Monthly Archives: November 2010

Oh, Baby!

I was looking through some knitting patterns that I have written and found this one.  It’s my favorite and although it takes a lot of time if you use something like a worsted weight yarn (which I did) the result is really cool.  The gauge and needle size really don’t matter.  Just use a yarn you like and a needle that is suggested for that yarn.  I lined the back with a piece of flannel cut to size and then tacked to knit piece to the flannel with pieces of yarn.


B-A-B-Y Blanket


Knit four panels that measure 9” wide and 36” tall using stockinette stitch.  Sew panels together.

Letter B (make 2)

  • Co 26
  • Work stockinette til measures 1”
  • K9, bo 10, k7
  • Work stockinette (left front) til measures 2” then place stitches on holder.
  • Work stockinette (right front) til measures 2” ending with a WS row
  • K9, co 10, k7
  • P24, ptog
  • K2tog, k23
  • repeat 2 rows till have 22 stitches
  • p21, kfb
  • kfb, k22
  • repeat 2 rows till have 24 sts
  • P 1 row
  • K7, bo10, k7
  • Work stockinette (left front) till measures 1.5” then place stitches on holder.
  • Work stockinette (right front) till measures 1.5” ending with a WS row.
  • K7, co10, k7
  • P22, p2tog
  • K2tog, k21
  • Continue decreases until 19 stitches remain.
  • BO remaining stitches

Letter A

  • Co 2
  • K2
  • P2
  • *Kfb, kfb
  • P4
  • Kfb, k2, kfb*
  • Cont. this pattern until 14 sts
  • Kfb, k4, k2tog, ssk, k4, kfb
  • P7, turn work. These 7 stitches will be worked separately
  • *Ssk, k4, kfb
  • P7*
  • Repeat these two rows until measures 3” from top ending with a wrong side.  Place stitches on holder.
  • Work other side beginning with WS
  • P7
  • *Kfb, k4, k2tog
  • P7*
  • Repeat these two rows until measures 3” from top ending with a WS. CO 6, knit 7 stitches from holder. 20 sts.
  • *P20
  • Kfb, k18, kfb*
  • Continue this pattern until 24 sts ending with a WS
  • Kfb, k6, bo12, k6, kfb
  • Work front right side of A (7 sts)
  • *P7
  • Ssk, k4, kfb*
  • Repeat these two rows until measures 7” from top.  BO 7 sts
  • Other side:
  • P7
  • Kfb, k4, k2tog
  • Repeat two rows until measures 7” from top. BO 7 sts

Letter Y

  • CO 8 sts and work stockinette for 4” ending with a WS
  • Kfb, k6, kfb
  • P
  • Repeat two rows until 14 sts ending with purl row.
  • Kfb, k4, k2tog turn work
  • 1.P7
  • 2. Kfb, k4, k2tog
  • Continue until measures 7” from beginning.  BO
  • Work other side:
  • 1. ssk, k4, k2tog
  • 2. P7
  • continue until measures 7” from beginning. BO

Saltine Crackers are Called to a Higher Purpose

When I got married my parents gave me a cookbook with all my favorite family recipes in it and it’s one of my most cherished wedding gifts.  Every time I make something from it memories from some part of my life flood back to me .  They even got my grandparents to put recipes in it that they used to make.  One of my favorite things to make from it is a recipe for cracker toffee bars.  I try not to make it too often because there is not one ounce of anything healthy in it (two sticks of butter?  Yikes!).  But, oh, these bars sure are tasty, and cheap, and easy.  If only they could make chocolate, butter, and sugar without any calories…

Cracker Toffee Bars

Line a 10x15x1 inch pan with foil  LIne foil with saltine crackers.  Mix together and boil for 3 minutes, 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter (not margarine).  Pour over crackers and bake at 375* for 5 minutes or until crackers float.  Remove from oven and cool just a little.  Spread with a 12 ounce package of milk chocolate chips.  Sprinkle with nuts (1/2 cup).  Cut into squares before set.

Cracker Toffee Bars

Skull and Crossbones

I’ve been trying to find a good pattern to make a winter hat for Dieter and his friend Anderson.  I don’t know if he has an oddly shaped head or what but every 0-3 or 3-6 month pattern I’ve tried is huge or doesn’t work with the yarn I have on hand so I decided to make up my own pattern.  I had some sweet yarn that I knew would look good as a hat (Jeremiah knit a hat using it awhile ago).  I don’t know if you can still buy the yarn, it’s called Sensations Licorice, and you can only get it at Joann’s.  But really any bulky yarn will work great.  The only thing that is unique about this yarn is that it’s thick an thin so keep that in mind when checking your gauge.

I really wanted to get a good picture of Dieter wearing his hat but he wasn’t being really cooperative so I did what I could.  Oh who am I kidding, any picture I take of him is adorable :).  That would be my proud momma comment.

