Nope, “windy city” is not just a cute nickname

Every year I run away from home and escape my nutty family and crazy job participate in valuable professional development at the annual American Speech Hearing and Language Association (ASHA) conference. This year the convention location was Chicago. My colleague and I usually submit to present at the conference so that we can stroke our egos by telling everyone that we are “national presenters” share our insights with fellow speech pathologists. We were assigned a poster presentation this time around so of course this justified a trip to Chicago.

Must. Finish. Sewing.


Because I don’ t get out much, I’ve been planning and/or obsessing over my Chicago-wear sewing projects since last spring I’m so busy with life, I haven’t even had time to think about a winter wardrobe. In reality, there have been a lot of sewing plans and limited execution. Here are some of the projects I managed to scrape together before 1:30am prior to departure.

I’d been coveting the Butterick 5824 pattern for a while.

(Too bad I can’t sew myself that rocking Dita Von Teese hair and makeup too!)

I ended up buying some navy wool flannel and a crepe de chine from Fabric Mart. The coat was a pretty basic sew that I would recommend to anyone who would like a coat that wears like a dress. The only change I made was using a horsehair braid for the hem because I was feeling too lazy to cut out and iron bias strip pieces of interfacing I wanted some extra flair to the skirt. Here’s how mine turned out:

Butterick 5824 wool flannel coat


The lining ended up kind of looking like a crayon box threw up inside my coat. The good news is that I will never have to wear it inside out.

Sorry about the coat ma'am, it was a rough night...








I had also been ogling this Butterick 5813 pattern for quite some time now.


I made mine out of a blue gabardine from, again, Fabric Mart Fabrics



Here’s me peacocking around working our poster session:

our jackets were light green and brown when we left...


CHICAGO IS COLD AND WINDY!!!! On our first night we braved walking in the freezing cold (it was actually below 32 degrees and not just an expression for once) to eat a delicious deep dish pizza dinner. My poor colleague was regaled with a continuous stream of pathetic whimpering and repeated “its colds” followed by a pizza-gasm at Lou Malnati’s.  During our trip, the weather warmed up followed by RAIN.  We managed to board our airplane home only about an hour before the storm caused an evacuation of Soldier Field.



At the same time, experiencing an actual fall was so amazing! I got to see naked trees, berry-covered branches, and about died of excitement when I saw a squirrel who was mid-transition into winter camouflage.  I’m used to seeing this stuff hanging in a mall and made out of plastic.  In addition, the public transportation was clean and efficient and most people were very friendly.  The sights and tastes of Chicago were beautiful and definitely worth braving the cold!

I <3 fall!

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Turtles for the Peachick

Yeah Baby!


<= My friend Paulina (“the peacock“) is having a baby!!!  Babies always warrant fun crafts, multiple trips to Hobby Lobby, and laying on the couch crocheting.

Flashing back to Paulina’s bridal shower last summer…

Over a couple of mimosas we played that game where guests are asked questions about the bride and groom.  I was on a winning streak that came to a screeching halt after this question: “What is the couple’s favorite animal ‘as a couple‘?”  My inner monologue went from “I’m soooo awesome” to something like this:


I'm going to go ahead and guess yours is cat. Yeah.

“Favorite animal as a couple?  Who the heck has a favorite animal as a couple? Is my marriage incomplete because my husband and I have never had this conversation? Cat? Dog? Komodo Dragon? Aaaahhhh, I’m going to break my winning streak!  Can’t we just move on to the part where we have to make wedding dresses out of toilet paper?”


Sea turtle.  The answer was sea turtle.  

We were supposed to know this because the couple ‘fell in love’ in Hawaii.  I then filed this tidbit of information away in my “useless information that no one really cares about but I incessantly impart to others anyway and that’s why no one wants to be my friend” brain-file.  There the sea turtle joined up with my 6th grade crush’s home telephone number, obscure Simpsons trivia from the mid 1990s, and the lyrics to the opening of the Heathcliff cartoon show- in Spanish.


Isidoro es genial. Es el rey de la ciudad. Nadie lo puede igualar. Tiene clase de verdad.

all syrup super squishee








Then we made toilet paper wedding dresses.  My team won, by the way, which I’m happy to report after my disastrous performance on the questions portion of the bridal shower.  It must have been the “pomegranate juice freshly squeezed from seeds fished out of our drinks” flower accent that gave us the competitive edge.

