Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 Posts of 2012!


Happy New Years Eve! I am celebrating by rounding up my top 10 posts of 2012. It comes to no surprise that 9 out of 10 are some of my best free crochet patterns :) Thank you to each and every one of you for all your support this past year. I have lots of new craft projects, crock pot recipes and many crochet patterns coming in 2013! So stick around and check back often! Have a safe and happy New Year!


























Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 Pipe Cleaner Glasses



We don't have much planned for new years eve this year, but I thought it would be fun to get crafty and celebrate with these fun and goofy glasses! They are very quick and easy to put together and the perfect new years party accessory!

I pretty much followed THIS 2010 glasses tutorial from Make and Takes, except you will need to make a "3" instead of a "0" at the end. I used the middle arm in the number 3 to connect the zero and then the 1 together. Cut one pipe cleaner in half to make the part of the glasses that go over the ears. Use the first one to connect the 2 and 0 together and connect the other one to the 3.  Just keep bending and twisting your pipe cleaners to so that they are in the shape desired. They are very easy to work with.

Older kids will have fun making their own glasses and younger kids can help choose the colors of their glass. Pipe cleaners are also a great tool for sensory play so let them bend and explore the pipe cleaners for a fun activity together during the long winter break.


And there you have it! 2013 pipe cleaner glasses to ring in the new year!
Be safe and have fun celebrating!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crochet Sleepy Owl Mask


After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you will need to whip up one of these crochet sleepy owl masks and get yourself some much needed sleep! 

Crochet Sleepy Owl Mask Pattern
Size: One size fits most

Materials
- Worsted weight yarn ( I recommend Vanna's Choice)
- Size J Crochet Hook (use smaller hook for a smaller mask, larger hook for a larger mask)
- Tapestry needle
- Ribbon
- Small piece of fleece

Abbreviations
ch = chain
SC = single crochet
HDC = half double crochet
SC decrease = single crochet decrease
DC = double crochet

Mask Pattern:
Ch 5, 2 SC in second chain from hook, SC in next 2 stitches, 2 SC in last stitch, ch 1, turn
Row 2: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 3: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 4, 2 SC in last, ch 1, turn
Row 4-8: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn (8 SC)
Row 9: SC dec, SC in next 4, SC dec, ch 1, turn
Row 10: SC in each stitch, ch 1 turn (6 SC)
Row 11: SC dec, SC in next 4, ch 1, turn
Row 12: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn (5 SC)
Row 13: 2 SC in first, SC in next 4, ch 1, turn
Row 14: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 15: 2 SC in first, SC in next 4, 2 SC in last stitch, ch 1, turn
Row 16-20: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn (8 SC)
Row 21: SC dec, SC in next 4, SC dec, ch 1, turn
Row 22: SC in each stitch, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 23: SC dec, SC in next 2, SC dec, ch 1, turn
Continue to sc around entire mask, fasten off weave in ends.

Eyes (Make 2):
Magic ring, make 10 HDC in magic ring, join, ch 2
Round 2: 2 HDC in each stitch around (20 HDC)
fasten off leaving long tail to sew onto mask.

Stitch the eyelashes on with a tapestry needle and black yarn. Here is a helpful video on how to do this by 

Nose:
Chain 5, SC in second chain from hook, HDC in next, DC in next two
fasten off leaving tail to sew onto mask.

Now you can sew eyes and nose onto the mask.


You can leave it as is, but the yarn might be a little itchy against your skin. So I used a piece of scrap fleece (all I had on hand was blue), traced the mask onto the fleece and cut out a piece that was the same size. I then used a blanket stitch to sew it onto the backside of the mask.


Use five 10 inch strands of yarn for each "ear." It can be multiple colors. Pull the yarn through one stitch on each end of the mask, knot and trim to desired length.

Now you can use ribbon (as I did) for the straps or you can crochet straps. I used two pieces of ribbon, pulled it through a stitch on the edge of each side, and use a little dab of hot glue to secure one end down. You can now tie the ribbons together to keep the mask on your head, or use some velcro to make it adjustable and a little more secure.



