Thursday, January 30, 2014

Minion Mittens

Snow day in South Carolina requires some cute snow gear! I made the minion hat a few weeks ago. I have not crocheted many hats, so I purchased this pattern from Simply2Irresistable.  I found her through Ravelry. But, since we were expecting snow and one of Jacob's gloves apparently ran off with some of his socks, he needed some mittens.  I didn't want to purchase another pattern and decided to have some confidence in my abilities to alter a pattern. This pattern...
I have tried to figure out a way to contact the creator of this pattern, so I could share my altered pattern below.  I will share my version here and just post a comment with a link, on the pattern above. If I'm violating any rules of sharing her pattern, I'll make the appropriate adjustments.  The pattern above is for three sizes, the smallest being preschool.  I reviewed and turned it into a toddler size pattern that fits my Jacob.  He is 2, will be turning three next week.  It may help to be able to try the work in progress on your own child, or have hand measurements when making.  One can adjust with adding or decreasing rows. 
Toddler Minion Mittens
Size G, 4 mm hook
Worsted weight yarn. For the minion, I used blue, yellow, black, brown, gray and white.
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
sc dec = single crochet in two stitches, pulling yarn through three hoops on hook. Decrease stitch.
hdc = half double crochet

"The back bump
This is also known as the back, backside, or butt of a chain stitch.  This is the part of the chain stitch that is opposite of the two loops (the ones that form the "v") that you would normally insert your hook under.  In other words, if you turn the chain upside down, so that you are looking at the bottom of it, you will see a line of dashes.  It is under each dash, that you would insert your hook if you were instructed to crochet into the back bump of each chain stitch." Copied from Mrs. Murdock's Mittens Pattern.

The Wrist Ribbing:

Chain 6

Foundation Row 1 -- Make 1 sc st into the back bump of the 2nd ch from hook, make 1 sc st into the remaining 5. (Copied from Mrs. Murdock's Mittens Pattern.)

Row 2 -- Turn, ch 1 (this is a turning chain, do not count as a stitch), 1 sc into the back loop on each st across. 6 stitches.

Repeat this row until you have the desired length to fit around your toddler's wrist.  I made 19 rows, not counting the foundation row.

The Mitten:

I worked these single crochets under both the front loop and back loop to prevent a line appearing around the mitten.

Round 1--Make 23 sc sts, equally spaced, around top edge of ribbing.  Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1.

Round 2--1 sc into each of the next 10 sts, 2 sc into the next st, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 2 sc into the next st, 1 sc into each of the next 9. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (25 sts)

Round 3--1 sc into each st around. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (25 sts)

Round 4--1 sc into each of the next 11 sts, 2 sc into the next st, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 2 sc into the next st, 1 sc into each of the next 10 sts.  Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (27 sts)

Round 5--1 sc into each st around. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (27 sts)

(**Note--The first 5 rounds were copied from Mrs. Murdock's Mittens Pattern. My only addition was the slip stitch into beginning sc and chain 1. Not sure if that addition is necessary, but I did it and happy with look of mitten. If you have more experience, you may think her way of just continuing the sc stitches to work better.)

Round 6--1 sc into each of the next 12. 2 sc into 1 st, 1 sc into each of the next 2 sts, 2 sc into 1 st. Then sc into next 11.  Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (29 sts)

Round 7--1 sc into 5 sts, 2 sc into 1 st, 1 sc into 4 sts. Skip 8 sc stitches. 1 sc into next 5, 2 sc into 1 st, and 1 sc into next 5. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (23 sts)

If you are like me, a visual helps. This is your thumb hole.

 Round 8--1 sc into 23 sts. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1.

Round 9--Attach Black yarn and 1 sc into each of the 23 sts. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (I use this method for attaching yarn colors.)

Round 10--Continue with black yarn and 1 sc into 23 sts. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1.

Round 11--Attach yellow. 1 sc into 23 sts. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1.

Round 12--Continue with yellow and 1 sc into 23 sts. Sl st into beginning sc, chain 1. (23 sts)

Round 13--(1 sc into each of the next 6 sts, sc dec) 2 times, 1 sc into each of the next 5 sts, sc dec. (20 sts).

Round 14--(1 sc into each of the next 3 sts, sc dec) 4 times. (16 sts).

Round 15--1 sc into each st around. (16 sts).