Anyway…flash forward 1-year and it’s baby shower time and Paulina and her husband love turtles (…’as a couple’).  I thought I’d make up some sort of crochet sea turtle blanket for their little-lady baby.  Here were some of my initial inspirations:


car blanket source             rainbow blanket source     water blanket source


I decided on a chevron-wave effect to simulate water


And some turtle ideas:

source                                       source                                      source






<= I wanted to capture the idea of baby turtles running into the ocean (minus the hoard of attacking seagulls). 

Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Why don't I eat some worms?








These were some of my quick sketches:

both my kids and husband voted for this one










I broke down and decided to not be a total cheapo and purchased the turtle pattern on ravelry since I loved their little sea-turtley fins and patterned shell.


I generally followed this free pattern here to make the chevron waves.



I got totally stumped at the surf portion of the blanket.  After torturing some highly critical/ brutally honest co-workers with rapid-fire questions about how to proceed with the “turtle blanket” followed by lots of crazed ripping-out and re-crocheting, I decided to make two rows of white, start the sand color through the back loops of the white layer, and continue the white layer in the front loops.  I added intermittent bobble stitches at the end of the floating white layer in attempt to give it a foamy look.


Here’s how it all came together:

 sea turtle crochet ocean baby blanket

sea turtle crochet ocean baby blanketsea turtle crochet ocean baby blanketsea turtle crochet ocean baby blanket

I remember the scene looking something like this...

(flashback alert) At the beginning of my career I once taught a summer school kindergarten class for students with severe language delays.  One day I read the students a book about sea turtles as part of an ocean unit.  When I was done, one little guy looked super sad and asked “where mom?“.  Being the incessant imparter of facts no one wants to hear, I nonchalantly said “They never see their moms.  The ocean is sooo big!  They just swim away“.  Then this little kiddo that hardly ever talked started sobbing and screaming “NO MOM!!!!!!  NO MOM!!!!!” and I was like “well, he’s lucky he didn’t get eaten by a gull, a dog, or a big fish like most of his brothers and sisters”.

Yeah.  My brutally honest co-workers advised me to NOT tell that story at the baby shower.


Soooo….I decided to make it very clear that the baby-Paulina sea turtle made it safely to the ocean:

See?  She’s pink! And she’s almost to the medium blue water section…


In the end, I gave myself super bonus kudos when it was stated that the baby would be given a Hawaiian name (SCORE!)  My ego then went on to be quickly deflated again when I lost the sculpt-a-baby-out-of-bubble gum game to someone who actually made a full head of girly hair for their gum-baby…. Toilet paper baby clothes competition anyone?

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Comatose Crochet

Sometimes I get lazy.  Really lazy.  Really, really lazy.  Sometimes I’m too lazy to sit up to sew…that’s when I knit.  Sometimes I get too lazy to move both arms to knit…and that’s when I crochet.

I’ve been doing a lot of laying around….I mean… CROCHETING lately.

“Oh, You’re having a birthday?!?  A baby you say?!?  I must lay on the couch for hours and crochet you something.  What children?  You say you want to eat again?  Didn’t I feed you two yesterday?  Darned kids.”


Project #1-A Gift for Maria: You were supposed to say “pink bunny”

Maria was celebrating her 5th birthday so I sent her mother the text “What is Maria’s favorite color and animal?” thinking I would crochet her a customized stuffy.

Her answer back was: “rainbow unicorn. LOL”

Wow, ok.  I went searching on the Ravelry website and found this great free pattern!



…and it’s called “Hermione”…Hermione….just like ME!!!…wait…I mean that girl from Harry Potter:






It’s easy to see how I often get myself and Hermione confused- the resemblance is striking…with the exception that we look nothing alike and give or take about 25 years.