Now enjoy some rest and relaxation!


*** You may make and sell products from my patterns but if you do I ask that you link back to my post. Please do not copy and post this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not re-publish photos as your own.***

Want more free patterns? Keep in touch on my Repeat Crafter Me Facebook Page for new pattern sneak peeks and when they will be available on my blog!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

26 Heart Snowflake for Project Snowflake


I have posted a couple different projects for the victims of Sandy Hook and now I am taking part in one more: Project Snowflake! The idea is to welcome the kids of Sandy Hook back to school with a winter wonderland of handmade snowflakes.

 I have come up with a special snowflake to honor the 20 Beautiful children and 6 heroic teachers that lost their lives in the senseless shooting that took place in their school on Dec. 14, 2012. This is a 26 heart snowflake. You will see 6 larger hearts that represent the wonderful teachers who selflessly and heroically protected their students by hiding the children and taking the bullets for them. And 20 smaller hearts that represent the innocent, beautiful and brave children who were taken from this world too soon. All 26 will always be in our hearts.

Here is how to make this snowflake:


1. Start with a piece of standard 8.5x11 printer paper
2. Fold one of the corners up so the edges of the paper meet.
3. Cut off the extra paper at the top.
4. Fold one of the corner up again. You will now have a smaller triangle.
5. Fold one corner over about 60 degrees.
6. Fold the other corner over the previous piece.
7. Cut off the extra paper sticking out of the top.
8. Cut out your snowflake pattern. 
You will cut three half heart shapes from the folded edge, a triangle and half heart from the right edge, and a slight triangle shape from the top (just to give it a little shape).


Now start opening the snowflake up (just two flaps open so it looks like the first of these two pictures). Cut another half heart (upside down) in the bottom right edge near the point. These will be the two small hearts in the middle of your snowflake.

Open it up and now you are done!



On December 14, the peace and innocence of Newtown, Connecticut was shattered and 26 people lost their lives, 20 of which were dear, sweet children. I have no words ...

Now the students and faculty of Sandy Hook Elementary School are preparing to begin classes again in a new location. To ease their return, the Connecticut PTSA has organized The Snowflake Project to create a winter wonderland in their new school.

I think this is a wonderful idea and I am so happy to be able to do something ... anything ... to help. So who is with me? Let's get the word out and give these kids a gorgeous snowy wonderland to welcome them to their new school and to show them that we care.

So grab the button, spread the word, and get creating ... And make sure to come back on 1/9 for a Project Snowflake linky party.

Here are the details ...

They are asking for everyone to make and send snowflakes for them to hang around the school. Their only request is that the snowflakes have no words on them ... think bright, and sparkly, and happy, and magical ...

Snowflakes are to be sent by January 12, 2013 to:

Connecticut PTSA
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT 06514

You can check out the CT PTA website or Sandy Children Help on Facebook for more information or updates. They are also putting together a photo album of the snowflakes; you can send photos to crafts4newtown@gmail.com. Please include a note to let them know where the snowflakes are coming from (school, grade or age, town etc). 

<a href="http://petalstopicots.com/" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd363/petalstopicots/snowflake-border.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" /></a> 







Monday, December 24, 2012

Another Crock Pot Beef Stew


I say "another" because I posted THIS beef stew recipe last year, but it is tomato based and I wanted to make a more traditional beef stew for my out of town guests.

It's Christmas Eve and I am sure many of you are surrounded by friends and family who are probably going to be sticking around for a couple of days. Especially those who have traveled from far to be with you. This is a good time to make a quick, no fuss meal that will feed all your guests but also allow you to stay out of the kitchen enjoy your company! I've got the perfect solution: Crock Pot Beef Stew! With the combination of tender meat, veggies and potatoes, you have a complete meal all in one. And this recipe will feed at 6-8 adults!

Ingredients:
- 3 lbs cubed stew meat
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 bag baby carrots
- 4 russet potatoes cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
Feel free to add other veggies or spices that you like. (parsnips, celery, bay leaf, etc.)


Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6. (Wow, easy right?!)


Enjoy this tasty dish and its leftovers! Remember that if you let it sit, it will thicken up. Leftovers should be perfect! My dad couldn't wait for me to finish taking pictures, he started eating my "staged" bowl :) And he gave it raving reviews!




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Crochet Robot Lovey Blanket


I've had visions of a robot lovely blanket ever since I saw this adorable robot fabric at Hobby Lobby. This will be the third lovely blanket I have designed so for a more detailed tutorial, please see the first one I created: Monster Lovey Blanket.


Materials:
-Worsted weight yarn in your choice of 2 colors
-Poly-fil
-Size H Crochet Hook
-Tapestry Needle
-Robot fleece fabric (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
-Two 15mm black safety eyes (I purchased mine at JoAnn fabrics)

Abbreviations:
ch= chain
SC= single crochet
DC= double crochet
How to make a Magic Ring tutorial HERE

Crochet Monster Lovey Blanket Pattern:

Head:
Chain 16, SC in 2nd ch from hook and rest of way down.
Continue to SC on other side of chain. Do not join, begin to SC in rounds for a total of 12 rounds.
Fasten off but wait to stuff and close until you attach the face, ears, safety eyes and antenna.

Ear (make two):
Magic ring, 6 SC in ring, continue to SC in rounds.
Round 2: 2 SC in each around (12 SC)
Round 3-4: SC in each stitch around (12 SC)
Fasten off, stuff lightly and sew closed. Use tapestry needle to stitch onto sides of head.

Face:
Chain 11, SC in second ch from hook and rest of way down, ch 1, turn
Row 2 - 6: SC across, ch 1, turn. At end of round 6, continue to SC around sides and join to first SC. 
Fasten off leaving long tail to sew onto head. 
Add two safety eyes.

Antenna:
With first color,
Magic ring, 6 SC in magic ring, continue to SC in rounds.
Round 2-3: SC in each stitch around  (6 SC)
change color
Round 3-6: SC in each stitch around (6 SC)
change color back to first color
Round 7: 2 SC in each stitch around (12 SC)
Round 8-9: SC in each stitch around (12 SC)
Stuff lightly if needed and sew bottom closed. Use tapestry needle to stitch onto top of head.

Arm:
With first color
Magic ring, SC 8 in ring, continue to SC in rounds.
Round 2: 2 SC in each stitch around (16 SC)
Round 3 - 5: SC in each stitch around (16 SC)
Round 6: SC decrease, SC in next 2 stitches, repeat around.
Change color
Round 7-14: SC in each stitch around (12 SC)


Stuff head and limbs and sew closed. Use your tapestry needle to stitch onto sides of the fleece blanket after you crochet around the edges of it.

Cut a 10.5 x 12 piece of the fleece fabric. I created holes to crochet through with a skip stitch blade and a ruler as a guide. Holes should be made about a 1/2 inch from the edge. It is also helpful to cut the corners into rounded corners so it will lay down flat when you crochet the edge.

I purchase my skip stitch blade from the Project Linus website but unfortunately it looks like it is no longer available there. You can find the same one HERE on the Skip-Stitch website. I have the "original skip stitch blade" and you will need a Fiskars 45mm Contour Rotary Cutter which I purchased from Amazon.

Crochet around the edge of the fleece by make a SC in each hole, chain 1, SC in next hole, repeating around.

Add a crochet heart to turn your Robot into a Lovebot! Perfect for your little guy (or gal) for Valentine's Day :) I followed THIS free crochet heart pattern by Skip to my Lou. Using a sharp tapestry needle, stitch the heart onto the fleece fabric.


*** You may make and sell products from my patterns but if you do I ask that you link back to my post. Please do not copy and post this pattern and claim it as your own. Please do not re-publish photos as your own.***

Want more free patterns? Keep in touch on my Repeat Crafter Me Facebook Page for new pattern sneak peeks and when they will be available on my blog!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Years Confetti Clock Cookies


Wow, what a year it has been! I can't believe 2013 is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about how you are going to ring in the new year! These New Years Confetti Clock Cookies will be perfect for any party large or small. Even if it's just you and the kids, they will love the little surprise on the inside of these cookies! 