Round 16-- sc dec 8 times. (8 sts).

Fasten off with a 10" tail.  Using yarn needle, thread yarn tail through the front loop of the remaining 8 sts and pull tight.  Weave in ends.

(**Note--The rounds 13-16 were copied from Mrs. Murdock's Mittens Pattern. In the preschool section)

Adding the thumb:

Attach yarn. Single crochet in each sc around. Do this until thumb is about the length you want.  I did two rows.  Then I did a row of decreasing, sc dec into every two stitches around. Finishing off with a couple of sc dec, fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn to thread through the front loop, pull tightly closed and weave in ends.  When weaving in thread, I weaved around the crotch of the thumb and mitten to reinforce that place.

Making the eye:

Round 1--start with magic circle.  4 sc into magic circle.  You can slip stitch to first or use this method for changing yarn colors, which I prefer.

Round 2--With brown yarn attached, 2 sc into each st.

Round 3--With white yarn attached, 2 hdc into first st, 1 hdc into next 2 sts. Repeat around.

Round 4--With white gray yarn attached, 2 sc in next 2 sts, then 2 sc in 1 stitch. Repeat around. Sl st to beginning sc.

Round 5--Sl st into each sc around.  Fasten off. leaving a long tail.  I use this tail to sew the eye onto the mitten, stitching around the inner portion of the gray rim.

Stitch a mouth on your mitten with black yarn.  Weave in and clip all ends.

Both left and right mittens are made the same.  Just make sure before attaching eyes and stitching on mouth, that you have the correct side of the mitten. I just laid them before me in left hand and right hand, to make sure I didn't end up making two left or two right with sewing the eyes on the wrong side of one.  :)

Hope you enjoy! And if you find any errors, please let me know.  I'm not a crochet pattern writer or have any experience with making such alterations. I'm just a mom, who tried her best to make some cute minion mittens.

Send me photos if you make these.  I'd love to see!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Broken Glass

The latest media controversy involves another attack on stay-at-home moms.  After hearing so much about Amy Glass and her declaration, “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry,” I finally chose to subject myself to her enlightenment. Sadly, I was disappointed. This post generated this much discussion? This post stirred moms to write both offensive and defensive comments on social media sites? I am a bit baffled.  I shouldn’t have expected anything deeper after reading the title, but if so many people were responding, I believed the lie that there must be something worth taking time to read, even if it is offensive.  I guess I was surprised that something so obviously shallow and ignorant was deemed worthy material in the “mommy wars.”

Now, I am writing about it and linking to it. I might regret this. However, I am more interested in sharing a couple thoughts with fellow moms since this post seems to have gone viral. But first, please allow me to dissect some of her illogical arguments. I just can’t help myself.

Miss Glass contends that stay-at-home moms do nothing and are unable to be “exceptional.” That hardly needs any attention.  Her words clearly reveal a young, ignorant author.  Those sentiments do arouse my curiosity about her upbringing and her relationship with her own mother. I can’t imagine any woman with respect for her mom would ever write such an argument. Perhaps instead of an absent or disconnected mom, she had a mother who was fiercely independent; who passed on her own disdain for the beauty of stay-at-home motherhood. Perhaps, instead of independence, she is repeating the cycle she was raised in; infecting her environment with negativity and criticism. Brokenness abounds. It's really easy to be angry after reading her post, but when I think about the person and heart behind the words, I'm sad for her.

She denounces our celebration of marriage and childbirth, saying “These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them.” Her flaw is that she views marriage and childbirth as tasks, no different than the mere tasks of grocery shopping, mopping, laundry, and dusting.  She misses the point entirely.  Those are tasks that we all do as a part of life. I know some women who take pride in a well-managed home, just as the same woman may take pride in having a well-organized office, or efficient business practices.  However, I doubt many women think their worth is based in those tasks. Marriage and childbirth are infinitely more. We do not celebrate marriage and childbirth because a woman set a goal and now accomplished that task. That is what we do when we celebrate events like graduations, promotions, and buying one’s first home.  What a shame that Miss Glass equates marriage and having children with such things. What a shame that she cannot enter into the joy of those celebrations, because she lacks the ability to understand the depth of those relationships and moments in life. Both are commitment. They are love, true love; the kind that the Bible speaks of when it says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends.” Anyone, with the proper understanding of marriage and childrearing, knows the depth of these relationships and would be willing to lay down their very physical body for the protection of their spouse or child. They will sacrifice their own self-fulfilling desires, needs, and often dreams for one another. They each walk through life with something far greater than a commitment to self.