“You look so much like Hermione Granger” said no one to me ever.  :(

Any-hoo…back on the topic of rainbow unicorns.  I thought maybe I could do the mane in rainbow colors and maybe something rainbow-y with the bottom of the feet:

Here were my initial attempts at rainbow feet.  I thought a few looked too Rastafari while others looked too “nipple-y”.  (Probably not the effect Maria was hoping for…)

I liked the half-rainbow foot and decided to do it with a sky blue background.  After many hours of unicorn abuse via hook and needle, here is how it everything came together:

amigurumi crochet rainbow unicorn

amigurumi crochet rainbow unicorn

amigurumi crochet rainbow unicornamigurumi crochet rainbow unicorn














Check out my rainbow feet!





























Project #2-Birthday Present for Maddie: If you don’t like octopuses, you could tell everyone it’s the blue ghost from PacMan 

I have had it in my head to make myself this chicken purse (or “cluck clutch“).  For some strange reason, I just think it would be so funny/ awesome to walk around with a chicken in my armpit, and then whip my wallet out of its belly at the local In-N-Out to pay for my lunch (I dream big, I know…).



My fashion-forward friend/ co-worker’s opinion, however, was that a chicken purse would definitely not fit in with the “sexy librarian” look I’ve been working so hard to cultivate.  I disagree with her-chickens clearly love books, see?  =>


From Amigurumi on the Go

The girls were invited to Maddie’s 5th birthday party and I thought it would be hilarious to make her a “cluck clutch” with eggs inside.  After giving it some thought, and deciding that maybe her parents wouldn’t appreciate me giving their daughter a present that poops, I decided to check out the offerings in this book and thought the octopus bag was cute.  I had some dark and light blue yarn on hand and this is how my version turned out:

ana paula rimoli amigurumi crochet octopus backpack
I wanted to add a little flair to the bag like a fancy-pants purse, so I added an initial-fish pull-tab to the back zipper.








Project #3-Birthday Present for Boss: Your caffeine withdrawal has been harder for us than it has been for you, TRUST me



What do you gift the man with a Mountain Dew addiction who gives up caffeine until he finishes his hike up Mount Whitney this summer?  A Superman soda cozy/koozie for his hillbilly-fuel induced high on the way down, of course!

crochet drink cozy koozie superman


I used this free pattern found on as a springboard.




The changes I made were:

  • Superman colors
  • adding a circular bottom to support the can
  • smaller yarn/ embroidery for the crest
  • a satin cape!




Project #4-Your mother is one of the cutest pregnant women I’ve ever seen and I hate her for it.  But really, she’s a super-nice person and I’m just jealous.

One of my fellow school psychologists is having a baby girl.  Since her shower theme was “ballerina”, I made her a pink and white chevron blanket inspired by this post.  It is a super quick crochet, I am very pleased with how it turned out, and I highly recommend the pattern (which was awesomely free by the way!).  Now I want one for myself, but my husband says that we already have enough blankets in the house.  Well, poop on him and I hope he has a cold summer this year.

chevron crochet baby blanket pink white


Project #5-Penny’s breakfast musings

This morning, while feasting on her Coco Puffs and philosophizing on the meaning of life, Penny asked “you make me a tiara?”  I decided to try this free pattern found on Ravelry to make crowns for Josie and Penny.  Then I forced them to wear it and take pictures in the backyard against their will.  I’m the funnest mom ever.

crochet crown tiara



And in case you were wondering, yes my weird child wears a flamenco dress as clothing.  I made her take off the inner-tube around her waist for the picture though.



Project #6-and in store for the near future…


Summer vacation is coming soon!!!



My sewing machine broke this week.


I’m lost on a roller coaster of emotions….I guess I could get off the couch and find a sewing machine repair shop.  Or I could stay where I am and crochet myself a hankie to cry into instead…

Not made by me...yet



Perfect!  (Free pattern found here)


Posted in Crochet, Harry Potter Obsession | 1 Comment

Going Lala-Loopy

Our little Penny turned 3 years old this Saturday.  She’s such a good sport for being so willing to be a part of our family….

Mr. Penelope

Got ya!

How you doin?









For once, instead of tormenting the poor child, we decided to invite her friends over for a birthday party.  Penny’s choice was a Lalaloopsy theme.

After grieving the fact that she didn’t ask for a Harry Potter themed party (I’ve majorly failed her as a parent…), I decided to start by crocheting Lalaloopsy hats as party favors for the girls.  After searching the internet for ideas, these were some of my favorite inspirations:


I found these adorable hats on this website here.  I really liked the mixture of crochet and sewing (especially for the cheeks), and the super boingy hair curls.