I got this idea from THESE clever dreidel surprise cookies by the very talented Beth at Hungry Happenings. Here is how you make these fun treats.


1. Using a larger circle cookie cutter, cut out circles from rolled sugar dough. Then with a smaller cookie cutter, cut out the middle of a couple of the circles. Bake according to sugar cookie directions.
2. After they are completely cooled, ice the top cookie. I used a mixture of powdered sugar and a little bit of milk for the white icing. The red icing is Wilton Sparkle Gel piped around the edges. You can add the red piping before or after you ice the cookie. 
3. To make the compartment to store the sprinkles, you will need to stack three cookies so the cookie with a hole in it is in the middle. Use the icing to connect the cookies.
4. You will need to let the icing completely harden before writing on the clock numbers. I let mine sit overnight before I attempted the writing. I used Charm City Cakes Food Color Brush Set but you could use any food color pens. I found mine at Michaels.

Now you are done! Break them open at midnight or enjoy them all day long :) 


They would make a great party favor gift as well. Place a cookie in a small cellophane bag and use a Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery sticker labels to write a little message on top of each bag.



I hope everyone has a very happy and healthy New Year! Be safe!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery makes Gift Wrapping Easy


Don't let the thought of wrapping up all your holiday gifts intimidate you. I have an easy solution! Martha Stewart has paired up with Avery to create a wonderful line of holiday bags, tags, wrapping paper, packing tape, ribbon, tissue paper and my favorite: address labels! I had the pleasure of getting to work with a bunch of these adorable products and can't wait to show you how you can easily wrap your gifts and dress them up with some decorative touches from Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery.

The first order of business was to deck out my gift wrap station and get it organized and ready for wrapping!



What I love most about this line is that it is holiday neutral and all the pieces coordinate! With just one roll of brown kraft paper from the Dollar Store, and a spool of red/white bakers twine I was able to wrap all my gifts and then added Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery sticker labels and tags for a finishing touch.


The return address label templates were my favorite! The snowflake design was cute, classy and tasteful. Nothing like those cheap, tacky designs you find discounted online. And the best part is that you can easily print your address on them using an Avery template! My version of Microsoft Word already had the matching template available but you can also download the templates for free HERE. I also love the mailing address sicker labels. It really adds a special touch to your holiday card or mailing envelope. Sometimes it is the little things that show how much thought you put into the gift. The recipient will surely appreciate it! 


If you are interested in seeing the whole line of Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery or would like to purchase one of these products, go HERE.

Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery (and it's partner, Red Sky PR) offered these products for me to review. All opinions are my own and were not paid for.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Handmade help for Sandy Hook Elementary

2 days after the horrifying massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT and I am still completely sick to my stomach over what happened there Friday morning. I can't even begin to fathom what these families are going through. My heart breaks for the innocent lives that were lost. It's just not fair. At times like this there are no answers. We can only look to each other for love and support.

Now is the time to come together and help this community however we can. I have decided to help Heidi from Snappy Tots on her "Beanies for Brave Students" project. Heidi has asked the crochet community to help crochet 600 hats in green and white (their school colors) for the brave survivors at Sandy Hook Elementary. I crocheted my first 3 hats last night and plan on buying more yarn to make more. I used Vanna's Choice yarn in Kelly Green and White. They are asking for only Green, White or Green and White striped beanies. If you want to help by crocheting a beanie, please be sure to read all the "rules" before you begin. You can find more information about this wonderful project HERE. Thank you Heidi!