Next Miss Glass gets comical.  She finishes denouncing our celebrations of marriage and having babies with her enlightened philosophy.  She says, “I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance.” If you are like me, you may need to read that sentence again, because the grammar is horrendous. But, does anyone else see Miss Glass’s limited reasoning abilities? After reading her words that marriage and childbearing are “super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them,” she declares she wants to have a shower for a woman that can walk? Unless we are physically challenged, I’m pretty sure many of us can walk. “Literally anyone can,” even with backpacks on. The backpacking adventurer may do it “on her own,” but I do wonder if people are able to follow such dreams because they have support of family; you know, those people involved in marriage and reproduction.  Who will be at your shower for these women? Who will share in their accomplishments?  Pretty silly, huh? So, Miss Glass, I offer that it does not need to be one or the other, that we can celebrate when a woman marries and when she accomplishes a goal.

Do I need to even address the “house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance”? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Another fallacy Miss Glass makes, “I hear women talk about how ‘hard’ it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to ‘manage a household.’ They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are ‘important’.” This is truly written by an unmarried woman.  Wives, can we testify? Do your husbands never complain? Do they never complain about their day at work? I guess that day is worthy of being elevated to complaint status.  But, do they also never gripe about the mundane tasks of life; taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, fixing a water leak, running errands, changing the oil, cleaning up vomit when the flu strikes, tackling the never-ending pile of clean laundry to fold and put away? I have to say, in my house, neither of us has reached the point of doing “all things without murmurings or disputings.”  I’m also pretty sure my husband does indeed think household responsibilities are important.  Never is the importance of the mundane more real than when those tasks go undone.  Just ask my husband, who has eaten cheese crackers for supper and found an empty underwear drawer before work in the morning. Sorry, babe!

However, if your husband never complains about managing a household, then I tip my hat to you, awesome wife and mom.  You are a far better manager than I am.  My husband didn’t marry one of you and probably has to chip in more than he’d care to. Though, I imagine you are even more sleep deprived than I am.  Sorry about that. It might just cause one to rethink that whole vow thing, if marriage were just another job we could quit, while moving on to something better.  Oh wait, look at the divorce rate, but that’s another subject.

I think I’ve shared more than enough critique of the Miss Glass’s blog post. However, I would like to speak on one point, her comment of hearing “women talk about how ‘hard’ it is to raise kids and manage a household.” Certainly we do this.  I complain. I am guilty. I’ve been around women, and we do complain. Sometimes, we just need to let it out. Sometimes, when we complain to one another, it turns our frustrations into moments of laughter. Or we find among us an encouraging friend, cheering us on, “Keep at it; don’t give up and try to escape on a backpacking trip through Asia. Nothing there will stir your heart or soul more than the light in your children’s eyes, or the feeling of your husband’s arms around you.” Wife and mom friends, we are called to something greater than self.  We know the depth of love and commitment that Miss Glass lacks. We know something she can only imagine and very poorly indeed. May we seek, in our communications, whether verbal or written, in public or private, online or offline, to share more of the joys and beauty of our wife and motherhood journey than we do the complaints. May we praise often.  May we love and commit ourselves, not only to our husbands and children, but one another. May we strive to have close friends and to be the kind of friend that can lovingly challenge and positively engage one another. And may we enter into one another’s joys, whether it is a friend’s career promotion or a promotion to motherhood. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Coffee Table Refinish

Several years ago, we received this coffee table when my husband's grandmother passed away.  It's been through several military moves and was in storage because it was in pretty rough condition.  I decided to pull it down and refinish it.  I have painted furniture before and applied a coat of stain on a bed my husband built for our boys, but this was my first refinish project from start to finish.  I learned a few things, like wood conditioner is really helpful, especially working with red mahogany stain.  That is the color I used for this table.  I didn't use the conditioner on tops and sides, but did on the legs.  I feel the legs stained more smoothly, actually got a bit more of the tint I wanted.

I forgot to take a before picture, but took this shortly after starting project.  I love an electric sander.

