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Cozy Jar Wraparound (A Knitting Pattern)

I re-discovered knitting this year AND I finally learned how to crochet. I made more than a dozen hats for various people to give as Holiday presents. I frogged a sweater I made ages ago that I never really liked and I am going to cast a new sweater on soon…To celebrate the New Year I think. First I’ll knit one more hat for a friend who just started chemo and wants a Wolf hat.

It’s just the right thing for me right now. Meditative, productive, calming, and portable. I’ve made up 2 patterns in the last month. I’d never made up a knitting pattern before! Nothing tricky, but we have to start somewhere, right?

So I offer to you, as a late Holiday gift, one of the patterns I made up. It’s just a simple cozy for a drinking jar. These took me less than an hour to knit (both together!) and I love the way they look. photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Cozy Jar Wraparound

Very basic cozy for a wide-mouth pint canning jar. Knitted with Lion Homespun yarn in the pictures, but anything that will get about 3 stitches to an inch on size 10 needles will work.

The holder has 2 rows of K1/P1 ribbing on top and bottom and 3 columns of seed stitch up each side. The main part is knitted in Stockinette and there are 2 buttonholes on one side.

Cast on 36.

Row 1: K1 P1 all the way across.

Row 2: P1 K1 P1 (P1 K1* to last 3 st.) K1 P1 K1

Row 3: K1 P1 K1 (Knit (30) to last 3 st. P1 K1 P1

Row 4: P1 K1 P1 (Purl (30) to last 3 st.) K1 P1 K1

Row 5: K1 P1 K1, Bind off 3 st., purl to last 3 st. (27), P1 K1 P1

Row 6: P1 K1 P1, Cast on 3 st., knit to last 3 st. (27), K1 P1 K1

Row 7-10: Repeat rows 3 & 4 twice.

Rows 11-12: Repeat rows 5 & 6.

Row 13: Repeat row 1.

Row 14: Repeat row 2

Bind off. Sew 2 1” buttons on the button side and weave in your ends.

photo 4

I graphed it out so that I could make sure I typed out each row correctly. Xs are knits around the edge.

photo 5

That’s it. Simple, but I am pleased with building my skills and expanding my hobby. What new skills have you learned in the last year? What are some of your favorite hobbies?


DIY Flag Ornaments

I love the way our ornament collection grows, full of memory. The wobbly salt dough ornaments from various childhoods, the bugs we painted with glitter one year (Brother-Bug has a millipede ornament), first ornaments of the kids, the angel ornament that adorned the top my our first mutual tree some 11 years ago – so small a tree (table top rosemary) that this angel ornament was almost too big. My childhood ornaments, Papa-Bug's childhood ornaments. It's precious.

This year I ended up with extra glass globes – empty and waiting. They came in a six pack and I only needed two. So I started looking around online. I found this lovely silhouette idea…

Nativity Silhouette Ornaments

But I wanted something to save This Year.

As you know, we are studying global cultures (and really enjoying it). So flags, I thought. Something fun and special just for us. Something to remind us of this year of travel from home and study of things abroad.

I found flag pictures online, tweaked them in Photoshop a bit, and printed them on vellum. Then following the tutorial I stuck them to acetate and put them in the globes. Of course we added glitter. We almost always add glitter, especially at Christmastime. Glitter and/or sprinkles.

These look really good from all angles, and especially lovely in front of the tree lights. Because of the fragile ornaments, I did most of the actual work. But the kids picked their own flags and were right there in the way while we made these. All four ornaments took only about 20 minutes total.


Sister-Bug chose Brazil. We studied Brazil in September and October and she loves all things Brazillian right now.

Brother-Bug chose Thailand. He wanted Japan, but the Japanese flag would have looked kind of like just a red dot…so he went for Thailand. We haven't had a Thai unit yet, but my mom and her sweetie have travelled in Thailand a lot, so we love it for that.

I picked Hungary for Toddler-Bug. He was asleep (because I wouldn't do a glass ornament project with an active and wakeful toddler). Papa-Bug has roots in Hungary and it seemed like fun. It was really hard to choose – so many good flags out there.

Finally, for Papa-Bug and me, I went with South Africa. Because Nelson Mandela. And wanting the best global representation I could get in four flags.

So that's our ornament of the year. They are glowing and beautiful on the tree. Another memory preserved to cherish.

And now I must be off. Brother-Bug is performing in our local Nutcracker tonight. I have to get my Little Angel (for that is what he is onstage) fed and rested and ready to go. It's going to be a big night.

Happy Tree Trimming.