I also loved the hats featured here and here on the Happiness is Homegrown website.  Pretty much EVERYTHING this blogger has created is adorable!

I decided to pilfer … I mean honor the beautiful work of the multitude of crafters that have gone before me….  by creating a similar version of this hat.  Here is mine.

Lalaloopsy crochet hat Toffee Cocoa Cuddles

Lalaloopsy crochet hat Toffee Cocoa Cuddles

Lalaloopsy crochet hat Toffee Cocoa Cuddles








Lalaloopsy crochet hat Toffee Cocoa Cuddles

To make the beanies, I used this free pattern from Ravelry as the base (child size) with the following changes:

-rows 1-12 done in the hair color

-change rows 10-12 as follows* (for the little divot in the bangs) :

*20 hdc, 6 dc, 1 sc, 1 slip stitch, 1 sc, 6 dc, finish row in hdc

-Row 13: change to flesh colored yarn, crochet through back loop only

-Row 14-19: continue pattern in hdc then bind off

For the curls, I chained 6 stitches, turned, skipped one, and did 5 hdc in each chain

Sew 5 curls onto each side of the hat.

I used 1-1/2 inch buttons for the eyes, felt for the cheeks, and yarn for the mouth.  I found a fantastic bow tutorial here that I highly recommend.  Also, in the hat-making process I discovered this great tidbit for jogless color changes when crocheting in the round for all you OCD types out there like myself.

I then saw these mice/ rabbits that some kiddie Lalaloopsy partiers had hand sewn and stuffed.






I thought the kids should sew Toffee Cocoa’s dog to match their party-favor hat:

After many, many frustrating and ugly failed design attempts, this is how it finally turned out.

toffee cocoa cuddles puppy dog

To make the puppy, I went onto the Lalaloopsy website and printed out a copy of him as a template.  I used felt and cut the front half with ears and the back half without.  Since my kids have a weird addiction to “fluffies” (it’s like kiddy catnip to my very strange children), I decided that I would pre-stuff the pups so they wouldn’t start acting weird at the party.  I sewed on the eyes and nose and decided to stamp the cheeks because I got tired of sewing.  The head “fluffies” are contained by a zigzag stitch, and the body is stuffed and hand sewn.  Thank goodness for the crochet scarf, which not only serves as a design element, but holds up the heavy and overly-floppy head.  I punched the holes in the head using one of those tools that attaches snap-buttons and eyelets.  At the party the kids sewed around the head using yarn and plastic needles.

I then saw this adorable photo wall on the time-bandit called Pinterest.

I really wanted one…the 0nly problem was, I can’t paint or draw.  I decided to try something similar in felt.  A lot of lot of felt…..


I think my husband felt sorry for me when he found me one night sitting maniacally in the middle of felt mountain.  He kindly advised me to draw grids on the picture and increase the scale accordingly.  After remembering how to effectively do math that involves letters, this is how the photo wall turned out:

lalaloosy felt photo backdrop

 This is the point in time when I lost my mind….  and started making Lalaloopsy wig-hats as “props”:

Lalaloopsy Cinder Slippers crochet hat








 Cinder Slippers


Lalaloopsy Mittens Fluff n' Stuff crochet hat







Mittens Fluff N’ Stuff



lalaloopsy crumb sugar cookie crochet hat




Crumbs Sugar Cookie


Lalaloopsy pix e. flutters crochet hat







Pix E. Flutters



lalaloopsy backdrop


Josie got in on the action too and set to drawing Lalaloopsy characters as party decorations.  I used these to adorn a backdrop for the food table:












Josie was also in charge of putting up streamers:

That chunk of streamer really spruces up the fireplace quite nicely...






A great tutorial on sewing streamers together can be found here (via my buddy the felt mouse).

All in all, I think the party was a success as measured by the fact that no one cried (including me).    I hope that Penny will remember her party fondly and on her way to 4 I’ll work on brainwashing her to appreciate the finer things in life.  That way, maybe I can realize my dream of someday playing….



Pin the scar on Harry Potter (OMG HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!) found here.  Do I dare to dream???….

