Sunday, September 2, 2012

Olivia Birthday Party

I recently got to throw a birthday party for a friends little girl who was turning 1.  It was a lot of fun, because honestly I just don't get to do enough little girl birthday parties.  We decided on an Olivia party.  We wanted to keep it pretty low key but still have some cute stuff, so here is what I came up with.
I took some Hello Kitty party hats that I had bought last year second hand at a thrift store, and we took them apart and recovered them in red paper and then cut slits in the sides to add precious little pig ears.  Then we taped them all back together.
The cupcakes were red velvet with cream cheese frosting.  They have these really nice cupcake liners at Walmart that are foil lined on the inside so that the pattern on the outside doesn't fade when they are baked.  I got some circle labels and printed them out using the Avery online software and an image of Olivia that was online.  Then I stuck them onto black and white card-stock that I cut out with the cricut, and put those on top of candy sticks with a red bow.  Super easy.
I made sugar cookie dough, and cut out circles with fondant cutters, smaller circles that I quartered to make the ears, and even smaller circles for the nose.  I saw someone else do this with bread dough, and they didn't have cookie or fondant cutters but used a kitchen glass, and bottle cap to get their smaller circles.  The nose slits are chocolate sprinkles.
We had some yummy berry Oreos, and white chocolate dipped strawberries.  Some of the strawberries also had red sprinkles.
All of the food was either red, black, and white, or pig themed.  There were "pigs in a blanket," and pizza bagel bites. The party was in the afternoon after lunch and before dinner, so we were going for snackage rather than a meal.
I think our birthday girl was pretty excited about her first cake!
Over all it was a pretty great party.  I'm glad that I was able to do an extra girly party this year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monster fun

My mother teaches Kindergarten at a public elementary school.   She is pretty much the best teacher in the entire world.  No seriously.  She decided a few years ago to decorate her classroom with cool monsters, and last year I decided that I would make her a monster class pet.  She bought the "pet" a cute little pet carrier and then every weekend a student has to take the class pet home and take care of it for the weekend.  They are supposed to return to school and tell about everything they did with the monster, and everyone writes about it and they make a little book through out the year with kids pictures and stories.  Well I thought that each year she should get a new monster.  Last year I crocheted the class pet, but I decided to make a fuzzy fleece one this year, so that he would hold up to washing a little better....maybe.
I started by cutting out all my pieces from a sheet on green fleece, and some small triangles from some pink fleece I had.  You can really use a bunch of different colors.  It would probably make it a much cooler monster the crazier it looks.  I cut the pieces that you see here plus a mouth.  I cut the mouth from the pink fleece.  You can see from the picture that I have the fleece folded over so that as I cut out an arm or ear or whatever I'm getting two pieces of fleece.  That way there is a front and a back the same size for each body part.

Then I started by sewing each arm.  Since I was working with fleece I didn't really have to worry about a wrong or right side.  I sewed around the outside of each arm, leaving the short end that attaches to the body open for stuffing.  As I was sewing around the tips of the "hands" I inserted my little pink triangles with the point to the inside and flat edge even with the edge of my green fleece as seen above. Now when you turn the arms right side out you will have cute little claws.  I put three claws on each paw/hand/foot/whatever, except for one which I only attached two claws.  Monsters don't need to be too symetrical (How do you spell that word?).

 Here you can see where I turned the arm right side out and then began sewing the next arm.
So next do the same thing with your ears.  Sew around the outside leaving an opening to turn.  Turn right side out.  Then pinch the bottoms of the ears like this and stitch over your pinch there to hold the scrunching in place.
Stuff your arms.
Now begin by placing all your pieces together.  You will leave one piece of the main body on your table and start placing ears and arms where you want them to go, but on top of and pointing inside your monster.  That didn't make any sense, but just look at the pictures. Then put your other main body piece on top of that and pin around the edges, holding all your arms and ears in place.  You want the open edges of the arms and ears to line up with the outer edge of your main body pieces or extend past the edge.  Make sure that they don't get pushed up into monster where they won't get sewn into place.

