My daughter loves the hat, and the big pom pom ends! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review- Pop Up Cards by Mari Kumada

Mari Kumada's Pop-Up Cards- Over 50 Designs for Cards that Fold, Flap, Spin and Slide is an English translation of a book originally written in Japanese and part of Roost Books' Japanese Craft Style line of books.

The book is all about making cards with great 3d features that are elegant and playful. The designs themselves are very clean looking. For example the card on the cover, with it's simple colors and fun spiral connecting the hearts is a colorful, fun design and one of my favorite techniques in the book.

The book has gorgeous photos and several projects for each technique. The techniques include simple pop-ups, spinner cards and cards that have sliding features. The basic technique for the moving or pop-up part of the card is well explained with good photos.

The shapes are wonderful. The author doesn't show you the front of the cards, that could be plain, or just a simple sentiment, then you open it to the surprise. The pops include geometric 3 dimensional shapes like cones and boxes as well as flat pop-ups that just pop when the card is opened.

My favorite projects are:
Strawberry and Pear Mini Cards- basic pop up technique with a sweetly elegant look that makes a nice note card.
Spring's Arrival- like the card on the cover, it features a spiral, the spiral looks like the flight of a butterfly and it's pretty pastel colors make it a lovely option as a card for a friend.
A witch hat Halloween pop-up has a cone shaped hat. The same technique could be used to make wizard hats as well.
The adorable Love Bunny tab card. This one reminds me most of children's pop-up books. 2 cute bunnies, a heart and a pull tab to make the heart flip to reveal a message.
For a more challenging card, and my favorite in the whole book, Magic Show has a dove coming out of a top hat when it's opened.

It's set up like classic craft books, so most of the projects are in the back of the book with instructions and the first part of the book is full color photographs with the page number listed for instructions. There are also full sized , full color templates in the back that can be copied and cut out or copied and used as a patterns for your own paper. It does not include basic instructions for paper crafting, so it's best audience are people who know paper basics like mountain and valley holds, cutting paper and gluing it.

It's simply a charming book, and I'm loving this series.

Published by Roost, an imprint of Shambhala Publications.

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, my reviews are always my personal and honest opinion. You can read more about my review policy here.

Rainbow Coloring Page

Rainbow art
I got a request for a coloring page based off the box posted last night. So here it is. It's not exact, but fairly close. Click on the image for a larger version. Print and color!

Small JPG version:
Large Transparent PNG version:

Still sick, but feeling a lot better and trying to get caught up! :) There will be a few book reviews in the next couple of days, and also a pattern for a kitty hat, and possibly a fashion scarf pattern. The hat is done, the fashion scarf is just started.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rainbow Printable Box

Printable Rainbow Gift Box
This box was inspired by my friend Grace's daughter. She's wild for rainbows, and I thought she might like something like this. Click on the box for a larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score, fold, glue! I'm thinking of doing a couple other things to match like circles for cupcake toppers and printable cards.

rainbow printable box

I also posted a new project to Beadwork at BellaOnline today. A beaded thumb drive.
Beaded Thumb Drive

Still sick, but feeling a lot better now. I've actually gotten a few things done over the last couple of days! TG caught my cold with a vengeance and is not at all pleased about it.
I hope you are all doing well!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Peace symbol art and what's been going on lately

Peace symbol in purple
Click on the version above to see a larger version.

Well, this week has been fun. Monday I had a slight cough. Then Tuesday came and that slight cough had grown all up. I rescheduled my eye appointment for next week. Wednesday, my nose started running. Thursday was just miserable. Yesterday it was a bit better and today is a bit better than that. But I still have a cold, and now my daughter's is starting too.

I'm a walking bio-hazard really. Washing my hands frequently and doing the best I can to not infect other people. But that's why there haven't been many updates this week. I've been reading books on my Kindle with the font set larger to be nice and easy and drinking lots of herbal teas with honey.