Posted in Crochet, Sewing | 4 Comments

The Hot Water Whale

Wilbur Whale

I wanted to make a belated Christmas present for my best friend’s (super-adorable, handsome, sweet) little baby Milo.  Since his nursery theme is “whales”, I thought I might have a go at this Lucinda Guy whale pattern =>

I decided to first ask my husband his opinion on whether or not I should make it for Milo.  This is how I remember our conversation happening:

  • Me: Is this cute? (showing picture)
  • Husband: Yes.
  • Me: Should I make it for baby Milo?
  • Husband: Yes
I decided to go for it.

Apparently this is how my husband remembers the exact same conversation:

  • Me: Does this look like a hot water bottle? (showing picture)
  • Husband: Yes
  • Me: Do you like nachos?
  • Husband: Yes

We're whalers on the Moon, we carry a harpoon. But there ain't no whales so we tell tall tales and sing our whaling tune.


Mid-construction I changed the whale’s embroidery from “harpooned-whale-red” to “sea-weedy” green.

My brain keeps telling me that at this point you would all enjoy this extremely obscure  Futurama reference.

(My brain says “you’re welcome” BTW.)


In the end my husband was wrong.  The whale stuffy ended up looking nothing at all like a hot water bottle…  see???


Because clearly, hot water bottles don’t  have eyes.

no eye








I mean, really?  How ridiculous would this look?



So baby Milo, I hope you enjoy your super cetacean-y, marine-mammal-ly, and not at all hot water bottle-ly WHALE.  <3

Posted in Crochet | 2 Comments

Cat-eyePad cover

Don't get fresh with me Rooty Tooty!


My friend/ coworker Sylvia had a birthday this week (55!) making her eligible to order more budget-friendly options off the senior menu at our local IHOP.




I once showed Sylvia a picture of this cat iPad cover available for sale on Etsy.  In her aged state, she somehow got it into her head that this was a free downloadable pattern (Nope.  It’s $78 made to order) and has been pestering me since Christmas to make her the “cat iPad cover”.  Well, I simply can’t say “no” to a senior citizen, so this January, Sylvia got her wish.


Wasn't I a good enough servant to you?


In her day to day life as our school’s speech and language pathologist, Sylvia uses her district-issued iPad quite frequently.  At this point, she was looking to upgrade from…..wrapping it in saran wrap.




While I really do love the cat iPad cover above, I wanted to make something that looked less……. like it wants kick your butt and eat you.  Instead I wanted something modern, but with a 50′s flair (a nod to her birth generation).  I decided to make this great envelope iPad cover listed here on tipnut.  Here were some of the additional inspirations I found on pinterest:






<= I LOVE the cat’s blue eye shadow!!!!

I soo want to wear some!

(What? It was HALLOWEEN…I hope.)


 Ok, maybe not.


Sylvia said that her favorite colors were purple and “peacock colors”.  Because I don’t want my husband to have a valid reason to divorce me over my “fabric addiction”, the challenge became how to make this darned thing without setting foot in a fabric store.

Here were some of my initial ideas:

a little too dowdy...

a little better, but kind of...limbless






that's it!/ front and back

starburst inspiration from this fine china







After digging manically through the stash, I chose a jean for the outside, a purple sateen for the lining, and a light brown felt for the cat.


I'm going to eat your soul....



I then set to work ….



(Segoe Script)


My heart dropped a little when I realized that the script embroidery + jean fabric reminded me forcefully of Guess! jeans in the 80′s.


I then figured that since my goal was modern+50′s…. if you take the mean of 2013 and 1958 you get 1985.5.  There you go.  See?  Math explains everything.


Flash forward through many OCD-filled hours…and here’s the final product:

cat iPad cover envelope



cat iPad cover envelope












I added an empty head under the velcro so she wouldn’t look decapitated (or would it be de-cat-itated?) when the envelope was opened.

All the cool cats are wearing mid-back bows

And finally, here is Sylvia with her fancy new iPad cover.  Goodbye saran wrap!

iPad cat cover envelope

(This was the only part of our classroom that was sort of picked up.)  No time to clean though….we’re off for a frugal birthday lunch at the IHOP!  (After our very hard, super laborious morning of work, that is).

