Monday, December 19, 2011

So This Is Christmas

So this is Christmas...

...and what have you done...
...another year over...

...and a new one just begun...
...and so Happy Christmas...

...we hope you have fun...

...the near and the dear ones...

...the old and the young...


**Lyrics from "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by the incomparable John Lennon


Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Crafting -- Easy Crocheted Dishcloth

Both Michelle and I learned how to crochet a long time ago, but over the last few years, I learned that I LOVE to crochet.  I really do.  I may not be quite as skilled as Kara, but I have a lot of fun making things for the people I love (and for myself, too!).  This year, I wanted something cute and quick that I could give to some people on my list, and I came up with this:

I looked at some other crochet dishcloth patterns and couldn't find one that was quite what I wanted, so I came up with my own!  If you know how to crochet, then you will have no problem with this pattern.  It's easy and pretty quick, too; I think the first one took me about an hour and the rest have gotten progressively quicker to do.

Here's what you're going to need:

Yarn, a crochet hook, and some time.

I used a size G crochet hook and this 100% cotton, worsted-weight yarn called "Yuletide" from Peaches & Creme.  I bought it at Walmart for less than $2 a skein and it is wonderful to use!  You can get about 1-1/2 dishcloths from one skein.

To make this dishcloth, you'll need to know how to crochet a V-stitch.  This is one of my favorite stitches to use, which is why I used it to create the pattern.  If you don't know how to V-stitch, you can find an explanation here.  These instructions only show how to make one row of V-stitches; when you work the next row, instead of inserting your hook into a stitch, you will put your hook underneath that middle Ch-1 and pull your yarn through the empty space in the middle of each V.

Please note: I have exactly zero experience writing crochet patterns, so please excuse my lack of professionalism. :)  If you have any questions at all, please email!!!!

Row 1: Chain 40.  In 5th chain from hook, DC, ch 1, DC (1 "V" made).  *Skip next 2 chains.  V-stitch in next chain.  Repeat from * until 12 V's have been made.  Skip 1 ch and DC in last chain.  Ch 3 and turn.

Row 2: V-stitch in each ch-1 space across until 12 V's have been made.  DC in top of turning chain from previous row.  Ch 3 and turn.

Can you see the little V's?
Repeat until desired size (I do 17 rows) and fasten off.

Ta-daaaa!!  You now have a cute dishcloth to give to somebody else or keep for yourself!

Who doesn't love a handmade gift?

Bring some Christmas cheer to your chores!

Download your "We Wash You a Merry Christmas" gift tag HERE

If you don't know how to crochet but want to learn how, I highly recommend Debbie Stoller's book  The Happy Hooker(Get your minds out of the gutter!  She's talking about crochet hooks!!)

Happy Crocheting!!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Sweet lil' Gift

'Tis the season for gift giving. I absolutely love it. The thrill of the hunt to find the perfect gift for everyone on my list. One of the ways I simplify in my gift giving is to make a "bulk" gift for my gal-pals. That way I can put equal effort into each one of my gifts for them. I have other friends that do this too and both the givers & recievers love it! Try it this year - you will do it every year following it!

 This year I am doing sugar scrubs. They are simple & luxurious and my favorite part about them is that there are so many sugar scrub recipies out there you can hand them out all year long (spicy for Christmas, orangcicle for summer, etc).
You can go to WalMart and get cute jars (be sure that they can seal tightly) or if you happen to have some baby food jars lying around...perfect size!! I just spray painted the lids a glossy black (or glittery red, there are so many choices)

Mix up your desired sugar scrub recipe. Tip Junkie has a great list of  14 Easy Homemade Sugar Scrubs to choose from. I knew that I wanted a sweet spicy scent. After reading through some recipes I created one of my own!
Tip: Be sure to mix your sugars together first to get all the lumps out before adding the oils.

I made some little labels for my jars and affixed them to the jars with craft bond (think spray glue).
*sorry that it's doing two pages. I've tried numerous things and it just won't change. The bottom three labels are sized larger than the top*

Then tied some ribbon around the top and TaDA! An easy - cute - sweet - gift all ready to hand out to some deserved friends. I think it's extra sweet to tie little silver (aka: baby spoons) to the jar, instead of ribbon some cute twine....the possibilities are endless really.

Have fun and Happy Gift Giving this holiday season!!
Link Party

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Pinspiration

Haul out the holly!!!  I have had this on my Must Craft Soon pin board for awhile and tis the season to do it.
I followed this great tutorial by Eddie Ross once I saw his Joan Crawford "no wire hangers" reference I knew that we would be great friends!

You will need:
a Wire Hanger
80 or so Ornaments (of varying sizes)
Hot glue
A good movie

I was able to accumulate all of my ornaments from yard sales. Last weekened I went to a $2 bag sale for my local American Legion. My friends & I were a bit wary of all the old-people stuff, but once I saw these AWESOME retro spiky ornaments I was all over it. I scooped those two up (the only two that were there) along with some yellow & teal colored ornaments and took them home to my two boxes of green ones that I got from another yard sale.

The important thing is to have different sizes of balls. If you look close at this pic you can see the gaps. If I hadn't been so anxious to get this done (and plus it was midnight) I would/should have gotten another pack of smaller bulbs to fillin those spots, but if you are like me and just want to get it done you don't notice the gaps unless you point them out I did.

Hanging it up was also an experience, be sure that you have a long ribbon, wire or (like me) some paperclips to unravel and use to reach your hanging spot. The bulbs make this wreat bulky and it won't lay flat against the wall. One tutorial that I read directed you to lay the blubs so it had a flat back - I didn't do that. By the time I read that I had already made the wreath and was looking up how to hang it up.
I unraveled some paper clips to make an "extended hook" hooked them to the hanger top & then to the nail. It worked and it is all covered up by my bow (if you ask with a pretty please I will teach you how to make those too :)

The tutorial is easy and simple to follow and I had the craft done by the end of the night! (I love those kind of crafts don't you?)

Link Party
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