Then sew all the way around the outside with maybe a 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance.  Leave an opening so that you can turn the project right side out and stuff it.  Decide where you feel most comfortable having your opening before you begin sewing around the outside.

Then turn your new little buddy right side out and stuff the sucker with polyfil.  Hand sew you opening closed, and you are almost done.
I then hand stitched on his cute little mouth.  Now you could have sewed the mouth on with the machine before you sewed the two main body pieces together, but this was the look I was going for.  I wanted to add a little more color.  Then I selected three mismatched buttons for his eyes and sewed them on to complete this charming fellow.  He hasn't gotten a name yet, because the class will make suggestions and vote on their favorite.  I think that is all sweet and nice, but last year they ended up naming the monster Star.  Sure, I think thats a nice name for a cat, but a monster?  Oh well.  I'm curious to see what this years class comes up with.

Romper Tutorial to Come

So this is the second of two little rompers that I have made in the last 24 hours.  I'm pretty excited about them.  I want to have my mother in law applique a cute design on the front of each to make them even more precious.  I am planning on making another and then posting a photo tutorial for everyone.  All you will need is your child's measurements.  Hopefully I can get that done this week.  We have been busy with back to school stuff.  I love this time of year.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fiesta Skirt

I wanted to use more of the fiesta yarn that I had so I decided to make a little skirt to go with the fiesta swing vest. I want to share the pattern that I made for this skirt, but if you read down to the bottom I will try to help explain how to make it for pretty much any size.  This one is for my 2 year old who wears about a size 3.  It is pretty stretchy though, so I'm thinking it is probably about a 2-4 size just like the vest.

Again I used the size 10 circular 16" needle and also a size 7 circular 16" needle, and worsted weight yarn.

Start by casting on 126 stitches onto the size 10 needle.  Join to knit in the round.
Knit the 1st round.  Purl the 2nd round.  Knit the 3rd round. Purl the 4th round.
After this you will just knit.
Each of my stripes is 8 rounds long.
I made 3 stripes then changed colors and knit one round with my next color of choice. Those 3 stripes were about 4 inches of knitting.

After you have completed one round in that color you will decrease the number of stitches on the needle. On this round K1 and then K2tog all the way around.
You will now have 84 stitches on the needle.  Continue with the stripes.
After I had 5 total stripes, or about 7 inches of knitting, I switched to the next color and at the same time switched to the size 7 needle.  I knit 9 rounds in this color.  Since it was a smaller needle I needed to do more rounds to make this stripe a little closer to the size of the other stripes.
Then switch to the next color, which for me was my "fiesta" yarn and also the same color that I started with.  You will now begin knitting the waistband.  K1, P1 all the way around, and continue in this pattern for 18 rounds or twice as long as you want the waistband to be.
Now turn your garment inside out.  Be careful not to let stitches fall off when you are doing this.
You are now going to knit the stitches on your left needle to corresponding stitches on the last round of your previous stripe.  This was the last round before the waistband.

So maybe from these pictures so can see that I have folded the waistband over and basically knit 2 stitches together to create a casing sort of.

Now if you want to it might be a good idea to cut a piece of elastic to the length of your child's waist measurement, and before you completely enclose the casing feed the elastic through the casing and sew the ends together creating a tight elastic waist band inside the casing and finish closing up the casing by continuing to knit 2 stitches together.  I did not do this for this skirt, but I might should have.  If you yarn doesn't keep its springyness (is that a word?) then you will definitely want to use elastic.

As you are doing this knit 2 together thing make sure that you are picking up the correct stitch on your round from the previous stripe.  Just keep checking that if you are knitting a purl stitch that you are picking up a stitch in that same purl row. Did that make sense?  Like just keep checking to make sure everything is aligned.

This is what it should look like once you have knit all the way around.  Your waist band will be on the inside of your circular needles, and the rest of the garment on the other side.  I hope you can tell what I mean from this picture.  Now get your size 10 needle again, and use it to loosely cast off these stitches.
When you have cast off all the stitches this wrong side of your waist band will look like this.
Now you can weave in all the ends where you switched colors and all that good stuff.

You may not need a size 2-4 skirt, and if that is the case it is pretty easy to modify this pattern.

