Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall into Crochet!

It sure has been a hot summer in Aiken, SC....our rental home has not gotten below 77 degrees until just a few days ago.  This little house sure holds the heat....and the air conditioning ran and ran non we had a real high electric bill on the first day.  So finally the weather got cooler....and with the change in the weather...I got the urge to crochet always happens at this time of the year.          

These beautiful crochet leaves were made following the video tutorials by SheruKnitting.

This girl's voice is very pleasant and I like the quality of her videos, however she goes a little fast.  I found myself pausing and rewinding.

So....what to do with your leaves?  I attached them to the single crochet diagonal dishcloth....This one I gave away to my future neighbor in the Storm Branch Retreat.  Here is the link to the super and fast Single Crochet Diagonal Cloth that I followed.

 Now...changing the subject because I believe in eating healthy. Most of you know that Chia seeds are considered a power food.  I marvel at how many benefits are stored in this tiny seed.  1 ounce which is about 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds  contain 4 grams protein and 11 grams fiber, more Omega 3 Fatty acids than salmon, gram for gram.  The seeds are also a good source of Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus!  I started taking mine in the morning before breakfast in my lime water. 
A few Yummy things I cooked this week....
I did cut back on the sugar and used some whole grain flour.

These Eggplant Pizza rounds turned super delicious and I know I will be making these sometime soon.  It really does help if you sprinkle the rounds with some salt to draw out liquid from the eggplant.  Let it sit in a bowl or in paper towel for at least 20 minutes.  Then blot out the liquid.  Follow this link to this amazing recipe.  I really like the addition of pesto to the Eggplant rounds.
Tonight I made Black Bean Quesadillas.  Easy is good....because then I can get to my crochet projects.  I did not have flour tortillas so I used the Gluten Free Wraps purchased at Aldis.  I also added left over Quinoa to boost the nutritional value and protein content.
My inspiration for this recipe came from Miss Dixie!
As you can see I need a bigger pan for the huge Aldi Wraps.  My son approved of these Gluten Free Wraps.
They look Amazing....I think and browned beautifully.  Get these LiveGfree Gluten Free Wraps from Aldi.
Along with eating well....I have been consistent exercising at the University of South Caroline in Aiken Wellness Center.  The building behind me is where I go swimming and yesterday I took my first Zumba class!!!  Interesting to see the mix of young University students and mature women.  I met Marilyn and she quickly filled me up with the other two days I can attend Zumba. 
Refreshing Swim!
Check out the tiny library near my rental home in Warrenville.  Only one staff member is in charge of the operation.  The building itself is an old train depot station...and there are railroad tracks behind the building.
Our new house is coming along and we are thrilled with the progress.  Even more exciting is the fact that we have already met our future neighbor!! She and I are getting along and look forward to being next door neighbors!! Yay....So many blessings to be thankful for!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Make a Vintage Potholder

I am sure most of you have noticed that in the last few years there has been an unprecedented interest in all things "Vintage"....It is now trendy to hunt for old time treasures at thrift stores and sometimes you may even come across something you gave away years before.  I know it happened to me because I came across a sewing pattern from the eighties that I had once purchased....LOL...The good thing is is that there are some good inexpensive deals out there.  Among the vintage I like to look at and sometimes collect I count pyrex, old doilies and pot holders from the 50s.  I marvel at how tight crocheters stitches were back then.  I do my best when it comes to using crochet thread and a size 7 steel really is harder I must say to use thread than yarn.

For example here is a few authentic vintage potholders from the 50s.  I love them!

You can still find patterns to make some of these vintage potholders.  Some patterns you can even figure out without using a pattern.  I am seriously considering making the little beige dress with the pink edging.  How cute!
 I found a pattern from Free Vintage Crochet and it is here.  After reading it over and over and making some mistakes, I was able to figure it out.  

As I is hard to achieve the tight stitches.  I used Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread #3 and a steel hook #7.  Yay....I got excited when I got this far.
I made mine a total of 15 rounds.  See how see through it is.  The pattern also includes the back piece which is basically a solid granny square. 
Once you complete the top and bottom piece....then it is time to join.  You should have the same amount of stitches around in both pieces.  I had a little trouble understanding the patterns edging so I just made my own and joined every 3 stitches.

You will join at one of the corners with Ch3, work 2 dc, ch15, work 3 dc, ch 1, skip 3 then join with a single crochet.  When you get to every corner, in this case I worked 3 dc, ch3, 
3 dc.  Feels good to learn something new!
  Never, ever give up!  You can do it!
Then I decided to experiment using regular cotton yarn such as Sugar 'N Cream.  As you can imagine your bloom will get super big.  I used size G crochet hook.  I am calling this one the Purple Dahlia.  You will achieve a nice size pot holder once you finish the bloom and leaves round with only one round of double crochets!  Oh...yes the process goes fast to give you the instant gratification that crocheters like.  The faster I can finish a project just means that I will be able to start a new project....and it does become a little bit of an obsession.
This is the top piece.
Bottom piece
Join the top and the bottom piece together with the wrong sides facing.
Work the edging.  In this case, I began at one of the corners by Chaining 3, work 2 hdc, ch2, work 1 sc in the 2nd stitch from the hook (picot made), work 3 hdc in the same space, ch 1, skip 3 and on the next stitch, work 1 hdc, ch2, work 1 sc in the 2nd stitch from the hook (picot made), work 1 hdc in the same space.....continue along all 4 edges making sure to work the corners by working (3 hdc, ch 2, work the picot, 3 hdc in the same space.
Pretty displayed
But you can also use it....plenty of thickness.  I think these make great gifts and I will be giving mine away....for birthday or Christmas gifts!
Because of the thicker weight of the I make only 3 layer blooms instead of 4, like the pink "Grandiflora".
Here it is displayed in our "rental kitchen"  This is a much bulkier potholder so I chose to make a simple edging.  Simply join at the corner and ch3, work 2 dc, ch 15 (for the loop) then work 3 dc, ch1, skip 3 and work a sc on the next stitch.
The Blue Dahlia Potholder!
So...what Vintage items do you like to collect or make?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mason Jar [Owl] Cover

