Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year Long Crochet a Long and Knit a Long

Heylo all! In case you've missed it, roughly 6 months ago I started learning how to crochet and knit. I am loving it. If I'd known I could craft while sitting on my butt watching Big Bang Theory, I'd have never learned to sew! (But then, I probably wouldn't have ever learned how to make fabric buttons, so I'm glad I did!)

But I digress, as usual....

Anyhoo, I participated in a fun Crochet a Long (CAL) where I ended up with a beautiful sunburst granny square afghan. I truly enjoyed it and now it's time to take my turn hosting!!

You need to be on ravelry to truly participate, so hop on over and join! It's free and a great place for patterns and showing off your work!

It will be a MONTHLY project that goes on ALL YEAR. Each month we will do a new dishcloth/towel/washcloth. Crochet AND knit patterns will be available, so you can do one, some, all or none!! If you do each month, in the end you'll have 12 handmade washcloths!!

Patterns will be posted and all I ask is you share your progress, pics and lessons learned in the Ravelry group!

You can find the group here:
Mama's Monthly Dishcloth KAL and CAL

The January project is listed so hop to it!! :)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Year Without Wal-Mart

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not affiliated with Wal-Mart or any of it's trademarks, names, places, employees, or stores. I have NOTHING against Wal-Mart and have been a faithful shopper there as long as I've had money to spend! This is merely a social experiment and blog project. Please don't sue me.


I have spent a LOT of money in Wal-Mart (WM) over the years. The lure of the place is amazing. Everything you need in one, giant building. But, can I go one year without shopping in Wal-Mart? 

First off, this will be very difficult because I take my disabled father grocery shopping once every 2 weeks or so, and normally we go to WM. However...that doesn't mean *I* need to shop that day. I can merely be a chauffeur and cart pusher.

Second, I am starting this challenge not because I have some bone to pick with WM as a big, giant conglomerate or big business. I actually am a fan of big business. Especially a big business started by one little man with a dream. Has the final product changed from his original vision? Sure. But that's to be expected as time goes on and he is no longer around to run it. But this project has nothing to do with politics, fighting for anything or against anything. I do not care to Occupy Wall Street or Un-Occupy Wall Street. I run my own handmade business, so I understand the need, desire, drive to push products and sell an item. I'm down with that. Me and Sam Walton are A-Ok.

Third, some people that I care for very much work or have worked for Wal-Mart. This project has nothing to do with those people and they should know I love them and they can still bring me half price candy anytime... :)

I am starting this challenge because, A) my husband thinks I spend too much money at WM. B) I WOULD rather buy local or handmade. C) I just want to see if I CAN.

So here's a little background of my family and hometown situation and rules I'll set forth for myself:

We are a family of four, two adults and two kids, and one fat dog. We live in a fairly large town on the Northshore of New Orleans, LA and have plenty of access to local and chain grocery stores. I am an avid Amazon shopper (see, told you, no issues with big business.) Three of the four of us are Gluten Free.

I can do this.

1.) I am allowed to set FOOT in WM. As I said, I need to take my father grocery shopping, and he may need to go to WM.

2.) If I must shop in WM, I must account for it here and confess WHY I had to. (and could I really have avoided it?).

3.) I must keep receipts of all money spent, so we can attempt to compare to previous year's Wal-Mart purchases. Not necessarily, to share all my financial business with you all (although, I do heart you all, you don't need to know EVERYTHING!) But for myself so I can see if I notice a significant difference in our budget. My husband does the bills so really he will be the one to notice this.

4.) This will all tie in my goal of "A Handmade Year," which involves, making what I can make, buying handmade what I cannot make, and buying local what cannot be handmade. Also, doing without if it cannot fit any of those descriptions.

5.) I still get to go to Target, because, well, I love my Target and you can't make me not go. Baby steps, baby steps.

Think I can do it? Want to join the challenge with me? Think I'll lose money? Save money?
I admit...I'm scared. I'll probably make one last maniacal Wal-Mart run on December 31st, just to do it...

I don't suspect I will miss it terribly. I think once I get used to changing my shopping ways, it won't be that bad.

It is on like Donkey Kong.