Skull and Crossbones Hat

Size 3-6 months

Use size 11 16″ circular and DPs

Gauge: 6 stitches = 2″ in stockinette

Cast on 48 stitches and join in round.  K2, p2 for 1″.

Knit in round for 3″.  If you haven’t already switch to DPs (12 stitches on each needle).


Round 1: K4, K2tog, repeat through end of round.

Round 2: Knit

Round 3: Knit

Round 4: K3, K2tog, repeat

Round 5: Knit

Round 6: Knit

Round 7: K2, K2tog, repeat

Round 8: Knit

Round 9: K1, K2tog, repeat

Round 10: K2tog, repeat

Round 11: K2tog, repeat (4 sts rem.)

Break off yarn and thread through remaining stitches.

Finishing: I made a nice big pom-pom to put on top but really this is such a basic pattern that you can embellish in so many different ways.  I also loved the idea of making this a little more “punk” so I cut out an oversized skull and crossbones from a piece of fleece and sewed it on with some red thread.

Close up

Tyler Florence

I love everyday meals that have a little twist on them to make them extra tasty.  Take sloppy joes for example, usually the flavor comes out of a can courtesy of Manwich, not my idea of a wholesome, tasty meal.  But let Tyler Florence take a shot at them and you have some darn good sloppy joes.

The Ultimate Sloppy Joes


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 12 parker house rolls


Set a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add onions and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add ground turkey, season well with salt and pepper and brown well all over, breaking it up with a wooden spoon – about 7 to 10 minutes. Add ketchup, mustard, cayenne, brown sugar and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar and season it once more before serving on parker rolls.


The $190 Nursery

You’ve seen a glimpse of Dieter’s room on a previous post but I want to show you the whole thing today because it is my favorite room in our house.  As you may know by now we love paying less for things.  Craigslist is our friend and we utilized this friend when we prepared the nursery for Dieter’s arrival.  Here is how we spent $190 on furnishing Dieter’s room.

Dieter's Room

1. Crib – we found the crib on Craigslist for $100 which included the mattress.  It’s about seven years old but is still in really good condition and originally cost $300-$400, not including the mattress.  The only downside is it’s a side drop crib, all of which are now being recalled.  Eventually I may have Jeremiah fasten the side so it can’t move but for now it works just fine.

Craigslist tip: Search for furniture in wealthier areas.  These folks have nice things and don’t need the money so are willing to part with their stuff for a low price.

2. Changing table – we were very blessed to get this for free from Jeremiah’s sister who has kids that have outgrown a changing table.

3. Glider – $60 dollars on Craigslist.  Actually, the lady was offering it for $80 but Jeremiah refuses to pay full price for anything.

4. Toy bins (not pictured) – gotta love Aldi!  I picked this up for $29.99.

5. Dresser – my parents didn’t need this dresser anymore and were happy to get rid of it.  Jeremiah spent about $40 on paint and new hardware to give it a facelift.  Sorry, I didn’t include that in the total cost of the nursery since it technically wasn’t a necessary project (most facelifts aren’t ;)).

And there you have it!  This is how we furnished our nursery for $190.  Oh, I almost forgot about the little side table next to the glider.  The previous owner’s of our house left it along with a bunch of other junk that we put to good use (and some we just put in the garbage can).

The Best Wipes Ever (at least I think so)

I know that deciding to undertake the task of sewing ones own cloth diapers is not appealing to most people.  Something that may seem a little more manageable is sewing cloth wipes.  If you’re going to use cloth diapers (or even if you’re not) it makes sense to use cloth wipes as well.  I love using the cloth wipes I made.  I had to use disposable wipes not too long ago and it was not a pretty sight.  I feel like most of what I was wiping up managed to get on my hands.  Uh, yuck.

These cloth wipes are awesome because they are hefty!  This is how I made them.  Cut an 8″x8″ square of flannel and the same size out of an old t-shirt and zig-zag stitch them together.  If you have a serger that works even better but I do not have that wonderful machine (if anyone wants to get me one for Christmas I would be eternally grateful).

You can make a solution to use with your wipes by mixing olive oil, water, and essential oils.  Here are some recipes for solution.  I can tell you that I have never made a solution, I just use water and it works great.

A Knitter’s Caterpillar

Caterpillars are so easy to knit.  Plus, they are super cute and squishy and perfect for little kiddos.  I don’t know when I got the idea to turn this pattern for balls into caterpillars but I really enjoy making them.  You just knit four balls, stuffed with whatever you have on hand (I recently started using scraps of fabric), and sew them together.  Then you make 14 i-cords however long you’d like and attach them as legs and antennas.  Embroider a face and there you have it!  A cute little caterpillar.


Set of US size 7 double pointed needles

Worsted weight yarn

Stitch marker

Material for stuffing (yarn scraps, batting, plastic grocery bags, etc.)