Here are the beanies I made last night using Vanna's Choice Kelly Green and White. I went to 3 different yarn stores today and could not find any more green yarn. I will be ordering more online through Amazon: Lion Brand Yarn 860-172C Vanna's Choice Yarn, Kelly Green
You can also use Red Heart with Love in Clover. I also couldn't find it in stores but it is also available on Amazon: Red Heart with Love E400.1620 Yarn, Clover


Here is a list of other projects going on to help Newtown and the victims of Sandy Hook. I am sure there are many more. Please list any you know of in the comments. It is heartwarming to know that there are still good people in this world that are going to great lengths to help in whatever way the can. THANK YOU!

600 Monsters Strong is collecting friendly handmade (knit or crocheted) monster for Sandy Hook. Read more about it HERE. There is a list of approved crochet (and knit) patterns in their GUIDELINES.

I have already made one cute little monster following one of their free approved crochet patterns: Plarko the Monster by Stacey Trock. You can find the free pattern HERE


Caring Crafters is collecting handmade, crochet, knit and fleece scarves. Find more info HERE.

Hands, Hearts, and Hugs is collecting donations of knit and crochet squares that will be assembled into comfortghans for the victims families. Find more info HERE.

QT Patootie Crochet is collecting 6"granny squares to put together Hodge Podge Memory Blankets. For more info, message her via her Facebook page.

Kim's Peanut Gallery is hosting an auction to raise money for Sandy Hook families. She is encouraging boutiques to donate an item by Dec. 28th. Read more about it HERE.

All for the Boys is collecting paper snowflakes so the students of Sandy Hook can be welcomed back to school with a winter wonderland. Read more about it HERE.

I {heart} Nap time is also collecting snowflakes (coffee filter snowflakes) to also help create a winter wonderland in the school. More info and tutorial on how to make the snowflakes is HERE.

Crochet Happy lets us know how to make crochet snowflakes for Sandy Hook and provides an address of where to send them HERE

For all you bloggers: Adrianne from Happy Hour Projects and Kelley from The Grant Life are hosting a joint link party starting this Thursday Dec. 20th. For every link, they are each going to donate 5 cents to the Sandy Hook fund at the Western CT United Way. Make a donation or just be sure to stop by the party and link up. Find the link party HERE (starting Thursday, Dec 20th at 4:15pm). UPDATE! Because of the support and donations from other bloggers, $1.00 will now be donated for every project linked up!

Hope Cards for Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School are trying to collect 1000 cards to send off to the kids/families/staff and everyone else effected by this tragedy. Find more information HERE.

Head over to the RIP Sandy Hook Elementary Victims Facebook page do show your condolences and keep up with even more ways to help!

There is also a general fund for all the families & community through United Way: https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/



Friday, December 14, 2012

Homemade Hand Warmers


Keep your hands and your hearts warm this winter with these homemade hand warmers! This would make a great last minute holiday gift, or plan ahead and make this for your sweetheart for Valentine's Day.

It requires a little bit of sewing, but if you have a sewing machine this project would be even easier. Sorry, no gluing allowed.

You will need:
- Felt (in colors of your choice) or you could use Fleece. Make sure it is non-synthetic, otherwise it could melt in microwave.
- Yarn or embroidery thread for sewing
- Needle
- Cup of uncooked rice

Nothing is cuter and cozier than a sweet little owl and I am providing the template I used to create my owl shaped hand warmers. But you could make any shape you want. The simpler the shape, the less sewing you will need to do.
Owl Hand Warmers Template

First, use the template to cut out the shapes from felt. Make sure you cut two pieces for the body. Then begin sewing each piece together. You will want to start by sewing the heart to the tummy, then the tummy to the top body piece, then the eyes, then the beak. I used a small tapestry needle and 2-ply yarn to stitch each piece together. Again, much easier if you have a sewing machine. But you could also just make a simple heart shape and use a blanket stitch to sew the edges together.



Before you finish sewing the two body pieces together, fill with rice then sew closed.


When ready to use, heat in microwave for approx. 30 seconds and enjoy up to 30 minutes of heat. 


Make "His & Her" owls for a couples gift! Or one for each of your children to keep their hands warm while walking to school or waiting for the bus.

Need other handmade gift ideas? #MyFavoriteBloggers has a great roundup of 12 DIY gifts under $20!