Saturday, April 20, 2013

Amigurumi Doll

HERE SHE IS!!!!  My first amigurumi doll!
As you can tell from the picture, she's around ten inches tall.  She doesn't have a complete face yet, but once I decide what emotion is going to look best on her then I'll embroidery one on.  Any suggestions???  I'm open to opinions from fellow creators!  Also, this doll may be made by me, but it's not my pattern.  I have Beth over at By Hook, By Hand to thank for the patterns!  You can find these patterns HERE.  Beth has an extensive amount of patterns for different dolls, settings, doll clothing and more, so I highly encourage you to clink on the link and get inspired to make some dolls of your own!

Since this was my first experience in crocheting a doll, I decided that the basic doll pattern was the best option for me.  It proved to be quite simple!  I enjoy working in the round-I think that's why making amigurumi is much for fun for me than making blankets and scarves.  I believe it is an art form, too!  With art also comes lots of room for improvement, and this dolly shows some of what I need to fix in order for the next one I make to turn out even better.  I'll be showing you more pictures of her this next week and pointing out some areas that I will be changing for my next doll (who is being started today!).  Hope you are inspired!  :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Doll Teaser

I know..I know!  I just started this blog and I already left you hanging for a few days!  I had a lot more free time when I started this, but I am now teaching (YAY!) so you won't see me every day.  I do have a few more lovelies (for those of you who haven't read my other posts, lovelies are what I call the amigurumi or other things that I crochet) to show you, so do please come back to see them in my future posts. 

Until then, here's a little teaser on the doll (my first one!) I have been working on. 
 Here are the finished legs and the unstuffed head.  It looks a little funny so far, but this is only a part of the doll.  It's a good start.

 I like to make hearts for my lovelies.  :)  I think it gives them a little more character and if a little girl was to ever get one I can tell her it has a heart 'just like her.'
See how tiny her heart is?  It's the perfect size for her, though!

Hope you enjoyed these "teasers."  See you later and have a great week!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rarely Used Blenders and Green Smoothies

 Do any of you have a blender that you just HAD to have but is now sitting in your cupboard or garage somewhere not being used?  If you're anything like me, then you do.  I simply had to have a blender on our wedding registry a year and a half ago.  I happened to get it as a wedding present, and I was SO excited.  I love anything kitchen because I love baking, cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.  Well, I used it a couple of times before it found its way back into the cupboard as other things took over my time.

We moved a few months ago due to being a military family, and I was determined to get to use my beloved blender.  I started by experimenting with smoothies.  After I found out how easy it was to make them, the blender has hardly been off the counter since. About a week ago, I was (of course) scrolling through Pinterest when I found a blog where they are all about green smoothies.  Having never even tried a green smoothie, I read on and this is the end result....
Over on Jadah and Jen's blog, found HERE, they are promoting green smoothies by challenging readers to drink one every day for the month of April.  I accepted the challenge (although, I am somewhat not living up to it at the moment since I haven't had one yet today), and I have some pictures of my experiments to share with you.

Okay, so you may be thinking GROSS - GREEN smoothies?!  Yes, green smoothies do consist of foods you may not like when they are consumed all by themselves, such as fresh spinach.  The good news, however, is that smoothies are not just one ingredient blended up for you to drink.  They consist of many healthy ingredients that compliment each others' flavors.  Let's take a look at one of the smoothies I created this past week:
 Spinach was the staple in every smoothie I made.  I know what you're probably thinking.  You're probably thinking, "Oh, yuck!  Spinach in a drink?  I could never like that!"  Well, let me tell you something.  I wasn't too fond of the idea either until I tried it.  No, I didn't use the entire drainer full above.  I used about a hand full of leaves and placed them in my blender right above the ice.  I didn't use any of the great recipes found over on the Simple Green Smoothie site, but I used the general idea of their recipes and sort of gauged my own.

Next, I added a few blueberries (frozen), cut up a banana, poured in about 1/3 cup or so of vanilla yogurt and just enough water (or orange juice) so it would help it blend, put on the lid and turned it on the lowest setting.  Check out how nicely it was mixing together:
 If you find that your smoothie is grinding but nothing seems to be blending together, then put in a little more liquid.  This will help the solid ingredients get pulled downward so they will get chopped up.  I like to blend mine until the vortex has appeared in the middle and the top starts bubbling.  (This way, it will get chopped up nicely and I won't have too much stuff to chew.)

Ta-Da!  All blended together and green!
 Most of the time I somehow gauge it just right where it all fits perfectly in a tall glass.  This time, I poured it in a glass that has a couple green dots and even used a green straw so you could see just how green this smoothie is.  I didn't even try the drip that dove off the side of the blender as I was pouring it.  I waited until it was all perfectly in the glass to try the very first taste.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The banana (and whatever other fruit you happen to add) out does the flavor of the veggies you put in the smoothie, so I could mostly only taste the banana!  Fruit also has natural sugar, so you don't have to add any extra sugar or sugar substitute to make it taste sweet.  Fruit smoothies taste sweet all on their own.

Sooo..if you happen to have a blender that's been sitting around unused for a while, bring it out, dust it off and try your hand at your own green smoothie!  I would LOVE to hear about how yours turns out!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hair .... and Headbands!