Ergo Re-Do

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My Ergo is essential. And wearing out. It's about seven years old now and has carried all three kids. I know we have another two years or so when we will need to pop Toddler-Bug up on our backs to finish a hike, a long grocery store trip, or other adventure. But I don't want to buy a new Ergo because they are expensive. And really, it is only the lining on mine that is the problem. It has started to tear out all along the bottom.

Before I decided to re-line my Ergo, I went over every load bearing seam, checking for weakness. The issues were only cosmetic, so I went ahead and did the new lining. If you have an old baby carrier, it is a good idea to periodically check the seams and weight bearing areas.

Since it was in good structural shape, I went ahead. I cut a square that was about 16″x16″. The only sewing machine work I did was right here. I sewed two 1/2 inch wide, 3″ deep darts along the bottom, each about 3 1/2″ out from the middle (I aligned them with the two deep quilted line on the waistband.


Starting at the bottom/waistband, I pinned the lining along the bottom. I didn't pin the whole thing in place at once, just the bottom. Using purl cotton and a sharp tapestry needle I whipped stiches the bottom edge in place.


Next I went up one side, pinning small sections and working the fabric around the straps and corners. I had to do some creative folding to make it all fit, but with the single piece of lining, the fabric has enough give that it isn't an issue.


Going around the shoulder straps and the hood was definitely the most challenging, but pinning it in 1-2 inch bits and being patient with getting it good enough worked just fine in the end. I didn't even swear (much).


The other tricky spot was around the side strap, but I managed. And just that whip stitch across the bottom, up one side, across the top, and down the other side and shaman! My ergo is revitalized and ready for more adventures.

The other thing I did was I used some scraps to cover the bite area on the shoulder straps. Those edges were getting pretty worn out. I just cut squares to the right size and whipped them on in the same way.

I love my “new” Ergo. It is already in heavy use. The zebra print is way more fun than the plain blue that once was. And ToddlerBug loves it – zebra enthusiast that he is. So here we come hiking and berry picking and beach combing, summer! My Ergo, my toddler, and I are ready to go!



Felt Rapunzel Ornament Tutorial

This year I had planned on simple ornaments, but then I got all inspired. I envisioned a felt elephant for Baby-Bug…so I started to look at felt ornament ideas online and it was all over. Why make everyone simple little sushi ornaments when I could make them unique, hand sewn ornaments?

I found the tutorial for the Yoda ornament here. The Star Wars obsession for Brother-Bug continues, so I think he will be thrilled with this one. He just saw Empire Strikes Back for the first time too… Yoda doesn't have a light saber in the tutorial, but Sister-Bug was making this with me and was insistent that the lightsaber was necessary. I sewed a toothpick inside it for form and stiffness.

I free-handed this Elephant for Baby-Bug. He is all about Savannah Animals. It happened in a moment of inspiration and I didn't take pictures, so there is no elephhant tutorial. I hope, however, that you can look at the picture and the following tutorial and figure it out on your own…if you are so inclined.
And finally, Rapunzel. The promised tutorial. You will need grey, brown, dress color (I went with pink), and skin color (she's a white Rapunzel) felt. Also a scrap of fabric to make the inside of the tower (the little purple piece), grey, brown, skin colored, dress colored, and green embroidery floss, and a skein of hair colored embroidery floss (we went with blond).

The peices to cut are (top to bottom, left to right) tower back, tower front, tower inside (fabric), roof front and back, Rapunzel's head body, arm, and hand. I don't have a pattern or template, but I can tell you that the tower back is about 2 1/2 inches square.

Use a scrap of iron on glue to stick that fabric scrap to the inside of the tower back, creating dimension for the window. The piece I had that was perfect was almost too small, so I had to be very exact. If I made another one of these, I would cut it big enough to easily cover the window area.

Using a grey embroidery floss, stich the outlines of a few tower bricks on the tower front. I used 3 ply of thread and did 3/8″ stiches (approximately).

Using a brown floss, sew texture onto the front of the roof. Blanket stich around the outside of the roof and attach the roof to the tower front and back. It's all coming together. Sorry for the fuzzy picture. I did this part with Baby-Bug on my lap. Set the tower aside for the moment.

Using about a third of the hair floss, make a 10-12″ loop and tie a knot in the middle. Place that knot in the middle of the head and secure it with a couple of hair colored sticthes. The knot is going to give Rapunzel's face a tiny bit of dimension.

Sew Rapunzel's body, arm, and hand into the window frame. Add her head, keeping the hair out of the way.

Use the ends of your dark grey and pink threads to add an eye and mouth. You could also add these with a pen later, if you wanted…or if you had a green dress…

Blanket stitch around the window opening and the edge of the tower.