I mostly sanded the legs by hand.  I did have a small electric tool I was able to use on part of the legs.  If anyone has tips on how to quickly sand legs like this, I'd love to know.  :)  Time consuming!

After a couple coats of stain.

My little boys are in love with the table.  Of course, a coffee table must have coffee.  haha!  And it's been used for school today.  I did add two coats of poly to the table.  I need to learn how to better use it.  Not as smooth as I would like, but overall I am very happy with the table and it looks so much better. refinish the matching end tables.  :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Crib Set -- Made by Kelly

Very excited to finally get around to sharing a recent project! I really enjoyed this project and it has made the list of projects I am most proud of.

I made the curtains, the bumper, crib sheet, and crib skirt.  Another friend made the baby quilt.  The Fabric is from Premier Prints and can be found online at

Close up at my house, where I no long have a crib to model it in.
The bumpers have two fabrics, the yellow print on one side and the gray stripe on the other.  The crib skirt has a box pleat with the same yellow fabric from the bumper in the pleat.

The following two photos are closeups of the jumbo piping I made to attach to the bumper.  I did not want piping to go all the way around, just for the top and bottom.  This was how I fixed the ends, to enclose the piping.

Unstitched the piping about 1/2" to 3/4" from fabric edge and I cut the piping rope.

Then I folded the piping up like this on the corners.  

After sewing, it gave a nice tucked corner like this.

I have never sewn a crib set before. I planned to use a high loft batting for the bumpers, but still didn't like the feel and it wasn't going to give the look my friend wanted.  So, I ordered bumper pad foam, Nu Foam.

Ordered from Amazon, prime shipping.  I saved about $20 ordering from them and had it in two days.  Awesome!!
  This foam was so easy to work with. You sew the bumper pad cover, leave an opening, slide in and then hand stitch the opening closes.  If I ever make another bumper pad, I will definitely use this product again!!

As I said, this was my first crib set.  I took to the internet for inspiration.  I can't say I followed any of these projects below exactly.  I compared and used parts of these to complete the set, but I wanted to share these great tutorials!

Pleated Crib Skirt

I altered this pattern to only have one box pleat on the front.  I also shortened and did not add the ties in the pleat.

Crib Bumper with Piping by Lella Boutique

Elle Apparel Crib Bedding 101

I used both of these to come up with my bumper pad.  I found the ties on Elle Apparel too short to work with the fabric I was using and wider slats on the crib the set was made for.  I ended up making 40 ties, which I used a tube fabric turner with...will never work without one of those again.  I still probably could have added some length to the ties.  And I altered the piping as done by Lella Boutique.

Crib Sheet Tutorial by Cut to Pieces

Crib Sheet Tutorial by Oleander and Palm

The first tutorial is amazing.  Great photos!  And loved the french seam for the corners.  I used it, but used the elastic method on the tutorial by Oleander and Palm, to just put elastic around the ends instead of the entire sheet.

Oh, I get no credit for the fabric choices!  My friend chose all the fabrics and what to use where.  I just brought her vision to life.  I think she did a fabulous job designing her nursery!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An Ounce of Mothering

“Once again, I faced satan this morning and I battled him all the day long.  But, in my weakness God sent reinforcement and by sun down, I’ll sing victory’s song.”

Does anyone else live these lyrics as often as I?

This morning…well, throughout the night, my very present trouble was a toddler.  My charming, adorable toddler developed into Hurricane Tantrum and when I thought it had passed, I soon realized it was just the eye of the storm. Sleep was almost non-existent and we needed to rise for an early morning doctor’s appointment out of town. 

In many ways I have been a single-mom the past eleven months with a husband working away from home. It has challenged me, revealing both new heights and lows in my character.  My kids are at such fun ages.  I am greatly enjoying this stage and love my children deeply.  Then moments of exhaustion knock me down, armor laying about me. The enemy attacks with such force that I find myself wanting to raise the white flag of surrender.

Gone are the thoughts of blessings, of gratitude.  Gone are the adorations of dimples, laughter, kisses and hugs.  Gone are the reminders of charity’s attributes. They are swept away in a flood carrying the pestilences of doubt, anger, and bitterness.  Murmurings and disputing pour out of my heart to God.  I am tired.  I am overwhelmed.  I want to quit.  I tell God that I am handing the kids over to dad for the weekend and leaving town, going to the beach.  A couple days with quiet, no demands, and full night of sleep will refresh me.  I will find God at the beach, draw closer to Him again because in this moment I feel so alone and weary; broken and wounded.