Posted in Sewing | 1 Comment

Crafting like an elf hittin’ the syrup

"I used to be with it, then they changed what it was. Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you too." (Grandpa Simpson)

Long gone are the fabulous spendthrift days of fancy free mall shopping; in this decade granny makes all of her holiday gifts herself…

Don't you remember all the great times we had together???









The Christmas season has now become the annual catalyst to my metamorphosis from a somewhat-sane and caring mother to a nocturnal needle-armed beast from the depths of hell.

I love you so much family!







keep those dirty little kid-hands off my knitting! Oh, and bring me some coffee. And chocolate.












Project #1:  Super Gavin

The first project was a gift for Gavin’s 7th birthday.  I saw these superhero masks/ cape on my buddy’s blog that I thought would be perfect for him too.  The pattern is from this cute website (check out the princess crowns …)  I ended up stitching the masks by hand, not because I’m a super-crafter, but because I felt too lazy to sit upright to machine-sew.  Here’s how the masks turned out:

superhero masks felt

My husband slash comic book geek then told me that the gift would be incomplete without a superhero cape.  I figured that as the king of the nerds, he should know what he’s talking about.  Here’s what I managed to turn out the morning of the party with the felt I had on hand (as modeled by a pajama-clad Josie):






















I then realized a striking resemblance to……





Sorry Gavin, but the sad truth is that superhero costumes are a little geeky after all…although the ability to fix computers is a highly useful superpower that many girls some girls nerds like me look for in a man.

Project #2: Thank You for Putting Up With Teaching My Child

Do you sell a Rupert Grint pattern too?


I found this adorable amigurumi owl ornament pattern online and was suckered into buying it because of it’s name “Rupert the owl”.  (Rupert, like Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies!)


Anyway… here’s the owl Rupert made in shades of green (Ms. Lee’s favorite color):

rupert amigurumi crochet owl ornament

rupert amigurumi crochet owl ornament








Project #3:  ”I want a Knuffle Bunny and a Hello Kitty Hat”


Josie wanted just that.  Knuffle Bunny is an awesome book about a toddler’s adoration of her stuffy.  I used a tiger pattern and bunny ears both from this book to create a Knuffle Bunny.






amigurumi Knuffle Bunny rabbit crochet

Riger/ Knuffle Bunny






and the Hello Kitty hat:

knit hello kitty hat(The basic hat pattern is from this book and the bow is made from felt with a chain stitch accent.)

knit hello kitty hat knuffle bunny crochet amigurumi

Project #4:  Penny’s Too Small to Ask for Something Obscure So I Can Still Make Her Whatever I Want

"When somebody loved me"


When I asked Penny what she wanted me to make her, she said “bunny”.  I decided to make her a coordinating stuffy and hat using this beloved childhood toy as my inspiration.

(Basic hat pattern found here; pajama stuffy pattern modified from this book).

amigurumi girl in pajamas crochet
I added hair in the end since the poor child looked bald.

knit bunny rabbit hat pink






knit rabbit hat amigurumi girl doll crochetknit rabbit hat amigurumi girl doll crochet



Penny seemed to enjoy her ensemble…up until the point that she threw it on the floor and initiated operation “steal Josie’s knuffle bunny”.





















Project #5: You Really Want Me To Make You An R2D2 Hat?

One of the first times I ever saw my husband, he was in his dorm room playing a non-action-packed round of computer chess.  That being said, I wasn’t shocked when he asked me to make him an R2D2 hat for Christmas  (free pattern here!).

knit r2d2 hat

beep beep









Project #6: Even More Stuffies

I needed two more stuffies for Gavin and Roxy’s Christmas presents.  The idea for Gavin’s was pilfered from this image I saw on Pinterest:


I used the stuffy in pajamas pattern again to make a monster-y version this time:

amigurumi crochet boy monster pajamas





amigurumi  boy monster pajamas









The plan for Roxy’s stuffy was a modified ballerina bunny from this book.

amigurumi bunny rabbit ballerina crochet


<= Here’s the ballerina rabbit I made for Josie last Christmas.  I decided to make it in koala this time around.  Unfortunately, the ears on top of the bunny are there for a reason.  They add height and elongate that cute, pudgy little tummy.