Pull her hair down and over the back of her head. I put a stich on the side of her head and the base of her neck to give her hair some stability and form.

Braid the rest of the hair and trim the ends.

The finishing touch was some vines, in stem and lazy daisy stiches, up the tower, and I found some tiny flower buttons to add the finishing touch. I sewed a few on the vines and a couple on Rapunzel's hair.

The last thing to do is to use some embroidery floss or clear thread to make a hanging loop from the top. And she's done!

I can't wait for them to see their ornaments on Christmas morning. I'm pretty sure they are going to love them.


Festware Tutorial & Give Away Winners!

The stockings are ready to be hung! I did the give away this morning. Crissy, Platypus, Trista, and Melinda won stockings. Thanks to everyone who participated, and welcome to all my new Facebook fans and Twitter followers. The give away was fun. I'll think about doing others in the future!


Last night I was making Festware. A fiend showed me hers many years ago. It's a favorite gift to make. The people who we've gifted with Festware report that they love it and use it all the time. And it's so easy! Kids can do it and come out with a really nice gift.

Festware is decorated and up-cycled silverware, enhanced with polymer clay.


I made new sets for our family this year. We take these camping and to community festivals (hence the name) and potlucks. No one ever gets our silverware confused with theirs in crazy dish situations! As log as you have general experience working with polymer clay like Sculpey or Fimo, you can look at those and tell what I did. But just for fun…


You'll need your favorite polymer clay and silverware. When choosing silverware, choose it for the narrowest handle; you will be adding a lot of bulk to the handles when you wrap the clay.


I like to have 1-2 main colors and then more embellishment colors. Start with a base color and make a flat piece about twice as wide as your silverware handle and just about as tall.


Wrap the clay around the handle, tightening and smoothing it as you go. You'll probably end up with excess clay at the bottom. Pinch the excess off and smooth the area, or incorporate into your design.


Grab your embellishment colors and add spirals, dots, stripes, letters… Whatever you want! If you look back at the first picture, you can see that I used all kinds of different embellishment techniques.

These guys will bake at 275* for 15 minutes and should be hand washed.

That's it. So easy and fun…maybe I should make a couple sets for another give away?


Art, Math, History

We did a couple of art projects recently that were really fun. Math, art, history…we covered it all in these couple of afternoons! I am so thankful for other parents and teachers who share their inspirations.

The first was this Paint By Number Geometric Shape project.

I drew the grid and the hexagon. Brother-Bug filled in the numbers, working on even/odd and prediction while he rolled a die to get each number.

Then we started painting. I used masking tape on his paint tray to mark which colors were for which number. I loved watching his face we the shape began to emerge.

I simplified the project for Sister-Bug. The letter of her week was H, so I drew a heart and filled her grid in with As and Hs. She got two colors of paint and filled in her heart. She had a ball. And now she is great at the differences between As and Hs.


The results were gorgeous. I don't have a picture of the heart, since she decided to try some scissor work on it as soon as the paint was dry… Preschoolers are fun.

The other wonderful project we did was this Grandma Moses project. Brother-Bug learned about the concept of perspective and they both enjoyed reading about Grandma Moses and working through each step of the project.

Brother-Bug's is on the right. Sister-Bug drew a cast of Little House characters inside her house,

I love the way these turned out, and plan on using them in our Thanksgiving decorating next week. I'm also going to return to this project for other seasons and see how their artwork progresses.

I love how these projects encompass math and artwork in the same place. Brother-Bug enjoys when I show him that math is everywhere and we discovers tick unexpected places – like an art project!


What about your art projects? Any good ones to share?



Art Dice

Over at Strings and Yarn, Jodie is collecting tutorials for gifts and other maekables in preparation for The Holidays. So many good ideas, and lots of them are very simple. I just sat down with some blank wooden cubes and my Sharpies and made each kid a set of these Art Dice as a stocking stuffer.

There is a small set of Brother-Bug and a larger set for Sister-Bug. I didn't plan it that way – those were the wooden cubes I had. Luckily it will make it easy for them to tell whose is whose. Just 10 minutes with Sharpies and they are done. I think I will make each one a little drawstring bag. I am debating giving them “guidelines” with the set. Brother-Bug often does better with such a thing…but I also want to see where his creativity leads him before he locks into someone else's idea of what to do.

I can think of so many possibilities for these – art tools, writing inspirations, preschool work, goodness knows what else. Brother-Bug often gets stuck on his daily writing exercise and maybe he can use these to break his mental block. I know I am going to be borrowing them from the kids occasionally, and imagine them figuring in our daily school work.

I'm excited to use these…I don't really want to wait for Christmas…