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart.

God sent reinforcement.  With stinging, tired eyes and heart, I drive 40 minutes to our doctor’s appointment.  I turn on a new station I found on Sirius, Family Talk.  I do not know who was preaching, but the message was from God to me; preaching on the battles of parenting.  Two hours earlier, I was telling Him where we would meet.  But, He met me where I was, in my dissonance.  Salt air, quiet and sleep cannot refresh one’s spirit like the Word of God and the Comforter. I am reminded that though I am a mom, I am His child. Just as I chastised Jacob for his rebellion, God chastised me.  Just as I forgave and comforted Jacob afterwards with hugs, kisses and “love you’s,” God poured out His love and mercies upon me.

On the drive home, I passed a church.  The sign read, “An ounce of mothering is worth a ton of preaching.” The message earlier reminded me that there is no option to quit as a mom.  This sign reminded me why.  My children can hear a lifetime of sermons, but the experience of a relationship with Christ starts in the home, through the gift of motherhood.  When satan attacks my mind and heart, God sends reinforcements.  He reminds me of His high calling. I throw that white flag in the ditch of repentance and I press toward the mark.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Platform Bed Build

We decided to move Jacob out of his crib and since the little boys share a room, we debated exactly what to do about sleep arrangements.  Two beds take up  more space and we ruled out a bunk bed for safety reasons.  Jacob already broke his leg earlier this year, so let's avoid anymore of that.  ha!  Thus we decided to build them a full size platform bed to share for now.  Low to the ground, so falling out might still be a shock (it was two nights ago), but not so painful.  :)  But, the boys are enjoying their new to finish the room...soon?  haha!

We found the plan on Ana White.  Have you visited her site?  Amazing!  This is our second build and I'd like to do more.  Actually, so far, Russ has done the building.  I want to learn, really I do!! Anyhow, we stained the bed with a red mahogany.  I love this stain!!  I love this bed!!  Happy me!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Nate!

 Our Nathan turned 6 last week.  SIX!!! I can hardly believe it. I remember the days when we didn't know if we would have another child, yet it seems he has always been. Always been a part of me, always been loved, always brightened my days.  Six years of amazingness (is that a word?) with Nathan.  What a gift to us!

Nathan was the one I thought I would never survive the toddler years with. Strong and determined, yet he has an adorable sweetness that melts my heart.  I receive little gifts from him often, flowers and weeds picked from the yard, love notes, hugs and kisses, or his comments telling me how wonderful I am.  Every mom needs one of him around. haha!! Currently he loves to open doors for me, including my car door. ;-) Example set by his older brother.

He is intelligent. Very. And likes to be busy.  He likes to work, mostly.  He will work along side Russ.  He loves to cook with me in the kitchen.  He loves the outdoors, reptiles, dinosaurs, toads, gardening.  The world is a book to him and he loves learning.  He is full of questions, often ones I cannot answer and some I the other day when he asked if I were alive when Jesus was born.! haha!!

He also loves super Spiderman.  Which was his request for a birthday cake.  Last minute change.  He said he wanted another dinosaur cake, but changed his mind.  I went to my trusty Pinterest app to look for inspiration.  Kristy, he, and I and finally made this....

 Nate enjoyed making his gum paste spider for the side of his cake.  He and Kristy also made the buildings and windows from gum paste.  I made the cake.  I iced with buttercream, then made a marshmallow fondant for the top. It turned out great, but I had a harder time working with it, so I made a blue buttercream for the bottom.  I need to practice more with fondant.  ;)

Kristy cut the top spider out of a gum paste. She did an awesome job!

Thought I'd also share a few photos from his birthday celebration.  I was super sick this day, so I had Kristy take a few pictures.

He loves this book!!! Awesome purchase!

And for the sake of keeping it real....Here is our Spiderman fail. We tried to make a torso out of gum paste and had planned on attaching him to the cake.  Well...let's just say, Kristy and I have a lot to learn about making figures.  In fairness, he isn't too horrible for our first ever attempt.  ;-)

I love making fun birthday cakes for the kids and I love more when they join in the making.  Fun!!