I'm on a mission...

The challenge starts January 1st.


Pin It

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Crochet Kindle Cover--Free Tutorial

Hey all! This is my FIRST EVER crochet pattern! So, please, be kind! And PLEASE, PLEASE feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, corrections, etc! I will be doing this again with a different yarn to make sure it doesn't make a tremendous difference. Keep in mind, I've only been hooking since the summer.. :)

Basically the stitch is from Coats and Clark pattern found HERE. If you can do this stitch, you can alter this anyway you need for your E-Reader, Tablet, etc.

I chose to line this with some scrap felt because even though it was a gift for a friend who rarely takes her Kindle away from home, this stitch does leave little 'holes' in it, and I thought the felt would be an extra touch of protection. The stitch itself is quite fluffy so that helps a lot. Again, the lining is optional.

This is intended for the original keyboard style Kindle, I do not know the dimensions of the other kindles, nooks, etc. But you can easily adjust the pattern for your item.

This pattern is free, and please feel free to share (and correct if it's wrong.) And by golly if you can make some money selling these bad boys are a derivative there of, go for it. A link back would be nice yarn karma for you though :)

Let's Get Hookin!!

Yarn: Vanna's Choice from Lion Brand. Any Worsted Weight should do fine.
Hook: US Size H
Gauge: I admit, I never look at, read, or care about gauge. I'm crazy like that. My Kindle was my gauge. According to the original pattern I based this on:
GAUGE: In pattern, 5 puff sts = 5”; 9 rows = 4”. CHECK YOUR
GAUGE. Use any size hook to obtain the gauge.

*Special Stitch Notes:
Puff Stitch: Puff: Work (sc, 2 dc) in same st.

Chain 17. (this is based on MY original Kindle. If you have a larger or smaller device, you should do a few rows and hold it up to your device to check gauge.)

ROW ONE: 2dc in the 2nd ch from hook.
*skip next 2 ch, puff stitch in next ch;* repeat from *across to the last 3 ch, sk 2 ch, sc in last ch, turn.

ROW TWO: ch 1, 2 dc in 1st st. *skip 2 dc, puff st in next sc.* Repeat from * across, skip last 2 dc, sc in turning ch, turn.

Repeat row two until you reach Row 36 OR your desired height.

You are making one solid piece of 'fabric' that you will fold up and 'around' the kindle, allowing for a flap. For my Kindle, yarn, hook, and crochet style, I did a total of 36 ROWS. Please check this against your kindle, you may need to add or take away a few rows.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

At this point you can decide if you want your side seams showing, or on the inside. I wanted mine in the inside.

Lay your piece flat down and make a 'pocket' for the Kindle by folding the bottom up to about Row 14 or 15. You can adjust this for your preference, you are merely deciding how far down you want your flap to go. By "folding" on Row 15 or so, that leaves you about 6 rows as your "flap".

SS or SC the side to close your pocket on one side, about 30 rows. I did the SC. Fasten off and weave in.
Repeat on the other side to make a pocket for your kindle to slide into. (do not fasten off yet)

I wanted my SC seams to be on the inside, so I then turned it all rightside out. (this stitch looks pretty from both sides).

Since you didn't fasten off, you can now SC along the edge of the flap (OPTIONAL). If not, you can fasten off and weave in here.


I chose to insert a felt lining because this was for a friend, and this puff stitch is beautiful, but does leave little gaps. Should she spill something on the kindle, I wanted that little extra protection. I used felt because A) it was easily available in my home B) it doesn't fray much C) I could hand sew it all and didn't have to drag myself off the sofa.

Cut a piece of felt or similar fabric to fit inside your new crochet cover.

I folded mine and hand sewed a blanket stitch along the long side and bottom. Use any hand stitch you feel comfortable with.

Insert the felt lining directly into your crochet cover. Using a blanket stitch or similar hand stitch, hand sew the lining in the crochet cover. You can sew all the way down the sides and bottom, I did not, I only sewed the 'top' portion around the flap.

Secure the ends of your thread, and you're almost done!