Yarn needle, for weaving in ends


Cast on 6 sts and knit one row as for I-cord.

Divide sts equally among 3 dpns. Place stitch marker and begin to knit in the round.

Round 1: kfb all sts (12 sts)

Round 2: knit

Round 3: *k1, kfb; repeat from * (18 sts)

Round 4: knit

Round 5: *k2, kfb; repeat from * (24 sts)

Round 6: knit

Round 7: *k3, kfb; repeat from * (30 sts)

Round 8: knit

Round 9: *k4, kfb; repeat from * (36 sts)

Round 10: knit

Round 11: *k8, kfb; repeat from * (40 sts)

Rounds 12-14: knit

Round 15: *k8, k2tog; repeat from * (36 sts)

Round 16: knit

Round 17: *k4, k2tog; repeat from * (30 sts)

Round 18: knit

Round 19: *k3, k2tog; repeat from * (24 sts)

Round 20: knit

Round 21: *k2, k2tog; repeat from * (18 sts)

Round 22: knit

Stuff ball with yarn scraps, batting, etc.

Round 23: *k1, k2tog; repeat from * (12 sts)

Round 24: knit

Round 25: *k2tog; repeat from * (6 sts)

Cut yarn leaving a 6-inch tail. Thread needle with yarn tail, pull through remaining stitches and knot discreetly. Run needle down the center of ball and through to other side. Snip excess tail close to ball’s surface. Makes about a 2.5-inch diameter ball.

I won’t take credit for this pattern.  It’s actually courtesy of Marcie Nishioka, whose work you can find at


The Cloth Diaper Saga

I realize that cloth diapering is not for everyone.  They create more loads of laundry and don’t absorb everything quite as well.  But the benefits are countless including no extra trash, you save a boatload of money, and I’ve heard potty training happens sooner (Amen to that!).  I decided to cloth diaper for all of these reasons.  Plus, my mom cloth diapered all of her kids so it just seemed like the normal thing to do.

Cloth diapering is also part of the whole trendy, green movement so there are a lot of different options.  I have to admit that I was completely overwhelmed when I started doing my research.  Instead of getting bogged down with too much diaper product information I thought to myself, “what the hey, I’ll just make my own!”  Uh, what?  As I said earlier I don’t even really enjoy sewing so am I crazy overambitious or super smart?  I’ll take the first and hope for the last.  I found a great pattern called Rita’s Rump Pockets and decided to give it a go.  I was able to buy all the flannel during a 50% off sale at JoAnn and use my 15% discount on top of it.  Along with thread and elastic I think the whole project cost me about 60 bucks.

Diaper Fabric

So after hours and hours of sewing these cloth diapers started to take shape.  Once completed all you have to do is stick a pre-fold in the pocket but I decided to take it one step further.  Instead of using a diaper cover I wanted to make some type of waterproof layer.  I found some PUL fabric (polyurethane laminated) and folded that into the pre-fold and was very hopeful that this would be the best, most awesome cloth diaper ever.  Then my little peanut came.  And by little, I mean 5 pounds 14 ounces.  Yeah, not a chance that these diapers were going to fit him.  In fact they didn’t fit him until last week and by that time I had gotten so used to putting him in a regular old pre-fold with a vinyl diaper cover that I’ve barely used the fancy, schmanzy diapers I put so much work into.  Thankfully, the few times I have used them I’ve been super impressed with how they work so maybe I’ll start using them more.  They are very cute wouldn’t you say?

Diaper Model

Recycled Curtains

I love thrift stores.  I’m sure there will be a few more posts in the future about thrifting but today I thought I would share what I did with some old sheets I found at Goodwill.  I’ve always looked at bedding and thought how much fabric there is for such a cheap price.  You could never go to Hancock or JoAnn and get as much fabric as an old sheet has for five bucks.  The only time you MAY be able to is a Black Friday Sale and whoa baby you better bring your brass knuckles because those ladies are fierce!  (I may be exaggerating, I’ve worked a Black Friday sale at JoAnn and it was actually a ton of fun).

But I digress.  When we moved into our new house we didn’t have any window coverings in our bedroom so it was either buy curtains or make them.  I’m not much of a sewer, I’d rather knit any day, but if I must then it better be a good deal.  So I took a trip to the Goodwill and found a nice twin size sheet for five dollars and an awesome duvet cover from Ikea for six dollars.  Plenty of fabric for some window coverings!  I haven’t made anything with the Ikea fabric yet, it’s going to make curtains for our guest room and office, but here is what I did with our bedroom windows.  I didn’t take any close-up pictures because, like I said before, I’m not much of a sewer and I rushed to get them done during Dieter’s naptimes.

Thrifty CurtainsI had some leftover tan fabric from some other project so I added that to the curtains.



A little bit of a close-up and…







oh! How did that get in here?