Basically you need to know what your gauge is.  Mine is about 4 stitches by inch.  You will need to measure the hip measurement of your model.  Mine was 21 inches.  Multiply that number by the number of stitches per inch in your gauge.  For me that was 4 so 21 x 4 = 84. Now you want to divide your results by 2 and then add that result back to the number.  So 84 / 2 = 42 and 84 + 42 = 126.  That is how I got my cast on number.   Now if your hip measurement is 24  and your gauge was 5 stitches per inch you would multiply 24 x 5 to get 120.  120 / 2 = 60.  60 + 120 = 180.  180 would be your cast on number.  The only other thing that you would want to change for the pattern is the length of your bottom ruffle perhaps, and the overall length of the skirt.

Good luck and let me see pictures if any one else tries one!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Little Girls Swing Vest

I wanted to knit something with this new yarn I picked up a Micheal's.  The color is called Fiesta!  I absolutely love the colors in real life.  I took this picture with my iphone and the colors are somewhat close to actual, but not spot on.  I wanted to make something quick, so that I could really good ahead and enjoy those colors.  I was inspired by a pattern for a doll sweater that I found on ravelry.  Although I basically followed her pattern as a recipe I had to come up with new numbers of stitches and measurements in order to get a garment for a 2-4 year old.  It fits both my 2 year old and my 4 year old, so it should get a lot of use.

What to get:
Less than 244 yards of worsted weight yarn in your color choice.
size 10 needles.  I used 16" circular, but this can be worked on straight needles as well or longer circulars.

Start by casting on 64 stitches.
Knit 2 rows.  On the 3rd row knit to the final 4 stitches.  Yarn over.  K2tog.  K2.
Knit for 3 more rows.
From this point out make sure that you keep 5 stitches at the beginning and end of each row in garter stitch.  The rest will be in stochinette stitch.  (I can't spell.)
So on this row you will knit 5 stitches, then knit in the front and back of each stitch all the way across to the last 5 stitches which you will knit.
Next row purl.
Next row K5, then (K1, Kfb) repeat across to last 5 stiches, K5.  At this point I believe that you will have 172 stitches.  If my memory serves me correct.
Now continue knitting in st stitch with your garter stitch border for 4".  That is 4" from where you started st stitch. Finish on a purl row.
At this point you will knit 28. This will be the first front part of your vest. You could place a marker here but you don't have to.  Next knit 33 stitches.  This is a sleeve.  Turn your work and knit those 33 stitches again.  Turn and bind off those 33 stitches.  Now knit the next 50 stitches.  This is the back of the vest.  Knit the next 33 stitches.  Turn and knit those 33 stitches again.  Then turn and bind off those 33 stitches.  Then knit the remaining 28 stitches.
On the following row you will purl and join all of your remaining stitches to make the sleeves.
Continue in st stitch for about 6 to 6.5 inches.  Remember your garter stitch border of 5 stitches on each side.
Then knit 7 row for a garter stitch border at the bottom.  You could do it for 5 rows if you like, because the garter border on mine has a tendency to want to flip up and I feel like if I had made it a little thinner it might not flip up as bad.  Then you can bind off all you stitches.
Last thing is to sew on your button.

This will be great in the fall with a long sleeve shirt underneath.  I finished this in about a day and half due to the fact that the pattern calls for larger sized needles.  I really love any project that is a quick knit a I am one of those people who revels in instant gratification.

Greatest Baby Announcements on Earth

We finally have a new baby!!!  After what seemed like a super long wait, and tons of attempts at natural inductions our newest family member was forced from his snug little cocoon and into the world.   Now, how to tell all of his eager fans?  Well here is what my mother and I came up with.

We made a trip to the store and picked up a bunch of movie theatre candy boxes, cracker jacks, and Barnum's Animal Cracker boxes.  Then we printed out a picture of the new baby with all his stats onto a 2x4 sticky label and slapped them onto the boxes.  Each label has a catchy title that corresponds to the type of candy or snack.

