Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some Toffee and Two CAL'S

  I have been having a really nice week. For some reason my little girl stayed up almost all night. She finally fell asleep around 4:00am. That is when I get up. Lol. Anyway, because of this she is still asleep and I have had hours to myself. I have been wanting to make toffee but don't like to do it when Autumn is awake. Boiling sugar and small children scare me. My husband will be extremely happy when he wakes up and sees that I finally made it.
My sister sent me the recipe when Will and I were having our first married Christmas. Autumn was 6 weeks old and she was sleeping so I decided to make it. I knew nothing about making candy and it was a difficult endeavor that almost scared me away forever. I had no idea that damp weather can make candy hard to make. I started cooking it, it got up to about 270 degrees and stayed there. Autumn woke up and was crying, I was a nursing mother and frantic. I kept thinking " I can't stop now, almost there, only 20 more degrees to go". It ended up taking 45 minutes and I was an absolute wreck when it was over. It felt like Autumn was crying for hours. It was only about 7 or 8 minutes, and I felt like the worst mommy in the world. The toffee was really good though and Will really appreciated it. The next year I thought I would try it again and was so surprised that it only took about 10 minutes to cook. The weather was cold and dry that day and apparently that made all the difference in the world. I still make it only once or twice a year though. It is too fattening to have around the house. I kept waiting for dry weather this season so I could make it. It was supposed to snow today, well, the weather men are off completely. It is dry and sunny and still about 40 degrees outside. So the toffee got made. It is a simple recipe. If anyone wants the recipe just leave a comment and I will post it for you or email it to you.
  A little before Christmas I joined a few more groups on Ravelry. I already belonged to One-A-Day and We Love Lucy. I joined one called Everything CAL. I love it. We are going to work on number of projects over the next few months. The first CAL was a Mystery CAL. The moderator would post just a few steps everyday and no one knew what we were making. It was fun and trying to guess what it was was hilarious. Here is what we made, I finished it last night.

This was day one.
Somewhere in the middle. A this point I thought we were making a gingerbread man.

Crochet was done at this point. Then the face and sewing the sides together and this is what I got.
A wee little teddy. All we were told was that we needed an F or G hook and some worsted wt. yarn. We knew it would be something small. It was a great way to start a group and get to know some of the members. We will make something else very soon. New members are welcome. We just started.
  The other group I joined is Citizens of Stitch Nation, hosted by Debbie Stoller herself. I am a HuGe fan of hers and have all of her books. I think I was the third or fourth person to join, I was so excited. The first CAL we did was the Charleston Cloche. It is a really cute hat. Debbie waited for us to get our yarn. The pattern called for Washable Ewe. I couldn't find it anywhere. The stores all said they would get some after the holidays and that I should just order it online. Well, it was more for shipping than the price of the yarn. I ended up bending the rules and used Stitch Nation's Bamboo Ewe in grape. For some reason I couldn't get my head to figure out the pattern and frogged it about 4 times. It is an easy pattern to follow, it was all me that was messed up. I remember talking another experienced crocheter through a ripple pattern on Ravelry. The person was an expert crocheter. Just had problems with that particular pattern. She was just over thinking it. That was what I was doing too. I ended up sitting in front of the computer with hook and yarn in hand and going step by step until it finally clicked. Then it worked up really quickly. So here it is.

I took several pictures and you can't even see the flower on the side. Click on the above link, it has a great picture of the hat. Anyway, it is a really easy pattern and only takes a few hours to make. An evening watching t.v. and there you have it.
 Autumn just came out of the bedroom. Only 5 1/2 hours. Yikes. A nap will be in order today. Lol. I hope everyone is having a fantastic week and I will talk to you again very soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tallies