Without the bunny ears, the stuffy looks a little too…

Jean-Luc Picard for my taste.


Captain's blog supplemental








amigurumi koala crochet ballerina


The Hail Mary was the addition of a last minute crocheted crown to add height to this poor little lady’s head (and draw attention away from those enormous ears).  I then went and added matching earrings which….accentuated the ears.  Go me.







And then Christmas came.  And went.  There are a few more projects that I didn’t have time to get to..and a few more kidlet’s crafts to finish up.  I advise you stay away.  Far away.


Posted in Crochet, Harry Potter Obsession, Knitting, Sewing | 1 Comment

Merry Fishmas

It’s that time of year again…making holiday gifts for my co-workers who always take the extra time to remind me that they are my co-workers, not my friends.  Well, I happen to like you guys anyway…


First up:  The “bAss pro hat”Fishing Cap | Your Knitting Life Magazine

I wanted to make something quirky/ fun as a Christmas gift for our school principal.  Searching around the internet I came across this fine hat => which is perfect since the gift recipient is a Bass Pro Shop enthusiast/ addict .  In fact, the ONE time in my whole entire life that I happened to wander into a Bass Pro Shop, I ran into him and his family 60 miles from their home shopping for waterproof pants.  I’m not sure why one would need waterproof pants, but all I know is that you can’t craft with them nor eat them, so I really don’t care.


I went to retrieve the free pattern for the hat and somehow it was no longer free?!?!?

 Bait. And. Switch.  LITERALLY  

 It then became a personal vendetta-me against the hat.  Even though pattern purchasing would have saved me hours and hours of my life that I could have spent couch-sitting or staring blankly, I REFUSED to buy it.

I found this free pattern for a “dead fish hat“, and then discovered this AWESOME resource for knitting stitches and went to work.  Here were some of the final contenders for fish scales:






My first attempt at copying the fish pattern went….ok.



(You’re welcome for adding the makeup.  No one needs to see me without.)


I thought the hat looked a little too….

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets basilisk-y

uhh...does anyone happen to have some phoenix tears handy?!?



or boa constrictor-y




no time to cook... they'll scramble in my stomach


I started over, omitted some of the short rows in the mouth, loosened up on the “scale” stitches, and pretty much knit-libbed the fins and tail.  Here’s how it all ended up turning out:























I think the recipient at least tolerated his hat.  He let me photograph him after I promised that I wouldn’t put his face on my blog, so here goes:



Next up: Sylvia’s request for a  ”tarty 50′s apron”



After a briefly heated pre-Thanksgiving discussion with my Aunt Kathy about whether I meant “tarty” or “tawdry”, I began looking for the perfect apron.  I finally decided on Butterick 5435.  Now I must say, the pattern says “easy” on it, but the mental origami required to make those darned pockets was mind blowing….at least for me.


What the inside of my brain should have looked like

What the inside of my brain actually looked like








As usual, the apron’s 50′s fashion sketch looks fantastically fun…and almost makes me want to throw a party just so I can put one on and serve cocktail weenies and molded jello.  But alas… the sad reality is this is how the apron actually turned out.


Never let crappy pictures taken at 5:30 am happen to you too…




Sylvia pretended like she liked the apron anyway.




Why are you guys always joking around?!?

Finally: “No nonsense” Lorena

I made her a scarf.

 (free pattern found here)

And now for a restful holiday break filled with eating, crafting, and family!

Happy Holidays to All!

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It’s Hank’s birthday time of year again!  His mom (the felt mouse) is a super crafter, so I know that homemade gifts are definitely appreciated in his neck of the woods, even if they happen to inadvertently turn out kinda-wonky.  Unfortunately, last year I had to very rudely and mysteriously disappear from Hank’s Rockin’ Robot party due a violent illness of light-speed onset….so I was pleased to get a repeat invitation this year.


Funny Confession Ecard: I live in constant fear of accidentally mentioning something I only know about you because I've stalked you on the internet.