To make this mason jar cover/cozy, you will need a 1 pint mason jar. I used a 5 mm "H" crochet hook, Sugar 'N Cream cotton yarn and a small amount of embroidery floss.  The body of the cozy is worked using double crochets.  You will finish this project in one hour or maybe a little more.  It all depends on how fast you crochet.  The tricky part is the edging that I used.  It is called the Crab stitch.  You can find numerous tutorials on You Tube.

Your mason jar will be useful holding pens, pencil, hooks....etc..etc...
I gave one away filled with M&Ms!
It sure made my friend happy.
The pattern follows:


Little Crochet Flowers

This week I made cards and used little Jute crochet flowers to decorate them.  So easy and super fast.  I used Jute twine I purchased from Dollar Tree and a crochet H hook (5.0 mm)  I embellished the little flower using buttons which I glued to the centers.

The Five Petal Daisy!
Abbreviations Used:  Ch=chain
dc= double crochet
sl st= slip stitch

Start by making a ring, *(Ch 1, 2dc, ch2, sl st in the ring)* Repeat from * to * 4 more times.
 The Loopy Flower
Make a ring, *ch8, sl st in the ring. Repeat 5 more times.
I told you it would be easy...have fun and send some one of a kind messages to warm someone's heart!

Here are some sentiment messages:
You make me happy!
Awesome News
Love it!!
So Happy for You

If you don't want to use your own handwriting, simply stamp your message but I bet if you practice, you'll be able to use your own handwriting.  It makes the message and the card double special.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Aura in the Kitchen!

Today I baked cookies....the healthy kind that is.  I consume ground Flax seeds daily because it is a good source of Omega 3 Fatty acids (the polyunsaturated kind ALA which our bodies cannot produce.) If you consume fish you are getting this essential good fat in your diet.    Flax seeds also contain Lignans  which provide fiber like benefits and antioxidant protection to our bodies.  I did read that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume flax seeds.  Flaxseeds are known to have an effect on estrogen levels which can stimulate menstruation and contractions.  Read about more benefits from this site.

The recipe I found in Pinterest was super easy and quick to make.  I did make some changes on the second batch and decreased the amount of agave and added 1/3 cup ground old fashioned oatmeal.  I also decided to add some Nutella to the peanut butter but I don't really think this made too much of a difference.  The first batch only contained peanut butter.  The Nutella did seem to darken the cookie.  These cookies are baked at 325 degrees and they brown quickly.  I think you could even bake then in a 300 degree oven.
Be warned....You will want to lick this spoon.  Do resist!!  
The cookies are baked in a muffin tin.  I made mine in the larger muffin tin, so I only got 6.  Oh...I also sprinkled sesame seeds before baking.  I really was surprised at how good these turned out.  Truly a breakfast cookie you can grab and eat if you are in a hurry.

Second batch!  The texture is pretty nice too.  I think next time I might add some pureed pumpkin.
This recipe is from the Power Hungry Blog which you can found here.
Today I paid a visit to a new friend and shared some of  these delicious cookies.  The recipe is a keeper and suitable to many variations in my opinion.  You cannot ruin give it  try.  I will hunt for my smaller tin as the recipe should yield 12 cookies.


Saturday, September 06, 2014

Light Box Tutorial

Making a light box is super easy and you will be amazed at the results.

All that is needed is a large cardboard box, an instrument such as an x-acto knife, glue and duct tape, and white interfacing.  (The box I used is 19 inches by 17 inches. ) White interfacing available from fabric stores or Walmart.  You can also use white tissue paper but this material is not as durable as the interfacing.  Using the Xacto knife or box cutter cut out three openings on the cardboard leaving 1 to 2 inches around each opening.

Cut out the interfacing so it is at least 1 inch wider all around.
You can use a glue stick and apply around the opening.  Take the white interfacing piece and glue it to the box.  To tape around using the duct tape another set of hands will make this step much easier.  One person will roll out the tape while the other person cuts the tape.
To take the following picture, I used two light sources.  I used my old 4 Iphone.
Here's the picture I took.  Not too bad, right?
You can even use your light box without any light source if there is enough natural light in the room. No artificial light was used in the next picture.
Coming soon....a tutorial on the Owl Mason Jar Cozy photographed.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Visit to the Augusta Farmer's Market

We enjoyed visiting the Saturday Market On The River in Augusta GA.

It is a nice size market and you will find not only produce or food but numerous craft vendors.

One of the participants shared that this market stays open pretty much all year even during the winter.

Adults and children enjoy the fountain (geyser style)  and it feels wonderful to be sprinkled on a hot day like this.  
This booth was popular...but it is not my thing.  What do you think?  I really came for the veggies.
Smile!! Cliff.  It's not going to happen.  He does not like his picture taken anymore.  Just past this sign at the end you can view the beautiful Savannah River.
Too hot for these beautiful Greyhounds too.  I am not a dog person so I did not investigate but I think these are for adoption.

Cliff got away from the crowd and enjoyed a view of the river and the ducks!