  I can't quite believe this, but I am almost WIP free. I don't think I have ever been in that state before. Kind of exciting. I have all sorts of ideas in my little brain for new projects. I am going to do my best to have only one big project and one portable little project on the go at one time. I feel kind of liberated and I have gotten my stash under control too.
  It started to get cold today. The weather said it was going to be in the 40's, but it only got to 34 and with the wind it was quite cold. I took Autumn to the park again today, we didn't stay long, too cold.
We only stayed about 10 minutes.
Then back to the warmth of our home. I made the hat she is wearing and I made the teddy bear yesterday. I had seen a pattern in Crochet Today magazine a couple of years ago, but I am not a big fan of amigurumi so I looked at the picture and made my own bear. I also made the tunic she is wearing. She picked out her outfit. I don't usually dress my poor child in all crochet at once. Lol.
  When we got home I worked on my One-a-day projects. My grandala blanket is so close to being done. All the squares are done and I spent a few hours sewing some of the blocks together. I will only do join as you go on  a project this size from now on. It took a couple of hours to sew 32 blocks together. It is a major project since it is so big. I take up the whole living room when I am working on it.

You can see it takes up lots of space, but here is what the blanket looks like half put together and on our bed.
I just have to show you one more.
The blanket is so big I was backed up to the wall to get these photos. I am thinking about how I am going to border it. Maybe a row of each of the six colors in single crochet and then a scallop or picot in the lavender. This pattern is such a favorite of mine. Thanks Alice from Crochet With Raymond for coming up with it. I love it.
  I also worked on the nearly abandoned multi-stitch blanket. I love this one too and it is all my own design. I am kind of proud of it so far.
This one is intended for someone in my family and I think I can get it done in the next couple of weeks. Now that all my WIP'S are done. I had a hard time working out what I wanted to do next for each panel. I now have a complete pattern in mind and written out and should be able to make fast progress on it. It was dark when I took this picture, but I love the colors in this blanket.
  I am also thinking about the next blanket I want to make. I have 19 balls of Stylecraft DK just waiting. I made myself promise not to start anything until I have no WIP's at all. So I look at my big basket of Stylecraft everyday and think of what I want. I have only ever used worsted wt. for blankets so the DK will be different. I hope everyone has been having a great week. We have been doing a whole lot of lounging around and enjoying the time of year. It is strange with no snow, but we have been taking advantage of that and going to the park in December. Unheard of in Iowa. I will post again soon, work is closed for the holidays so I am getting lots of craft time in.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays

  The big day has come and gone. Whew. We actually had a great Christmas. For the first time since we were married, Will and I didn't go anywhere or have any company for the holiday. It was just us and Autumn. We have had really warm weather and no snow either. Very unusual. We had a great weekend though. Saturday we went for a drive and out to lunch, then we took Autumn to the park. Not something we can usually do in December. Yesterday we all slept in then opened presents. I put a roast in the crock pot and made some potatoes and we were set. I had made a few desserts for our family party (it was cancelled due to illness) so we even had yummy treats. A no fuss Christmas.
  I worked on crochet projects that were just for fun. Not gifts, not my one-a-day. I got a Nook from Autumn and Will and you know I have to make a case for it. Lol.

I have a bunch of dk cotton yarn for the Beautiful Blogger Blanket squares I have been making and it is perfect for making a case for the Nook. Here are the squares I am going to send to Stocki.

I love how they turned out. Stocki is having a Beautiful Blogger Blanket contest. Click on the button for details.
This project is  lots of fun and Stocki has a great blog.
  I also made a sweater for a friend of mine at work last week. It was her birthday.

Not a good picture, but the cardigan turned out really nice. It was made with Bamboospun yarn from Hobby Lobby. Very soft.

Unfortunately, I took these pictures when it is dark and you can't see the details. It has covered buttons, I have never made those before and honestly, I think I will just buy buttons that match from now on. Lol. that was it though for my WIP's. All I have left are my two blankets that I am working on for my One-a-Day project and almost everyone in that group has taken a break for the holidays. I am going to work on them this week and will blog about them tomorrow for Tuesday's Tallies. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and I will talk to everyone tomorrow. Happy crafting.