I decided to put the labels on the back of the boxes rather than on the front, but of course it would be good either way. We chose these titles:
Junior Mints: Welcoming our Little Junior
Reese's pieces: We Love Him to Pieces
Sugar Babies: Our Sugar Baby
Cracker Jack: Cracker Jack of a Baby
SweetTarts:  Our New Sweetheart
Hot Tamales:  One Hot Tamale
Animal Crackers:  Greatest Baby on Earth (absolutely my favorite because I love the little boxes, and our "Greatest Baby" goes perfect with the Greatest Show on Earth.)

I think we did pretty good coming up with the right favors to hand out to guests coming to visit our new little guy.  The new dad insisted on having some more traditional favors, so we also printed out some It's a Boy labels with the same pictures and stats onto card-stock, and tying these business card size announcements to cigars with It's a Boy ribbon.  I'm glad we can now contribute to all our loved ones less than healthy habits.  Come visit our baby and we will either help you get fat off sugary candy, or you can coat your lungs with carcinogens.  Which ever.  Ha.  Happy Birth-Day.  What's life if you can't celebrate with indulgences?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Bread

This is a variation on my great grandmother's banana bread. I have really never found another banana bread that I love as much as this one. Honestly I think the best part of it is that when you bake it for the recommended time you still get a slightly gooey center in the middle of the bread. I am such a sucker for gooey dough. Ha. As a kid I would refuse to eat any part of the bread other than the center pieces. 

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 cups brown rice flour minus 4 teaspoons
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
3 mashed ripened bananas

Cream the coconut oil, sugar, and eggs.
Remove 4 teaspoons of flour from the 2 cups of brown rice flour. Then add in the baking powder and salt. Add the xantham gum, and then mix flour mixture together with whisk.
Add flour mixture to oil, sugar, and eggs. Mix
Add bananas. Mix.
Add flaxseed. Mix
Grease your bread pan, and fill with bread dough mixture.
Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Again you can bake for longer, but the best part is definitely the delicious gooey center. It isn't too too gooey, so don't let my description scare you.

Ruffled Puff Sleeve Shrug

Here is the pattern for this fun shrug. You will need: Worsted weight yarn (I'm not sure of the yardage yet because I used a big huge lb skein, and I used part of it for another project, plus had left over from this one. Maybe if someone else tries the pattern they can share their yardage with the rest of us. size 13 straight needles size 9 29" circular needle (you could probably use any size larger than an 8 or so) size 7 16" circular needle Begin by casting on 90 stitches onto the size 13 needles. Knit in garter stitch for approximately 24" and then cast off.
You should have a rectangle that is approximately 24" by 30". Fold it in half so that it is 30" by 12".
Seem up 6" on each end of the open edge.
The above picture shows one side seamed up. You can decide to only seam 5" or 7" depending on your own body. Turn the garment right side out and try it on. Make sure you don't need to make adjustments on the length of your seem. It will look like this.
Now you will use the 16" circular needle and you will pick up stitches around the sleeves. Do this working right side out. You are going to be decreasing the number of stitches as you pick up your yarn. For every two stitches you will only pick up one. Insert your needle into each valley in between the garter stitch.
You want to end up with 57 stitches on your needle. If you have to skip a few spots here or there to get that number that's okay too. If you have more rows than me in your original triangle then you may have to make adjustments to this step to get 57 stitches, or you need to have around 57 with a number that is divisible by 3 and that when you subtract 1/3 from the number it gives you an even number. Hope that made sense. Once you have 57 stitches on your size 7 16" circular needle begin working in the round. On the first round k2tog, k1 all the way around. You should now have 38 stitches. After that k1,p1 for 4 inches and then cast off loosely. I knit my knit stitches and purl my purl stitches when I cast off.
Repeat this on the other sleeve.
Now you will switch to the size 9 29" circular needle. You will pick up one stitch for each stitch in your center opening. The number of stitches will vary depending on how many inches you decided to seam up for the sleeves. It is not necessary to have a particular number of stitches.
Round 1: Knit Round 2: Purl Round 3: Knit Round 4: kfb of each stitch Round 5: Purl Round 6: kfb of each stitch Round 7: Purl cast off.
Weave in any