In my free time as an internet stalker, I discovered that Hank was having an alligator-themed party this year.  I decided to knit him an alligator stuffy from Zoe Mellor’s Knitted Toys.  (My sewing machine is currently on hiatus due to the beginning of awesome KNITTING WEATHER!)  Here’s how he ended up turning out:


knit crocodile alligator zoe mellor knitted toys

knit crocodile alligator zoe mellor knit toys













On a whole, I like it… but I wish it looked a little less….sausage-y. To me, it looks kind of like a sausage that might bite you back… like a spicy Italian flavored one or something.


I decided to make the crocodile something to eat so that he would look a little less….processed by Jimmy Dean.  I actually looked online as to the diet of alligators/ crocodiles and briefly debated whether or not I was skilled enough to somehow fashion a gazelle or wildebeest out of scraps.  After a full night’s sleep, I joined all you fine folk in what you call “reality” and decided to make a fish instead.

knit crocodile alligator zoe mellor knit toys 



So sorry if this picture caused a re-living of painful childhood memories of carnival prizes long gone.  :(


In the end, the party was great, the kids had fun, everyone got into the spirit, and I think Hank enjoyed his alli-Italian-sausage-gator.

OMG-isn't Hank such a cutie?!?

design by Josie


definitely NOT anywhere nearly as adorable as Hank...


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The dress from ACK!

Or I just forgot how to sew.  Or suffered brain damage somehow.

My co-worker’s daughter had a 4-year birthday party this Saturday.  Along with a gift for Riley (the birthday girl), maybe I should have taken along those infant bibs I made when her baby brother Christian was born and I never gave to him?  (He’s almost 2 now).   The bib tutorial I used can be found here.


a day late and a dollar short


Funny Workplace Ecard: 'Can I talk to you for a minute?' Means 'can I take 10 minutes to say what a normal person could spout out in 5 seconds and confuse you along the way?'


Because Riley’s poor father has to work with me at least 2 days a week…which involves incessant listening to me talk at him, hearing unsolicited advice,  and relentless harassing, I decided to take a stab at making it up to him by sewing his precious firstborn a Disney princess dress.


Take it again. I think the thermometer needs more time to warm up.

Riley loves Rapunzel, so I decided to make another version of Simplicity 2065 with sleeves from Simplicity 2817.  But, somehow along the way I lost the ability to sew properly.  In my defense, I may have had a fever at the time.  On the third consecutive trial of taking my temperature (after 2 readings of 98.7), the digital thermometer registered at 99.5.  See?  Super hot.



this is how I didn't look

So you can all feel better about yourselves by hearing about how much I suck, here is a list of the mistakes I made along the way:

  • sewed lining of the over-skirt in the completely wrong position
  • sewed on the sleeve lining backwards
  • joined the shoulder lining backwards
  • sewed the tulle to the wrong side of the ruffle
  • eyelets kept falling off
  • Cut a chunk out of the bodice lining when trimming the waist seam
  • Incorrect bodice construction



But let’s try that again….  Time to have a glass of wine (maybe that’s why I kept messing up?!?), channel my inner cheese, and here goes:

Oh dear little Riley…

It’s not that I made a desperate attempt to patch up the lining I hacked……

It’s that, like a classic Raggedy Ann doll, I added a heart on the chest to serve as a constant reminder that those around you cherish you always.

I meant to do that







It’s not that I banged eyelets into the dress like a crazed woman with a hammer until I ran out of eyelets hoping the ones I put on would at least hold until the end of the party…


It’s that the eyelets on the dress, like your baby teeth, will slowly fall out marking time as you grow



It’s not that I somehow sewed the bodice incorrectly, un-stitched it, tried to fix it and was unable to, purposely redid it the wrong way, and 1hour later desperately tried to make it look like the original mess I had…

It’s that the bodice serves as a reminder that when you embrace imperfections, they themselves can be beautiful

"Beauty always promises, but never gives anything". Simone Weil

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye." Miss Piggy









All in all, it’s a dress… it’s a metaphor…  it’s me praying that Penny does not want to be Rapunzel for Halloween because I’d rather sew a hole through my left pointer finger (again) than make another princess dress.



Happy Birthday to Riley!!!  (as modeled by Penny)  Hopefully you like your Rapunzel dress a bit more than Pascal here did.

"Mommy says if I ask to be Rapunzel for Halloween, I'll never get dinner again"

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