Decide the placement of your button the OUTSIDE of the cover. Thanks to the stretchiness of this yarn and the looseness of this stitch, you have buttonholes inherently in your yarn! Find a good place for the button and hand sew it on! (Tip, when hand sewing shankless buttons, place a pin in between the two holes as you sew the button on. Remove the pin when you're finished sewing the button and you now have a little more 'room' for the button to move, without making it unsecure.)

Weave in any yarn, insert your kindle and go!! :)


PLEASE feel free to leave any corrections, comments, oopsys, "you're totally wrong" comments!! If I did something wrong in the pattern, I really do want to fix it. Like I said above, it is based solely on the scarf pattern by Coats and Clark. I merely adjusted it to fit a kindle. This is a beautiful stitch pattern and can be used in a variety of ways!

Find me on Ravelry!

Happy Hooking!! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weekend Giveaway!!!

Well gang, it's that time! Time for a giveaway!! :)

This one is great for anyone expecting or who has a baby gift they need to get!!! :) This super soft, sweet blanket is made from lime green minky (which sounds hideous, but it's very pretty) and a designer Par Avion cotton fabric. All machine sewn by yours truly and ready to go!!

Crib sized baby blanket perfect for snuggling at night yet it's small enough to take in the car.
I love the colors of this one!!

How to Win?
You know me, I'm busy so I don't like a lot of rules about contests. So just leave me a comment with A WAY TO CONTACT YOU (blog, facebook, twitter, etsy shop, etc) and answer this question:
What's your favorite type of cookie?

That's it!!!

Contest will end, oh in a week or so!! :) (I'm such a tough blog owner, aren't I?)


What I Made...

This week I finished up a pillow cover I'd been working on. It was an experiment to see if I could wing the basic stitch and make my own pattern. Turns out I could :)

The details of the makings of it are on Ravelry if you are interested. Basically its rows of single crochet and a double crochet circle for the ends :)

I made it to match my fun new sock monkey sheets!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday....

I've been majorly slacking in the menu making! One dish I've made a few times is Cheesy Chicken Lasagna...found of course off Pinterest.
Here is the recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.

Image from Real Mom Kitchen

I've made it for guests, our family and at a dinner party. It's super easy to make. We are Gluten Free so to make it Gluten Free, I used Deboles or Tinkyada rice lasagna noodles. If you'd made these before, you know they can fall apart during cooking so be gentle when boiling gluten free noodles. 

Serve with a yummy salad or greens. I've not tried to freeze it because so far there hasn't been enough left over to freeze! 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Monday!

No deals of the week this week! I am worn out from getting orders out the door!! :) My monkeys are off of school until January 3rd so I'll have my hands full!! Chances are, most of the coupon codes I've previously posted will still work :) Wink!

I hope you've found some great deals while doing your holiday shopping! I grabbed a few things I wanted and needed for pretty cheap and I don't even celebrate Christmas!!

Happy shopping and I do hope you enjoy your holiday or break!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Deal of the Week

Hey all! No new deals this week, still having the sales over at Mama's Little Monkeys and MicroMops on Artfire! I've got a lot to get done this week before my monkeys are out for the break!! ~~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday....

Tasty Tuesday turned into Terrible Tuesday this week.
Pinterest, you let me down this time.
I tried the Breakfast Crock Pot Casserole

yeah, sorry folks, perhaps it's just our taste buds, or perhaps because I did not have the required dill spice, but this was bleh. Def not worth making again. No one really liked it, even the dog didn't wolf it down as usual. No offense to the recipe creator, perhaps our palates are very different or I did something horribly wrong.

Either way...tasty fail this week! Better luck next time!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Deal of The Week

Check out my Artfire shops....big time sales are going on!! Take note...if you had your eye on something, now's the time to get it, I'm going to be closing the doors on some of my Artfire shops for the new year to focus on just a few shops.

20% off at MicroMops through the end of the year!!! Many of these items WILL NOT BE BACK after the new year!

20% off at Mama's Little Monkeys as well! Many of these items WILL NOT BE BACK either after the near year, so if you had your eyes on something, you may want to snatch it up now!

No need to enter coupon codes, the 20% is already taken off!! Happy handmade shopping!!!



Related Posts with Thumbnails