You know how in an earlier post I showed you the first doll I had made?  (You can see her HERE.)  Well, I am currently working on my next doll, and she is COMPLETELY different from Sleepy Sarah.  She is going to have both arms and legs, as well as ........ HAIR.  Yes, I know I'm using too many caps, but this is big for me.  I have NEVER done hair.  I've crocheted her head and one of her legs so far, and I'm excited to find out how she turns out.  Maybe when it gets a little lighter outside (yes, I'm up before dawn today) I'll take pictures of what I've finished so far so you can see. 

Until then, I want to show you another project I already have finished: headbands!
This is the Crochet Cluster V-Stitch Headband by Sara over at My Merry Messy Life.

Above is the adult-sized headband.  Below is the baby-sized head band.  Make sure when you are making yours to make it a little tight for your head because it WILL stretch out.  You don't want it stretching out so much that it falls off your head.
 So, if you are so inclined, you and your baby can match.  :)
You can find the pattern for these headbands HERE.  She has tons of other patterns for headbands if you don't want to try out the V-stitch for this one.  The rose is super simple, so you can make it for any band you fancy, really.  I really liked the look of these, and I wanted to try a brand new stitch so I gave it a go.  I like how they turned out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lots of colors

I have a new Amigurumi to share with you!!

Mine looks a bit different from Dusti's over at her blog, Sheep of Delight, where you can find the pattern HERE, but that's because all creators are different.  I chose the yarn before I knew what I was going to make with it.  I had been eying the multicolored skeins in the baby section for quite awhile (they are just so soft!), but they are usually more expensive than a not-so-soft, but bigger, skein.  One fortunate day I was perusing my usual A. C. Moore store's yarn section and oh my goodness they had a great sale on them.  Not just a dollar off sale, mind you.  A more-than-50%-off sale.  So, I of course bought three! 

Are you ready??  Okay!  First, I will show you what she looked like when I almost had her complete:
Kind of crazy looking with all that yarn sticking out, huh?  And, no, she doesn't have a face yet.  I like to add my face at the very end when I can see exactly where I need to place the eyes, nose and/or mouth.  Like I said, every creator is different! :) 

Have you figured out yet what she could be?

The tail was a vital part in getting her to sit up on her own:

 She's no bigger than my hand!

She is.....Happy Hippo!  Isn't she darling?  You should really visit the blog where I found this pattern.  She has a few other great patterns that I may just have to try out! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Candy ~ Sales

 Every holiday, stores come out with cute themed products like the foot tall bunny cookie pan shown above. 
Every holiday, stores make those cute products way more than you want to spend on them.....or you can just do what I like to do and wait until the day after the holiday to buy most of what I wanted for 50% off the original price.  If you have also been keeping coupons from past inserts, you can also save even more!  I'm new to the whole use-a-coupon-for-everything trend, so I didn't have any valid coupons for these, but I did shop around to find the best deal.  Here are just a few of the candies I found:

14 ounces of Sixlets (Hubby LOVES these): originally $2.88, bought for half off.
 Baby Bottle Pops (Stores like to sell them individually at the counter for the price I got for all three today): originally $2.88, bought for half off.
 10.8 ounces of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs (!!!): originally $2.88, bought for half off, but let me tell you a little about this.  Many of you who love chocolate and peanut butter as much as I do will eye the BIG Reese's peanut butter egg that comes one per container and it will be just a little more expensive than this (I price checked the sale price on it at $2), but DO NOT BE FOOLED!!  That egg is only 6 or 7 ounces!  If you get this bag with a bunch of smaller eggs, not only will you be paying less, but you will also get over 3 more ounces of chocolately peanut buttery goodness.  Plus, as an added bonus, these are individually wrapped so you don't have to worry about trying to stash your already opened one big egg away if you don't happen to eat the entire thing in one sitting.  Sure, this may use more wrappers, but you can throw a couple in your lunch box or enjoy one (or five!) at a time while you relax at home during the evening.  Yum :)
Now, one more piece of advice that I MUST share with you: each store not only will have different percentages off the same exact candies, but these candies will also be priced differently at each store. 

First, I went to Target.  They opened at 8AM..I got there at 8:10.  The signs were up and said 30% off, but most of the shelves looked like a tornado had went through.  Since Target is closed on Easter, this was probably due to people swarming in at the last minute getting gifts for those baskets they just have to have from the Easter bunny for their kids.  While I stood there, however, around eight employees came by, got excited by the sale, then immediately began to restock the shelves.  That's great, but I was hoping for a higher percentage off and I felt in the way, so I left for another store to compare prices. 

Second was Walmart.  Now, I don't frequent Walmart, but going in there today paid off.  (Except for the fact that some lady got the last bag of M&Ms because Walmart is open on Easter, so those must have went fast. Sad, because I really wanted those.  Hopefully, Target's prices will drop even more and there will still be M&Ms left for me to get in a few days.)  Walmart had 50% off all of their Easter candy and supplies, so the pictures you see above are all from Walmart.  Remember to always price check items yourself if there is one available so you don't inconvenience the clerks.

Third I stopped by Dollar Tree just because if was on the way home and I was curious.  Sure, they had candy 50% off (so 50 cents), but they were really small bags and were not any of the kinds I had found earlier.

Lastly I stopped by CVS.  Wow.  They didn't even have sale prices up, and it was already almost 10AM.  Even worse, there M&Ms were over $4!!!  The same exact kinds and sizes had been at Target with the sale price (only 30% off) making them under $3. 

It will be interesting to see which stores have the best deals in the end when (and if) they have anything left later on, but the initial best deal out of the four was Walmart.